Summer is finally here, and that means you’ll be heading to the store to purchase products you wouldn’t buy in any other season. You might be able to find some sales and buy summer items on the cheap, but most self-care products are commonly made with chemicals that aren’t good for your body or the environment (Question: Can you name even one ingredient in bug spray?). But the advantages of eco-friendly products abound!

A great alternative to buying things made with harsh chemicals is to make your own eco-friendly products. It will cost more money than grabbing a coupon and finding the nearest sale, but your body and the earth will thank you. You may even find you prefer homemade products when you’re done. Some of these examples of green products don’t even need to be made at home. As long as you’re thinking about what’s good for your body and the earth, you’re on the right track.

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Air-Purifying Plants

This summer, get some plants that will not only beautify whatever room you put them in, but purify as well. In the late ‘80s, researchers discovered that some houseplants could remove volatile organic compounds to make indoor air cleaner, since it’s typically more polluted than outdoor air.

Some plants to consider buying are aloe vera, snake plants or even chrysanthemums. Most plants that work hard to clean the air add some greenery to where they are, but chrysanthemums are a great idea for people who want to add more than just the color green. Mums naturally come in all colors except blue, so you won’t be limited to just green if you get some chrysanthemums this summer.

Blackout Blinds

When you’re gone at work during the day, sunlight pours through your open blinds and heats up your house. This causes your air conditioning unit to work overtime while you’re not there, costing you money and wasting a ton of energy.

Buy some blackout blinds for the windows that will get the most sun during the day, then close them before you leave for work. One of the financial advantages of eco-friendly products like this — you’ll quickly notice a change in your energy bill!

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Homemade Sunscreen

It might sound like a bad idea to whip up sunscreen from scratch, but homemade sunscreens can often do just as good a job as the store-bought variety, if not better. Most recipes call for just a few ingredients, and won’t take much time to make. You’ll be able to avoid toxins in the usual sunscreens that could do damage to your body. Parabens are in most sunscreens now, and they can hinder important periods of development for babies in the womb, young children and teens.

If you don’t fall into those categories, you’re still at an increased risk of developing melanoma, since regular sunscreen contains a form of Vitamin A that causes the growth of tumors and lesions. Just take a swing at making your own sunscreen this summer, and you’ll see how much your skin will benefit.

DIY Bug Spray

Yes, we’re coming back to the bug spray issue. The biggest problem with store-bought bug sprays is that they are made with DEET, which is what repels insects. The chemical has been known to cause neurological problems in children, as well as skin irritation and blistering.

Instead of buying your usual spray bottle, make your own bug spray by combining essential oils you probably already have around your house. It won’t take very long to make, and you’ll still emerge from your backyard barbeque without any mosquito bites.

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Your Ceiling Fan

This one catch you by surprise? Instead of cranking up your AC this summer and using more energy than you need to, turn on your ceiling fan. If it spins in a counter-clockwise direction, it’ll cause the hot air in the room to rise, leaving you feeling cool and refreshed. You’ll save money and energy just by flipping a switch.

This summer, try some new eco-friendly products and ideas to help your body and the world be better off by the time fall comes around. Even if you find that some of them don’t work the way you’d like them to, one of the biggest advantages of eco-friendly products is that you get to test something new, and you’ll be more aware of the chemicals in the products that you may or may not choose to buy.

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