Instead of chatting your ear off about what you put in your body, today lettuce chat about what we put on our body.
If you're not into eating fake colors and flavors, funky additives, weird preservatives and a slew of other chemicals, you'd likely prefer to not slather your legs, teeth, face and hair with them either. Am I right? You don't have to go spending your life savings on fancy organic cosmetics and personal care products, either. It doesn't have to be the overwhelming, pretentious thing that some people make it out to be. Fear not--refraining from cosmetics overflowing with chemicals and crap doesn't make you a hippie or a tree-hugger. There are tons of affordable natural options at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Let's explore!
Ya know how I'm pretty conscious about not purchasing food that has artificial colors, flavors and chemicals? Well up until recently I was still brushing my teeth with Crest toothpaste, in all its artificially bright blue glory. If I refuse to put sucralose, aspartame and artificial blue coloring in my coffee, why was I letting them them slide in my toothpaste and gum?
I'll tell you why. Because Tom's natural toothpaste is not tasty, and a girl's gotta brush her teeth! I kid. Kind of. I recently purchased Nature's Gate mint toothpaste at Whole Foods and it's just perfect. It's made with pure ingredients and free of all that artificial crap. Hallelujah! The best part is that it's only $3.99, which isn't that far off from regular toothpaste.
Moving on to gum. The answer to all your gum problems is Pur gum. It tastes great, has long-lasting flavor AND is sweetened with xylitol instead of aspartame! I got a big pack at Whole Foods for $4.99, but you can get regular-sized packs for $1.99. Yes, these products are a tad more pricey than your mainstream choices; but as I always say, pay a little more to eat and live well now or pay in health-care dollars down the road!
I love Nature's Gate biotin and awapuhi shampoos and conditioners, which you can usually get for $6 to $8 a bottle. For a cheaper option, try Trader Joe's tea tree line.
When it comes to shampoo, lotion, face wash, etc., you want to go for products without synthetic colors, dyes and scents, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate (a harsh chemical lathering agent also used in dish soap and laundry detergent). Parabens are the most widely used antimicrobial preservative in cosmetics, food and beauty products. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, paraben compounds may disrupt hormones and mimic estrogen, which can promote breast cancer in some women. When you scan the ingredients, avoid anything that contains words ending in -paraben. Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may also increase breast cancer risk. Just as we do our best to steer clear of preservatives in food, we should make a sincere effort to avoid slathering them on our skin and hair as well. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, remember? Respect it!
This mantra pretty much applies to all of the below products. Here are more of my personal faves!
3) Body Wash + Body Lotion
I love Whole Foods' bulk soap bar. They have tons of awesome kinds (like coconut!) and they're cheap, too. My favorite body wash is Dr. Bronner's pure-castile soap (lavender in particular), which is basically made of essential oils and extracts for scent. The bottle is huge and will cost you about $10, but it lasts forever.
I also use Nature Gate's line as my body moisturizer, which I don't use nearly as much as I should. I also sometimes use coconut oil on my legs right after I get out of the shower (or else it's too oily and doesn't absorb well).
4) Face Wash + Face Lotion + Makeup Remover
I keep it simple with Neutrogena's natural version of their traditional face wash since it's not super expensive, and I've been pretty pleased with it. I buy it at Target!
I recently found this unscented face lotion at Whole Foods for about $12 and I'm loving it so far. It's a big bottle, so it was actually a great deal!
I've never used an actual makeup remover product, but my go-to for effortlessly removing eye makeup is coconut oil. Just keep a little bowlful in your bathroom!
This vanilla lavender deodorant by LaVanila Laboratories is my absolute favorite because unlike most other natural brands, it ACTUALLY makes your armpits smell dreamy all day! Plus, I'm a sucker for lavender-scented anything. I've probably tried every deodorant on the shelf over the years, and this one beats all the others, hands down. It's not cheap, but it does last a while. I'm more than willing to fork over the cash for non-smelly pits. Pass on deodorants with petrochemicals, parabens, propylene glycol, synthetic dyes and sulfates. Another controversial ingredient in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is aluminum. Though this topic is widely debated, aluminum is highly absorbable and has been speculated to be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's (which runs in my family). I definitely don't want to be rubbing that on my armpits.
In my opinion, just because the FDA doesn't ban something doesn't mean it's completely safe. Dozens of additives and chemicals that are legal in the U.S. are banned in other countries due to their questionable safety. Partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), which has been directly linked to heart disease time and time again, was only recently deemed not "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. Remember when everyone smoked half a pack of cigarettes a day? Remember when we thought margarine was healthy? And that the world was flat? And that women shouldn't vote? Things change. All the more reason to always have a healthy skepticism!
Sooooo should we just wash our hair with almond butter and deodorize with hummus?
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