Research is showing us all kinds of proof that chemicals affect our health – and the environment – in a negative way. As a result, smart consumers are reaching for skin care products made from natural ingredients. Here’s what to look for in natural hair and skin care, along with some tips for making these products at home in your own kitchen laboratory.
Start with the basics
You will need cleansing agents and natural oils for moisturizing and conditioning. It’s best to stick to food-grade ingredients as these are a higher quality than cosmetic grade supplies. Baking soda is a basic foundation for a number of self-care products, including toothpaste. Other natural cleansing agents include coconut oil and witch hazel, which you can find in the homeopathic section of the drug store. Vegetable Glycerin is a natural moisturizer, and it protects your skin against the elements. You can use a special crystal under your arms to guard against odor-causing bacteria. Make a trip to your natural food store to find shea butter, honey, beeswax and eggs for other skin care recipes.
Experimentation is key
As with any recipe, you have to try a few combinations until you find one that works for your particular skin type. A water barrier and toner are important to dry, aging and sagging skin while an astringent is essential to the skin care regime of a teenager with over-productive oil glands. Do some searching online for blogs on natural skincare. Try their recipes, read their advice and join the conversation online to see what else you can do to substitute chemicals in your daily routine with natural components. Not much of a cook? You can find any number of natural skin care products in your health food store, the homeopathic section of your pharmacy or online at https://www.cleanhappens.com/products/work-it-own-it-natural-lotion. Little natural skincare boutiques are popping up all over the place. You can try everything from deodorant to shaving cream, perfume, shampoo and sun care in natural form.
Expect something different
When trying out your new natural skin care products, you have to realize they will look, feel, smell and act differently than a commercial product that has been manufactured to please all the senses. Natural shampoos, for example, do not lather up like mass-produced brands because they do not contain the chemical that produces lather. Your hair does not need extra sudsing action to get clean. Your skin doesn’t need exfoliating beads either – those are polluting our waterways. You can find oatmeal-based scrubs that are gentle on the skin while serving the same purpose of sloughing off dead skin, leaving a healthy, glowing complexion. By the same token, your natural moisturizing lotions and creams will not necessarily smell like lily of the valley or gardenia. There is no need to add perfume to a product that is intended to help your skin retain its natural moisture. If you want to add scent to your products, try peppermint – it’s a great way to revive your senses after a long night’s sleep – or lemon.
Preserve your products
When mixing up a batch of homemade natural skincare products, you will likely want to make a smaller amount than you would typically buy in the store. That’s because your natural concoction is not going to have the same chemical preservatives as the shampoos, soaps, and lotions you find in the drugstore. It just won’t last as long on the shelf. You can prolong the life and composition of your products, however, by adding natural preservatives such as Vitamin E and C and storing them in glass containers. Use sterile applicators like cotton swabs instead of putting your fingers in the jar, as this adds bacteria that could potentially contaminate the entire solution. You will know this has happened if the product changes in consistency and smell. If you wouldn’t want to taste it, you should probably throw it out and start over again.
The aluminum dyes and other chemicals in our self-care products have been linked to Alzheimer’s and various kinds of cancer. Women who are pregnant or people who are undergoing chemotherapy are often advised to stay away from harsh chemical dyes and agents because of their adverse health effects. If it has been found harmful for some people, it could be harmful to all of us. If establishing and maintaining a healthy household and lifestyle is important to you, you might want to get out your measuring spoons and mixing cups and start making your own beauty aids.
Lewis Simpson is a practical nurse for a family physician. Always searching for ways to help people live healthily, he enjoys posting whatever he finds on various family and lifestyle websites.