Or, Knitting your own yoghurt
I try and live a relatively “green” life, but I could hardly claim to be an early adopter.
Back in my carefree, childless days (otherwise known as my early 20s) I used to flit around the capital doing fun things and, I have to admit, rather scoff at people who were overly concerned about the environment. Sure, I minded about things like the polar bears dying out or pandas or whatever, but to translate that concern into actions in my every day life seemed a bit tedious. Verging on the overly fastidious and definitely lacking in humour.
I remember watching a friend cook supper and then wash out the tins of beans after she’d emptied them. I asked why. She said she was going to recycle them and they needed to be clean. Really, I thought to myself, that is taking things a step too far… Lighten up, love, live a little, put them in the damn bin! Don’t waste your time washing up your rubbish…
Now, of course, I would never dream of not recycling tins. Why would I not? It only takes a second and helps to prevent landfill. (Though I do often sneak them into the recycling bin unwashed…)
It’s not something I’ve ever consciously U-turned on. There was no Damascene conversion, just a gradual shift as time’s gone on. Old(er) age in me? Changes in society? Both, most likely.
Nowadays, I recycle, have a wormery, use my own bags, watch my water consumption, turn off light switches, buy organic, blah blah blah; all the standard, liberal, woolly green behaviour of your average Guardian-reading Londoner.
But I remembered my (carefree, thin, smoking) twenty-year-old self the other day when I decided to make some of my own deodorant. Honestly. Making my own deodoorant! Once, if I’d heard that someone made their own deodorant I would have rolled my eyes, exhaled a puff of smoke in the middle of the restaurant and made some droll quip about knitting their own yoghurt…*
In fact, even the week before making the deodorant, I might have thought this was a step too far. As I mentioned in my post the other day about homemade cleaning products, I am always suspicious of people who make their own cleaning products / beauty stuff and then proclaim them to be “better” than the expensive mass-produced chemical-filled products they were previously using.
Yes, there are hundreds of reasons not to use aerosols, but it could never be said that one of them is that they don’t work. All of the noxious, dangerous chemicals filling up these things make pretty sure they work really well.
And let’s face it, nobody wants to smell.
But, inspired by the shame I’d felt looking at that great cupboard of natural products, I decided to have a crack at some homemade deodorant.
I found a simple-sounding recipe on How about Orange, which uses coconut oil, baking powder, arrowroot and grapefruit essential oil, and thought I would give it a bash — fully expecting it to meet the same fate of my homemade cleaning products. (Tried for a day or two then relegated to the back of the shelf in favour of some shop-bought but effective alternative…)
But to my surprise, this was a total success.
Firstly, the deodorant smells great. I am possibly the world’s biggest fan of anything with grapefruit aromas, so the grapefruit essential oil in this couldn’t be beaten by anything shop-bought in my opinion.
Then there’s the cute little tin. There’s something imminently appealing about your deodorant sitting on your dresser in a shiny silver tin, with a nice label on, rather than an ugly plastic spray bottle. (The round vintage labels are from the world label blog if you want to print some yourself…)
I was initially put off by the idea of scooping it out by hand and rubbing it into my armpits, thinking it would leave my fingers greasy. But really it’s totally not a problem at all, and it means that I actually get it into the right place as well (the number of times I’ve sprayed an aerosol into my eyes, or my clothes, or the side of my body, or just in the air behind me. Okay, most people probably don’t have that problem, but it was a frequent one for me…)
And, finally, it actually works! That was the outcome I was perhaps expecting the least.
So, an all round success story for my first attempt in 2013 of using up the eco beauty ingredients stash. Any other suggestions for things I should try? Post a comment below and let me know any ideas…
*For any non-UK readers, “knitting your own yoghurt” is a disparaging reference to someone being such a hippy that all they do is knit and eat mung beans and homemade yoghurt…