Outer beauty is at least partially a reflection of inner health and a healthy, well-nourished body will shine with great skin, silky hair and bright eyes. It seems ironic then, that most “beauty” products contain chemicals that are so dangerous to the skin. Take for instance, Apricot Scrub by St. Ives, my former beauty product of choice. I checked it out on The Cosmetics Database and found that it ranks 9 out of 10 for containing hazardous chemicals… and it is marketed as being natural!!!
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to conventional beauty products that work great. A healthy diet and good exercise plan also go a long way! These natural alternatives are also less expensive in most cases, and work so well, I’m never going back.
Natural Substitutes for Deodorant and Antiperspirant
Antiperspirant and deodorant products are some of the worst offenders when it comes to beauty products. There have been recent reports of links between these products and much higher rates of breast cancer, and doctors report that those who get breast cancer are most likely to get a tumor in the area closest to the armpit. Antiperspirants, by sealing in moisture are the worst. besides putting aluminum in your body, they prevent perspiration, which is the body’s natural way to eliminate toxins.
Natural Alternatives: Baking soda by itself is actually an incredibly effective natural deodorant, though it can be messy if you are wearing a dark color. Mixing baking soda with equal part coconut oil is a cleaner option and since coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, it is great at preventing odor. You can also buy natural alternatives, but look out for any containing aluminum of any kind, and check yours in the cosmetic database before buying. A post about my homemade essential oil shea butter deodorant coming soon.
Natural Substitutes for Lotion
Lotion is another top offender for beauty products. The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and many chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and stored in fat tissue. This is especially a concern for pregnant women, as these chemicals can be passed to a baby though the placenta.
Natural Substitutes: The best natural lotion I have found so far is just pure organic Coconut Oil. It is able to penetrate the skin and the medium chain fatty acids help with wrinkles, dry skin, and other skin problems and since it is naturally antibacterial, it won’t cause breakouts. There are also countless ways to combine coconut oil with other oils, butters, essential oils and herbs to create solutions for your specific skin. (recipes to come!)
Natural Substitutes for Toothpaste
Almost all conventional toothpastes contain fluoride, which have been linked to thyroid disease and cancer. Most also have sugar, which seems counter-intuitive for a product designed to prevent cavities. Fortunately, companies are catching on to consumers being more aware of this, and are finally presenting fluoride free natural options. At our house, we opt for a natural alternative that is easy to make and inexpensive (and keeps us from getting cavities)
Natural Alternatives: Mix baking soda and peppermint liquid castille soap to make a thick paste. Squeeze or scoop onto toothbrush and brush as normal. This has a slightly salty minty taste and also a natural whitening effect. Some people use pure baking soda, which works great, but is a little bitter/salty for me.
Natural Substitutes for Facial Toner
Though toners don’t contain as high of levels as other beauty products (typically), I wanted to include this one because there is a natural option that outperforms conventional products by far and makes people look a lot younger.
Natural Substitute: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother rubbed on freshly clean face (dilute with water! A teaspoon per half cup of water is a good ratio…). The vinegar scent fades as soon as it dries, and a few drops of essential oil in a few ounces of apple cider vinegar really helps the smell. Apple cider vinegar tightens, brightens and freshens the skin and percents dry skin and breakouts. It is also great to have on hand for heartburn, yeast overgrowth and other common complaints.
Natural Substitutes for Mascara Remover
I must admit, I was always leery of mascara remover, because it seemed dangerous to put something like that close to my eyes. Sorry to say, this kept me from using anything to remove my eye makeup for years. I would sleep with it, and use dry tissues to wipe off the racoon eyes the next morning. I do NOT recommend this! It gave me early wrinkles (fixed by apple cider vinegar and coconut oil) and lighter pigment around my eyes. I finally found a good solution, and my skin has never felt healthier:
Natural Alternatives: Olive oil and/or coconut oil are great at removing mascara and eye makeup, even waterproof. As an added benefit, they moisturize the eyes and help remove or prevent wrinkles.
Natural Substitutes for Hair Spray
Another product that makes the top ten list of dangerous products, hair sprays (especially aerosol) put chemicals into the air and consequently into your lungs and skin. Most contain substances that have been linked to cancer or disease and they can, after time, cause chemical sensitivities. Willing to try some natural options?
Natural Substitutes: Many people swear by juicing a lemon and mixing with a couple cups of water in a spray bottle. It works, but has to be stored in the fridge. I prefer mixing a cup of boiling water with 1-4 teaspoons of sugar (depending on the level of hold you want). Stir and let sugar dissolve completely and pour into a fine mister bottle. This will hold hair and make it shine. For difficult hair, let first application dry and apply another application.
For the natural beach waves look, make the above recipe with salt instead. This will give a flexible hold without being dull at all. Supposedly, top stylists are turning to sea salt products lately too.
Natural Substitutes for Teeth Whiteners
Most teeth whiteners contain high levels of peroxide and other chemicals. While these aren’t a necessary beauty product, white teeth make you look younger and healthier. The best treatment is a healthy diet, but some natural options can help speed up the teeth whitening process.
Natural Substitutions: Save the money on expensive commercial whitening and avoid the dangerous chemicals by using pure baking soda on a toothbrush. Brush lightly in small circles for five minutes before regular brushing once to twice a week. Alternatively, rub fresh strawberries on the gums or mix mashed strawberries and baking soda and wear in mouth tray for 30 minutes once a week. I was shocked to find that both of these actually work and make your teeth feel great (no chemical aftertaste or lingering sensitivity).
To sum all that up: you basically need coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. These three products do wonders as natural beauty products and are also used in natural cooking and cleaning recipes. They truly are so healthy you could (and should) eat them. Got any better ones? please tell me about them below!