Fall in love with taking care of yourself: Mind, Body and Soul
Sometimes things can feel really hectic. I feel pulled in a million directions. Working on Love the Green Life stuff, taking care of a toddler, trying to cram in every house project (which is a massive list, actually a notebook. lol) and fun things into summer. It is so challenging. One thing that begins to really lack this time of year and even more when I go back to work in the fall, is self care. This is something I need to do better with. Mind, body and soul. I have been trying to work this into my routine. I may need help being held accountable!
So lets start with body care. There are many aspects to taking care of our bodies and I hope to address all of them at some point on here. Today we are going to look at what goes on our bodies. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It is the front line of all things that your body comes in contact with. One important job is to shield harmful chemicals. When you are using body care products that are laden with toxins, you are giving your skin a lot of work. These harmful chemicals can seep through the pores and enter your bloodstream very quickly. Synthetic chemicals in body care products can also harm you when inhaled, such as fragrance or perfume or ingested through lipstick.
I challenge you to look at the ingredients on the back of your products. See if you can read them. Go back to part 1 of this series and look for some of those ingredients I highlighted and see if you find them. Another ingredient to watch out for is the word fragrance or parfum. These ingredients are a catch all and doesn't give you what exactly makes that smell. This is where companies get away with using some synthetic chemicals as it doesn't have to be listed separately. I purchase products that do not have that listed, but instead have specific essential oils as their fragrance. Also, looking for products with the least amount of ingredients is key. Think about if you were to make this product from scratch at home, what would you need? Skip the items with all the synthetics and preservatives and go with the ones that have limited ingredients. Your skin will thank you!!
So lets get down to business. Here are some of my favorite picks! I highlight where you can get these products, but many of the products are sold in Whole Foods and the Mustard Seed stores.
My favorite face care items are from Hope Soaps. This is a local (to me) shop in Akron, OH. They are an amazing company! The products are made locally at the shops, natural and limited ingredients. The best part; they are a non-profit and donate products to local homeless and animal shelters as well as helping out the community in other ways. It is a win, win! Don't worry if you are not from this area, you can order online. Go to hopesoapohio.org!
The eyelash growth serum is only 3 ingredients- castor oil, argon oil and vitamin E. I noticed a difference right away!! It is incredible. I also love my face wash and under eye cream. I also use the utopia face cream (not pictured). The Forever Young under eye butter has allowed me to say bye, bye to my dark circles and fine lines/wrinkles. I actually use it on my forehead and around my lips also for those fine lines. The best part is that it smells like coffee, because of the coffee beans. It is so yummy!!
I have tried my fair share of hair care products over the last few years. Andalou's style spray and hair spray are my favorite. They are the first ones I tried when switching hair sprays and I've never looked back. The style spray has lavender in it and makes your hair smell fresh and crisp. Andalou Naturals is the first beauty company to achieve non-GMO certification. They use superior ingredients and all their products are vegan, gluten free, fair trade, cruelty free, certified organic and sustainably sourced. Oh that gets me so excited!! They are definitely high quality products.
At my last hair appointment, my hair stylist suggested looking for a serum for my hair.
She is pretty awesome and knows I use natural products, so she suggested me researching and trying one. I tried this one out and loved it. My hair is so silky and smooth and it only takes a tiny drop. This repairing serum as well as the tee tree shampoo and conditioner are made by giovanni cosmetics. This company has been around for 40 years and strives to bridge the gap between salon quality and natural products. They too use mostly vegan, organic ingredients. All their products are cruelty free. You can still get the salon look and feel without the synthetics.
Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve Company is a local, family owned company that I am very much in love with. I use many of their products on a daily basis. You will see them pop up in many of these blogs in this series. Their products, like the ones above, follow all the same standards as for fair trade, sustainable, organic, cruelty free and many vegan options. When you look at their ingredients, they are very limited and you can pronounce and know every single one. Another thing I love about this company is that they open their factory up once a year for an open house. You can tour the facility and see how they make their items, talk to the owners, ask advice on products and receive a discount. I stock up like crazy on this day! If you haven't checked them out, you need to. They have a shop in downtown Cleveland to check out their products in addition to Whole Foods and online.
