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If you’ve poked around the blog at all, you’ll know I adore making my own beauty and DIY care products. There’s something super satisfying about using simple ingredients – and knowing what’s in the creams and potions I use on my body.
That said, I’ve also experienced my share of DIY fails. It’s easy to start a beauty recipe thinking, “Hooray! No more chemicals! My skin/hair/mouth is going to be more beautiful and healthy than ever!” Only to find a few weeks later that the results are NOT what you had hoped. It’s embarrassing.
But you try. You try to make it work, thinking of all the reasons why your DIY care products didn’t do the job. “Maybe my hair is just extra oily from my workout, or maybe my teeth feel weird because I ate too much sugar.” But deep down, you know. You know the store-bought concoctions work better, and it irks you. You care about your health but you also want to look and smell presentable!
I’m here to tell you it’s (mostly) possible to have the best of both worlds. My aim is not to discourage you from trying new home beauty recipes. They’re incredibly fun and beneficial. In fact, the homemade deodorant recipe is the #1 post on my blog, and people are also loving the homemade mouthwash and hand soap! But there are also a few DIY products you DON’T need to try concocting. Trust me, your time is better spent elsewhere.
These are trial-and-error mistakes I’ve made, and I want to save you from making the same ones! Believe me, it was hard to admit to myself (and others) that these were DIY fails. But, alas. It is what it is.
3 Natural DIY Care Products You Should Not Try To Make
My teeth were getting loose, ya’ll. Seriously.
I had been making my own DIY toothpaste or using a natural, fluoride-free version for about a year. I felt so good about my decision to nix the noxious fluoride “poison.” You can read how passionate I was about the subject here – I wrote an entire post on the dangers of this chemical.
But I couldn’t deny how my teeth felt. Weak. Sensitive. And did I mention they were moving around in there?
At first, I thought it was due to my new habit of juicing. Richard and I had started juicing on a (semi) regular basis, and I knew raw juice contains high amounts of acid which is detrimental to teeth. So, I tried drinking through a straw and brushing after drinking juice. Our juicing fervor petered out after awhile, and we stopped juicing altogether. Still, my teeth just didn’t feel strong anymore.
I didn’t want to admit that it could be the switch from fluoride toothpaste. That is, until I watched this video.
This natural-minded gal also experienced weak teeth after ditching fluoride. She explains that if you’ve been using fluoride toothpaste your entire life, your teeth start to rely on it to retain their strength. Suddenly stopping it can cause teeth to become weak. I’m not sure if that’s the reason or not. But I have noticed a definite difference since switching back to regular toothpaste.
The benefits of using fluoride toothpaste, for me, outweigh the risks. Good oral health is super important.
I’m still glad we decided to get a fluoride filter on our awesome Berkey filtration system (which we love, by the way). There are risks associated with the use of fluoride in our water supply. But I’m keeping it in my toothpaste for now.
There are some great options for natural toothpastes with fewer chemicals which still contain fluoride, such as Tom’s of Maine.
There are lots of homemade shampoo recipes floating around on the internet these days. While I haven’t exactly tried many of these, I did try an alternative method to shampoo.
I touched on this in my post about all-natural hair care – catch up here. Last year I tried a no-‘poo (no shampoo) experiment, concerned about the chemicals in store-bought shampoos. Twelve months later, I’m now hugging my big ol’ bottle of TRESemme. Here’s a run-down on what happened.
It started out innocently enough, using mild castile soap as a shampoo to wash my tresses. After a week or so, however, I noticed a waxy buildup on my hair. It was no longer easy to run my fingers through.
“Oh well,” I thought. “I just need to go cold-turkey with no-‘poo method. After a few weeks my hair will get through the transition period and be gorgeous.”
It worked. Sure enough, after suffering through several weeks of greasy hair buns and using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to cleanse, my hair was no longer a greasy mess. It looked pretty! I thought I had cracked the natural hair care code.
Sadly, after a few weeks, I started noticing TONS of split ends and breakage. I was constantly trimming split ends. It took a couple more months for me to finally realize that these “natural” products were seriously damaging my hair!
After some research, I learned that pH balance is ESSENTIAL to beautiful, healthy locks. Whether you’re washing your hair with a homemade shampoo recipe or baking soda, the problem is that these products are not pH balanced. They may be more gentle on our bodies, but they are much harsher on our hair. Shampoos and conditioners are formulated to be pH balanced and gentle on hair. Read more about the importance of pH balance here.
This experiment taught me an important lesson: just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it can be used for any purpose under the sun.
I will say, for a time I washed my hair with this goat milk soap that I LOOOOOVE. It worked amazingly well, and my hair had never looked better. But sadly, after moving to a new region of the U.S. with extremely hard water, it stopped working. I recommend trying it if you don’t have hard water where you live. If it doesn’t work for you as a shampoo, it’s the best soap I’ve ever used as a face and body cleanser. The ingredients are 100% clean and super gentle on the skin.
I’m still on the perfect shampoo hunt. Guys, I need your help on this one. I have yet to find a shampoo-conditioner with pronounceable ingredients that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Let me know if you find one!
Right now, I alternate between a drugstore shampoo and a more “natural” version, like this. The problem is, I have to use twice as much product to get the same results.
This final product is one that, admittedly, I haven’t personally tried to make. I’ve toyed with the idea, but honestly, the recipe felt too involved and intimidating for me. Homemade sunscreen involves using natural minerals like zinc oxide as a barrier to the sun.
I just don’t think it’s a great idea to spend lots of time making your own sunscreen. It’s hit or miss – difficult to know if you’re getting the right amount of protection. And you don’t want to end up with a bad batch and get a terrible sunburn – too risky. Store bought formulas undergo rigorous tests to make sure they work.
If you want to try your hand at it, this recipe looks pretty decent and sounds like it would work. You can let me know how it goes.
Since there are several great brands of non-toxic sunscreen to try, it makes more sense for me to buy it. We only use sunscreen on those very rare occasions when we are outside for most of the day. We don’t use it on a regular basis because I’m more concerned about us getting plenty of Vitamin D. The Badger brand comes the most highly recommended for natural, non-toxic brands – it’s water resistant and made with natural, organic ingredients.
The bottom line? Have fun experimenting with DIY care products and beauty products galore! Just be warned that if you try one of the three items above, the results may not be quite what you expected.
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Have you ever experienced a homemade product fail? Let me know in the comments!