Monday, August 16, 2010

Ivory Soap

Ivory Soap, originally uploaded by Bravo Six Niner Delta.
About a month or so ago, I read this blog post about how people had started using dilute vinegar and baking soda solutions to wash and condition their hair, and it really got me thinking about my own use of shampoo and conditioner. The article talked about how shampoo was a fairly recent innovation, and how conditioner was necessary to replenish the natural oils that one loses by use of shampoo. The article went on to describe how there is a period of 1-2 weeks that one will experience really oily hair as the body adjusts to not having to make up for its loss of oil.
Since my roommate Derek and I started a road trip at the beginning of July, I thought I would try going without shampoo and just using soap instead. It’s been an interesting adjustment for sure.
Two weeks into my new washing regimen, I talked to my dad about his use of shampoo. He said he rarely uses it, but rather uses soap, and has for most of his life. I took his experience as a confirmation of sorts that maybe I didn’t need shampoo and conditioner. The irony is that I had just purchased some eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner, and now I may just be saving it for special occasions.
My latest conundrum has been with regard to what soap to use. I looked at some castille soap, and considered buying a bar, but then I thought back to my childhood and ivory soap. I read the ingredients, and they seemed simple enough, so I’ve started using Ivory again for the first time since my childhood.
I’m not sure I’ll stick with it, in fact, I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding soaps and shampoos. (I hear that some people make their own soap out of olive oil or coconut oil too!)
Derek just made up some laundry detergent using Ivory soap, borax, washing soda, and water. I’m curious as to how it will work. It ends up costing us about a penny/load to use this detergent in our front loading washer.
The irony of this post, is that I hadn’t intended to write about all of these uses of Ivory, but I felt I should explain before telling you about my olfactory memory and using the soap for the first time since childhood. The aroma took me back to learning to wash my face and body in the bathroom sink alongside my dad. As I breathed in, I found myself remembering being little, and putting the soap in a washrag and lathering it up as I scrubbed my face and arms after playing all evening in the dirt. I can remember our little bathroom on fifteenth street, and moving from an old bathtub with feet to a shower during my gradeschool years. I remember my dad standing at the mirror with me and we would wash at the same time—I think partially because much like many little boys, I avoided washing like the plague (after all, my dirt was a badge of honor and a mark of the fun I had while playing—plus sometimes soap would get in my eyes and burn). Then he would take a cup full of some kind of magic concoction, and wave a brush in it, and then he would use the brush to apply this concoction to his face—his shaving cream wasn’t in a can, but a cup.
Because we only used Ivory growing up, it’s aroma is one I identify with what “clean” smells like, and it’s one that brings back many memories of our life growing up before the days of the internet, blogging, facebook, and twitter. It reminds me of catching fireflies, eating cherry pie made from the cherries out of our back yard, and swinging on our old rope swing. It was usually before or after those summer events that I would find myself lathering up and cleaning up.
Hope that your week is off to a “clean” start, and that it is filled with aroma’s that evoke nostalgia.


Alise said...

I really like castille soap and use it pretty often. Found one that has a little peppermint scent to it and I absolutely love it. I don't think my hair is quite as soft as it was using shampoo & conditioner, but overall, I've found that it works pretty well. Have fun with your experiments!

As far as smells that take me back, I love the smell of beer. It reminds me of summer, working at the racetrack in our hometown. It's an incredibly comforting scent. I know a lot of people don't like it, and I can understand that, but for me, something about it just feels homey to me.

Anonymous said...

I've been making my own laundry soap for a little more than a year now with a formula similar to what you're describing. It works really well. And the borax is useful for cleaning stuff out of carpets and couches too.


Anonymous said... are wise to avoid commercial shampoos, body washes, moisturizers and--for the ladies--cosmetics. The laurel/laureth sulfates, parabens, DEAs, TEAs and petro-chemicals in them are terrible for your organs and nervous system.

There are many healthy alternatives out there that will not be toxic to you or to the environment.