What’s your first stop when you hit the mall?
Soft pretzel? Lingerie store? That weird store that’s all dark inside and sells clothes for teens that look like they should fit a toddler?
My first stop always used to be that “bath and body” stuff store. You know the one…you can smell it a few stores down. You can go in there and spritz, spray and sample to your heart’s content, only to walk out enveloped in more scent than a Yankee candle. Something about the whole process just made me feel thoroughly girly, and I liked it.
Now I know that if you can smell it, that means it’s entering your bloodstream, so I stay away from synthetic fragrances, and I’m trying to move away from synthetic ingredients altogether. I’d like to get to a point, someday, where I don’t put anything on my body that I wouldn’t eat. It’s a major life change, though, so it’s slow going. (I just can’t seem to part with my bottle of “special occasion” perfume…)
One tool that has provided lots of motivation for me is the book, Green Babies, Sage Moms: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Baby by Lynda Fassa. (Read about Lynda here.)
I devoured this book in the last weeks of my pregnancy, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is expecting a baby, hoping for a baby….and, frankly, anyone who’s ever been a baby! I guarantee you’ll find tons of eye-opening information that pertains directly to YOU.
Fassa writes, “The skin is the body’s largest organ. Sixty percent of what we put on our bodies is absorbed into the skin. If in doubt, consider the effectiveness of the nicotine patch. The Chinese call the skin the third lung because it is such a direct pathway to our bloodstream!”
If you really think about it, it’s just weird that you have to pay several dollars for one rose, but you can buy rose-scented body lotion at the dollar store for, well, a dollar. In most products available today, ingredients like flower petals and natural essences have been replaced with petroleum-based alternatives, chock full of phthalates and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. I figure, I wouldn’t coat my body in paint stripping chemicals, so why use beauty products that contain the same ingredients? It may make you look or smell pretty, but in my opinion, there’s really nothing uglier.
Especially now that I spend most of my time with a baby boy clinging to my body, licking my face and burying his nose in my hair. A good example of his effect on me: It wasn’t long after his birth that I gave up foundation/powder makeup. At first, I switched to a natural brand, but now that he’s giving kisses, I just don’t feel like he should come away with a mouthful of makeup.
I’m not trying to say that I’ve given up everything, or that I think you should. Heaven knows I need a little help in the beauty department right now, and with my only real “me” time being my daily shower, a pretty scent helps rejuvenate me and makes me feel like me again!
Luckily, those of us who aspire to a greener beauty regimen don’t have to go cold turkey. Lots of companies are getting on board and offering low-phthalate or phthalate-free products, and those with all natural ingredients. (But beware of companies who “greenwash” in an attempt to score your dollars. See where your favorites score on the toxicity scale at Skin Deep: The Cosmetic Safety Database.)
Essential oils are a great choice, too. And if you’re feeling really crafty, you can even make your own beauty products with a few simple ingredients you already have in your kitchen! Avocadoes, bananas, yogurt, honey, sugar, ground almonds, oatmeal, mint, and many others…they all go beyond the breakfast table with properties that have the potential to beautify (without jeopardizing your health!)
Here are a few beauty recipes from Lynda Fassa’s book that I have tried with great results. They provide a great way to spoil yourself, and feel doubly good about it!
Frozen Margarita Body Scrub
- 1/2 lemon (seeds removed)
- 2 cups organic cane sugar
- 1/3 cup papaya nectar
- juice from 1 grapefruit
Combine the 1/2 lemon and sugar in food processor and pulse until well incorporated. Add other ingredients. Puree together in food processor. Freeze in ice cube trays. Pop from trays and store in plastic storage bag in freezer. Use in shower as invigorating natural hand-held body scrub. On stressful days, body scrub cubes can be put into blender for spontaneious virgin-margarita parties! Or, when not pregnant or breastfeeding, add white tequila or Cointreau for emergencies!
Soothing Treatment for Rough Heels
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon almond oil
Mix well. Apply generously to the soles of feet, then slide feet into heavy socks. Sleep with mixture on and wash it off in the morning. Or, if unable to sleep with it on overnight, leave on for a minimum of 30 minutes, then wash off. For cracked heels, repeat 2 to 3 times a week for ideal results.
Do you have a favorite beauty product recipe? Do share!
If you found out a favorite beauty product had toxic ingredients, would you stop using it?