Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Off the Grid DIY Homemade Beauty Products

Looking at me you wouldn't think that I don't use shampoo, soap, deodorant or toothpaste. But it's true.

I do not want to support ANY cosmetic companies. I don't have time to read every single label and then research each company until I find one that I know does not:

a. Test on animals or use dead animals in ANY of their products
b. Pollute the environment
c. Use chemicals that are suspected to be linked to cancer.

Do all shampoos and cosmetics contain chemicals that may be linked to cancer? No, not all.
Do some companies continue to use chemicals that have been linked to cancer? Yes, many do. Some studies say they are linked, but others say it hasn't been proven. Can I prove it? That these chemical ingredients cause cancer? No, I can't.
Do I think that, were it true, the companies would cover up that fact just to continue to make money? Yes, I do.
Just like Big Tobacco and Oprah, cosmetic companies are businesses. Their number one concern is profit and if a couple of people die, so be it. They do NOT care about you. Even if they say that they do. You have to research and make informed decisions. Choosing what chemical to slather on your body by which commercial you like best is not very smart.

I have to consider, do I want to take the chance? Is it necessary for me to use shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste, bar soap, make up, hair dye, lotions and a million other products that contain ingredients that may or may not cause cancer?

I do not and it is not. I can opt out.

I can do without most of the things on that list and I can make safe substitutions at home for the rest. Usually cheaper and a lot less scary.


I don't use the stuff. It strips the natural protective oils from your scalp. Then your scalp has to work overtime to produce enough oil to make up for that. Then your hair gets oily looking and you need to wash it again. It's a vicious circular cycle. After a couple of weeks without the stuff your scalp normalizes and doesn't look greasy. I rinse my hair with warm/hot water every other day or so.

Homemade Herbal Shampoo/Bodywash.

About 2 cups of stinging nettle leaves, simmer these in about 3 cups of water until the water is a dark greenish-brown.

Drain off 1.5 cups of the tea and mix with
1/2 cup unscented castile soap
2 tbs each witch hazel and oil such as almond, sunflower, sesame, olive or jojoba.
1 tsp salt

Optionally, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I put 30 drops of bergamot oil.

Mix all together and put in a bottle with a cap. I used an old soda bottle. This product is thinner than commercial shampoo and it doesn't produce as much suds. The man has been using it as shampoo for a month and he says he likes it just fine. It turns a darker color with time, this is natural and will not affect the performance of the shampoo.


You may or may not know that I am No-Poo and have been since August of 2008. When my ends start to get dry I use jojoba oil on my long curly hair. I apply in the shower, when hair is wet, combing it thru with a wide tooth comb.

I have used apple cider vinegar (ACV) as conditioner but I didn't notice any difference in my hair. I think ACV is better for straight hair, mine is quite curly.


This stuff scares the crap out of me. I am not letting it anywhere near me if I can help it.

MY sunscreen is:
Parasol or umbrella
Use your head! Plan ahead and don't stay in the sun too long! If you do get a sunburn, apply ACV. You will smell like a pickle but the pain will be greatly reduced.

Many people have a phobia of smelling like they naturally smell. This is mostly due to deodorant commercials. People who eat a lot of non-nutritional foods and animal products generally smell pretty bad but if you are vegan and eat whole foods, you will smell nice naturally. After you sweat a little bit your armpits get an odor. This is natural, people. Don't try to kill every germ you see.
Here are some deodorant options that haven't been linked to breast cancer:
After you cut a lemon and squeeze the juice out, pop the rind in a air tight container and keep it in the fridge. Rub that under your arms every day after your shower and in between if you need a touch up. You will smell like a Goddess. The rind will keep up to a week, use your own discretion on how long it lasts.

A pinch of baking soda lightly dusted under your arms will absorb odor quite well.
Some people are quite sensitive and break out in a rash from pure baking soda. If this happens to you, try this recipe:

Powder Deodorant

1 part baking soda
1 part or more cornstarch
Mix the two and dust under the arms with your hands or use a powder puff to keep sweet smelling. adjust the amount of cornstarch to your needs. Add a couple of drops of essential oil if desired.


Baking soda. Or just plain water.

Mint Flavored Toothpowder

1/4 cup baking soda
1-2 drops spearmint oil
Put in a jar and mix well
To use: Pour powder out of the jar into your hand and then dip wet brush into palm. If you dip the wet brush in the bottle it will clump up and turn not good.

Bar Soap

Many commercial bar soaps are made with animal by products. Many of the companies that make the soap test their products on animals. I don't have time to go around reading all the labels and researching companies. Therefore, I use none of them.
My daily shower is: me and some hot water and a pumice for my heels. I love having no bottles in my shower. If I am so dirty that I need something to get the grime and grease off of my body, I will use the shampoo that I made above, or just plain castile soap.

Hair dye

Really? Are we still so oppressed and insecure that we need to make our hair a different color to be happy? I lump this in with all make up. Also anal bleaching. It's addictive, counter productive, a waste of money and potentially cancer causing and I stay as far away from it as I can. I don't have any subs for these, they are totally useless, IMO.


