Posts Tagged ‘Natural Skin Care’

Simple, Frugal Chemical-free cleaning that WORKS!

I am extremely excited about April’s “Chemical Elimination” Challenge–Natural CLEANING!

In preparation for the blog post, I have been testing a variety of options in our own home, and I simply cannot wait until April before I give a brief plug for Norwex:-)

In my Chemical Elimination blog post, I will be more thorough, but let me just give you a quick overview of Norwex.

From their website:

“Norwex is committed to radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning to promote health. More than ever we feel the need to emphasize the positive environmental impact of reducing chemical use.”

“In the last 50 years more than 80,000 new chemicals have been produced and introduced into the environment. “Ecology” refers to the way human beings, animals, and other life forms and nature interact and influence each other.

The ecological approach considers that all living species and nature are interdependent, and that there are limitations to what nature can absorb in terms of human activities such as pollution.  Change something here, and the consequences will pop up there.  Radical change — manmade or otherwise — may overwhelm the delicate balance in the environment, resulting in unintended and dramatic negative change.

We must find a way to provide for the needs of the present, without sacrificing the ability of future generations to provide for their needs.  Contributing to the change by becoming part of the Norwex family will result in an improvement in quality of life.

“We strive to improve quality of life rather than standard of living.”

Behind this aim lies the value and beauty of life itself, both for us, and other life forms. 

From a health point of view, it is equally important to radically reduce the use of household chemicals.  Research and information on the health effects of chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use. “Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to everyday have never been assessed for their impact on human health.”

The harm chemicals have on humans is extensive.  Chemicals found in the average home are linked to many serious diseases such as allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities.  Many today believe that the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to “modern” diseases such as asthma and allergies.”

Norwex allows you to clean and disinfect your entire home with the use of simply a microfiber cloth and water! Check out their website for their full line of products and how this amazing technology works!  You really have to see it to believe it.

On Tuesday at 7pm, we are having a Norwex party at our home.  If you are in the QC  area and are curious, please contact me–I would love to have you come!  There will be light snacks and Christina will be demonstrating how Norwex works…by cleaning parts of my home!!

If you are already familiar with Norwex and are eager to purchase more of their amazing product, check out my consultant’s websiteyou can place an order on-line through me or her!

I cannot say enough good things about Norwex. It will truly revolutionize the way you clean, and you will never have to stock your cupboards with sprays, solutions, detergents, and chemicals to clean your home with again!

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March Chemical Elimination: Deodorant

In an effort to progressively rid our home of harmful toxins and chemicals, March’s goal is to replace one of our personal care products, deodorant, with a natural, safe alternative.

Most of us wouldn’t think of the personal care products we use on a regular basis as harmful, let alone toxic.  But the sad truth is, these products do not undergo the same testing as food and medicine do, and do not have the same requirements of safety since they make no health claims. Deodorants, like most personal care products on the market, contain a handful of harmful ingredients. Most deodorants on the market contain aluminum, a toxic metal which can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked with mental illness such as Ahlziemer’s Disease and autism.  Many deodorants contain parabens, a toxic petroleum derivative.  For more reading on harmful chemicals to avoid when shopping for deodorant, click here.

Although it can be discouraging and overwhelming to learn of the presence of so many harmful ingredients in the products we use and love every day, the purpose of this post is to encourage you with finding other, safer options.

Because each of us has different body chemistry, personal care products vary in their effectiveness.  That es why one deodorant may not work for you, but it may work for your spouse.  It is also why it usually takes some trial and error to find what works for you.

Following are a wide range of options to replace toxic forms of deodorant with natural, safe alternatives.  I have included both products available in the store and homemaking options.  If I have tried any of the options, I will include a personal review in italics.  But again, keep in mind that each person is different, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  Be inspired by how many different options you have, and don’t give up!

Safe Alternatives to Anti-Perspirant:

Meleleuca offers safe, aluminum free options.  This option did not work for me. I have friends who love it, though!

Tom’s of Maine has safe, though pricey, alternatives.  Look carefully at ingredients, though, as some contain aluminum.  They can be found in most stores.  This option did not keep me odor-free, either!

Homemade Deodorant Recipes

We use this recipe from PassionateHomemaking.com with some variations. I am eager for my husband to try it after his current bar runs out. We are going to try this method of putting it in his old stick.

