Part 1: The theme is clean!
We like to say we live a Paleo Lifestyle. We live this way for the benefit of our health and happiness. This obviously means we eat mostly Paleo-friendly foods. But food isn’t the be-all and end-all to good health and wellbeing; there’s more to it than that! You can’t be well just from eating clean. You can’t be well just from moving naturally. You can’t be well just from having a happy mindset. Nor can you be well from just eliminating chemicals in the home. There needs to be a nice balance of all aspects of living. Kind of obvious when you think about it like that right?
So one of the ways we live more Paleo in a modern world (ie simpler, less stuff, cleaner, happier, more sustainably, environmentally friendly, etc) is by trying to avoid using chemicals around the house and on our skin, as opposed to just being mindful of eating low/no chemical foods.
We’ve mastered the switch to the general natural household stuff but the trickiest switch has definitely been in the bathroom; mostly with makeup and beauty products. We hear that a lot from our Sunshine Coast Paleo Lifestyle Meetup Group members too who often ask us and each other what natural cosmetics and skin care products are recommended.
When you walk into a health food store or supermarket and look at the beauty and cleaning sections it’s easy to be overwhelmed with options. It’s good to see there are so many natural products on the market now but it’s confusing to know which are actually safe for humans or are just eco-friendly and how to work out what’s going to be right for you and your family.
Over the last few years living more Paleo we’ve realised one thing… simple is always best. Whether you’re talking movement, cooking or natural cleaning and beauty… simple is always best!
So in terms of natural products… how about you pick up a few different brands of say… shampoo and conditioner next time you’re at the shops or health food store and look at the back to have a read of the ingredients. Take note… is there a list of about 20 things and at least half of which you can’t even pronounce? Yeah that’s pretty common and it’s not necessary! There are SO many natural and organic products on the market now and unfortunately, most of them still contain a myriad of ingredients. Derived from plant sources, yes, that’s great but a lot of ingredients in the one product can still be too many ingredients for a person’s skin or health, natural or not!
We’ve experienced it for ourselves. We’ve bought top quality, expensive skincare products, with a list of ingredients a mile long, only to have found they’ve irritated our skin or simply just not worked. Who wants to spend a fortune on a fancy product that doesn’t even do what it’s advertised to? No one!
Through those experiences and trying different products on the market, as well as then also trying lots of DIY options (which can be really time-sucking), we’ve finally settled on the few natural and simple items we’re happy with. And we’d love to share them with you!
Our next post in this series will be about makeup and beauty products, so stay tuned for that one, but this first blog is all about… how we get ourselves and our bathroom CLEAN without chemicals! Yay!
So let’s take you on a virtual tour of our bathroom and how we clean ourselves and the surfaces naturally…
Let’s start with the shower. We live in South East QLD so we have a few nasties in our water, plus it’s an older townhouse so the pipes aren’t great. Our ENVIRO PRODUCTS Designer Shower Filter removes chlorine for up to 12 months. We know it works because a few weeks ago I ran a bath using the lower taps in this bath/shower combo. As I was letting it fill up slowly I went back to work on the computer in the office nearby. I noticed a strange smell. It was disgusting… it was a very strong, distinct smell of chlorine! So because I wasn’t using this filtered shower head, but the unfiltered bath taps, the tub was filling up with chlorine water!! I immediately emptied the bath and then started again using the shower head!
Some people notice improvements with skin conditions when they switch to chlorine-free water in the bathroom. We haven’t noticed any obvious changes but we like knowing we’re having chlorine-free showers every day!
We’ve gone through so many different types of natural shampoo and conditioner options. Boy oh boy have we just! From bicarb soda, rosemary and acv rinses, various ‘natural’ and organic products, to DIY aloe/rosemary/acv/gelatin cleansing tablets… and we’ve settled on this product! Alaffia is 100% coconut, fair trade and works.
The other natural brands we’ve tried, with a million ingredients, always left our hair and scalp feeling dry and stripped of the natural oils and softness. The DIY tablets I used to make worked but they were a pain to make and messy to use. Bicarb left our hair feeling like straw, completely stripping it of it’s natural oils and nutrients. Yuck! Never again! ACV and rosemary rinses are good, and we’ll get back into using them sometimes as hair conditioning treatments, but now for the two times a week (or less for Clint!) we do a basic wash, we like using these.
Another positive is the bottles are huge and they last for ages! Some friends and family have reported back that they always run out of the conditioner a lot faster than the shampoo, which we think is because it’s so natural and simple, not quite like the chemical-laden products like Pantein etc that leave a thick chemical coating on the hair making it feel super soft and luxurious. It takes more of it to get the same feeling through the hair. But it’s very affordable, the shampoo actually FOAMS UP unlike most natural brands out there, and they work well for us.