I use oil. A drop of jojoba and a little bit of water goes a long way.

WIP, will be updated from time to time, check back!


I am not a doctor, not a professional beauty expert. The opinions expressed here are just that, opinions. The tips I have provided here may not work for you. This is just a memoir of my own experiences and should not replace the advice of a physician or beautician.


Maria said...

I, too, make my own beauty products! I totally agree with you; this way I know what's in the products I'm using on my body.

Rawkin' said...

Yer my hero, ZB!
I don't use lotions or sunscreen or gawdforbid, perfume...I think that stuff should be banned as a chemical pollutant. I did the no'poo thing for a few months last year, washing my hair with avocado and acv, and will enjoy it again, the further into raw I go, the more that stuff naturally wants to happen. I wash my face with very cold water,and that's it, no creams. I brush my teeth with baking soda (I was going to shorten it to initials and made myself laugh) and I use a stone/crystal deoderant. I love this way of being and I really admire your take on it. Thank you for the inspiration! :)


Kristen's Raw said...

I love this post! Great recipes :)))

I love using baking soda on my teeth.

Great sunscreen list! :)


Zucchini Breath said...

Way to go, Maria! We have to take charge and not let these companies poison the planet and ourselves! Keep up the good fight.

Rawkin, Aww, thanks so much! You are my hero, I read you every day for inspirations. Your compliment means a lot to me.

Kristen, you are so awesome! I hear you grew out your hair to your natural color? I bet you look stunning!

Elizabeth said...

Interesting list!

I've never heard of anal bleaching.. um... wow. Really? People DO that!?

Who would even notice???

Zucchini Breath said...

Elizabeth, I think it's a porn thing.

NSFW due to two photos of anuses. Anii?

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The Philosophy of Animal Rights by Tom Regan

The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap, and exploit in a variety of ways, have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it. What happens to them matters to them. Each has a life that fares better or worse for the one whose life it is.

That life includes a variety of biological, individual, and social needs. The satisfaction of these needs is a source of pleasure, their frustration or abuse, a source of pain. In these fundamental ways, the nonhuman animals in labs and on farms, for example, are the same as human beings. And so it is that the ethics of our dealings with them, and with one another, must acknowledge the same fundamental moral principles.

At its deepest level, human ethics is based on the independent value of the individual: The moral worth of any one human being is not to be measured by how useful that person is in advancing the interest of other human beings. To treat human beings in ways that do not honor their independent value is to violate that most basic of human rights: the right of each person to be treated with respect.

The philosophy of animal rights demands only that logic be respected. For any argument that plausibly explains the independent value of human beings implies that other animals have this same value, and have it equally. And any argument that plausibly explains the right of humans to be treated with respect, also implies that these other animals have this same right, and have it equally, too.

It is true, therefore, that women do not exist to serve men, blacks to serve whites, the poor to serve the rich, or the weak to serve the strong. The philosophy of animal rights not only accepts these truths, it insists upon and justifies them.

But this philosophy goes further. By insisting upon and justifying the independent value and rights of other animals, it gives scientifically informed and morally impartial reasons for denying that these animals exist to serve us.

Once this truth is acknowledged, it is easy to understand why the philosophy of animal rights is uncompromising in its response to each and every injustice other animals are made to suffer.

It is not larger, cleaner cages that justice demands in the case of animals used in science, for example, but empty cages: not "traditional" animal agriculture, but a complete end to all commerce in the flesh of dead animals; not "more humane" hunting and trapping, but the total eradication of these barbarous practices.

For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not "reformed" slavery that justice demanded, not "reformed" child labor, not "reformed" subjugation of women. In each of these cases, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform injustice is to prolong injustice.

The philosophy of animal rights demands this same answer - abolition - in response to the unjust exploitation of other animals. It is not the details of unjust exploitation that must be changed. It is the unjust exploitation itself that must be ended, whether on the farm, in the lab, or among the wild, for example. The philosophy of animal rights asks for nothing more, but neither will it be satisfied with anything less.

Haiku Disclaimer

This works for me now
Find your own path and never
Take advice from fools

Insprirational Vegan Quotes

1. Animals that live in the wild kill other animals in order to eat. If I also lived in the wild would it still be inhumane to kill an animal to eat?? What about if I raised chickens in my backyard and cultivated their eggs for my breakfast omelet, is this inhumane?
A: Because animal flesh and products are not needed for human nutrition killing and eating them is inhumane in any circumstances. No kind of slavery is humane no matter how well the slave is treated. You can't respect someone and then exploit her for her eggs/milk/honey.

2. Do animal rights moralists take into consideration the domestication of animals i.e. history of farming, farming as the back bone to the establishment of the first civilizations. There’s not much literature about the reasons animals have become a central part of human life?
A: History is no excuse to continue to exploit non humans. Animals are not needed for human nutrition. That is a myth perpetuated by industries which make money exploiting non human animals.

