Natural beauty

I’ve had a bad few days (so much for that “final week” push!) Again, not any sort of binge or entire-day-eating-junk-food bad but following a big omelette dinner with about a bowl of salted tortilla chips kinda bad. My stomach also isn’t all that impressed as I spent most of yesterday afternoon/evening feeling like something just wasn’t right. It definitely wasn’t a stomachache… it was lower. A kind of bloated, unhappy, “I’m digesting this but not easily” kind of feeling. I think it might have been from eating granola all afternoon instead of just as a snack when I didn’t have a chance to go out and grab lunch.

So instead of me moaning about my bad eating or unhappy gut or whatever, I’m going to write about something that makes me feel good and that I think you guys might be interested in. It’s not technically diet or exercise related, but it is health and beauty related, so I figure it fits with the overall idea of looking and feeling as good as possible. Plus it involves food products!

It’s amazing, to me, that so many people can be super conscious about what they are putting in their bodies – eating only organics, drinking purified water, etc – and yet continue to use commercial beauty products that are absolutely loaded with all sorts of crazy chemicals. Your skin absorbs these chemicals and they get into your body!

When I was trying to figure out why my hair was thinning, I started reading about SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and how bad it can be – including causing hair to thin. Eventually I read enough and decided to cut it out completely.

I started washing my hair with about a bit of baking soda dissolved in water followed by a rinse of diluted lemon juice to close the cuticles and balance the pH levels. (Most website you read will suggest apple cider vinegar as the rinse, but I just can’t get over the smell. Lemon juice is similar and, to me, smells much better!) It doesn’t get all soapy and bubbly like normal shampoo, but it gets my hair clean without drying out my scalp and I’m finding I don’t need to wash my hair every single day. In fact, I can go about 3-4 days before it starts looking a little greasy and I need to wash it. It’s been about 8 months since I’ve cut out traditional shampoo and I can’t see myself swapping back anytime soon.

My other little natural beauty quirk is extra virgin olive oil as moisturizer.

It is amazing.

I have always used moisturizers. My skin is just too dry naturally to go without. It was always a balancing act to try to find a moisturizer that actually moisturized my skin and didn’t just sit on top of it. Trying to find something like that which also didn’t cause breakouts (and didn’t cost a fortune) was always a struggle. When I ran out of my beloved Vichy moisturizer – which I can’t get here in New Zealand – I started searching around for a replacement and read about extra virgin olive oil being used as a moisturizer. I was a little hesitant about slathering oil on my face, but after reading so many glowing reviews I decided to try it. (On a weekend when I didn’t have any plans, of course!)

I now won’t use anything else. Right out of the shower, while my skin is still damp, I’ll smooth about 1/2 a tsp on my face and neck and another tbsp or two onto my arms and legs. My skin absorbs it and stays soft and smooth until the next shower. Olive oil actually helps balance your skin’s oil production, so it’s good for both dry AND oily skin. It’s also a great makeup remover as well as an exfoliant when salt or sugar is added to it.

There are so many other mass produced, chemical-ladened products that have green, natural alternatives, but those two are the two I use regularly and have so for an extended period of time and that I would recommend everyone try for at least a few weeks to see the results.

Are you conscious about chemicals and toxins in your makeup and beauty products or do you focus more on what’s going in – not on – your body? Do you have any natural alternatives to traditional beauty products you use regularly? Would you be likely to try a natural alternative or are you happy sticking with traditional products?



Filed under Life, Products

8 responses to “Natural beauty

  1. I switched to sulfate-free shampoo, too, but I’m still not making my own. (I use Whole Foods store brand.) Sometimes I use safflower or coconut oil for moisturizer, and sometimes I use something scented. One of these days I’ll get around to making my own scented products. 🙂

    • Oddly enough, I don’t actually miss scented products! Just a little baking soda and some water in a little travel-size shampoo/squirt bottle and I’m good to go. And if I rinse with lemon juice, there’s a slight lemony scent, but it seems to fade away once the hair’s dry. I’m pretty sensitive to scents though (I don’t wear perfume because it usually will trigger headaches. Ditto with scented deodorant!) so maybe scent-free is best for me, anyway. Cutting out sulfates is definitely a good thing, I think – homemade or not!

  2. that’s so interesting. to be honest with you, i never really thought much about the stuff in my shampoo and whatnot. i just know it’s twice the price in Aussie-land, so when i go back to Canada, i buy MASSIVE amounts to bring back with me.:P

    hey guess what: our flights are booked to go to NZ in november!! we land in Queenstown and eventually fly out of Blenheim. if you have any suggestions of what we GOT to do, please, divulge!

