4 things on my blog i no longer agree with

… and no, non-vegan items are not included 😉

i’ve decided to publish this because, hey, no one is perfect. if we’re not learning from our mistakes, we’re doing something wrong. we should always strive for improvement.

let’s get straight into it.

  • baking soda hair wash
    • the pH of baking soda is much too harsh (too alkaline) and can cause damage to both hair and scalp over a sustained time period. i no longer advise this version of the no-poo method, but am still a fan of water-only washing and low-poos. calia is a nice shampoo & conditioner brand that’s affordable and has great ingredients.
  • diy sunscreen
    • please do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin. to have that tested and confirmed requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. if you need suggestions – i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face. please leave others below in the comments!
    • i’m a supporter of responsible sun exposure. i think it’s crucial to health. that doesn’t mean i’m a supporter of reckless sun exposure. for example, i know i will be outside an average of 30 minutes total every day, and not midday. knowing that, i do not apply sunscreen to my body. however, if i know i will be on a midday hike, i will slather it on.
  • diy lotion w/ no preservatives
    • say it with me – anything containing aqueous ingredients, or anhydrous coming into contact with water, NEEDS a preservative. i get on my soapbox about it here.
    • two things to know: 1. preservatives are not evil. 2. antioxidants are not preservatives. rosemary eo and/or extract and vitamin e are antioxidants and can be used in anhydrous formulations, but they are not preservatives.
  • mixing EOs and herbs haphazardously 
    • as wonderful and easy as it sounds, you can’t just blend random essential oils and/or herbs together. everything has different constituents with varied herbal and drug interactions, in addition to varied contraindications. yes, plant extracts can and will absolutely interfere with prescribed medications. please always talk with both your doctor and your local certified herbalist.
    • other than endangering yourself, loved ones, and even pets (no EOs with pets!), at the very least, you could be – 1. wasting plant material from not understanding constituent solubility properly (ex: trying to drink nettle tea for silica… won’t happen, babycakes. check out my post on this here); 2. wasting plant material from using herbs and essential oils with opposing ‘actions’ in the body (blending chamomile and green tea).

 

is there anything you no longer practice or agree with in the ‘crunchy’ or ‘green’ world? let’s hear it!

XO, ALEXRAYE

is green beauty the land of minimalism or consumerism?

my personal journey into the green beauty world began about 5 years ago. i was a grad student with little money and not a whole lot of people i cared to impress. getting the government to approve my human experiment for my thesis and having my cats around was about the extent of what i cared about. the appeal of the crunchy community, to me, at the time, was reversing consumerism trends and getting to the most basic and most healthy alternatives you could. i had $20 to stretch and days between classes to purposefully not wash my hair or adjust to not wearing deodorant.

looking around 5 years later, i’m not sure i’m living in the same green beauty land.

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i remember searching far and wide for a low-poo product that was up to my super snubby ingredient requirements (btw – those strict requirements are still in effect today and i have no shame). back then i felt fortunate to have 3 ‘poos to choose from. today,  i almost feel bombarded with the sheer amount of organic and “clean” and “green” low-poos, amongst other products, we can choose from.

i try to stay true to my love of d.i.y. green beauty and multi-use ingredients, but if i stop to look around my bathroom, there is a growing stockpile of “buys” versus “d.i.y’s.”
then my brain gets going and starts adding up the costs… four different face oils, three different face masks, three different balms… for what? when did my minimalistic green beauty lifestyle become so engrossed in consumerism? and why? has this community puffed up quickly, only to be left oversaturated?

i say all of this with a confused heart. there are many companies i have fallen in love with. their purpose, their impact on their communities, their beautiful products made with hard work and love, and their ever-growing reach into the larger beauty market… it’s all awesome in the true sense of the word. the excitement i feel for them having a place in the “mainstream” beauty market and for more people to have access to better and healthier choices is unreal. what better way to support them than to purchase their products?

what if these two ideals are simply coexisting? can you call it that? maybe that’s what i’ve embraced. i buy what i know i can’t make, and i make what i know i can. my saving grace is all the time and research i’ve put into learning about this world over the last few years, and i rely on it every day. by reading an ingredient label i can tell you if i’d put it on my body and/or use my hard-earned dollars on it. you sure won’t find me ever spending $20 for a small pot of sugar lip scrub – you are out of your mind. go grab some sugar from your kitchen and i’ll show you a kick-ass recipe for a fraction of the cost. that $100 pot of fancy face mask with the virgin angel tears though… you might be better off buying it, but you know i’ll still help you make a mean dupe if you want.

it all seems to come back to balance, back to doing whatever is best for you, your body, and your family. for example, i buy conditioner and perfume, but i d.i.y. moisturizers and masks. it works for me, but maybe that doesn’t work for someone else.

maybe what’s important is that we can all take a step back every once in awhile and evaluate what works for us and how we can make a better impact. 

whatever you do, whatever position you take on the green beauty spectrum, i support you. i support you because you’re out there doing the leg work and putting money into making healthier choices in a world that praises “cheap” and “fast”.

thank you, green beauty community.

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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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