Mix in a small bowl:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil, partially melted
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and stir it with a spoon.  Allow coconut oil to set up, stirring occasionally to ensure equal distribution.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

-Zinc oxide is a natural anti-perspirant.  Including it in your homemade deodorant will most likely help relieve any odor.  For a simple recipe as well as a plethora of variations, For a simple recipe to make your own, click here. I am excited to try this one, too.

Homemade Deodorant Spray

(From MomsAWARE.org)

Make a baking soda spray by blending 3 tsp. baking soda with 1 c. water in a spray bottle. Add 3-5 drops tea tree oil for added protection.

This is what I used and worked fine until after the birth of my daughter.  My hormones must have changed, because suddenly, for the first time in my life…I am very sweaty! This no longer cuts it for me.  But if it works for you, simply spray some on your hands, rub it under arms, and allow it to dry. I added the tea tree oil.

Queen of Hungary Water

(This can also be used as a toner and as hair care!)

Originally used in Europe as a perfume, Queen of Hungary Water is revered for its many healing properties and is widely known as a cure-all.  It can be used as a toner, astringent, a deodorant, a hair rinse, and can even be ingested to help soothe a sour stomach, among other things.  Here is my recipe, but you can really use whatever herbs you have on hand:

Combine in a large Mason jar:

3 TB. Peppermint leaves

2 TB Comfrey leaves

2 Tbs chamomile

4 TB Rose leaves

2 Tbs Lavender leaves

2 Tbs Nettles

3 TB Calendula/Marigold

1 TB Lemon zest

1 TB dried rosemary

1 TB dried sage

Cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and place in fresh, clean bottle.

To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 1c. total extra liquid (I used witch hazel extract).  Add several drops of essential oil, if using. Stores indefinitely.

That list of herbs may look intimidating, but most of them can be found at your local health food store, or you can place an order at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Or you can ask me for a sample size, and I can mail you one for a small price.

I hope one of these options works for you and your family! I, for one, am glad I have found something that works and saves us from chemical exposure while also saving us money!

February Chemical Elimination: Skin Care

For February’s Chemical Elimination, we are replacing toxic skin care with natural alternatives.  This is probably my absolute favorite replacement!

You don’t have to use half a dozen commercial products on your face and body to achieve clear, smooth skin.  You don’t even have to spend a fortune on quality, natural skin care products.  With only three simple, naturally occurring elements, you can cleanse, hydrate, and tone your skin without the risk of harmful toxins present in most commercial products.  And these things can double as your hair care and far beyond!

Here are the naturally occurring elements I use in my skin care:

Cleanse

Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a mineral mined in Morocco that has been used for over a thousand years for hair and skin care.  It is lauded for its detoxification properties, as well as its ability to bind with oil and dirt and wash them away.  It leaves the skin and hair remarkably soft.   When mixed with water, it forms a paste that can be applied to skin and hair. It can be used simply as a face wash, or it can be applied in a thicker paste and used as a mask. It can be purchased by the pound at Mountain Rose Herbs for $9/lb plus shipping.  Read more about the benefits of rhassoul clay here. Read more about using it as a personal care product here.

Toner


Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years, largely for its medicinal purposes, but also for toning, smoothing and hydrating the skin and hair.  It is important for it to be organic and raw, as this means it has not been pasteurized and has left the healthful nutrients and enzymes intact. It is especially helpful in restoring the pH balance of your skin after washing with a mineral like rhassoul clay.  You can purchase this at your local health food store. The smell bothers some people, so you can also use

OR

Queen of Hungary Water

Originally used in Europe as a perfume, Queen of Hungary Water is revered for its many healing properties and is widely known as a cure-all.  It can be used as a toner, astringent, a deodorant, a hair rinse, and can even be ingested to help soothe a sour stomach, among other things.  Here is my recipe, but you can really use whatever herbs you have on hand:

Combine in a large Mason jar:

3 TB. Peppermint leaves

2 TB Comfrey leaves

2 Tbs chamomile

4 TB Rose leaves

2 Tbs Lavender leaves

2 Tbs Nettles

3 TB Calendula/Marigold

1 TB Lemon zest

1 TB dried rosemary

1 TB dried sage

Cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and place in fresh, clean bottle.

To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 1c. total extra liquid (I used witch hazel extract).  Add several drops of essential oil, if using. Stores indefinitely.

That list of herbs may look intimidating, but most of them can be found at your local health food store, or you can place an order at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Or you can ask me for a sample size, and I can mail you one for a small price.

OR

Witch Hazel Extract

For a simpler toning option, you could make (or buy) some witch hazel extract. Used by Native Americans for its medicinal purposes, witch hazel has a nearly endless list of benefits, including soothing sore muscles, swelling, and insect bites.  It is also effective in treating acne due to its anti-oxident and astringent properties.  Witch Hazel leaves can be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs or your local health food store.