    • I stocked up huge on toiletries, makeup etc when I was home over Christmas. Now that I don’t use most of it anymore, it’ll leave way more space in my bags for shoes and clothes next trip! Deodorant, too, actually. I can’t stand the sprays and gels they have here. I always end up inhaling the sprays and it just feels wrong to put gooey gel stuff under my arms…

      That’s awesome! You’re going to love it. Every time I go to the south island I’m blown away by how amazing the scenery is. It’s like being in the Lord of the Rings. I’ll try to think of things to do – but I can definitely recommend going to Kaikoura to see the fur seals. They’re all along the northeast coast of the south island. We went last spring and got within a few feet of the baby seals. It was an absolutely incredible experience! (And free!) Some info on fur seals & pics. You can see penguins along that coast, too.

      Puzzling World in Wanaka, near Queenstown, is cool. And Wanaka itself is gorgeous. If you’re driving from Queenstown to Wanaka, you can stop in Arrowtown (on the way) and pan for gold. (Andrew was really upset when he didn’t find any! ha). There are tons of adventure activities (tramping, skiing, black water rafting, bungee, etc) if you guys are interested, though they can cost a bit of money. Visiting a traditional Maori village and seeing a performance is very cool, too. Ooh, and thermal springs are great for relaxing – especially if you’ve been driving for a while!

      Check out if you’re looking for deals on hotels. We’ve often traveled and booked hotels that afternoon so we could be more flexible with travel – spending more or less time in an area without worrying about making it to a pre-booked hotel in time.

  3. Oh my gosh, I need to try this. I’ve been breaking out like crazy… and I just can’t figure out why! I never had this kind of skin problem when I was a kid… but now that I’m a full grown adult I’m getting a billion zits!! Ah!

    Also, my hair’s been thinning. I’ll have to try both of these natural remedies. Is it crazy that I never even considered what chemicals I’m putting ON my body, even though I’m concerned about what chemicals i put IN my body?!!!

    • Definitely worth a go! Remember that your body will take a little while to adapt, so don’t expect it to get better right away (or give up after 2 days with no results). It turned out that my hair was thinning due to heredity (thanks dad!), hormone imbalance (switched birth control pill to be an anti-androgenetic one and changed my diet) and the chemicals in the shampoos/conditioners were aggravating it, as well. I don’t know if my hair is really any thicker now, but my scalp doesn’t get dry/itchy anymore and I’m losing less hair in the shower, so I figure it’s at least not making it any worse!

      And I’m the same. Had great skin as a kid/teen then started getting breakouts (mainly around my chin) in my 20s. Since switching birth control and diet (aka: balancing my hormones) it’s cleared up a lot – though I will still break out if I wear much makeup and/or moisturizer. Olive oil never causes any issues and I think it helps my skin stay softer and more moisturized longer than any cream/product I used before. And it’s so much cheaper!

      If you have some free time, look up how chemicals in toiletries affect us. You’ll be surprised (and probably a little horrified!) with what you find. A lot of things have toxins and carcinogens and are still on the market because of the minimal regulations on these things.

  4. Jos

    So just mixed water with baking soda and put that in an empty bottle in place of regular shampoo? Hmm…interesting, not to mention it’s very economical! I can save tons of $$. Also for the lemon juice, does it have to be from freshly squeezed lemon before you use it? I have a jar of squeezed lemon juice in the fridge for at least 2 weeks and wonder if I can use that? Btw, this is very informative! I love natural beauty stuff 😀
    I don’t wear make up or lotions on my face..only some sunblock during daytime to reduce my freckles.

    • Yep! I have a little squeeze bottle I use. I fill a shot glass about 1/2 full with baking soda, then add some warm water and stir it up. Then I pour it into my squeeze bottle, followed by another 2 shot glasses of water (approximately). I find that’s a good ratio to get my hair clean without drying it out. Then I just wet my hair, shake the squeeze bottle well and pour it on my hair. Massage in for a minute or so and rinse out. And I just use lemon juice from a bottle. I put a little bit into the same (now empty) squeeze bottle, add some water, shake and pour over my head, then rinse. All very cheap and much easier on your hair! It takes a few weeks for your hair to adjust, but you’ll notice the longer you use this instead of chemical shampoos, the longer your hair stays clean between washes.
      And sunblock’s super important! I definitely use sunblock any time I know I’m going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes.

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