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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:04 pm

Hey everyone,

I have this funny interest in soap, shampoo, lotion, etc, and I've read a bit about all of it over the past couple of years. Whenever I could afford it, I've bought the stuff that's better for you (and the environment), but boy it can really be expensive... so recently I decided to try making some of it myself! :^D There are plenty of books and websites with recipes, and it seemed like it would be inexpensive, simple, effective, and fun... and wow, yes, it really is! So I thought I'd share some of what I'm doing, since it might interest some of you. Plus, maybe you have some things to share, too. Okay... so far I've just tried something very very easy, and it's working very well so far (but I'm going to continue messing with my recipe). Here's what I mixed up:

8 tablespoons water
8 tablespoons liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's baby mild... wonderful stuff, fascinating far-out reading on the labels, extremely ethical company... please read about them if you're interested!)
1 teaspoon jojoba oil
1 teaspoon sweet almond oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (I bought an oil blend that has a lot of vitamin E in it)
3 drops tea tree oil

I bought everything except the tea tree oil (which I already had) from www.vitacost.com, and it was very affordable. My recipe is something I made up, just based on reading lots of different recipes. It seemed like as long as I diluted the castile soap and used way more soap than oil, it would turn out well... and it did. :^D If anyone decides to try something like it, though, let me tell you... Dr. Bronner's castile soap is very concentrated, but still thin/runny. If you think this would bother you, then I believe you can add a thickening agent (like something known as cetyl alcohol). I might actually do that. I thought about leaving the water out of my recipe in order to thicken it, but I think the water helps to disperse everything through my hair better (since it takes so little of this shampoo to wash my hair)... if that makes sense. :^D

Looking forward to hearing from you!

~Melania
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:10 pm

By the way, I believe 8 tablespoons is equal to half a cup. :^D
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:01 pm

Let me mention something else...

I have tried this shampoo without using any conditioner afterwards, and it leaves my hair feeling very clean but still kind of tangly and not so silky. Of course, most shampoos would probably feel the same way when they're not followed with a conditioner (on my hair, anyway). I just wanted to experience this shampoo on its own, I guess.

So next I'll try a homemade conditioner recipe, although I haven't found very many daily conditioner recipes (mostly special treatments that you'd do maybe once a month).

Oh, and I haven't bought any books yet... just looked all over the internet... but I do I have an old book from 1973 that used to belong to my b/f's grandma (great book, so well written that it's enjoyable to read even if you don't actually try anything). It's called "Calendar Book of Natural Beauty", by Virginia Castleton (and apparently she was the beauty editor of Prevention Magazine). I think I'm going to buy one new book, too... probably one called "Organic Body Care Recipes" (although there are others that seem they'd be excellent as well).

I'd also like to mention that many of these recipes use food, which I think is wonderful, but I'd like to use those kinds of recipes just occasionally. They don't tend to last as long (and sometimes require refrigeration)... plus some of them (but not all of them) seem they'd be quite expensive. But the recipe I just made, wow, it's sooooo inexpensive!

Bye again. :^D

~Mel
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:15 pm

Oh also...

My hair now looks just like it does in my avatar. mrgreen

~Mel
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Post by Justin Passing on Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:45 pm

That's quite interesting Melania. I'd wondered what the difference between soap and shampoo was, and from your recipe it appears that it's simply a gentle soap that's been "softened" a bit by dilution and adding extra oil. I've used Dr. Bronner's soap for years now, and like it a lot.

