Deodorant is a hot topic among crunchy, natural, health-minded folks. Conventional deodorant has lots of nasty ingredients and more than one report coming from the scientific community has hinted at a possible link between the nasties in deodorant and beast cancer. Just a quick gander at breast cancer rates and you may soon find yourself freaking out about what kind of deodorant you are using. Think about this tidbit. It is said that it only takes 26 seconds for a body care product to be absorbed into our bloodstream. That should make us very aware of what we use on our skin, no?
Putting toxic chemicals under your arms stinks! That’s why MightyNest, an internet retailer of extraordinarily high quality and safe products for your home and family, asked me to put non-toxic Pit Paste to the test. Find out why you should choose a natural deodorant, then take the pledge below. Your pits will thank you, and you could win a Happy Pit Pack from MightyNest!
But I digress…
No one wants to smell bad, especially a woman. Yet we are are the ones getting breast cancer for the most part so we have to take special care that we are not slathering our pits with carcinogenic products or ones that will mess with our hormones (think parabens). We want to smell nice and we want a safe way to achieve that goal. The answer quite clearly is to use a more natural product right?
Well, yes. The problem for me though is that I have tried oodles and oodles of deodorant products that make the claim to be healthier and safer. Some of them actually did fit this bill. The problem though is that they didn’t work . After a couple hours their odor fighting ability cancelled out and left me thinking that I must go back to the toxic stuff. I won’t name brands but I have literally tried several dozen natural deodorants and never ever found one I liked until Primal Pit Paste.
I have been using it for about a week now and I am one happy camper. The ingredients are all natural: organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic beeswax, organic arrowroot powder, aluminum free baking soda, and essential oils. The Lavender scented stick is my favorite but the orange creamsicle is also really, really nice. You put it up against your skin (and body heat) for just a few seconds and then it glides on easy and provides pit protection all day long. Work, gym, life…it has you covered.
The harsh winter weather can really take a toll on our skin. In the midst of all the snow, storms, and polar vortex’s of late your skin may be feeling kinda dry and drab right about now and your hair looks dull and frizzy…not so much nourished and healthy as we would like. It happens to all of us who live in cold weather climates so rest assured that many others are in the same boat right now. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which you can remedy the winter beauty blah’s though. Here are some natural remedies that will enable you to bring some “spring” to your winter skin.
Chapped and dry lips – Use a product that will be easily absorbed by your lips to help nourish and repair…as well as provide a barrier to wind and weather. Good products to try include those with beeswax (vitamin A stimulates cell repair) and coconut oil (skin cells drink it up).
No Glow – Winter skin can be pale and blah. Do not head to the tanning booth or start using toxic self tanners. Go for a bit of glow with mineral makeup.
Crow’s feet and fine lines – A lack of hydration in winter skin can make find lines more pronounced. To combat this issue drink more fluids. Green smoothies are very hydrating and help to plump the skin up but you may not be crazy about drinking smoothies when the weather is cold. I suggest water with a couple teaspoons of aloe vera juice added, very hydrating.
Cracked or chapped hands – Our hands are quite often exposed to the harsh weather, even if we try to wear gloves or mittens as much as we can. In order to keep them hydrated we need to use something thick, creamy, and hydrating. Good options for hand creams would include coconut oil, shea butter, or jojoba oil. Keep some in your purse so that you can get to it frequently.
Dull dry skin on your face/body – Exfoliation is your best friends this time of year. Not only does the arid air present a problem but your natural oil production slows down in colder months. The old skins cells need to be sloughed off so that your complexion does not appear dull and dry. Put a cup or two of almond meal in a glass jar or container and keep it the shower. Mix a tablespoon or so with a bit of water to make a paste and then exfoliate. It works great and is natural to boot.
I also recommend using a really soothing bar soap with french clay and natural oils and ingredients. This handcrafted soap is made with olive, coconut, palm, avocado, cocoa butter, french rose clay, Egyptian geranium essential oils, and crushed flowers.
Essential Oils for Winter Skin – Essential oils are amazing plant based oils that can help you look your best. Some of the best are Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lavender, Chamomile, and Patchouli. They are all well known for helping with skin care and skin issues.
Frizzy hair – Dry air, lots of wind, and friction with certain winter fibers creates frizzy, static hair. To combat frizz use apple cider vinegar to rinse your hair in the shower. Then rub a bit of coconut oil or olive oil on your hands and gently slide them over your damp hair, avoiding the roots. This locks in the moisture and helps with fly aways and frizz. For additional help try an avocado and olive oil hair mask, leaving it on your hair for 30 minutes or so. Also make sure ot check out my article on Essential Oils for Hair.
