In recent years I have become growingly aware and worried
about the amount of chemicals my fiancé and I encounter in our daily
lives – our morning grooming routines, weekly household cleaning and
washing all involve using a number of different kinds of products. I
have started paying more and more attention to what kinds of products we
use for these daily tasks, what the products contain and how they were
I realise that for most people choosing their everyday grooming and
cleaning products is a question of convenience and habit – we have used
the same product for so long that we don’t even think about changing it
to something else. Just take a look at the shampoo and the soap you use,
and the bathroom cleaning products, and your deodorant and make-up.
These are the products we are so used to using every day, yet we hardly
know what it is that they actually contain and even worse, what they
might be doing to our bodies and our environment.
What is probably turning you off from making the change to greener
grooming and cleaning is that you don’t really know what alternatives
are out there. We are being bombarded with advertising by the big
cosmetic companies, which makes it “easier” for us to you to choose
their products than look for alternatives.
My way of thinking about this issue is pretty simple: Just go back to basics.
If the list of ingredients on the product is longer than your arm and
you don’t even know what the ingredients are, then don’t buy it. It is
simple as that. You don’t have to be a scientist to mix up some
home-made, yet equally effective cleaning and beauty products, and you
probably have most of the ingredients already in your pantry.
Some basic ingredients to start cleaning green include
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – all-purpose
cleaner that deodorises and removes stains. Together with vinegar and
hot water, it is also great for unblocking drains. Scrub your bath tub
and sink with a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to remove any
White vinegar – cuts through grease, disinfects and removes stains. Mix half water-half vinegar to make an all-purpose spray.
Lemon juice – cuts through grease and also acts as mild bleach. Scrub your chopping boards with half a lemon to get rid of odours.
Essential oils, like tea tree, pine and eucalyptus –
they are anti-bacterial and add natural fragrance to your home-made
cleaning products. Mix eucalyptus oil with water for a disinfectant,
My grooming routines are pretty simple. I like making my own face/body scrub with some honeyand raw sugar. Bicarbonate of soda is also a great exfoliator and it’s antiseptic. I use coconut oil or almond oil for both cleansing and moisturising my skin. Good old home-made remedies, like oats or avocado face masks can feel much more luxurious those with added synthetic ingredients.
Castile soap is a great natural alternative to conventional shampoos and soaps. Rock crystal
deodorants made from mineral salts are a safer alternative to
conventional deodorants. Here's a recipe for my favourite home-made deodorant. In anything, just look for plant-based ingredients, and avoid
those with a long list of synthetic chemical ingredients.
If you do decide to make the switch to natural and organic products,
be aware that not everything that says “natural” is in fact
chemical-free. Labelling can be confusing, so do your research before
Please help yourself with some useful links below. I would also love to hear your best tips and recipes for green cleaning and green beauty!
Tanya Ha’s book Greeniology is a great green living guide that covers all areas of life. http://www.tanyaha.com