This year I’ve started to review my habits and see what I can become more aware of, road-test solutions to, and ultimately improve upon:
- In January, it was clothing and I’ve really pared down my wardrobe as a result (it’s still a work in progress, and I expect it to be for a while longer as I figure out how much I can live without and still feel fly, but once I have a balance struck, I’m looking forward to sharing).
- February was cleaning products – we are basically in Month 2 of our homemade cleaning products road-test and have some clear leaders of the pack (so, more of that in a couple more months when their longer-term efficacy has been established).
- March is a sequel to that, focusing on the bathroom, so some more simple cleaning products, but also some simple bath and beauty experiments.
For example, I switched to coconut oil for a lot of things a few years ago, such as moisturiser and make up remover, but I still buy commercial toothpaste and deodorant. So, this month is a deeper exploration of DIY in the bathroom, where I hope to both save money and the environment, and also make a switch to products that are more predictable in their effects on my body as well as reducing my dependence on the chemical industry.
I think this is the overarching theme for me this year, to simplify to a point where it makes sense for my life as I’m living it. I’ve stripped back a lot of my choices and activities, which is a direct result of having had less financial freedom in the past year due to (yet another) Transatlantic move and setting up a new life in a new city in a new country. It’s been worth it in so many ways, and being able to reassess what is important has been a big part of that.
I understand that I’m in a process of growing just like everyone else, so I will change my priorities as I evolve in my understanding of my place in time and space. What I feel now is that I really want to keep my life as simple as possible: spend less time going to stores to buy all the various things I “need”, spend more time in the home that I share with my love, and spend less of the money I earn through my job so that we can enjoy the finer things in life (like travelling to see family).
So here’s what I’m currently using coconut oil for:
7 USES FOR COCONUT OIL:
- a. Make-up remover: Melt a small amount of coconut oil between your palms and massage into make up while doing your best impression of The Joker (“why so serious?”). Wipe clean with a warm, damp washcloth. This removes the sweat-proof eye make-up I wear to teach Zumba classes! b. Cleanser: Exactly the same as the make-up remover, massage into the skin to lift out oil-based dirt. Wipe clean with a warm, damp washcloth. If necessary, moisturise 🙂
- a. Moisturiser: Smooth a small amount of melted coconut oil into your face within 30 seconds of drying after a shower and let it absorb. This locks in the moisture from your shower. You can wipe off excess if you need to. b. After-sun: Do this all over your body right after a shower to lock in moisture and keep your skin from drying out (better still, use sunscreen – I’m in the middle of testing a DIY one so I’ll report back once it’s sunny again and I can really put it to the test).
- Oil pulling: Grab a finger-full of coconut oil and pop it in your mouth. Chew it to break it apart and help melt it (if it’s warm and your oil has melted you can just scoop out a tablespoon of it and skip the chewing step). Swirl the melted oil around your mouth, paying attention to the gumline and the gaps between teeth. Once you feel it’s really runny and difficult not to swallow, it’s time to spit it out.
- Hair conditioner: Rub a small amount of coconut oil between the palms, and then run your hands through the ends of your hair to lightly coat it. If you use too much for your hair texture, the oil will clump together and you have just committed yourself to a deep condition…
- Deep conditioner for hair: I don’t actually use any products in my hair besides coconut oil – I use it to control my frizz, lay my edges, moisturise my scalp, deep-condition, everything. I don’t use shampoo, soap, or detergent on it, so the deep condition is actually part of my cleaning process. I oil it in the morning and then wear a headwrap all day, rinse it with hot water in the evening and then let it breathe overnight. If it’s still a bit oily the next day I repeat the headwrap and rinse. It’s always soft and bouncy the next day with its natural wave preserved.
- Sugar scrub: Mix together half a teaspoon of coconut oil and half a teaspoon of brown sugar to create a scrubby paste. Using gentle circular motions, massage into lips and elbows and anywhere else that needs a little TLC before wiping off with a warm, damp washcloth. I love this for lips at this time of year when they’re shedding their winter coats.
- a. Cuticle repair: Massage a small amount of coconut oil into cuticles to keep them pushed back, and improve blood circulation to your nail beds. b. Tattoo brightener: I love to rub a bit of coconut oil into my tats to moisturise the top layers of skin and reduce any of the ashiness that makes my tats look a bit faded.
I have a pretty lo-fi life so, in reality, the only other products I’m using in my bathroom are toothpaste and deodorant. I’ve found a lot of information on the internet about DIY deodorants and toothpaste, but haven’t settled on a formula I love just yet. I’m trying a few of them before I decide which one I’m going to celebrate!
Do you have a favourite bathroom DIY or use for coconut oil? Anything else you’d like to share with me on this topic? Feel free to comment!