A few smart products and some items from your pantry can go a long way to help you beat any winter skin woes…
Dandruff is the common skin condition that leaves us with an itchy, irritated scalp and small flakes that gather on our clothing, often causing us frustration and embarrassment. It can get worse in the winter as our skin dries out due to the dry, cold weather. While it may be a great photo opp to have flecks of snow in your hair, dandruff is’t the snow we are looking for. So what to do?
Well, it can help to investigate the reasons why we may have this condition and what makes it better or worse for us personally. Are you getting lots of fats in your diet? How often and with what are you washing your hair? Are you using hair care products that dry your scalp or cause it to be excessively oily? Is your home to dry? Do you blow dry your hair? Are you experiencing hormonal changes? Answering some of these questions may help you figure out what might be causing your problem.
The skin on your scalp is an extension of the skin on your face and needs to be treated with the same care and yet the typical person probably uses shampoo and other products with some potentially nasty ingredients. SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one such ingredient to be avoided as it can greatly irritate skin and it is found in most shampoos. In fact when companies have healing cremes or products they need to test on irritated skin, SLS is the irritant they choose to rub on the skin of humans and animals to see if they then “heal” it with their new product. Does that sound like something you want to be bathing your skin with each day?
Dandruff is also thought to be caused in part by excessive oil production on the scalp. This is yet another side effect of using conventional shampoos, which strip our hair of their natural oils causing us to produce them with a vengeance . This is why the hair of shampoo users gets crazy oily when they go even a day or two without washing. Excessive oil production becomes standard so looking into a no poo method may be helpful if you have dandruff because it may be a fungal variety of dandruff that feeds on that excessive oil.
Sensitivity to certain products may also be playing a role. SLS, fragrance, and chemicals from hair dye can all be bad news for your scalp. They cause irritation and excess oil production. I know personally that I will get dandruff if I use hair bleach or dye and I usually don’t have a problem with flakes. These products are bad news for the health of your scalp.
If your dandruff is related to eczema or psoriasis then you may need to look into triggers and deficiencies like stress, weather, sleep, diet, and allergies. Make sure to get sufficient sleep and include in your diet lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant fruits and veggies as well as proteins rich in zinc and B vitamins like oysters, beef, and lamb. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important so take your fish and krill oils and eat your sardines. The fatty acids from these sources are much better for your skin than those found in plant based sources like flaxseed and nuts. Eating sugar and refined carbs will increase inflammation in the body so stay away from those.
Use homemade shampoos with tea tree oil or peppermint for itching and irritation. Coconut oil and tea tree are also great anti-fungals. For dryness use lavender, aloe, or chamomile. Shampooing less will help your scalp rebalance oil production. The acidity in vinegar can help kill any bacteria that may be contributing to the problem and it can also reduce buildup that occurs from overusing hair care products. Combining cooked oatmeal with mashed bananas and spreading on damp hair can also be used to treat dry scalp/dandruff.
Hopefully with these tips you can find out why you may be getting the flakes and you will have a few ideas on what you can try to combat them. Good luck!
This week I got a great question from one of the Natural Family Living Facebook fans. I just love how everyone in that community is so helpful and quick to guide newbies who need a little assistance. It can be daunting when you decide that you want to go greener and more natural because there are so many things to consider and so many companies who like to greenwash and make their products look safer and more natural than they actually are. I have been trying to live greener and more natural for eight years now and I still have questions all the time. That is why it is so important to be able to draw upon the experiences and knowledge of other moms/women who have done the research, questioned the companies, and found the diamonds hiding among the shards of broken glass.
This was the question posed to the community:
I am slowly trying to convert to all organic and natural……up next is skin care and makeup. Does anyone have any suggestions that aren’t too outrageous in price? – Markie
I am not poised to answer this question very well because I am not a big consumer of cosmetics and skin care products. I wear makeup about five times per year and use very few skin care products with any regularity. I also like to make my own products when I get the hankering for some. I highly recommend the book GREEN BEAUTY RECIPES: Easy Homemade Recipes to Make Your Own Organic and Natural Skincare, Hair Care and Body Care Products and Organic Body Care Recipes.
If you want my personal answer to this question though I do have a few suggestions. For makeup I use two different brands…Style Essentials Mineral Makeup and the Juice Beauty line by Alicia Silverstone. Below are some of my Style Essential products.
The eye makeup (mascara and shadow pots) was a real score for me because every other brand I have tried irritates my eyes and ends up making me want to leave parties and events early so I can wash my face and rest my eyes. The lip colors and lip liners are also the perfect colors for me and the finishing powder and blush powder are on my must have list. They also sell a bar soap for makeup removal that makes your skin feel like silk. Great stuff!
So as you see, very limited personal experience here. Thanks goodness the Facebook community had some recommendations. Some of the highlights are below. Just keep in mind that everyone has a different standard when choosing products and they have to go with works for them and their price point. We have lots of options though and that is encouraging!