Keep in mind, if switching to natural hair cleaners for the first time, allow a couple of months for the first product/concoction to see if it’s working for you because transitioning to natural haircare does take time. The hair needs to detox before you can find out whether it’s doing the job or not.
Soap. There are stacks of natural soaps on the market now and as much as we’d love to always use a 100% Paleo brand, they are sadly far more expensive and we go through bars of soap too quickly to justify spending that much money on it! If you haven’t met Clint yet, just know that he’s kinda a hairy fellow! So all that friction when he washes himself results in the soap bars shrinking pretty darn quickly!! lol
We just buy the $2 vegetable oil based soaps from our local Flannery’s store.
We were buying pure coconut soap but at $6 ea, you can see why we opt for the cheaper alternative! It’s not a bad soap, we’re fine with it for now. It’s a lot better than what we used to use, that’s for sure!
One of our goals though is to make our own coconut oil and tallow soaps! It’s a project we’re starting soon. We just need to get to my mum’s house with all the gear because she has plenty of garage space for soap making. The process takes six weeks all up but it’ll be so worth it to have a stack of totally natural and handmade soaps! Family Christmas presents sorted! 🙂
Our good friend Crystal Fieldhouse from Ecology Skincare sells these terrific konjac vegetable sponges which hang in the shower and work well for gently cleaning the face. They stiffen up when dry so just holding them under water for a few seconds in the shower softens them up quickly then they’re really easy to use.
They not only feel nice on skin but they’re eco-friendly and contain no chemicals!
Grab one here.
I still have some gut healing to do on my health journey and until then my skin is not the nicest and I feel more comfortable covering up the blemishes and dots with makeup (more on my natural makeup in the next blog post!) therefore I need to wash that off at night!
I’ve tried a few methods over the years but have settled on using organic olive oil. That’s it, that’s my cleanser! You may have heard people say they use coconut oil? I tried it for a long time and it definitely works but I found it was leaving my skin greasy. Whereas olive oil doesn’t, it feels lighter to me.
It’s weird to think oils work as cleaners. But they really do!
I buy the Coles organic olive oil (because it’s the best for making Paleo mayo!), pour some in a jar to keep in the bathroom, use my fingers to wipe a layer across my face at night then grab some organic cotton pads to wipe it all off. It gets every single skerrick off! It’s great!
Cheap, easy, 100% natural and minimal, works well… win!
Not every day, but maybe once a week or fortnight I use bentonite clay to give my face a nice deep cleanse and detox. We also use it when we brush our teeth (more on that in another blog post!) so, like many of our bathroom items, it has more than one use!
I simply put a little amount in my hand or a container and mix with some water so it’s wet enough to then spread across my face and leave it on for 5-10 mins. I wash it off with warm water and a face cloth.
It’s so soft and gentle, I really like using it on my face. Although when the clay has dried on my face I can’t actually move a single muscle! Hense the rather stiff expression above! lol
It’s fun when I put it on then go talk to Clint… always gives him a shock to turn around and see this scary mud-face ‘thing’ appear! haha
We buy it from Flannery’s in their bulk teas, herbs and spices section. It’s available online and in health food stores. Bentonite has SO many health benefits, it’s worth checking out the list of what it’s good for.
Last in the cleaning theme is what we use to clean our hands and our actual bathroom with!
We buy boring old Earth Choice Bathroom and Shower spray because it has pretty minimal and basic ingredients and it works well enough sprayed onto the tiles and left for a few minutes then scrubbed off. We’ve heard Thieves oil works really well and is a better natural option, so it’s on our List of Things to Buy but for now we’re happy with this product. There are oodles of natural cleaning products to choose from. Try a few different options and work out which is best for your needs.
EcoStore have a great range of natural and eco-friendly products and we quite like the liquid hand soaps. They feel like they’re cleaning well enough, you don’t need a lot of it, and the fragrance is minimal. There’s nothing worse than buying a ‘natural’ product only to be overwhelmed by the fragrances and perfumes added. You’ll find the most natural products don’t have a strong scent.
So that’s part 1 of our natural bathroom! Next time we’ll delve into makeup, or teeth/skin products… not too sure yet; you’ll have to wait and see!!
We hope this has given you some inspiration for your own natural bathroom transition. Please let us know in a comment below what natural options you use, or if you have any questions!
Clint & Aimee