Wooden Hair Brush

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(“DIY and Crafts Magazine”)

There are numerous ways one can switch to using more natural products through one’s daily life, though one interesting idea I have come across is using wooden hair brushes. This product has tremendous environmental benefits, as “… [they are] crafted from bamboo, which is a sustainable resource – it rapidly regrows after being harvested, and it can grow in damaged and soil depleted soil” (Kate). The environmental benefits are incredibly reassuring, as hair brushes made of conventional plastics do not easily decompose — creating a fairly significant downside. Aside from the ecological advantages, these brushes also aid in the health of one’s hair. I have recently started using one made of bamboo, and have found that it is softer on my scalp and decreases my hair’s static and frizziness. The wooden qualities of the brush also help to “naturally condition your hair, and evenly distribute your hair’s natural oils down the hair shaft” (Kate). Alongside my regular hair care routine, I especially enjoy using this brush after I wash my hair, as it results is less breakage. I would definitely recommend using wooden hair brushes in exchange for conventional alternatives, as there are far more benefits for both the hair and the environment. This product is readily available, since it can be purchased at virtually any store that carries hair products. I personally found mine at Marshall’s at a very reasonable price. In the process of switching to natural lifestyle alternatives, this is truly an easy and affordable change that possesses many advantages.

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Rice Water

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(Paiella)

For quite a while now, I have been searching for natural alternatives to conventional hair and skin care products. Recently, a friend of mine has informed me of the benefits of rice water in regards to skin and hair, and I have been motivated to try it out for myself. For clarification, rice water is “the water remaining in the pot of boiled rice, [and] has been used for centuries by women as a hair and skin treatment and even taken internally for health benefits” (Nelson). My hair and skin became significantly softer after I applied this product, and I highly recommend it in exchange for commercial alternatives. I would suggest using breeds such as wild and balsamic rice as opposed to minute rice, since these breeds produce better results (considering that they are more raw). The environmental setbacks associated with rice water are virtually nonexistent, given that rice occurs naturally on the earth. Here are the steps I have conducted to obtain the best outcome:

  1. Begin by rinsing and drying the rice of choice.
  2. Cook the rice using one’s regular methods conducted when preparing this meal.
  3. After it has been cooked, drain the rice (which can be eaten at a later time) and spoon in four to five tablespoons of the water onto wet hair; afterward, rinse it out. For skin care, soak the water onto an applicator — such as a cotton ball — and apply it to one’s face.

Aloe Vera

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(Sleeper)

While I have not always had a dedication for natural products, one of the plant-derived remedies that has been part of my life for an incredibly long time is aloe vera. “Aloe vera, sometimes described as a “wonder plant,” is a short-stemmed shrub. Aloe is a genus that contains more than 500 species of flowering succulent plants” (Nordqvist). Along with coconut oil, aloe has come to be one of my favourite natural skincare alternatives, as it also possesses a vast amount of healing properties: It can be used to treat burns and skin irritations, cold sores, constipation, inflammation, and diabetes; as well, it is a known moisturizer and antioxidant, and can both boost the immune system and help with digestion (Axe). I have used this remedy as a facial moisturizer and a treatment for sunburns with excellent results. In previous posts, I have spoken about the setbacks of using chemically-based products for the skin, in which skin dryness and irritation were common themes; aloe vera is an exceptional alternative to these conventional products, and they preserve the well-being of both our skin and the Earth. “Listed as one of NASA’s top air-improving plants, the fantastic Aloe works much like the Snake Plant – it emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber” (Nooralvandi). This plant can be purchased in the form of skincare products that possess it as a main ingredient, including sunburn-treatment gels, as well as in many foods and drinks such as juices. As a simpler alternative, one can buy an aloe vera house plant, and derive the gel straight from the plant. Currently, I possess many such plants in my house, and given that their lifespans can be as long as twelve years, they are substantially cheaper than continually buying skin products as they run out (Maria). These plants can be found at virtually any greenhouse and are very easy to use: One must simply tear off and break open one of the leaves and apply the gel found inside to one’s skin. I think that it is very amazing that a common house plant can be used in such a vast amount of contexts, and that it is incredibly easy to care for. The fact that this product is an actual plant speaks to the validity of its natural properties, and given that it is a part of nature illustrates how its presence in society is not of particular harm to the Earth; this idea makes it all the more reason to incorporate aloe into our daily lives. While one is able to consume this plant for its medicinal properties, it is important to keep in mind that it should not be eaten every day for an extended amount of time, as “[l]ong-term use can lead to loss of electrolytes, especially potassium” (Dawn). While keeping these restrictions in mind, aloe can be incorporated into many foods, such as salads and smoothies (Dawn). I personally have not ever eaten aloe, but the tremendous results of doing so within reason are definitely something I will keep in mind for the future. Aloe has always played a significant role in my life, and I feel that it should be more readily used in Western society; It contains the benefits of conventional beautifying products and remedies for minor ailments — without the added stress on the environment from chemically-based alternatives.

Coconut Oil

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(Lush)

The chemicals present in conventional skin and hair care products often are disregarded by the majority of consumers, but can have numerous negative affects to both ourselves and the environment. Natural alternatives, however, can produce much of the same results as these chemical-based options while being environmentally-friendly. For quite a while, I have been incorporating coconut oil, and products that are based on this substance, into my skin and hair care routine. In regards to skin treatment, I have been very impressed by how well coconut oil works as both a makeup remover and a moisturizer. “Coconut oil melts on the skin as soon as you apply it, without leaving any kind of residues. It easily seeps into the skin pores, moisturizing deeply and thoroughly” (Bright). In previous times, I have used Clean and Clear skin care, and while I received adequate results, I begun to notice that the product had been bleaching areas on virtually all of the cloths it came into contact with. This deeply concerned me, and made me wonder what I was actually putting onto my face — and how this would affect the environment — thus, motivating me to make the switch to a more natural alternative. “Pure, unrefined, virgin coconut oil is one of the most natural products available today. For one thing, it is highly stable on account of being over 85% saturated oil, so it does not require any additives or preservatives. Secondly, coconuts are still a GMO free item…” (Bright). One of the major benefits to this form of skin care is that it is healthy for the environment, especially due to its absence of genetically modified organisms. While this oil is exceptional for the skin, it is also incredibly beneficial for the hair. I have been using a hair-care product that’s primary ingredient is coconut oil; I have found that it both softens my hair and decreases the amount of time it takes for me to curl my hair — which was an unexpected bonus. As well, I found it to be an excellent method of reducing my hair’s frizziness, and it did not leave residues, unlike many of the chemical-based alternatives I have used in the past. Overall, coconut oil is by far one of my favourite natural products, and I highly recommend it for its beneficial results and safety for the environment.