Thursday, May 12, 2011

Natural Face and Body Care Products to Make and Buy, and Simple Lives Thursday

This is mostly a food blog, but I'm trying to get more in the spirit of Simple Lives Thursday and share the changes I've made and habits I've developed which make my life more simple.  I've written here before about the cleaner I make and using baking soda and vinegar for hair, and today I'm going to share with you some of the products I keep in my bathroom for face and body care.  Some of these products are available nationally, others just locally, and some of them you can easily make yourself. I'd love to hear in the comments any products you've discovered that you love and keep with the theme of simplicity.
I'd like to emphasize face and body products because we often forget that what we put on our skin is just as important as what we choose to ingest.  I'm always surprised when people are very dedicated to eating foods that are free of pesticides and additives but haven't realized just what kinds of things are lurking in their daily routine.
A good place to begin this journey is at the Cosmetics Database, where you can find information related to the safety of specific products and individual ingredients.
Here are the products I'm going to tell you about today:
DSC01751I'll start with the most widely available products, those from Burt's Bees and Dr. Bronner.
DSC01754Here's an example of a rating from the database I linked to above, for the Orange Essence facial cleanser.  I have dry skin and use this daily.  It has a great smell from the essential oil and cleanses well without overdrying.
Screen shot 2011 05 12 at 10 19 31 AM
The two out of ten rating is helpful, but you should read about each ingredient before worrying too much about the hazards.
I also use Burt's Bees toothpaste, but haven't regularly.  When I buy a toothpaste, I look for something that doesn't have sodium lauryl sulfates or saccharine or aspartame.  This is more so because I'm unconvinced that these things are safe, and am certain that they are not necessary.  (It also seems very odd to clean your teeth with artificial sweetener, don't you think?  My dentist told me he hadn't even thought twice about it and had no alternatives to offer me when I told him I avoided these sweeteners in general.)
Finally in that photo you can see some of the famous Dr. Bronner's soap.  We love the lavender and citrus.  Read more about castile soap on their website.
Next I'll show you the ingredients for a toner I make and use on my skin after cleansing.
DSC01755Witch hazel is a natural astringent, and here's a list of uses from that wikipedia article:

"Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling. Witch hazel hydrosol is used in skin care. It is a strong anti-oxidant and astringent, which makes it very useful in fighting acne. It is often used as a natural remedy for psoriasis, eczema, aftershave applications, ingrown nails, to prevent sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, for treating insect bites, poison ivy, and as a treatment for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is found in numerous over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations. It is frequently used by women to reduce swelling and soothe wounds resulting from childbirth.
Witch hazel is also traditionally known as a good first reaction against shaving cuts and abrasions, and it is also recommended as effective for helping soothe sunburn."

Glycerin is great for keeping skin moisturized, and has lots of other applications, again from wikipedia:

"Topical pure or nearly pure glycerol is an effective treatment for psoriasis, burns, bites, cuts, rashes, bedsores, and calluses. It can be used orally to eliminate halitosis, as it is a contact bacterial desiccant. The same property makes it very helpful with periodontal disease; it penetrates biofilm quickly and eliminates bacterial colonies."

Finally, rose water, which I get for a great price at Middle Eastern grocery stores, smells fantastic and soothes irritated skin.   Here's my toner recipe:

Rose Water Toner with Witch Hazel
1 c. rose water
1/2 c. witch hazel
5-10 drops glycerine (I use 8-10, but have dry skin. use less if your skin is oily)
Keep it in a clean tight jar in the fridge or a dark cool place.  Half batches are a good idea so you can have a new mixture often.

Next up, deodorant for your body and bathroom.
DSC01756I have tried almost every natural deodorant out there, trying to avoid the aluminum, and almost all of them gave my sensitive skin a terrible rash.  I like the one from Burt's Bees, but the smell isn't for everyone.  I would like to try making my own, but I've also really enjoyed Jeanne's from Marion.  I met Jeanne at a farmer's market here in Iowa City and liked her products right off the bat.  This deodorant smells great and doesn't bother my skin.  Her website is here, but limited, so look for her on market days.
Since every bathroom needs a room spray, we've settled on Citrus Magic.
DSC01761It's non-aerosol and the smell is actually pleasant, not at all harsh like most sprays.  We use the lemon but the mixed citrus is great too.

