Enjoy This Organic Life
Enjoy This Organic Life

Health extends far beyond diet + exercise; there are so many facets to living a conscious and healthy lifestyle. Some of these including your state of mind, minimizing stress, self-love, your relationships, sleep, etc. One area of health I believe to be critically important are the products we expose our bodies to, internally & externally. This includes skin, oral, hair and anything else that constitutes body care. 

Below are my tried and true natural body, beauty care products and routines.  

Skin care essentials

Coconut Oil 

Unrefined coconut oil is such a staple in my life & I use it for pretty much everything (toothpaste, lotion, scrubs, oil pulling, as a base oil in soap to name a few). When I'm not in a drying environment or in the garden a lot, as soil is incredibly drying, I use it as my lotion. It's one of my favorite ways to keep my skin moisturized and smelling great, all with this one ingredient! I like to use it on my whole body (face included), making sure to rub it in well. Apply as much as you need to feel moisturized. Since we all have different body constitutions, some people react negatively coconut oil and it may dry them out and/or cause breakouts on their face. If this is you, try jojoba oil for your face and sweet almond oil on the rest of your body.  

Blending some coconut oil with your favorite essential oil(s), like frankincense, patchouli, lavender or rosemary, is a great way to add some subtle scent. Just add a few drops into a small mason jar, mix to blend & use like you would lotion or face cream.

Be sure to check the properties of any essential oil before mixing in as some may be drying or irritate the skin.

As mentioned above, when I'm in a drying environment or spending hours a day with my hands in oil, I often need a stronger moisturizer, like shea butter. Coconut oil just doesn't seem to cut it in these situations!

Bentonite and White Kaolin Clay

Clays are detox heaven! 

I absolutely love mixing up a mask for my face every one to two weeks. The more regular you are with a mask, the clearer, softer & healthier your skin is. It works great to help clear breakouts for anyone suffering from persistent or hormonal acne. 

Bentonite clay has stronger absorptive properties, making it excellent for people with oily skin.

White Kaolin clay has more of a mild absorptive effect on the skin, making it a great choice for people with sensitive skin. White Kaolin won't draw out oils and thus is less drying. 

The general rule of thumb that I find works for me is using bentonite during the warmer, humid months and white kaolin in the cooler, dry months. 

How It Works: Clay carries a strong negative charge when it comes into contact with liquid. Thus, when applied externally (or taken internally), clay attracts & binds to the the positive charge of toxins, drawing them to the surface of the skin. Clays also help facilitate the oxygenation of your cells as the clay removes excess hydrogen & replaces them with oxygen. 

How To Use: In a small glass jar or mug, mix a couple tablespoons of clay with equal parts apple cider vinegar + warm water until you create a smooth paste. Cover your face evenly with the paste until you no longer see your skin through the clay; avoiding your eyes and lips (about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick). Allow the clay to dry (5-10 minutes for sensitive skin, 15-20 for normal skin). Once the clay appears dry and your face feels tight, rinse off gently with plenty of warm water. Pat skin to dry & apply your go-to facial moisturizer, such as jojoba oil. 

Note: Do not mix the clay paste with any kind of metal utensil! This reduces the effectiveness of the ionic charge & in turn you won't be removing any of the toxins. 

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing has been a longtime favorite of mine to exfoliate, increase blood circulation, reduce cellulite, & stimulate the lymphatic system. All it takes is a few minutes a day!

Why Brush:  As noted just above, dry brushing promotes detoxification, reduces cellulite and increases blood circulation. 

  1. Detoxification Benefits: Dry brushing facilitates toxin removal through sweat by unclogging pores, through the blood by facilitating its movement towards the liver & kidneys for elimination, and through the lymph system by increasing lymphatic circulation. 
  2. Improved Beauty: Gently exfoliating the skin encourages the removal of dead skin cells, allowing for fresh, new skin cells to emerge. And for anyone with cellulite, this is an easy & safe way to reduce it through it's lymphatic stimulation. 

