Adventures in Cosmetics… Naturally
It is not just in the kitchen that I’ve been adventuring with natural ingredients of late. Over the last year or so I have also made many changes to my beauty regime – following the mantra that if you don’t want to put chemicals into your body – then why would you put them on your body. Your skin is your largest organ and by smothering it in chemical filled lotions and potions, you can unbelievably effect your hormone balance, cell mutation and weight! Admittedly it took me a lot longer to clean things up than it did to clean up my eating habits. Give up my favourite hair mousse and skin cream? Well, now that I finally have I can honestly say my skin and hair is looking a whole lot better for it.
Since this was a voyage of discovery, experimentation and learning on my part I thought I would jot down in a blog post some of my tried and tested products. I wish when I started I’d had this all written down in a neat place, by someone who had the same skin and hair type as me. I have combination skin that tans easily but also burns quickly and medium thick frizzy/curly brown hair with a hint of darker red tones in the right light. The ginger came from my Mum and the curly hair is a trait from my Grandad – which all my siblings share!
Most of these products can be found on Amazon, some in Boots, Whole Foods, Planet Organic or in independent health food stores.
Deodrant: If you change just one thing please make it to a chemical-free deodorant. Putting chemicals right next to your sweat glands, and breasts is not a great move. I use Naturally Fresh Deodrant Crystal or Crystal Body Deodrant (both pictured above). I have also tried the Jason deo which wasn’t great – left me a little sweaty and smelly.
Make Up: My new favourite brand is Bare Minerals. I love their powder foundation, which also contains SPF15. Honestly my skin has never looked better. Bare Minerals often do free makeovers in store so well worth a visit if you’re not sure what to get! There are lots of other brands to explore but honestly I’d be happy with an entire make-up bag of Bare Minerals. I also like Mascara by UNE and lip balm by Burts Bees. Melvita is another one worth trying.
Shampoo and Conditioner: Reasonably priced brands I have tried in the last few years are Jason ( the kelp range is my recurring favourite), Avalon Organics, Faith in Nature & Weleda. There are still plenty out there to try. When I’m feeling wealthy Aveda is a treat. I have also tried Boots Nakd range but turns out it isn’t that Naked after all and left my hair feeling dirty. Whatever you choose the things to check on the label are Paraben and SLS free.
Hair styling products: I have curly hair that needs a bit of love and help to stay curly and defined. I have spent most of my life trying to find the perfect product – it’s been an eternal never ending quest through mousse hairspray & serum – none of which are very natural. Recently I have been simply using a dollop of conditioner on my towel dried hair before twirling into curls with my fingers. It is working incredibly well!! It is just moisture you need to avoid frizz, nothing special – said by my hairdresser even who has never been into fancy products.
Shower gel and body lotions: There are literally hundred of brands: I’m currently using Dr Bromner’s Castile soap and a home made body butter my my good Friend Adura. I like Cowshed too.
Face: I wash my face with a Sukin gentle wash – a fantastic Australian brand I stumbled upon by chance. A few times a week I use their exfoliating wash – I know there are further natural ways like using nothing at all, but this is working well for me at the moment.
Mask: I use Fullers Earth Clay Betonite mask once a week – often mixed with a little honey and apple cider vinegar. I was introduced to this by my natural beauty guru Adura. Adura blogs about healthy living – food, beauty and exercise over at www.adura-o.com and has lots of tutorial videos on You tube too. Here is the Fullers Earth one;
Toner: Diluted organic / Raw & unfiltered apple cider vinegar. If you can get over the smell this works fantastically well!
Face moisturiser: Back to Adura again… Adura makes me a homemade face oil (contact her if you are interested in purchasing any of her Demora products) which is working amazingly on my skin – Adura won’t tell me what’s in it as due to copyright, but I think it might include almond and rosehip oil which is fantastic for helping with scarred skin. I have a few scars on my face because I was run over by a bike a few years ago and ended up with stitches as a result. I also have some acne scaring from years of picking at my spots… I also have used pure rosehip oil from Neals Yard Remedies. They do a great range of paraben free products and pure essential oils.
Secondly when my skin is very dry or displaying any signs of eczema, I use extra-virgin coconut oil (yes the same stuff you use for cooking) on my skin. Recently having never suffered from eczema before I had a painful bout on my eyelids. Not very comfortable or pretty at all, and it made me quite grumpy. Warming a little coconut oil in my hands and then smoothing across the troubled area before bed did much to my surprise really help with the symptoms. Also great as a general moisturiser eczema or no eczema – just decant a little into a pretty pot for adding to your bathroom shelf and you will never know the difference between your home made product and a ridiculously over priced designer cream.
Toothpaste: I use Aloe Dent which is fluoride free (contrary to popular opinion fluoride isn’t essential for clean teeth and its negative aspects outweigh any perceived benefits). There are lots of homemade toothpaste recipes I may attempt soon – most involving bicarb of soda and coconut oil.
Perfume: Sorry I am still using my Channel No. 5 and Mark Jacobs Daisy – I just can’t give it up – but a top tip is to spray it on your clothes so that its not on your direct skin.
I’ve also changed all my household products over to Ecover
There are lots of entrepreneurs out there moving into this natural beauty market, and you will usually find small brands, are of a higher quality and better value for money, as they use less crap in the products to make a massive profit. Plus supporting small bespoke businesses is great for the economy.
Above all, the thing that has made the most difference to the quality of my skin and the shine of my hair is a good diet – low in sugar (even natural types), less dairy (it can exacerbate dry skin and eczema) and less or no caffeine. Plus adding mineral rich bone broth (post coming soon) . Foods rich in Vitamin E and Omega 3 are also good for skin. People say it starts with food. It really does.
What are your favourite brands or home made natural beauty products?