Products We Love

Still Loving Our Safety Razors

It’s been almost a year since we switched from conventional, disposable razors to the old school shaving method with safety razors. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We’ve saved a ton of waste in the form of disposable blades and shavers over the past year and I’m certain we’ve saved money through the entire venture too.

For those new to my blog, this is what safety razors look like:

IMG_8602

We bought both shavers, the stand, bowl, brush, 3 soaps, and extra blades, all for $160 last May. Don has barely scratched the surface of his soap supply (see below), even though he shaves every day, and we have TONS of extra blades left (top of photo below.)

shavesoaps

Soaps and brush from Seattle Sundries – http://seattlesundries.com/

$160 might seem like a lot of money towards shaving but look at the average prices for just a couple of conventional razors and the blades:

$9 Schick Hydro 5 razor for men (this is one of the few that has less expensive blades than some)
$27 for 12 blade refills (not recyclable BTW)
$2.50-$3 per can of shave gel/cream (also full of chemicals and synthetic compounds) [double that if you’re buying women’s shave cream as well]
$9 Schick Intuition for women
$42 for 12 blade refills (also not recyclable)

These numbers can add up fairly quickly. Depending on how quickly you go through your blades and shave cream(s), you might be upwards of $100/yr for the disposable method. We often found ourselves replacing the shaver itself after a year or so too for one reason or another – and all of that stuff goes right in the landfill. ūüė¶

Our stainless steel safety razors are longer lasting and the blades are recyclable (check your local rules). The soaps from Seattle Sundries are all natural and Don highly recommends them for shaving for men. I use natural-made soaps as well: Grandma’s Lye Soap, all natural soaps by Kreationzbyme on Etsy, and Dr. Bronner‚Äôs Magic Pure Castille Liquid Soaps, to name a few that have worked for me.

Yes, it took us both a little bit of time to adjust to the new razors. We both had to re-learn how to shave, just a little bit. But now that it’s commonplace for us both, we whip through our shaving routine just as quickly as we did before and our safety razors give us a much closer shave than any other. As a women, I’m able to shave all the necessary areas without any problems. I’ve had a couple of nicks but that’s no different from when I used disposables. Truly, I recommend it to everyone out there.

Check out my original post for more links on how to shave old school and I’ve included a few new links below. There are also tons of how-tos on YouTube as well. Just search ‘safety razor’ or ‘safety razor shaving’ to get started. ūüėČ

People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing.
~ John Porter

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Organic Hair Oil Review and Giveaway

**UPDATE** This giveaway has ended. The winner has been notified. 

I jumped at the chance to try another Tropical Traditions product recently.¬†I selected their unscented organic hair oil. (I don’t really like fragrances in my skin and body care products but they do carry the oil in lavender and rosemary scent as well.) The bottle is the same size as TT’s Moisturizing Lotion (which I still LOVE btw!) Hands down, best lotion I’ve ever had.

IMG_0603

The suggested uses for the hair oil include: (from TT’s website)

For dry scalp: Rub into hair and scalp at least 30 minutes before showering, or before bed at night. Wear a shower cap or towel to protect bedding.

As a conditioner: As a deep conditioner, work through scalp and hair before washing. Leave in for 15 minutes to overnight. For a leave-in conditioner, work a small amount through wet hair before styling and drying.

Shine Serum: Rub a small amount in the palms of your hands and gently run over dry hair. Scrunch for curly hair or rake for straight hair.

I’ve primarily experimented with option #2. I’ve rubbed some through my hair 15-30 minutes before showering and washing it out. Once, I left it in overnight as a leave-in conditioner and washed it out in the morning. I also have used a small amount on wet hair after showering/washing, and then letting my hair air dry, which gives it a slightly windblown, natural look.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed any drastic changes but I am pleased with the results. I feel like my hair feels softer and looks healthier. I don’t use it every day and I would not recommend it as it might make your hair too oily, especially if you have naturally oily hair. I tend to wash my hair every 2-4 days depending on my activity and so in turn, I only use the oil periodically, not even every time I wash my hair. I’ve had the bottle pictured above for about two months and I’ve probably used it less than a dozen times. A little goes a long way; I don’t think I’ll need to replace my supply for quite some time.