3. Is domestication against animals rights? If so, does that make having a dog or cat or horse inhumane?
A: At this time there are a lot of domesticated animals that need tending. Most domesticated animals are just that. They would not exist as we know them if not for domestication. Breeding animals for pets or for food is unnecessary and inhumane. Adopt animals, have them spayed or neutered. Give them a comfortable home where they can live out their lives without being exploited. With time the numbers of "non-food" and "food" animals will go down and eventually there will be no more domesticated food animals or pets.

Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual; a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order. It changes her life and the lives of those with whom she shares this vision of nonviolence. Ethical veganism is anything but passive; on the contrary, it is the active refusal to cooperate with injustice. ~Gary L. Francione

Merely by ceasing to eat meat

Merely by practicing restraint
We have the power to end a painful industry

We do not have to bear arms to end this evil
We do not have to contribute money
We do not have to sit in jail or go to
meetings or demonstrations or
engage in acts of civil disobedience
Most often, the act of repairing the world,
of healing mortal wounds,
is left to heroes and tzaddikim (holy people)
Saints and people of unusual discipline
But here is an action every mortal can
perform--surely it is not too difficult! ~Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews for Animal Rights

The ten commandments of Mother Earth

1. Thou shall love and honor the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.
2. Thou shall keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.
3. Thou shall not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
4. Thou shall give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.
5. Thou shall educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the Earth when we live in harmony.
6. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth's riches upon weapons of war.
7. Thou shall not pursue profit at the Earth's expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.
8. Thou shall not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.
9. Thou shall not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.
10. Thou shall consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth's bounty. ~Ernest Callenbach

"This is what passes for "food" in America today: A collection of nutritionally-obliterated, hormonally-enhanced, chemically-adulterated shapes of refined whatever, all hyped up to make them seem like real food when in fact they're just agricultural byproducts devoid of any real nutrition." ~Mike Adams

"I like not eating animals. Animals are our friends and we shouldn't eat them. Animals need us to take care of them and save them. My mom cooks us vegetables and pretend hamburgers and hotdogs and chicken nuggets and they are healthy for you and taste good! I told all my friends 'you should NOT eat animals!' I hit my friend Levi because he was eating a ham sandwich and wouldn't stop. Then mom said that Levi is an animal too and we have to be nice to all animals even if they eat other animals. I said sorry to Levi, but I wish he would not eat animals anymore. I also like not eating animals because my mom says it helps the earth, like recycling." ~Jacob, 6 yrs old

You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.~Anthony Robbins

It only takes a spark
~Daniel Andreas San Diego

Some people are still going to want to eat meat. We do agree though that vegetarianism is a healthier diet.
~David Stroud (of the American Meat Institute)

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts ;

even one thing befall them: as the one dies, so dies the other. They have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows that the spirit of man goes upward, and the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth? ~Ecclesiastes iii., 19, 20, 21.

There is no such thing as cruelty free slaughter or humane killing.
No slave is happy no matter what the owner tells you.
Go Vegan NOW!
Do it for the cows that have their babies taken away again and again for milk production.
Do it for the chickens who are de-beaked for egg production.
Do it for the pigs who have to nurse their babies on concrete floors.
Do it for the millions of humans who don't know any better.
Do it for the planet.
Do it for your health.

Do it because there is NO SUCH THING as humane slaughter.~
Judith Barnes

Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals.

~Theodor Adorno

If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages.
~Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen), author (1885-1962)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
~Anne Frank

If "rights" exist at all— and both feeling and usage indubitably prove that they do exist —they cannot be consistency awarded to men and denied to animals, since the same sense of justice and compassion apply in both cases.
~Henry Salt, 1892

You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, Because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother's attractive, but I have photographs of her.
~Ellen DeGeneres

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
~Leo Tolstoy

Raw foods create living bodies, and cooked foods create dying bodies
~Sabrina Aird, Grass Root co-owner

You say it’s my personal choice, it’s not a personal choice when you’re ruining my planet and you’re eating my friends
~ Dave Warwak

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women created for men.
~ Alice Walker

Thou Shalt Not Kill
~ The Christian Bible

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy; if the world were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it very hard to plan the day.
~E. B. White

Don’t want to ruin the oceans? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the soy industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like monoculture? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the petroleum industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like greenhouse gas emission? Go vegan.
Don’t like animal exploitation and cruelty? Go vegan.
Want environmental sustainability? Go vegan.
Want to feed the hungry? Go vegan.
Want to save water? Go vegan.
Want to cut air and water pollution? Go vegan.
Want to slow global warming? Go vegan.
Want to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer? Go vegan.
There is no absolutely single personal change that the average person can make that has a better impact on the environment than going vegan.
~Dan Cudahy

Honey is not vegan. It is an animal product, it came from the inside of an animal that produced it, not for you to sweeten your tea, but for a baby bee to live and grow on. Using honey or products made with beeswax are not on the vegan menu.

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

~Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived.

How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?

It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless,tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace.

But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches.

No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.~Plutarch

I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil.~Charles Mayo (founder of the Mayo Clinic)

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.~Leonardo Da Vinci