Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Natural Beauty

*FOREWARNING: Today’s blog post is not going to have anything to do with writing other than the fact that… well, I wrote it. But it’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, and since I don’t have any other mediums to get my opinion out there, this will have to do.  

There has been a lot of talk lately about “natural” and “organic” food and products. Every time I look at my Facebook it seems someone is posting about the new GMO law (not going to touch that with a ten foot pole) or how your shampoo is killing you or your deodorant is going to give you breast cancer. The area where I live is VERY “green”. People are incredibly aware of what they are putting in their bodies and on their bodies, and they often feel the need to press their wisdom upon others (AKA me).

I’m not a scientist. I trust the FDA to protect me from anything that will kill me, and as far as I know no one has died from deodorant yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. Or is it? I really have absolutely no idea. What I do know is that a few months ago I started paying more attention to my beauty products. I tried to do research, but for every article I found telling me XYZ shampoo was amazing and natural and the BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD I found another article telling me I would be dead in three days.

Very confusing.

So by trial and error I found a few things that are working quite well for me, and I thought I would share them with you. Not because I think you should use them, but because when I was looking for alternatives to my current beauty products I kept wishing I would stumble across a blog or an article or something where a woman (or a man, I suppose) simply said: this what I use, this is what they have done, this is what I recommend.

So I’m going to review the main products every woman (or guy) generally uses: shampoo/conditioner, body wash, body lotion, deodorant, and moisturizer – in that order. Here we go…


Before: Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly

Smelled awesome and was very thick. Left my hair feeling a little dry and it tangled very, very easily. It is tested on animals and is filled with a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce.  

After: Burt’s Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate

Very thin (runny) texture. I was warned not to expect a lot of “suds” when I used this shampoo, and to use only a small amount and really work it into my hair. Apparently all the sulfates used in traditional shampoos are what makes it super sudsy, but it isn’t that great for your hair health. No animal testing and 99.6% natural ingredients. The first two weeks I used this shampoo my hair got REALLY greasy and I almost stopped. I’m really glad I didn’t. My hair is noticeably softer and smoother. It tangles less and last week when I got a hair cut my regular salon person (what are they called?) asked for the very first time in three years what shampoo I was using because she loved the way my hair felt.


Before: St. Ives Exfoliating Wash

I really like St. Ives products. The only thing I didn’t like about the specific body wash I was using is that it did not have a “not tested on animals” square on the back.

After: St. Ives Mineral Therapy Wash

For whatever reason this body was is NOT tested on animals. It is also paraben free (the new big P word floating around) and smells really good. It’s not 100% natural and eventually I might try to switch to a Burt’s Bees body wash, but for now St. Ives is less expensive and it works and I really like it.


Before: St. Ives Skin Renewing Lotion with Collagen

I really, really liked the smell of this lotion. It’s not tested on animals and it has a rich, creamy consistency. After a few months of use I didn’t notice any difference in my skin’s elasticity, and since the skin absorbs so much directly into the body I wanted to switch to something that was completely natural.

After: Everyday Shea Body Lotion

I’ve only been using this lotion for two weeks. It is paraben free, no animal testing, fragrance free, and 100% natural ingredients that I can easily pronounce. It’s also fair trade certified. I’ve read a lot of articles promoting the use of shea butter. After lots of looking around, this lotion seems to have the most shea butter in it (it’s the second ingredient after lemongrass extract). However, it has a very runny consistency that a lot of people don’t seem to like. It takes a little bit to absorb, but my skin (which is very dry) is already softer and smoother and stays softer longer in between applications.


Before: Secret Deodorant

Smells good. Worked great. Didn’t realize the #1 ingredient was Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex (that just SOUNDS bad) until someone told me, so I tried to switch to a natural deodorant instead.

After: Jason Calming Lavender

All natural. No aluminum, parabens, phthalates, and no animal testing. I tried this deodorant for a week. It did not work for me. I was definitely stinky, and since I don’t like to be stinky I switched back to Secret. If anyone has had success with a natural deodorant let me know!


Before: Aveeno Clear Complexion & L’Oreal Collagen Night

I have really, really, really bad skin. I’ve consistently had breakouts since I was a teenager. My skin is dry one day and greasy the next. Basically, it’s a pain in the ass. For a while I was using the Aveeno which seems to help, but I would get red blotches that were really annoying (presumably from the salicylic acid). Then I turned 26 and started freaking out that I was going to start getting wrinkles and OH GOD WHEN DID I GET OLD so I began using a moisturizer with collagen at night.

After: St. Ives Timeless Skin

This moisturizer… This moisturizer is heaven in a bottle. First of all, for a big fat tub of it it’s only $6. SIX FREAKING DOLLARS! Hello, awesome. Compared to other moisturizers it has a very small list of ingredients and after two weeks of use I noticed a difference in my skin tone and texture and even my breakouts diminished even though it doesn’t have any acne fighting properties. It also has collagen in it, so I like to think it’s keeping the wrinkles at bay, although I don’t really know for certain. I do know that yesterday I went into the grocery store and a woman stopped me and told me I was “glowing” which was SUPER AWESOME because that has never happened to me before. So yeah. I love this stuff. I use it AM and PM. The only thing I don’t like about it is it’s tested on animals. BOOOOO. I hope they change that in the near future.

So, that is that. I don’t know if this helped anyone and most likely I just wasted an hour of my time that I’m not getting back, but oh well! Thanks for reading, sound off in the comments below if you have something to add, and the next post will be about writing again. J

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