Friday, 30 May 2014

I don't use Toothpaste! Then what do I use?

Hey everybody! 

Now this is quite a common theme: toothpaste. A lot of green people use alternatives to traditional toothpaste because of fluoride and other ingredients. Again in this post I'm not going to go into all the detail of why not to use toothpaste because there are so many other websites and blogs and books about that. But I'm here to let you know what I do about it and I hope I'll be able to inspire you by showing you how easy it is to let go of toothpaste once you've made the decision that it's just not for you!

Here are 5 wonderful alternatives for you to read about and experiment with!

Alternative 1: nothing! that's right, no toothpaste at all. But keep brushing! Never stop brushing - no toothpaste doesn't mean no oral cleaning routine! Use your normal tooth brush and brush your teeth several times a day, but with nothing on it, just water (morning, evening + every time you eat).
I call this Empty Brushing.

I did this for a while and still do it a lot but I've added a few steps to my routine. One reason I started doing it was because I just don't like toothpaste; it tastes too strong and is so messy! So I would sometimes go days without brushing! Until I decided I just wouldn't use toothpaste anymore, so I started brushing my teeth with just water. After a while I wondered if it was unhealthy to do this so I did some research on it. I found out that when brushing your teeth, the brushing is what's cleaning your teeth not the toothpaste! So give it a try and see what you think for yourself. Another great benefit is that because it's so quick and easy, you can just brush so many times a day and it's no hassle. You can also carry a toothbrush with you wherever you go and give your teeth a quick brush when you find a tap.

EXTRAS: 1  If you eat onions and garlic and processed food and other stinky foods then your breath will get stinky with the brushing alone technique. Baking soda is great for getting rid of smells. So if you go for the empty brushing alternative, make sure to make a baking soda mouth wash to use once a day, morning is better - kills dirt and smells accumulated during the night. Swish it around every where - spit - and rinse your mouth out with water!

2 Make a mouthwash out of 1 cup of water and 3 or 4 drops of peppermint essential oil. This peppermint mouth wash can be used once or twice a day, morning: kills dirt and smells accumulated during the night, and evening: after brushing to have a fresh minty smell before bed. Swish it around every where for 5 minutes- spit - and rinse your mouth out with water! (I use this homemade mouthwash in my routine)

Alternative 2: This time you can try combining alternative 1 with extra 1: brush your teeth with a normal toothbrush dipped in a cup of baking soda and water mix.

Alternative 3: This is what I use now; Home made toothpaste. This is so simple and effective: baking soda and coconut oil! That's it! How easy is that, ey? Use the same amount of baking soda to coconut ratio in teaspoons (ie: 4 teaspoons of baking soda and 4 teaspoons of liquid coconut oil - mix it all up in a little glass jar to keep on the bathroom shelf) then put some on your normal toothbrush and get brushing, same as you would with a store bought toothpaste.

EXTRAS: 1 Rinse your mouth out really well after with water because it does not taste nice; very salty and bitter! You can do this 2 or 3 times daily like any other toothpaste, but you could also do empty brushing after meals to keep your mouth and teeth extra clean.

2 Rinse your mouth with the peppermint mouthwash, to get a fresh minty smell. Swish around for 5 minutes, spit and rinse with water. (1 cup of water and 3 to 4 drops of essential oil.)

Alternative 4: What I like to use sometimes also is a Siwak or Miswak: It is from a root or branch, depending on what the shop is selling. It's 100% natural and cleans your mouth very well. You use it like a toothbrush but use only water with it. It doesn't make teeth white but it does get rid of smells and bacteria. I will dedicate a whole post to it. This is porbably the most natural and green alternative for brushing teeth as well as the cheapest - 1 stalk cost about 40p (british pennies)!! And last weeks to months (depending on how often you use it and how well you look after it).

EXTRAS: You could still empty brush now and then and use a homemade mouthwash (baking soda or peppermint).

Alternative 5: I have never used this technique but have heard that it works wonders and is really healthy for many, many reasons: you could do more research about it if you are interested! This is Oil Pulling. Basically you put oil in your mouth (I heard coconut is a good one for this too) and swish and swoosh for 20 minutes! Then spit out and rinse with water (make sure to spit it into the bin and not down the drain - also do NOT swallow the oil or the water rinse after it! Because it is full of bacteria.) This is a technique reserved for the people who are not lazy and who have time to do it as well as patience! Good luck. Although it is really effective according to research.

