I am seriously addicted to finding frugal ways. It's not that I really need to be ultrafrugal anymore. It's more like a hobby to squeeze my pennies until they scream for mercy. Since I am allergic to many ingredients in commercial body care products, I needed to find an alternative to commercial shampoo. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar work very well, causing me to realize we are better off without the chemicals in shampoos, conditioners, and many soaps. How is it done?
The first time I tried no-poo, I did it all wrong and practically recked my hair. After research and experimentation, I learned the best formula. When you begin, dissolve 1 T baking soda in a cup or two of warm water. Work through roots of hair and message scalp for about 30 seconds. Focusing on the roots and scalp, rinse with 1 T apple cider vinegar diluted in a cup or two of warm water. Then rinse with running water. If you tend toward dry hair, put a drop or two of olive, grape seed, apricot, kukui, or coconut oil in your palms and rub it into your hands as if for lotion. When it is nearly absorbed run your hands over the ends of your hair. (These also make great lotion or facial moisturize if you don't want to make face and body cream.) As your hair becomes accustomed to this method, you will likely need to reduce the baking soda and vinegar amounts until you only use 1/4 t baking soda and 1 t vinegar. I also like to use herbal infusions in place of the water. Sage, black walnut hull or leaf, comfrey leaf, calendula flower, marshmallow root, rosemary, nettle leaf, and yarrow are some hair-nourishing favorites. Sometimes when I want to get really fancy, I tincture citrus peels in the vinegar for two weeks to make a citrusy rinse. Some people also add essential oils such as tea tree or peppermint.
Right after we began our mission, we ran out of soap. (I am used to having a huge supply of sundries to fall back upon. Out here it is just like being a newly wed again.) Anyway, I remembered reading an interview with Queen Latifa whose grandmother taught her to wash her face with baking soda. She has lovely smooth skin. With that inspiration and my good experience with no-poo, I tried it. Weird at first, it worked quite well. Since soap always left me itchy in the past, I switched to baking soda for good. How is it done? Put a tablespoon or so of baking soda on a washcloth or your palm. Add a bit of water in the shower and use the paste to wash as you would soap. It's that easy.
Baking soda is so useful. Another personal hygiene usage is tooth brushing. Either by itself or mixed with a drop of mint essential oil, it gets teeth squeaky clean and breath nicely fresh. Sucking on whole cloves helps freshen breath after eating strong foods as well.
Finally, body deodorants don't have to come from the drug store either. Talc has been linked to ovarian and lung cancers. Aluminum is toxic and linked to Alzheimers and breast cancer. If it's not safe to eat, it's not safe to put on your skin. After all skin absorbs everything you put on it, leaving those polysylabic chemicals off the list. Mix 1 part tapioca starch, 1 part cornstarch or rice starch, 1 part arrowroot Powder, 1 part baking soda, 1 part redmond or white clay, and optionally 1 part dried, powdered citrus peel or flower petals or orris root for a delightful deodorant powder. If one ingredient is not available, double one of the others. This is so nice stored in an old fashioned powder box and applied with a puff for the sentimental feminine set or in a powder shaker for minimalists. Something else to consider on this vein. Most body odors can be reduced or eliminated with diet. Since processed 'foods' and animal products contribute to the build up of bad bacteria in the body, body odor sweat is exacerbated with their consumption. A high intake of chlorophyll from green plants reduces odor. (Also true for bad breath, eating and/or eliminating poorly naturally cause odors.) Once again, the secret is in the greens.
Some people will only use naturally mined Baking Soda from Frontier or Bob's Red Mill. I'm not sure about that one yet.