Up until about a year ago, I would have classified myself as a skin/hair product junkie. You name it, I had tried it. Make up, lotions, hair products, bath products,face wash, acne treatment, etc. The list goes on and on. I had to try the best of the best. Two particular areas I used a multitude of products on were my skin and hair. In an effort to get rid of acne, I tried every prescription topical cream and pill on the market. I even went on Acutane in one final attempt to ‘fix my skin’. In an effort to cure my dry and untamed thick hair, I slathered on product after product and went from one expensive shampoo to another. What I did not realize was what I was exposing my body to. Sure, I had stopped to read food labels before but I had never stopped to read an ingredient label on my body care products…it simply had never occurred to me to do so. Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide really opened my eyes to a whole different world. Liz explains that our skin is our largest organ and it readily absorbs whatever is put onto it. Wow! Not only that, but the food we are eating readily impacts every single cell in our body. Every single cell! What we put into our bodies, as well as the products that we use on them, all have a huge impact on the health of our digestion, skin, hair, nails, and teeth. I came to the realization that just as I do not what to put food in my body with ingredients that I can’t pronounce, I don’t want to put harsh chemicals on my skin/hair either. And let me tell you, my body has thanked me for it!
So what did I do? I radically changed my beauty regimen. I went from using Redken shampoo and conditioner daily to trying out the no-poo method. From there, I have chosen to use Fundamental Earth shampoo and conditioner and I have loved the results. It is a chemical free and SLS free natural shampoo that I feel good about using. Not only that, but it works well for my massively thick hair while only having to wash it every three days! Talk about a time saver. Shampoo and conditioner…check. For my body wash/shaving cream I use unscented black african soap and it works great. I find it easily at my local Whole Foods.
Next I changed my face washing routine. I was using an origins product, which while better than most other products I had used in the past, still wasn’t the best. I currently use my Clarisonic in the morning with simply water to exfoliate and I use the oil cleansing method detailed in Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention guide at night. If I want something extra cleansing in the morning I will use Shea Terra African Black Soap. The oil cleansing method can be generally described using the ‘like desolves like phenomenon’ so the oil you put on your face will dissolve the oil on your face that is causing breakouts. I mix 1 part castor oil to 4-5 parts avocado oil to make my ‘face wash.’ I use this nightly by getting a washcloth wet with warm water and rubbing my oil mixture across my face for around 10 seconds. After this I put the warm washcloth over my face and take a few deep breaths before wiping the mixture off my face. (This can be incredibly relaxing for those of us who forget to deep breathe every now and then…me!) By using these natural oils, you actually heal and balance your skin without throwing in excess harsh chemicals to deter this process. I have been using the oil cleansing method for about a year now and I love it. The fun part about it is that you can mix up your oils as well as the seasons/your skin changes.
The last and greatest change I have made is in how I nourish my dry skin. I have always suffered from eczema and it is something that I have been trying to manage in this past year through diet and changes in my skin care routine. Growing up, I slathered on Aveeno and Aquafor like it was nobody’s business. After delving into other body care changes, I ordered a container of Tallow balm from vintage traditions and I loved it. As the Skintervention guide describes, tallow is essentially rendered beef fat and the fatty acid profile is very similar to that of human skin cells which makes it a super moisturizing balm for dry winter skin, eczema, or psoriasis. About 6 months ago, I learned how to make my own tallow balm to save money and I have been making and using it ever since. I use it as an all over moisturizer (especially on my hands), and I sometimes even put a dab on my lips if they feel extra dry! I cannot recommend it highly enough!! It is so healing and moisturizing. I would say that this has been my favorite new part of my chemical free body care. The best part is, If you order tallow in bulk as I did to make your own tallow balm, you can cook with it too! It is truly wonderful.
I could go on and on about the different products I have incorporated, but I will save that for another day. I wanted to give you guys a starting point for some easy changes you can implement to get rid of the chemicals in your body care routine. I have found that my skin is MUCH happier and that I have been saving money in the process. If it seems too daunting, I recommend you take it one step at a time. I didn’t make all of these changes at once and neither should you if it feels like too much. Start small and work your way there. I know that your body will thank you for nourishing it and not bogging it down with nasty chemicals. What’s your favorite nourishing skin care routine? Let me know in the comments!
I recently opened my Etsy Shop selling hand-made tallow-balm! Find me at here!