As I mentioned before, what I do is: Brush my teeth with my homemade toothpaste morning and evening followed by 5 minutes of swishing and swooshing the peppermint mouthwash. Sometimes I empty brush throughout the day. Empty brushing is great because it's so quick and easy and not messy at all.

There you have it folks! Enjoy your new oral cleansing routine and let us know what you go for. Any tips?

CHECK OUT MY UPDATE HERE where I talk about my new routine, including oil pulling and tongue scraping!

Peace out!

HAIR DYING INFORMATION for No-poo / Shamphree

Hi everybody! Greetings of peace and love!

As I mentioned in my previous post (4 months shamphree update) my hair got lighter because of all the lemon juice I have been using over the course of my shamphree experimenting. The lemon serves as a conditioner to make my hair soft and smooth: easy to brush.

Before going no-poo, I used to dye my hair about once a year and the last colour I had done was red. BRIGHT RED! It was lovely, I really liked it. But after about 6 months I was really bored of it so I un-died it with a store-bought product meant for it; a dye stripper. I used it and not only did it just make my hair orange, it also made it so STINKY! After dealing with the stench (by drenching it in oil and washing out many times) I got used to the weird colour and actually started liking it. It was no longer called weird orange but light copper ;-)
Only when I went no-poo it just got lighter and lighter and became blond - but only the died part! So I had 10 to 15 cm of brown hair from the roots down and the rest of the length was blondy-ginger... I really wanted my natural colour back so I tried shikakai powder and coffee but those don't dye hair they just help to bring out natural darks. Only my natural colour was buried very deep under the blond and the dye stripper and the red, chemical dye... So! what to do...

Well I didn't want to use a chemical full product on my no-poo hair because I thought it would throw my hair off track completely as I don't want to be using chemicals on my hair anymore!

I couldn't find any useful help online as to how to dye no-poo hair. All the info I could find was how to go no-poo on already dyed hair (which FYI is exactly the same as going no-poo on natural un-dyed hair, except that the dye will get lighter with the use of either lemon or ACV)

I went to a natural whole foods shop and bought a 'natural' hair dye. Of course it's not in fact completely natural but it has no amonia, no parabens and none of the crap that I am mainly trying to keep away from (at least I hope). It's called NaturTint. Heard of it? Please let me know what you know of it if you have!!!

So I dyed it, pretty simple, it's the same as any other DIY hair dye. It cost about £10.49 but it was reduced to £7.49 that day (yepee) so it turned out to be about the same price as a usual one too. I chose the colour that was the closest to my natural colour because I only dyed the part that went blond and I did not dye my roots.

Afterwards I rinsed it out really well, until the water ran clear. I did NOT use the shampoo and care cream that came in the box - I chucked those out - Instead though I made a paste out of baking soda, lemon and shikakai powder I also added a few drops of water. So after rinsing the dye out of my hair very well, I massaged the paste into my hair and scalp and washed like you would with any shampoo but I left it in for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then I rinsed it all out and my hair was very clean but EXTREMELY DRY! So once it dried I covered the dyed part of my hair in coconut oil (avoiding my roots!) I kept the oil in my hair for about 8 hours then rinsed it out with water only. Although still very oily, I could tell that my hair was dry and brittle underneath so I smothered it in coconut oil again. I left it in for 15 hours then did a baking soda wash followed by a lemon-water conditioner and washed it all out. Then I towel dried it as much as I could and let it air dry for the rest. When it was almost fully dry I took a really little bit of coconut oil into my hands and made sure it was all liquid with the heat of my hands and then I stroked my hands through my hair. This was so that it would dry with a bit of oil on it to make it softer and shinier. Wash it through one last time, the next day but just with a lemon-water mix.

Step-by-step (this took me 4 days, so make sure you have time!)

1) Do the DIY 'natural' hair dye -as stated on the information leaflet that came with the dye you bought.
2) Rinse out thoroughly.
4) Make a paste out of your usual shamphree washing style (paste out of baking soda and lemon for example) and put it all over your hair - leave in for 10 to 15 minutes.
5) Rinse out the paste.
6) Towel dry or air dry as usual.
7) If your hair feels dry or brittle, cover it in coconut oil to moisturise it and leave in for 8 to 10 hours.
8) Rinse out with water only (as hot as you can take it, so the oil can drip off, then rinse with cool water to close follicles)
9) If hair is still dry and brittle, then cover in coconut oil again and leave in for 15 to 20 hours.
10) Rinse out and do a baking soda wash followed by your conditioner (ACV or lemon water)
11) Towel or air dry as usual.

