When I was fifteen years old (a few moons ago!), I had some gal-pals over for an ultra-girly slumber party. We took over the kitchen and used practically every fresh ingredient we could find to make our party treats: "gourmet" face and hair masks! Using yogurt, bananas, oatmeal and egg yolks, we made quite a gunky mess (that probably wasn't so awesome for the shower drain), but I think we had the right idea. We'd read the "recipe" in a beauty magazine and were eager to try the all-natural facials and hair treatments for ourselves. And you know what? The stuff worked great. I still remember how clean my skin was, how soft my hair felt the next day. That was my first foray into organic beauty.
I haven't slopped any oatmeal on my face lately, but that's because I've come to rely on some great natural products that do the work for me. It's taken me a few years of trying out different things, but I've finally got my organic routine down pat. If you're looking for a natural, plant-based facial cleansing system (like I was!), Alba Botanica has the right stuff. I'm quite the girly-girl, and nighttime equals pamper time! My bedtime routine is extensive, but it's not too complicated: Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize! I use Alba's Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser, followed by the Hibiscus Toner and Aloe & Green Tea Moisturizer.These products are genius for sensitive skin like mine. Most products I find that are marked "sensitive" usually leave me feeling greasy, as they tend to over-moisturize. But Alba's products make my skin baby-soft-- no filmy residue! Aloe and green tea are especially helpful when toning down redness, which is something fair-complexioned gals like me have to combat. Oh, and did I mention that all three products smell delicious? (The luscious scents have made me an Alba junkie; I'm hooked on their Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion and coconut lip balm, too!) That's not artificial, chock-full-of-chemicals fragrance, mind you; everything in Alba is plant-derived, so the products are marked 100% vegetarian! Whoo-ee! This animal lover rejoices!
I've recently given my makeup a green-over, too. For a while I was using Mary Kay (the company is getting more and more eco, believe it or not), but as my skin is verrrry sensitive, I found myself breaking out a bit too often. I'd been looking for natural makeup for a long time, but couldn't find anything that was free of harsh chemicals and cancer-causing parabens that actually fit into my budget. Thank goodness for Physician's Formula!
I've used the company's mascara, concealer and eye brightener (one of my favorite products ever) for years, but I wasn't a fan of their pressed or loose powders (I'm always trying to even out red splotches, but for me, theirs lacked the right amount of coverage). But their new Organic Wear line is superb. I looove the new loose powder and Natural Origin Matte Finishing Veil. Both products have that perfect amount of coverage: subtle, never cakey, and completely shine-banishing. And both come with built-in mirrors and adorable Kabuki brushes (vegan friends note: the brushes are made with goat hair, but the company marks all the Organic Wear products as 100% cruelty-free. I'm assuming no goats were harmed in the making of these brushes!).
Why do I care if my beauty products are natural? The same reason you should! The hard-to-pronounce ingredients in your favorite cleanser or foundation don't belong on your skin any more than they belong in our waterways, effectively poisoning plants, fish, animals, you and me. Remember, your skin is like a sponge for these nasty chemicals; if you care about what goes into your body when you're eating, you should definitely care about what goes on it, too!
So whether you want to use some new, fun organic products or mix up your own yummy-smelling (and tasting!) goop in your kitchen, give natural beauty a try! If you have sensitive skin, too, I highly recommend the products I mentioned; if not, finding products that work for your skin type should be a snap. There are so many great eco-conscious brands out there, it's getting hard to keep track. And, naturally, that's a beautiful thing!