Natural Homemade Skin, Hair and Teeth Care

by Bronwyn Chompff-Gliddon

For a number of years now, I have made my own soap, hair, and teeth care products. I haven’t “washed” my hair with shampoo for almost a decade, and I always receive compliments, especially from my hairdresser, for my hair’s excellent condition and body. Even when I had long hair.

Did you know that your scalp provides everything your hair needs? As a general society, we’ve become quite attached to the beauty industry’s marketing campaign full of lies that you must wash and condition your hair, and use any number of damage-mending and styling products in order to look presentable.

But the truth is that the natural oils that your scalp produces are exactly right for your hair type to nourish and protect your hair. This concept was completely foreign to me, even though throughout my whole life up to that point I had been focused on everything natural and wholesome. I just thought I needed to be careful to buy organic products with only natural ingredients. Nope, even that isn’t entirely true. I need none of it.

This revelation came about 9 years ago, as I was preparing for my 40th birthday. I wanted a certain “up-do” for the day, it was to be a big family reunion with people coming from over East as well as overseas. I wanted to make a big impression. I had designed and made my birthday dress, all I needed was a kick-ass hair style to go with it. My cousin did a test-run one day, and said that she was having a bit of trouble styling it (because I refused conventional styling products) and she asked me to NOT WASH MY HAIR for a few days prior to the day so that it could bulk up with some oils. I was horrified! Up until then, I was dedicated to washing and conditioning my oily hair every day, just like the label told me to. My hair was silky and smooth. It’s naturally very stubbornly straight, so I never wasted much time trying to get any shape or style out of it.

So I obeyed those instructions, and didn’t wash my hair. It was really hard! My cousin did a great job of the styling – not a single hair out of place – and the 40th party was a great success. After that day, I started thinking – maybe I need more information. I looked into it more, and discovered the reality. Your scalp produces everything your hair needs, and instead of frantically trying to wash that oil away every day, you can instead use a boar-bristle brush to evenly distribute that oil throughout the length of the shaft, to clean, nourish and protect it with everything it needs. Just like breastmilk is perfectly formulated for baby, your body knows what to do. The reason I thought I had oily hair was because my scalp was constantly trying to replenish the oils that my hair needed, because I kept washing them out every single day!

First, I reduced washing my hair to once or twice a week. Eventually, I was ready to ditch it all together. There was a period of adjustment, where my scalp took a while to balance out how much oil it was producing as it wasn’t getting constantly washed out anymore. For a little while it was a bit manky, but as I kept brushing the oils through, my scalp responded, and found its balance. 

It does need a little help, it doesn’t smell the best on its own. I found the answer to this with a simple and easy daily and monthly regime. Each morning before I brush through the oils with my boar-bristle brush (the same one I bought 9 years ago) I spray it with water and essential oils. Just a regular supermarket spray bottle, filled with water, and 5-10 drops of whatever essential oils I feel in the mood for. I’m told that a pinch of salt helps to keep the oils suspended in the water evenly. For my hair, essential oils like basil, rosemary, lemon and tea-tree are very beneficial. I have been prone to dandruff, so the tea tree oil particularly helps with that. Lately I’ve been adding in lemon-myrtle, just because I’m totally in love with it and I put it in everything.

Once a month, I’ll get my hair wet in the shower, then afterwards I put my head over the sink and tip an apple-cider vinegar rinse through it. Then towel-dry and I’m all set for another month.

The apple cider vinegar rinse is a great way to freshen up my hair, clear away some built up oils, and adds shine and softness. It’s made up in a large glass bottle (I use an old grapeseed oil bottle with the slotted insert at the top). Fill about ⅔ with water, then almost to the top with apple cider vinegar (organic, with the mother of course) a pinch of salt, and another round of essential oils. For this one, frankincense and ylang ylang are often added with some of the other oils mentioned above. I like to mix it up and try new combinations. However, it’s always very important to learn of the properties of each oil and what its beneficial uses are. Go with what your hair needs.

And that’s it! That’s all my hair needs, and after doing this for 9 years, it’s been very interesting to see how well my scalp responded when I just let it do what it does best. I had long hair (half-way down my back), and then went short (about to my jaw) for a few years. Then I had a break and grew it out. 18 months later, my hair had grown from my jaw down to past my shoulders. I was quite impressed! Now it’s back to being short, and I’m keeping it this way for now.

After doing this for a few years with my hair, I turned my attention to my teeth. I had a problem with the range of toothpaste available in my local IGA in my little country town. I can’t be too hard on them, but they weren’t addressing my preferences. My husband bought a tube of magic mud toothpaste from the local natural health foods shop, and one day I was reading the ingredients- bicarb, coconut oil, activated charcoal….. hang on, these are things I have in my pantry. Why don’t I just make my own?

So I did. In a little glass bowl I mixed up 2 heaped tablespoons of bicarb, 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal (a little goes a long way!) and a few tablespoons of coconut oil. The amount of coconut oil varies between the seasons, as in summer it’s mostly in a liquid state, so you don’t need much. In winter it’s mostly in a solid state, so you need a little more.

Prior to trying out my own toothpaste, I had always had a lingering issue with bleeding gums and bad breath. There was lots of flossing and mouthwash, to no avail. Still there. 

When I considered what essential oils would be most beneficial in a toothpaste, especially for bleeding gums, I couldn’t go past clove bud oil. A few drops of that, together with peppermint for taste (and lemon myrtle again) and do you know what? After a while, my gums don’t bleed anymore, and I don’t have bad breath anymore. Who would have thought?

I have many fond memories from my childhood of watching my mother make her own soap. She did it the old school way with rendered beef fat, lye, and rainwater.

I took the hobby up as an adult, but I wanted to experiment with making it with goat’s milk. I found a recipe in an issue of Grass Roots, I’ll need to hunt down that copy to be able to reference it. There’s a bit of a method to making soap, perhaps in another article I’ll share the recipe and instructions, but I enjoyed making soap so much that I considered for a time making a business out of it. While the planning showed it would definitely be financially viable, I ended up finding my true passion elsewhere. This can stay a hobby. But when my daughter was 11 years old, she took up soapmaking, made her own brand and started selling it and everything. At that age she wasn’t quite ready to maintain a business, but I’m still really proud of her for learning the art of soapmaking. I really loved seeing her develop this skill, it’s really quite simple and safe when proper safety rules are observed.

So now, I’m really enjoying being able to walk down a whole aisle at the supermarket and not need a single thing. How much plastic has that saved going into recycling? How much money have I saved? How many chemicals have I not introduced into or onto my body? How many beneficial products have I introduced into or onto my body?

It’s a very warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I’m helping myself and my finances and my planet by taking a little bit of effort and natural supermarket ingredients to keep my teeth clean and healthy, my skin clean, and my hair clean, nourished and looking great.



  • 2 tablespoons Bicarb
  • 1 teaspoon Activated Charcoal (optional)
  • 1-3 tablespoons Coconut oil (depending on the season)
  • Essential Oils to taste/benefit as required.

Mix all together in a small bowl, then transfer into a small air-tight container. Because you’re dipping your toothbrush into the mixture, you can create a container for each member in the household with their own preference of oils.

Incredients used in home-made toothpaste

Hair Care:

  • Daily:
  • Spray Bottle – fill with water, 
  • Pinch of salt
  • Essential Oils appropriate for your needs/preference
  • Monthly – Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse:
  • Glass oil bottle (with insert at the top to reduce coming out too fast)
  • ⅔ fill with water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Essential Oils appropriate for your needs/preference.
Components of a home-made hair care system

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