less waste, minimalism, Running, Vegan

Yucca….. charcoal?

For about the past 6 months now, I have switched over to only using bar soap as a body wash in the shower as well as for hand soap.  I don’t have a “favorite” brand of bar soap but it does have to be all natural, organic, vegan, and has to include activated charcoal.  I’m not too picky on smell, most of the natural, hand made soaps I’ve found all have a nice scent to them.  Usually a little more “earthy”.  The activated charcoal is the winning ingredient for me.

Being a runner and someone who spends a decent amount of time in the gym, I sweat.  And for a lot of athletes, along with that sweat can come acne.  I always thought just by taking a shower after a workout or a run was enough to prevent acne but I found that it wasn’t.  It also depends on what you are cleaning your body with.  There are a lot of chemicals in commercial body soaps that are too harsh for your skin.  Most dry you out why too much by striping all your body’s natural oils away.  Even though you will feel clean, your sink maybe dry.  If it is too dry, then your body with naturally produce more oils and then you are right back to where you were before you took a shower!  Using a moisturizer can help, but sometimes they too will clog pores and cause acne.

So, I decided to find a better way.  Something without all the ingredients that I can’t even pronounce.  That’s when I looked into handmade soaps with natural oils and other organic ingredients.  And through that process I learned about the purifying attributes of activated charcoal.  Activated charcoal is used in many products because it’s ability to pull out toxins.  For people with acne, it can pull out bacteria that is down in your pores and excess oils/dead skin that build up over time.  By pairing it with natural oils, such as tea tree oil or even olive oil, you can deep clean your skin and replace the oils at the same time.  It has worked wonders for me.  I used to get acne on my back and shoulders from wearing a sports bra and now it is much more minimal from showering with the soap.  I also use the soap as a face wash and I have seen even more dramatic results there.  And if I do get any little pimples that pop up, I spot treat them with water diluted, tea tree oil.  Just a small dab with a Qtip and they are usually dried up within a day or two.

My other fascination with using bar soaps has been the cutting down on waste.  Instead of having a plastic bottle left over, now I have almost zero waste from the bars.  They maybe wrapped in paper or sometimes just have a sticker on them.  Plus I can use them until they are gone!  With a plastic bottle you are almost, always, throwing some of the product out because it just won’t come out of the bottle!  And not all of the bottles that these products come in are even recyclable.

So now that I had found a replacement for my body wash and hand wash, it was time to find something to replace my shampoo and conditioner with.  Good timing too because I am in the process of growing my hair out.  I usually have a very short pixie type haircut, but for the past 5 months I have been letting in grow.  I thought about the whole “no poo” idea, but my hair gets super oily in-between washings and I wasn’t ready to go through the detox process not knowing how long it would last.  So instead I started researching bar soap shampoos.  The first thing that popped up was from the same company that I had bought my charcoal body soap from.  Awild Soapbar carries a bar of soap that is made to be used as a shampoo.  It is their Yucca Root shampoo bar.  Yucca Root has anti-bacterial components and natural moisturizers.  Bingo!  Exactly what I was looking for from a company that I already was familiar with and is also local; just right outside of Austin in Manor, TX!  Couldn’t have asked for better!

One of our local grocery stores carries a lot of bars of soap from this company so I was able to just pick up a bar when we did our weekly food shopping.  It smells nice, very fresh, just like the charcoal body bar.  So far I have only used it twice.  Once on Monday and again on Thursday.  The first time I used it I could defiantly tell a difference in using and bar soap instead of a commercial bottle soap.  Once I got a good lather up it was just like the bottled stuff. The difference I noticed most was when I went to rinse it out.  My hair felt like it was extra clean.  Like squeaky clean.  It felt like I had been striped of any build up that may have been on it.  It dried faster and maybe even straighter too.  I have naturally wavy hair that I straighten after drying.  This time  after it had dried it didn’t seem as wavy.  Since I didn’t use a conditioner, my hair didn’t seem as shiny and had like a “texture” to it but it was defiantly clean.  An apple cider vinegar and water rinse is suggested after washing if you want some shininess, but I haven’t tried that yet.  The website said that it would take about a week for your hair to “detox” from all the build up.  My hair has been dyed and never had any kind of detox before, so I’m sure I will need the full week.  One thing I did notice right away was that it didn’t seem dirty as fast.  Normally by the next day after washing, it has a little oil build up.  This time I really didn’t notice the oiliness until the third day.

I’m really hoping that I will like the results I should see after about a week.  To be able to say goodbye to commercial products for my whole body will feel great!  Plus most of the bars of soap I buy are all from small, sometimes local businesses that hand make their products.  I love supporting the little guy.  I feel like they care more about what goes into their products so in turn I get more out of their products.  I’m thinking I will write an update on this product after maybe a month of use.  Until then, please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have about natural body and shampoo soap bars!

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