I was thinking that I hadn’t made any comprehensive posts about the products I use for my beauty needs :] so here we go yo:
- Toothpaste: Baking soda + Diatomaceous Earth. No bells or whistles here. If I buy commercial, I like something with neem in it. I went fluoride-free in 2011, and after observing that my skin and hair were much more balanced when I avoided sodium lauryl sulfates and other surfactants, I stopped using products containing them for other parts of my body too. I was surprised to find even some well-liked alternative product companies include both fluoride and SLS in their toothpastes, so check your labels.
- Deodorant: I really like that Crystal stick, which I have totally made fun of before. I have tried a little calamine lotion, applied with a cotton ball to clean and dry pits, and it worked just fine too. I’ll bet cornstarch would be an easy alternative also. I avoid aluminum now; it just doesn’t seem right to be rubbing it right into a bunch of lymph nodes, which is what you’re doing when you use a regular commercial anti-perspirant/deodorant. I don’t need a heavily-fragranced stick now that I’m eating and living cleanly.
- Facewash & Bodywash: I’ve been loving Nubian Heritage’s African Black Soap. It’s coffee-colored and smells like vanilla, and never leaves me feeling tight nor stripped. My skin is calm, even, and balanced after using it on my face and body.
- Moisturizer: I use this Heritage Valley rosewater & glycerine mist in the morning after splashing my face with cool water, and on damp skin after my evening shower. It feels great on hot or dry days, and also sets your powder beautifully. I have gone through probably 10 bottles of this in the past year, and it’s way cheaper than what I had been forking out for tubs of moisturizer that would leave my skin feeling greasy on top and dry underneath. Rosewater and glycerine leaves my sensitive skin feeling balanced. On my body, I like to smooth a bit of (jojoba, almond, argan) oil on damp skin after my shower. Shea and cocoa butters are awesome for extra dry days.
- Sunblock: Most sunscreens break me out, but this simple Burnout eco-sensitive version with SPF 30 gives me a matte finish with no adverse reactions. A hat is my favorite sunscreen.
- Shampoo: My hair is the only thing I’m a little high-maintenence about. I’ve stopped using all commercial shampoo! After discontinuing SLS, I discovered and loved Chagrin Valley’s shampoo bars and all the body they gave my hair, but I’ve discovered that my scalp is happier with something even simpler… I’ve been using aritha (soapnut) powder and I’ve been able to eliminate the dry greasies! I have a simple approach of mixing a couple of tablespoons of aritha, adding 1 teaspoon – 2 tablespoons of other conditioning Indian herbs like cassia obovata, amla (gooseberry), and shikikai in an empty Bronner’s bottle. Sometimes I like to add a teaspoon of raw honey or aloe vera, and/or a few drops of oil (castor, argan, almond). I just add water, shake, and pour over my head in the shower. I let it sit a few minutes before manipulating my scalp and then finally rinsing VERY well.
- Hair Treatments/Style Products: You can read two of my favorite deep treatment recipes here. I realize the less I mess with my hair (or anything) the better, so I usually simply stick with a leave-in immediately after washing. I rinse my hair upside down with cold water, then press out the excess moisture, still upside down. I mix a pea-sized amount of aloe vera gel in equal amounts with Nightblooming’s Panacea between my palms, then press the product up into my waves. I plop with an old t-shirt and get mega volume and soft ends.
- Cosmetics: I’ve been using simple rice flour on my face, and I LOVE it. I don’t like a lot of coverage, but I do like to cut the shine for a softer finish, and my sensitive skin stays happy. Win. Even though I avoid most varieties of drug and department store makeup, I still love to enhance my eyes. Castor oil has made my lashes long and soft, but I still bust out the old mascara on special occasions, and eyeliner every day. Who am I kidding, that will be the last thing I give up. I do stick with cruelty-free.
The best beauty routine begins with a good foundation, and by that, I’m not referring to an expensive skin base. I’m talking about the good stuff your grandma told you about, that only comes with a healthy diet, quality hydration, regular exercise, good sleep, and a positive perspective. Oh yeah, and moderation. Your skin and hair probably don’t want to be messed with too much. Avoid the ugly cycle of over-cleansing and over-moisturizing. It’s tough to break this pattern when you’re stuck in the rut of using harsh products with long ingredient lists. However; once you start experimenting, you can find what truly works for you. You may be pleasantly surprised to find how much you are able to simplify your beauty routine without sacrificing results!