To make Witch Hazel Extract:

Place a handful of witch hazel leaves in a mason jar. Cover with 2-4 cups boiling water. Cover and let steep for a minimum of 4 hours. Strain.

Add 3-6 drops grapefruit seed extract to preserve for several weeks, or store in refrigerator.

I also have samples of witch hazel extract if you would like to try it without the fuss!

(Tip: This will also be used in our deodorant and shampoo!)

Moisturize

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been called the “healthiest dietary oil on earth.”  When ingested, it has dozens of healing properties, but it  also has a plethora of uses in personal care!  It can be used as a deodorant, lotion, aftershave, toothpaste, just to name a few. To read more about its amazing health benefits, click here.

OR

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is extremely hydrating  and repairing to the skin and hair.  It is also helpful for treating acne.  Jojoba oil can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbsor your local health food store. I purchased my  2 oz. ounce bottle for $9. Since it is used extremely sparingly, it lasts for a very long time. To read more about its benefits, click here.

It is helpful to begin experimenting with natural alternatives when you begin to get low on the products you already commonly use. That way you have a fall-back for if things aren’t working well, or if it takes a couple of days to get into the swing of using the new options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated and need to go back to what we are used to for a bit while we get the hang of the new options!

Sample Skin Care Regimen:

1.  To wash your face, mix about 1/8 tsp clay with 1/8 tsp water in your hand. With one finger, swirl mixture around to absorb the water into the clay. Apply to face and rinse off.  To use as a mask, mix about 1/2 tsp clay to 1/2 tsp water (or whatever consistency you like!) and apply to face. Allow to dry for ten minutes, then rinse.  My face has never felt softer!!

2. Pour some of your toner of choice onto a cotton ball and apply to face.

3. Apply a small amount of coconut or jojoba oil to face to moisturize.

If you don’t have the softest skin in your life, I will be surprised! And to simplify things, these lovely products can double as your hair care!  To learn how to use these products for your hair, read more here.

Naturally Simple Solutions: Skin Care

You don’t have to use half a dozen commercial products on your face and body to achieve clear, smooth skin.  You don’t even have to spend a fortune on quality, natural skin care products.  With only three simple, naturally occurring elements, you can cleanse, hydrate, and tone your skin without the risk of harmful toxins present in most commercial products.  And these things can double as your hair care and far beyond!

Here are the three naturally occurring elements I use in my skin care:


1.   Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a mineral mined in Morocco that has been used for over a thousand years for hair and skin care.  It is lauded for its detoxification properties, as well as its ability to bind with oil and dirt and wash them away.  It leaves the skin and hair remarkably soft.   When mixed with water, it forms a paste that can be applied to skin and hair. It can be used simply as a face wash, or it can be applied in a thicker paste and used as a mask. It can be purchased by the pound atMountain Rose Herbs for $9/lb plus shipping.  Read more about the benefits of rhassoul clay here. Read more about using it as a personal care product here.


2.  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years, largely for its medicinal purposes, but also for toning, smoothing and hydrating the skin and hair.  It is important for it to be organic and raw, as this means it has not been pasteurized and has left the healthful nutrients and enzymes intact. It is especially helpful in restoring the pH balance of your skin after washing with a mineral like rhassoul clay.  You can purchase this at your local health food store.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been called the “healthiest dietary oil on earth.”  When ingested, it has dozens of healing properties, but it  also has a plethora of uses in personal care!  It can be used as a deodorant, lotion, aftershave, toothpaste, just to name a few. To read more about its amazing health benefits, click here.

OR

3.  Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is extremely hydrating  and repairing to the skin and hair.  It is also helpful for treating acne.  Jojoba oil can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbsor your local health food store. I purchased my  2 oz. ounce bottle for $9. Since it is used extremely sparingly, it lasts for a very long time. To read more about its benefits, click here.

It is helpful to begin experimenting with natural alternatives when you begin to get low on the products you already commonly use. That way you have a fall-back for if things aren’t working well, or if it takes a couple of days to get into the swing of using the new options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated and need to go back to what we are used to for a bit while we get the hang of the new options!

What you will need:

Rhassoul clay

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Coconut Oil

(or jojoba oil)

My regimen:

1.  To wash your face, mix about 1/8 tsp clay with 1/8 tsp water in your hand. With one finger, swirl mixture around to absorb the water into the clay. Apply to face and rinse off.  To use as a mask, mix about 1/2 tsp clay to 1/2 tsp water (or whatever consistency you like!) and apply to face. Allow to dry for ten minutes, then rinse.  My face has never felt softer!!

