Health & Home Life

My favorite more natural health and beauty products

March 3, 2016

natural beauty products old fashioned modern livingIt’s not surprise that there are a lot of health and beauty products in my house. I’ve bought them, made them, kept them. Considering how many I would probably find if I did a round up, the number of them that I use is surprisingly small, and the number I get fired up about is even smaller.

Considering the vast variety of health and beauty products available, what does it take to be a favorite around here?

  1. Price – needs to be well within a reasonable range
  2. Effectiveness – does the job and des it well
  3. Scent/feel – doesn’t have a gross texture or consistency, or an overwhelming smell
  4. The more natural, the better – if we could tone down the chemical content, that’d be great

You may have noticed in the title that I said “more natural” – not every product I use on a daily basis is as natural as it could be. I’d love it if they were, but there are some things you just can’t replace, so I do the best I can. Ready for my review of a few of my more natural health and beauty essentials? I’ll start with the least natural, then get into the really good stuff.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

I am a big fan of Urban Decay makeup, and my hands down favorite item is their Naked Skin Beauty Balm. It’s a very light BB cream formula with a very faint, pleasant minty smell. It’s great for everyday, and I use it when I don’t want to put on much makeup but just want a little something to smooth out my skin tone.

At $34 for a 1.18 fl oz bottle, this may be the most expensive product I use on a regular basis. When I finished my first bottle a couple of years ago, I tried several drugstore brands (a la Maybelline, L’Oreal, etc). Greasy, shiny, thick, heavy. Put lightly, they were gross. The Urban Decay formula is oil free with a velvety feel, and I can feel good about using a vegan product from a cruelty free company.

Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer is another really good product, making eyeshadow look brighter and last longer. Both products can be purchased at UrbanDecay.com, and retailers like Sephora.

Note: If you’re wondering why it matters that the product is vegan, know this; cochineal is crushed bugs that make a brilliant red color, and guanine is made from grinding fish scales, and many cosmetics use these and other animal-derived ingredients. Sometimes the alternatives are plant-based (yay!), sometimes they’re synthetic (meh). Regardless, I’ll take it.

Perfectly Posh Tea Tree + Neem Hair and Scalp Mask

Everyone has heard of face masks, but a hair mask? I was skeptical when I first came across this product, but I know tea tree oil works wonders, so let’s give it a shot! I was ordering anyway, and for $19, I was willing to see if this made a difference for my boring hair and kind of dry scalp.

First off, a little about Perfectly Posh. All products are made in the United States and use oils, butters, fruits and flowers and largely natural ingredients with no fillers, and they don’t test on animals. Every product listing on the website gives a list of key ingredients, and a description of each for if you’re curious – I think that’s pretty great!

Before a shower, just wet your hair and run a dollop in, focusing on scrubbing it into your scalp a bit, then let it do it’s thing for 10-15 minutes and wash it away. It’s recommended to use 1-3 times a week, and I generally fall into that range. It makes your scalp feel tingly and cool while it’s on, but not overwhelmingly. In several months, I can’t say that I’ve seen a huge difference, but when I use it I see a definite change in my hair and scalp. I’m actually just about needing to order a new bottle!

This is available only through PerfectlyPosh.com, but you rack up loyalty points when you shop, which is pretty cool. I’ve also tried their chapsticks (nice, but don’t last long), In The Clear Face Mask (love it), and The Healer skin stick (nice moisturizer/healing cream, great for on the go).

Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap

The Dr. Bronner’s Company has 5 generations and over 150 years of soapmaking experience, so they’ve got it pretty nailed down. The products are eco-friendly and fair trade with ethically sourced ingredients. On the website at DrBronner.com, you can see a breakdown of the ingredients and where they come from.

But anyway, the soap. The castille soap comes in small, medium and large size bottles and is an amazing liquid soap. The bottle is covered in the “All-One” message, essentially a message of unity inspired by the ideology of one of the original family soapmakers. It could easily be dismissed as psycho-babble, but is actually pretty interesting. My favorite is the almond scent, though there is also peppermint, eucalyptus, citrus rose, lavender, tea tree and a “baby” unscented.

