Castile Soap

I discovered the wonders of Castile soap about two years ago. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I’m glad I found it. Castile soap is wonderful in so many ways.

Castile soapEndless uses

Castile soap can be used for

  • shampoo
  • laundry
  • facial cleanser (if you’re not doing the
    oil cleansing method!)
  • body wash
  • toothpaste?!
  • cleaning

The Castile Soap FAQ page has more details.

Environmental responsibility

The real magic in Castile soap is its gentle, earth-friendly ingredients. It’s certified fair trade, which means it’s people-friendly too. They call it “Constructive Capitalism,” which means they share profits with the workers and the earth.

All of the oils used to make the soap are organic. Though they use palm oil, it’s grown on decades-old plantations in Africa, not newly planted, a.k.a. clear-cut forests.

Castile soap is not tested on animals. And it’s 100% vegan, packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle. (I like to buy the big one and put it into smaller, reusable containers.)

My experience

I used Castile soap as body wash, face wash, and laundry a few years ago. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the film that was left in my sink and tubs. However, I’m back to using Castile soap as a body wash. (I have another eco laundry method that I’ll post later.) I can put up with a little film, knowing that I’m using a product that matches so many of my values. Though the bottles seem expensive (maybe because I buy the big one to reduce packaging), it lasts forever and it’s just so good for you, the workers who make it, and the planet.

Check out Dr. Bronner’s website for all the details.

The Oil Cleansing Method

SunflowerI have a real passion for healthy skin. In fact, I often compliment people for having nice skin.

For years now, I have been on a quest to find the best products to help our biggest organ look its best. Some products have worked great.. others.. well I wish I could have that money back.

As part of my new year’s resolution, I have slowly started to move towards only using natural stuff. So after changing my cleaning products, tooth paste, shampoo, etc.. it came time for my skincare. Why, you ask? Think about all the harmful chemicals they put into lotion and skin care.. a lot of people do not realize they all get soaked into the body through the skin. No thank you!

After a trip to our local natural health food store I thought I landed a winner. However, my experience was less than hoped. I have roscea so my skin constantly looks irritated if I am not using the right products, well after two trips to the store I was still at a loss. That was until I discovered a pin on pinterest linking to this blog post.

The Oil Cleansing Method

I know what you are thinking, “Are you crazy?” or “Who would want to add oil to their face?”. Well after trying it, I can tell you who.. this girl! My skin has never looked better. In fact, after washing my face with it, you can’t even tell that I am not wearing make up (aka no redness at all).

The blog I looked at used this recipe:

  • Normal Skin- One part castor oil with one part sunflower oil
  • Oily Skin- 2-3 parts castor oil with one part sunflower oil
  • Dry Skin- one part castor oil with 2-3 parts sunflower oil

Directions

Moisten skin with the oil mixture, place a warm cloth over your face until you feel it cool and then wipe off. Sometimes if my skin is feeling extra dry, I will put more on and let it soak in while I sleep.

Some of the other places I researched used different oils other than sunflower oil like jojoba, almond, argon, olive, grapeseed.. the list goes on. Sunflower was easy for me to find at the store and so far has worked perfectly!

Spring Cleaning!

It’s that time of year! It really is quite funny how excited I am about cleaning my house but this year, besides getting everything sparkling clean, I had a new mission in mind. To actually do it all… and do it naturally!

Before I set out on this journey, I did some research for the best “recipes” for homemade cleaning products. I found two really great cleaning sprays, a furniture dusting spray and a multi-purpose cleaner.

Multi-purpose Cleaner

  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar
  • a few drops of essential oil

Since I try not to be wasteful, I reused my spray bottle from my Green Works cleaning spray that recently ran out and 4 cups water and 4 cups vinegar nearly filled it up. I also added some lemon essential oil to help cover up the vinegar smell. In the future I may add more seeing as my grandpa asked me later in the day what I had been doing with vinegar.

Furniture Dusting Spray

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup water

I bought a spray bottle for this since I did not have one on hand. Overall, this new experiment cost me so much less than going out and buying harmful cleaning products. For an idea of the cost let me share this with you…

  • Vinegar- $3 for a gallon bottle
  • Lemon Essential Oil- $4.99 from a local store or you can find oils on Amazon ( and you only use a couple drops for an entire bottle so it will last for years)
  • Olive Oil- already had on hand for cooking
  • Extra Spray Bottle- $1

Will I be doing this again? You betcha!!! Everything looks so amazing and clean. I think it is important to also note that the vinegar smell doesn’t linger (well maybe on your hands a little). Best part? It is completely non-toxic and my little children (aka pets) are safe too!

See doesn’t she seem happy about it?

