Do It Yourself.
Updated: Apr 14
I recently held my first ever event in April of this year..
It gave me an excuse to really buckle down on writing out DIY recipes that I and my family use. For us, DIYs are another route to reapproaching waste. We source most of our ingredients in refillable containers, recyclable or zero - low waste packaging. By doing so, we avoid the repurchasing of short term, single-use and high volumes of disposable packaging.
A big part of why I decided to DI, otherwise commonly purchased products, was because of toxins. Becoming a mother, meant I was now responsible for another person's life and this meant I decided what I allowed into, on or around their growing bodies. Everyday mainstream and industry produced cosmetics, preserved/ pre-cooked foods, and household products frequently tend to contain toxic ingredients. Most of which the majority of us are not even aware of. You can explain this in many ways, however the most reoccurring one that I have come across was a trust and faith in our governments to regulate and monitor companies and the ingredients they use. The complete truth is, if you live in a capitalist society, here on earth, "mular" (as Lil Wayne refers to it) and lobbing ,is what gets governments elected and what keeps industries doing what ever they want. Ohh but you might say, "hey, there are government associations that uphold standards and companies are meant follow these". However once you do start to take a closer look at those requirements, man, will you be shocked.
Let's say you go into a store selling hygiene products, toiletries and cosmetics. Any sales associate that has been trained well enough and knows this is a great selling point, will make it known to you that their Soaps do not contain phthalates or parabens! You think, ohh wow, yeah that's good. Then you go purchasing a face mask. Hold on. Did you give the list of ingredient a look at? If you didn't, why not? and if you did, did you understand half of the ingredients listed or even bother to ask when they didn't ring a bell? Remember when she mentioned those two ingredients before, do you remember what they were? If you do, do you know what phthalates or parabens really are? And did the sales associate also mention that their cosmetics do not contain those ingredients? If it seem like I am just being over complicated by asking you these things, its only because I want to drive home this point. More than half of us have been in that scenario, I myself included. We also don't have a degree in Chemistry and aren't aware what these synthetic ingredients are. More over we would not immediately recognise them and list the health risks and environmental effects associated to these said ingredients.
Lets jut take a look at Phalathes. Phalathes are used as a plasticiser and can be found in nail polish, soaps, hair spray, fragrances (including perfumed products) etc. Exposure to high levels of phalathes (which can happen over a prolonged use of products contenting them), have been shown to cause birth defects, and be endocrine disruptors (affecting the production of hormones).
In the US, this plasticiser were banned by the FDA as an ingredient in Soaps. Great! But then why does the FDA still allow them in cosmetics?
If you live outside the US, you might think, well that's a problem for people in the US. With globalisation and products now easy accessible but harder to keep track of due to the free range of the internet, that FDA approved cosmetic product containing phalathes, are now headed your way. In addition phalathes were used for many many years, before it was considered dangerous and action was taking. Action by way of only considered in Soaps. Then there are newer threats like micro beads (micro plastics) found in things like exfoliators. This I will leave up to a video from "The Story of Us" to explain:
For me, the solution to all of this is to simply make my own products, learn what goes into them and choose my own ingredients. In addition, I can tweak recipes based on our medical needs (allergies) and personal preferences. So Because DIYs, as their name suggests, are customisable, I choose what goes into them. This way I do not end up with any surprises and it provides me with the chance to familiarise myself with ingredients, their uses and effects. In addition I am handing myself the chance to avoid toxic ingredients and choose quality, well-sourced ingredients, while sourcing in sustainable or low waste packaging. Through the process, you even begin to better understand and grasp quantities, which make for a lower chance of over production or waste. If you do go for use of non toxic levels of natural, and quality ingredients, 9/10, your self-made products can be used by and on children as well. Which for any family is a plus.
If you are aware and try to make a conscious effort to source and purchase products made with natural and quality ingredients or even sustainably and or fairly made, chances are you need to be willing and able to pay up.
I quickly realised DIYs cost the fraction of such a store offered price point.
Then there is “Bulking up”. Otherwise known as bulk purchasing. Which makes it easier to produce for long term periods such as for a year use. This not only saves you constant weekly shopping trips or online monthly purchasing. It even means you will be less likely to run out of product, because you will have enough time to plan ahead or even enough ingredients left over to simply reproduce.
You will be surprised to know that most products require very common ingredients and even similar recipes with slight additions or omissions. Making your shopping basket and storage visually minimalistic and keeping your shopping lists short and simple. And yes, this includes what you use on your skin to DIY cleaning products.
I recommend purchasing your ingredients from places that either have refillable options like in a Zero waste store, pharmacy or farmers market. If you can't find what you are looking for, then opt for plastic free or packaging with low plastic elements. Consider products that are local or fair-trade certified, sustainably grown and produced and or are made with natural quality ingredients.
Below is a list of DIYs, that I and my family (including children) use on our bodies and in and around our home. I have picked up these reciepes in my research and readings, as well as some developed or customized myself. The list below will grow with this blog. So keep an eye out for new add ons with each new post!
*Note: When it comes to products used on and around the skin and senses, it is really down to what works for you and what you love, hate and or can tolerate (allergies and other reactions). In that light, If one of these DIYs do not work for you, do not worry and do not give up. Simply turn back to research and try out till you find what best suits your needs and wants. Just like with conventional products it takes trial and error, learning curves and sometimes even simply some getting used to.
Tbsp = Tablespoon
Tsp = Tee spoon
*Tip: It is hard to come by pure soda or washing soda, but baking soda is produced and available in abundance. Here is a trick I learned early on in my DIY journey. To turn baking soda into soda or washing soda, simply place in an oven tray and spread out. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and heat baking soda for 30 mins (for washing soda) and 45 mins-1 hour ( for pure soda).
Ps. Have fun!