Natural Alternatives That Are Actually Bunk 

Natural Alternatives (2).png

I’ve been wanting to create a few posts about some of the natural remedies and alternatives floating around. Some of these methods are extremely popular and even touted as THEBESTTHINGEVAR by some users. 

But once you start digging, it starts to get sketchy. Sure, these items involve organic products or they’re mixed up in a cozy kitchen, or that other crunchy lady said it worked. But… These alternatives…  

Do they actually work?

Are they safe?

Do they make a lick of sense?

I love natural options as much as the next hippie, but far too often, the answer to these questions is a big ‘ol nope. Snake venom is natural, but I’m not gonna brush my teeth with it, ya know?

Instead of rewriting what other exceptional writers have already written, I’ve decided to do a link round up post. This also proves I’m not just being contrary and that many others have come to similar conclusions as myself.  I’m not crazy.

I preemptively apologize for the bubbles I’m about to pop.

#1 No Poo

I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of the No Poo method. If you haven’t, the quick overview would be… Use baking soda to clean your hair and then follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse. There are variations, but these two ingredients and steps are the most common. Here are a few great reads about why this method isn’t the greatest and how it can actually really damage your hair. 

What Years of Baking Soda “No ‘Poo” Did to My Long, Healthy Hair {Or, When a Natural Living Experiment Fails}

Yes, I’m Sure It Was the Baking Soda {FAQ on the No ‘Poo Disaster}

The Dirty Hippy Truth About No-Poo and Why I Won’t Use Baking Soda on My Hair

Why I Stopped the No Poo Method

Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair

Why No ‘Poo Didn’t Work For Me

#2 Mixing Vinegar & Baking Soda

This combo runs amuck all over Facebook and Pinterest. If you read the links above about the No Poo method, you likely already see the issue. Vinegar is used to neutralize and balance the baking soda. Sooo… What good is a neutralized cleaner? Turns out this mixture reacts to create nothing more than salt water. The end results achieved can actually be attributed to the combo of water and elbow grease and not those fizzy bubbles you see. (Those videos of people effortlessly wiping away years of burnt on oven gunk? Dark magic. Lies.)

DIY 101: Baking Soda + Vinegar = Not So Much

Is a Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture Effective for Cleaning?

Vinegar + Baking Soda = The Ultimate Cleanser?

Why You Should Never Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean Clogged Drains

#3 Coconut Oil as an Emergency Moisturizer or Facial Oil

This one is hard for me. I love coconut oil and use it for so many things. (see my Two Ingredient DIY Everything Butter) But the facts are facts, and coconut oil is just not meant for some uses or users. For some skin types, it can be *extremely* drying and is also a well-known comedogenic oil… meaning it has the potential to seriously clog pores.  I regularly hear from friends or see social media posts along the lines of “I use coconut oil every day, and my skin is so dry!”  We’ve been living a lie, people!

When Coconut Oil May Not Be Right for You

Why Some Skin Types Should Stop Using Coconut Oil – the mixed results of this otherwise healthy oil

7 Alternatives To Coconut Oil, Because Your Beloved Coconut Oil May Clog Your Pores

Comedogenic Ratings

#4 Lemon/Lime Juice on Skin

This isn’t one I see as often as the others, but it’s quite significant. Lemon juice is often recommended to lighten skin or as a liquid for facial scrubs. Turns out it actually can have the opposite effect and can be pretty dangerous.  Skin darkening, uneven patches, dry skin, second degree burns… Um, no thanks.

Is Lemon Juice Good or Bad for Your Skin?

Fact-Check: Should You Use Lemon Juice on Your Skin?

I Got Second Degree Burns From Lime Juice

#5 Homemade Detergent

Am I stepping on any toes yet? This is one I haven’t used personally, but I did have a close friend use homemade detergent for an extended period. (years!) Being the receiver of many a hand-me-down from her (and being incredibly grateful for them!) I did notice a significant difference in the fabrics.  The materials felt unusually heavy and filmy…I’m assuming this is a soap build up? Homemade detergent also massacred her cloth diaper stash :/

Why You Should STOP Using that Homemade Laundry Detergent (like right now!)

Homemade “Detergents” : The Bad, The Worse, and The Ugly

Homemade Laundry Detergent Doesn’t Work

DIY Laundry Detergent Update

Fluff Love & Cloth Diaper Science’s Cost Comparisons

Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest, but it’s also pretty darn disappointing. We aim for “better” with our natural, home made with love, money saving, DIY products only to find out they’re bogus?


But when we know better, we do better! And the whole point of searching out natural alternatives is to find something that actually works and is safe for us, right?

Just keep swimming.
What are your honest experiences with these natural methods? 

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to replace these alternatives? 

12 thoughts on “Natural Alternatives That Are Actually Bunk 

  1. I have been using coconut oil in the mornings for a while now as a moisturizer and while my skin hasn’t gotten worse (my acne is related to hormones) I have been looking for a natural alternative that might work better to combat dryness.

    But I have used homemade laundry soap for almost 4 years now and haven’t noticed a quality issue with my clothing or others in my family – (I have a pretty old washer) I use more than the recommended amount that online recipes call for though so maybe that is one of the reasons it works better for me. I’m interested in researching this more.

    This was really interesting, especially the no poo part. I did try it once (the baking soda and vinegar rinse) and did not like it at all though I didn’t give it much of a chance.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use avocado oil, but I’ve also heard wonderful things about argan oil. If coconut oil isn’t causing any problems for you, you could try mixing it with another oil to create a custom blend. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that can make coconut oil work for you!

      I’m glad your detergent hasn’t given you any issues! I have an older washer too, and I love that thing lol.

      I’ve only tried no poo twice, but I couldn’t make it any further than that. I’m on the hunt for a natural shampoo bar right now!

      Thank you for commenting!


  2. There’s a big difference between limiting shampoo and going the “No Poo” route. If you have coarse, curly hair, then limiting the number of times you wash your hair IS usually good for it.
    I haven’t been able to get it to work for me, though. I get too greasy…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It took quite a while to retrain my scalp and hair. After years of washing it *at least* once a day, I now wash once a week with no greasiness in between. It’s amazing! I slowly added days between washes to let my hair adjust and washed whenever I felt icky. I had previously trained it to produce mass amounts of oil in order to repair itself from the constant shampooing, so it certainly took time to undo that.

      I’ve also heard dry shampoos are helpful. There are even some DIY recipes out there, I think.

      There are definitely nicer ways to use less/better products on hair than going the No Poo route.

      Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa. Bubble popped. Had no idea about the homemade laundry soap. None. Now I’m a little frightened about what it’s done to my clothes. Luckily, I’ve only been using it for a couple months, so maybe it’s not too late. Of course, I just made a new batch though!


    • Maybe it will work for you. Some people swear by it despite the “science” behind it. Have you noticed a change in your clothes? Appearance, smell, absorbency? Maybe compare your current laundry to something from last summer that’s yet to be washed in the homemade detergent. Or grab a sample pack of something store-bought and see if there’s any noticeable change after a wash or two with it.

      You could snap some photos and make some notes and document any changes over the next few months. It would make a very interesting blog post!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing this !!! I LOVE my coconut oil, but not for my face !!! It is pore clogging for sure. Avocado oil is my oil of choice for all my DIY beauty recipes. I’ve never made homemade laundry detergent, and probably won’t now 😉 I loved this…very informative and tons of great resources !

    Liked by 1 person

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