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Scavenging for organic skin and hair products

Posted Oct 02 2008 3:16pm

For some reason, each winter, I find myself battling itchy legs, dry skin and even rashes. I thought it was due to being indoors and all the dry heat. When I was pregnant with Meilani, my doctor thought it was a rare pregnancy rash. (I've since heard of other women dealing with this.) About a month ago the rash on my legs appeared again and I found myself waking up in the middle of the night scratching. If I could think about any kind of torture that would kill me, this would be it. Itchiness drives me insane.

What could I do? I went back to my doctor and asked his advice. He looked at my legs and noted that they were nicely-shaven but that my razor (the amazing Mac3) was doing perhaps too good a job and shaving off actual layers of my skin. He suggested buying organic lotions, and shaving gels and abandoning this razor. He also suggested I use Ericlee's electric razor for a few weeks to give my skin a rest.

I tried it.

Please understand I'm the type who has been buying the same L.A. Looks Hair Gel, Pantene Curly Hair Conditioner and some kind of Coconut lotion from Bath & Body Works since I was a teenager. They're easy. They're cheap. I know where to go. But now I was stumped.

I started perusing one of the books on my shelf, THE GOOD HERB by Judith Benn Hurley, for some advice. She writes, "Avoid products that contain mineral oils or other petroleum products. After longtime use, they can clog pores and eventually dry out skin. Instead look for products that contain nut and seed oils such as almond or sesame. Also avoid products that contain alcohol, which is a cheap emulsifier and preservative that will dry out the skin."

Do a little experiment yourself. Check out your skin and hair products and see which ones contain these mineral oils and petroleum products. I found one too many in our cupboard. If you think about it, the very products that claim to "moisturize" your skin are actually drying it out, thus causing you to buy more. Sounds like a scam to me.

I found myself taking a field trip to Whole Foods in hopes of finding some kinder, gentler organic products and a solution for my itchy syndrome. If you've ever been to the hair and skin care section of Whole Foods (or any store for that matter), you know it's a bit overwhelming. At Whole Foods, the prices can knock your socks off. I finally settled on Alba Coconut Lime Shaving cream. (Ok, yeah, it was the little sale sign and the tropical scent that attracted me - $4.99).

While I was at it, I saw Whole Foods now carries their shampoos and conditioners in their 365 brand for $2. Wow! What a find. I decided on a peppermint variety just to try it out. Could I handle abandoning my trusty Pantene?

I later found an All-Natural Aloe-based lotion called Midsummer Night's Cream at Trader Joe's for a couple of dollars along with Refresh Citrus Body Wash with Vitamin C and added that to my collection of treasures to treat my skin.

Why am I sharing all this? I thought some of you may be battling the same problems. It's always nice to have a recommendation on where to start. What I love about this new adventure with all-natural and organic skin and hair products is that these finds are also nicer to the environment. They come in recycled plastic bottles and they don't contain nasty chemicals or parabens. The healthy living journey continues.


My recommendations:

Herbal Mint Shampoo & Conditioner 365 (Whole Foods) - great for normal or curly hair and doesn't contain artificial color, fragrance and parabens.

Alba Moisturizing Cream Shave Coconut Lime (Whole Foods) - a smooth cream that smells like a pina colada or something scrumptious and makes shaving easy and gentle

Refresh Citrus Body Wash (Trader Joe's) - a great price for a body wash that comes in 16 ounces!
A Midsummer Night's Cream Moisturizing Lotion - an unscented herbal blend with aloe and, again, a great price compared to some of the other expensive products out there.

Burt's Bees Shampoo & Wash (Target, Whole Foods, other stores) - This item is for little ones like Meilani. I've been buying her Burts Bees since she was born. Pretty much all the regular baby stuff like Johnsons & Johnsons has that yucky mineral oil.


--Dorina Lazo Gilmore
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