About 18 months ago, I read a couple of books about healthy beauty products.  Though one was mostly focused on making your own, and the other on how to evaluate commercially-available products, I came away from each feeling like I had too many products in my bathroom both for myself and for my kids.

I started thinking about the contents of each product and trying to simplify both the individual products (for example, instead of baby shampoos with loads of ingredients, I use castille soap), and cut down the number of products I use by doubling-up their uses (that castille soap also becomes my wipe solution).

The benefits of this project have been less clutter, and also less waste (which means less money spent!) because I don’t need to have a different item for every purpose – and inevitably end up with unused, expired products.

Here are some of the baby/kid/beauty products I have found multiple purposes for:

-coconut oil – I use this on mild diaper rashes (particularly if they are yeasty or if skin is dried out), it is my only hair styling product, it is a great moisturizer, and it’s food!  I have also seen recommendations to use it as sun screen, but have not personally tried that.  Also, add a little eucalyptus essential oil and use it as a vapo-rub!

-diaper rash salve – for any family member it can be use dfor minor irritations, chafing, even bug bites (but be mindful of broken skin in any use)

-castille soap – shampoo/soap for the kids; with water and a few drops of essential oil, it makes a great wipe solution; that wipe solution (in a spray bottle) is a quick soap-and-water wash for dirty hands, or post work-out if I don’t have a chance to shower

-reusable cloth wipesnapkins on the go, tissues, quick hand-washing for a restless toddler

-essential oils – I mostly use tea tree and lavender for everything from cleaning toilets to putting in the washing machine to adding to wipe solution.  I also use eucalyptus for congestion, peppermint to cool off during a hot day, and grapefruit to brighten my mood.  Essential oils have endless uses!

Brea Carlson of Contentedly Crunchy is the mother of two boys (B born Spring of ’08 and A born Fall of ’10). She has been a regular customer of The Green Nursery’s brick-and-mortar store since B was a wee baby, and has come to appreciate the place for its high-quality inventory, community involvement, and honest and knowledgeable owners. Brea is a pretty practical lass who cloth diapers more for the money-savings than for the earth-savings, practices baby-led solids because she is too lazy for spoons and purees (not to mention the clutter of baby food jars, even in grocery store aisles, causes her to hyperventilate), and breastfeeds because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time (and still does). Over at Contentedly Crunchy, Brea is known to be honest – maybe too honest? – about her experience of motherhood, even if it doesn’t paint her in the best light. That’s sure to extend to the Dear Abby blog. Because Brea can’t seem to help herself.