I believe that beauty comes from within and is greatly influenced by our eating habits and lifestyle choices: nutrition, hydration and internal balance have a direct reflection on how we look on the outside. But I also know that we, as women, love beauty products and rituals as they are an important part of our self-care routines and that priceless feeling of looking beautiful.
Often my clients ask me to recommend products and brands that are in line with their new and improved healthier lifestyle. Once they start cleaning up their diets, they become more conscious of the impact of all the products that come in contact with our bodies, and the effect they have on our health. It is important to chose wisely when it comes to personal care products because they are often full of chemicals and synthetic fragrances, specially when we rely on big commercial brands.
More than a thousand carcinogenic and toxic chemicals are widely used in the manufacture of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothpaste, deodorant, creams, perfumes, make-up, cosmetics and personal care products in general. These are products that we use daily or at least every week, so it’s kind of extra-important to pay attention to the ingredients and how they can affect your body’s toxic load.
If you are on a budget, I’d recommend hitting first the superstores (i.e. Costco/Sams), where you can find larger presentations of the same products at a lower price. Discount stores like Marshall’s or Ross carry a lot of “clean” beauty products and healthier options at reduced prices too! If you are out of the country (I am in the US), online is your best bet, nevertheless once you know what you are looking for, you can aim for similar products locally.
The brands that I recommend are products that I have personally tried and loved for their quality, ingredients, versatility, fragrance and functionality. I am not involved in any way with any of these companies nor am I endorsed by them.
A healthy personal care and beauty routine should focus on cleaning, gently removing impurities and dead cells, nourishing and moisturizing.
You can click on the pictures to buy directly.
1. Coconut Oil: The key when buying coconut oil is that it meets these criteria: organic, extra virgin and cold pressed; to reap all the benefits. This product is so versatile! It has so many uses, I will try to stick exclusively to the beauty related:
- Hydrating hair mask: Use it as a leave-in mask once a week to re-hydrate your strands. I use it to keep my curls looking healthy, but it also works great on colored and frizzy hair.
- Make-up remover: It cleans your skin while hydrating at the same time with no harsh chemicals around your eyes’ very sensitive skin. This is a product that you use (or at least should use) every night, so it better be gentle on your skin.
- Hydrating body lotion: Apply after showering to lock in the moisture. Coconut oil is a natural bactericide and anti-fungal, so will help you keep a healthy flora on your skin. As it doesn’t have any added fragrance its a great option for sensitive skin or people with skin disorders such as rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. Great for the little ones too! It does wonders in lieu of diaper cream and body lotion. The best option (along with real cocoa butter) for pregnant women to prevent stretch marks… I could keep going and going!
- Body scrub: Mix it with some sugar or sea salt and scrub gently on lips, elbows and knees, heels. You can even mix it with epsom salts to scrub your whole body. Key word: GENTLY!
- Oral health & teeth whitening: Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice for oral health. In english, that means that you will use 1 tablespoon of oil and gargle as you would do with mouthwash for 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning to remove toxins, kill bacteria and fungus like candida in your mouth.
Combine with Baking Soda to make your own homemade versions of:
- Deodorant: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of arrowroot, and enough melted coconut oil to create a paste. Add your favorite essential oil (I like to use about 20 drops of lavender or tea tree oil) and store in a glass container. Keep in mind that all natural deodorants will help with the smell caused by bacteria, but not so much with the sweating.
- Toothpaste: Mix baking soda with coconut oil and a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil.
2. Sulfate & paraben free Shampoo & Conditioner: Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate is a highly toxic, powerful detergent and known irritant. Parabens are common synthetic preservatives used in the cosmetic industry known to trigger irritation and allergic reactions as well as mimic estrogens in the body, causing concern that may contribute to estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.
So, sulphate-free shampoos are sometimes oily and won’t lather, but after a lot of trial and error, I’ve found a couple of brands that I like and work well on my curly hair: Sexy Hair ( I use Curly Sexy Hair but you can find within the brand the one that works best for you hair type), Avalon Organics (I like the one with biotin), Colorevolution, Jãsön.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar: The brand here is Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. I recommend this particular brand because it is organic, raw and unfiltered, and it comes with “the mother”. This means that it hasn’t been pasteurized and the way it was processed doesn’t affect their natural properties: It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, helps to balance the skin’s PH, its alpha hydroxy acids help remove dead skin cells.
- Detox baths: Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your tub, it will help normalize your skin’s pH and encourage appropriate skin flora, as well as assist in the detoxification process due to its natural chelation properties.
- Hair rinse: Helps remove build-up from the scalp and hair, restoring shine. Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of water. Prepare the mixture according to your hair length. I have very long and abundant hair, so I dissolve 4 teaspoons in 2 liters of water. Pour onto your hair, rinse with warm water and wash your hair as you would normally do.
- Face wash: Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 3 tablespoons of warm water, apply the wash to the face as you would a toner, with a clean cotton ball, tap gently on your face and neck in upward sweeping motions. Rinse and apply moisturizer. A practical tip is to mix a larger batch and store in a glass container to have in your bathroom, if you don’t like the smell, you can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils.