And now it is time to pay it forward to one lucky reader! See below for giveaway rules and entry details. But first, if you are new to Tropical Traditions, I highly recommend you stop over to their website to learn more. Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils here:  What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality¬†coconut oil. (We cook with it almost every day!) Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many¬†uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of¬†buying coconut oil online. You can also check out TT’s FAQ page here.

Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, you can read about the health benefits of coconut oil here.

Giveaway Rules: 

You must 18+ to enter and the contest is open to US and Canadian residents. (Sorry international readers!)

To enter, simply subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here (which will keep you in the know on sales and promotions so you can buy products when they are discounted) AND leave a comment below telling me which fragrance you would prefer to sample Рunscented, lavender, or rosemary. (If you are already a subscriber, just say so in your comment.)

This giveaway will close at midnight on October 31st. I will use random.org to choose the winner and will notify the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.

Cheers!

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
~ Ralph Marston

Important Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Full Disclosure: If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Roughing It. Sort of.

We went camping last weekend at the Army MWR Toledo Bend Recreation Site. We rented a yurt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The yurts don’t have running water but they DO have electricity. Including, a mini fridge, A/C unit, microwave, coffee pot, and lamp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
That was a LOT more than I was expecting! I had a heads up about the fridge (which I thought it would be smaller) and the microwave. But I didn’t realize we’d have all those other amenities as well. Still. Felt a little like roughing it compared to staying in our timeshares. LOL

Even though we had a fridge, our own fridge/freezer cooler is laid out better inside so we actually didn’t use the fridge provided. But we did plug in our ARB Freezer. NICE.

We had great weather the first two days/nights. We made dinner with our Cobb Grill Friday night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Don is working on remember how to set it up.
Good thing we printed off instructions on how to fit it all back into the bag too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We made brats. They turned out GOOD. Even the simplest food can taste good when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.

The yurts come with covered picnic areas as well as the porch in the previous photo. They are actually a pretty nice setup.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And the swimming beach was a stones throw from our porch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Don went down to check the fishing from shore (see his orange shirt?) but it was too grassy close to shore for fishing. We did head down for some swimming enjoyment Saturday evening. It was great to enjoy the warm water. Pretty soon it will be too cold to want to do any swimming.

I hassled Don for a couple of more photos before dark. ūüôā

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That night we remembered how to play cribbage. And realized that we could watch some tv previously downloaded to Don’s smartphone. Yeah. Roughing it. ūüôā

Saturday we rented a bass boat and spent a few hours fishing on the lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This little guy wriggled out of Don’s hands just as I clicked the photo.
He was ready to get back into that water!

We caught lots of little guys, too small to keep, but good for enjoying the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yep. Tiny. Hey, at least I caught something!
I outfished Don the night before, fishing from the dock after dark. But he outdid me on the boat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not sure what he was laughing at but love it when he laughs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It rained Sunday and we dodged back and forth from the yurt to the truck to pack and leave but all in all we had a good weekend. I even got a chance to take some sunset pictures that I think turned out pretty awesome!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes I Suppose Some Might Call Me a Hippy

Someone asked me once in the recent past if I was a hippy and I jokingly replied, “In what way, specifically?” I was giving the poor guy a hard time because, yes, in many ways I suppose you could call me a hippy. Or crunchy. Or granola. Although none of these terms accurately defines all my values and beliefs.

According to The Free Dictionary, a hippy is defined as:

A person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society¬†[which does describe me], especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles. [This second half though, not so much. I don’t ‘advocate extreme liberalism’.]

So, what about crunchy. Well, according to the Urban Dictionary:

An adjective used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc. 

That sounds more like me. But, I find that this term is generally used in reference to parenting style and encompasses choices that, due to their relation to parenting, don’t fall into the scope of my world, such as cloth diapers, baby-led weaning, home births, etc. Which, for new readers, is not part of The Journey of Two…we’ve made the choice not to have kids.

So, that leaves us with granola. According to the Urban Dictionary granola is:

An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who will usually refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products (for health and/or environmental reasons), as well as limit consumption of what he or she does consume, as granola people are usually concerned about wasting resources. Usually buy only fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, as most exploit the environment as well as their workers, which goes against granola core values.

