Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Living // Back to Square One

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Sometimes things just do not work. Sometimes it is ok to start over.

I’m starting over in a few areas that I was really excited about going natural. Notice, I am not giving up. Just taking some time to regroup, breathe deep and try a different direction.

No-Poo Method
At first I really liked this method. Before no-poo, I would shampoo my hair every day and most days condition it. If I missed a day, I felt like my hair was too gross for anything but a ponytail.

I decided to give up shampoo and conditioner because of the chemical ingredients that I felt were not beneficial to my body. And I was hoping to find a cheap all-natural alternative. So I started with the method using baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse every other day. Slowly I started to reduce it to twice a week.

The Turn
After the typical adjustment period (4-6 weeks), my hair had about one week of amazingness. Then it turned on me. I adjusted the ratios, tried cutting out baking soda, cutting out ACV...After each adjustment my hair would be happy for a day or two, then get really gross again. Eventually, nothing I did helped. I was either plagued with grease, white flakes, or both.

I finally gave in a grabbed the shampoo bottle. Ahhh…CLEAN! I thought the length of my hair was contributing to the problem, so I cut it the same weekend. After a couple of days, I tried baking soda and ACV. It was ok. A few days later, I used shampoo. Another couple of days I tried baking soda and ACV again. Greasiness and white flakes produced instantly! Horrible. I got back in the shower with my shampoo bottle.

I know different ratios work for different people. I know that the type of water (soft or hard) affects the process too. And it all has something to do with pH balance (something I will be researching and posting on – I have some theories already). But I’m tired of my hair being a science experiment that only ends in grease and dandruff.

Peace with Right Now
Right now I am trying to shampoo twice a week, with ACV rinses instead of conditioner. On the off days, I skip a wash or just wash with water. This is working well for me. And I celebrate the fact that I do not have to wash everyday like I used to!

I really want to find an all-natural solution though, even if it is investing in a good natural shampoo. One of the benefits of not using shampoo is healthier skin. My face doesn’t produce as much oil; less blemishes…I don’t want to interfere with that blessing.

Not giving up – just taking a breather. I will find a solution soon!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
I don’t think I ever posted about this one. Probably because it was so bad!

While using my homemade detergent, I had to practically pre-wash my dishes because the detergent did not remove any food residue. Then I noticed weird cloudy spots on the dishes. I do use vinegar as a rinse agent so I added more of that, but it didn’t help. Also half the dishes would come out with white powder on them, so I’d have to rinse/wash them again.

To be fair, I did not try various recipes or powder vs. liquid. I did make a couple of adjustments though. The recipe I started with did not include salt while other recipes I found did. So I added salt. Still not good.

I also saw the suggestion to put some in the open dispenser and some in the dispenser you close. Nope, still bad.

Fed up with washing most of the dishes two or three times, I went out and bought Cascade. Our dishes are clean again – the first time through.

I do plan on trying natural-based detergent again, but I am pretty sure store-bought will probably be best.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
This adventure ranks up there with the no-poo method for being most puzzling and frustrating. At first I liked my homemade recipe of dry laundry detergent. The only problem I had was that it did not always take care of underarm deodorant residue. No problem – vinegar seemed to kick it.

But then I ended up with an infection that I care not to go into detail about... After a few weeks of trying all the suggested remedies, I couldn’t shake it. My husband asked when it started and we figured it was shortly after I started using homemade detergent. After doing research, I discovered that the ingredients in the detergent are very alkaline (that pH stuff again) which can cause skin irritations and infections, depending on the situation.

So I immediately washed everything with various commercial detergents (I had several free samples laying around). And the infection started to clear.

Still wanting a natural solution, I ordered some soap nuts. I have read only good things about soap nuts and thought they would be a great way to go because they are straight from nature and apparently their pH is closer to a pH for healthy skin. (I’ll go into this more in another).

However, after a couple of washes, the infection returned. So. Annoying. I went out and bought a bottle of Purex and washed everything again.

And here we are. Infection cleared up, but puzzled and frustrated.

The Question
Why do these methods work for other people and not me?

I think deep down, I really hoped and believed that going natural (no matter what method) would instantly be the perfect fix.

But this process has just reinforced the real Truth:

1)      My family is unique by creation and in circumstance.
2)      Only God is my Source of perfection.

I still believe there are benefits to natural living and I have many successes that I enjoy using day-to-day (like homemade lotion bars and ACV as a hair rinse/skin toner). But I have to continue to be open to learning what is right for me and what is right for my family.

Maybe I will have to rely on a lot of pre-manufactured natural solutions. If it saves me the trouble of months of experimenting, bad side-effects and wasted ingredients – store-bought will be worth it!

So I am taking a short break from thinking about how to naturally clean hair, laundry and dishes. I will revisit them again soon, maybe one at a time.


Lisa Adele said... Reply to Comment

Ah! Terrible for things to go so wrong! For what it's worth, here's some things that have worked for us:

Homemade powdered dish soap with lemi-shine: This recipe is working good, before that we used 7th generation powdered which also worked well (and sometimes there are coupons).

We use nature's gate brand for shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste. (the cardboard boxes that the toothpaste comes in almost always have a coupon for their hair products inside)

We made liquid laundry soap (i think similar recipe to what the duggers use) and haven't had any problems... maybe try a half batch (or even 1/4 batch) first tho cuz it makes a lot:

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Lisa AdeleThanks so much for the tips Lisa! I will definitely look into them...I haven't given up hope! :)