Now let’s see…. what other cleaners can I make myself…

“Green” eyes: contacts vs. glasses

Glasses vs contactsIn February, the eye doctor told me I need to start wearing glasses all the time. It was bound to happen. I’m over 30 and I’ve spent most of my day in front of a computer for the last 10 years. Anyway, after less than 6 months, I’d had it with glasses. Time to try contacts. Being the ecogeek that I am, I had to look into which was better for the environment, glasses or contacts. It turns out, not many people are interested in that (I couldn’t find much), but there’s a pretty good discussion on Slate.com.

The plastic used for glasses weighs 35 grams, which is the equivalent of almost four years’ worth of daily contacts (9.125 grams for daily lenses). But when you throw in all the extra stuff you need for contacts — the cases, solution, and a backup pair of glasses, glasses seem to be a greener choice. And glasses can be donated.

In the end, the article finds that the difference between glasses and contacts is minimal and can be offset by recycling the plastic and cardboard associated with the contacts.

Animals

My other main concern with a new product is whether it’s made from animals or tested on animals. Turns out, contact solution has an animal byproduct and is tested on animals. Ew. The good news is, Clear Conscience offers a contact lens solution that is free of animal products and testing . Yay! It’s available at Mustard Seed, Whole Foods, and more. (Check with your eye doctor before switching solution.)

After a trial run with contacts, it turns out I’m a glasses girl.

Safer sunscreens

Daisies and lilySummer is here and we finally need sunscreen here in Ohio!

Many of these are not tested on animals! That’s a win-win. I went with Badger sunscreen with lavender to protect my skin from sun and mosquitoes. So far, so good.

Sunscreen should have zinc oxide, and should avoid oxybenzone and vitamin A. Zinc oxide blocks harmful rays but doesn’t get absorbed into the skin like oxybenzone.

Don’t forget to get your vitamin D.

Naturally beautiful.. and moisturized too!

Along with buy nothing new, one of my new years resolutions ( yes I know I am a month late in sharing this with you) is to only use beauty products (make up, lotions, hair products, etc ) that are natural and not tested on animals. although it may be hard to see the benefits in only using natural products, believe it or not you can really tell a difference… not to mention you’re not hurting any critters in the process. Whats better than that? 🙂

Believe it or not, this is not a hard goal to fulfill and you will be shocked to find out that products like these can even be found in your own grocery store! There are plenty of places where you can shop but I am going to share with you a couple of my favorites!

The Body Shop: This is a company that I cannot say enough about. Not only are all the products in the store vegan and natural, they are also fair trade! I know many people are reluctant to buy products like these because they might think they are more expensive but you will be shocked to find out how comparable the prices are to other specialty stores. Their body butter, what they are most known for, only runs at about $16.00 and lasts so long.. not to mention the container can serve many purposes once emptied. I like to use it to carry food in my lunch box since it is small and compact, I have also used it as a portable water dish for my dogs when I take them to the park in the summer. Way cool! If you do not want to reuse the containers, some of the stores will even recycle them for you if you return them when they are empty.

Besides the awesome products they also are doing a fabulous job at staying green. All of their plastic bags are biodegradable and the bottles that the products come in are 100% post consumer recycled plastic! Not to mention, as of 2010 they are a carbon neutral retailer!

Currently, they are partnering  a campaign with the Somaly Mam Foundation that helps stop sex trafficking! ( something I am über passionate about)

PS the palm oil in their soaps comes from only sustainable sources so that no rainforests are being cut down! YAY for orangutans!

Garden Botanika: Another one of my favorites! It can be compared to the body shop in price. I get my perfume from there and have gotten some lipsticks! The lipsticks come in a really neat miniature tube, you get the same amount as you would anywhere else, they are just being sure to use less packaging!

Lush:  Lush carries soaps, shampoos, lotions, and make up! All of their products are natural and produced in sustainable ways with fair trade ingredients… and for those of you who do not use palm oil, their soaps do not contain any of it!  Also, 70% of their products are totally unpreserved.When it comes to their packaging, they give customers the option to take their products home naked, aka without packaging! For those that prefer  packaging the bottles used are made out of 100% recycled plastic and their plastic bags are compostable. For more information on their green policies click here.

Here are some ideas if you are looking for something cheaper and still want to make a difference:

St. Ives: All of their products are natural and are not tested on animals. Their packaging is made from 20% PCR which means that their bottles can be recycled after they are used. I adore their apricot face scrub and, for those of us who are still using soap, I recommend their oatmeal and shea body soap and lotion! It smells amazing!

They also have some great facial skin care products. Their anti-aging moisturizer runs just over $3.00 and its huge!

Hard Candy: This company is a make up company that does not test on animals and quite a few of their products are completely vegan. The reason I think it is important to share this brand with you is for the fact that it is now carried at Walmart and can be a real steal for what you are getting out of the product and can be found right around the corner!

Remember: There are many other brands out there that meet my qualifications, these are just a couple of my favorites.

See how easy it is to shop green, kindly, and feel pretty too 🙂

PS- If you are currently using other products and decide to try this with me, please be sure to finish your current supply first so that nothing goes to waste!