Saturday, June 15, 2013

Safe, natural, and cheap body products to make at home.

I wanted to mention that my blog was mentioned as one of the Top Five Best Online Resources to Get Better Photos From Around the Country for Momtographers and Beyond By Jamie Davis in the Huffington Post.  I am so incredibly honored and excited to be listed among some amazing moms/photographers (a shout out to Beryl and Erin, two of the bloggers I personally know).  You know, you are what made this possible.  Without my readers I would not have the opportunity to do what I love for work every day.  So thank you very much!

Our family is trying to limit our daily exposure to crazy chemicals in our body products.  Today I wanted to share some products we use that are safe and affordable.

Deodorant:  I sprinkle about a teaspoon of baking soda on my palm and rub/pour enough coconut oil to make a paste and rub it in under my arms.  The coconut oil is antibacterial and the baking soda changes the pH of your skin to an unfriendly environment for bacteria.  You will still sweat, but I am not convinced blocking your sweat glands is really healthy anyway. I can go all day with working out and running around in 90 degree weather and not stink at the end of the day using this combo.  In winter I sometimes only use the coconut oil. My husband only uses water and baking soda year-round and he always smells great.

Bath/Shower Soap:  We love to use Dr. Bronner's bar soap. It has a few simple organic ingredients. This is my favorite scent.

Facewash:  I use water and coconut oil.  It completely removes my makeup and keeps my face soft.  I almost never break out anymore.

Sugar Body/Face Scrub:  This one is so easy.  Mix some sugar in olive oil to get a gritty paste,  and gently scrub it on your face/body to soften your skin. This is the best on feet!

Face Mask:  I add a few uncoated aspirin (Walgreen) to a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and rub it on my face and leave it there for 10-20 minutes.  Then I rinse it off with water mixed with a tiny bit of baking soda (neutralizes the acid).  This brightens your skin and is supposed to help dry up pimples.  If you are allergic to aspirin or on anti-coagulants do not use this mask.

Shampoo:  I tried using just baking soda/vinegar and even no shampoo at all and my long hair looked lifeless and greasy.  So I tried shampoo bars and I am in love!  I use the Vermont Soap Organics - Shampoo Bar at least twice a week and my hair is in great shape.  I don't even need a conditioner with this bar and this bar lasts months and months.  It is tricky to figure out how to use them when you are used to pouring a gob of shampoo on your hands, but I found it best to wet my hair and the bar and then rub the bar starting at my forehead and down my hair midway in a few strokes.  I also do this at the back of my head (from nape and then out).  Then I rub the soap all over my hair and rinse.

The boys use the Jojoba and Peppermint Shampoo Bar .  It is also really nice and so easy to use on their short hair.  Just don't let you kids drop it in the tub for a long time or leave it in standing water, it will dissolve pretty quickly!

Body/Face Lotion:  I use coconut oil as a face and body moisturizer.  It goes on greasy but absorbs in nicely.  I love using it on my legs after I shave in the shower.

Teeth Whitening:  Every week or two I brush my teeth with straight baking soda.  It really does remove stains and was suggested by my dentist.  If you only use baking soda to brush your teeth in the morning your mouth might smell like a cat box (it does nothing for morning breath!), so I finish up with some normal toothpaste.  Don't do this all of the time or it might hurt your enamel.

I am also trying to limit the use of sunscreens, most are really nasty, but we still need our daily dose of sun for Vitamin D.  So we try to avoid being out during the middle of the day unless there is shade, and only use sunscreen when we are in situations that could result in burns (beach, swimming pool, festivals in the middle of the day).  I am searching for a good "safe" sunscreen, but the zinc ones we have tried leave us with white, greasy faces.

I think the main thing is not to go crazy,  but do stop to read labels and if there is a cheaper/better product that is also safer, why not give it a try!  If you can eliminate just one or two products with a questionable safety, that is better than nothing.  :-)

I actually wanted to ask your advice on a few things and please leave a comment if you can!

Do you have a favorite "safe" sunscreen that doesn't turn you into a greasy ghost?

Do you let your kids use fluoride toothpaste?  I do because I grew up on well water and have a mouth full of fillings.  The kids drink filtered/bottled water that does not contain fluoride, but should I be concerned about them brushing their teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride twice a day?  I have them rinse three times.

Do you have a suggestion for face makeup that is not completely gross?  I like to use a light base when I go out to cover up the worst of my age spots/uneven skin, yet all of the ones I normally purchase have some nasty chemicals.  I am looking for something simple and that does not strike fear in this genetic major's heart!

If you use any other natural body products you love, please share them in my comments!

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  1. Have you checked our Hugo & Debra Naturals They don't have a sunscreen...hum maybe someone should suggest it to them: :) I use their baby products for our little one and would love to get some of their adult products (I have the lip balm which is amazing). Love you blog. Thought I would mention my favourite natural body products.

  2. I like the sunscreens from Beyond Coastal. They have a clear one and also a facial sun stick that goes on clear. Sure the sun stick is going to go on a little thick on your face at first, but it won't leave it white. I use it on my toddler as well & we've used it for 2 summers now.

    Also, I like using the oil cleansing method to wash my face. Since I've used it, I've rarely had pimples and I used to get them frequently. I even managed to avoid breaking out at all this pregnancy which is very unusual compared to my last pregnancy where I was so broken out I couldn't wear makeup.