I was interested in shampoo bars and when we ran out of our shampoo, I grabbed one of theirs. My husband loves it and I like it too. I alternate between it and the shampoo. I notice when I use the bar, I don't really need conditioner as it adds more moisture to my hair. If you are using regular shampoo and want to switch to a bar, you have to use a rinse first. They have one, but also tell you how to do it yourself. This takes all the chemical build up out and then the bar can do its job!
It took a while to really settle into what I love as far as dental care goes. I really love Primal Life Organics tooth powder. They have several flavors and even a charcoal one. The powder actually is refreshing and not as weird as you think it could be. They also have a nice gum serum. This company is located in Akron. They carry many body care products in addition to dental care. Hello is a recent find. I began to research natural toothpaste for my baby when it was time for him and found Hello. They had organic training toothpaste for babies. I ordered it and got some free samples and we loved it. So I began to order their charcoal whitening toothpaste for Jared and I. I was so excited to discover that they now carry the adult and kids toothpaste in Target!! I love when my favorite natural products hit mainstream. It is awesome that it gives people who may not live the green life yet a chance to see it and try it. So cool!
Young Living Thieves mouthwash is the best tasting mouthwash. I love how it smells and tastes and it has a blend of essential oils in it. They also have a Thieves toothpaste, which I love the taste of as well. I just go through it way too fast.
Lastly, we tried out Norwex's toothbrushes a year ago. My mom, Jared and I have all seen a huge difference since using. Due to some oral surgery and implant process, I hadn't had a cleaning for over a year. When I was able to return, the hygienist was so impressed and could not believe that it had been that long. She said they were so clean and my gums actually looked better. I also was originally supposed to have a gum graft and my dentist said he that it wasn't necessary any more! Win, Win! These toothbrushes have silver in them which purifies the brush and keeps bacteria off it. The other cool thing, is you keep the brush and just change out the heads. This means less plastic in our oceans and landfills.
Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve Company again is a favorite of mine for so many products.
One of the first green products I switched to was deodorant. I haven't used traditional deodorant in over 10 years. I have used this kind since 2014. When I switched to this deodorant, I was teaching 9 dance classes during the day and teaching more at the dance studio in the evening. I also worked out every day. It kept me dry and smelling great, with no harmful chemicals! The best thing is that my husband has used it since then also and loves it. I choose many of their products for the purity and I love this company so much. Here are a few of my favorites; cuticle cream, hand balm and face and eye cream.
Preserve razors are made out of recycled yogurt cups. This company has been a forerunner in sustainable products and create all their goods out of 100% recycled plastics. They have nice blades and their moisture strips are free of nasty chemicals.
I don't wear perfume often and actually never have. I always would get a headache when I would wear it. I have now discovered it is because of the synthetic fragrance that would make my head pound. Pacifica makes perfume that is created with essential oils. No more headaches now when I wear it. My favorite scent is Mediterranean Fig.
Emily's Soaps is locally made and sold at our farmer's market. It can be purchased online too at http://emilyssoaps.com/. Emily is a friend of mine now and I love her products and her sweet family. Her soaps and lotions are so fresh. I love her body butter, especially in the winter. It takes a lot to provide moisture for my dry skin. I use many of her products too, so you will see more in future posts.
Alaffia is a cool fair trade company that empowers African communities. They provide environmental sustainability by planting trees and fund maternal care and education. They build schools, provide school supplies, bicycles and eyeglasses for those in need. This alone makes me want to support this company, but their products are superior! I have used their body wash since switching to green body care products. I love their shampoo, soap and baby products.
Lastly, Badger is another company I have been a fan of since day one. They are locally made in Vermont. They use organic ingredients in all their products. I love their sunscreen and have used it since switching to green sunscreen and now I love it for my little man. Their bug spray and chapsticks work great and I love their sore muscle rub. As a dance teacher and very active person, I am using it daily. I don't have to worry about harmful chemicals or preservatives.
Finding products that work and brands that you trust are key. You may think you have that with your current products, but they may not be the cleanest and best for your body. These are my favorite products and brands, try them out, if they are not for you, then try something else. Find which ones you love. Choosing products that are chemical free will benefit you and your family, but also choosing products that are cruelty free and environmentally sustainable will help change this world and protect our planet. Just little switches in your everyday life makes a huge impact. Let me know what products you like or if you need help finding the perfect fit for you.