I love taking baths and like trying mixing different things to make my baths smell great and help my skin.  I mixed these bath salts and have been using them for weeks now for a good soak.
Bath Salt Recipe:
2 c. epsom salts
2 c. baking soda
10-20 drops essential oil of your choice

Speaking of essential oils, these are the ones I keep on hand, along with an essential oil spray and my favorite lip balm.
Why yes that's my adorable mug on that lip balm.  When we got married (almost four years ago) my kind sister got some lip balms customized for us as a gift from a great local company, Raining Rose,  which specializes in all natural body care.  We still have a few tins left and I'm savoring them because they're the best.
The other local company featured in that photo is Aura Cacia, which makes essential oils and products.  Essential oils are expensive up front, but they last forever and are well worth the cost.  I use their lavender oil for the above bath salts and throw the rose oil in anything I can think of.  They make a range of oils and you can order from their website.
Finally, a couple products that can be used when things don't go as they should with our skin.  First, bugs.  I finally found a product that is effective against bugs but isn't toxic.  This balm actually smells GOOD and is made by Badger Balm.DSC01760Lastly, you must have this oil in your bathroom:
I use it for acne watered down with a little witch hazel, but it's also very effective on burns.  It's tea tree oil, and here's the wiki info to illustrate just how much it can do:

"Tea tree oil has beneficial medical properties when applied topically, including antisepticantibacterialantifungal, and antiviralaction, and is also believed to have beneficial cosmetic properties.
Tea tree oil appears to be effective against bacteriavirusesfungal infectionsmites such as scabies, and lice such as head lice. A 2008 study of in vitro toxicity showed a tea tree oil preparation was more effective against head lice than permethrin, a popular pharmaceutical remedy.
In the treatment of moderate common acnetopical application of 5% tea tree oil has shown an effect comparable to 5% benzoyl peroxide, albeit with slower onset of action
shampoo with 5% tea tree oil has been shown to be an effective treatment for dandruff due to its ability to treat Malassezia furfur, the most common cause of the condition.Just a few drops of tea tree oil added to a small to medium sized bottle of baby shampoo works well to cure head lice as well."

NOTE: Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed, so keep it away from little ones.

As you can see, I've made a lot of good changes with my routine, but there are still some basics that I don't have covered.  Do you know of a great safe daily moisturizer?  The toner really helps, but I still need something extra for my dry skin.
I hope you're interested in making these kinds of changes, or at least will consider looking more thoughtfully into the products you put on your skin.
Lastly, it's Thursday! That means I have a few featured posts and a linky for you to use to link up your posts to this blog hop.
Please remember to link back to this post or one of the four hosting blogs if you do add your post:
Annette at Sustainable Eats

Featured Posts from Last Week's Submissions

The posts from last week that really caught our eyes are... (thanks everyone for the great submissions, as always!)

1. In Which We Share a Great Find by Auburn Meadow Farm. As advertisers reuse nostalgic ads from the past to sell modern products and politics, this blogger finds inspiration and encourages all to plant gardens and put up your own food!

2. We Suck At This by Chicken Tender. Amidst the flood of must-be-done-now projects and honest doubts about farm life, Chandelle finds beauty and strength -- and hope.

3. Refashion: I Made a Purse Today by The Summer House. Jana makes a purse from the existing pockets of grey linen pants. Lovely!

4. Project Propagate: My Adventure in Rooting Cuttings by An Austin Homestead. It's amazing that you can cut off a branch from an existing plant, pot it up and have a brand new plant take root -- and Miranda shows you how!

5. Vinegar in Every Room by Laurel of Leaves. Who knew vinegar was so useful? In this post, Laurel shares many ways you can use vinegar for cooking, cleaning, gardening, first aid, and health.


Sarah C said...

A little bit of coconut oil makes a great facial moisturizer every few days.

Tracy P. said...

I make my own astringent (only use it in the summer though) - it's 1/2 cup witchazel and 1/2 cup vodka - add about 2 Tbsp peppermint or spearmint leaf (dry). Let it soak for 2 weeks and shake it daily. Strain off the mint and use/store up to 6 months. This is a great one for acne prone skin.

I get my deodorant from Terressentials online: It's the only natural deodorant I've found that actually keeps my stink down (and I've tried a ton of them). They also have a really great light facial moisturizer that's great for me in the summer.

As for a "heavier" lotion I have one from Keys ( called Tortuga. I don't use this on my face anymore as it causes it to break out for some reason, but it's totally awesome on hands (and other bits) in the winter. Really nice and moisturizing. Keys also has an AMAZING natural healing spray called RediCare. It has many uses, but the one that really impressed me was using it on skin after being exposed to poison ivy. I am extremely allergic to it and when I got into it last year I used this spray and it eliminated the itching immediately, and I was happy to see that the next day the swelling of the blisters was completely gone.

Couture Carrie said...

Awesome post!
Thanks for the recipes!


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