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Discovering you want to do it

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, shifting my mindset towards "zero waste" has resulted in incredible insights into myself. Aside from discovering there is a lot I can make myself, I have also realized that I have unwittingly adopted beliefs about how I am supposed to spend my free time.

Allow me to explain. When I started telling people that I was making my own coconut milk, shampoo and beauty products, many of them said: "but you barely have any time! You are a hands-on mom of two little ones, you are devoted to your job, you insist on having a super clean home, and you cook every night. When exactly are you going to make all this stuff?"

I understand that reaction because it was also my initial thought when I started reading Zero Waste Home. How did Bea Johnson find the time to make everything herself?

Later that week, as I was making coconut milk after the kids went to bed, I started thinking.

Yes, making my own coconut milk is added work that could easily be avoided by buying it ready-made, but is giving 10 minutes of my time to the task a big deal? No, I decided. It wasn’t eating into my sleeping time or even my pre-bedtime routine time. Also, the milk tastes so much better when it’s homemade and it contains no added ingredients or preservatives. It turns out there is also confusion as to whether milk cartons are recyclable. I have contacted my trash pickup provider about this three times and have yet to hear back from them on this particular question.

I then thought, besides, what am I supposed to be doing after the kids go to bed?

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have spent most of my life believing that after a long day of work, one should spend time in front of the TV watching the news or a show. And for the longest time, if I didn’t get to do that, I felt like I wasn’t able to truly relax and unwind.


I don’t find the activity particularly relaxing or even that enjoyable. Of course, when I get into a TV show, I like to binge watch it like everyone else. Aside from those instances, the majority of the time, my husband and I are constantly searching for something to watch and then settling for the better option. It’s not thoroughly enjoyable and not truly relaxing.

What relaxes me more than anything, what helps clear my mind after a long day, is making things, especially when those things add to my happiness down the road. This includes making coconut milk, homemade shampoo, prepping the next day’s breakfast, etc.

It’s so much like my experience with cooking. You wouldn’t believe it nowadays because I think nothing of making elaborate meals from scratch, but I used to detest cooking. It took me years of doing it by necessity to suddenly find myself enjoying it. Now, I love cooking so much that for my birthday, I ask my husband and my mom to take the kids and give me time to make my own three-course birthday dinner!

These two examples make me wonder about all the other habits and perspectives I have acquired unwittingly or that no longer serve me well. It also makes me want to give new activities a good try before deciding whether I like them and to really sink into new routines before determining if they work for me.

So, with this long-winded intro, here are the beauty recipes I have been using lately.

Facial Toner

When I told my mom I wanted to try making my own beauty products, she immediately rattled off a list of recipes from her aunt who was known for her perfect skin. This is one of them. It tones your skin, helps with discoloration and provides just the right amount of exfoliation.

-1/4 bunch of organic parsley

-1-2 cups of purified water

-the juice of half a lemon

Put the 1/4 bunch of parsley in a saucepan. Cover it with the purified water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain the liquid into a heatproof container. Allow the mixture to cool.

Once it has cooled, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.

Store in the refrigerator.

Apply this toner to your face after washing. Use it only at night. Make sure you apply sunscreen every morning. I like Badgers sunscreen for its ingredients.

If you try it, please write me at and let me know if your skin feels super soft and smooth. Mine does.

Yogurt Mask

This one is a well-known recipe, but worth including because it was also used by my great-aunt. Brewer’s Yeast is a nutritional powerhouse. When applied topically, it helps clear acne. In my family, it was also used for mature skin to keep it subtle and fresh.

1 tablespoon organic full-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast

Combine in a bowl. Apply to a clean face. When it hardens, rinse with warm water.


I have been using Wellness Mama’s recipe for shampoo.

¼ cup of Dr Bronner’s Soap

¼ cup of homemade coconut milk (before you add the maple syrup and vanilla) but you can also use canned

20 drops of essential oil

Mix in a container and use about a teaspoon at a time. (I use about a tablespoon at a time).

IMPORTANT: You must rinse with an acidic rinse after using this shampoo. I do either 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water or 1-2 tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Organic Hair Rinse in 1 cup of water. I use about ¼-½ a cup per hair wash. Dr. Bronner’s rinse is an excellent option if you don’t like the smell of apple cider vinegar. Rinse either of them completely out of your hair.

What I love about this shampoo and conditioner combo:

  1. The way my hair looks. I have a good amount of hair that is wavy, so I have natural volume, but it is thin. This means it frizzes very easily. I don’t know what it is about this combination of shampoo and conditioner, but my hair dries into really nice, soft, beachy waves with no frizz and no need for any product whatsoever. This is unprecedented for me. It feels incredible to have frizz-free hair that is not weighed down or sticky/crunchy/waxy. It also astounds me that I can brush my hair anytime I want and it just springs back into its wavy texture.

  2. No more tangles! Because of the texture of my hair, I used to spend at least 5 minutes detangling my hair after washing it--even when I used a lot of conditioner. Now, I can pass a comb through it very easily after showering and it doesn’t tangle throughout the day either.

  3. The smell. I like switching it up by using different essential oils, but my favorite is when I add Joy from Young Living. It smells like roses!

  4. The consistency. I never expected this as Dr. Bronner’s soap don’t produce lather on their own, but they do when combined with an agent like coconut milk. And it actually feels delicious to me!

  5. Absolutely no weird chemicals

  6. Reduced waste

  7. Super cost effective

What isn’t great:

  1. I was reluctant to share this recipe/method because it’s not foolproof. If you decide to try this method, read this article before you do. In my case, I did experience a bit of waxiness the first week and a half. I had to tinker with my formula a bit. I used more of the rinse one day, then less again. Ultimately, I realized I was using too much of the shampoo. I am sure my hair was also detoxing. It didn't bother me enough to stop plowing through, but I am sure it would deter some.

  2. Not travel-friendly. I don’t think I want to be making homemade coconut milk for my shampoo while at a hotel. Since I am going away for much of June, I will be trying Dr. Bronner’s bar soap on my hair. It’s supposed to be an excellent option in hard water and removes the need for the coconut milk since the bar soaps contain more oil. I will report back on how it goes!!

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