Monday, January 30, 2012

Natural Hygiene Part I

As we all know, so many personal care products these days have chemicals and other unappealing things added to them. Antiperspirants contain Aluminum which is linked to Cancer and Alzheimer's. One of the biggest problems with antiperspirants is that they clog your pores and literally hinder your ability to sweat. Now I know what you might be thinking... "Makes it so you cannot sweat, isn't that a good thing?" - No, this is a bad thing. Your body needs to sweat, your body was created to sweat, sweating is one of the ways your body detoxifies itself and it is also a built in mechanism to help prevent over-heating. Mother Nature ALWAYS has it right, only humans try to defy Mother Nature... but we were created and built a certain way, these are things that help us, whether we like them or not. I love my body enough to not try and suppress what comes naturally to it. Smelling like a human is how we all came to exist. Without a potential mates ability to smell you, there would have been no way you'd get "lucky" back in the caveman days. Body aroma... Yes, Aroma, NOT odor! Is what allows us to smell natural pheromones, you know... those things that attract people to us.

I hate when people around me smell like an aisle in the store rather than a human being. I do not use deodorant, antiperspirant, perfume, cologne, body spray, spritz or other similar Toxic Fume Fumigation products. I also do not use conventional lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc.

Now one might think, "Oh wow, this girl must really smell...."  - Not so, I use natural and non-toxic alternatives. I think I smell just fine and have never received any complaints from those near or far or otherwise. As a matter of a fact, I believe the "Odor" we know and associate negatively these days, just might be caused by the use of all these products. I have been almost Deodorant/Antiperspirant Free for a few years now, using it only occasionally, like 3-6 times a year. Now I am completely rid of it and all that much happier for the wise decision to love myself and care for my body. I think using deodorant/antiperspirants make you have body odor or make you stink quite honestly. As I haven't had a problem since I cut it out of my life. I also believe Shampoo and Conditioner strips your hair and causes it to actually produce more oil to compensate for the excessive and extreme stripping it is subject to.

Products like Toothpaste typically contain Silica and it forms a coating over your teeth, this coating is said to "protect" your teeth but in fact it does more damage in the long run by not allowing the minerals and enzymes in your saliva to remineralize your teeth. Yes, I said it... Remineralize your teeth, because they can and do when people allow them. Teeth, like bones, can heal to an extent but like most modern day money hungry businesses, they want and need you to depend on their products, their services, etc. to make them more money. However there are natural and alternative products available that are better for you than conventional ones and on top of that, there are at home alternatives that work quite lovely if I do say so myself. I'll give a few examples and uses of such alternatives.

Baking Soda
This can be used for everything from cleaning your house to cleaning yourself. Once monthly I give my teeth a good brushing with plain warm water and Baking Soda, it's like just leaving the dentist clean, I love it! I don't do it too often though because while it's great for removing hard to clean plaque, it can be too harsh to use more than every few days for some folks. Simply wet your Toothbrush with warm water and dip it in a bit of Baking Soda, pretty much nothing removes plaque build up like this method. Brush your teeth as you normally would and as with all brushing, keep it to under 2 minutes. There may be a slight stinging/warm sensation but this goes away a few minutes after you rinse thoroughly. I also wash my hair with it once monthly for a super, thorough cleansing. Simply wet your hair and pour a handful of Baking Soda in your hand, rub it around and through your hair, washing as you normally would, it will feel gritty but just keep washing. After a minute or two, rinse thoroughly. This may make your hair slightly frizzy as it's a pretty good stripping and without all the toxic chemicals like shampoo has, I think a good stripping once monthly is beneficial. I have also heard of many people using Baking Soda as an underarm dust, just patting it under their arms dry to absorb the sweat. This can be irritating to some with sensitive skin though and you should limit this to only a few times a week if possible. These are just a few of the things you can do with Baking Soda, as we all know it is an amazing cleanser and deodorizer as well.

