FTM Friday: It all started with body scrub.

by Janelle Hanchett

Welcome to the first installment of Fuck the Man Friday! Henceforth, we shall refer to it as “FTM Friday,” because it’s more open and inviting and proper.

I just wet my pants laughing.

And yes, I realize it’s Saturday.

WHAT? I’m not a miracle worker here.

Anyway, for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with FTM Friday, here’s a rundown: In the last couple months, I’ve become obsessed with making my own body care products, and I’d like to tell you all about it, share what has worked, what hasn’t, link to recipes I’ve used, adapted, etc.

It all started with some damn body scrubs. Body scrubs are the new gateway drug. One day you’re making body scrubs; two weeks later you’re washing your hair with fucking baking soda.

But I digress.

I’ve managed to replace shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shaving cream, face wash, face lotion, facial toners, body washes, hair/dandruff tonic, baby shampoo, baby massage oil and deodorant with relatively inexpensive, chemical-free homemade versions. To illustrate, I give you this:

Did you notice how I put the “before” stuff in a cute little basket? Yeah, I know. IMPRESSIVE. We won’t talk about how it’s sitting on the toilet seat.

But check it out, considering I once referred to Soulemama as “Soule-Crushing Mama,” it may seem rather hypocritical, out-of-character, or JUST PLAIN WRONG that I would one day, when nobody’s looking, turn into some over-zealous eco-friendly body-product-making SouleMama wannabe, like it’s nothing.

And I agree. There are multiple possible interpretations of this. One is that I’ve been lying to you this whole time and I’m actually a super-organized power woman who just pretended to suck at homemaking and life. I, for one, wish that were true.

But alas, the truth is this: We got poor. And disillusioned.

[And this crap is so easy even I can do it. It requires no precision, creativity, or talent.]

So yeah, we got so poor I started feeling every penny I spent, and I started thinking about how much money was going out and out and OUT, for everything, and I started wondering if I really needed to be doing this. It all just started feeling wrong and excessive and ridiculous. $9.00 for deodorant (or $5 for the kind with aluminum)? SERIOUSLY?

I was getting more and more bitter every time I went to the store – 10 bucks for this or that or $20 or $30 – it was no longer fun; I was just “over it.”

So when I started making body scrubs for Christmas presents (in response to the poor thing), and I found out how easy (and absolutely freaking lovely they are), I started feeling a little more confident in my ability to make shit that smells nice. (And may even be, ahem, enters into the realm of cute.)

Oh God help me.

And the truth is that over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with American materialism in general, beyond body products. The whole uncritical consumer thing. Not in a holier-than-thou sense, like I’m above it or something, but rather because my house was full at one point of stuff STUFF STUFF I didn’t need and plastic and crap, and my husband and I were working, day in and day out, for WHAT?

To have a bigger house? To have more stuff we don’t need? To have a better car?

Ah, screw that. As Tyler Durden says: “You are not your fucking khakis.”

And I believe that. And yet, it was hard for me to take the TV off the wall and donate the excess toy collection to the Goodwill. Well it was hard at first. It’s not as hard now. I guess I’m becoming a little more detached.

So yeah, like many other people, I’ve become disillusioned with it all: the food we’re provided, the idea that success is money and power, the idea that I need to pay a bunch of big ass corporations a bunch of money to take care of my body and hair. And unless I want to expose myself and my family to a bunch of chemicals with unknown consequences, I had to pay ridiculous amounts of money. Seriously, the hippie brands are OUT OF THEIR MINDS. There’s a hand salve that sells at our local co-op for $15.00. NO JOKE. I make literally the same one (same ingredients, friends) for $2 or $3, and half that is the cost of the container. Trip out.

See what I mean? FTM.

So there was a little fire was lit under me and fueled by the gateway drug, I found myself searching for body scrub recipes and I found TONS AND TONS of recipes for everything. Lip balm! Shampoo! Lotion! Hair tonic! Shaving cream!

Turns out you can make it all, folks, easily and cheaply.

After body scrub, I made lip balm.

It was a disaster (sorry to those of you who got that first batch as a Christmas gift).

I made hand salve.

It was perfect.

And then I was “on.”

Also, the reason I was able to devote the initial time & energy to this is because I was off work and school for SEVEN WHOLE WEEKS. That’s the literal reason it happened. Frankly, I’m so used to running around like a maniac all the time, when I found myself with no school and no work for weeks on end, I got a little bored. Cleaning the house lost its appeal after like 10 minutes.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m like a border collie. I NEED A JOB.

