The things that really REALLY work for me and which I would not only say are as good as chemical alternatives but are actually better (seriously better) are as follows:
Oil cleansing - can't recommend this enough. It removes make-up, dirt and grime without drying and it's simplicity it's self. Simply run the hottest tap water into a basin (do I need to say put the plug in??) and soak your facecloth in it. Meanwhile, dip your fingers into some olive oil (organic please, the price difference is negligible as lasts for ages) or coconut or almond oil - and then massage your skin, even over your eye lids, anywhere you have make-up and general dirt build up. Leave for sixty seconds, then ring out your hot wash cloth, hold it close to your face for another 30 seconds then use it to gently massage away the oil, taking all the dirt with you. It also leave your skin feeling soft, and at a pinch you won't need anything else.
Honey cleansing - I love also, and tend to use when away as I can take my bottle of squeezy honey
My next favourite thing is my salt spray toner. It's just like that crisp sea breeze that wakes you up like an enjoyable slap in the face - if you can have such a thing!
1 cup of distilled water or pre-boiled strong green team which I prefer.
1 tablespoon sea salt
pinch of epsom salt
Essential oils for scent – I use lime, but mint would be good also.
Add salt and epsom salt to warm tea and stir until salt is completely dissolved.
Add essential oils if using and store in a glass jar or spray bottle, you can swab it on or spray, but I like the spray for added zing!
Ingredients:225 grams in total of Orange flower water + aloe vera gel
225 grams in total of oil, I use a mixture of coconut oil, almond oil , 35 grams of white bees wax, 75 grams coco butter and rose-hip oil(15 ml) and squeeze in some vitamin e capsules, about 6 in total.
Essential Oils – 5 drops your choice - lime again!
In a double boiler (or a bowl over a pan of simmering water) melt all the oils (solid & liquid) together.
Pour the oils into a blender or, into another container if using a stick-blender. Let the oils cool to room temperature.
Start the blender – then slowly pour the waters in – at some point the blender noise will change and you’ll notice that you have cream! Keep blending to incorporate all of the water. You can also blend the cream by hand, but be ready for a workout!
Add the drops of essential oil, and stir to disperse throughout the cream.
Scoop the cream into sterilized jars. Label the jars and don’t forget to include the date, but this lasts me about six weeks so I've always used it before it goes off.
Then there's this : Beach hair spray -it's a volumising spray to replace hair spray.
2 tablespoons epsom salts (or more for extra texture)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (optional but adds stiffness)
1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
a few drops of almond oil or jajoba oil
optional: a few drops of essential oils or a spritz of your favorite perfume for scent- Lavender and citrus are great options
optional: 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon vodka or alcohol- if you want to lighten hair (the lemon juice lightens and the alcohol preserves)
How to Make:
Put the tea in a bowl and add the epsom salts, sea salt, aloe vera, oil, scent and lemon juice/vodka (if using). Blend until epsom salts and sea salt are dissolved. Store in the fridge and decant into spray bottles to use. Will last 3-4 months or longer.
Spray on damp hair and scrunch with a towel to dry for loose beach waves.
Spray on dry hair and on roots for volume and texture without the waves.
If your hair is straight and thin and you want all-day waves: Wash hair the night before and spray hair with Beach Spray while still damp. Then, either french braid into pigtails or wrap in a tight scrunched bun on top of your head. and leave overnight. By morning, your hair should be dry. Spritz with a little more spray and take out the braid/bun. Voila- all day beach waves. Spray with additional spray and scrunch if you want more stiffness.
The picture is of me going to a wedding having set my dead straight hair with the spray as above.
It's also a great way to use up those dear little tins you get left with after you've eaten the mints or whatever is inside them.
My hard core foot balm works really well too; that's just equal amounts of bees wax, olive oil and coconut oil with rosemary essential oil - my feet have remained soft and crack free all summer, just massage it in before you go to bed each night. Do be careful though, it takes a while to sink in hence doing it over night, don't try and walk on polished floors having just applied it!
Now the DIDN'T work ones:
I've tried three methods now and they all leave my hair feeling like rubbish. Combine this with trying to use oil as a conditioner by leaving it on over night and the results have not been good. The shampoo refused to wash out the oil, and when I gave up got out of the shower, I still couldn't get a comb through it. Mind you, spray it with the beach spray and it finally did comb through, but it looked greasy when dry.
I have tried organic shampoo and that's ok, so for now I may have to admit defeat and buy organic hair products. I would say that rinsing your hair in ice cold water does give it a great shine, the only problem is getting modern showers to run cold enough, and the slight fear factor of putting your head in ice cold water - but I've taken to having a basin with iced water in it waiting and doing a final dunk.
Make-up - let's get this clear. No, cocoa powder does not work as a bronzer, eye shadow or eye liner. Neither does beetroot powder work as a blusher, and neither will tint your lip balm in any meaningful way, it certainly won't turn it into a lipstick.
Corn flour though makes a great face powder, and as I'm about corn flour colour, I use this over my face cream as a base and don't need foundation at all, but if you're of any deeper colour than I am, this may not work for you.
Body wash - so far, not too good either. I don't use it much, but I have found very few home made alternatives. The nearest I've got is this:
1/4 cup oil (coconut, almond, olive etc)
2-3 tsp shea butter
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 liquid castille soap
vitamin e caps
You melt the oils with the shea butter in a double boiler, then whisk in the other ingredients off the heat for several minuets. Let it cool, whisking again if it separates, and store in a pump dispenser.
This was originally a shaving soap, and it does work well as that, only it's a bit oily as a body wash. I think the best option will be a soap, so that's my next adventure......