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Old 03-15-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
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overwhelmed by going green....

We are a family of 5 on a tight budget. We are trying to save some $ up, but I would like to be more natural. My DH is not on board with me, at all. Mostly bc of the cost factor. I have made my own house hold cleaners, but that's about as far as I made it. I want to switch over to natural shampoos, soaps, washes, ect. The cost just holds me back. I have tried no poo, huge fail even though I gave it a ton of time to even out. I have been looking into making my own liquid soap from bar soap, but am not sure which bar soap is really green. Also for the baby we have tons of J&J wash/lotion. They were all gifts, so they aren't able to be returned. They have saved us not having to buy wash for the kids, but I feel super guilty every time I wash them. Any cost cutting tips for going green? Thanks

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Old 03-15-2013, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

When I switched to a natural shampoo, one bottle lasted forever because I was washing less. I switched to a natural soap (African black soap) and a mixture of coconut oil/shea butter for my face. Because of the natural products, I dont wash my face as often or need tons of layers of different moisturizers, exfoliants etc. Coco oil and a poound of shea butter will cost about $20, will last for a year. BS is a good exfoliant. I've ended up purchasing many more products to try to use, but honestly, you could get by with just coconut oil or almond oil as a moisturizer. Almond oil makes me look fantastic. The kids get a squirt of lavender Dr. Bronners in their hair maybe once/month, and use my African black soap bar maybe once every 2 weeks? Other than that, just water. Natural products leave your skin and hair in such a better condition that you really don't need as much or as frequently as you think. It's really great on the wallet after the first initial (not that huge) purchase.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:34 AM   #3
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

For some products do some research to find the best price online. Sometimes it is cheaper than buying it at a local store and some have free shipping. We like shea moisture's products, yes they cost more but last a long time making them a good value. We're on a very tight budget as well. But IMO things that impact my families health are things I can find a way to buy over the cheaper more toxic options. Good luck
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:00 PM   #4
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

I use vinegar for almost everything: bleaching out tea and coffee stains; as fabric softener mixed with an EO for scent; as a glass cleaner with rubbing alcohol and cornstarch; in water as a cleansing drink; and as a rinse aid for my hair AND my dishes (when I hand-wash). My DH thinks it makes the shower smell funny, but he doesn't notice as much when he's snuggling up next to my hair!
Like the other posters, I also use shea butter for moisturizing; it works wonders on my hands when I wear gloves overnight! And I've only paid about $8 for 8 oz., which lasts me over a year. And since I use Dr. Bronner's for face wash, I recently diluted it with water to make hand soap. It can also work as a dish wash, when washing by hand. Same goes with washing soda. I like to find items that can do multiple things when it comes to cleaning me and my home. IMO, if it's safe enough to clean my home, it's safe enough for me to use so it's a win-win!
Bar soap to liquid soap has not yet been a great experience for me. The liquid has something that keeps it liquid and the bar is meant to stay bound, so it tends to even when "melted" into a liquid. Without binders, like in homemade detergent, it will resolidify.
Lastly, try looking up ideas on items you already own and see what else they are capable of. I recently learned more about witch hazel so it is now a staple in my bathroom for several different uses.
Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

Quote:
Originally Posted by elizabeth.scalf View Post
When I switched to a natural shampoo, one bottle lasted forever because I was washing less. I switched to a natural soap (African black soap) and a mixture of coconut oil/shea butter for my face. Because of the natural products, I dont wash my face as often or need tons of layers of different moisturizers, exfoliants etc. Coco oil and a poound of shea butter will cost about $20, will last for a year. BS is a good exfoliant. I've ended up purchasing many more products to try to use, but honestly, you could get by with just coconut oil or almond oil as a moisturizer. Almond oil makes me look fantastic. The kids get a squirt of lavender Dr. Bronners in their hair maybe once/month, and use my African black soap bar maybe once every 2 weeks? Other than that, just water. Natural products leave your skin and hair in such a better condition that you really don't need as much or as frequently as you think. It's really great on the wallet after the first initial (not that huge) purchase.
Elizabeth, honestly, I have other friends who have gone green, and these great results with little need for washing do not seem to be at all typical. Your system sounds great! I just don't want our OP to feel like she's necessarily going to have these magical, cost-saving results. I think for most people green is a more expensive path that usually requires about as much washing if not the same amount. "No poo" persons would be an exception when it comes to costs. And there are some other cost-savers like the oils you mention, although one does sacrifice a bit of convenience.

