Natural health and wellness can begin in the home – if we all try to make the transition towards natural living. Making our own cleaning and cosmetic products, or investing in 100% natural versions of the same is a great step in that direction. The following is a list of our (tried and tested) favourite homemade natural products to use for health and hygiene, and how to make them yourself!
Homemade natural products
I am of the opinion that using a fluoride-based toothpaste does more harm than good and have been using fluoride-free versions for years. There are also many other ingredients which, if you look at a tube of store-bought regular toothpaste, you will question whether you have any idea what they are, and if you do you’ll then wonder why you smother them all over your teeth every day! For example, glycerin, sweeteners, artificial colouring and flavouring, and other chemicals which have no business being swished around our mouths. I went a step further than avoiding fluoride recently and made my own toothpaste, the results were a great success (even the children didn’t mind it), leaving my teeth and gums feeling squeaky clean and fresh and we are all experiencing a lot less plaque build up. For the DIY version you will be needing some good quality organic, virgin coconut oil which contains antibacterial properties too keep the whole mouth clean, as well as bicarbonate of soda which has natural whitening properties, and is a mild abrasive that removes plaque and lifts stains. It is also alkaline which helps to prevent bacteria. Here’s how to make yours…
- Coconut oil (virgin, organic and 100% natural) – 1/2 cup
- Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda in the US) – 2-3 Tbsp
- Peppermint essential oil (optional) 20 drops (or to taste)
If you decide not to add the essential oil please be warned that the taste is not going to be all that pleasant, it is basically a salty tasting oily paste with a hint of coconut! But the effects are just as good, so don’t be put off, it is worth it and you get used to it pretty quickly.
Be sure that your coconut oil is softened but not completely liquid, then combine the oil with the baking soda and peppermint oil (if using) mixing well to fully incorporate the ingredients. Allow to cool.
When using your toothpaste you may want to use a utensil to place it onto the toothpaste to avoid having to dip various brushes into it.
Continuing the theme of oral hygiene we move on to mouthwash. I have been using the ancient Ayurvedic technique of oil pulling for over two years now and the results have been amazing. All you need is a large tablespoon full of liquid coconut oil and to pull it through your teeth for twenty minutes – you’ll need to work up to this amount and length of time over a few attempts (start with a teaspoon full for five minutes and work your way up) as it is a lot to hold in the mouth and it is a long time to pull it but necessary to achieve the desired effects. Once you have been practicing this for a while you will begin to notice that your teeth are shinier, cleaner, and eventually you may even notice a shade or two whiter! The pulling removes foods that are stuck in the teeth and therefore helps to freshen the breath. And the added bonus is that you exercise all the muscles in the lower part of the face and neck for twenty minutes per day!
HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS
There are literally thousands of products on the market for cleaning the house, it sometimes astounds me how many, as well as the level of nasty chemicals that feature within them – natural products are few and far between in this market. It is not really essential to have a separate product for windows, bathrooms, kitchens, surfaces, etc. etc. so a natural all-purpose cleaner is what we are looking for – one that does not contain harmful chemicals, and costs very little. Look no further – you can achieve great results with minimal fuss and simple ingredients which are far more economical and you probably have in your house already. One surface this does not suit is granite as the acidity can affect the stone.
- White vinegar – one part
- Water – one part
- Lemon rind
- Sprig of rosemary
Combine equal amounts of water and vinegar and add the lemon rind and rosemary to a spray bottle, shake and leave to infuse for up to a week prior to use. Then spray directly on to surfaces (not granite!) and wipe clean.
Natural sun protection can be somewhat taboo as people are ultimately, and rightly, concerned about the level of factors it can provide. The natural ingredients offer SPF but these vary considerably – this often deters people from trusting its effectivity and reliability. The following is a personally tried and tested combination which has worked well for me and my family in all sorts of climates. I steered away from commercial sun lotions when I discovered some of the harmful ingredients that were being added to them. One example which I won’t name actually contained a chemical which when absorbed into the blood stream can stunt hormone development, so I decided to refrain from slathering anything I wasn’t sure about on to my children’s, or my own, skin and make some natural products instead.
This concoction is not waterproof and so it will need reapplying after you swim.
- 1/2 cup almond oil or olive oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (SPF 7 approx.)
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 2 tbsp zinc oxide
- Optional – carrot seed oil or red raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF of around 35 so is an excellent addition to your lotion if you can locate it.
Place all but the zinc oxide in a glass jar with a lid and put it in a saucepan with about 20 cms of simmering water. Allow all the ingredients to melt and combine, once achieved add the zinc oxide and mix. Now transfer your lotion to the pot or jar you are going to store it in and allow to cool.
If you are not convinced that this will be sufficient to protect you from the sun then simply remove the zinc oxide and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil and you have a wonderful all over body lotion.
This recipe will make a wonderful all-over body exfoliator removing dead skin cells and removing dirt and excess oils. Exfoliation is also good for the blood circulation and leaved your skin feeling smooth and soft.
- Oil (your choice; I recommend a combination of jojoba, sweet almond and coconut) app. 5 tbsp.
- Coarse brown sugar – 1 cup.
Place the sugar in a bowl and add the oil gradually as you combine the two. Eventually you should be left with a sandy consistency – not too dry, not too liquid – that you can scoop out with your hand and apply to your skin. Rub liberally all over your body gently until you feel it is working – you don’t want to overdo it and leave your skin sore – and then rinse off.
There are plenty of ways for us to live more naturally and making our own natural products is not only better for our health and our purse strings, it also helps to protect the environment. Win win!
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