Monday, March 2, 2009

Cleaning Up the Economy

Woo Hoo! Victory is mine! The shampoo was a success and a half, leaving my hair clean, shiny and smelling loverly:) As an added bonus, not only was it ridiculously easy to make (If you can grate cheese and boil water, you can make this shampoo) but at a cost of only €1.65, my frugal side absolutely shivered with delight as I filled not one, but TWO good size bottles with my 100% organic creation.

Oh yes.... I said organic! Because you see, the reason this shampoo was so easy to make was that I cut just about every corner in the book, read a few online recipes and then did it my own way. Now, before you get turned off at the phrases, "cut just about every corner" and "did it my own way" and run screaming to your nearest chemist for an emergency bottle of Pantene, Let me explain a few things.

1. This is not my first attempt at making my own homemade personal hygiene products. I have made, with varying rates of success, several different types of shampoos, body washes, lip balms and household cleaning products. Partly in an effort to reduce the chemicals I use on myself and my family, but mainly because I am notoriously tightfisted when it comes to spending money. The word frugal doesn't begin to do me justice.

2. For awhile there, I became particularly adept at making a lovely olive oil based shampoo, which, while being both highly effective and extremely nourishing on my hair, also had the unfortunate byproduct of having both the look and consistency of pond scum, much to my partner's horror and disgust. He refused to use what he dubbed my "phlegm" shampoo to clean himself with and promptly armed himself with a trusty bottle of good ol' head and shoulders for his morning ablutions.

3. While highly effective, the phlegm... I mean, olive oil shampoo, also involved quite a bit of "this and thatting" by which I mean I was constantly adding bits of this and that in the hopes of making it more appealing to my other half. I tried using herbal teas to mix it with instead of plain water and drops of essential oil to hide what he called the "hippy smell." All that happened was we ended up with a bucket or so of Lavender scented pond scum. Mmmmm....

For awhile, I considered buying a proper bottle of ready made, organic, horrible chemical free shampoo at the shop. But everytime I got close, the exorbitant price tags had me gasping for air and getting a serious case of what in olden times was known as, "the vapours."

EIGHT EUROS FOR A BLESSED BOTTLE OF SHAMPOO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Over my dead body! And off I'd march, my head held high and my finances intact, off to make another bottle of the green stuff. And then something happened. I had an epiphany....

It happened while I was making my crazy easy laundry soap. Realizing I had no idea where to procure the medieval sounding "BORAX" as called for in the recipe, and with an overtired, squalling one year old at hand, no inclination to pound the pavements in search of it, I did what any sensible woman would do and grabbed three bars of multipurpose "Household Soap."

These powerfully pink coloured bars of carbolic goodness promised to cleanse and disinfect anything and everything. Good enough for me! That, along with the baking soda would do me just fine. And that's when it hit me....

Why not do the same with shampoo? Instead of making up pots of herbal teas and combinations of essential oils, why not just buy a bar of organic soap that already contains all of these things? Which is how I found myself standing at the counter last night grating a bar of Faith in Nature's finest Lavender soap into a pot, adding 4 cups of boiling water from the kettle, and stirring until the grated soap had dissolved. I then left it to sit and by the time bedtime rolled around, it had turned into a lovely, albeit slightly thick for my liking, gel. In future, I'll try it with six cups of water instead.

The lot of it filled two big shampoo bottles and made over a litre of shampoo which, as stated above, left me with hair a pantene girl would be proud of. Not bad for €1.65

Mr.Cowen, if you need a hand with those cutbacks, you know where to find me.


  1. mr cowen is not the only person that can use a hand in cutting back... well written maria...
    love you...

  2. Oh my god this brings back memories of the smell of carbolic soap!!!! My dads friend used to use it and I swear the smell made my eyes water!!!! I can't believe that you are so close to the arrival of number two Dozy, I'm so jealous, but if you're like ourselves with Lil in the bed still (our Oisin is still in between us!), you will have to invest in a Super King Size now to fit your little babs in come June!!!!

  3. lol, maria i loved it. especially that part about the pond scum shampoo aha. great job :D


  4. thanks for the lovely replies!!!! Tinyo, I am in complete denial that this baby is on the way. Intellectually, I know I am pregnant and that pregnancy is the first (second? does um...conception count on it's own?) step to having a baby, but I still don't fully get the reality of it all. The other day I had a brief wondering about taking two babies out for a walk to do the shoppping but quickly put it away again. Too real:) As for the bed, well, lil's still firmly entrenched between us and shows no inclination of going anywhere else fast, and tbh, I love having her there and would be miserable without her, so look out super king size! Here we come!