As I mentioned in Part I of this mini-series of posts (soaps and moisturizers), for a few years now I have been on a mission to replace all the products we use with natural, non-toxic ones. It has been a lot of trial and error, and I’m still searching for some, but I have managed to find quite a few natural products in almost every personal care category that I’m happy with.
This was a tough one. I tried tons of natural versions before finding two that I really like and that actually work. I found a few that are marketed as natural that worked ok, but then I read the ingredients… no thanks!
One note about natural deodorants – they will not stop you from sweating. Your body is supposed to sweat, and the most harmful ingredient in regular deodorant/antiperspirants is the one that stops you from sweating: aluminum. Some research has linked it to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Usually, the warnings on these products tell you not to use it if you have kidney problems and not to apply them to broken skin. That’s worrisome enough for me.
Now, the good news: Natural deodorants that work (and as a bonus don’t leave a white residue):
Weleda Sage Deodorant
A spray deodorant with alcohol, water, sage, tea tree, and a few other things. It dries superfast, works great and I think it smells like gin (only when you’re spraying it on though, you don’t walk around smelling like a drink all day). They do come in other scents, but I find the others too overpowering. Note: Do NOT use this one after shaving. It is very painful! (More on Weleda).
These come in fresh or floral scent and I like both. Floral smells a bit new-agey and Fresh, well it smells fresh. They’re liquid roll-ons and perfect for use after shaving. They do take a bit longer to dry than the Weleda deo, but they work great, and are not sticky. The only downside of these is the price – they’re pretty expensive.
Another tough one. I tried pretty much every natural toothpaste I could find before settling on Jason whitening PowerSmile. It’s a gel, and the peppermint flavor is my absolute favorite, it’s so fresh and super-minty (unlike so many other natural toothpastes). And among the natural brands, it’s the best whitening toothpaste I have tried. We use the one with flouride because my teeth are not the strongest.
Again, Jason Powersmile in peppermint. It says on the bottle to dilute it, but I don’t. I love that strong peppermint flavor.
Once I started paying attention to all the toxins in everything, I realized that shaving cream/foam is a product where it is particularly important to go natural. I don’t know about you, but I cut myself pretty much every time I shave my legs, and if I’m using something with toxic ingredients, it goes straight into my blood stream. Yuck!
Luckily, there is a great natural option: Weleda again. They only make one kind of shaving cream; it works great and smells really fresh.
Not the ideal choice, but one that works really well is Nelsons Homeopathic Acne Gel. It has arnica, calendula, tea tree oil, sulfur and a few other non-toxic ingredients, but the bad news is that it also contains Methylparaben. I wonder why they can’t make it without that?
Here’s a category where I’m still looking. Keys Soap does make an organic shampoo, but it’s not great for my hair. I have baby-fine, flyaway, easily-frizzed Scandinavian hair and I need stuff that volumizes and makes it stay in place. I’ve tried John Masters Organics, but that wasn’t good on me either. I have been using Aveda’s shampoos for several years, and I like them, but they’re not all natural. (On an interesting side note, the founder of Aveda, Horst Rechelbacher sold Aveda and recently launched a new company, Intelligent Nutrients, where all products use 100% food-based and organic certified ingredients).
Finally, something natural that works! John Masters Organics’ Sweet Orange and Silk styling gel works great and smells so fresh and orangey.
Still looking. I have to confess that I mostly use a well-known super-toxic spray in an aerosol bottle which works absolutely great. I know it’s not good for me, but I can’t always look like I just got out of bed. I keep my eyes shut and hold my breath while spraying (over the tub) and then run into another room to breathe. I don’t know if that does any good, but it feels like it does.
I do have one from Intelligent Nutrients, the Perfect Hold spray, and I have to say it smells fantastic. Very heavy on the cardamom, which reminds me of my parents’ kitchen when my Mom was baking cardamom buns (they’re like your cinnamon buns here in US, but with cardamom – delicious!). It works ok too; it’s just not great on my type of hair. It takes so long to dry that it totally flattens it and it gets very frizzy. And, one of my main gripes when it comes to natural hair spray, it only comes in a pump bottle, which I hate. It’s so much easier to get a fine mist and just a tiny bit of spray out of an aerosol bottle. I always end up with globs of stuff out of pump bottles.
Anyway, if you have good hair, I’m sure this is a great product. I have been meaning to try the other products from this company as well, but they are on the pricey side… Oh, and the shampoo has apple juice in it, and I’m really allergic to apples (still).
Keys Soap Solar Rx Sunblock SPF 30. Finding a non-toxic organic sunscreen was a another challenge (especially since the experts always disagree on what is good and not in sunblocks), but I love this one. It’s a little greasy, but it sinks in eventually and works great. (More on Keys Soap).
Santaverde’s Aloe Vera sunscreen (SPF 18) is a little bit lighter, and I like to use it on my face. It sinks in almost immediately, smells great and works. The only downside to this one is that it can be hard to find in the US and is on the pricey side.
Not a sunscreen, but great after spending the day on the beach is Santaverde’s After Sun Emulsion and if you overdid it, their pure Aloe Vera gel. It’s pretty much just aloe vera, and is sooo soothing.
If you take a look at most aloe gels you find in your local drugstore, they’re loaded with bad chemicals. My husband bought one (without consulting me first!) last summer and it lists TEA, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM hydantoin and Diazolidinyl Urea among other things.