2. Pour some apple cider vinegar onto a cotton ball and apply to face.

3. Apply a small amount of coconut or jojoba oil to face to moisturize.

If you don’t have the softest skin in your life, I will be surprised! And to simplify things, these lovely products can double as your hair care!  To learn how to use these products for your hair, read more here.

Naturally Simple Solutions: Hair Care

The more I study natural alternatives to commonly used household products, the more I am amazed that almost everything I need for my every day life can be found outside someone’s front door in God’s creation! As I learned more about the harmful components in personal care products, I determined to find natural options for hair and skin care.  My reaction to trading out my old products for these natural ingredients was, “How did I never know about this stuff before?!”  They work far better than any of the dozens of expensive hair salon products I have tried!

Here are the three naturally occurring elements I use in my hair care:


1.   Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a mineral mined in Morocco that has been used for over a thousand years for hair and skin care.  It is lauded for its detoxification properties, as well as its ability to bind with oil and dirt and wash them away.  It leaves the skin and hair remarkably soft.  It also does wonders for dandruff and eczema.  When mixed with water, it forms a paste that can be applied to skin and hair.  It can be purchased by the pound at Mountain Rose Herbs for $9/lb plus shipping.  At first, this seemed like a lot, but when I realized how much I spend on “quality” shampoo and conditioner and how quickly I use it up, I calculated how immensely this would save me money. Read more about the benefits of rhassoul clay here. Read more about using it as a personal care product here.


2.  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years, largely for its medicinal purposes, but also for toning, smoothing and hydrating the skin and hair.  It is important for it to be organic and raw, as this means it has not been pasteurized and has left the healthful nutrients and enzymes intact. It acts as a good rinse after washing the hair with a mineral like rhassoul clay, as its acidity restores the pH balance of your hair. You can purchase this at your local health food store.

3. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is extremely hydrating  and repairing to the skin and hair.  It is especially useful for frizzy, dry hair (like mine) and works wonders as a leave-in-conditioner.  I have never had my hair so soft and sleek with anything else! Jojoba oil can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbs or your local health food store. I purchased my  2 oz. ounce bottle for $9. Since it is used extremely sparingly, it lasts for a very long time.

It is helpful to begin experimenting with natural alternatives when you begin to get low on the products you already commonly use.  That way you have a fall-back for if things aren’t working well, or if it takes a couple of days to get into the swing of using the new options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated and need to go back to what we are used to for a bit while we get the hang of the new options!

What you will need:

Rhassoul clay

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Jojoba oil (optional)

Small plastic spray bottle (Wal-mart, 99cents!)

Small plastic shampoo bottle (Wal-mart, 99cents!)

My regimen:

1.     Place 1/2 Tbs rhassoul clay and 1/2 Tbs water into small plastic bottle and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  I find this helpful to do while I brush my teeth, grab my clothes and towels, etc.  Wet hair and squeeze appropriate amount of clay liquid/paste into handfuls of hair or over the top of your head.  If you have shorter hair, use less, if longer hair, use more.  I have waist length hair and find using the entire mixture to be sufficient.  For dandruff, massage gently into scalp. Allow to sit on hair for 5 minutes. (Due to the length of my hair, I do not enjoy the feeling of cold, wet hair on my back while I wait the five minutes, so I bring an alligator clip in and clip it on top of my head.)  Wash, shave, etc. while you wait the five minutes. If you are also using the clay as a face wash or mask, you can apply at this time as well.  Rinse clay out of hair and comb through.

2.     Spray raw apple cider vinegar into hair, rinse and comb through. I use about 4 sprays.

3.     If your hair needs a conditioner and tends to be dry, upon exiting the shower, spray a couple of sprays (depending on length and thickness of hair, again I have really long hair and use only 3-4 sprays) of jojoba oil onto wet hair and comb/finger/scrunch through.

Allow to dry naturally and style as usual.

Toxic Talk Tuesday: Personal Care

We use products on our bodies and hair every day without giving it a second thought.  We figure if it’s on a shelf at the store, it must be okay to use. Why would it be harmful?  Chris and Andrea Fabry welcome us into their studio again for the third installment of Toxic Talk Tuesdays.  This time the topic is Personal Care.  Andrea, with her wealth of knowledge and experience, challenges many of the assumptions we have about personal care products and their safety, explains certain components that are particularly harmful, and gives us natural, safe (and frugal!) alternatives. Again, this post will be a conglomeration of direct quotes, paraphrases, and my own input.  For the complete broadcast, find the link below.

