advice on beginning a “crunchy” life

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.

advice for starting your crunchy life

tip 1

  • 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 😉

tip 2

  • 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.

tip 3

  • 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!

tip 4

  • 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!

tip 5

  • 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!

tip 6

  • 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!

tip 7

  • 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!

tip 8

  • 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!

tip 9

  • 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!

tip 10

  • 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)?

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norwex cloths – product review!

hey crunchies! it’s been FOREVER since i’ve posted! but that’s life, right? it always finds a way to not go how you planned ❤
i miss you guys.

so awhile back, i was contacted by the lovely rachel from norwex. she reached out to me about these antibacterial microfiber cloths, and it of course piqued my interest being both water-only and all-natural with cleaning my home.

when asked to give them a try and review them, i was over the moon!!
as always, my review of any products (including this one) are completely honest!

norwex cleaning cloths

what is Norwex?

it’s a fantastic company that’s mission is to “[improve] quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in household and personal care products.” how perfect right?!

norwex logo

they have products for cleaning both body and home.

what are the Norwex cloths?

they’re these super soft, super awesome, microfiber antibacterial cleaning cloths. they have cloths for cleaning your counters, windows, face, body, removing makeup, a hair turban, bath towels, bath mats, dusting mit, etc.

caring for them is a bit different than other cloths. you can’t use any soaps, oils, etc. you can wash them with clothes and sheets, but not with towels! towels have too much lint. so really, anything linty shouldn’t be washed with these cloths. i’ve been washing them in a castile soap mix, but was advised it could buildup on the cloths. if that were to happen, i could just give them a good vinegar rinse and they’d be good to go again. cool!

what did i use them for?

water-only washing:

before i say anything, i will say very honestly, i never want to use any other cloth on my body or face. i’m completely smitten with these body cloths. they are so soft, but they exfoliate and really work wonders with water-only washing. my skin always feels so soft and clean! after i’m done, i wring the cloth out and leave it hanging on my shower curtain rod to dry. i only wash it once a week (it’s antibac, remember!). over the past couple months, i’ve never experienced any sort of mildewy smell or anything. this cloth is magical! now that i’m all packed to visit family for the holidays, my cloth is packed right with my clothes. i won’t leave without it!

another thing.. rachel mentioned she uses it to shave instead of using a shaving cream. not gonna lie, i was SO skeptical… but i tried it! i exfoliated my legs with the cloth (folded the cloth a few times and “wiped” my legs a few times over), and then got right to shaving with just my razor and water. i don’t understand how, but it works! i didn’t feel any irritation! after my shower, i just used a dab of CO on each leg  as usual, and no burns/cuts/etc. seriously, this. cloth. is. magical.

stop using your acne creams, cleansers, lotions and potions and USE THIS CLOTH! the antibac and mild exfoliation action will kick your acne to the curb.

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look how soft… makes you wanna rub your face on it huh?

household cleaning:

since i use a vinegar based cleaner, this cloth was perfect to use. i’ve cleaned my bathroom and kitchen with the cloth multiple times, and every time i notice how much more dirt and stuff it picked up, compared to using my normal cleaning cloths. the first time i cleaned my bathtub, i actually felt pretty gross. i thought my tub was sparkling clean all the time…and alas, it was not! but now it is!

my mirrors were spotless… my laptop screen spotless… windows spotless…

you can use them to dust, too. dry or wet, these babies do it all!

Norwex

this post sounds like an infomercial…i’m aware. but really crunchies, these cloths are really THAT great!

for more info on Norwex and their cloths/other products, click HERE. you can order straight from rachel! if you have any questions, feel free to contact her! she’s an angel.

if you can only get 1 type of cloth, go for the body cloth. you’ll notice a huge difference in the softness and clean-feeling-ness of your skin (yep, just made that up.) then when you get a chance, spring for the other ones! they’re totally worth it!

i hope you fall in love with these cloths, too!
HUGE thank you to rachel and norwex for changing my body and home cleaning routines. i am forever grateful!

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS about the products and/or purchasing them (EVEN INTERNATIONAL READERS), please email Rachel at RachelKNowak@yahoo.com 🙂

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