I'm so happy with the response to this series, and all of you who really appreciated Part 2 of the series and felt motivated to make your own changes. Beauty should be fun, not scary! I'm hoping I can help with that.
Beyond cosmetics there is a whole array of other toxic products we slather on daily.
From the moment we step into the shower, to the moment we spritz on some perfume before heading out the door, we are adding layer upon layer on harmful chemicals.
My first challenge? My hair.
As with the cosmetics, my reviews are based upon my personal experience with the products I tried. So keep in mind that I have very thin, blonde, straight hair that has been highlighted with various toxic dyes over the past 9 years or so.
I was very weary about making this switch. You see, I'm a bit of a shampoo snob. I will happily spend good money on high end shampoo and conditioner to keep my goldilocks in good condition.
The first shampoo and conditioner I tried was:
- John Masters Organics. Through my research I learned that my hair might go through a bit of a "detox" period during the first week. And this it did. I spent a week with hair that was either greasy, tangled, or completely limp. I felt shy, embarassed, and unpolished. And then this happened.
I learned that natural shampoos don't function like regular shampoos either and you have to work differently with them. You only need a small amount of shampoo, which will not lather, that you should massage very gently into your scalp. Your hair might knot up a little after this, and I found the best remedy before conditioning my ends was to use the old hippie trick of using apple vider vinegar as a conditioner. (Add a few tbps of vinegar to a glass and fill the rest with water. After shampooing, pour over your scalp until finished, and hair is untangles, and rinse.) This worked miracles in making my hair routine manageable and my hair shiny and healthy.
The next shampoo and conditioner I tried was from:
- Giovanni. This had a better feel and lather than John Masters, but it's ratings on Cosmetics Database are far less impressive, showing it still has some toxic ingredients. I had the same experience with Avalon Organics shampoo and was really dissapointed by how high the toxicity ratings were!
Next up was the shampoo and conditioner I really wanted to try. But didn't want to pay for.
- Rare El'ements does a high end line of all natural hair products that is very expensive but has excellent reviews. Upon one wash, I was sold. It massaged easily into my hair, left my locks silky smooth, and didn't leave any of the grease or knots I'd experienced with other shampoos. My one complaint on this product is the price!
Tips for healthy hair:
- Wash every other day
- Air dry when possible (I do almost every day now!)
- Brush daily with a bamboo brush. A TV hair stylist taught me to do this, and brush from roots to the ends before showering to spread the natural oils. If you do this, you don't even have to condition.
- Good blog post on all natural shampoos and one blogger's favourite natural shampoos
- Dr.Mercola's reasons for ditching toxic hair care
- Livestrong's round up of best natural hair products
Other hair products I didn't try:
- Miessence Desert Flower Shampoo - good reviews
- Burts Bees - mixed reviews
- Aubrey- mixed reviews
- Green Beaver- mixed reviews
- 365- mixed reviews, some say not fully natural
Next challenge? My skincare.
This was a bit less of a challenge because I've been easing natural products into my skincare regime for some time now.
However I was still stuck on some products, mainly make-up remover, pimple cream, and the almighty toxic suncreen! I played around with several products and here is what ended up in my routine.
Throughout my research I also discovered the wonder of almond oil for removing eye make-up and helping under eye bags and wrinkles. I am now obsessed with NOW almond oil (I gently rub my eyes with the oil and then remove it with a wet cottonpad).
As a moisturizer, I have strayed from my usual coconut oil and now use argan oil and almond oil for my face and hair. Josie Maran's argan oil is nothing short of magical. I use this only at night to let it fully sink into my skin.
A representative from Arbonne also sent me some samples that I loved. Since I was only given a small sample I can't give a long term review of how these worked, but I did enjoy the cleanser, toner and lotion I was given to try.
For pimples, I swapped out my toxic creams for a gentle tea tree oil or some soothing all natural aloe vera if I'm irritated and I have less breakouts than ever before!
In the shower I swapped out my Dove soap for Dr.Bronner's liquid soap. I love citrus in the morning and lavender at night.
All in all, that comprises my new skin care routine - with a few new additions after my all natural facial (to come in Part 4!)
One thing I was really stressed out about was sunscreen.
With this in mind I searched out some easy to find basic sunscreen and one splurge worthy fancy one.
Since I'm still preparing for my sunny summer vacation I have yet to pick up any so I will share with you what I plan on buying:
- Josie Maran SPF40 - Amazing reviews, great ingredients, beautiful finish. A little pricy.
- Green Beaver - Great ingredients, no white finish, a little greasy.
- Badger - Great ingredients, apparently a little greasy but sinks into the skin easily.
- Coconut oil - A natural sunscreen but with a low spf.
Now, on the topic of stinking. I haven't grown out my armpit hair or switched over to patchouli oil. But here are my deoderants of choice:
- Green Beaver - Glides on easily, leaves no marks, but not heavy duty at all (you might still stink a little)
- Crystal Body Deoderant - I use this most days and find it more effective than any natural deoderant!
As for perfumes, I've left my Dior Addict in the back of my medicine cabinet and am still in search of an all natural replacement. For now I'm going au natural!
*A useful pocket shopping guide with the top 10 ingredients you should avoid