When To Brush: Most people dry brush first thing in the morning or before they shower. If you have a lot of dry skin I would suggest doing it before showering so you can wash the dead skin cells off, otherwise post-shower is just as effective. Many suggest not doing it right before bed, as it is stimulating and may affect your ability to relax & fall asleep. I am not sensitive to this and often find while I'm laying in bed reading at night, this is a perfect time to sneak in some (more) brushing. I simply fit it in when I can! Doing it first thing in the morning for 5-10 minutes, followed with a hearty dose of sweet almond or coconut oil to hydrate, is one of my favorite additions to my morning routine. It helps me feel more awake, move stagnant energy from sleeping, and of course start the day with fully hydrated skin. 

How To Brush Effectively: Brush your skin in a clockwise rotation OR make straight, upward strokes {with both methods just ensure to be brushing towards the heart}. Brushing the entirety of your body should be practiced daily as it truly is such a great way to stimulate your lymph system and increase blood circulation.

It's okay to be a bit rougher on areas that are less sensitive but for the face and other areas with heightened sensitivity (i.e. breasts), tread lightly or avoid all together.

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Homemade Sugar & Salt Scrubs

These right here are GOLD. One of my favorite ways to naturally have soft, smooth skin. I like to make small batches, roughly 12-16 ounces, at a time to ensure the oils don't go rancid. Sugar scrubs I use more regularly, as they are gentler on the skin. I love using just a teeny bit on my face as well, scrubbing very gently. This makes your face SO SMOOTH, it is incredibleSalt scrubs are great for a deeper exfoliation experience and work great on rougher areas like elbows, knees, feet, and to work through calluses. 

Sugar Scrubs: In a food processor or high speed blender, combine organic sugar, unrefined coconut, jojoba or sweet almond oils and whatever essentials oils/natural add-ins of choice. My all-time favorite combo is adding in a couple teaspoons of cacao powder + 15-20 drops lavender oil. Some of my other favorites are coffee, rosemary & lavender, or adding a touch of peppermint for an wonderful awakening effect. The combinations are endless! 

Salt Scrubs: In a food processor or high speed blender, combine high quality sea salt, unrefined coconut, jojoba or sweet almond oils and whatever essentials oils/natural add-ins of choice. Be careful if you have any cuts, they will burn! 

Homemade Soap

I have been making my own bar soap for over ten years now. With a base of only four ingredients, its one of the simplest & healthiest ways to gently yet effectively clean your skin. Not feeling adventurous enough to make your own? No worries, you can purchase some of mine here. I also teach soap making courses regularly, so join in on my next one or message me for details on how I can teach near you!

 Cinnamon Swirl Soap!

oral care essentials

For oral care, it all comes down to the basics. I have a toothbrush, homemade toothpaste, floss & tongue scraper. Every once in awhile I will use a natural mouthwash if I feel my gums need some extra TLC, but it's not a staple in my bathroom. 

Toothbrush

I have been using bamboo & Preserve brushes for years as I prefer to support companies that are lessening the impact of petroleum usage.

Tongue Scraper

Not quite sure what life was like before I got my stainless steel tongue scraper because it has been the very first thing I do in the morning for years. I notice such a difference when I am somewhere without it for a morning, on those rare, rare occasions. The scraper removes bacteria, plaque & anything that has accumulated on the tongue overnight; which exists on even the healthiest persons tongue. This is such a quick & simple way to guarantee you aren't re-ingesting all that bacteria and toxic buildup your body just worked hard to "bring up". Scrap your tongue, rinse it off and repeat until the gunk is gone and you are scraping a clear liquid, aka saliva. 

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Oil Pulling

This practice is best done first thing in the morning upon rising. After tongue scraping, take 1-3 teaspoons of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes. It definitely takes some getting used to but this is a great method to detoxify your entire mouth., teeth & gums included. The coconut oil has antibacterial properties that help to remove unwanted bacteria, as well as plaque. Oil pulling helps to whiten teeth as well, which is always a lovely bonus! 

