Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Product Girl No More!

I used to be a total product girl, buying so many different products from body wash to 3 different facial scrubs in the effort to find that ‘miracle’ product for some unseen skin issue.  My shower and bathroom cabinet were a testament to this addiction – half used bottles, tubes and tubs falling everywhere.  That is, until I made the decision to simplify my life, cut down on products, and switch to all natural or organic product alternatives wherever possible.  This extends to lotion, shampoo, deodorant, face wash, hair products etc.  I just feel that there are too many chemicals and toxins in these products, and have made a vow to myself and my family to cut down or find healthy alternatives.  After all, your skin is your largest organ, and it pays to keep it healthy.  My pact with myself is to not put anything on my skin that I would not put in my body. Pretty easy if you think about it.
The first thing I did was eco-dispose of or give away the products that were old or I had stopped using.  That was a complete relief, but it was hard to get rid of some items that cost more, so I used those up.  Then I did research on all natural and organic products, and also looked into making my own.  What I discovered is pretty amazing.
I don't wash my face with soap any more, I use oil.  Yep, even though I have oily skin, I use a gentle trio of oils that I tweaked for my personal use to clean my face:  olive, almond and castor oils.  I found the basic recipe and directions here.  Oil washing eliminates the need for a separate makeup remover, and leaves my face soft with a healthy glow.  During the winter, I use my homemade lotion bars as an after wash moisturizer.  I use every night, then just rinse my face with water in the shower each morning.  My skin has never been so clear or so healthy looking.

I tried making my own toothpaste, but I didn't like the texture or how salty it was.  So, we use Tom's of Maine non-fluoride varieties and the children's fluoride free variety.  They taste good, don't have the 'bad for you junk' in them, and there are sometimes coupons or sales available!  

I also tried making my own shampoo.  I have really long hair, and using castile soap on my hair left it in a tangled, straw-textured mess - the boys in the house use it, but not me.  Finding an all organic shampoo that doesn't contain castile soap is tough, so I tried Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying Shampoo.  This shampoo smells great, is 70% organic, and does not contain parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, phthalates or harmful sulfates.  Also, they do not test on animals, which is important to me.  My hair is shiny, fresh smelling and smooth.  Love it!

For conditioner, I use a 3:1 white vinegar to water solution that I mix up and keep in a squeeze bottle in the shower.  Apply at the ends and roots, massage into your hair, and rinse.  Tangle free and soft, plus no harmful chemicals!

Mountain Rose Herbs has my favorite facial scrub.  With oily skin, I like to do a facial scrub about once a week.  This helps keep my skin clear, smooth and just feels and smells darn good!  

One of my little guys has seasonal dandruff, as do I on on the crown of my head, so instead of potentially harmful, commercially produced dandruff shampoo, we use organic Rosemary Essential Oil, also from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Simply massage onto troubled areas, wrap your head in a towel and let sit a minimum of 10 minutes.  Wash your hair as usual.  If you can stand to leave it on overnight, even better.  Stops the itchies and the flakes!

For years I have searched for an all natural deodorant that actually worked.  I tried at least 5 or 6 different brands to no avail, always falling back to the commercial brands.  That is, until I started selling Evolution Salt and got introduced to the Deodorant and Cleansing Bar.  Every day, I use my deodorant bar, and it's amazing!  It goes on a little wet, dries quickly, and leaves me with a refreshing feeling all day.  Sure, by the time evening rolls around, you may need to reapply if you are going out, but it does last all day.  I barely sweat, and when I do, I don’t smell bad, just natural because the salt doesn't allow smelly bacteria to grow.  It even works in the heat of the summer - bring on the sun dresses!  No more white deodorant balls, yellowish armpits, white marks on dark clothes or chemical laden commercial deodorants!  I have been using the same one for over 2 years - so it is cost effective as well.  The man about the house doesn't use it, as he has a higher sweat ratio than I do, and it doesn't work for him.  But, he did find an all natural deodorant that does work - Kiss My Face Active Life Sport Stick.  The boys use a Tom's of Maine variety.  
For cleaning our bodies, we use our own blend of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps that we buy in bulk at the Co-op, or the Dr. Bronner's Almond bar soap.  The man about the house and the boys use the liquid for their shampoo as well, and we use a blend of the Dr. Bronner's liquid soap and water in our hand soap dispensers.  
It is a challenge to find a good, organic or all natural lotion.  I am a lotionaholic, and need to moisturize every day.  I found a good one in Alba Organics, as it has a pretty clean label, and doesn't go on greasy.  I also make my own lotion bars - the boys love them!
I use Physician’s Formula organic mascara and use Mojo Spa foundation and powder, as well as their mineral eye shadows.  I love Mojo Spa's Illuminata foundation, it makes my skin look dewy and younger looking - who can't use some of that!  The powder is great if you want a matte look, and the eye shadows double as a silky eye liner if you take a makeup brush and apply it wet.  All the Mojo Spa products are handmade using natural ingredients.  I can get behind that!

And last, but certainly not least.  I like to paint my toenails.  Fingernails I can do without, but I am not without a certain amount of girlishness, and I like to paint my toes.  I did not want to keep using the harmful commercial nail polishes or removers.  Acetone, yuck!  So, after some research, I found Safe Nail Polish.  This stuff rocks!  Awesome colors, safe to use even on kiddos, non-acetone remover, and lasts just as long as commercial nail polish.  Summer toes coming soon!

It did take some trial and error and a fair amount of research, but I feel really good about the products we are now using.  They are good for my family, good for the earth, and we have vastly cut down on waste, and the number of items we purchase, as many can be used for multiple applications.  It's a winning situation all around!
I am always looking for tips and new ideas, so please share yours!

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