In essence the recipe is, 8 parts water, 8 parts castille soap and 1 part oil. I expect you could use olive oil, or whatever suits you, and if you want scents and/or herbal properties you could add them via essential oils like the tea tree oil. I've got quite a lot of coconut oil here - making shampoo might be a great way of using it. Adding vitamin E oil will help keep the oil you add from becoming rancid, and should make refrigeration unnecessary unless you use easily spoilable oils like flax seed or safflower.
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:24 pm

Hi Justin Passing,

Oh how neat that you've been using Dr. Bronner's for years! I wish I'd known about it long ago. Yep... that seems right, your breakdown of parts (since three teaspoons equals a tablespoon). I've seen a wide variety of proportions, though... so if anyone wants to try making shampoo, please feel free to change it. As far as what shampoo is... well, I guess I'm not sure if there's a technical requirement for what makes one thing a shampoo and another thing not a shampoo... I do know that many people use just the Dr. Bronner's castile soap all by itself on their hair (and some people use it for brushing their teeth and doing laundry!), and then some people combine castile soap with other things (like oils, dried herbs, fresh herbs, foods such as egg yolk...). But most shampoos that you buy aren't made with soap at all... they're made with detergent... and this detergent may be petroleum based or plant based... Wow, thanks for the info about vitamin E helping to keep the other oils from going rancid... how do you know that sort of thing? And you have a lot of coconut oil where you live, huh? Where is that, if I may ask?

It's great to hear from you again, JP. :^D

~Melania
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Post by Justin Passing on Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:34 pm

Actually Melania, we have a lot of coconut oil because my brother bought a lot of it trying to find stuff that he liked/could help him get healthy. Not sure where I learned about vitamin E, but they use it to help preserve peanut oil (and others) all the time. I also took a soap making class a few years back, and while I don't remember the details, I at least know the basic concepts at this point.

The difference between soap and detergent is indeed the use of petroleum based oils rather than vegetable and/or animal ones. And detergents tend to be harsher as well, but that's as much due to the way it's made (less excess oil in the finished product) as anything. In truth however, you can make soap with any oil (or fat). In essence, oil + lye = soap. The oil is chemically transformed by a strong base (I've forgotten the name for the transform - there is one), and the oil used and the amount left untransformed determines how gentle or harsh the soap is.
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:41 pm

saponification! :^D
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:49 pm

Thanks, JP. It's very cool that you took a soap making class! I've never made soap, but I do understand that it involves combining oil/fat (either animal or plant based) with lye... and this is called saponification... I love that word! lol Castile soap uses plant based oil, which makes it very mild. Also, you probably already know this... but glycerin is a byproduct of saponification, and some soap makers decide to sell it separately rather than keep it in the soap (of course Dr. Bronner's doesn't do this). I think some people also make decorative "soap" (not really soap) that's pretty much just glycerin with color and scent added. As far as detergent... yes, it tends to be harsh... and I know it can be either petroleum based or plant based...
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Post by Justin Passing on Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:26 pm

Interestingly enough, people originally used pot ash as their source of lye, which is nothing more than ashes from a fire really. I'm not sure of the exact process, but one of these days I'm going to find out. I expect it involved washing the ash with water, and then boiling the water down to concentrate it. And there's another "old name" that's probably involved as well - washing soda - but that may be more about sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) than lye.
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Post by Melania on Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:41 pm

Thanks for your contributions, JP. I do know that people originally used ashes from a fire, but I don't really know about the exact process either. Hmm... washing soda... I've heard of it... I'm pretty sure it's mentioned in my book about green housekeeping... do people add it to their laundry?

I just decided to try something on my hair. Well, I want to cut out the whole daily conditioning process if I can, so I figured I'd try something I've read about in a few places... For my final rinse after shampooing, I poured a quart of water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into my hair (at a cool temperature... I think it's best if it's cool?). This is supposed to "restore the acid mantle to your hair". We'll see. It feels good so far, much less tangly... silkier. Right now it smells like vinegar, but they say vinegar is odorless once it dries.

This is fun!

~Mel
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Post by Melania on Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:20 pm

Woooo hoooooooo! The vinegar rinse really works!!! It feels like I conditioned my hair, but all I did was rinse it with water and a little bit of vinegar! From what I've read, soap is very alkaline, so the acidity of the vinegar helps restore the proper pH to your hair (so it's silky, shiny, and just feels right :^D).

