Baking Soda Beauty Care ~ Eco-Tip of the Week

Lol ~ well, I’m off to a great start! I’m already a day behind my “schedule”, but I had the feeling that life would mess around with me and my plans! ;) It seems that the AT&T repairman enjoyed my company so much yesterday that my blog time got eaten up, slowly and steadily :P So, since I’m already behind, let’s just dig in to my Eco-Tip of the Week! I’ll warn you that another long read awaits you. I rewrote this article three times, shortening it more and more with each rewrite. Finally, I gave up. Short and sweet doesn't seem to be part of my writing vocabulary... Here is my “condensed” version! ;)
Jordan has once again been hired for photo duty. All pics are courtesy of my talented girl! :)
As you already know, I am a fan of simplicity, in all areas of my life. My home is uncluttered & simple. My joys are quiet and simple. My food is nourishing, healthy and … simple. My cleaning is green and, yup, you guessed it, simple. As for my beauty care, well, that’s gone so far past simple as to almost call it nonexistent! ;)

As I make my way deeper and deeper into clean living, I am overjoyed with how easy it really is. Instead of a cupboard chock-full of chemicals, all serving different purposes, I have 1 eco-friendly all purpose cleaner, baking soda, vinegar and several bottles of organic essential oils. Talk about uncluttered and freeing. I learned when I was first embarking on this journey that most household cleaners are not to be thrown in the trash, they’re considered toxic and hazardous waste. Can you believe that??? And this is what we wash our floors with, clean our bathtubs with. In essence, what our bodies and lungs come in contact with everyday! So while cleaning simply is a necessity if you’re headed in the green direction, it’s also a must if your health is found squarely at the top of your priority list!

Today let’s talk about baking soda, and just some of the ways I use it in my home. It’s so basic. It’s so inexpensive. It’s probably quietly and unobtrusively hanging out in your pantry as we speak. This little box of gold. But what is baking soda, exactly? Quite awhile back I stopped taking anything for granted. Even things I thought were harmless, were in fact anything but. Google became my best friend on my healthy living quest. So, I did some searching, and here’s what I uncovered about sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as… baking soda!

This article even gave me a new suggestion for baking soda ~ I’ve never added it to my soaking beans before! The rest of the article can be found here

“Baking soda, otherwise known as bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate, and, less commonly, saleratus, is a chemical salt with diverse practical uses. With a chemical formula of NaHCO3, baking soda is a white powder with crystalline grains. Although it can be produced by artificial means, in its natural form, baking soda is called nahcolite, taking its name from its chemical formula.”
This blurb was found from my most trusted healthy living source, ~ Bicarbonate of Soda (NaHCO3) is a naturally occurring substance throughout the world. It was discovered around 1840 and its cleaning action was noticed immediately. Medicinally it was soon discovered to help stem flus and colds. This is mostly attributed to baking soda's high pH value. Low pH or acidity always leads to bad health or disease. A little above a pH rating of seven is considered optimum, while going below a six rating means one is headed for health problems.”

Learn more here. (I would definitely recommend signing up for this newsletter, always great info on living healthy! My only problem with Mike Adams is that he seems to spend too much time focusing his energy on what he is against, rather than what's he's for! However, he has managed to turn his life around in a very inspiring way. :)
When researching something new I always search for ‘dangers of’, specifically to hunt out quietly hidden issues and facts. The only one I came across was in relation to the consumption of baking soda and water, particularly in regards to athletes, particularly in high doses. Something I would research much deeper if this is a practice you apply. There is another one that I already know of, and that is the presence of aluminum in many baking soda brands. While I’m not concerned with the one I buy to clean my toilet, I do use caution on the brand used for our beauty care needs. Frontier Herb is my company of choice for all of my organic herbs. Their product is aluminum free, and through my local coop I pay only $2.39 for a 1 pound bag. Maybe more expensive than what you’ll find at Walmart, but still, most delightfully cheap!! ;)

So, okay, baking soda is good, we can continue. Many of us use baking soda in our baking as a leavening agent, it does the job admirably. Perhaps you have a box absorbing odors in your fridge as we speak. But have you used it as toothpaste? A bath soak? Shampoo? Dog shampoo? Deodorant? Oh yes, this little gem continues to surprise and thrill me with its one hundred and one little uses, and I’m still discovering new ones everyday!

