Once your belly is fully of veggies, and you’ve got a few herbs growing in the kitchen, how else can you save whilst looking after yourself – inside and outside?
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
A very important message indeed. Why? Because if you don’t believe that, then you might easily be tempted to buy lotions and potions chock full of collagen and retinol and vitamin C and all sorts when you don’t even really need them!
I have to admit, I don’t totally understand moisturiser. I mean really – what is it supposed to do exactly? Our perfectly formed skin doesn’t really need any pore blocking gunk on it even if that stuff is sold as a miracle £70 wrinkle diminishing cream. Ok, if you have dry skin it can lock some moisture in, which I grant you must be very relieving for painful dry skin areas. But otherwise skin health starts within. Anything you put on top may have some barely there superficial changes, but nothing compared to what a clean diet, pure water, fresh air and a good night’s sleep will do to it. (Which is to make you glow and sparkle!) Oh, and exercise – all that blood pulsing under the skin surface – it’s a super facial!
Clean with no dead skin cells must be the only two rules for skin care – am I right?
My regime goes something like this.
If I’m not wearing make-up I’ll just splash water on my face (I know, not even any soap), and then rub a smidge of coconut oil right into my wet skin and then towel it all off.
If I’m wearing makeup, then I’ll add some soap to the mix, then rinse away soap with water, rub coconut oil into my skin and towel dry it all off. If heavily made up – I’ll repeat those steps.
This is good enough!
A note on soaps – take care when buying soap and look for plant based ones from health food shops. Some soap from beauty stores are actually very harsh on the skin. Save money by using soap instead of shower gel in the shower, much kinder for your wallet, skin and Mother Earth!
When desiring a bit more of a real deep clean, then I will go as far as making myself some scrubs. Oats, brown sugar, and sea salt all make lovely scrubs. Sometimes salt and sugar can be quite abrasive, but oats are much softer. They can be preserved in an oil base and I will share some recipes soon. Oats however don’t last as long, so when using oats, make small batches. You can find all sorts of recipes online and in herbal-care books.
Handmade scrubs are really cheap and last a long time and you can decide exactly what ingredients go in them. You’ll know there are no nasty microbeads and your skin will find them much kinder to it than any type of long listed potion bought in a shop.
Before popping in the shower – try body brushing. Using a special body brush made for the job, take long, light strokes over your skin, always brushing towards your heart. This little brush lasts practically forever and is amazing at removing dry and dead skin, meaning you don’t have to spend money on gels and stuff to do that job for you. Also, dry skin brushing like this is wonderful for our internal health. It stimulates the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system and cleans circulatory fluid in the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a heart to pump its bacteria fighting fluid around, so it relies on you moving (and brushing) to get it around! Get a nice natural bristle brush with a wooden handle, for extra brownie points. It is an expense to start, but probably costs the same as 5 bottles of unneeded shower gel.
For cheaper lotions, if you really must use something on your skin after washing – then you can use olive oil infused with natural scents of your choosing! (Vitamin E Oil and Almond Oil are brilliantly suitable for skin, but maybe a bit pricier). Warming oil in a pan with spices, herbs, and flowers gathered from the spice rack or farmer’s market will make a lovely infusion. Adding lemon and orange zest will impart beautiful fresh aromas and add some preserving power too. Essential oils are great preservatives too, whilst costly, can last a LONG time and do add something special to oils, baths or even a few tiny neat drops on the skin. When you pour the infused oil into muslin or cheese cloth you can bottle up the delightful oil in a beautiful little glass jar or container that will make it very special and a joy to use.
MAKE UP – I must admit, I don’t know how you can really save money here unless you go au naturel. Not wearing that much is also rather obvious! But good, animal friendly, organic and plant based make-up can cost something extra. So if you cut back on stuff you’re buying but don’t really need, like soda or some other good-for-nothing expense, then perhaps some caring make-up can be a real luxury treat for you. Any ideas?
SMILE! – KEEP YOUR MOUTH FRESH AND CLEAN.
I don’t suppose there is that much cost involved in tooth care, unless you are buying some serious multi-action toothpastes!
But I will mention a few things here. I bought some bamboo toothbrushes a long time ago, and they are still going strong! Not even one bristle is bent out of shape. I keep them clean by sometimes soaking them in boiling water with bicarbonate of soda, and then they are good to go again. When they finally lose their integrity (possibly in a 100 years from now) then they’ll decompose on the compost heap, saving some poor albatross from feeding its chick toothbrushes. (Yes, that happens. Plastic is BAD!)