OP: Re: BS as an exfolliant or as a mask with witch hazel--it gave me terrible, painful zits. Some of this is inevitably hit or miss. However, the plus to something like BS is that you probably already have it.

What Elizabeth said about oils is true. It is less convenient to scoop oils, smear them, and wait for them to sink in than it is to use a lotion, but they really can be gotten more economically than most lotions. Some of them are richer than lotions too, which is a boon for dry skin (avoid shea IF you have a rubber allergy, but it is good stuff). Between low cost and high benefits, I think oils might be the best place to start. After all, they are what you leave on your skin. In contrast, a lot of what you wash with is only briefly absorbed by the skin with a thin residue remaining (of course it goes down the drain to the harm of the environment), so for personal health, I think what you put on after washing might be the most important first step toward greenness. You'd just have to forego lotion's convenience.

Also, although it is no frills, a long-lasting natural and hypoallergenic bar soap is Kirk's Castille (vitacost.com is one of the cheapest places to get it). I think it is about as economical as they come AND natural although it makes no claim to be organic.

It's trickier IME when you get to hair products. That can be really expensive, especially when initial trials are hit-and-miss. However, some people's hair can get away with a fine, fine smear of coconut oil as a (leave-in) conditioner. If you prove to be one of those people (you can use it on your skin, regardless), that is at least 1/3 of your hair product dilemma cheaply solved. Shampoos and styling products (if you use the latter) would be the only remaining hurdle.

P.S.--I'm planning to try mayonnaise as a pre-shower hair treatment soon. I've heard rave things about it. That might alternatively be a way to avoid the need for lots of expensive natural conditioners.

I hope that helps a little.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

Oddly enough, Bronner's All in One Organic Naked Lip Balm (which doesn't have enough wax in it to last on my lips) has been really nice to dab under my eyes at night, and for that purpose it is cheap.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:52 PM   #7
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Ultimately going natural is trial and error, particularly when it comes to shampoo, so for that reason alone the switch isn't cheap. For shampoos I have found aubrey, yes to carrots, and natures gate to be the best. (Yes to and natures gate aren't completely natural, but they are better than the commercial stuff while also being economical). I love jojoba and almond oil for facial moisturizers, and dr woods (dr bronners knock off) black Castile soap for facial cleansing. We use dr woods baby mild castile for our little one- smells just like j&j, only it's natural. And dirt cheap. And coconut oil is an awesome diaper cream and moisturizer. Lotions I love earth mama angel baby, a butter I make w coconut oil, cocoa butter, and almond oil, and Burt's bees calming for baby
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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Re: overwhelmed by going green....

I am in the same boat. I just found Eco store USA though and the prices seem pretty reasonable. I'm going to be replacing a bunch of our bath, body, and cleaning products with theirs.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
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There are some good diy shampoo recipes all over the Internet. Again, trial and error is required but it should still be cheaper. I made 5 different bottles for the price of a mid brand at target. And their different formulations for different things, ie dandruff, volumizing,
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:59 AM   #10
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I knym as a family of nine on a tight budget it gets hard sometimes. Something's we use are Dr bronners for the hand soap dispensers, baby/kid shampoo and wash, dh and I wash though I went no poo for hair, baby wipes and you could use it for a multipurpose cleaner spray. I've considered using it for dishes, but I really like blue dawn. Vinegar we use for a rinse for dds hair after using DB for shampoo, cleaners, laundry, ect that you already know. Too the past we like Toms of Maine. Lotions... Haven't found a good one. I don't like coconut oil as well. I like burst bees stuff some. I do use coconut oil for curly hair days instead of gel and for diaper rash cream. I use the deoderant crystal and so far I like it. But I've yet to use it on a summers day

Go slow, start with the baby soap. JanJ is really bad stuff. Then move onto something else another month. Use the j and j to clean your toilet. Lol.
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