Last week the task for #HealthyHabits2017 was to Cut Down on Cosmetics.
It's hard to write something bad about cosmetics. Make-up can make you feel better, a good perfume can lift you up, creams can make your skin softer... maybe even delay ageing. I am personally not so sure about that but it is at least what they tell you. So why give things up that seemingly only do good?
I guess for me it all boils down to that you have to be at ease with yourself to be able to give it all up. You have to learn to accept your flaws - pimples, dark shadows under the eyes or even do something about it, like drink more water or have better food. It requires some sort of acceptance of who you are and that you are going to age gracefully and that it is ok. It also makes you search more for other (maybe even better ways) to look after yourself.
I am not saying it's easy and sometimes you have to put a lot more effort in to be avoiding a few unwanted chemicals - for example hair washing takes a lot longer without shampoo. With aluminium free deodorants a shower or at least a wash everyday is a must.
Still there is something quite satisfying in going back to basics, not having to rely on a lot of stuff, being able to travel light.
This all started as an experiment. I thought with how little can I survive and also I am probably secretly a hippie at heart. Here is how it went:
No make-up was fairly easy I had never used much anyways. That way you can also stop using make-up remover, which normally would dry out your skin.
Face creams and eye creams were next which was not much of a problem once I stopped make-up and the make-up remover. I did get some pure Shea butter for winter as here it gets pretty cold and the heating in the house always dries out the skin, so in winter I will most likely have to use that.
Lip balm can be hard when you are used to a lot of lipstick but then you could use a bit of honey on the lips instead.
Next was shower gel and shampoo. Shower gel was easy - pure water does the job quite well. I did work out that you can use an apple cider vinegar wash under the arms before you get out the shower and you sweat a lot less. If you want to be really good you can soak sage leafs in the vinegar and that keeps you from sweating and smelling even more. Totally works this - I was also very sceptical in the beginning - and no, if you dilute the vinegar you will not smell like a salad.
Shampoo on the other hand required a lot of patience and persistence, as the hair needs to transition (it's called the no-poo method if you want to research a bit more) after a rather painful transition period where my hair looked pretty rough and unhappy, now I am happy only using either water, lemon juice, salt water, rye flour or lava clay and sometimes I do a vinegar rinse. The water quality makes a huge difference and since we have very hard water here the vinegar rinse can be really helpful to keep the hair soft.
I still shave (not a full hippie yet) I am quite indifferent about body hair on other people but for myself I can't stand it, I feel I sweat a lot more with armpit hair - shaving without anything totally works just the same as with shower gel or shaving foam.
The only thing left was deodorant, which I find impossible to stop using completely. I have spoken to people who do not use deodorant at all but I would need to wash myself during the day which is not always an option... the one I still use is aluminium free.
Dental floss and toothpaste is still a must.
So in the end I managed to reduce all the products down to these three:
I never thought this would be possible and also I never thought I would feel so happy about it, so what started out as an experiment became a habit. It's not only a healthy habit for me but also for the environment and my wallet.
When the skin seems to be playing up (at least at my age) it's often down to the food or lifestyle or even gut health you currently have, same seems to be with the hair. I am not talking about people with acne that is a whole different story. Make-up and creams seem to cover up underlying issues and it's much better to search for the actual cause. Also most of the products we use have a crazy list of ingredients and if you don't understand them how should your body?
Surprisingly you can also make a lot of stuff yourself, from a few very simple non toxic ingredients, and at least you then know what's in it.
For my skin - less seems to be more and simply drinking enough water, eating well and getting enough sleep seems to do the trick. But if this is for some reason not possible I will also happily find a little help again.