  3. I know someone who washes her face with oatmeal. something to keep in mind if you need an exfolliant ever. What is the problem with fluoride? I definitely think it is better than cavities. when I moved from a city with fluoride in the water to a city without, I got a bunch of cavities and I have always used fluoride toothpaste. that said, I am not one to worry about this stuff too much. I try to avoid chemicals I know are nasty, especially in food, cleaning products and stuffs I put on my body daily, but I can't waste too much energy worrying about things like how many times we rinsed the fluoride or whether to choose a sunburn or nasty sunscreen. Cancer or other potential health issues can come along regardless of how hard we try to take care of our bodies. I have too much to think about that I actually CAN control.

  4. I can't help on sunscreen but do you know about LUSH they use all natural products and do great shampoo bars.

  5. Hey Rita! Loved your post!

    I use the Badger sunscreen on my kids because it is a physical sunscreen and does not contain nano particles, but I know what you mean about it making their faces white-ish, lol! We usually only use it when we're going to the pool and really need some protection. Otherwise, we just try to use hats or chalk it up to getting some vitamin D, like you. :)

    For makeup, I love Boscia BB Cream. It is pretty clean in terms of chemicals. It's sheer but still provides some coverage just to even things out. The consistency takes a few times to get used to applying, but it looks so natural once it's on. I've tried several different products, but I always come back to this one.

    I also love Jane Iredale products, I use their pressed powder, lip liner, lip gloss, eye shadows, and blush. :) Their mission is natural makeup (no parabens, nano-particles, etc.), and they have some really nice products. This powder (PurePressed base) pairs nicely with the Boscia BB Cream. :)

    One other product I love is Canus Goat Milk soap in Orchid. Sometimes I think 'natural' products all smell like patchouli, but this soap smells soooo good. :)

    My newest lotion find is Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture... it smells awesome and feels so lovely on the skin!! And you can get it at Target!

    I almost always check GoodGuide and EWG's Skin Deep database to check a product's safety rating... I've found some great products and brands that way!

    Also, in terms of cleaning products, I found these Norwex microfiber cloths. They are FABULOUS for cleaning!! You just wet them and use them to clean! I don't have to use chemicals for my mirrors, sinks, or countertops (kitchen & bathroom). They also make a 'cleaning paste' made with marble and coconut oil that is great when you need a little 'grit' for tubs and showers. My friend told me about Norwex, and now I can clean my house in a fraction of the time, without chemicals and without a zillion paper towels, lol! I've heard e-cloth was similar, but I haven't checked those out yet.

    Clearly I am a natural product junkie and loved your post, sorry for the book! Thanks again for the post! :)

  6. Great suggestions! I think I'll try a few of those. In regards to the fluoride, yes we use fluoride toothpaste, as our water does not contain any. And I figure that it's mostly being spit out anyway, so it's not all that big of a deal. I'd rather use it and avoid the cavities.

    Have you tried Bare Minerals makeup? It's wonderful and contains a natural sunscreen. I use it on my face everyday as a concealer and "smoother-outer."

    I generally don't use regular sunscreen on an everyday basis, but like you, on occasions where we're outside for a long time or at the beach, etc. I'll put some on the little one when she's playing outside in the hot sun, but not if it's a regular day.

  7. I check Environmental Working Group before I buy cosmetics, soaps or especially sunscreens. (google it!) They list the chemicals present in each product they review and what the risks are to you...lots of information to absorb. Like yo, we try to avoid sunscreens if we can, but of course, we do use them as you described. I went to their website, grabbed a couple names that tested "safer" and then read reviews on amazon to see what people were saying about stickiness, greasiness, etc. We chose Burn Out for Kids. It's a little whitish at first, but less so than some we've used in the past. Mostly we manage our exposure so that we use it infrequently. This is a little easier for us than some because we have a shady back yard and we do not swim very often. We drink bottled water mostly, but do not sweat it if we occasionally refill from the tap and we brush twice a day with fluoride.

  8. Neways has some great natural makeup, household and baby items that are really great. They also have a progesterone cream that is fantastic for hot flashes/night sweats. Email me if you want to know more. Vickie

  9. Concerning the face makeup:
    Have you ever tried Dr. Hauschka?

  10. a lot of this is recommended by my raleigh massage therapist at (

  11. Have you tried Bare Minerals? It supposedly is a natural sunscreen. I too live in Texas (northwest of Houston) and it gets humid here. It works well as a light makeup with decent coverage and doesn't feel heavy on your skin, but it can make wrinkles more noticeable, depending on your skin type.

  12. I love Bare Minerals for make up. I saw such a difference in my skin when I started using it. My skin is so sensitive and it felt so good on my face. It has a natural built in SPF. They have a few different formulas based on skin type. I love all of their makeup! As for fluoride, I think it's a good idea that kids use it (some adults too). Cavities can cause heart problems and a lot of pain so it's worth it to prevent them. I too love coconut oil for all kinds of things!

  13. Ok I'm just saying I'm pretty sure we're twins or on the same wavelength this week or something. I came across this amazing book called "The Green Beauty Guide" and have become obsessed with making & using my own safe/organic body products. I actually just bought the bar soap today at the Vitamin Shoppe as she recommended it as one of the soaps to use for your double face cleanse at night. I have been dying to try out something new when it comes to deodorant but have been too scared to stink to high heaven but now I'm totally going to try it!

  14. Essential Oil Sunscreen Recipe: (look to the bottom of the page)

    We use the crud out of the recipes above. Especially if we've been caught w/o sunscreen, the sunburn treatment makes ALL the difference. So much relief.

    All-natural insect repellent options:

    We are a big fan of essential oils at our house. Has replaced much of our medicine cabinet contents! :)

  15. We also have well water and my 5 kids have always brushed with floride toothpaste. None of my three youngest ages 16-4yrs has ever had a cavity. I'd stick with what you are doing there. I don't agree with Floride in the water but I think in the toothpaste as long as they aren't eating or swallowing it is helpful.