Awhile back, while on my quest to discover the source of Taylor’s psoriasis and eczema we did all kinds of elimination tests. At one point I was testing corn, since the toothpaste we use, while safe, contains                possible corn we had to come up with a substitute. Here’s the recipe I uncovered ~

Baking soda toothpaste
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
Water sufficient to make paste
2 drops of peppermint essential oil
Store in an airtight container. Taylor always used it up before she had any problems, but I can’t be sure of the shelf life…

For us, this isn’t a huge change since our ‘earthy’ toothpaste consists mainly of baking soda and sea salt anyway. For those used to commercial toothpastes, it might take a bit of getting used to! We have all noticed how amazing our teeth now feel since switching over to natural toothpaste years ago. Wonderfully soft, clean teeth. Some time ago I was also wondering how to whiten my teeth. For some inexplicable reason, my front teeth tend to stain, despite the fact that I drink nothing but water, no coffee and rarely even tea. One day I added a spoonful of baking soda, enough water to make a paste and 1 drop of organic peppermint essential oil to a dish and proceeded to clean my teeth.  With unbelievable results. With just one gentle brushing my teeth were stunningly white, I couldn’t believe it! One word of caution ~ be very gentle! In my exuberance I brushed several times that day (once a day now suffices until I use up the paste!) and since it is abrasive, made my poor gums sore! Live and learn. J  

Click here to be brought to the company where I buy my Miessence toothpaste

Here are a couple of very good reasons we avoid commercial toothpastes:

causes skeletal problems, bone cancer, rashes, mouth sores and fluorosis (discolored teeth)
poisonous, formerly used as rat poison and insecticide, but stopped when found to kill the plants
never been approved by the FDA for ingestion
linked to lower IQ levels
98% of Europe has banned fluoride in drinking water but 2/3 of American water is fluoridated
bioaccumulates in plants and animals
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
 skin irritant, carcinogenic and/or prone to contamination by 1,4-dioxine (carcinogenic),
linked to canker sores, lowers immunological response,
may cause reproductive and developmental issues
Found in: soaps, shampoos, dish-soap, toothpaste
Uses for: surfactant (makes products lather better)
avoid products with ingredients whose name include PEG, xynol, cetareth, oleth

FD&C Red 3
 linked with thyroid tumors, behavioral problems, poor concentration,
hyperactivity, a coal based dye and its use is restricted

FD&C Red 33
restricted use in cosmetics and not approved for use around the eyes

FD&C Red 40
Banned in 8 European countries

FD&C Yellow 10 Lake
genotoxic (genetic mutation), development of tumors
believed to make children hyper, distracted and prone to tantrums

These little condiment bottles were found at Walmart, I think they were less than a dollar each! Perfect for a serving of shampoo and conditioner!
Here’s a use for baking soda that has me particularly excited!! Want super soft hair? Have an issue with dandruff? Tired of dangerous chemicals and synthetic fragrances? Then I may have the answer for you ~ baking soda shampoo!! This one had me crazy with excitement! While reading dear Sonya’s blog over at Kanelstrand awhile back I came across this recipe ~

Baking soda shampoo
1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup warm water

That’s it. Nothing more. Wet your hair in the shower as you normally would, and apply this mixture. I use my fingertips to massage my scalp, and work it through my hair for a minute or two. It won’t create suds or foam or do much of anything actually, but have faith, it’s doing it’s job quietly and thoroughly. It rinses out like a dream and leaves your hair silky soft. It is AMAZING!! Jordan’s dandruff was severe, and had me totally perplexed. Her diet is so clean, I thought her dry, itchy scalp should have disappeared years ago! But much to her annoyance, it just kept getting worse. Can you imagine her joy when after only 1 or 2 washings her dandruff was almost entirely gone? Here we are a couple of months later and her scalp is gorgeous! Completely dandruff free. And as an added bonus? It doesn’t wash out her Henna like soaps do, it still looks great, months later!

This shampoo not only works on people, but has made an unbelievable difference in Willie’s coat too. He was also having some issues, losing hair, some bald spots, a greasy spot between his shoulder blades that never went away, even with regular washings. Enter baking soda shampoo. His coat is now stunning. I noticed a difference after just the first bath. His hair has completely filled in, thick, soft and minus that ugly greasy spot! Which reminds me, he’s due for his bath… ;)

Willie ~ Drying in the sun after his bath
Before I leave the shampoo bit, I’ll share an equally amazing, equally safe, equally green version of our conditioner. We use them in conjunction with each other.

Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water

Once the baking soda is rinsed out, apply the vinegar. I let it sit while I wash up, and then rinse thoroughly. I’m sure you’re wondering if the odor will linger, I know I was! Perhaps you’re like Jordan and enjoy the smell, (it reminds her of Pad Thai), but more likely you’d rather not smell like Chinese food all the time! It might raise some eyebrows, if you care about such things! ;) We do notice an odor when it’s wet, but the smell dissipates as it dries, leaving fresh, clean smelling hair. Perfectly simple. J

Some reasons why you will never find a bottle of dandruff shampoo in my home:

Benzyl alcohol
Toxic to bone cells and bone marrow
Causes changes in the blood, damages the central nervous system and immune system
Linked to reproductive and developmental issues
Class A carcinogen, contaminates water and environment

Coal tar

Pyrithione zinc
 Highly toxic to aquatic wildlife
Irritates the skin and eyes and has reproductive effects

Selenium sulfide
Causes cancer in animals, serious and long term environmental effects

How about a long, relaxing soak in the tub? Here’s a recipe sure to please:

Bath salt recipe
½ cup Epsom salts
½ cup aluminum free baking soda
½ cup sea salt
Several drops of your favorite 100% essential oil

The many benefits of Epsom Salts include: natural stress reliever, relieves pain and muscle cramps, exfoliates dead skin, relieves constipation, helps muscles and nerves function properly, reduces blood pressure, raises energy levels, creates happy feelings. The baking soda will help balance the drying effects of the salts and soften and soothe your skin!

I use lovely pink Himalayan sea salt in my bath salts,aren't they pretty?
Here’s one more that I’m super excited about… but I can’t yet testify as of yet to its abilities, having just discovered it last night while hunting down some info for this article.  But since baking soda hasn’t let me down yet, I’m sure it will be another fabulous discovery! How about some baking soda deodorant? I can’t wait to try this one out!

Baking soda deodorant
5-6 tbsps coconut oil
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Mix together starch and baking soda. With a fork add the coconut oil until you reach the desired consistency, should resemble commercial stick deodorants. Apply to underarm after showering. This will be kind of tricky right now since coconut oil is liquid above 76 degress. I’ll have to firm it up in the fridge first and then store it there if I want to keep it solid. Baking soda will relieve the odor, cornstarch or arrowroot will help keep you dry, and coconut oil has too many benefits to mention, but it is antibacterial which will help with those smelly bacteria!
This might be the last order I need to make for these guys! Click here to see where I purchase my deodorants!
Some reasons why we avoid commercial deodorants and most especially antiperspirants!

Aluminum salts
plugs up sweat glands to stop sweat from flowing
linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
can mimic estrogen hormones, toxic, genotoxic (genetic mutations and tumors), neurotoxic

Ethanol (SD Alcohol 40)
irritant that dries out the skin and reduces elasticity, is a common allergen
may cause contact dermatitis, mutagen,
when it degrades it releases toxic fumes and gases like carbon monoxide

Propylene glycol
penetrates the skin to cause brain, liver and kidney malfunctions
found in: skin care products as a grease dissolver and thickener.
The EPA is required to wear protective clothing to handle these chemicals because they are so toxic
(Propylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol and butylene glycol)

increases the risk of certain ovarian cancers
sometimes contaminated with asbestos which is carcinogenic
lung irritant making spray deodorants hazardous
Found in: baby products, deodorant and cosmetic powders

often contaminated with dioxins (which are highly carcinogenic), weakens the immune system,
decrease fertility and causes birth defects
EPA registers this as a pesticide
Found in: antibacterial products such as soap, toothpaste and cosmetics

So why, if I’ve managed to have already discovered ‘safe solutions’ to all of these toxic chemical beauty care products, am I so excited? Remember the simple part? J I have tons of different companies I have to order from each month just to keep up stocked up since the safe products don’t rest alongside the toxic ones at my local department store. Sadly. Yet.  These recipes save me TONS of money on both products and shipping charges, plus, they’re available within minutes. As long as I always keep my trusty baking soda handy. ;)

(I'm thinking Jordan should definitely be taking product pictures, hers are so much better than the ones in the online shops!!)

Have a lovely, refreshing weekend all!

Peace & blessings ~ Melinda