Make Your Own Toiletries

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I went to the Boston Skillshare and shared how to make a few toiletries:



Everyone thinks this is sketchy, but I love it. It is such a simple example of how we have left even the simplest human traditions to a culture in which participation is something you purchase. This proceeds to the point where it doesn't even occur to us that these things not only can be made in ten seconds, but were made by everyone until maybe 40 years ago. Intructions copied from myself

" My ears were all clogged up with wax, to the point of itchiness. My pinky is too big, so I tried to steal a q-tip from my roommates without their noticing, but they didn't have any. Ear candles are a little overboard, so I tried a toothpick but that is scary, poking around in your ear with a toothpick.

How can I make it less scary? I took the toothpick, dug around for a cotton ball, and rolled the toothpick against the fluff of the cotton. It turns that that this was nothing less than reinventing the qtip, the exact qtip!

It worked? Of course it worked, that is what a qtip is, they are so inconscpicuous, and so complete; they are so There, that I never thought of them as something that can be *made*. Not so mystical. No patented qtip technology. Why did I never know that? How did that knowledge get lost to humanity? Well, I guess that with both ends cushioned, noone heard this presumably timeless knowledge drop and slip through the cracks of time.

Making them gives you a steady hand and an intuition for fluff, you are basically spinning thread, but only a few inches of particularly fluffy thread. And I broke off the sharpest bit o' tip from the carefully machined splinter that served me, (otherwise its still just a tiny bit scary).

In Your Ear! "

Handkerchiefs and Dispenser

Handerkerchiefs are easy. Go to the thrift store and buy threadbare tshirts. linen is best, cotton second. Avoid stretchy, sheer, thick or dense fabrics. Choose pretty ones. Cut the t-shirts to hell. There you are. Next is to figure out how to get thin, careful hems. Handkerchiefs are a practical habit to keep up if you have a whole bunch. Shirts, underwear and pants are not a limiting factor in my laundering, but socks are, so I keep more socks than anything else. Similarly, you should keep lots of kerchiefs, because you don't want a really snotty one, because the best thing about kerchiefs is offering them to others, unless they refuse to take it on grounds of its snottiness.

So, having a whole bunch, where do you keep them? How about in a tissue box? Fold them the same way Kleenex fold and you've got a dispenser, even with the magical 'the next one peeps out when you take the first' action! How? It is too easy, just fold them ove each other so one hanky pulls the next partway out with it. The length of the description betrays the simplicity, but only because descriptions of physical operations are cumbersome in words.

Fold all kerchiefs to the width of the box and lay the first lengthwise. Lay the second in a line with the first, overlapping half way. Fold the uncovered part of the first hanky over the overlapping half of the second. Now you have a free half of the second and a small stack of the first over the second over the first. Take you third, put it halfway on the stack and fold the free end of the second over it. Continue until you have a stack.

Stuff the stack into an old tissue box, or even an upsidedown yogurt container with the bottom cut out. It works, its great.


Use a stick that you chew on. I use licorice stick from the Harvest market. In Vedic tradition it is neem, in Islam it is siwak. You can get the latter at Arab grocery stores. They are naturally antiseptic, its been tested. As a rule of thumb, any plant with bitter roots should provide branches or roots suitable from brushing with. Like Olive? neat! You can also dip the tip in baking soda if you want.


You could buy a straight razor, i think you can get them for as little as 25$. I just made a simple disposable one using cheaper but higher quality blades. Go to a store that sells old fashioned safety razor blades, I used Boston's Levitt and Pierce. Then, seriously, I thumbtacked it to a stick that I cut at an angle. And it works. I could still touch it up more, to give the cleanest shave of all, and I post it if I do, but in the meantime, that will do you. Instead of 10 bucks for five blades (2 bucks a piece) it is 2 bucks for 10 blades (.25 cents a piece).

I tried hardware store razor blades, and, atleast the ones we are all familiar with, are not sharp enough. There may be some suped-up kinds with tricky alloys that do the job, if so, they are a better choice than the safety razor blades, which are more expensive than hardware stores blades and very thin and flexible (which is bad).