Au Naturel

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In my effort to live a clean and holistic life I am always on the hunt for great natural beauty products. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and we put it through so much without much thought. It’s also pourous and absorbs everything in our environment that we expose it to.  For the longest time, I didn’t think too much about this, and had no hesitations when it came to conventional beauty and skin-care products. However, over the last few years, I have switched over to more natural products. I honestly didn’t do this with the intention of being more conscious about the chemicals I was exposing myself to. Rather, the switch started because over time I stopped being able to tolerate the smells of conventional products and was drawn to products that use essential oils for fragrance. Plus, it seemed like no matter what I used, my skin was always breaking out, cracking from being overly dry and my eczema was taking over my life. I kind of thought that the products I used wouldn’t really make a difference when it came to my skin (I thought it was just because I’m a redhead) and had just accepted my fate.

Once I started using more natural products however, I definitely started to noticed an improvement. When I was in my graduate program I took a course on health and the environment and was introduced to the EWG’s Skin Deep rating system for beauty products. The Environmental Working Group examines all of the chemicals in beauty and personal care products and gives it a score- the lower the number, the better. A low score means it is not as harmful to your body. It also gives a breakdown on any harmful or potential harmful ingredients. Once I checked out there list, I was pretty surprised. I honestly wasn’t aware how many scary chemicals I was exposing my skin to! If you think about the number of products you use daily, it can be quite alarming. While the Skin Deep guide doesn’t always have local Canadian products, it is a great resource and can help you pick out more mainstream natural products. After using it, you’ll start to get familiar with what ingredients are okay, and what ingredients may be dangerous.

I will be totally transparent- I still don’t use 100% natural products, but I do try my best. I’m gradually making the switch but I also am not sure if I’ll ever be able to part with my urban decay eyeshadow palettes. That being said, I’d say I’m about 80% there and when I find a good product, I have to share it with the world! A lot of people don’t now how great a natural product can actually be. I am honestly not trying to get everyone to switch to natural products (though, that would be great) but these products are seriously amazing and I think everyone should check them out! Over the last few weeks I have purchased a few that I have quickly become obsessed with and I thought I’d share them here with you all today!

Perk Naturals Exfoliating Scrub

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Okay, this exfoliating scrub is seriously unreal. The ingredients are: Fair Trade Robusta Coffee, Dead Sea Salt, Natural Brown Sugar, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Orange essential Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E. How simple right? And yes, that’s coffee as the first ingredient. I love me some coffee. Caffeine has been shown to increase blood flow and applying it directly to the skin will stimulate that area. It can also help in the reduction of cellulite! Plus, this scrub will energize you as you get your day started! It’s an amazing exfoliator that you apply with your hands. It will leave you skin soooo soft and supple. Plus, it’s affordably priced! At $15 bucks for the smaller size, you can’t go wrong. Get it at The Detox Market or from their site linked above. BONUS, it is a Toronto based company and everything is hand made. I love supporting local businesses!

If you are caffeine sensitive I may avoid this one, but check out their other scrubs!

 

Skin Essence Light Facial Moisturizer

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This product is seriously life saving. It’s a little pricey ($32 for 30 ml) but you will use a lot less compared to a conventional moisturizer. The ingredients are: Jojoba Seed Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Orange Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Lime Oil, Geranium Oil, Galbanum Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin-E) and Tea Tree Oil. Again, so simple! It also smells AMAZING. After using this for just two weeks on my face I have noticed such a difference. My facial skin always used to be so so dry after I washed my face or showered, and then once I moisturized it would be so oily. Not to mention I seem to always be breaking out! I have tried many moiustuzisers (natural and conventional), and have never found one that I liked enough to purchase again. Well, now I have found it! As mentioned, you only have to use a little bit, about 3 drops. It feels oily at first but is quickly absorbed. My skin is SO soft, my breakouts have gone down, and I’m no longer suffering from the constant cyclical battle of dry vs. oily. Find it online (linked above) or at the Big Carrot. Again, it’s a local company too!

 

Saje Natural Wellness Spray Deodorant

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I’m not here to push natural deodorant use but the jury is still out on the potentially harmful effects of aluminum contained in antiperspirants. I think my own personal aversion to these conventional kinds comes from the fact that it seems weird to clog up these pores when they are meant to sweat, stopping a natural cooling and detoxifying system. Disclaimer, I sweat A LOT. I actually find that most conventional antiperspirants and deodorants make me sweat even more. I have tried every single deodorant and antiperspirant under the sun. Not only are my armpits always agitated, I find that none of them really work that well anyway. I have ruined so many shirts and I honestly have kind of just given up.  I often don’t use any deodorant at all, which is okay for the most part until I’m intensely working out, or wearing stuffy business clothes on a hot day. At that point, I honestly start to stink. I have been on the hunt to just find one that keeps me from stinking! For a while I used Tom’s natural antiperspirant, which was kind of a lesser evil in the antiperspirant world but still contains aluminum and left my arm pit skin so dry and painful (but didn’t stop the sweat like any others or really help with the stink factor). Once I realized that it wasn’t really doing anything I started hunting for a good natural one. I tried probably about 20, no joke. Creams, sticks, sprays, etc. I even made my own. I found that a lot of the essential oils in some of the natural ones even made me stink worse! For a while, I really really liked this one by Primal Pit Paste, but the baking soda content in it was simply too high and left me with a big ugly rash in my armpits. The one I made is actually pretty good, but it’s a bit messy and requires multiple applications on a sweaty day.

I recently discovered this one from Saje Natural Wellness after seeing it on Erin Ireland’s snap story (vegan, vegetarian, health conscious people: do yourself a favour and follow her). I figured I’d give it a try since Saje (a Vancouver-based company) has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I’m pretty sure that this particular scent is meant for men, but it’s not overly masculine smelling, and I think that when I work out I probably do smell like a man so the strength is probably just right for yours truly. The ingredients are: potassium alum (liquid mineral salts); essential oils of cymbopogon martini (palmarosa), aniba rosaeodora (rosewood), santalum album (sandalwood), lavandua angustifolia (lavender), citrus aurantifolia (lime), pogostemon cablin (patchouli), foeniculum vulgare dulce (fennel) and vetivera zizanoides (vetiver).

FINALLY I have found a natural deodorant that I love! Like most natural deodorants, it requires re-application as you sweat, but since it’s a spray, it’s not messy (or difficult) to reapply. It lasts for a surprisingly long time and even after a long 18km run I wasn’t that stinky. I think I’m going to buy one to keep everywhere- my gym bag, my desk, my purse. Seriously, check it out!

I am so so pleased with all of these products and I highly recommend you check them all out. Let me know what you think too!

I recently also purchased a natural mascara and concealer. I don’t love them, but am going to use them up. Once I’m ready to buy more I’m going to look into other natural options. Does anyone have any recommendations?