Please check out my first post on natural beauty, and my recommendations for face care. This week I'm tackling body care.
Besides health, what are other reasons to switch to natural body care?
Just as with face care, switching to natural body care can help your skin rebalance in many ways. I tend to have dry, sensitive skin, and I've noticed that I have fewer reactions to products (like rashes or razor burn). I have read that some people don't need lotion anymore, but since I still use fairly traditional soap and go through New England winters, I still moisturize abundantly.
What should I expect when switching to natural body care?
This is actually a really easy area to transition in. The only thing that has been a challenge for me is giving up antiperspirant. No matter what anyone tells you, in my experience, there is no natural product that gets the job done like regular antiperspirants and deodorants. In finding something that works for me, I've just had to face up to a few days where I didn't smell my best. (I know...gross. The good news is, you can learn from my experience here.) You should also be prepared to sweat. It's a little strange to suddenly sweat again, but it's really an important bodily process for removing toxins from your system. The body is designed to sweat for a reason. Now, as long as I'm not smelly, it doesn't bother me.
What didn't work for me and why...
There are a lot of lovely, unscented body soaps available, and I just couldn't commit to them. I really missed having a light scent on my skin after showering. I've also tried a lot of deodorants that didn't work for me. For me, Tom's of Maine and any of those weird crystal deodorants just don't work. I also didn't like Jason deodorant, which didn't work and caused a skin reaction. I also tried a couple of homemade recipes, but had the same problems.
What I use...
Soap: Until recently, I was able to purchase a Whole Foods brand glycerin soap that was scented with essential oils...if you can find it, I recommend it. The last time I was there though, all the glycerin soap was scented with "fragrance", which is generally something to avoid in your products, as it can mean a lot of different (toxic) things. So instead, I opted for Nubian Heritage, which smells amazing and strong. I haven't used it yet, but I'm not too picky with soap, and I'm really looking forward to the strong scent. Not all the scents have the same toxicity ratings though, so check the ingredients.
Shaving Soap: For shaving, I have found that unscented Kiss My Face olive oil soap is a dream come true. It is just as luxurious as shaving cream and so gentle on the skin. There are also scented varieties, but again, the unscented version is the least toxic.
Deodorant: Selecting a more natural deodorant is a very personal process. A Whole Foods representative told me that the one you select should smell really good to you, because that indicates it will be more compatible with your body (No idea if this is true, but it makes sense to choose something you love...). She also suggested occasionally switching between scents. I have landed on Desert Essence and Alba Botanica as my top choices. I also keep some Ban unscented for special circumstances (like lots of dancing and hugging at weddings). I try not to use it too often, since it still blocks sweat pores, but it has a great toxicity rating and works wonderfully. If you're not ready to fully make the leap, I'd recommend unscented Ban.
Moisturizer: I use a few moisturizers. I love this homemade lotion, which is cheap and easy to make. It works just as well as regular lotions, is non-toxic, and costs way less! I customize it with essential oils. Otherwise, I really just love oils. I'm less picky for body than face, and usually use sweet almond oil, or olive oil straight from the kitchen. Oils are great for locking in moisture right after a shower and generally soak in a little easier then, so they don't leave you feeling greasy.
Any recommendations of your own? Last week my friend Jenna recommended lemon and sugar as a body scrub...luxurious!!