I always floss my teeth. Flossing removes food particles from in-between teeth where any toothbrush will fail to clean. If you don’t get rid of these particles then bacteria will happily set up camp on your chompers and endanger your enamel! So clean teeth starts with a good flossing.
Toothpaste, on the other hand, isn’t absolutely vital, believe it or not. I’ve had trouble with my teeth when I ate a raw food diet (hint: don’t snack on fruit all day long. Enough said) and I had a real education in mouth health through hours of research and questioning a dentist who worked with me at the time. When brushing teeth it’s the technique that cleans your teeth, not the paste. Light up and down strokes over the teeth (not side to side which weakens enamel as enamel grooves run vertically) and repeated for a longer time rather than a short vigorous scrub, is what cares for teeth whilst gently removing gunk. Always brush upwards, softly, over gums on the lower jaw too.
This is why natural toothbrush fibres are so much gentler than hard plastic bristles, no matter how soft they say they are.
So if you’re using toothpaste, you really don’t need that much on your toothbrush at all! This way I can buy natural toothpastes which last a long time and have no Sodium Lauryl Sulfates or other nasties in them. Some say you can use bicarbonate of soda as a toothpaste, but that seems very abrasive to me. Although if you have enamel worries, then rinsing your mouth in well dilutated and well soaked bicarb in water, after each meal will neutralise any acid in the mouth.
SHINY CLEAN HAIR – LIGHT ON THE CASH.
Cut back on glugging loads of shampoo and conditioner out, because how much do you really need anyways? (As a side – I always turn the water off when washing my hair and body, and only turn it back on again to rinse. Water is precious after-all and we should save that too, as well as our hard earned cash).
So apart from that obvious statement, what else is there to do? I have used lemons and good ole bicarb and even beer as ways to wash hair without using chemically filled shampoos. And none of them were that bad! I think sometimes we just believe things are better for us when a) made by other people, and b) when the bottle tells us how important they are. When really, we seriously don’t actually need anything fancy at all! The only fancy thing I demand is that it doesn’t pollute our water with crap! Hence why I don’t wash my hair that often (luckily I don’t need to) and use lovely hippy germanium and lavender shampoos and conditioners with no chemicals. Sometimes in lieu of conditioners; honey, oat and avocado hair masks actually can be really sumptuous, especially with a luxurious drop or two of essential oil added for a bit of zing, which can care and soften wild tresses.
Henna hair dye is also a hair caring treatment too, and it is completely natural. It has long been used to impart rich tones and caring compounds into luscious locks for centuries. If you want some lovely rich earth tones in your mane, then perhaps henna might work for you. Bit messy though, but a bit of fun nevertheless.
OTHER WAYS TO NOURISH YOURSELF FOR FREE!
Sleep soundly. Aiming to get a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for our overall health. So much restorative magic takes place within us when we snooze. Ear plugs, eye masks – go to town; do anything so long as you sleep deeply for however long suits you – around 7 to 8 hours has consistently been shown to be the best.
If you have children and are up all night – fear not. Try not to stress yourself into a state. It won’t always be so difficult, plus you’ll have other health boosting goodies from the fact that you get….
Good relationships! Every hug and snuggle and laugh between you and a cared for one is very special. Definitely one of the most fun ways to look after ourselves. Also when forming communities with friends, neighbours, people in our area and online, we get access to a wealth of information and materials that can be swapped and shared. It’s another way to step away from the current economic system, and is a good, cheap way for sustaining your needs and that of the planet’s.
Exercise. Yoga, swimming, walking, running, biking, dancing, and pilates are all wonderful ways to care for our health, usually for free and just by using our own body’s power which is really wonderful. Yoga is one of my favourite ways to stay fit as you don’t really need anything at all! Bare feet, on some grass, arms up to the sky – aaah, blissful.
Libraries and charity shop finds are lovely ways to not buy anything new and it avoids putting more pressure on our overly burdened Earth, whilst giving ourselves the gift of knowledge, entertainment and lovely clothes.
Read Pillars of Good Health for other health basics that don’t revolve around food.
It’s comforting to know that you can look after yourself and the natural world around you, without spending crazy amounts in the process. I think the key thing is to take trust away from big corporations, and give it back to yourself. Trust that you can, and your body can, look after you perfectly well without any outside interference. That way, you can keep your money to yourself and spend it with care when you need to.