Awhile back, I attended Michigan State University where I had a friend with whom I shared many classes. It took a few years post-college for Facebook to reunite us, and some time after that to physically run into each other, but we did just that at a Grand River Connection networking event. Grand River Connection is actually a really great way to get involved in Lansing and meet other young professionals, however, this time, I had an alterior motive. Held in Old Town at the beautiful old building that is home to MessageMakers, Terry Terry did a beautiful job reinvesting in this historical Lansing location over many years, and until this point, I had never been inside. Deciding to feed my inner architecture loving graphic designer geek, I ran into Adriane, who was feeding her inner architecture real estate loving geek.
I learned that Adriane and her husband were near neighbors on Lansing’s Westside, adding to the list of amazing and talented people I know all making homes near mine. Later that summer, she started a book club and filled it with a random group of clever and fun women who brought their clever and fun friends, resulting in a wine club with a book problem.
Earlier this year, we read No More Dirty Looks, a book that sheds light to the beauty product industry and the dangerous chemicals from which they are made. As a natural girl with ‘granola’ tendencies, this book drove me to explore simpler methods for my already short list of regularly used products, without sacrificing feeling and, more importantly, smelling, pretty.
Before our country became so factory made, people made beautiful scents using flowers and oils, and skin had a shine that was attributed to ingredients that taste as good as they make us look and our bodies feel. With that said, why on earth was I buying a perfume that was chemically composed to smell like something growing in a field right in Michigan? Even scarier, because companies are allowed to keep recipes a secret, the generic term ‘perfume’ or ‘parfume’ is used to indicate scent. Who knows what that can mean? Pretty please pour that all over my body. No thanks.
It was then that I decided that if an unhealthy toxin was going to enter into my body, it was not to be from sneaky chemicals taking the passive route through pores, skin, and inhalation, but rather as a conscious choice like say, by way of a cocktail. Luckily, there are a number of products out there that are safe to use, with many becoming mainstream and affordable at places around Lansing like Target and Foods for Living.
Also illustrated are several DIY methods for all sorts of products. I do so love to make things, but that does not mean that I have time to become a human Meijer, throwing all consumerism to the wind. However, to be fair, many of these options are as easy as raiding your pantry for items like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, avocados, mayonaisse, and coconut extract. Not only can you snack on whatever you don’t use, but you can use the same product on your lips as your hands and face, yielding the same vitamin replenishing results.
One recipe that peeked my interest was for homemade hair gel, so basic it made me wonder why I ever wasted $13 on a bottle of the store bought stuff containing scary ingredients such as riboxclaksicidoaidieoide. Ok, so that isn’t an actual thing, but I guarantee that your product labels are just as unrecognizable.
Quite simply, you add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed into one cup of boiling water and whisk until it gets frothy. Back in the 1920’s, Flappers regularly recreated their styles using this recipe. For all of you who think that your crazy curls are too intense for this methodology have not seen my freak flag fly, especially on days where the humidity is so high that I may be mistaken for Bozo the Clown. Nevertheless, it works, and simply by dabbing your fingers into the gel and working it into your hair before proceeding to dry it per usual.
My hair no longer looks crunchy and in between batches it looks normal without any gel because it is not dependent on chemicals perpetuating the need for more product. On one of our many long walks around Lansing, my boyfriend lovingly joked that a bird or squirrel might think I brought lunch. However, despite any judgments, you don’t walk around smelling like food, and a wild, hungry animal has never attacked me (although the hilarious mental image is definitely noted).
I will say that I started making half of the amount because organically produced products have a lifespan. I stored the remaining hair gel in an airtight container for longevity, but it was still an experiment to determine how long it would actually last. It was certainly an unfortunate experience to learn the hard way, as I tend to do, by quickly going through my routine and inevitably covering my hair with something that had, on a dime, become rotten. That potent, disgusting smell was enough of a reminder that failing to stop and smell the roses may include a frantic, head under the sink, additional shampooing for the day.