Making the Switch to Green Beauty Products, Ditching Aluminum, and Lotion So Clean You Can Eat by Kirby Wetzel, May 27 2015, 0 Comments
I consider myself to be a mostly “green” person. I eat an entirely organic diet and choose local meat and produce sources whenever possible. I am a stickler for recycling and try to avoid purchasing products that are packaged in containers that cannot be recycled or reused, or, of course, are harmful to the environment. What I’m saying is that I like to think that I do my part. However, there was one area in my life that until about a year ago I hadn’t really considered cleaning—and greening—up: beauty products.
I love my beauty products and have become very loyal to my brands. I don’t discriminate. You name it— perfume, makeup, lotions, face creams—I like them all! But this beauty product blind spot made me feel like a hypocrite. There I was reading labels, preaching the organic gospel, yet still using shampoos, lotions, and makeup products that contained 20, 30, sometimes 50 (!) ingredients, many of which I cannot pronounce. I wouldn’t eat something like that, so why was I putting it on my body? After all, skin is the largest organ of the body—20 square feet—and there I was slathering it with lotions that contained more ingredients than Cheetos.
The changes came slowly. It seemed overwhelming, not to mention wasteful, to ditch all my products at once and start all over. I did some research and made the switch one product at a time. First, I ditched the big-name-brand body wash and switched to organic liquid castile soap that serves multiple purposes—body wash, face wash, hand soap, and a mild soap to clean my makeup brushes. Score! Next, I switched to an organic shampoo and conditioner. Last summer, I made one of hardest switches and ditched the aluminum in traditional antiperspirants and deodorants and went organic.
Full disclosure: this particular switch was born out of vanity and frustration. I could not keep the armpits of my white T-shirts white and found out that this had to do with the aluminum that was in my deodorant. After scouring the Web, I found a bunch of other reasons to give up aluminum-containing deodorant. This switch was not easy. After more than a decade of using an antiperspirant, I had no idea how much I sweat! Mainly because I had not been sweating (which is gross to think about as well)! It wasn’t easy but I’m happy to say I’ve stuck it out, my T-shirts are white, and I feel good about giving up aluminum! Here's an aluminum free deodorant we carry at the EcoPlum online boutique.
Lastly, I made the switch to organic lotion. I had a sneaking suspicion that my $30-a-bottle lotion was pretty much the opposite of “green”. First of all, it came in a tube that made it extremely difficult to get ALL the lotion out of the bottle. Second, said tube could not be recycled. I decided to take a gander at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see just how bad my lotion was. I suspected it might be bad, but did not expect it to be hazardous. At that point, I found myself in the market for a healthier alternative. I spent a lot of time looking for a “green” lotion with a short ingredient list. While many had much better scores by the EWG standards, they still contained more ingredients than I was comfortable with. Surely I could make lotion on my own!
There are many recipes on the Web for lotion. If there is anything you are partial to—shea butter, cocoa butter, for example—you can bet there is a lotion recipe for you! I played around with a few and this is my favorite. The texture will be different than what you are used to for a typical over-the-counter lotion, but this stuff is green and clean! So clean you can eat it!
Organic Coconut Almond Lotion
8 oz organic coconut oil
8 oz organic shea butter
8 oz organic almond oil
1. In a glass bowl or double boiler, combine all ingredients.
2. Bring to medium heat and stir occasionally until all ingredients are melted.
3. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
4. When ingredients are starting to harden but still somewhat soft, use a hand mixer to whip for ten minutes or until fluffy.
5. Store in a glass jar or any reusable container you have handy.
6. When ready to use, soften a scoop in your hands and apply liberally.