The almond scent is not overwhelming, but sweet like marzipan or amaretto. This is my face washing soap, and my husband uses it instead of body wash. It’s utterly all purpose, I’ve even washed my hair with it. It’s called an 18-in-1 soap because it  can be used for face, body, hair, pets, cleaning, dishes, etc. We buy the 32 oz monster bottle, which is usually in the mid to high teens in price at Trader Joe’s, Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond, but is worth every scent. Seriously, my final review here is Best. Soap. Ever.

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant

I hate that I wear chemical anti-perspirant; especially with a toddler always up in my grill, I’ve been really wanting something more natural. I’ve tried 4 natural deodorants previously and have left them all behind. The Traders Joe’s and Melaleuca didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. The Nourish Organics smelled like baked goods, but was very gritty and hard to use and didn’t do much – I just smelled like a sweaty baked good. And don’t get me started on the Jason all natural deodorant that you need to apply to the entire underarm area and is so sticky you need to walk around topless with your arms up in the air like an excited Kermit the Frog for 10 minutes before you get dressed.

Then I found Schmidt’s, from a Facebook ad, actually. The company is based in Oregon and is only recently hitting a national stage. The products are all natural, cruelty free and vegan. Natural oils and baking soda eliminate odor, and arrowroot powder absorbs moisture, so unlike a conventional antiperspirant that clogs up your skin so you don’t sweat, you sweat and it gets absorbed.

I’ve only used it a few times so far and not on hot days or doing heavy listing, but I am SOLD. I’m a believer people, this stuff works. I chose the Ylang-Ylang+Calendula scent in the stick form, very mildly floral and pleasant. The deodorant goes on clear and smooth; you don’t need to use much and it isn’t sticky. AND IT WORKS. I put it on yesterday morning, and it is now 24 hours later and I have not yet showered today. In addition to everything else one typically does in a day, I have cooked, lifted a 27 lb child 30,000 times, cooked with said 27 pounder in a woven wrap on my back, and used a micro torch, then slept under an impressive pile of blankets and I don’t smell even a little.

The only slight negative I can say is that oil based deodorants can get gritty. I’ve noticed a slight grit, but by holding the product against my skin for a moment before applying warms and smooths the top layer of oils so it’s not too bad.

This stuff. This stuff. I don’t have words for how delighted I am. I ordered from schmidtsdeodorant.etsy.com, and with shipping this cost me about $12. Worth every penny. There is also a website at SchmidtsDeodorant.com, and some retailers have started carrying the stick version in addition to the tub version (which you apply with fingers or an included tiny spatula). Just an FYI, I’ve read that some people get irritated by the baking soda, so if you’re one of those people, steer clear. Otherwise, go go go go!

Homemade products

Everyone buys their health and beauty products! Except when they don’t. You may well already have these things in the house. Here are my current favorites:

  • Coconut oil – coconut oil is always my favorite. I use it for moisturizer for me, for diaper rash cream for Little Miss, for cooking and baking (all separate jars!) My standard facial moisturizer is coconut oil in an upcycled glass yogurt jar microwaved until soft, then mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil; plain coconut oil is great too, for moisturizing and minor skin irritations. It goes on greasy but absorbs right in with no residue. I also like to make sugar scrub with some white sugar and coconut oil. Wet face, rub in and rinse off, just be careful if you have sensitive skin, this stuff has grit.
  • Baking soda – a simple paste of baking soda and water is great for tightening skin and minimizing pores, and it also whitens teeth! I use it on my nose, then rinse off and clean my face well with some Dr. Bronner’s soap and my scrubby facial brush, then use the remainder of the paste on my teeth. I brush first, dry my front teeth, glop it on and wait a minute or two, then rinse and brush again. It feels a little weird if it gets back into your mouth, but way less weird than trying to keep those gross tasting white strips in place for 20 minutes. Teeth feel super clean after, and while I wouldn’t claim dramatic results, I definitely think it removes surface stains, so I do it periodically to keep things bright.

So that’s it! Do you have any favorite natural, or natural-ish products or tips?

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