Just remember that when researching cosmetics and personal care products, that we have a great free tool at our disposal. The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database by EWG allows you to search by product and by brand and it rates them based upon their ingredients. It should be your go-to source when trying to establish the safety of any product you want to put on your skin or on your children’s skin…
Angie – Make your own! Cheap and easy! Just Google what you want–deodorant, mascara, blush, chapstick, toothpaste, etc. Most use similar ingredients so that saves you money too.
Sara – I use Dr. Bronner’s for cleansing and coconut oil for moisturizing. I don’t wear makeup often but use Rejuva Minerals.
Linda – For skin care I highly recommend organic virgin coconut oil…I use it on my skin and face….love, love, love it…and it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties…read up on it ….it’s incredible…you can find it online or in a health food store…
Olivia – Natural Joy Beauty is awesome. You can get samples before trying full sized. I searched for a while before finding a foundation and mascara that was organic and worked as well as my previous brand. LOVE this site!
Cookie – Burt’s Bees has an entire line for beauty..and it’s organic! I don’t wear make up but do indulge in coconut oils daily!
Laura – I use 100% Pure! They have amazing products from soap and moisturizers to fruit pigmented makeup! (3+ people recommended this one)
Lisa – Jane Iredale is amazing and has great ratings on EWG!
Annie – Zum sugar scrub for face wash. Use every 3 days. The tub will last a long time.
Terri – I use baking soda as a shampoo and to exfoliate my skin with ACV as a detangler. Cornstarch and coconut oil are my deodorant.
Karissa – I wear Ferro cosmetics. Absolutely love it. As far as skin care though, I make my own moisturizer etc.
Kimberlee – I love Andalou!
Wendy – For makeup I use Earth Naturals mineral makeup. The foundation is about $13 and lasts me about 6 months using it every day. My skin loves it!
What do YOU use and recommend?
I am sure that you are very familiar with the loads of lip balms and chapsticks that frequently appear near grocery check out lines. There are lots of choices in theory but none that are all that healthy for us unless you are at a health food store. The leading brand is full of parabans, petroleum, and chemical dyes and fragrance. Not something we should be rubbing on our lips. Sadly this is the case for most lip balms found in conventional stores.
There is also a market for these products year round. Our lips get chapped, dry, and cracked in the summer from the sun and the same in the winter from the dry air and wind. I know that ever since winter weather made its arrival here in Ohio I have been using lip balm non-stop on myself and on my kids. My hubby is also a big user, as is evident from the all the plastic tubes I find in the wash, after he forgot to take them out of his work pants pockets.
I recently tried four alternative products to the mainstream and all are effective as well as safe and healthy…all from Eco Lips. They came to us just in the nick of time. All Eco Lips products are petroleum free and most are organic or nearly organic and fair trade.
I also read online that Eco Lips has in the past had a recycling program where they take back their lip balm tubes though I could find nothing on the site currently to verify this…I have sent a long a question about that and hope to post the response when I hear back. I really don’t like using metal tins and applying lip balm with my finger so using a plastic tube is preferred, provided you can recycle the tubes.
Update 11/28/12: Eco Lips no longer has a recycling program. Bummer.
My fave is the Eco Lips Restore One World Lip Balm. It comes in three exotic blends and all are fair trade and organic. Restore is Coconut Ginger, Relax is Lavender Lemon, and Renew is Orange Spice (I have this one). I absolutely love the more mature flavors as opposed to the sickly sweet cherry that is so popular among the leading brand. This balm smells good and tastes good. It has become my go-to lip balm and I carry it in my purse. When I run out, I am soooo buying this one again…
Another favorite is the Eco Lips – Eco Tints lip moisturizer in Rose Quartz. I love it! Not only does it work and last a long time it gives my lips just a hint of color. It is more than appropriate to wear to the gym for just a hint of color that doesn’t make me looking like I am trying to glam up and wear makeup to lift weights in. I am not a big lipstick wearer actually because I so unused to wearing any that I feel like a clown when I do. The Eco Tints balm is perfect for me…subdued color. 90% organic.
The Eco Lips Gold Balm is the softest and most luxurious of the bunch. It feels like liquid silk going on your lips. It’s just the finest organic ingredients and no scent for no frills lip protection. No GMOs.
Last up is the Eco Lips Dagoba Chocolate Lip Balm line. It is an organically tasty treat in three flavors – Lavender, Mint and Roseberry. I have the mint flavor. Yummy! This one is also silky soft and I love the mint and chocolate combo. Who wouldn’t???
The entire line was created by a mom who wanted a better product and started crafting them in her kitchen for her family and friends. The right person got a sample and the rest is history…it is now an ethical and healthy line of lip balms that I am happy to use in my own household.
Interested in trying them out yourself? I am able to give away an Eco Lips Lip Care Kit to one of my readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!