Monday, May 16, 2011

Tangible Witchcraft: DIY Toiletries

At the turn of the secular year, I made a decision to try an all-natural solution for my hair: DIY shampoo and conditioner.

Not only do most shampoos and conditioners have all sorts of toxic crap in them (some quite dangerous), but they come in those plastic bottles that ruin the environment too. Did you know that for every pound of plastic produced there is a pound of toxic waste? And plastic recycling is a feel-good sham, frankly. I wanted to rid myself of that toxic burden (personally and for the planet), see if I could do something for myself, and save some money in the process.

I searched and searched and the easiest place to start was a simple solution for each:

Not Shampoo:
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda to 1 cup water

Baking soda is a natural alkaline that cleanses gently. While the "Nopoo" recipe above is more liquid-y than what most folks are used to when cleaning their hair, I find that using a squirt bottle directly aimed at the scalp and then rubbing the scalp (I have a round brush to massage my scalp in the shower- it feels awesome and cleans wonderfully!) does the same job, without overly stripping the hair. My hair runs dry if overwashed, so I stick with this basic recipe. If you try this recipe and find it does not get enough oil out, up the ratio of baking soda to water until it works for you.

Not Conditioner:
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup water

Apple Cider Vinegar literally smooths the scales on hair to make it easy to comb through- it de-tangles even my snarly long hair! I apply it liberally all over my scalp and hair and let it sit for a moment before combing out my hair under running water. Tada- tangle free hair! Bonus- it leaves your hair smelling clean, but not scented. I find my hair kind of smells like strawberries.

The deodorant container I saved,
washed and ready to be filled.
So how did it work out? I was skeptical that these recipes could work for me, but you know what? They did. I bought the toiletry industry's line abouthow their products were irreplacable. I was duped!

Before, I was spending almost $10 a bottle on an all natural, SLS free, cruelty free shampoo and conditioner for my hair (that I had to go to a specialty store to get). Now, I spend pennies a month. I now no longer use any of those bought products, but simply use ingredients that are already in my kitchen (and temple) anyway.

Today, I decided to up the ante and create a deodorant for myself. Now, I am not the stinkiest girl, but I don't want to be either! Simply making others deal with my funk is not a good solution for me. So I found a new recipe, also simple:

Not Deodorant:
Coconut Oil, Baking Soda, and essential oils (optional).

Notice how I did not give ratios or measurements? It's because it widely varies on the coconut oil you are using and the temperature of the room that you are making it in. Don't panic- it is really an easy recipe.

1. Simply spoon out as much coconut oil as you think you will need (I make enough to fill a plastic deodorant dispenser that I kept from the last one I ever bought.)

My box of essential oils.
2. Add baking soda until it is a thick, stiff paste that will not fall off your fork (it defies gravity). You will be surprised at how much soda the oil will absorb to get to this point.

3. Then you can add essential oils if you wish.

Note: Just because you like the smell of a particular oil doesn't mean that you can use it in a deodorant. This is a sensitive place on the body- you should test to be sure your underarms can handle exposure to that ingredient before making a batch. (Use a carrier oil with a drop or two of the essential oil before applying to your underarms as a test.)

Note: You may need to keep the deodorant in the fridge in warmer weather, as coconut oil becomes liquid at very low temperatures.

All filled and ready for the fridge!
DIY is witchy, but you can get really witchy with this project, infusing the products with intention and ingredients to help manifest certain outcomes. Herbs, minerals, all kinds of ingredients can be added to the water, vinegar, or oil before making a product.

This, of course, adds a step and some time needs to elapse before assembling your toiletries (allowing the herb, mineral or what-have-you to steep and impart its properties to your medium). But it is worth it! Make yourself some money drawing, love-inducing, psychic-vision-enhancing toiletries!

My first batch of "Nopoo" was plain. Now I add herb vinegars to the water instead. My first batch of deodorant had a blend of vetivert, musk, and acacia oils. Can you guess my intent with those (besides smelling yummy)?


  1. I love using baking soda and acv on my hair instead of shampoo and conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling like, well, hair! I haven't tried the home made deodorant yet though. I think I'll have to now. :)

  2. Just made the deodorant and its great.. my husband is sensitive to EVERYTHING and its working a treat.. thanks for sharing. xo


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