When you are done, do not spit the oil down the sink, this will clog it! Use the garbage or spit outside. 

Homemade Toothpaste

About once a month I mix some baking soda + coconut oil in my 4 ounce mason jar with some peppermint and/or wintergreen essential oils and voila, I have my minimal & affordable toothpaste. I see no valid reason to put all those chemicals & dyes that are the entirety of conventional toothpastes in my mouth (hello, you are consuming those!); they are a true disservice to your health. Another reason I prefer making my own is I utilize a reusable glass jar & thus am minimizing my consumption of plastic and packaging. WIN-WIN. 

Activated Charcoal For Whitening

Activated charcoal sounds like it wouldn't be safe for human consumption (right!?) but in actuality it has been a long-used remedy for cleansing & detoxifying. Similar to clay, it is highly absorbent and quickly adheres to toxins, removing them from your system. Speaking specifically to teeth whitening (again, what?!) it is a clean, natural abrasive that helps gently remove toxins and stains from the surface of your teeth. Careful in what charcoal you purchase; only use food-grade friendly charcoal! This is quite different from the charcoal at the bottom of your BBQ - do NOT use that!! :) 

I use to carefully cut the top off a capsule and sprinkle that on a wet toothbrush, gently brush for 2-3 minutes and rinse well. With this method, I would have a separate toothbrush for charcoal brushing, as it stains the entire brush. And I found it harder to stick to a regular routine of doing this, as it required careful attention to not staining the sink and cleaning up well after. 

Nowadays, I just have a jar of homemade toothpaste with charcoal mixed in. This way I don't have to worry about it staining everything during the process, my brush doesn't get stained, and I am gently whitening every time I brush, as opposed a more aggressive single use once a week or two. I have found I really prefer this method! 

Whichever route you choose, just be mindful to keep a close eye on the charcoal powder if it gets anywhere on the countertop, in the sink, etc. because it stains easily! 

Once I'm done brushing, I make sure to follow up with floss. My teeth never feel as smooth & clean as they do after charcoal brushing, and coming from someone who brushes their teeth 2-3x/day, that's saying a lot :) 

hair care

This one is quite simple... I never use a blow dryer, I wash my hair 2-3x/week (all other showers during the week I simply just rinse the hair) & if my ends needs a little extra hydration, I rub a very small bit of coconut oil or jojoba into the ends. 

Shampoos & Conditioners

While I am working towards not using these at all {replacing eventually with homemade shampoo bars}, in the meantime I use natural products that are free of parabens and unnatural additives. My favorite brands are Everyone Jason & Nature's Gate. 

And that is pretty much it! I keep it pretty simple and natural. If I use deodorant (which really I rarely ever do), it's a homemade combination of coconut oil, white clay, corn starch, shea butter & essential oils. Works perfectly!

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Neti Pot

If you haven't heard of or tried a neti pot yet, you are surely missing out! The neti pot is used for a nasal wash, a practice that has been used in Ayruvedic/yogic practice for nearly 5,000 years. Using a neti pot helps alleviate sinus pain, pressures, & congestion by rinsing clear the nasal passages of mucous. When I am congested I use the neti pot 1-2x/day to really help facilitate the clearing & cleansing of my sinuses. Even when I don't have congested sinuses, I love to use the neti a few times per week just to keep everything clear & healthy. Regardless of if I'm sick or not, the neti pot helps me breath better & my sense of smell is heightened when I use it on the reg. 

Not all neti pots are created equal! There are a lot of plastic ones on the market, which I would never recommend. I recently purchased a Baraka neti pot - a ceramic neti hand crafted by a small company right here in the USA. There are gorgeous colors to choose from (score!) AND it doesn't come in a box - anytime I can avoid packaging & a product produced in China or overseas, I'm all about it! I love supporting smaller companies with green missions, who support fair wages & are keeping it real. 

Not convinced yet?

Thankfully, there are still plenty of healthier alternatives on the market. However, even the endless lists of these today are daunting. In this case, the product rating guides on Environmental Working Group - Skin Deep, are indispensable.