And so this isn’t just about being eco-friendly or getting chemicals out or saving money (although it’s about those things, too). It’s about being independent. It’s about the satisfaction of using a face wash I made for a dollar (and have better results), knowing I never need to spend $10.00 on it again. It’s about making laundry detergent that costs $5.00 for 100 loads, and not worrying if my baby eats the counter spray (NOT THAT THAT HAPPENED).

Also, people, it’s so fun you’re gonna trip. I mean it. Get ready to turn to the dark side. And seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.

Your house may look worse than it ever has in its existence, but you’ll have amazing healing salve to fix your kids’ wounds, and you’ll feel like a damn renegade anarchist badass.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Whatever, we have a mascot (see below), so obviously we’re the real deal. Thank you, Lisa, for that little fella, we love him.

See you next FRIDAY (I promise) for our first recipe. We’re going to start with Super Fucking Easy (body scrub), because that’s where I started. Each week after that I’ll give you a new recipe, and we can FTM together.

But if you want to be ready for next week, you can prepare by making sure you have white sugar or kosher salt, grapeseed or almond oil (can buy at any grocery store), and some essential oils (lavender and peppermint are the ones I probably use the most). Optional items are raw, organic honey and baking soda.

Here’s to critical consumerism, and body scrubs.

And Tyler.

AND THIS GUY, who understands:


37 Comments | Posted in FTM Friday | February 23, 2013
  • Caryl

    Love it. The hubs was online looking up how to make his own deodorant. Can’t wait for the recipes!

  • Melanie

    Oooooh, can’t wait to see the recipes! I’m seeing a lot of people going towards making their own personal/household products, and I’m really interested. But I’m too lazy to google it. Plus, I’m sure your commentaries will be much more entertaining 🙂

  • sarah

    I made sugar scrubs for Christmas too, and have the same list of ingredients…. I think we made the same scrubs. Its awesome! (i love using lavender and grapefruit oild… Yum!) You Rock!

  • Sara

    I love making body scrub! But I stick to sugar (salt dries my skin way out), so quick and easy-peasy!

  • Shauna

    Even my BOOBS have chills. Can’t wait. Love you!! And despite the fact that being poor sucks more than almost anything, it makes a gal SUPER creative!! Good work, Lady!!

  • Jennifer Sassaman

    nice tyler durden shout out.

  • sarah

    You’re such a tease!

  • Kelly

    Honestly, I’ve never used a body scrub, but if it helps us FTM, I’ll give it a whirl! Can’t WAIT for the deodorant 🙂 Looking forward to next week. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Lisa

    What the fuck, lady? You’re making us wait till next week for the first recipe, after a post like that? Pfft, I’m going over to your Pinterest 🙂 My Sis n I have gone partway over to the dark side, as much as some finances allow. . . What we really need is suppliers, suppliers baby. . . . We need rock-bottom prices containers and all. Hit us with it favorite blogger lady! And honestly, I think FTM is the best way to put it. Ok well . . we’re still putting money in SOMEBODY’s pocket but. . . If it’s not Unilever Johnson n Johnson BASF and the like and it’s less $$$$$$ . . . . . HELL YEAH it feels like a freakin’ revolution everytime I rub on some lotion!!! Thanks 🙂

  • Deanna

    You know what one of the biggest surprise problems is with making your own stuff? It’s hard to be around people who don’t! The smell of commercial detergent, shampoos, body washes, and oh, god forbid, Bath and Body Works body spray…instant headache. But I LOVE the night cream I made for my face. Seriously, after three months it’s like watching a clock go backwards, and it’s just coconut oil, beeswax, lanolin, and roman chamomile & lavender oils.

  • Stacey

    Very cool. A little part of me dies every time I see how much it costs for a bottle of freaken shampoo or lotion. I’ve never considered making my own because who has time for that? But if you swear it’s easy and fun, I’m all for giving it a go.

  • Shayne

    Wow, I could of written a very similar post after my youngest was born. Him being severely sensitive to the chemical shit they put in detergents and soaps I went on the hunt for alternatives, finding the same as you, they charge some fucking OUTRAGEOUS prices for all natural soaps. I went from buying bed bath and beyond to looking up how to make my own soap bars(like with lye, I know I’ve gone bat shit) to making my own laundry detergent and dishwasher soap and all purpose cleaner. Love your fuck the man line with this, fits perfect. I love your stuff, you truly are hilarious and I can relate in more then a few ways haha.

    • renegademama

      OMG, lye. You’re hardcore.

      • Shayne

        LOL not really, just a little crazy I think. That and I’m sick all the crap that makes my youngest break out in a rash.

  • Lesley


  • Kate

    I love love love your blog, I found it by accident when I noticed a search for soulemama annoying and clicked on it. Now I read soulemama first then read yours just so I know I’m not alone in not being perfect!

