2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.
the crunchy world is FULL of options, ingredients, potions, alternatives, and other weird things. it’s really easy to get overwhelmed!
i remember when i first started. i first learned about all the junk in shampoos and conditioners, and it morphed into an obsession about eliminating as many toxins as i could, whether that be beauty products or food. i felt like an electronic hoarder of information. i soaked up everything i could and created roughly 937 folders to hold all my internet bookmarks. i think i was throwing away more products every day, and making more of my “hippie” concoctions every day for weeks, until my apartment was an official crunchy zone.
there was so much to learn and so much to do to change in my life! and i chose to deep dive into the crunchy world.
with all this crunchy knowledge everywhere and so many different opinions on natural alternatives, where do you begin?
HOW do you begin?? and how do you begin without breaking the bank?
i tried googling the ever-lovin-life outta this stuff to make sure i wasn’t simply re-writing what others have already said. but for the life of me, i couldn’t find a post or article dedicated to crunchy living tips. so here goes! hopefully this post will help someone, somewhere.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
i can’t stress this enough! there are SO many natural alternatives out there that you’ll need to sift through countless ideas to find what works for you. research the available options, research ingredients, research companies, research oils/clays/soaps, etc. don’t ever stop learning! and not just the products or ingredients, but in the crunchy world, pretty much everything has multiple uses. for example, honey. honey can be used in food, tea, hair, on skin, as face wash, etc.
you’ll get addicted to learning this stuff sooner or later 😉
- TAKE BABY STEPS (… OR DON’T.)
just because you’re switching over doesn’t mean you have to throw everything away and start completely from scratch (although you most certainly can!!). don’t overwhelm yourself! if you get too overwhelmed, it’ll be ‘easier’ to become more unmotivated to stick with the transition. you’re putting yourself through a lifestyle change. give it time! try to have patience. start with the basics. here are my suggestions for the basics, and of course other people have other basics! save money by not buying eeeeverything all at once. give yourself time to learn as much as you can about each category of options before you switch.
- FIND A CRUNCHY COMMUNITY TO INTERACT WITH
finding a source of support is so very important. keep in mind you’re making a complete lifestyle change and there ARE like-minded people out there doing the same. we all have frustrations, we all have those “aha!” moments when things work beautifully, and we all have questions! don’t ever ever ever hesitate to reach out. this whole crunchy world is full of people that have “been there, done that” and it’s a tremendous source of crunchy wisdom. learn from others and help others! i think supporting each other in this journey is so important! we’re a cool bunch of people, ya know 😉 what other group of strangers will talk openly about their armpits with you just to save you from stinking?
the motivation, support, and IDEAS you’ll receive from others will be outstanding!
- STAY OPEN-MINDED
you’ll more than likely come across concepts and uses for things you’ve never heard of before. for example, now i only use water to wash my hair and body. only water! if i could meet myself a few years ago, i probably would think i’m off my rocker! concepts like eating clay and brushing your teeth with charcoal will become commonplace. you just gotta keep an open mind and have a little faith in letting your body take care of itself with the help of natural alternatives. and also keep in mind that just because one thing doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that nothing will work for you. some people can’t do no-poo, but love clay shampoos. some people can’t use clay shampoos, but love water-only. it just takes time and patience!
and even after you find something that works, you may find that after some time your routine will need to change. what works for you now won’t necessarily work for you in a few months. that’s not a bad thing; just your body adjusting! and that’s exciting!
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
at the heart of it all, no one knows your body as well as YOU; your routine will change (what works for you now won’t necessarily work for you in a few months).
you will learn things about your body as the time goes on. you will understand the concept of “listening to your hair and what it wants.” it sounds crazy, but when you get there, you’ll know. there’s a great feeling that comes with knowing exactly what your body/hair/etc can and can’t deal with or does/doesn’t like. your whole beauty routine will be wholly tailored to fit your every need. and every single person is different… i think that’s the coolest thing in the world! we have tons to learn from each other!
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIY
i don’t think it’s possible to be crunchy and not DIY at least ONE thing you use. don’t be afraid to mix things or experiment. that’s actually more than half of the fun of being crunchy! it’s like you get to play mad scientist. and once you get the hang of “easier” DIY products, you’ll move on to more “complex” ones. and then you’ll really amaze yourself at how self-sufficient you are.
you’ll know exactly what’s in your products. you’ll be able to tailor everything to meet your specific needs (and those of loved ones). and lastly, you’ll save money! this ties into doing research and keeping an open mind. don’t be afraid to make your own toothpaste. don’t be afraid to make your own body wash. if it’s wrong, tweak the recipe. cuz lemme tell ya… it’s a great feeling knowing you’re capable of making your own products!
- BUY INGREDIENTS IN LARGER QUANTITIES
and also shop around for the best prices and the best quality! you’ll save a ton of money doing this (not to mention the money you’ll already be saving from not buying conventional products). and once you start learning more about all the various uses for things, it’ll be easier to make little batches to test things out and figure out if it works for you or not (when your body tells you it needs a change). when you have bulk ingredients on standby, tweaking recipes is easy! and you could always help out those friends and family members that aren’t too sure about switching yet. i always put together little mixes for my loved ones to try out first. no sense in making someone buy products they won’t use, right? i wanted my mom to try the OCM, so i had her use my argan oil a couple times to see how she liked it. she did, and i made sure to buy her a bottle as soon as i could! i think it all ties right back into being supportive for everyone in the crunchy community 🙂 and if you have someone nearby, you can save even more money by buying in bulk and splitting the cost/product with them. nothing will go to waste and your wallet will thank you!
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET “DIRTY”
you’ll more than likely get greasy. you’ll more than likely stink for a bit. you’ll more than likely be in a total funk for awhile. can’t sugar coat that, babe. but i can honestly tell you that it gets better! the transition period is weird for almost everyone. seriously, have you SEEN my transition pictures? pure grease right there, baby cakes.
and plus, i don’t think anyone in the crunchy community would flinch at you saying, “hey, my armpits really reek. any ideas to help?”
we’re all in this weirdness together and people will jump at the opportunity to flaunt what they’ve created to solve that problem for them!
- DON’T LET OTHERS DISCOURAGE YOU
when you’re going through such a big transition and it’s completely foreign to you, it’s easy to let others’ opinions get to you. it’s understandable! think about it… you’re essentially abandoning taking care of your body in the only way you’ve ever known how. it’s really tough!
i’ve heard it all… “are you crazy?”, “don’t you stink?!”, “you’re disgusting!”, etc… i even had one person leave an entire paragraph on this very blog outlining all the ways i disgusted them. truly! so let me tell you somethin, AE readers: don’t let others’ personal health care choices and/or lack of knowledge discourage you from becoming a healthier you and a more educated consumer! remember WHY you’re doing this. i’m not saying the journey is easy, but it IS worth it!
- BE PROUD
be proud of yourself. seriously. you’re putting yourself through a complete lifestyle change and you’re going against the socially acceptable norm. the road can get tough! how many people do you think have the drive to completely abandon the only ways they’ve ever known how to care for their bodies after 20/30/40/50 years? YOU, my friend… YOU ❤ so pat yourself on the back, and pamper yourself with a coconut oil scrub foot massage and a honey & clay face mask. you deserve it.
what other crunchy advice can YOU offer others?
how have you dealt with negative comments about your natural lifestyle (if you have had to)?