How to Choose Healthy Body Care

shutterstock_79421536Did you know that choosing healthy body care products for your skin is just as important as choosing natural food for your body?

Skin is your body’s largest organ, and as such, it’s imperative to treat it with loving kindness to keep it protected from chemicals and toxins. Lest you think that what you put on your skin simply stays put, know that putting products on your skin is basically the same as eating them!

Why Organic Body Care is Important

A 1984 study from American Journal of Public Health found that contaminants from drinking water are more easily absorbed into the skin than by drinking it! My favorite reference for all things cosmetics related is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which explains that, “personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system [and] no premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products.”

EWG also writes that our skin is the gateway for these chemicals: “Scientists have found many common cosmetic ingredients in human tissues, including phthalates in urine, preservatives called parabens in breast tumor tissue and persistent fragrance components in human fat.” This applies to cleaning products too– if you are touching them while you’re cleaning, your skin is drinking them up. Get our guide to natural cleaning here.

How to Choose Better Body Care

Sometimes I like to joke that I don’t put anything on my body that I wouldn’t eat! While I would prefer not to eat shampoo salad dressing or soap cutlets, the theory is basically that we want to know that the ingredients in our body care are as close to natural (and maybe edible) as possible. Learning to read labels of body care– whether you use shaving cream, shampoo, deodorant, or makeup, or all of them– is the first step to choosing good-for-your-body personal care products.

I was recently sent some Shea Terra Organics products to review, and I’ve loved using their high-quality, super natural (mostly edible!) facial care products for the past month. Shea Terra sent me some lovely carrot seed and rose hip facial oil (which I reviewed here on Feelgood Style), which has made my skin very soft and lovely.

shea terra organics
yes, that’s me with my newfound post-yoga facial ritual!

I’ve also been using their Argan Nut Face Scrub/Mask, which is a fully natural facial scrub/mask combo. You can forget those stupid microbeads, the scrubby power comes from natural argan nuts!. This gentle yet smoothing masque + scrub includes oil-rich argan nuts that have been wild harvested from the ancient Argan Forest, in combination with Moroccan Lava Clay, chickpea flour, and rose hips.

I’ve been pairing this lovely ritual with their Moroccan Rose Water, which is seriously the girliest thing I now own.Rosewater is made simply from roses and water, and adds a really lovely aspect to my previous non-existent facial care routine. It seems too precious to use with the face scrub, so I’ve been using as a toner after.

To use, simply mix a bit of scrub (which is a dry powder, so it lasts forever and you don’t pay for water in the product) with some liquid, and smooth on your skin; leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse off in the shower. I found it easier in the shower– rinsing my face in the sink meant that I had argan nuts leftover in my hair or up my nose!

Body Care that’s Good for the Planet, too

shea terra organics logoBut the best part is that SheaTerra makes good products, but they seem to be doing business just right too. The product line is free from animal-testing, gluten/soy, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances or colors, mineral oil and basically everything else you’d want to avoid. Their products are wild harvested or naturally grown or mined. The whole product line is based on traditional African and Middle Eastern healing rituals like shea butter, rose water, marula oil, moringa and tamanu, among others. They focus their work on community-farmed ingredients that offer economic possibilities and hope for communities in Africa and beyond.

Founder Tammie Umbel created the company to provide sustainable opportunities for impoverished communities, and the company continues to source products from women’s cooperatives, wildlife conservation groups, non-profit community projects, and allots interest-free loans to women in marginalized regions. They also donate part of their profits to support preservation of the Vohibola Forest in Madagascar, the hippos of the Black Volta in Ghana, and other.

Check out these great products on SheaTerra’s website and find the rest of their sustainable, awesome products too. Thanks to Shea Terra for providing the samples.

Learn more about the dangers of regular personal care products in these helpful links from our network:

Story of Cosmetics
GMOs in Cosmetics
Environmental Working Group
Ingredients to Avoid
What are Parabens and Why Should you Worry?
Toxic Ingredients in Everyday Products 
Non-Toxic Living via The Non-Toxic Avenger

 

About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram
  • I’ve just recently found out about the toxic effects of microbeads, yuck! It’s good the message is being spread though.