Why commercial soaps might not be the solution you are looking for.
Guest post by Lauren Mangion
I remember when I was a teenager I developed quite the face-washing regiment. I got into all the products I could get my hand on because I had mild acne, and sensitive, dry skin, and more products to treat those issues individually was what I had been sold on. I used the “dermatologist recommended” face wash, which was supposed to be mild and healthy, sometimes an astringent to dry out the oily places, and then when all my natural oils were stripped completely, I would slather lotion and pore-clogging make-up all over my face.
Everything changed when I was in my mid-twenties and I was discussing products and face-care with a friend, and she told me she used no soaps. “Like, not even organic, petroleum-free face washes?” I inquired. No, she didn’t use anything. She kind of blew my mind (I thought everyone used some kind of product!), and I was very skeptical, but thought it worth a try because my skin was always so dry. 6 years later, I only do a rinse with water once a day, I don’t use any foundations or powders, and my skin has never been healthier. I actually get compliments on how clear and vibrant my skin looks.
All soap strips your body’s natural oils. Then many of us use heavy, petroleum-based lotions that clog our pores. This throws everything our body does for us on it’s own (eg producing oils, cleansing toxins, sweating) out of whack.
As I experimented, I was also realizing that some of the products I was still buying- lip balms, lotions, deodorants, toothpastes- were made of very simple, easily attainable ingredients. I was finding it frustrating to learn all the ingredients I should be avoid, and kind of hit a wall when I found out that somewhere in the area of 89% of the 80,000 chemicals that have been developed by humans since World War 2 have not had any long-term testing. This means that even though I knew that phthalates were to be avoided, more research could come out, and an ingredient I thought was safe might turn out to be carcinogenic. Plus, the natural products were so expensive. I was done with it all. DIY was clearly the way to go.
I started out with shampoo and conditioner. I used up what I had, and started using castile soap and baking soda in the shower. Things were going along fine, until I noticed my hair was getting greasy, which I never have a problem with (dry, yes- oily, no). I knew I had to go back to the drawing board when my partner, who I would suspect might not even be able to properly identify my hair colour, told me that he wasn’t sure about my new hair care experiment.
I abandoned DIY shampoo for the time being and turned to other things. I bought some coconut oil, cacao butter, awesome essential oils and beeswax. Melt all these things together, pour, and you have lip balm. There’s something I’d never buy again. Lotion is a little more complex, but I’ve learned that all you have to do is get over the hurdle of trying something once, and then it gets easy.
A wonderful woman showed me how to make a fantastic deodorant. I loved her story. Her mom had breast cancer, went into remission, and though she had been warned about the products that she was using, went back to the same pore-blocking anti-perspirant. This woman was having none of it. She studied recipes with pure, natural oils and baking soda, and made a recipe that worked. Her mom loved it. In fact, everyone did. Now, when she makes a batch, she makes enough for 20 plus orders. I love that my armpits smell like chocolate.
I’m very passionate about educating about the effects of the synthetic fragrances that men, women and children are exposed to every day. I’m going to save this information for the workshop, but I will tell you I have been having fun with some super simple, great-smelling body/room sprays.
Someone in the health and body care industry once told me that if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body. What we use on our skin is being absorbed or stored in our bodies in a very similar way to food.