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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Au Naturel: Going Green and Natural with your Beauty Products

It's likely that you and your family are taking part in the popular green movement in some way or another.  You probably recycle.  You might pick out organic produce for your family.  You shop at the farmer's market and purchase sustainable seafood.  You avoid Walmart at all costs.  You may even use reusable bags for your purchases at the grocery store or other retail outlets.  (I'm a reusable bag addict.)

But you may have never considered using natural beauty and household products.  And you should.  We don't think about the chemicals being leached through our skin and into our bloodstream from our lotions, shampoo, and cosmetics.  Even your deodorant contains harmful ingredients suspected of causing cancer and having other harmful side effects.  Foods can be filtered through the liver to eliminate harmful toxins, but there is no protection to the chemicals that reach your bloodstream through your skin.  And because these chemicals can be carted via the bloodstream anywhere in your body, you can't predict where you might see harmful side effects.

While ingredients found in health and beauty products are monitored by the FDA, these products are not put through the rigorous testing required by drugs and foods.  Further research is needed to determine the long term effects of these ingredients on the human body.

Further information can be found about health and beauty products at the following websites:

A quick study of my usual products' ingredients was enough to scare me into changing over to more natural and organic products.  I will detail my new products for you here:

Indigo Wild Zum Bar:  This all natural goat's milk soap comes in a large variety of yummy scents like Clove-Mint, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, and Sea Salt.  My personal favorite scent is Rosemary-Mint, it is so refreshing and invigorating in the morning.  I've also tried Frankincense & Myrrh which is a lovely warm sweet scent, Cinnamon which is spicy but not recommended for sensitive skin (I use it in my kitchen), and Almond which is light and sweet.  They have an unscented bar for those of you who would prefer not to commit to one of the amazing flavors.  The Zum Bar is ultra moisturizing and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry or itchy.  I might switch my scents around, but I will be sticking to this soap for my body.

Giovanni D-Tox System Purifying Body Bar:  I'm using this detoxifying bar on my face to amazing results, recommended to me by one of my local organic store clerks.  Normally, I would never use bar soap on my face.  But this woman's skin is flawless and I thought I would give it a try.  (The bar is only $4.99 at Apple Crate in Fayetteville.)  My skin instantly cleared up from the dry scaly patch of skin I was experiencing and my normal hormonal breakouts have greatly diminished.  I suffered a few minor breakouts upon the switch as this new soap pulled the toxins out of my skin but nothing terrible.  And can I mention that the soap smells absolutely amazing???

Giovanni D-Tox System Replenishing Facial Moisture:  I follow my skin cleansing regimen with this light moisturizer.  After putting this lotion on your skin feels immediately moisturized without feeling heavy.  Lightly scented and goes well under makeup or at night.

Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant 24 Hour Protection:  So this one was kind of difficult for me.  I went from using the Dove Clinical Protection to this aluminum free natural deodorant and the odor protection is not the same.  However, if you apply once in the morning and then again in the afternoon you won't be smelling too terrible.  And as you continue to use the natural deodorant more and more, it seems to be more and more effective.

Tom's of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste:  I think this toothpaste does a much better job cleaning my teeth than regular toothpaste.  I don't mind the taste (I'm using the Peppermint flavor right now) but hubby thinks it's far too chalky.  For me, I like it much better than the Crest I had been using, but some might find the flavor offensive.

Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo and Conditioner:  This shampoo and conditioner smells great and leaves my hair clean and bouncy.  I admit the shampoo doesn't lather like Panteen would, and the Conditioner doesn't feel as rich as regular conditioner in the shower, but the result is the same as other hair products I have used.  I may switch to the Burt's Bees More Moisture Raspberry and Brazil Nut shampoo and conditioner just because my curly hair requires more moisture on a regular basis than normal hair, but I would definitely recommend this line of products.

Burt's Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30:  This product gets really bad reviews, but it works really well at it's main purpose; sun protection.  Yes, it's hard to rub in.  Yes, it can leave a white film on the skin.  Yes, it's difficult to remove without soap and water.  But it does a hell of a job protecting your skin from the sun and I think it smells great.  I've used this for years as I tend to have an adverse reaction to sun screen.  You don't have to worry about burning when you use this product.  For me, I'm willing to give up the vanity of the slightly white skin after use to a horrible sunburn.  I use in conjunction with the Lifeguard's Choice Lip Balm to keep myself safe from the sun.

Indigo Wild Zum Body Shea Butter and Meadowfoam Seed Oil Lotion:  This natural lotion smells great (I use the Lavender scent) and applies evenly and smoothly.  Isn't as moisturizing as my old lotion and requires more than one application a day.  I will be looking for something a little more moisturizing.

Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid:  Works just as well as Dawn, smells even better.  I use the Lemongrass and Clementine Zest scent and just love it.

Palmolive Eco+ Phosphate Free Gel Dishwasher Detergent:  Smells great, works well.

Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner:  Lola puppy is even getting in on the natural products!  I wash her in this shampoo and conditioner (yes, I condition my dog's hair...  doesn't everyone???).  It smells absolutely amazing, "like a trip to the tropics in a bottle" as said on the Organix website, and leaves Lola soft and fluffy.  She has problems with dry skin and this seems to give her some relief.  I've used it on my hair when I've run out of shampoo and it's rich and luxurious.  I highly recommend for you or your dog!  They have a wide variety of scents for different hair needs.  Give one a try!

I haven't yet been able to phase out my regular makeup to a new line, but expect to do so as my current makeup runs out or expires.  As I try new natural and organic products I will report to you their pros and cons.

Some people argue that they would love to be more organic and natural but can't afford to do so.  Most of these products are comparable to or cheaper than their chemical filled counterparts.  Deciding to try a more natural approach to your beauty regime doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul all at once either.  Do as I'm doing by phasing out the chemically altered products with more natural products as they run out.

With my mom currently fighting cancer, it is important for me to do what I can to protect my family.  Some argue (hubby included) that these chemically enhanced products are safe.  Others argue that the harmful ingredients found in these products are present in such small numbers that they are safe for regular use.  All I know is that the number of cancer cases is higher than it has ever been.  My mom has never been exposed to known carcinogenic or harmful products but she still has cancer.  Limiting my family's exposure to unnatural chemicals is one thing I can do to protect my family.   While the research isn't there to know if my actions are helping my family, it surely isn't hurting them.  And we will work to continue to phase out all unnatural chemicals from our household.

But I'll never give up my Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.  Hopefully it won't kill me.    


  1. I will NEVER give up Chanel.. I really don't care if it does kill me. :) I am going to try out that soap, I am having such an issue with dry skin this year and NOTHING is working... thanks for your research!!

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