If your hair still feels brittle then go to step 12 but if your hair is back to normal then you can stop right there, and you're done :-)

12) Just before fully dry, comb your hair and stroke a teeny-weeny, little bit of coconut oil through your hair length and ends - not on the roots. This is to add soft and shine.
--Because of the coconut oil, your hair might still look wet when it's dry, but it won't look oily or greasy, it'll have the sort of wet beachy look. It looks best in a high pony tail or half pony tail (or covered).
13) The next day, wash it with lemon water (juice of half a lemon and a cup of water, in a squirt bottle and squirt it all over your hair, leave in during the time of your shower (about 10 mins) and rinse out with warm water at the end) Dry as usual.
14) HOPEFULLY your hair will be just lovely!

Those long hours were either in the night or when I went to work with a head scarf, so that the oily coconut hair was not on display! ;-)

Please comment if you try this to let me know how it went for you, or if you tried a different way to successfully dye your hair. I really want to know!

So there it is, hope this helped!

Saturday, 24 May 2014


Hi everybody!

So I'm doing another update only one month since the last update because I've tried several things out this month that I wanted to talk about before I forgot about them.

Firstly, the first week of the 4th month I tried washing with sea salt and water instead of baking soda and water. Reason: I realised that baking soda is a type of salt and that to be more natural and eco (logic and nomic) I should try using sea salt. I researched it and found that some natural shampoos use sea salt as their main ingredient. I was also thinking about people with dread locks, originally in Jamaica, didn't wash their hair, but probably still swam in the ocean and had their hair exposed to sea salt which probably helped in keeping their hair clean. This is just some theory I came up with but found no proof for it anywhere.
Some say that sea salt is too harsh and is bad for the hair whilst others argue that it is the mix of sea salt + other minerals in sea water + sand + wind which creates a dreadful combination for hair health. Some others still, say they love beach hair! So... what to do... Well my research found that if you boil your home water with a good amount of sea salt, cool it down and then use it on your hair, it will have the same effect as using baking soda. Personal experience: It didn't work. My hair was the same as when I do a WO.

Secondly, the day after trying the sea salt - and it not working - I washed by hair with baking soda. Then I did WO for a week.

Friday: Baking soda wash.
Monday: Water Only
Thursday: Water only
Saturday: Shikakai (check next section)

This was fine. The reason I didn't wash my hair with anything else is because it didn't seem to require anything else. I could have (and should have) continued, but I got tempted by a new product I discovered: shikakai - see next section. This tells me that I should now leave a greater interval between washes and I can do more WO which was my objective from the start.

Thirdly, Shikakai powder. This powder is from a ground fruit found on a shrub in Asia. Shikakai literally means 'hair fruit' and has been used for centuries to wash hair. It is a natural soap. I used it once (on a Saturday) and loved the smell and the feel. On the same day I was researching how to naturally die my hair brown. The reason is that since I've been using lemon on my hair for 4 months, it has bleached it and my hair is much lighter than it was naturally, so I decided to try to get my colour back. I found that coffee can be mixed in to what you use to wash your hair to strengthen natural browns. It won't dye the hair, but if you have natural brownish hair then it will help to make it more vibrant and bring the brown out more. So the next day; Sunday, I washed my hair again with Shikakai and coffee this time. -It did not make my hair any darker - and after a couple days of reflection I decided that I didn't really care that much about the colour of my hair. Of course after washing it two days in a row, I didn't do a WO on the following Monday and waited until Thursday. My hair was oily by then so I did another shikakai wash.

I like the Shikakai powder because it's easy to mix, I've used it similarly to baking soda, in a squeezy bottle to aim better. (2 teaspoons of 100% natural shikakai powder, in 1 cup of water), this time I also used the lemon-water mix afterwards to make my hair softer. Other reasons why I like shikakai are that it is a very soft cleanser, it gets rid of less oil than the baking soda does and helps to spread the rest. It's less harsh on the hair and more natural too. I find the smell very delicious also; it has an earthy, chocolaty smell. Sweet and bitter at the same time. I really advise trying this one out, but it might only clean your hair if you've been no-poo for at least a couple months, because as I mentioned before it is a very mild cleanser.
Another great thing about shikakai, is that because it is such a soft cleanser, it helps to ween off and leave more interval days between washing, because it is not as harsh as the baking soda, which still requires 1 to 2 washes weekly.

So that's it for now. I'm going to continue using Shikakai powder for a while and also try to do more WO. I repeat that using the lemon mix after the Shikakai wash is very beneficial in helping to clean and soften the hair.

Thanks for reading, you're welcome to leave comments on the post or feedback on anything you've tried.
have a good weekend!