The natural or organic product range started with foods and now has moved over to beauty and cleaning products while gaining momentum. It incorporates the philosophy of reducing the toxicity of chemicals to our bodies and to the environment as we move forward to a hopefully more eco-conscious future. In the last 100 years, we rapidly embraced the latest scientific innovations and quick-fix chemicals and preservatives without properly understanding the long-term impacts of these products on our bodies and the environment. With the rise of modern diseases, including cancer, there is the inevitable backlash towards these advances with a shift towards less artificial ways of living.
I am not a “beauty blogger”, I hardly wear any make-up on a day-to-day. Most of the time my nails are unfiled and unpolished and my hair is in a messy bun. So, I am the last person to be invested into the efficacy of beauty products but I do care about my own health and the environment. This year I have decided to try out some of the natural beauty product range. From face creams, to tooth paste and even shampoo. My friends have accused me of becoming a “hippy” and perhaps that does lurk in the depths of the soul of every corporate sell-out. But I am honestly interested in exploring new ways in which we can be kinder to our bodies and the environment to live better.
My first experience with natural beauty products came courtesy of a friend of mine, Lenja, who is a fellow lawyer, vocal vegan and supporter of animal rights. Lenja and her mother, Karin, launched their own skincare range, LenKa Skincare, using natural ingredients such as rosehip seed oil and shea butter to produce face cream, skin mist, face scrub, and neck and décolletage serum. The ingredients are gentle on the skin, vegan (i.e. not tested on or derived from animals), have a low comedogenic rating (i.e. should not clog your skin) and are as natural as possible. The bottles used are also recyclable but it is suggested that you remove the labels.
My favourite had to be the face cream. It was slightly grainy and did not go that smoothly onto my face but that’s a small inconvenience compared to how luxurious it felt. The face cream and serums also felt a bit oily, but as some-one with oily prone skin, they did not actually make my skin any oilier. Rather gorgeously glowing is the word that comes to mind. My skin feels softer and firmer. I love the ethos behind this skincare range but also more importantly how gentle and healthy it felt on my skin. And I think that natural skincare products can also compete on price points with the chemically-enhanced ones. It’s definitely something I will think about incorporating into my very minimal beauty regime.
I only recently discovered that the ingredient of sodium fluoride, which is found in many main toothpaste brands, can potentially be quite toxic with warning labels cautioning against ingesting any toothpaste. Although fluoride is always trumpeted for its tooth-decay preventing property, it is also apparently very toxic for humans and harmful for the environment. So, I’ve now seen that some people make their own toothpastes in re-usable glass jars but that seems a step too far for me.
I compromised and bought an Earthsap peppermint and baking soda toothpaste to try out. The fancy, natural toothpaste is definitely more expensive than normal toothpaste and I bought possibly the cheapest in the range, so I see why many people make their own toothpaste. I was just not ready for any activated charcoal and black teeth. The Earthsap toothpaste is biodegradable, vegan and has only natural ingredients. The bottle is also made from recycled plastic. So far, I have missed the minty taste and that super-duper fresh and clean-teeth feeling. I am also worried that I will develop bad breath but so far so good. The real test will be a check-up to the dentist. I possibly should have asked my dentist’s opinion before launching down this path but why not be a pioneer.
Shampoo and conditioner
Recently I discovered the no-poo (it means no shampoo) movement which pairs well with my desire to save time and money on my hair despite stubbornly clinging to maintaining my long and blonde hair. Their argument is that shampoo and conditioner strips your hair of its natural oils and actually only water and your own hair’s natural oils is sufficient to keep your hair clean. The no-poo movement advocates going full cold turkey and not washing your hair with hair products while living with your greasy hair for a few weeks while it adjusts. And only as a temporary stop-gap do they suggest washing your hair every 4th day with baking soda/water (for shampoo) and apple cider vinegar/water (for conditioner) for the first few weeks. This is an extremely budget friendly option compared to the price of some shampoo and conditioners and potentially water-saving as you need to spend less time washing your hair.
The problem is that I have very fine hair and with my oily skin it tends to make it dirty and greasy already on the 2nd day if I don’t wash it. So, I have been slowly phasing myself out to wash my hair with shampoo every 3rd day and now every 4th day. I am not full-on no-poo yet because I really can’t afford to rock up at my corporate clients with dirty hair or with my hair under a cap or beanie. And my hair has been exceptionally dirty with a 4-day wash schedule. It will take me a few more months as I phase my hair washing regime to once every 5 days, 6 days and finally once a week. At that stage I feel like I will be ready to embrace the no-poo movement although I won’t call it that. I am not a big fan of the name.
I am not sure whether this natural beauty movement will work for me in the long-term. It’s always a balance for me between convenience, time and cost. I am also certainly not going to be moving to a small town outside of the big city, live in a commune and make my own beauty products and tie-dyed clothing. I am not even a vegan. But I like to look for ways and quick fixes to live healthier and more responsibly and this seems like a natural route. If it doesn’t work in the long-term I can always revert back to embracing the perfectly preserved chemicals lurking in my old skin care products, toothpaste and shampoo.
*Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or medical professional and make no claims about the health or environmental effects of skincare products, toothpastes or shampoos. I am just an average consumer who has access to the same free on-line resources as anyone. This is not a sponsored post. This is my own opinion and should not be read as an endorsement of any brand or product. Please do your own research and consult medical professionals for more information.