Thursday, July 5, 2012

Product Reviews: Alba Botanica, Burt's Bees, Aveda, Tom's of Maine. Natural products for a healthy body and planet

For a little break from trip reports, let us look at some products reviews!

Recently the subject of personal care products was brought to my attention.  How many chemicals do we introduce ourselves to before we even walk out the door in the morning?

If you are lucky, you get to wake up with your own personal sunrise, apparently.

Every day most people wake up and stumble into the bathroom.  We brush our teeth with various chemicals we are told will keep them healthy.  We jump in the shower and wash our hair and body with chemicals we expect to provide shine and moisture.  Perhaps we rub on an extra layer of chemical moisture after the shower to prevent dry skin.  We continue the ritual by rubbing our armpits with chemicals to keep us from sweating, and we rub our face with some chemical combination to prevent sunburn, then many people powder their noses with some colored chemical make-up to hide our various "flaws."

One way to to reduce the number of chemicals one is exposed to would be to simplify the morning routine.  Perhaps you don't need to shower every day.  I personally only wash my hair every couple of days because it is so long.  Excessive hair washing will strip your hair of natural oils that keep it healthy.  Try washing hair every other day and see how it goes.  There is a growing movement known as "no-poo," where people have decided to forgo shampoo all together and clean their hair with other more natural substances like baking soda, or just water.  When I go a week or two without washing my hair (on a camping trips, etc) it turns into one giant foot long dreadlock.  I think I will leave the no-poo movement to people without so much hair.

One can forgo make-up for regular day to day goings on.  This would also give the skin a much needed break to breath.  I rarely wear make-up, so this is easy for me!  Maybe you can get away with skipping the deodorant every other day?  I personally wouldn't risk this one, but some might be brave enough to to experiment :).

For all the people who want to live chemical free, but might not be willing to limit their personal hygiene habits, wouldn't natural alternatives be better for us, and better for the planet?

Here are some suggestions for daily "personal care" products that are both kind to the environment and kind to your body.  I have personally used and recommend most of these products.  These natural products work just as well, and often better than the chemical concoctions many people use on a daily basis.

For sunscreen, there are a number of options, but I absolutely love Alba Botanica for sunscreen and my after-sun lotion. It is natural, and their products feel and smell absolutely glorious. I love them, and my incredibly sensitive skin loves them too. They also make shampoo/conditoner, and many other personal care products.

Another great company for all of your body-care needs is Burt's Bees. I am hooked on the original lip balm, but they also make sunscreen, body wash, soap, shampoo/conditoner, lotion, etc., that is also very gentle on my super sensitive skin. It is a great all natural company. They use bee's wax in their products where other companies might use a petroleum product!

For make-up, I have had a lot of luck with Aveda products. The only problem with Aveda is they are pretty expensive. I don't wear make-up very often unless I am going somewhere fancy, so a little goes a long way. If you don't pile it on regularly, they are of a high quality and will last a long time.

For deodorant, toothpaste, and soap a lot of people swear by Tom's of Maine.  It is widely available at most natural grocers.  I have never used Tom's products before but have heard very good things.

I hope some of these suggestions come in handy next time you are about to pick up a bottle of shampoo, or some sunscreen for the summer.  Give the more natural choices a try and you just might find yourself a natural product enthusiast!

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