Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Allergen Free Hygiene

Finding a way to stay clean, fresh, and not-too-stinky is somewhat difficult when you react to common ingredients in our hygiene supplies.  So, this is what I do:

For clean hair 
Washing: 1 cup of water with 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda added. I use however much of this cup I need. If my hair seems not-too-oily, I can use 2 tsp soda per cup of water. If my hair is oilier, I need the full Tb. of soda per cup. To wash with this, you have to scrub at the base of your hair out to a few inches from your scalp, sometimes working the soda solution through small sections of hair. Then rinse. I can tell when I haven't got enough soda because my hair will try to stay in small clumps rather than individual strands - too much oil holding them together, I'd guess.

Conditioning: 1 cup of water with 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I bet lime juice would work, too). I use this sparingly over my hair, working it in on the ends the most, to rebalance the ph. Then rinse. The smell dissipates completely by the time I'm drying off, so no remaining vinegar smell.

I've been doing this for 2 months now and my hair looks pretty awesome. My hair was dry to start off so it's a good moisture level now, although most people have a bit of trouble with oily hair until their oil production adjusts to no shampoo stripping it away (this gal's technique is what I've been using).

The real odd thing about this is how my hair smells, because it now smells like hair and nothing else. I'm used to clean hair having a shampoo scent, like apples, or lilacs, or a musky, soapy scent. But after washing out the apple cider vinegar, by the time my hair has started to dry, there is no smell but that of hair.  It's very curious to realize that I'm unused to the actual smell of hair, LOL.

For clean teeth
- I brush my teeth with a toothbrush wet with sea salt water (or sometimes just water) and then floss.
I've purchased a sonicare now and use that, which keeps the teeth even cleaner.
- If I feel like I want a fresher 'feeling' in my mouth, I just go and chew on a few leaves of fresh mint, rosemary, basil, or whatever other taste I want. Works great.

I've been doing this for two years now. Teeth are clean and I'm assuming it's due to a very important piece of information, brought to my attention by a periodontist, years ago. According to him, toothpaste is not actually necessary. It's useful, because the extra abrasiveness helps aid us in cleaning our teeth, but we can brush longer and with a bit more care, and we'll still get clean teeth.

I don't know for certain if that's true, but like I said, my teeth are still looking good, so I think it's likely true.

A bit ago I also managed to get a solution of distilled water and flouride powder (compounded from a prescription from the dentist), with nothing else added. I use it maybe once a week, because the stuff is very expensive, but I think it's a good extra bit of defense. 

For clean body
I have been using soap made by a family run company that has Celiacs in said family. The only ingredients in the soap are olive oil and the lye used to saponify the olive oil. And the olive oil is from a small farm itself, made very cleanly and without chemicals.

It's called Just Plain Olive soap, from http://sudsysoapcakes.com/.

For staying non-sweaty and non-stinky
All right, I'll be honest. This one is a bit of a problem for me. The non-sweating part? Yeah, good luck. I haven't heard of any natural products that do this, so I've given up. I kind of need to sweat to stay cool in the desert anyway.

For deodorant, I've heard of some folks making homemade versions using baking soda mixed with something oily or waxy, like coconut oil or beeswax, but I haven't tried it yet. Baking soda on my skin for an extended period of time hasn't done so well, and I'm leery of trying it.

What I tend to do right now is wear appropriate clothing so I don't sweat because I got too hot, and then I get an essential oil and put some on the points of my body when I might sweat. When the skin heats up, I understand more of the oil's smell will be released along with whatever smell I have, so that counteracts it a little.

Otherwise, I just try to stay fairly clean and give thanks that I've never been someone who sweats very much or gets very stinky when I do sweat. My daughter may need some help as she's hitting puberty, though, so we're on the look out for anything we can use.

I have heard of a product called 'Pit Paste' which might be of use to some other allergy sufferers, but they haven't been selling anything recently. They're listed as being 'on vacation' for the moment. However, for those who would be interested, the ingredients are the following: baking soda, arrowroot powder, coconut oil, cocoa butter, candelilla wax, and essential oils (or fragrance oils, depending on what you choose).

It can be found here (if the owner of the site comes back): http://www.etsy.com/listing/80579428/vegan-you-choose-the-scent-kps-pit-paste

When I've figured out a way to get clean dishes, laundry, and house without any allergen issues cropping up, I'll let you know!

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