The beauty in going natural.
The University of Oregon has been ranked the #1 Green MBA two years in a row, and UC Davis was named the Most Sustainable University in the World. Considering these are both my graduate and undergraduate universities, you might (correctly) conclude that I have taken an interest in sustainability as a result.
I spent about half my years at UCD as a vegan/vegetarian, which was a great way to lower my carbon footprint. While I was plant-based, I became really cognizant of the things I was putting in my body. But it wasn’t until UO that I became aware of what I was putting on my body.
I started researching sustainable brands (you can find a list of my favorites here) so I could cover my body with natural and ethically sourced materials. I have also started using natural hygiene products, which I would like to share with you today.
I started by taking a look at all of the products I was using mindlessly on a daily basis (think toothpaste). Upon turning them over, I was really surprised to see all of the synthetic chemicals I was ingesting. These chemicals are things that I wouldn’t want to take a spoonful of, so why was I slathering them all over my body?! I set out to make some changes.
5 tips for going natural:
- Toothpaste – I ditched my Colgate Complete for Dr. Sheffield’s Extra Whitening. Honestly, in the months that I have been using it, I haven’t noticed any real differences from generic to natural (well, natural is a little less foamy) – making it an easy switch. I next want to try Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste, which is actually a mineral clay!
- Deodorant – I switched to the Jason Purifying Tea Tree deodorant which feels and smells amazing. I was using a Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant/deodorant prior, which contained way more chemicals than my body needed. I mean, sweating is a natural reaction and blocking it cannot be entirely great for our bodies, right?
- Lotion – I am in the process of transitioning to coconut oil for my skin hydration. I got a little too obsessed with it and my skin actually started getting really dry from over use (proof to me that the best thing is to just let my skin take care of hydration by producing natural oils). My ultimate goal is to get to a place where I only put on a moisturizer when I need it (like after a flight). To wean my skin off lotion, I am only putting on coconut oil at night, letting it soak in as I sleep and (hopefully) carry me through to the next day.
- Hair Products – I have done the ultimate in going natural here: I have stopped using hair products all together! I wash my hair and let it air dry (unless it is particularly cold in Oregon). While I have since noticed fly-aways (my It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In was taming them prior), I have been loving my towel-dry and go routine. And my wallet has been pleased too.
- Face Wash – For over half a year now, I haven’t been using face wash in the morning. Since I wash off my makeup each night, I am going to bed with a clean face, so a little water is all I really need in the morning. Although I could be more natural in the face wash I use (I love this one), I feel good knowing that once a day I do not wash any chemicals into the water supply.
Unfortunately, until natural products become more mainstream, they will always be more expensive. I mean, my toothpaste was three times the normal cost! But, we are only talking a difference of $4. Which is a small cost to pay for a healthier product – especially considering we ingest it two or more times a day, every day, over the course of our lifetime.
Oh, and speaking of little things that really add up – I also have stopped using Q-Tips daily. I used to use four Q-Tips a day…I mean, COME ON, Tess. That was 1,460 Q-Tips a year. I made waste generation part of my routine and did it out of habit, not necessity. I now use one Q-Tip only when I need it.
Taking a pause from my normal habits to really think about them has been pretty epic. These are things that I was doing mindlessly every day, never stopping to consider the consequences (time getting ready, money spent, waste generated, CO2 emitted). They seem small, but they have a big impact, especially over the course of many years. It is amazing how far a little intentionality can take you.
What natural hygiene and beauty products do you enjoy? Let us know below.