Body care is one of those areas that doesn’t really fall under the nutrition umbrellas but does fall into the wellness category. It also seems to be one of the last things we talk about in a nutrition session. But it’s pretty important. In the US, our product safety regulations have not changed since 1938! That states that cosmetic companies don’t need to disclose their ingredients to the FDA before putting products on the shelf for us to buy and use. Wow! Did you know in Europe their regulations are so strict that they’ve banned over 1,300 chemicals we use here regularly in the US?!?! What the heck?!?
The average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on her body every day! 60% of that is absorbed into our bodies by our largest organ, our skin! Yikes!
So what’s wrong with this? Well, all toxins, not matter where from, the environment, sugar, alcohol, etc. are eliminated from our body by way of the liver. The more toxins we are exposed to the harder the liver works to clear them. As we go on day by day, get older and are building up toxins in our body, our liver gets overloaded, becomes sluggish and can no longer eliminate these efficiently or at all and they build up in our body. But because our bodies are amazing and efficient one of the best ways our body has figured out how to protect us from these toxins we can’t eliminate is to hide them in a fat cell which generally tend to settle around our abdomen.
Part of being a responsible and educated consumer means questioning everything, whether is labeled “natural”, “organic” or not. Read labels and do your research. A wonderful website I refer all clients to is the Environmental Working Group. You can look up individual beauty products that they rate on how safe they are, called Skin Deep. Plus, look up what foods are best to buy organic or not, the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. And more! Check it out, it’s pretty cool.
An easy and less overwhelming way to transition to natural body care is to use up what you’ve got and when it’s time to buy a new lotion, deodorant, shampoo, etc. try something below. Another good way to do this is to reduce your use of items with anything that says "phalates" or "petroleum" and anything scented (unless it’s from organic or sustainably wild crafted essential oils), anything in plastics, especially with the No. 3, 6 or 7 on them.If you have any questions you can always look it up on the EWG or Skin Deep database above. Just like changing any old habits, it might take a little more time than usual, but once you read a few labels and know what brands you like it will be second-nature.
So what CAN you use safely? Here’s the short list of what I have tried and a few of my favorites:
There’s one of three ways you can go with the natural deodorant: with or without baking soda in it. For many the baking soda irritates the skin. But it can also be difficult to find a good working natural deodorant without baking soda in the formula, since it’s purpose is to neutralize odors. The there is the third option: going completely au naturel, which one of my best friends swears by, but may not be for everyone.
Why switch? Most deodorants on the shelf have aluminum in them, which has been associated with a lowered immune system, shown to contribute or have a strong correlation to both benign and malignant breast cysts and other health issues. If you’d like to read more on this, Twist of Lemons has a great blog article on it with cited research.
Whatever path you choose, know that the switch from synthetic, chemical-laden deodorant to any natural method will take some time to get used to, think 2-3 months. So give it a solid try before you make any snap judgments. I sweat just standing still! So, if I can do it, so can you!
Baking soda FREE ones I love:
- Dr. Hauschka Rose or Sage Deodorant – these are roll-ons, which apply nicely. They are on the pricier side but lasted me a few months even when I had days where I had to reapply.
- Weleda Spray deodorant - this one is mid-rage price. Being a spray is nice and applies very clean, no white mess on cloths, etc.
With baking soda:
- Primally Pure in Lemongrass or Charcoal – This is “low/minimal” baking soda and is what I am currently using. It does seem to work great, seems affordable and the smell of it doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I do seem to have to rub it in a bit with my fingers so it doesn’t get on my clothes.
- Lush Aromaco – this is a nice bar option that you can easily travel with. The nice thing about these guys is you can go in and cut a small piece off to try it at home for a minimal price before you decide if you want to buy a larger piece. I do like it. Though sometimes it seems a little rough when I apply it and I find I have to wet it most of the time before I apply.
- Aer Nest-Level Deodorant in Palo Santo Blood Orange – this seemed to work well, bonus points that it’s in a regular deodorant container. A little on the pricier side, but I would buy it again.
Others I have heard are great but haven’t tried yet:
A few I have tried and didn’t love:
- Tom’s - didn’t think this worked great, though it is affordable
- Lavanilla – worked ok, stick was quite messy and seemed to fall apart, also expensive.
- EO Organic Lavender wipes – these are ok for on the go or at the gym, but not my first choice for regular use. Not bad to have on hand if you need a refresh though.
