Saturday, October 01, 2011

Natural body products

I wanted to mention several natural body products I have been using. Some were purchased, others were samples provided for me to review, and others were won in a giveaway. So here's what I have been trying out:

1. Kiss My Face products (won in a giveaway): I love the scent of the six products I received. The skin, hair, and lip products are all made with real orange essential oil, so you're smelling the real deal--not a chemical reproduction of "orange flavor."
  • Berry Smart Toothpaste: A sweet berry-flavored kid's toothpaste that comes in fluoride-free or regular versions. It was a bit sweet for my taste, but Dio liked it. 
  • Orange U Smart Whale of a Soaps: I still haven't tried these out yet. I don't use bar soap very often.
  • Obsessively Natural Lip Balms: The lip balm was a bit on the dry side--I had to rub it quite hard on my lips. It has softened more as I've gotten lower down in the tube.
  • Orange U Smart Bubble Wash: Love it! My only complaint is that it seems a bit watery. We go through this way too quickly!
  • Self-Foaming Hand Wash: My kids think foaming hand soap is the best thing ever. No complaints when I ask them to wash up. 
  • Self-Foaming Shampoo and Body Wash (no longer available): It's too bad this isn't available any more, since it's great stuff. It's a multipurpose foaming wash that also works as a baby shampoo. You squeeze the bottle and the wash comes out in big, foamy bubbles.

2. Bionée organic maternity skin care.
Bionée is a new company, started last year by a woman who fell in love with the bounty of the French countryside. It specializes in natural, organic, fair-trade skin care for mother and baby. I received two small samples to review: Silhouette Lotion and Body Caress. The Silhouette Lotion is supposed to tone and lift. Now, I wasn't able to verify if, indeed, the lotion could lift and tone with just a small sample. But I loved the smell and feel of it--super light and fast to absorb. (Could someone please invent a cream that lifts not just skin but also droopy boobs? I'd totally buy it!) Body Caress is a creamier lotion created to soothe and protect a baby's skin. Another lovely product that I like for my own skin as much as for Inga's.

3. Nature's Gate Fragrance-Free Lotion for Sensitive Skin (purchased).
I wanted a light, all-natural lotion with a smell that wouldn't bother me. I was ordering through my United Natural Foods buying club, so I couldn't test the lotion out ahead of time. I opted for the fragrance-free version, which I am very happy with. It's light, non-oily, and leaves no residue. I want to try the Lemongrass and Clary Sage lotion next time I order. I'm really careful about products that I put directly on my skin--lotions in particular--and I am quite satisfied with Nature's Gate. (I'm more lax with things that you rinse off right away, such as shampoos or soaps. I am super cheap, so I have to prioritize where I will spend and where I will economize.)

4.  Green Body Basics Naturally Effective Deodorant (sample provided for review)

I've never used a natural deodorant before. In the past, I've either used conventional antiperspirants (during the summer months) or nothing (during the winter months). Unlike aluminum-based antiperspirants, Green Body Basics deodorants do not block the skin's pores. They are more of a true deodorant than an antiperspirant, although the baking soda absorbs moisture as well as blocks scent. I absolutely love how Green Body Basics "Stamina" smells. Love it. I want to wear it just keep smelling it. It's scented with clary sage essential oil. Somehow, I've never come across this particular scent before and I love it. It's very fresh, not too musky or flowery.

Now for a more theoretical musing about "natural" body products:

As much as I think these products are quite lovely, and that it's good to use body products that are natural, organic, and plant-based, I wonder if focusing on individual consumption will divert time and resources away from system-wide problems. At a certain point, you can't avoid exposure to environmental contaminants. No matter how many organic or "natural" products you buy, a lot of pollutants and toxins come via mechanisms that we can't control or filter out. I'm not saying that we should just put anything and everything into our bodies, but I wonder how much effect purchasing (lovely but often quite expensive) "natural" or organic products will have in limiting our overall chemical exposure. I think a better focus than individual consumption is state- and nationwide regulation of harmful substances.


  1. I agree completely with your last statement. Unfortunately Americans focus too much on individual choices and not systemic problems? Crushing poverty nationwide? Well, YOU pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

    I'm also annoyed with how much the "green" movement has become consumptive. I don't buy most big name natural products because there are "greener" alternatives that are cheaper. Homemade soap (available on Etsy, Farmer's Markets, Amish areas), vinegar and baking soda to clean with, etc. I don't use soap on my face at all, and I'll admit I use genero-cheap shampoo and conditioner, but they work really well (Suave Naturals FTW). If there as a more natural way to get those results I haven't found it yet. A lot of being "green" is just skipping out on a lot of things that most people take for granted. For one teensy example, styling products.

  2. there's a sociologist named norah mackendrick whose dissertation was about just this last issue, the individualization of risk, in particular in relation to motherhood. ('buy organic yogurt for your kids!')

  3. I can understand what you are saying but I am very thankful that organic products are more available now. I have some allergies and sensitivities and finding products that I can safely use has been a lifelong struggle. It is much easier now to either find safe products or recipes and ingredients to make my own products than it was before this sort of thing became "cool". I agree that systems need to change but I am also glad that there is enough demand to support these products now. Just another perspective.

  4. Audrey, thanks for that info. I just downloaded some or her articles and am looking forward to the read!

  5. I agree with your last statements to some extent as well. If, however, we are mindful to purchase products from companies with shared values (such as proper treatment of humans, proper treatment of the environment, proper treatment of our health laws, etc.) then we are actually doing something for the larger picture as well. There are quite a few natural products who abide by these lifestyle codes, in addition to giving their profits to organizations where positive world-wide change is taking place (hunger, the rain forest, sex trafficking...)

    What we put on and in our bodies IS so important, and I strongly believe that LESS is MORE. In addition to changing the shampoos and soaps we use, we need to learn to use them less, and less often. Everyone starts somewhere when it comes to seeing the bigger picture. For some people, the presence of these products is enough to get them thinking. It's a baby step, but it can make people be mindful of the larger picture, the bigger world. And, when it comes to cancer, skin problems, asthma and other health conditions that are triggered by negative stimulants in our personal environment, I am going to be mindful of these things in my home. Not so mindful that I ignore the world, but mindful enough so that my family and I benefit from a clean, chemical-free, natural environment.

    Sidenote: what a lot of people think of as "natural" actually isn't, so it's important that folks REALLY know what they are buying when they buy it. For instance, companies are not required to list the products that add fragrance. It is acceptable to say "fragrance". If you buy a product and in the indredients ANYWHERE is "fragrance", you are NOT getting a wholly natural product. A true natural product will tell you exact from where the fragrance is derived, whether a fruit or essential oil.

  6. If you really want to make a difference for the environment and excess consumption, have one child or no children.


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