Wednesday, April 4, 2012

One Week Without Shampoo and Other Neat Stuff (Including a Recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent)

One week ago I started embracing my inner radical homemaker and started using homemade beauty products. I've had a lot of people ask how things are going so I wanted to give you all a one week update. I also wanted share my first attempt at homemade dishwasher detergent. It was super easy and mainly used stuff I already had on hand for making laundry powder
First, the update. Drum roll please. 

Face wash/make-up remover/lotion: So far I absolutely love the oil cleansing method. The one little bottle of castor/sunflower seed oil mixture has replaced my face wash, make-up remover, and face lotion (although to be honest I used a face wash that doubled as a make-up remover already). My face feels great and I haven't had any breakouts. My skin hasn't felt dry or greasy. I am considering using olive oil in place of the sunflower seed oil in the future as it's more economical and I might try knitting this washcloth to go with it (maybe). I'm not a knitter but she makes it look so easy...

Body wash: I used this homemade liquid soap recipe for body wash. I think I may have added more soap flakes than I should have (I used a whole bar when she said to measure out two cups...I added only a small handful extra) but I love the way it turned out. The soap was completely liquid when it cooled and poured it into containers but after sitting overnight it solidified just slightly into a gel. Maybe I should have measured but I actually prefer the gel over the super liquid soap. It makes a great body wash. I am prone to dry skin though so unless I'm out running or digging in the garden I don't use this every day...I opt for a more moisturizing scrub. 

Body scrub/body lotion: I love this homemade lemon-salt scrub. I also love this homemade lemon-sugar scrub. If I use a scrub I don't have to use body lotion. This is huge for me. Previously I was putting lotion on twice a day. I have really dry, sensitive skin and have struggled to find a lotion that was unscented, moisturizing, and didn't make me itch. Both of these scrubs are wonderful and moisturizing. I haven't used lotion in a week and I'm not dry and itchy.

Shampoo/Condition: So far the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method seems to be working. My hair feels clean and isn't greasy. I've also been using it on my daughter's hair with no problem. Her hair is clean and soft. However, the last few days my hair has been a little dryer than normal so I've been backing off on the baking soda and increasing the apple cider vinegar. In her post about making a shampoo bar, Andrea at Frugally Sustainable, mentions that she uses the apple cider vinegar rinse as a spray on/leave in conditioner. I may try that and see if my hair feels less dry. I'm also going to buy a sample of Andrea's shampoo bar to try before I go and order all the ingredients to make it myself. I know my husband prefers a good bar of soap and I want him to be happy (and chemical free) too.

Hairspray: Are you ready for this? The sugar water hairspray totally works. For real. I was totally skeptical and thought I would have bees buzzing around my head but I didn't. My hair stayed in place (as well as it does with commercial products) through quite a windstorm last week. I spray a little on while my hair is wet and scrunch my hair (it's naturally sort of wavy/curly) and then spritz on a little more when my hair is more dry. Depending on how solid you want your hair you can keep adding more and then letting it dry in between applications. I kind of wondered if it was making my hair dry but I don't think so. I think my hair is just adjusting to the new regimen.

Next on my list of beauty items to replace? Shaving cream and deodorant.

And now the dishwasher detergent. I've been waiting to use all the detergent we already had before trying my hand making some. We finally ran out! I did a little research (see these recipes here and here) and then threw together my own dishwasher detergent.

1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda (also known as laundry soda or soda ash)
2 packets unsweetened powdered lemon (I used True Lemon as I've had some sitting in the pantry from last summer)* 

Mix together the borax, washing soda, and lemon in the container of your choice. I recommend using a fork to get all the lumps out. 

Now you're done. You just made dishwasher detergent.

*Depending on how hard or soft your water is you may need to adjust the amount of lemon. You can also use real lemon juice (I'd recommend keeping a inexpensive bottle of lemon juice on hand until you work out the right amount). 

Use 1 tablespoon per dishwasher load.

I also put a 3-5 tablespoons of white vinegar in the rinse compartment every other load or so. We have really hard water and this helps the dishes avoid the hard water scum that accumulates over time (I did this even when we were buying detergent).

So far I've only run one cycle with the homemade detergent but it works just as well as the expensive commercial stuff. 

Are you game? Have you started making anything yourself? Are you considering it?

This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. I'm very curious to try the baking soda/vinegar and castor oil cleansing methods. I wonder if it would work to add some castor oil to a salt or sugar scrub. I've been mostly surfactant-free for some time now and have tried making some of my products with mixed results, but I had been intending to start again, since they can get expensive. Thanks for the info. I love Terressentials hair wash, Trillium Organics face and body salt scrubs and castile body wash, Trader Joe's salt scrub, and Miessence mint toothpaste (fantastic for sensitive teeth), which I can replicate fairly well using baking soda, salt, stevia, essential oil and water, but I need to get some aloe vera to get the consistency right. I highly recommend getting a crystal deodorant stick, which is just mineral salts (ammonium alum), works amazingly well, and lasts a really long time (they say a year).

    1. Yes, I've wondered about adding the castor oil to other things as well but after my experience using it during birth, I'm hesitant to use to much of it for anything : ) I love all the other things you mentioned but they are definitely out of my budget and we don't have a Trader Joe's down here : ( I'll have to see if I can find a crystal deodorant stick anywhere. I used that for a while in high school...Thanks for all the info!

  2. Thank you for this! I have been making my own laundry detergent but I will try some of these other recipes!

    1. Yay Shay! Let me know how you like it!

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  4. Wow..These are very cool ideas. I especially want to try the lemon scrub. Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. I love the oil cleansing method! I use caster oil/sweet almond oil and then put 100% aloe vera gel on after to help with any breakouts/blackheads and to keep moisturized. I make a very liquidy shampoo/body wash combo but I bought some lysol foam pumps and its much easier to use. We are trying to finish up our other bottles but baby has been using it for a few months and he smells so good and soft. We don't have to use baby lotion anymore either.



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