{Recipes & Eats} / {Tutorials & Handmade}

How I’ve Become a Hippie… or Something

I blame laundry detergent.

Have you ever wanted to cry when you put laundry detergent in your cart at the grocery store?  Was I the only one?  Laundry detergent is so expensive, and I’m not doing laundry for five.  Just two.  Just two people that wear clothes that need to be cleaned for the cost of gold, apparently.  

At some point over the summer, I saw a recipe for making laundry detergent at home.  My first reaction was a mix between derision and disbelief, it probably doesn’t work, and why oh why would someone make it themselves?  That’s soooooooooooooooooo wierd.  (looks over shoulder and tosses hair in a snooty pants way, even though no one else is in the room)

But, I kept running across recipes to make your own.  And people kept saying that it was a lot cheaper and that it got their clothes clean.  

I’m a sucker for saving money.  I blame you, Dutch heritage.  

When we moved to Southern Illinois, one of the first things on our shopping list was ingredients for making laundry soap.  I was game to try and convinced Jared it was a good idea.

And… it worked!  It got our clothes clean, smelled, good, and didn’t use a lot of the ingredients, which meant that the ingredients would last a long time, which meant that I was saving money (nope, ain’t gonna crunch no numbers.  Numbers hurt my brain.  Knowing it’s a “lot” cheaper is good enough for me).  

Now, I’m making a lot of our own stuff.


From left to right, two different kinds of facewash, facial toner, hairspray, conditioner, shampoo, chapstick, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, hand scrub, foamy soap.

I’m not messing around, folks.  We’re saving some serious cash money.

While I still love love love our laundry detergent, we’re probably saving the most cash money on my head.  My hair is kind of picky and I’m kind of picky about my hair.  My previous routine was shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner after I got out of the shower, mousse, and hairspray.  We were dropping a lot  $$$$$$$$$$$$$ every other week to keep my hair from frying out or getting fizzy.

After reading about some people that were going “‘poo free” and avoiding all those funky toxins and preservatives I thought I would give it a shot.  After all, I rub that stuff into my scalp.  I just thought I’d pay a little respect to my brain.  I went through a stage using the baking soda and vinegar rinse method for my head.  It was a great “detox”stage, but I wasn’t able to wear my hair down and curly which made me super sad.  Also, after three weeks my bangs were still getting greazzzzy and plastered to my forehead.  I kicked around with just going back to regular shampoo and conditioner, and even did for a wash or two.  But my hair felt so dried and fizzy afterward I just couldn’t handle it.  

Now, I’m using this shampoo recipe (I used the “homemade herbal recipe”) and this conditioner recipe.  I really really really like them.  The shampoo gets my hair nice and clean and I can use the conditioner as a leave-in to style my curl.  My hair is healthy, free of toxins, and cheap.

I’m also making my own facewash.  I use the oil cleansing method before bed, and the oatmeal/baking soda mix (recipe for sensitive skin) in the shower.  I use an apple cider vinegar toner (with some sweet orange oil, because despite what most people say, my face still smells like vinegar afterward).
I use this recipe for chapstick.  I love chapstick.  My love for chapstick runs deep… back to my aggressive flute playing days when I brushed my teeth at least twice a day and practiced for two to three hours.  After that much playing, my lips needed love.  
Formerly, I’ve used brands like Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, and Say Yes to Carrots.  I still really like those brands, but at 3+ bucks per tube, that was pricey.  And sometimes I loose my tubes for weeks… and then I feel badly when I buy a new tube again.  I went for several months this summer without using chapstick at all (I was trying to prove that I was tough to Jared.  I’ve since given up.  I love my chappy too much) but every time I got sun burned lips I was miserable.  After I had read through several tutorials for chapstick, I decided that was doable too, since I already had a lot of the ingredients.  I ordered some empty chappy tubes off etsy and made my own.
Not in this picture, because I don’t have any made right now: lotion.  I love lotion.  Not quite as much as chapstick, but still.  Who doesn’t love lotion?   I’ve made this recipe and it was great.  I’ll make more in the future, but I stocked up on lotion a while back (before I was struck with the save-cash-money-avoid-toxins phase) and want to use up all my commercial stuff before I make more.  I don’t think it’s good stewardship to make new stuff of stuff you already have.  Feel me?