Andrea states that our personal care products are an unseen danger.  “The packaging is very attractive, the scents are great, it just looks and smells so smooth, and yet it’s not what it seems. It’s not what we want to believe that it is.  And the reason is, there is so much we don’t know. It’s not that we know something and then are ignoring it, we really don’t know and the more you study what is in these products the more you understand it’s probably not a good risk for us because most chemicals are made up of petroleum. Would you put gasoline on your hair knowingly? Or on your skin? Why does this matter? 60% of any chemical will go through 5 layers of skin into the bloodstream.

90% of the chemicals we have on the labels of shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, etc. have never been tested for health. This is because cosmetics are not claiming to cure any disease or make a health impact, so they do not fall under the same legislation as drugs do.

Toxicant of the Day: Phthalates. A derivative of petroleum. Endocrine disruptors, even in small amounts.  Wikipedia states “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severeattention deficit disordercognitive and brain development problems.”

Phthalates are a chemical prevalent in plastics. But it is also used in shampoos, lotions, and skin care products to preserve the fragrance. This is not listed on labels, it is simply under “fragrance.” The ingredient “fragrance” can include all sorts of neurotoxins, but it is not subject to the same health and safety testing as are drugs to prove its safety.  95% of fragrances are derived from petroleum, a known neurotoxin.  If nothing else, look for products that say “fragrance free.”

Our bodies can become conditioned to the chemicals on the market so that we do not immediately feel their negative effects.  However, this does not mean they are not having a negative effect.  These chemicals whittle down the receptors in our nose, which is directly connected to the brain.  As we breathe these substances in, we are burning down and disrupting our ability to smell, and this is also affecting brain development.  This is why our ability to smell decreases with age.  If you remove the chemicals, our receptors can restore themselves.

Closing thought: All of this information can be overwhelming, but simply do the best you can with what you know. Anything is better than nothing!

Recipe of the Day:

Queen of Hungary Water

  • 6 small handfuls lemon balm
  • 5 small handfuls calendula flowers
  • 4 small handfuls rose petals
  • 3 small handfuls comfrey
  • 1 small handful rosemary, lemon peel, and sage

(Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these herbs; feel free to use what you have.)

Place herbs in a gallon glass jar. (You can halve this recipe for a 1/2 gallon jar.) Cover the herbs completely in raw organic apple cider vinegar. Screw on lid tightly. Let sit for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar several times a week.

Strain the mixture. Combine remaining liquid with equal parts witch hazel extract. Rose water may also be used.

Dab on face and massage into skin. Queen of Hungary water also makes an excellent rinse for hair. Can be stored indefinitely.

This makes an excellent gift!  Many of these ingredients can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs

Practical Tips:

  • As a shampoo or to relieve dandruff, massage baking soda/washing soda/rhassoul clay into your scalp. Rinse with raw apple cider vinegar/coffee grounds/lemon juice. Rhassoul clay is a mineral and has been used for centuries and has wonderful antioxidant qualities. When adding a mineral to your hair, it needs to be balanced back out with an acid. For more information on its many uses, read here.
  • Baking soda or bentonite clay in combination with an essential oil can be used to brush your teeth. Recipes here and here.
  • Natural dandruff control: Dandruff is an external result of an internal condition, so make sure you’re getting proper nurients.  To treat the irritation, tea tree oil is antifungal. Combine with what you’re using and massage into skin.  You can also use grape fruit seed extract. Dead sea salt baths are great for excema.
  • Soap is overrated.  Suds are overrated. Babies don’t actually even need soap, and many days we don’t need it either, but if you want to use something, use pure castile soap or rhassoul clay.
  • Baking Soda neutralizes acid.  Use baking soda as a deodorant. Mix baking soda, water, and a drop of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray under arms.  Another recipe using zinc oxide and witch hazel can be found here.
  • Use raw apple cider vinegar as a skin toner! Then moisurize with kefir. (Health Benefits of Kefir or How to Make Kefir.
  • After chlorine swimming, get a pure vitamin C spray and spray your skin and it will neutralize the chlorine. Or bathe in a vitamin C powder. This can be found at your local health food store or here.

For further information 

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Laundry Care

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Naturally Clean Kitchens

momsAWARE

 

Minimalist Beauty

Chris Fabry Live! September 20 broadcast