- Pacifica Underarms Deodorant Wipes – originally, I bought these to throw in my gym bag because I just don’t trust the body care products my gym provides. However, they can be used to refresh but don’t work well, I won’t be buying them again.
- Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal – This was the OG “natural” deodorant back in the day. Upon further research on what it is made up of, most of these crystal types have aluminum in them, which is an antiperspirant by way of clogging pores and is a neurotoxin and linked to Alzheimer’s and cancer. Just another reason to do your research before buying anything, even if it says it’s “natural.”
- David’s – this is my favorite toothpaste I have tried so far, but it’s a bit on the expensive side. Plus, the tube is made of metal and seems to push more out of the tube than I want.
- Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Toothpaste - good and reasonably priced option. I will buy this when I am low and it's on sale.
- Desert Essence Tea Tree/Neem - great and a bit more affordable
- Weleda Salt or Calendula toothpaste - Didn't love either of these flavors.
After much debate and buying expensive natural lotions, I decided to keep this one simple. I use straight shea butter. I buy mine in bulk at Apothecary Tinctura, where I work, and you can too if you are in Denver. Otherwise, you can buy it online at Mountain Rose, Sun Potions, Moon Juice or other bulk/natural stores. It’s got a little musty/waxy smell, but I don’t mind because then I usually put on an essential oil blend or natural fragrance I want that day.
Sometimes I use oils to moisturize instead, usually during the dry winter months when I get really ashy and static-y. If you think this is too “oily” an option for your skin, the key is to put in on right when you get out of the shower, most times I don’t even wipe the water off my body. It seems to absorb the best then. Occasionally I buy them. When I do I like: Little Barn Honeysuckle, Weleda Evening Primrose or SW Basics Lemongrass.
Most often I make my own by mixing whatever oils I have at home with some essential oils. It's super easy, the hardest part is buying all your ingredients and there’s no wrong of right here. Find what you like and use that. The oils I like to mix up: jojoba, rosehip seed, almond, avocado, hemp, fractionated coconut and/or raw sesame. Pick 2 or 3 and mix those in a jar then add whatever essential oils you like. Ones I like are lavender, patchouli, bergamot, frankincense, lemongrass and/or peppermint. Again pick 1-2 here to start and add about a total of 30 drops of essential oils per 1 ounce or oil. Lemongrass and peppermint is one of my personal favorites and great for sore muscles too! This is also a great guide to mixing essential oils.
A quick note on essential oils (blog post to come), please use trusted Organic or sustainably wild crafted oils from good companies like Mountain Rose Herbs, Floracopia, Eden Botanicals, White Lotus or Rocky Mountain Oils. Because these are highly concentrated, example: a single drop of rose essential oil has the equivalent of 50 roses in it, you can see how concentrated these are. Therefore, how concentrated all the pesticides, herbicides and gross stuff in the soil, if it’s not organic, we'd put on our skin that will absorb!
- John Masters Organics – this is the OG organic hair products started back in the 70’s! They are great. I have used a lot of their formulas. A few of my favorites are the Sea Mist, Citrus Neroli Detangler, and Evening Primrose Shampoo. My husband loves the Spearmint & Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo.
- Josh Rosebrook – I tried the Nourish and Balancing versions. I loved the smell and how pure and high quality the ingerdients were. They were very natural and herbaceous smelling. I really wanted to love these, however, I found that I had to use a lot of the shampoo and wash twice to get my hair clean. The conditioner lasted a bit longer. On the pricier side. Probably won’t buy these again.
- Shea Moisture, Desert Essence, Avalon Organics, and Acure – I usually have one or two of their formulas in my home on a regular basis. The great thing is you can buy these are Target, they are very reasonable, smell great and works.
Ones I would like to try:
Many of you that read this might have an idea of my issues with my skin, namely adult acne after getting off 15+ years of birth control use. It was because of this that I ventured down the rabbit hole of natural beauty, nutrition and wellness. As you can imagine this means that I have bought and used a fair share of beauty products. While the list here is just what I am currently using, I have tried so much more than what I have written here. But just know that glowy, clear, beautiful skin starts from within, meaning a lifestyle of quality diet, gut health and stress management.
.Here’s a list of what I am currently using or have recently tried that I love:
- Dr. Hauschka - I love their Facial Toner and Clarifying Toner and use them both often depending on what's going on with my skin. Really you can't go wrong with anything of theirs. I am a huge advocate of their items. For moisturizers, I also go in between their Rose Day Cream when I need more hydration and Melissa Day Cream when I am feeling more congested and not needing as much hydration.
