Your skin is a ginormous, all-encompassing organ. We know that if you put something on your skin, it will (typically) absorb. In other words, your skin is porous, like a sponge. Now imagine you have 2 mason jars in front of you. One jar contains coconut oil, shea butter and a little lavender essential oil – all natural, organic ingredients. The second jar contains toxic chemicals and water. If you are the sponge, which mason jar do you want to be in? Which ingredients do you want to absorb? I’m guessing you’ll go for the au naturale, ya? Yet choosing the healthiest option can be confusing when you package up the second mason jar (toxic chemicals and water) to look really fancy, slap a high-end brand name on it, and show an ad with a model slathering it on her skin, looking as happy as can be.
It’s important to note here that your skin is part of your connective tissues that make up your fascia – the stuff that connects to just about everything inside your body and blends into everything else, like a cool giant web holding all your blood, organs and guts together…literally. I think this paints a more vivid picture showing how a lotion or shampoo can influence your internal health. It’s not just our skin that’s the sponge. Our entire body is a sponge, exchanging fluids, nutrients, chemicals, or anything else we come into contact with. That’s right, your body is a fully interactive experience. Or at least that’s one way of putting it.
Just as I share in our Nutritional Guide, the most important thing you can do when picking any soap, shampoo or lotion is to look at the ingredients list. Choose your item based on clean, legible (know what each ingredient is) and ideally organic ingredients. Even better, can they be from a local source or be fair trade certified?
When it comes to cleaning your body, simplicity is key. Ideally a product has such a clean foundation of simple ingredients that it can be used for your face, body and hair! Extra bonus: this can help you save money and keep your shower free of extra bottles.
Here are a few of my favorite products. Please know, I’m not saying these products are all 100% perfecto – I am simply sharing products I appreciate. If you have some of your own, please share in the comments below (and no, I am not being paid by any of the companies. I just think they’re radical badical).
FACE PRODUCTS: I discovered the highly rated Batty’s Bath while looking for safe product ratings on EWG.org. “Botanical-based skin care: Restoring balance naturally” – I’m all for that! Chemical-free facial moisturizers and makeup can be tough to find, hence my excitement for discovering these fresh and friendly products. Let’s just say I’m particularly appreciative of the Facial Primer and Daily Detox Moisturizer, Quick Tint Antioxidant Moisturizer (BB Cream) and the Mineral Cream Concealer. Seriously, they’re amazing. My fair skin loves the Mineral Cream Concealer for its strong yet hydrating coverage for the under eye area.
BODY BUTTER: Avocado Dream’n Body Butter by The Land of Milk and Honey – This deliciously whipped product can be found at the Saturday Old Town Temecula Farmers’ Market or purchased online. I can actually understand the ingredients list – always a plus!
BODY WASH: Alaffia Everday Shea Moisturizing Body Wash – This product is rated with a score of 1, the best you can receive from EWG.org, an organization that assesses each ingredient in a product to determine its safety and quality. If you dig this 32oz size and the handy dandy squirt top, Alaffia also has awesome shampoos and lotions in the same containers.
ALL-IN-ONE SOAP: Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap – (available in unscented or scented with oils like Tea Tree and Eucalyptus) – I love taking this when I travel, as it’s super versatile and can be used for your face, body and even hair. Looking at the ingredients, I do see some words I don’t understand, including Lauryl Glucoside. Referring back to EWG, I found that this ingredient rates a 1 (see link for further description). Phew.
SHAMPOO: Stay tuned for How to be Proactive in the Bathroom Part III on decreasing waste…or if you’re antsy pantsy and want to cut to the chase: Lush’s Shampoo Bar is my go-to travel-friendly and eco-cool shampoo (because it’s not in a bottle). Please note: this shampoo bar does contain “safe synthetics”, which if you ask me, sounds like an oxymoron. You be the judge on this one, as with any other product you put on or in your body.