Header The Skin You're In

Let me start off by saying the picture above is me without any makeup on…which is a big step for me. I’ve always been sensitive about how my skin looks. As far back as I can remember I would look through magazines and be envious of the model’s and actresses’ beautiful, flawless complexions. I would go to the local drugstores and spend my (limited) money on makeup and products that promised to make my skin prettier, but they never worked. It was a sad process that repeated itself for many years. I never could be as pretty as the women in those magazines!

Now that I’m older (and have a few women’s studies classes under my belt) I know the images in those magazines that made me feel so flawed are hardly reality. It’s impossible to live up to photoshopped skin! Real people have pores, blemishes and wrinkles. Even though I know that now, I still have to remind myself that no one is perfect.

One thing that really helped me, though, was switching to all natural products. I was able to ignore the empty promises on 1000’s of bottles and commercials and magazine ads, and concentrate on what was best for my body. For me, using clean beauty products is a form of self love, and a way of sticking it to the beauty industry that feeds on our insecurities.

One of the things I’m most passionate about is teaching people how and why to clean up their beauty/hygiene routine. It’s not something I force on people by any means, but as soon as someone wants more information on this topic, I can’t shut my mouth! This will definitely have to be covered though multiple posts, because it ends up being a lot of information…but I’ll try to keep it simple. Keep in mind this is coming from a girl who two years ago would have washed her hair with anything that promised to make it “healthier, shinier, or thicker”, so don’t feel like I’m way ahead of the game. I swear this is not that hard!

Also, if you’re a guy, please don’t think you’re excused from this-you may think you’re low maintenance, but once you add up your toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, sunscreen, hair stuff and deodorant, that’s a lot of products (and chemicals) you’re putting on your body if you haven’t gone all-natural yet. I convinced my fiancé to clean up his routine with me, and he hardly batted an eye. After you figure out which new products you like, it’s easy peasy, swear.

First of all, why clean up your routine? You haven’t withered and died yet, so why even worry about it? Well, for the sake of making this a little more interesting, let me pass you on to this handy-dandy infographic…

Ew, right? And that just scratches the surface. Our body absorbs all of this, people. The skin is our largest organ, as well as the biggest gateway for toxins to get inside our systems. It’s not only the food that we put in our bodies that matters, but what we put on them as well. The crazy thing is, these chemicals aren’t necessary! Companies just create these nasty products to make money, and they are filled with empty promises. You can use makeup that doesn’t have chemicals in it and still look pretty. You can wash your hair with all-natural shampoo, conditioner, and body wash and still get clean and smell good. You can brush your teeth and still have pearly whites with a toothpaste that doesn’t have a list of 50 different hard to pronounce ingredients. You can wear completely natural sunscreen and not get sunburned. I promise you that going all-natural doesn’t have an end result of greasy, grimy dreadlocks, yellow teeth and smelly pits (sorry, gross). We’re just brainwashed (intense word, but true) into thinking that we need all of these products to be pretty, attractive, clean, whatever. But really, the industries that sell this stuff to us just want your money. I promise, they really don’t care about you. I’m sorry. Are your feelings hurt?

Well, good thing I have a solution!

Stop using that crap.

One thing that I want to mention before I move on is that anyone can afford this. Unfortunately, many times when it comes to healthy options, there are many things that are unobtainable or challenging for disadvantaged people to get access to. When it comes to food, it’s a lot cheaper for a family of six to get dollar meals at McDonald’s than it is to buy organic at Whole Foods, so often times (actually, pretty much always) poor people get screwed. I am happy to say that this is one area where I can tell you in confidence that natural products are about the same price, and often times CHEAPER than buying stuff that is marketed to us by the cosmetics industry. Another point for my argument. Weeyuu!

So how do you start? What do you do? Well, you can read about my “aha” moment here, just so you can get a sense of what happened to me. It started out kinda slowly, but then there were several nights when I went around our house (looking like a complete crazy lady) looking in cupboards, boxes, closets, and under sinks to find anything that was hazardous to our health (i.e. every product we owned). Now, I’m aware I went a little nutzo. We had the means to replace all of the stuff I threw out with all-natural products, but that’s not the only way of doing it. If you need a more affordable option, or if you’re just wanting to ease yourself into this a bit, you can replace each product after it runs out or even make your own (recipes to come). See? Easy peasy!

Just a small fraction of the stuff I got rid of during my crazy raid…

I mentioned this site in a former post, but just in case you missed it (or you need further convincing) I would recommend checking out the products you use on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. You just type in your product and it gives you a rating as to how dangerous it is, along with why certain ingredients are bad.  The rating scale is 0-10 (O being fab, 10 being back away- quickly). This occupied another night of mine, where I went through my products and gasped, ranted and cried (okay maybe I didn’t cry) while Kirby and my bff watched baseball on the couch. They kept having to listen to me say things like “A 10?? My TOOTHPASTE is a 10? That goes in my mouth! How are they allowed to make this stuff? I’m mad.” and “REALLY? Baby shampoo, too? Gaaaaahhh!!”. Ya know, stuff like that. All night. I love that they still stick around after stuff like that.

I digress.

Take a look at the stuff you’re using and see how you feel (my guess is not warm and fuzzy). I’m going to go over our routine soon, as well as recommend some products that we like and that are safe to use. In the meantime, a good place to start is buying products that have all-natural ingredients that are easy to pronounce. Propylene Glycol? Eh, NO. Coconut oil? Jackpot. You should also try to avoid vague terms like “fragrance” and “dyes”, because sometimes those can be the worst, and they don’t even tell what they are! And one more bit of advice: actually READ the ingredients. Don’t trust that little leaf on the bottle or the fact that the packaging is green; looks can be deceiving! If you need a little bit more info, keep checking back here and I’ll help you out through clean-living advice and product reviews. I’ll also give you a few sites that have good suggestions as well as more info on how to change your routine.

I truly hope you’re not overwhelmed and/or thinking I’m a loon. Actually, I don’t care about the loon part, but hopefully you feel like this is doable. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do everything I can to give you the best answer. I promise more info is coming, but if I give it to you all in one post, you would totally check out (if you haven’t already).

Well, that was fun. This afternoon I’m going thrift shopping and for a walk on the beach with one new friend and one old friend :)

Quote of the Day:

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” -Mary Anne Radmacher

Happy a beautiful day!