I'll let you guys know when I try my next concoction. :^D

~Mel
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Post by Little Sister on Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:45 pm

Thanks Melania,

I'm going to give the shampoo and vinegar rinse a try.
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Post by Melania on Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:12 pm

Hi Hester Prynn (Little Sister on the old AIMOO board, is that right?),

I hope you also have success with it! By the way, about the vinegar rinse... I've read some recommendations that you don't use it daily, but maybe every other day or so. But then I read this one discussion where someone said it works for them to use it every day. So... whatever works for each person... Also, I've seen some vinegar rinse recipes that use more vinegar than what I used, so I might see if I like it better with just a little bit more. It's fun to experiment. :^D

Oh, and I want to add something here about detergent (as opposed to soap)... It seems to me that it's perfectly fine to use detergent for certain things, but it's best to make sure the detergent is plant based rather than petroleum based. The petroleum based stuff is much cheaper, but I have managed to afford plant based detergent (for my dishes and laundry) by ordering online through vitacost. I suppose it would be better to shop locally, but I just simply can't afford it right now. So... if some of you are interested in any of this but cost is an issue for you, then you may want to check out vitacost.

Toodles!

~Mel
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Post by Melania on Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:48 pm

My b/f has been trying all of this along with me, and a little while ago we tried it on our dog Freckles (mwahahaha!). I looked it up first, to see if it was okay to use these things on a dog... and it sure is. She looks ravishing, too. :^D I love how she runs around the house and rolls around in the beds after a bath! Maybe most dogs do that, but I don't have much experience with dogs, so it's all new and exciting for me.

Also, when I visited upstairs where five of our cats stay (we have six cats total, but the oldest one prefers to be away from the crazy young ones), they were all over me smelling my hair! I guess it's still a bit wet, so they were probably smelling the vinegar. I thought cats were supposed to hate that smell.

~Smelania
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Post by WissyWig on Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:14 am

"~Smelania"

chuckle Cute. Smile

I may try this, although I hate hate hate the smell of vinegar.
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Post by BlueEyes on Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:01 pm

Melania wrote:I just decided to try something on my hair. Well, I want to cut out the whole daily conditioning process if I can, so I figured I'd try something I've read about in a few places... For my final rinse after shampooing, I poured a quart of water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into my hair (at a cool temperature... I think it's best if it's cool?). This is supposed to "restore the acid mantle to your hair". We'll see. It feels good so far, much less tangly... silkier. Right now it smells like vinegar, but they say vinegar is odorless once it dries.
Thanks Melania!
I would love to know more about this, I am sooo interested in finding a simple less expensive organic alternative hair rinse. Did the apple cider vinegar really get out the tangles? That would be really wonderful if it did. Since my longish hair turned white it has become more easily tangled and almost impossible to comb out without a commercial cream rinse... I try to buy the best organic, but as we all know tho, they are really expensive and my funds are down to next to nothing. Also, even the organics can have stuff in them I would rather not put on my hair. I will try the vinegar and see if it works for me. I will also try the shampoo recipe... I have most of the ingredients already. If anyone comes up with anything else... I would love to know too... shampoos, lotions, etc.

Great thread, I hope this one continues... thanks! Very Happy
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Post by Melania on Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:30 pm

Hi WissyWig ~ Oh no, you hate the smell of vinegar! I don't think I could do it if I hated the smell, but if you do decide to do it, please let us know how it turns out for you. :^D I've read some discussions online about using Dr. Bronner's castile soap as a shampoo (on its own or mixed with other things), and people have such drastically different results. But as far as the vinegar rinse, it seems to work for almost everyone, although people really vary the amount of vinegar and how often they do it. Oh, I almost forgot! I've read about people adding things to the vinegar rinse for scent, but I wonder how much you can really mask the vinegar smell??? But you may want to think about that possibility.

