For those who haven’t already heard me speak on this extensively, last semester, two friends and I tried to go zero waste. I say try because, to be honest, it didn’t really work. Zero waste is hard. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming. Experimental conclusions – it’s actually impossible. So we switched our framework. We started calling our project Low Impact Living. We stopped morally shaming ourselves for the occasional granola bar, the one orange peel that didn’t quite make it to the compost. And in relaxing our standards a bit we continued to do our best, trading in chemical-laden cleaning products for homemade concoctions…
(Vinegar + Lemon)
…driving our roommates nuts by draping wet plastic bags on every available surface…
…and becoming DIY toiletry masters.
(Coconut Oil toothpaste anyone?)
Amongst the weirder of these lifestyle changes was my transition from normal person shampoo + conditioner to washing my hair with eggs. Yep, eggs. So, in the spirit of revitalizing Edible Escape a bit, and reflecting on being two months out of “zero waste”- a post (written in October) that was never posted: Washing Your Hair With Eggs + DIY Thoughts:
I’ve been washing my hair with eggs. When I tell people this reactions range from amazement and admiration to critique and defense (as if I had accused them of not washing their hair with eggs). I’ve been washing my hair with eggs (and I am going to tell you how), but before I go into the very simple hows – a brief reflection on the practice of DIY-ing.
One of my goals going into this project was to essentially “DIY” my life. As I’ve learned, that would take a lot of time and resources (and an extremely balanced bodily composition), but there are a few things I’ve had notable success on:
- Coconut oil/baking soda toothpaste
- Phasing out conditioner for pure Argan oil
- Lemons for deodorant
- Vinegar steeped with lemon and lavender oil for general housecleaning.
- Shea butter/olive oil lotion
- Avocado/honey face masks (a recent favorite)
There have been experiments. Many, many experiments. You think you settle on using lemons for deodorant overnight? No, first you try Patchouli oil…which works, but is way too expensive. Then you use a coconut oil/baking soda mix until one day your armpits feel like they’re on fire and you have to immediately wash it off. There was the olive oil conditioner that took several days to get out. Many blogs swear up and down that one or another homemade face wash works, but I am accepting recyclable packaging on this one…
DIY-ing is not as easy as the Internet would have us believe. To make your own beauty and cleaning products is an odd privilege in both the time and resources that experimentation take. After all, I’m smearing eggs on my hair in a city where not everyone has enough to eat. And different things work for different people. Which means that inevitably you may have to dump the deodorant that makes your underarms feel like the pits of Hell. And the coconut oil that went into your failed concoction – it didn’t come cheap.
This is not to say that there aren’t pros to DIY-ing. Initial investments often pay off in the long run, its an obvious way to reduce packaging consumption, not to mention that the whole process in and of itself is pretty fun. Nothing makes you feel more like a mad scientist than melting Shea butter in a makeshift Mason Jar double boiler in your kitchen at midnight. DIY-ing can also really make you feel just plain good! My hair has never felt healthier. my house doesn’t smell like a chemical dump after I clean it, and I’m literally addicted to the detoxifying feel of my homemade toothpaste. I’m not kidding, I brush my teeth 3-4 times a day now. It’s absurd.
Yet despite the positives, there are some nagging questions bubbling amidst my new, crafty hobby. Are these products I’m making as sustainable as I think they are? I am going through coconut oil like crazy and scrubbing everything from my teeth to my stove with baking soda. What are the implications of my increased consumption of these products? Where does baking soda come from anyway? Apparently Wyoming… but I still am not sure exactly what it is or how it is… harvested, extracted? These are exactly the kind of questions I’m making myself answer throughout the semester – the complications in my new, eco-confused life. All “food” for thought, but until next time – the egg wash method!
Simple Egg Wash
Conditioning Agent (I use Argan Oil)
- Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat it with a fork until even consistency.
- Hop in the shower, smear that egg all over your hair. Pro-tip: Don’t just pour it on top of your head (you will probably miss), take several handfuls and make sure you’re covering your head.
- Let egg sit in your hair for 5-10 minutes while you do your other shower things.
- Rinse egg out (using cold water! You don’t want scrambled eggs in your hair!). Apply conditioning agent (I like a little argan oil on the ends of my hair). Other options? Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, plain old conditioner even (we don’t judge!).
- Enjoy your luscious locks!