|My Body Is a Self-Cleaning Organism: Natural Body-Cleansing Tips|
|Tuesday, 02 October 2012 00:00 | Written by Tonya Kay | Blog Entry|
Dreadlocks taught me everything I need to know about natural hygiene. What started out as a hairstyle seven years ago, quickly turned into a lifestyle. My dreadlocks were a golden ticket into new communities—Mendicino hippies, East Village funkier-than-thous and South Caribbean Rastas all welcomed me with winks and open arms. Not because I looked so overwhelmingly cool, but because of the silent understanding that I had transcended social standards, questioned unspoken authority and stopped washing my hair.
To keep my white-girl, straight-hair naughty knotting, I don't wash or brush it. Heck, I rarely even get it wet. When I reveal this secret to the hoards of admiring strangers that approach me everyday, their faces change from compliment to concern—as if I had gone Goddess to Gollum in one sentence. But I explain to them, like I will to you now: my body is a self-cleaning organism.
Natural Personal Hygiene
The stateside obsession with sterility seems based in a fear of nature. Perhaps it began with Ireland's Great Famine of 1845, when potato disease (and other political/economic factors) caused starvation, illness and emigration so severe that 25% of the population was lost. Whatever it was that initiated our fear of nature, it is time to consider if today, in the United States, in our bathrooms this afternoon, there is any continued need for this fear. Perhaps it is time to let down our guard against nature and put it up against the toxins we are using to kill nature off.
If I address the root of dirt and disease, rather than its symptoms, I am on my way to a naturally hygienic, chemical-free life. If I don't drink coffee, maybe I don't need to bleach my teeth. If I get plenty of rest, maybe I don't need eye drops. If I exercise everyday, maybe I don't need deodorant. If I stay clean on the inside, maybe most of this obsession with sterility dissolves right away—and saves our thyroids toxic overload, our groundwater chemical run-off, our landfills empty plastic containers, and our pocketbooks money on useless, habitual, hazardous medicine-cabinet items.
Diet and exercise are first in progressing toward a naturally hygienic lifestyle, and trust in water is next. Water is the most powerful cleaning agent available on Earth—we dilute our insides with it, we run our cars through it, we submerge our clothing in it—anything we wish to see clean is subjected to water in one way or another. So now is the time to trust that our water is doing what it does naturally. Water cleans everything really well, almost immediately.
Healthy Hair Care
If I wish for my hair to be shinier when it has dried, I comb through coconut oil for a gorgeous shine. Aloe vera is the model for all subsequent hair gels and I use it to keep flyaways down under studio lights. Sometimes, also on the film set (because why would I care if I weren't on camera), I use shea butter as a kind of putty to stick the ends of my bangs together. Occasionally, I use beeswax to hold my lock-ends together. I'm sure there are many more ways to clean and style one's hair without collections of chemical products accumulating on one’s shower shelf. And consider: if you end up not liking a whole-food product that you gave a shot, you can always eat it.
Eco Bath and Body Works
If we work in a shop or choose to wear cosmetics, just a little coconut oil will remove eye makeup, and for mechanic or gardener hands, mix that coconut oil with an abrasive-like fine salt, oat bran, barley meal and fresh lemon juice to replace that creepy, Fast Orange stuff. A gentle, moisturizing and exfoliating non-soap for the bath is a large cotton teabag filled with oats. Let it steep into your bath water and then scrub yourself with the bag before composting the contents. I have a local, sustainably wild-crafted, four-ingredient vegetable bar soap (no plastic container) from Juniper Ridge if any oils are left to be removed.
Fresh Teeth and Breath
My breath doesn't smell, ever. I am sure if it did—and I had already quit drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and eating animal products—I could whip up a clove, spearmint, frankincense essential-oil mouthwash that would feel good and keep things kissing fresh. Instead of chewing gum, chomp parsley after meals as a natural breath freshener. It is no coincidence that parsley comes on the side of many dining entrees.
To tell you the truth, I find a lot of information in smell. And if I smell the healthy, clean pheromones of a fellow human, I find it exciting. Sometimes I wink and welcome them over with open arms. Because I know of them, like the Rastas knew of me, that they have questioned authority, transcended social standards and redefined their perception of themselves from an unclean human with smells and colors and problems to suppress, into a human being. It’s great just being human—no artificial anything required.
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