I really like this tutorial and recipe for laundry soap (also, if you like homemade things, you should check out Julia’s blog.  She’s pretty great, and I appreciate that she’s always trying to be creative with what she has).  When I shopped for ingredients, I couldn’t find the FelsNaptha bar soap.  I’m not sure if it’s sold in Carbondale (I’m a lot more familiar with my store options now, I might be able to find it), but I read in other recipes that you can use regular bars of soap.  So, that’s what I did.  Please note, this is a recipe for top loading machines.  I know that front-loader recipes exist, but we have a top loader so I haven’t looked for them.   The clear mason jar has dishwasher soap in it, which is equal parts borax and baking soda.  We put vinegar in our rinse aid section, and this work pretty well.  

 The aqua mason jar (Mom, this is one you gave me, thanks!) has foamy soap in it.  It’s not organic, but it’s a money saver.  Tutorial for foamy soap here.  Tutorial for mason jar soap dispenser here.  The little glass jar with a latch has a basic sugar scrub for my fingers that I keep next to my kitchen sink.  I really like to use it after I get dough stuck to my fingers.

That’s it, folks!  

I’m not sure I’m actually a hippie, but we’re saving cash money and avoiding a lot of toxin loaded stuff.

Two notes:  
First, it does take a little money to get started.  It’ll probably seem like it’s more expensive at first.  For example, the conditioner recipe I use calls for both guar gum and xanthan gum, both of which are pretty pricey.  But, I use a 1/2 a teaspoon per batch, so it will last a loooooooooooooooooong time, so we’re still saving money.  It pays off in the long run… we payed $30(including the glass jar) for our laundry detergent ingredients in the beginning of August and haven’t gone through half of the ingredients yet and I’ve made four batches.  (There has to be a Dutch grandmother, somewhere, cheering me on!)

Second, lots of people tell me they just don’t have time for this sort of thing.  I appreciate that I might have more time than the usual stay at home mom or overworked student.  But, I would firmly respond that it does not take as much time as you think.  I made a fresh back of laundry detergent last night, it took me about ten minutes.  I did it while I was wiping down counters and putting dishes in the dishwasher.  The laundry detergent is the most time consuming recipe I use… the rest are just measuring and pouring.  

Okay, three notes.  If you’re looking for more recipes, I have a whole pinterest folder for Body Goods.    Check it out.  I’m currently working on a new body wash for Jared… we’ll see how he likes it (equal parts challenging to make something that smells manly and is a consistency he’ll approve of.  He likes his skin to be ashy and dry, so I have to avoid moisturizers)…  

Let me know if you make any of these, or have any other recipes you think I should try.  Happy Monday, everyone!

4 thoughts on “How I’ve Become a Hippie… or Something

  1. scare,wow, this is seriously inspirational…and kind of made my head hurt (well, i've been having headaches so that could explain it.)you should sell this stuff on your etsy…not just to make money but to provide these things for people who really believe in them but don't have the time or energy, etc. to make their own. seriously, i think you have a gold mine here. or, you could sell it at cost and still make a lot of people really happy…and clean.good work. i miss your shenanigans.k-diz


  2. Ha ha! Yay! I like trying stuff, saving money, and having a Dutch heritage! I'm about to start a new section in my index card recipe box called "body goods." Thanks, Mary, for doing all the research for me. That's the part I DON'T have time for- pouring and mixing is a breeze.


  3. I looove you Mary! I hope I gave you a recipe or encouraged you to try the oil cleansing method, because it has saved me lots of money for a long time. I am excited about some of these other ideas! Have you seen/tried any recipes for facial exfoliating?Sandy Smith (via Jason's facebook account-heehee)


  4. Thanks for the love, y'all. K-diz. You're fantastic. Thanks for the encouragement–I'm not ready to rock another etsy store yet, but I'll keep it in mind:). Also, I miss you shenanigans. I stalk you via your blog and facebook frequently. Rutka,I'm really glad that you left this note after your fb message. If it makes a difference, I just use regular oatmeal for the facewash that I grind in our coffee grinder. Aldi sells Old Fashioned Oat for a couple bucks. Huzzah!I'm excited to see you again… someday. If not this semester, then next, for sure.Sandy,you're great. I don't remember us talking about the oil cleansing method but I'm so happy you use it! I've done a little messing around with some homemade facial exfoliants… I tried straight up baking soda once. I've read about people using old fashioned or steel cut oats. The oatmeal/baking soda mixture I use just calls for regular oatmeal that you grind (I use our coffee grinder) so it still has a pretty good texture to it. I like it because it exfoliates, cleans and moisturizes in one fell swoop. Perhaps we should see one another over Christmas break while swing up for a visit? I would like that very mucho.


Leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s