Unrefined, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Another INVALUABLE item that I always keep plenty of on hand. It is so versatile you can do a dozen things with it as well. Aside from being one of the healthiest high-heat cooking oils, a healthy source of good fats and a delicious compliment to warm beverages. It also makes one of the creamiest, silkiest, all-natural, non-toxic Lotions you've ever tried. Simply dip a dab from the jar and apply to your skin, rub it in, it will melt from your body heat and a little goes a LONG way. It makes a great Conditioner for hair as this is how all the in-the-know Island Girls girls keep their manes so sleek and chic. Just take a tiny bit in your hands, let it melt, rub your hands together and then run your hands through your hair, no need to rinse. This is very nourishing and soothing for your luscious locks and again, a little goes a LONG way. Be warned, if you overdo it you may have to rewash your hair because it might look too oily. Another awesome use for Coconut Oil is as Toothpaste, you could probably mix a drop or two of mint, peppermint or spearmint essential oils in it if you want it to leave you minty fresh, simply warm slightly, add oils, mix thoroughly and store in an airtight jar for use. OR you could use it plain, nothing else added. Just put a small amount on your toothbrush, similar to the amount of toothpaste you like and brush as you normally would. Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil is great for Toothpaste because it possesses amazing Antifungal, Antiviral and Antibacterial properties in it. It also leaves your teeth feeling silky clean! Because of that fact, it is great to rinse your mouth with if you have Thrush, it's also Natures most perfect, medicated ointment for Fungal/Yeast related rashes. A little massaged into your nails daily is what hand models swear by. Many people just spread a tiny bit of this under their arms for deodorant and say it works well, I have yet to try this though, so I cannot comment. It has about a million uses, this really just touches on the endless topic of Coconut Oils awesomeness!

Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic preferably)
This make a great additive to baths as it really helps to naturally exfoliate your skin. It does wonders for cleaning and cuts grease like you wouldn't believe... but I use it mostly for hygiene. It works well as a very watery conditioner, simply add a tablespoon or two to a container and water it down, quite heavily. Pour it into your hair, let sit and soak for a minute or two and then rinse thoroughly. I've done this many times and it does leave your hair silky and healthy looking. Though the initial odor of vinegar is a bit hard for me personally to stomach. I prefer adding it to baths as I love the way my skin feels when I get out after that. This is also great to gargle with when you feel a sore throat coming on, just put a swig into your mouth and gargle as usual. It helps to kill the bacteria in your throat and stave off viruses, though it does taste quite powerful, it's worth it. Along the same lines, it makes great mouth wash for the same reasons, it really gets in between those teeth and helps to kill bacteria and germs. However you may want to do this and then brush your teeth with some Coconut Oil, with or without added Essential Oils, as this will prevent Apple Cider Vinegar from being the last thing you taste in your oral routine. The reason I advocate these things is because Mouthwash has a whole host of ingredients in it, read them sometime and then do yourself a favor and look into what those ingredients are and can do to you.

Castile Soap
There is some wonderful, all natural Castile Soaps out there, read ingredient labels and find one that suits you and your family. I personally use Castile Soap for most of my washing needs, I wash my hands with it, my hair with it, my body with it. Some people even brush their teeth with it, though I have never tried that so I really couldn't say what it is like. I can tell you that a teaspoon or two of liquid Castile Soap added to a Foaming Soap Dispenser 3/4's of the way full of water makes excellent all-natural, non-toxic foaming hand soap. You could follow a similar method for foaming body wash or foaming shampoo. I currently use a Castile Soap Bar to wash my hair, the lather in it is even far superior to the lather of what comes out of the foaming soap dispenser. Your hair will feel "gluey" after this, you can rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar as mentioned above or you could skip that. If you skip that, your hair may take unusually longer than average to dry, I personally blow dry my hair right after washing and skip the Vinegar when I am going out. It feels nasty but after blow drying it, it looks beautiful and shiny and clean and light and feathery, not frizzy or fly-away, just fantastic.

Other people dust their underarms with Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder but be warned, if you are prone to problems with Yeast Infections, especially of the skin, Corn Starch can make this problem much worse. Experiment, find things that work for you. Just reach out, look and learn all you can.

Do you have any Natural Hygiene Tips to share? Feel free to post them in the comments section, I'm sure we'd all love to hear them.

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