Hi Blue Eyes ~ Yes, it really did get out the tangles, and I'd say I have pretty tangle prone hair! My hair is medium length, very thick, and somehow it just likes to stick together and make tangles. lol I'm not sure if it's oily, dry, or normal, but I will guess normal. So, I think there's a good chance the vinegar rinse will work for you, too... wow, long white hair... how gorgeous! My hair has been long for most of my life, but it's been medium for maybe a couple of years now (partly because I was so tired of spending a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner... hmm, so maybe I will grow it long again now that I've figured all of this out! :^D). Yes, I know what you mean about how some products that claim to be organic (or natural or earth friendly) still have stuff in them that you wouldn't want to use. I'm learning more and more about this kind of thing (well, I think it's known as "greenwashing"). How neat that you're going to try the shampoo recipe, too... I hope it'll work for you! If it doesn't work, maybe you can make some adjustments and come up with something you do like. Please let us know all about it! And yes, I also hope that people will share more recipes (I will, very soon), and this thread will continue. :^D

~Melanie
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Post by Melania on Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:48 pm

I forgot to mention that I have now tried the vinegar rinse on two different nights... On the second night I used a bit more vinegar (one and a half tablespoons), and my hair was even silkier, softer, and less tangly. I'm going to do it again tonight, since my hair doesn't feel dried out to me (like they say can happen). I just don't think it would comb out nearly as well without the rinse.

~Mel
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Post by melodiccolor on Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:57 pm

Okay, this may seem like a dumb question, but how do you use a rinse? I've never liked conditioners, never used a rinse and just a gentle shampoo, with as little fragrence as I can find. So I am interested in the shampoo recipe.

Anyhow, do you work it in then rinse, like a conditioner or apply it and leave it in?

I have extremely thick curly hair that I have at shoulder legnth right now. Any longer and it doesn't dry in winter and tangles really badly.

I am also looking for gentle unscented soaps for hand washing and using in the shower.

I don't need to use moisterizers--yet.

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Post by Melania on Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:51 pm

Hi melodiccolor ~ Oh no, it's not a dumb question! I've never used a rinse until now either. From what I've read, you just rinse the shampoo out of your hair as you normally would, and then pour the vinegar/water mixture over your head at the end. You don't rinse again under just water, either... you let the vinegar remain in your hair. So, this is what I've been doing. I don't suppose the type of container matters too much.

Also... here's a warning to anyone who may try the vinegar rinse... please don't get it in your eyes! Vinegar is an acid!

Back to you, melodiccolor ~ Hmm... gentle unscented soaps for hand washing or using in the shower... well, I like Dr. Bronner's castile soap all by itself for both of those things. It comes in both liquid and solid, and many different scents... also unscented! The stuff I just bought is unscented, so I can add scents to it or just leave it alone. I'd say Dr. Bronner's is very mild. Also, have you ever tried goat's milk soap? I finally tried some (bought a pack of 12 from ebay, gave most of them away as Christmas gifts, kept some for myself)... wow, it's very nice! I can't remember the name of the company, but I can look it up if you like. Of course there are many good goat's milk soap companies. My b/f and I have thought about getting a couple of goats someday, too. :^D

Good luck, melodiccolor! :^D

~Mel


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Post by Melania on Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:08 pm

By the way, the goat's milk soap I'm using is actually soap rather than detergent. I just looked up the name of the company, and it's Black Ridge Trading Post. On the label, it says: "Our homemade goat milk soap is great for the sensitive skin and a terrific moisturizer. This soap is all natural with no perfumes or dyes. Scents are made from natural oils". They also have more info on ebay, if anyone wants to check them out.

