With all the devastating happenings in the Gulf of Mexico right now, it seems like many of us are really taking a good hard look at the oil consumption in our lives. Cutting back on driving and using gasoline are the obvious answers, but did you know that those uses really only comprise about 40% of the oil we use? I was sort of surprised by that.
According to this piece by GOOD, there is far more oil hidden in the little tiny things we use every day without thinking much about them. Their article suggests some good places to look to see if you can make some changes, including your kitchen and bathroom.
For instance, the article points out that …”ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin oil…are… derived from crude.” Reading some of the labels in the drugstore, these things are pretty much everywhere. I’ve recently talked about my switch to the coconut oil based deodorant (and I haven’t had a single stinky day since), but here are a couple of other tips for weaning yourself off petroleum based products. The bonus is that these natural alternatives are not only better for your body, but they are very economical too.
1. Hair conditioner. I know some people don’t need much more than a vinegar rinse, but given my vice of loving brightly colored hair, I need real conditioner. The hands-down best trick I have ever encountered is once again, coconut oil. Comb a little through your hair, wait 20 minutes, then shampoo. If your hair is super damaged, do it the night before and sleep in a cap. Coconut oil is easily found in most ethnic grocery stores, or any good farmer’s market.
2. Shampoo. From cutting back on washing by using cornstarch as a dry shampoo, to making your own natural shampoo, to even trying the “no poo” method, there are plenty of ways you can keep your hair looking great without petrochemicals. I personally use a pre-made natural shampoo, but stretch it as long as possible with simple rinses between washings and using a dry shampoo when I can. The bonus is that my haircolor lasts longer.
3. Facial Cleanser/Makeup Remover Olive oil. Yep, you heard me, plain old olive oil (although I recommend splurging on a really good extra virgin oil) is hands down the best makeup remover and facial cleanser you’ll ever come across. I can see a few of you cringing and thinking that has to be horrible for oily skin, but I’m here to tell you it actually has the exact opposite effect. Not only does it truly cleanse your pores, but when your skin feels hydrated, as it will after you cleanse, it has less of a need to produce it’s own oils. Your face will actually clear up. Trust me. Just rub a little bit into your skin, and then remove it with a hot cloth. You probably won’t even need moisturizer afterwards.
If you do, try a little grapeseed oil around your eyes and other problem areas. It’s full of anti-oxidants and is fabulous in the hydrating department.
4) Shaving Cream. Recently I convince my husband to give up his shaving cream and try shaving soap and a brush. He actually likes it, which is about as good a recommendation as you can get. You can buy this anywhere, or make your own if you’re adventurous, it’s so much cheaper than canned shaving cream and in addition to not containing petrochemicals, there’s almost no waste!
The other place where you can make a big difference is in your kitchen. Right underneath your sink where you probably keep those bottles of cleaning supplies. Again, according to GOOD:
“Many household cleaning products are laced with petrochemicals that are as bad for you as they are for the planet. “
Making your own with a few simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils is quick, cheap, effective, and won’t leave you running for your gas mask when it’s time to clean the shower. This post is a great place to get a few recipes. There are more over here, or check your local craft fairs, as there are plenty of people who’ll make them for you.
(edited to add: Kelli suggested another good recipe site in comments)
The GOOD article lists quite a few more things, plus the comments section is full of even more discussion. Check it out and see how much hidden oil you can remove from your life!