4. Fluoride-free tooth paste: Flouride is a toxin, and should be used in moderation with caution or better yet avoided altogether. We already consume very high amounts of fluoride since in the United States it is added to most of our water supply. I’ve tried natural toothpastes before, and the catch for me is usually the taste, until I discovered Jãsön Powersmile in powerful peppermint. The peppermint oil gives it a great taste and is SLS-free (sodium laurel/laureth sulfates), has no preservatives, no artificial color or sweeteners, no saccharin, no propylene glycol and no gluten.5. High-quality essential Oils: Essential oils are very concentrated plant extracts that are used as an alternative to treat certain ailments, are added to natural products to enhance its benefits, smell or flavor; are used as supplements and in aromatherapy. I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Young Living farms in Chongón, Ecuador; where they harvest and extract some of their essential oils. Their essential oils are therapeutic-grade, that means that are the purest and highest-grade and can be used for diffusion/inhaling, topically and internally. They not only have high-quality products, but they are very involved in giving back to the community that surrounds the farm, and that for me has great value.
6. Facial Care: Rose and Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Naruko beauty line. I am not a fan of complex skin care systems, if it has too many steps or is not convenient, won’t work for me. This is simple, very light-weight, not oily at all and absorbs so fast on the skin that you don’t need to wait to apply sunblock or make-up. They brand only uses natural ingredients, they use a natural source of hyaluronic acid (snow fungus extract), no artificial fragrances or coloring, they are also paraben-free and do not test on animals. It is important that you find a skin care product that works for your skin type and age. I use rose & botanical hyaluronic acid not only because I love the smell but because it is perfect for my dry and “young” (I am 32) skin type.7. Sunscreen: I have very dry and sensitive skin, that is easily damaged by the sun. So this is one product I can’t live without. Solar Tizo2 is the best facial mineral sunscreen I have tried so far! What I love the most about it beside its clean ingredientes is the silky smooth matte finish. It also has everything that I look for in a sunscreen: great coverage, not even a little bit oily but won’t dry your skin or irritate it, it won’t melt into your eyes or sting and it is waterproof, they also have a tinted version! It is really clean, has no oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, no chemical sunscreen filters, no parabens, no dyes, no fragrances, no oils and no preservatives… If you still have doubts, check EWGs (Environmental Working Group) list of the best and worst sunscreens on the market.
8. Epsom Salts: These are mineral salts, also known as magnesium sulfate. Magnesium and sulfate are easily absorbed by the skin, so soaking in a solution of it is a great way to supplement and take advantage of all its health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of several enzymes, reducing inflammation, aiding in muscle and nerve function. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and ease migraines. It works wonders as a chelator for toxins and heavy metals, by pulling the harmful substances from the cells and out of the body.
It can be used for sore muscles, bruises, aches or sprints; healing skin problems, to get a better night sleep (magnesium raises the level of serotonin production responsible for feeling calm and relaxed), for stress management, to relieve tired or even smelly feet, or just simply be a part of your detox and self-care routine.
Add 1-2 cups of epsom salts to your bath tub or 1/2-1 cup to your for a foot soak, and fill it with hot water (as hot as you can handle) and soak for 20-30 minutes. You can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil, for an extra-pleasant experience. I like Dr. Teal’s therapeutic solutions. What is great about it? It is pharmaceutical grade and you’ll find it in every pharmacy or convinience store plus, is very inexpensive. They have an original version, but also carry essential oil infused versions with chamomile, lavender or peppermint.
9. Collagen Supplement: Collagen is the main structural protein in your body, it supports ligament, tendon, muscle and bone health, promotes skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles. A great supplement to start taking by the age of 25, when the collagen production starts to decrease, by 30 when the signs start to become visible. I like the Youtheory Collagen supplement because is gluten, dairy and soy free. If you don’t like to take a lot of pills, this supplement might not be right for you, because the suggested use is 3 tablets twice a day.10. Deodorant: When you first switch from a commercial brand antiperspirant deodorant, it can be a little frustrating. What antiperspirants do best is control the sweating by creating a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface, but the sweating normalizes after a couple of weeks… I promise. Sweat is a natural response of the body to cool itself down and get rid of toxins through the skin. Though sometimes excessive sweating can be uncomfortable, doesn’t it sound counterintuitive to go against the way the body works? Some research has linked the use of aluminum compounds (like aluminum chlorohydrate) used as the active ingredients in antiperspirants and parabens (used as preservatives) to breast cancer. Crystal brand in either presentation, contains no aluminum chlorohydrate or parabens.
Lets do it!
Cleaning up your personal care and beauty routine is one of the easiest steps you can take to reduce your body’s toxic load. It will even help you save some money! Don’t wait, do it today, get rid of all the chemicals and toxic ingredients now!
Would you like my personalized support and learn more about how you can thrive taking simple steps toward a healthier lifestyle? Are you ready to invest in yourself and your health and wellness? Contact me for a free initial consultation!