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All You Need Is Less

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 8th April 2014

The Frugal Diva likes the style of this book – easy solutions for living a greener life which inevitably costs less.  Madeleine Somerville has a breezy way of helping you concoct your own shampoo, laundry detergent, circumvent the flu, and all manners of taking care of your garden, baby, and sex life with the best environmental outcomes.  Yes, even your sex life can be more eco friendly.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how.

Short Excerpt From Chapter Two – Body “Basic Hygiene Boot Camp (And I Mean Reeeally Basic)

All You Need Is Less by Madeleine Somerville

It goes a little something like this: Use soap.

Oh, I know you are a clean person and you probably smell nice too. In fact, I have no doubt that your personal hygiene is beyond reproach.

But choosing to use plain old bar soap instead of that pump hand soap, body wash, shower gel, or super-expensive foaming, miracle-moisturizing mousse you got on sale can do wonders for your skin, your local landfill, and the crowded shelves of your shower caddy too.

People tell me that the reason they use body washes instead of soap is that soap is too drying or too harsh on their sensitive skin. With conventional bar soaps this is often true, and I mean, fair enough, no one likes walking around in a skin suit that feels two sizes too small. Nevertheless, I didn’t usually have this experience and am a huge fan of natural bar soaps, so I wanted to find out why so many people were passing them over in favor of the plastic-packaged stuff.

Because I sometimes like to pretend that I am a girl detective like Nancy Drew, I hunted down some answers from my very own soap lady, Kirsten French of Be Clean Naturally. Kirsten was a regular at the farmer’s markets in my old hometown of Squamish, BC. Starting with soaps and gradually working her way into shaving creams, laundry detergents, and other personal care and home products, she always sought to use minimal packaging, offered product refills when possible, and had a real passion for getting clean the natural way. She helped me get to the bottom of The Case of the Natural Bar of Soap (aka, Why good-quality natural soap is actually better for your skin than anything found inside of a bottle and also, Why do you have to be so lame, Madeleine?)

“Typically, commercial soaps and shower gels are made from a detergent base, which strips the natural oils away from our skin, leaving us dry and scaly,” French explained. “This causes many people to then slap on skin cream to combat the itchy, tight post-shower feeling. Detergents are very inexpensive to make and are derived through a laboratory process. They also have a lower pH than traditional soap, which means that they need synthetic chemicals, such as triclosan, added into them to make them antibacterial.”

After briefly mocking me for pretending to be a girl detective, Ms. French went on to explain that triclosan is rapidly accumulating in our oceans and impacting the ability of whales to reproduce (save the whales!). And whereas shower gels are often laden with synthetic fragrances and preservatives that can be irritating to the skin, sinuses, and eyes, soap is inherently antibacterial without needing anything nasty added.

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Go Green Personal Care Tips

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 4th March 2012

The Frugal Diva is happy to present these healthy, green, and frugal alternatives from the folks at Vitacost.

Five Go-Green Personal Care Tips

Green goods are everywhere, and thanks to popular demand, they’re more affordable now than ever before. So why not make the switch? If you’re new to eco-friendly, natural products, you may need a little help figuring out where to start. Here are five ways you can clean up your personal care routine from head to toe.

Lather up. Bubbles make bath time fun, but most conventional products contain a controversial chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent that’s been linked to poor health. Natural soap and body washes are typically made from plant oils, such as palm, coconut and sunflower, which are safer, gentler and still get you squeaky clean.

Battle body odor. Staying stink-free is a must for most, but over-the-counter antiperspirants are made with aluminum-based compounds (which block ducts so sweat can’t escape) that may put you at risk for certain diseases. Baking soda, corn starch and essential oils in natural deodorants help absorb moisture and blast bacteria that cause odor, without subjecting your pits to peril.

Brush safely. Home to several million bacteria, your mouth needs frequent cleaning, or bad breath, tooth decay and other issues arise. But before you squeeze any old toothpaste on that brush, look at the label. Besides SLS (the suds maker mentioned above), other chemicals, such as saccharin, fluoride and even diethylene glycol (used in antifreeze), may be on the ingredient list. Natural toothpastes feature mint oil, herbs and xylitol (a naturally occurring sweetener that benefits oral health) that keep teeth clean, breath fresh and toxins from spiraling down the drain.

Be smooth. Skin absorbs 60 percent of what’s applied to it, so slathering on lotion loaded with parabens (chemical preservatives) and phthalates (known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic hormones), may do more than soften that dry patch on your elbow. Keep toxins away from your precious bloodstream, and take moisturizing a step further with natural vitamin- and antioxidant-enriched lotions that soothe and protect skin.

Catch the flow. Over the course of a lifetime, a woman will use 10,000 disposable feminine hygiene products to manage her monthly flow. That’s a lot of cotton and plastic—which ends up cluttering landfills and leaching chemicals (such as dioxin, by-product of the cotton bleaching process) into the environment. And if air and water aren’t safe from the breakdown, think about how these materials affect your body. Make the switch to reusable pads or menstrual cups to protect your private parts and the world around you.

This article has been provided by the folks at Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins since 1994. Since then it’s grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of their many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A and other vitamin and nutritional supplements. Vitacost.com’s customers mean the world to them, and it’s their goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, whole foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness. Vitacost.com is not affiliated with this blog, and isn’t responsible for content outside of this article.

By: +Rebecca Chopin writer for Vitacost.com

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