Why obsess over natural body products?
1 in 3 American's will develop some form of cancer by age 75. Try playing around with the statistics on this site. The numbers are slightly higher for white females when compared to white males. The statistics are slightly lower for black females and Hispanic males and females.
Personal care products often contain known carcinogens, and you may not know that a product can cause long term harm mostly because no one is studying it. Most cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to government regulations, but they are not stringent. Basically they are not allowed to contain poison or feces. (see here)
Commercial cosmetics contain phthalates which are chemicals used to make products more pliable. They're found in toys, food packaging, and some beauty products, including nail polish, shampoo, and soap. Two studies suggest phthalate exposure during pregnancy may lead to abnormal development in male infants, including low hormone levels and small genital size. It is generally a good idea to avoid harmful substances like these and choose safer alternatives.
For soft skin
I purchased some shea butter lotion when I was pregnant. Many pregnancy books claim that this type of lotion is good prevention for stretch marks. I was disappointed when I read the ingredients list. Lots of commercial products contain "natural shea butter," but they also contain parabens and other chemicals that could be potentially harmful.
Why not moisturize with actual Shea butter. Shea butter is a created from shea nuts in a rather labor intensive process. But that's the only ingredient, shea butter. It has the consistency of butter, and is much firmer in the winter months than in the summer. It has never melted completely at room temperature, except when it was left in the car and probably reached 120 degrees or so. The smell is very neutral, and its easy to add some essential oils. Here is one site where you can purchase some for yourself. Or check out a local farmers market and look at the ingredients in a natural skin care product.
Although it does not spread as easily as your commercial moisturizer, Shea butter absorbs well and leaves you feeling moisturized but not greasy. We use Shea butter as as treatment for sunburn, and as general moisturizer. I use Shea butter to treat my son's eczema and diaper rash. I mix Shea Butter with coconut oil and tea tree oil for a natural anti-fungal cream. This works great for athletes foot, and beard rash.
The best diaper cream I have ever used is from Bare Bloom. I have used several commercial diaper creams and this just works better. If you are local, ask Amy to whip you up a batch because this stuff works miracles. As an additional plus, it works great with cloth diapers and doesn't cause additional build-up.
A Natural Deodorizer
Natural Deodorant is tough to experiment with. Usually you end of smelling like a terrible combination of your natural body odor mixed with a fragrance that only smells good when its in the stick. Any you also wasted $5-6 on a product you are never going to use again.
Commercial men's deodorants are not as harmful in general because many do not contain anti-antiperspirants, or sweat reducing chemicals. All women's deodorants contain antiperspirants.
After a good amount of experimenting, I have become an avid user of the Earth Science brand. I have been using this product for several years, and I don't stink. What is even more impressive is that Dane doesn't stink! We both use the same product, but not the same stick. I have noticed that the type of soap I use on my underarms can influence the way this product works. I am convinced that it is the fragrance in the soap that causes my pits to stink though, not the deodorant.
I am a fan of bar soaps. There are loads of commercial bar soaps made from real ingredients, South of France is one of my favorites. You can also find them at almost any farmers market or heath food store. The basket in top image is full of home-made soaps from Stacy George. She made a version with activated charcoal which is great for acne treatment and prevention. Those leaf shaped soaps are a single use version which can be used for travel. We want her to start her to selling them at Garage Strength because they are totally awesome!
Dane like anything with a patchouli scent, but he also uses Dr. Bronner's pure castile soaps. For my kids we often use California Baby products. Its not always necessary for kids to lather up at every bath, especially during the winter months when the skin is naturally drier.
Shampoo and Conditioner
This is one category where I can't make the switch. I have tried natural shampoo's and conditioners, but I am never satisfied with the results. My hair is naturally oily and straight so commercial products that strip the hair of all oil and build-up allow for more body and style. Vanity wins for me in this category. I justify this choice by saying that these products come in limited contact with the skin, unlike lotions which are absorbed into the skin. If anyone has some natural hair products that they swear by, I would love to hear about them!
I do use a home made version of dry shampoo, and its amazing! Dry shampoo allows me to wash my hair 2-3 times per week, instead of every day! Let me know if you want to hear about this simple recipe.
Don't be fooled by a personal care product that claims to be natural. Advocate for yourself and your family. Look at the ingredients. Type them into google and see why the product you are using contains that ingredient. Find alternatives and share them with others (and me!)
Read more from Caitlin at traditionalfoodsmodernlife.com
Infografic via naturalhealthyconcepts.com