Monday, August 24, 2009

Some of my favorite products

Asides from attempting to go as "au naturel" as possible, I do have some favorite products that are really natural. Sometimes, it's just not feasible for me to moisturize my body with Jojoba Oil (like when I'm in a rush...the oil needs a few minutes to absorb) and I NEED an actual moisturizing cream.

When you go natural, it's usually a bit more expensive. But its worth the extra tiny bit of money because the natural products last longer and you're minimizing your risk of disease and cancer, and you're protecting the environment by not using petro-chemical based products.

There is a company called Sigrid Natural Skin Care, it's a local company based out of Ontario (in Toronto when it's cold out). Their creams and butters are so amazingly natural. I even use their body creams on my son! They are a bit pricey, but worth the extra money!

Another local company is Green Beaver. Their price-point is surprisingly close to what you'd pay in a drug store for those easily recognizable brands. I had first discovered their face cream as it's completely chemical free. Then I fell in love with their Grapefruit Face Wash. I even tried their acne treatment when my pregnancy hormones left me playing connect-the-dots on my face! I am now addicted to their toothpaste. It tastes really good and is free of Sodium Laureth Sulfate, artificial sweeteners, flavours or colours, and there is no fluoride. (try rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide afterwards - it's naturally anti-bacterial and naturally brightens your teeth without filling your mouth with artificial colours, flavours, alcohols, etc)

Avalon Organics is another company I like. You can find their products at drugstores! They have a Vitamin C line of skincare which I really like. The facewash is so great, it removes make-up AND cleanses in one step. The Toner is perfectly light and alcohol free. The moisturizer is so nice and light, but not suitable for drier skin types. Vitamin C naturally brightens your complexion AND encourages collagen production.

I am currently head-over-heels in love with my body butter by Alba - the Kukui Nut one. It smells so good, is intensly rich, and isn't expensive at all! Check it out here

LaVanilla is a company that makes natural fragrances and skin care products. I LOVE LOVE LOVE their natural deodorant. It's quite pricey, it's like $22 at Sephora but it's worth it's weight in gold... It is free of Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Propylene Glycol, Petrochemicals, parabens, etc. And it REALLY WORKS! You still sweat (only anti-perspirants with Aluminum Chlorohydrate stop you from sweating, but that's dangerous for your body - it's been linked to breast cancer AND Alzheimers), however the corn starch in it helps to dry you up, the natural fragrances help to cover up any smell, etc.

If you don't want to spend that kind of money on deodorant, then you need The Crystal. A variety of companies manufacture them... it's a crystal clear rock that you use on your underarms (apparantely people with smelly feet problems use them on their feet too). It ONLY works wet, so you have to wet the rock, and then persistenly rub it into your underarms. I use it on my wet skin immediately after I come out of the shower and rub it in each underarm for like 15 seconds. You really want to get this stuff onto your skin. It's literally like a rock, it takes forever to dissolve away...each rock will last A YEAR!!! Don't believe the people who tell you they used it and it didn't work... They didn't use it correctly. Remember, you have to wet the rock, and rub it for like 15 seconds or more. It has anti-bacterial properties, so even though you sweat, you wont get smelly!

I'm sure I'll think of more products to add, so this list will likely be changing in the very near future, but in the meantime these products should get you thinking about how easy it is to switch to more natural products that suit your hectic life-style

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moisturizing your hair and scalp

There is no denying that some of the more natural shampoos and conditioners leave a little something to be desired. Some of them feel really harsh, leaving your hair a tangled, dry mess, while others leave you feeling like an oil slick.

There are some more natural shampoos and conditioners out there (available at your drug store, even) that feel, suds, and rinse out the way the standard chemically stuff does, but is better for YOU and the environment.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a chemical sudsing agent and is found in most cheap shampoos and conditioners (actually, most of the pricey salon brands have this ingredient too). We have been brainwashed to believe that unless there is lather, that it's not getting clean. Well Sodium Laureth Sulfate has been linked to cancer (The EPA in the US even listed it as "a probably carcinogen"), skin irritation, and canker sores (it's in cheap toothpaste). It's also been linked to Whale Infertility - circle of life, people!!!

Okay, I'm getting off topic here.

SLS is dangerous. You definitely want a shampoo that's SLS free. You also want one that's Paraben-free. Fragrance free is good (essential oils are not considered fragrance, and will be listed as essential oils). Giovanni makes some nice shampoos and conditioners ( and so does Live Clean (, but Live Clean has a larger range of shampoos (and hand washes, body lotions, etc).

They are not much more expensive than conventional drug store brands, but are SO much better for you and the environment.

So today's beauty tip is hair-based. Try mixing together 1 egg, 2 tablespoons castor oil, 1 tablespoon glycerin, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Give it a good mix and put it in a squeeze bottle. Apply it all over your dry hair the way you would hair colour... cover your shoulders with a towel, it may run! Let it sit for 20 minutes, then wash and condition like you normally would. Ideally, you'd add a little castor oil to your shampoo in the palm of your hand before washing. You'll have amazingly shiny, thick-looking, soft soft hair!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Do you want to go Natural?

