Over the last few years I’ve removed as many harmful chemicals as possible from my life. I started by changing my diet to remove processed foods and to make many things at home, such as kombucha, dried fruits & vegetables, and beef jerky to avoid unnatural ingredients, preservatives, and other fillers. After I overhauled the foods we ate, I started purging harmful chemicals from our household, including cleaning and beauty products.
Since skin is our largest organ and is absorbent, I decided I didn’t want to use anything on my body that I wouldn’t eat. My first change was to stop using fluoridated toothpaste. I started using OraWellness organic dental products and my teeth and gums have never been healthier (confirmed by my dentist). Since that switch was so successful, I decided to find natural alternatives to everything in my beauty routine. My favorite alternatives are listed below. If you have some favorites, add them in the comments!
Moisturizer: Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer that absorbs well into the skin. It also smells fantastic. Rubbing coconut oil on my skin always makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, thanks to the lauric acid content, which make it extremely beneficial for acne prone skin.1 Coconut oil doesn’t work well under makeup but you can use it at night or on days that you don’t wear makeup to get a great moisture boost.
Dandruff treatment: Many people think that dandruff is caused by your scalp being dry, and for some people this is true. However, a major cause of dandruff may be a fungus called malassezia.2 This fungus is found on the scalp of most people, however it may be more prolific on some people or the immune system of sensitive people may overreact to the fungus. If this happens, the turnover (growth and death) of the skin on your scalp may happen too quickly, resulting in those embarrassing flakes. Whether fungus or dryness is causing your dandruff, the treatment is the same. Rub coconut oil on your scalp and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. The lauric acid in the coconut oil will help keep the fungus under control. For a conditioning hair treatment at the same time, coat the full length of your hair with coconut oil. When you’re ready to wash it out, shampoo your hair twice to get all of the oil out before conditioning. An optional additional step that I’ve found helpful for most people is to rinse your scalp with apple cider vinegar before you condition. The vinegar will help normalize the pH of your scalp and further prevent dandruff. Doing this treatment once a week for severe dandruff will keep the flakes at bay.
Teeth whitener and skin exfoliant: I love having white teeth but my teeth are very sensitive so I can’t use commercial whiteners. Commercial whiteners can also be expensive and they contain things like carbamide peroxide which can cause chemical burns if not used properly. For a few cents you can make a natural and very effective tooth whitener from a tablespoon of aluminum-free baking soda and a squeeze of lemon juice. Dip an old toothbrush in the paste and gently brush your teeth. The baking soda is abrasive and will remove tough stains while the acidity of the lemon juice will help brighten your teeth. You don’t want to do this daily as you could eventually damage your enamel but once every month or two is plenty to keep your teeth looking great.
Deodorant: This is my favorite one. Most deodorants are so full of things I can’t pronounce and really don’t want soaking into my skin on a daily basis. But, most natural deodorants either don’t work very long or end up making you smell worse. I recently discovered that rubbing the pulp side of a wedge of lime or lemon on your underarms is a fantastic deodorant. It works all day long and even keeps me smelling fresh through hour-long workouts. The citric acid helps neutralize the bacteria in sweat that cause odors so you’re not just masking the smell. Obviously there is no anti-perspirant property here so you will still sweat, but you’ll smell like a
1.Research on antimicrobials described by scientists at University of California, Department of Medicine. Biotech Week. (Oct. 20, 2010) p1828. Scientists discuss in ‘Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris’ new findings in antimicrobials.
2. Hay, R.J. (2011), Malassezia, dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis: an overview. British Journal of Dermatology, 165: 2–8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10570.xBeauty, Lifestyle