Friday, May 13, 2011

The 11 Natural Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

*Apparently, my original post was deleted. This is a repost from my rough draft. I tried to keep it as close to the original as I could remember.

Our local health food store hands out a monthly magazine whenever a purchase is made there. Most of the time I just scan through it, picking out little morsels, and other times it never makes it out of the car. While I don't always agree with the articles, occasionally one makes me stop and think.

Sometimes that can be a good thing.

In a recent article, a woman was asked to name her top 10 all natural products that she relies on every day. She listed items such as; saline nasal spray, alcohol/sugar-free mouthwash and wheatgrass to name a few.

To each their own I suppose, but wheatgrass is definitely something this 2-legged gal can live without.

Over the past couple of years, I've been trying to eliminate chemicals in our home. The one area that has been a little more slow going is in my bathroom, particularly the vanity area. I'm not going to list a bunch of chemicals that are common in our everyday beauty products, but just know that there's a lot. I naively googled it and lost an entire day.

At least I think it was just one day.

As a voting member of the female party, I like to look nice. I like it when my Mister notices the extra efforts I made to get all gussied up. My children like that my mood improves when Momma feels good about herself. It's not about being prideful, but about feeling good and having confidence in myself. Sometimes a hot shower is enough, but other times, it takes a little more.

And as I age, it takes a lot more.
Here are my Top 11 Beauty "Products"...
1. Coconut Oil~Besides being a healthy fat for cooking, coconut oil is amazing as a natural skin moisturizer. I use it on my unwashed face every night before bed and on my body after showering. My skin can get pretty dry during the winter months, but since I've started using coconut oil, I haven't had a problem. Coconut oil makes a great hair/scalp conditioner. I use it twice a month and have not touched a store-bought bottle of conditioner in months. It makes a great lip conditioner too.

2. Homemade Shampoo Bar~My favorite soap is made with Neem and Tea Tree Oils by Chagrin Valley Soap. I have psoriasis and my scalp flares up when I use products containing sodium laureth sulfate. Even the natural products contain ingredients that cause an adverse reaction to my skin. (Not all, but who can afford to keep trying?) My entire family is using this shampoo bar and has seen the dry/dandruff scalp issues disappear.

3. Goat's Milk Soap with Oatmeal~This cleans the face without stripping the natural oils. I don't use a particular brand, I just pick up bars at farmer's markets and natural food stores that carry locally made homemade soaps. 

4. Dr. Bonner's Castile Soap~This is my favorite all-over bodywash. It also makes the greatest shaving cream. My Mister prefers the orange, while I prefer the almond. When we go camping (dry camping), we use castile soap for shampoo too~keeps the camping load light and isn't toxic to local wildlife!

5. Crystal Rock Deodorant~I was pretty skeptical when I bought this for the first time. I originally bought some for one of my daughter who can't use traditional deodorant. She's a tom-boy, so I figured that if it worked on her, I'd give it a whirl. I'm hooked! As someone who can't use the homemade deodorant (baking soda burns my skin), this is a perfect alternative. It was put to the test a few days ago when we were building fences in the sunshine. No smell! It's a little more expensive to start, but my daughter has had hers for more than a year. I'd say that it's paid for itself!

6. Dr. Ken's Fluoride Free toothpaste~No fluoride and not one member of my family (still living under this roof anyway!) has had a cavity in more than 5 years. That's what they mean when they say, "The proof is in the pudding"...except it's toothpaste, not pudding.

7. Mineral Makeup~To say that I'm a fan of mineral makeup would be an understatement. Because mineral makeup doesn't have the classic irritants of synthetic materials, dyes and fragrances, it is easier on the skin. The loose powders are brushed on the skin and act as a natural sunscreen, very beneficial if you spend a lot of time outdoors! (I like Avon for both price and product~and no, I'm not a representative!)

8. Rose water~This is a new discovery for me. While I love my mineral makeup, it has never had the same appearance as the liquid foundation. I cannot stand the feeling of traditional foundation on my face, but I like how it smooths my skin tones out. A representative of a mineral makeup company told me that she spritzes her face with rose water after applying the mineral makeup powder. It sets the powder and gives it a smoother appearance. It also makes the makeup last longer. Sceptic that I am, I tried it and fell in love. Literally. Smells wonderful and has the added benefit of being a natural skin toner. 

9. Natural Perfume/Fragrance~My all-time favorite fragrance is Sephora's LaVanila Vanilla Coconut. (There are other fragrances, but this one is my personal favorite.) Made without parabens, synthetic dyes, fragrances, petroleum-based chemicals, sulfates or GMO ingredients, this is my summer in a bottle. The scent is subtle without being overwhelming, and doesn't cause passer-by's to start wheezing. That's always a good thing. One 1.7 ounce bottle ($58) lasted almost 3 years with me using it almost every single day. 

10. Pure Filtered Tap Water~I know, pretty simple, right? Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body, and without it, we would die in a few days. Water flushes toxins and helps us to eliminate waste from our bodies. It is needed to regulate body temperature and metabolism, yet if given the choice, most Americans would choose something other than water to drink. Unless you live in the country and get your water from a well, chances are that your water is going to have chlorine, fluoride and some other stuff in it. Use a water filter and save yourself the money, time and waste of buying bottled water.  

11. And last but not least, sunshine. Since our bodies cannot manufacture vitamin D without the sunshine, it's important to get outside and soak a little up. I'm not talking about basking on a tropical beach, covered in tanning oil. I'm talking about just getting outside, without sunscreen, for 5-30 minutes a couple of days a week. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. (If you burn easily, stay indoors or cover up during the hottest part of the day, about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

And since vitamin D takes its time getting into the bloodstream, try not to shower for as long as possible after sun exposure. If you must, only use soap on the underarm and groin areas and avoid it everywhere else.
So that's it. Simple and natural. The only real on-going issue is with my hair styling products. I have yet to find a natural product that is affordable, efficient, and chemical free. I did however find an interesting suggestion in a homesteading book about using boiled flaxseed to make a hair gel.

I think I'll keep looking. I'm not that ambitious!


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