Here are some amazing things to keep in your home... feel free to leave a note if I've left anything out!

Baking Soda - the BEST face scrub you've EVER used. It's so cheap, its practically free. (Keep away from eye area). Also great to get your teeth "dentist clean".
Vinegar (the regular white stuff) - Makes your hair super shiny and bouncy, rinse 1part vinegar with 1part water through your hair after your shampoo. Follow with conditioner.
Hydrogen Peroxide - Rinse your mouth after brushing, anti-bacterial AND "bleaching".
Castor Oil - Add a few drops to your shampoo (in the palm of your hand) before washing. Mix together and watch it get thick and rich. Excellent moisturizer! Use it around your eye area and watch your eyelashes grow long and strong!
Olive Oil - Excellent moisturizer. Cheap, even when organic, considering how little you need to moisturize your body. Apply on damp skin after coming out of shower. Mix with other oils and essential oils.
Coconut Oil - My favorite. Rich with Amino Acids. If heaven has a smell, it's Organic Coconut Oil... ;o) Put it on your hair before going to sleep. Wash it out the next day. Prepare to dazzle everyone with your shiny, bouncy hair! Also an intense body moisturizer...a little goes a long way!
Rose Hip Seed Oil (you gotta keep this baby in the fridge) - one of the best anti-aging products there is. It's not cheap (a little 1oz bottle can set you back $10 or more). It spoils, so you gotta keep it in the fridge. I like to use it around the eye and lip area.
Liquid Glycerin - is a humectant. It pulls moisture out of the air and into your skin/hair.
Tea Tree Oil - even though its an oil, it's extremely drying. Use only on very acne-prone skin, or add the tiniest little trace to your moisturizer the week before your period to help prevent hormonal breakouts. Also great for treating backne.
Essential Oils (good basics are Lemon, Peppermint, and Lavender) - can add a beautiful smell to your skin care/hair care and have wonderful benefits. Lavender, for instance, is not only calming, but is mildly anti-bacterial.
Shea Butter - intense moisturizer. Can be used on your face. Non-comedogenic. Has a mild, natural SPF built-in.
Honey - humectant. Pulls moisture out of the air and into your skin/hair. Use it as an ingredient in masks or in your bath.
Beeswax - a better barrier than Petroleum Jelly, but completely natural! Melt beeswax with a little bit of Coconut Oil and Shea Butter for your very own lipbalm, or nightly eye cream.
Oatmeal - moisturizes and calms irritated skin. Powder it and add it to face masks or your bath.

Great "ingredients" that you probably already have:
Yoghurt - exfoliates when used as a mask
Eggs - rich in vitamins and minerals. Use as face masks, hair masks, etc
Milk - soothing and exfoliating, Cleopatra famously added it to her baths
Fruits - such as strawberries are an amazing source of "AHAs" to use in masks

Benefits of Natural Skincare?!?

I may ruffle a lot of feathers by saying this, but I honestly don't believe the sun causes skin cancer. How is it possible that the one thing that gives life, that causes plants to grow big and strong, can give us humans skin cancer?

How is it possible that elephants baking in the hot Indian Sun, zebras running wild across the Serengeti, or monkeys swinging under the hot African sun do not get skin cancer?

What is it that seperates us from these animals (some monkeys being as close to 98% the same genetic make-up as us humans) and gives US skin cancer?

1) Our poor diet/lifestyle
2) The chemicals we put on our skin.

I'm going to address the second issue here, our skin care. Go to where you keep your skincare and bring back your facewash, toner, and moisturizer... Read the ingredients. Any google search can tell you what the ingredients in your skincare do. Let me address some of the obvious ingredients.

Propylene Glycol - is used in cosmetics as a binding agent and to create a "rich" feel. In other uses, it is an AIRCRAFT ANTI-FREEZE, used to TRAP, KILL and PRESERVE bugs, etc. It is known to dry out your skin, but the manufacturers try to cover this up by adding other ingredients that fake the feeling that your skin is hydrated, while deep down inside it is actually dry and dehydrated.

Mineral Oil - aka Paraffinum Liquidum, Paraffin, is used a "moisturizing" ingredient in skincare, even though it is NOT absorbeable by your skin. It is extremely comedogenic...making your skin break out. In Industrial uses, Mineral Oil is used to coat metalics to prevent rusting/oxidization. Imagine what this means for your skin; it coats your skin, preventing it from breathing, preventing it from absorbing atmospheric moisture, preventing it from releasing toxins from your body (Your skin releases almost as much waste from your body as your COLON does).

Go ahead and google the rest of your skincare ingredients...

Skin cancer is a fairly new phenomenon in human history. I think it is directly related with the Industrial Revolution, and the nasty chemicals that came along with it.

You often have many of the ingredients for natural skin care/ body care already at home in your possession. They are not expensive to acquire, and often have a fairly long shelf life. The products that do "expire" fairly quickly are the ones that you would probably eat before they go bad, such as yoghurt.