  • sara

    So since I have the patience of a squirrel on amphetamines, I made a salt scrub already with some bath salts a jojoba oil I had. Its awesome. Now, if you can replace my $29 face wash and $50 shampoo, that will be a feat!!!

    • renegademama

      I’m struggling in the shampoo zone for REAL. Still working on it. But we may have you covered on the face wash.

      • Tina

        I gave baking soda a go for washing my hair, and it works just fine. Obviously there is no foam, which means it doesn’t feel so nice, but I found after a couple of weeks that I had to wash my hair only every 3 or 4 days (whereas before every other day). Can really recommend it for very oily hair. About two years ago now I have started using hair soap and am absolutely happy with that. I still buy it, you can get them at Dawanda or Etsy for about 3 or 4 Euro a bar and it lasts for bloody ages! I think one bar lasts me about 6 months, at least, which is not bad at all.

        • renegademama

          i’m on my way to check out shampoo bars on etsy. thanks.

  • Brandee

    Can’t wait!! I’ve always wanted to try making my own stuff, but I dont know anyone else that does to get opinions on recipes.

    I love your blog by he way. It’s lovely and refreshing reading honesty from the heart. 🙂

    • renegademama

      Thank you. And welcome. I hope my experiments will be of use — some have definitely not worked. 🙂

  • Ashley

    My friend turned me onto your blog. This idea of yours is the best ever – but wait – there’s more – I”m moving to a freakin’ Eco Village, so I’ll be the toast of the town makin’ my own products (NKH – not kidding here). I’m currently living in Asia but will be moving back to the States in June (as I said, to an Eco Village) and essential oils here are EXPENSIVE. Also, that’s the thing that’s freakin’ me out – moving back to the States – so much choice but no job (to start with) so how am I going to afford my beauty products. Maybe when you get good at things, you can even tell us how to distill your own essential oils. You go Renegade Mother!!!” And seriously – your blog is fabulous!

    • renegademama

      Thank you! And great idea about the essential oils. Hadn’t thought of that…I’ll check it out. I haven’t even tried it. wheeeee – new obsession!

  • GG

    I started on this journey 2 Christmases ago, I am still working thru the archive of stuff I bought “before”, but also simultaneously using things I made “after”, which are so much better. I just hate wasting stuff, so I donated a lot of stockpiled toiletries away during a food drive. I agree with the commenter above looking for good SUPPLIERS including containers (amber and blue glass bottles ain’t cheap, now I buy grocery items in glass specifically to re-use later!)

  • Amanda

    I fucking love your blog. But, I have to do my San Francisco duty and let you know that “FTM” is the abbreviation for “female to male,” used by the LGBT community to describe folks who are transgender, transitioning, “trans man” etc. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_man. Could screw up your search results… or get you a whole new segment of readers! Anyway, love your writing. Thanks for all the laughs.

  • Christine Watson

    yeah, fuck the man. I started out with the home made yoghurt and never looked back.

  • lisaeggs

    My favorite line: “Trip out”. I was lost in perfect-mom-blog-land and I just found you. Curse words have never sounded so refreshing. I thank you 🙂

  • Knitting with Olof

    LOL I believe I almost own all of the products you have in your before basket. I’ve recently given up on body lotion and started using extra virgin olive oil. I have a skin condition where my skin is super dry and I get bumps on my upper arms and thighs. They are almost gone after I started using olive oil.

  • Beth

    Really need that turn back the clock face cream Please! I love this idea, and found I am allergic to commercial laundry soap

  • Lisa

    Awesome! Love FTM Friday. We have a garden and chickens for the same reason. I recently made some ridiculously easy lotion and then decided to make butter. Now I’m canning and pressure canning. I’m addicted to stickin it to the man where ever I can. I’ll definately be back here… will be starting our own FTM blog shortly. We’ll have to link up… Keep on going sista! You are rockin this.

  • Healthy Caterpillar

    Your basket really looks amazing and I envy you for switching completely to an organic beauty and skin routine. I still use Cetaphil (for my 2 sons who have very dry and moisture less skin types) and Neutrogena face wash as something which keeps my skins crazy smooth even at 30 plus.

    I love body scrubs and so far my experimentation with them is going great. I just wish someday I will have a complete organic beauty regime like your.

  • Kagi

    LOL. So I assumed that you weren’t talking about FTM transsexuals, given the usual topics of your blog, but I couldn’t figure out what FTM Fridays were supposed to be, or what that stood for, even after I read a couple of them, so I went searching for the very first one, and found this. Well, I know what it means now! LOL, I never would have guessed, but I think that’s probably because I don’t know you better. 😉

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