Green Week // Beautifying Naturally.

Making changes to the beauty products I use is sort of tough because these are the things that affect how I LOOK. (I know I'm not the only one that doesn't want to try new products for fear they'll wreak havoc on my skin.) However, this is probably the most important area to make changes because the products we're using go directly onto our skin, soaking into our bodies and causing long-term effects. I decided it was worth it to do a little overhaul.

The first place I started when clearing out my beauty cabinet (overflowing, with lots of samples and a bunch of half-empty containers) was this website managed by Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental advocacy group. I plugged in every product I was currently using and determined if its rating was worth keeping in my cabinet or if it was something that needed to be tossed. I'm sort of cheap, so the idea of just throwing stuff out totally irks me, but at some point, I'm happy to start from scratch if it's what is best for our health. I made the shift to more natural beauty options that didn't contain potential harmful chemicals when I got pregnant, so there wasn't really much that needed to be tossed, but it was a good exercise anyway.

The one thing I hadn't even considered, but truly surprised me, was that my sunscreen contained some pretty nasty stuff. Here's some more information about sunscreen from EWG. After learning about the negative affects of ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A (“retinyl palmitate” or “retinol”) I switched to Alba Botanica SPF 45 Sunblock for Kids and Mustela SPF 50 for kids on the little guy. I prefer the feel and smell of the Alba sunscreen, but the Mustela has been pretty good too. For myself, I picked up some Supergoop SPF 30 Everyday UV Lotion. I put it on every morning, even on the foggy, cold SF summer days.

After the clean-out and sunscreen switcheroo, and in the spirit of using products with ingredients I can pronounce, I searched around for products that I could just make myself. I went for something so easy I can't believe I've never tried it before: Martha Stewart's Body Scrub recipe. There are countless variations on this recipe - sugar or salt, combinations of essential oils, different oils - but I wanted to use things I had on hand at home, so I decided on making an olive oil sugar scrub.

All-Natural Organic Grapefruit Body Scrub (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

  1. Fill your container (preferably glass or BPA-free plastic with a tightly sealed lid) 3/4 full of organic granulated sugar. Yup, just plain old sugar.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of organic olive oil, mix with the sugar.
  3. Continue to add olive oil about a tablespoon at a time, stirring with sugar as you go until the sugar is saturated to your liking.
  4. Add 10-20 drops of grapefruit essential oil and mix with the sugar/oil. (Go ahead, change this part up and get creative...I just like the refreshing smell of grapefruit, but would try rosemary and mint, lavender, lemon and tangerine. Just remember to start with only a few drops of the oil so you don't go overboard.)
  5. That's it, folks. You can add a cute tag or use Martha's pre-designed labels, whatever you fancy.

Granted, these are all little things, but when they're little things you do every day, they really add up. And when it's your health we're talking about, that's what matters.

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