- Tata Harper - I love her Regenerating Cleanser. It's like a gentle daily exfoliator. Most of her stuff is raved about, but honestly, I am just trying one thing at a time since it's pricey. But so far, worth it!
- One Love Organics- When I want a soothing gentle cleanser without exfoliation I use their Vitamin B Enzyme Oil Cleanser. It's the best oil cleanser that I have found and rinses well with any temperature water. It takes off all makeup and doesn't irritate my eyes either!
- Acure - When I need a good exfoliation, about 1-2 times a week, I use this Brilliantly Brightening Scrub. I have tired to fine others I love but I always come back to this!
- Arcona - Back when I worked and live in Santa Monica, I would hope over to the Arcona Studios which was a whole 2 blocks from work and treat myself to a facial by Brandi! She was the best and she also helped me look my best for my wedding. Can't say enough about her and this place! If you live in LA, it's a must-go! Anyhow, there are still a few of their products I constantly have to order. They are their Triad Toner Pads - these are pure heaven and I also buy their Triad To-Go packs so I can travel with them when I go workout and have to run errands or have meetings after and can shower. My next favorite exfoliator is their Cranberry Gommage.
- SkinCeuticals - I use a few other their products. Currently I am using their Phloretin CF to help with discoloration and hyper-pigmentation. It's one of the more expensive items I use daily. But i have been using it for about a year and one bottle will last 2-3 months and I've noticed a huge difference, especially with all the acne scaring I had developed over time. I also use their Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 for my face. It's good for activity or when I go run outside and also doesn't leave me with a white face, especially since i have darker skin and that seems to be so hard to fine in a natural sunscreen.
- Derma E - I got a free bottle of their Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, and I have to say I like it a lot. It's light and absorbs well.
- Little Barn Apothecary - Honestly, I haven't tried anything from this brand that haven't loved! One of my faves is their Helichrysum + Violet Fortifying Face Oil, this is such a lovely consistency and I notice a big difference in clarity and brightness when I use it consistently.
- Kjaer Weiss - I have been using their Beauty Oil for a while now and do like it, I'm not sure it's worth the hefty price tag. I'll probably move on after it's done.
- May Lindstrom - I found this line about 5 years ago, and no joke bought one of everything (this was back in my hay day working as UX designer for a tech start-up, so I could afford it then...). It is pricey, but her quality is top-notch. One of my favorites is the Blue Cocoon it's texture is lovely, smells amazing and makes my skin happy when it's not. I don't use this daily, just as a treat when my skin seems angry. I also love her Problem Solver Mask it's a 1-2 times a month mask for me. It's strong and helps clear things up when my hormones are acting up.
Other brands I would like to try:
- Living Libations
- Vitner’s Daughter
- True Botanicals
- Marie Veronique
- Binu Binu
Like my skin care, I have tried a lot of these, here’s a list of what I am currently using:
- BareMinerals - Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer this is what I use most days when I juts want a sheer, light coverage, plus it has spf for daytime.
- Ilia - I have their Vivid Foundation for days I need more coverage. Love this formula, though they need to work on more colors for darker skin, I have to mix mine with another brand for the right color. Sad, this is more often than not, but as we become more and more aware of health and wellness I am hopeful this will resolve in time. And I have a few of their lip sticks and love them!
- Kjaer Weiss - their cream blushes are very nice. I will say with all their products you pay a hefty price for luxe packaging, but the nice thing is they offer refills on most of their products so you don't pay that price every time.
- RMS - I love most of their products and have tried a lot of them. My favorite is their Un-Cover Up, a natural light but powerful spot concealer. Plus, their Living Luminizer for extra shimmer and that glow.
- Dr. Hauschka - About 6 months ago they came out with all new formulations for their make-up line and I love it! I have been using their foundation and have to say I am impressed with the coverage without being to heavy. I love all the new lipstick colors, may personal fave is #14 Caralluma. I have always been a huge fan of their Volumizing Mascara, right now I am in love with the purple color, it's not too noticeable of a color but fun!
Natural Make-up I didn't love:
- Beauty Counter - I tried their Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer and I really wanted to love this product, but I just don't. It's sticky and sits on my skin, maybe it's just too hydrating for me? But if I touch my skin I can feel and see a layer of it coming off on my hand :(
And a few great online (and brick and morter) stores to buy from:
I will do my best to continue to add to this list as I try new things.
I would love to hear what you have tried and loved! And if you have specific questions on anything here or maybe something I didn’t list, hit me up and let’s chat!