Again, that comes close to describing my values. I am definitely very environmentally conscious and I do take care to seek out organic or natural products as much as possible. For those relatively new to my ramblings, you might not know that I prefer the following items to more conventional products:

The Femmecup (for girls only!)

Soap Nuts – organic alternative for laundry detergent; can also be used for a variety of other things

Glee Gum Рsugar-free, all natural gum (no aspartame)

Safety Razors vs traditional disposable razors

Flip flops made from recycled plastic

JustNatural shampoo and conditioner – free from harsh chemicals

Castor Oil and Grape Seed Oil for washing my face

And a slew of other natural products that I haven’t posted about, including:

Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap

Earth Friendly Products – dish detergent and hand soap (personally; they have a LOT of other products though)

Coconut Aminos (reasons we should ALL avoid SOY in our products)

Jason toothpaste

To name a few.

So, yeah. I guess you might call me a hippy. Proud of it. ūüôā

My Chemical Free Shampoo Search

I’ve been on the hunt for a natural shampoo and conditioner product for some time. I tried the no poo¬†(no traditional/commerical shampoo) method last year. It doesn’t work for me. Whether it’s the hardness of our water in the South (it’s BAD here) or whether I’ve got the wrong balance of baking soda to vinegar, I don’t know. And after quite a few months of trying, I didn’t care anymore. LOL I just want something free from chemicals, parabens, sulfates, etc. There are LOTS of organic and natural products out there. So I started looking around and keeping my eyes out for what others use.

When I finally threw in the towel on no poo, I starting using Renpure Originals, specifically the Brazilian Keratin Straightening shampoo and conditioner. Renpure products are made in the US, tested on the family who invented them, and are relatively free of harsh chemicals. BUT they aren’t quite as organic as I’d like, according to Skin Deep, a website database that rates the chemical content of beauty products. Don’t get me wrong, Renpure has been a good product and I do believe it’s a step up from bottom shelf commercial products. I just knew I wanted something more organic and natural (and accessible) so I kept looking around.

A popular blogger (CaveGirlEats/Liz Wolfe) who happens to be the first person I learned about no poo from and who turned me on to many life-changing ideas mentioned JustNatural Organic Care products not long ago. Even though I can’t FIND the stupid post to refer to it. Maybe I’m losing my mind. Maybe she mentioned it on facebook. Idk. Regardless, someone I follow mentioned using¬†Thicker Hair Shampoo¬†by JustNaturals when traveling because it’s not easy to do no poo on the road. After much reading about JustNatural products, I decided that I wanted to give them a try.

I received my new shampoo and conditioner last week.

IMG_0390

I only wash my hair every 2-4 days, depending on activity level, so I’ve only used them twice now. But I am pleased with the results. My hair is soft and manageable. They smell pleasant, kind of like honey. And the shampoo, to my surprise, really lathers up well with very little product. You do have to remember to shake the bottle first. There was a note in the box explaining that the natural ingredients often settle and that you will get the best results if you shake the bottle before using each time.

Best of all, I’m happy to know what I’m using is:

  • alcohol free
  • chemical free
  • paraben free
  • sulfate free
  • cruelty free
  • made in the USA

You can see the full list of ingredients here if interested.

I know. It’s expensive. ($50 for the set after shipping.) But I personally believe it’s worth it to have a clean, natural product. I also don’t go through it very quickly since I don’t wash with it every. Single. Day. (Really, you don’t have to.)

My search may have stopped here or I might try another product down the road. There are plenty of other options out there if you’re looking for natural products. Another brand that has caught my eye is the Morrocco Method. And of course, you can also make your own, or go no poo altogether which is really the most inexpensive option if cost is a factor for you.¬†(No poo resources¬†here,¬†here, and¬†here¬†to get you started.)

What do you use? I’d love to hear about your experience too.

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
~ Marilyn Monroe 

(**Please note, I have not been contacted or compensated for my opinion by JustNatural or any of the other brands mentioned in this post; I simply like to share my product experiences with others.)