~Mel
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Post by BlueTopaz on Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:56 pm

Wow, good stuff Mel. I enjoy reading this. I'm kind of like WW and wonder if I would smell like salad dressing all day--- in which case I would be teased mercilessly I'm sure. :p

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Post by WissyWig on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:30 pm

I need moisturizers because my hands get SO chapped, especially in winter, and also because of all the solvents I use (not to mention the glass, which leaves cuts). And I HATE the stuff because it stinks (does anyone really want to smell like a field of flowers that don't even exist??) and feel so nasty and greasy. But I just bought this cucumber scented Vaseline stuff, and it's awesome. Oh, and I hafta have me Chapstick. big grin


The only "homemade" remedy I've discovered was an overnight zit zapper. I had run out of astringent, which was the precise time (of course) I experienced a small outbreak on my chin. No car + no money = no drugstore. But then it occurred to me that the main ingredient in most of those astringents is salicylic acid--which, coincidentally, is what aspirin is. scratch So I fetched the bottle of aspirin I never use, crushed it up, put it in a small tin, and added some water. Now, whenever I have an outbreak, I just mix up a little paste and dab it on the spot, and it's gone overnight. And it's a whole lot cheaper than paying, what, $7 a bottle for the fancy-schmancy salicylic acid washes and pads? Yeah, a $1 bottle of aspirin and free tap water works just as well. Smile

I am trying to find a better base for it, though--when the water dries, the stuff flakes off too easily. I thought about maybe mixing it with some of that moisturizer...maybe I'll try that.
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Post by Melania on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:34 pm

Hi BlueTopaz ~ Hehe... Well, you'd smell like salad dressing just for a while, when your hair as wet, as far as I've observed on myself anyway. I guess you'd smell like it again if your hair somehow gets wet later (like if it rains on you). Hmm... if you (or anyone else) would like to try this and you're really concerned about smell, I've read that some people do rinse out the vinegar rinse with plain water. I'm not sure how well it works, but it may be worth a try.

~Mel
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Post by Melania on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:57 pm

Here's a link to a very long, detailed, interesting discussion on a blog. They write about hair care in general, but a lot of it is about going "no poo" (meaning "no shampoo"... silly name :^D). Apparently, some people use baking soda diluted in water instead of shampoo, and then follow with a rinse. And some people don't even use baking soda or anything... JUST a rinse... Wow... I'm not sure I'll try going "no poo", but it's interesting to read about it... and this discussion branches out into other ways of caring for your hair, too. Seems like an excellent blog overall. I just ordered a natural bristle brush because the author of the blog suggested it, and it does make sense to me.

~Mel


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Post by Melania on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:58 pm

Oops, it might help if I actually included the link. lol

http://crabappleherbs.com/blog/2008/02/01/simple-herbal-hair-care
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Post by Melania on Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:05 pm

Here's another link to the same blog, if you'd like to read all sorts of info on making natural beauty care stuff (with photos, too). This is my favorite online resource so far. :^D

http://crabappleherbs.com/blog/category/body-systems/skin/
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Post by Gypsy Woman on Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:33 pm

Melania wrote:Oh also...

My hair now looks just like it does in my avatar. mrgreen

~Mel



Mine too. Very Happy

No.
I will tint it red again in few days...
makes me happy in the meantime, just to think about.

Greetings
this topic is fun.
popcorn

~Gypsy
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Post by Melania on Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:54 pm

Hi WissyWig ~ What a clever idea! I didn't know any of this about salicylic acid... it's very impressive to me that you knew all of this, and then thought to use your aspirin in place of your astringent... wow! I'm not sure what would make a better base for it, but hopefully your moisturizer will work. The author of that blog I mentioned would probably have some good ideas, too, if you want to ask her. She seems extremely knowledgeable.

Hi Gypsy Woman ~ Mmmmm... now I want some popcorn! How funny, I've been thinking about dyeing my hair red again very soon. I've dyed my hair only twice in my life, both times with harsh chemical dyes... but now I'm going to try henna. It may not end up being as beautiful a red... I have no idea... but I don't want to use the chemicals again. Do you use henna? By the way, I saw your pic on another thread... if you ask me (and my b/f), you and I have some resemblance! And I read on another thread that people often think you're much younger than you actually are, and think you look very innocent... oh boy, me too.

Take care, you guys...

~Melanie
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