By now I hope you have ditched your doom deodorants and ailing antiperspirants and replaced them with healthier options. If so, YAY! You are on your way! Next we will move on to another delicate and bombarded area of our bodies, our faces. I would guess that most of us put at least 2-3 products on our faces, around 2-3 times a day. That's a lot, and depending on the quality can be quite a toxic burden. But…before we dive into facial care, there is a video that I almost consider a "prerequisite" before we move on. I have shared it with family and friends multiple times over the last couple of years, because I think it is very important. It will give you a good understanding of the very broken cosmetics/personal care industry and why we desperately need a change. After some of my typical rants about the dire need to "green" our hygiene-routine I feel I am met with blank stares and a lot of "So what?" and "It can't really be THAT bad." This video lays things out very simply and thoroughly, and it should get everyone up to speed and completely onboard.
Our dollars speak volumes, and if we stop spending them on toxic products those products go away (and hopefully the good stuff becomes the norm and more affordable). Let's get started with the basics…facial care.
I decided to take a little trip down memory lane…when I first started making product choices for myself as a preteen I decided on Clearasil (reason probably being that my best friend used it, or something like that). I decided to head over to the Clearasil website to see what's new with them. First of all, they make it very difficult to find their ingredient lists. They are not with the actual products, there is a teeny tiny link way down in the footer of the page. (Does that tell you anything?) Any company that is not upfront about its ingredients is very intentionally hiding something. In their defense, it appears they are working on "new formulas," so maybe they have gotten the message and are making an effort to clean up their act a little (doubtful). The "old formula" is cringe-worthy with Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate and Triclosan, just to name a few of the 21 nasty ingredients. One of the most upsetting things to me is that the company that owns Clearasil (Reckitt Benckiser Group) uses the tagline "Health-Hygiene-Home." They also produce the highly toxic "Lysol," "Airwick," "d-CON," and "Easy-Off" (again, to name a few). Disgusting!
A little later on, in my late teens/early twenties, I decided I needed to take real action against my mild-to-moderately pimpled face, so a doctor prescribed me a Salicylic Acid (S.A.) face wash. It actually bleached everything it touched, but I didn't get the picture, and I used it for many years. I cared more about the bathrobes, pajamas, towels/washcloths it ruined…DUH! It sort of worked, but it really dried my skin out, which can sometimes produce even more oil and pimples. I have since learned that if you have an issue with NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) you should not use S.A., and if a child/teenager is using it and gets a fever they are at risk for Reye's Syndrome. People with diabetes, poor blood circulation/blood vessel issues, kidney, or liver disease should not use S.A. either, and that tells me that it burdens your organs and adds to overall toxicity. I wish I had known that changing my diet would have made the biggest difference! Most skin issues are directly tied to digestive problems such as food sensitivities.
Fast forward to my pregnancy, which was when my real awareness started to emerge. After searching around I decided to try Juice Beauty products. My daily routine consisted of using their: "Blemish Clearing Cleanser," "Hydrating Mist," "Blemish Clearing Serum," and "Oil-Free Moisturizer." At night I used all of the above, but I replaced the cleanser with the gentler "Cleansing Milk." I also started trying some of their make-up, such as "SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer," "Perfecting Foundation," and "Refining Finishing Powder." I thought the cleansers, serums, and moisturizers all worked very well and left my skin clean, clear, and hydrated. They also made a good base for smooth make-up application. I really loved the smell of them, too…very fresh and fruity. The tinted moisturizer was ok, but left my skin looking and feeling oily. I used the foundation quite a bit, but it provided light coverage at a time when I was used to full-coverage make-up. The powder gave a nice, clean finish. I very happily used these products for about 3-4 years, but then a blog I followed and respected reviewed these products and pointed out their use of Phenoxyethanol (a synthetic chemical that can depress the nervous system and cause digestive issues) as a preservative. I have cruised around the Juice Beauty website recently, and I can't tell if they use it anymore. It looks like they have changed and updated a lot of their product line. If you are interested dig deeper. I think it is a much healthier alternative than mainstream beauty products, and it works well, but I was looking for something more pure. Therefore, I haven't reviewed the Juice Beauty products further or hyperlinked them, because I do not highly recommend them.
The next brand I found was Annmarie Gianni Skin Care. Excellent products, extremely pure…but also very pricey. I tried a few products, and I loved them! I still buy them and keep them on hand for the once-a-month (or so) special treatments, but for the price I do not use them everyday. Here is what I have used, and what I suggest:
1. Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser (50ml [between 1.5 and 2oz] for $24.95) - It very gently cleans your face and leaves it soft and smooth at the same time. You know how some face washes leave you feeling "crackly" tight after you pat your face dry? This one doesn't…it's perfect. It basically does what it says it will, and with it's purity you just can't beat it.
2. Ayurvedic Facial Scrub (50ml [between 1.5 and 2oz] for $24.95) - This is the best exfoliator I have found! It is extremely gentle, and it is SO healing. It is chock-full of herbs, and it leaves you feeling like you have literally fed your skin pure nourishment. It is in a powder form, and then you add either water or a pump of your facial cleanser to it and mix it up into a paste in your hands (I use the Aloe-Herb Cleanser). If you have one facial care product to splurge on, I would suggest this product, because it really works and you can make it last for a very long time.
*I also use Annmarie Gianni's body wash and body oil (again, not everyday), but I will review them in a later post about body care products.
Now on to my current love and top suggestion, Brittanie's Thyme! I can't even remember now how I discovered this company, but I haven't looked back! I have been using these products for about two years, and I have been extremely happy with them. These products are organic, gluten-free/vegan, pure, and they work! Another added bonus is that they don't smell "girly," so men/teens can use and enjoy them, too! Glass bottles mean you don't have to worry about BPA leaking into your products either! They have two lines, "Mindful Beauty" and "Facial Freedom." I use the latter, because it controls oil and combination skin, but they are very similar. Here we go...
*1. Facial Freedom Organic Citrus Facial Cleanser (4oz for $14.00) - It cleans your skin without over-cleaning it, stripping it, and giving the above mentioned "crackly" feel. It leaves your face fresh and soft. The ingredients are pure and straight-forward. It works well for my sensitive, combination, not-young-but-not-old skin. ;-)
*2. Facial Freedom Organic Blemish Toner (2oz for $9.00) - Hello…it has 3 pure ingredients! Just dab some on a cotton ball. No redness, no irritation. It leaves your skin clean and clear. Enough said.
*3. Facial Freedom Organic Protective Moisturizer (2oz for $16.00) - This moisturizer is like nothing I had used before. It is more like a thick oil. You shake the bottle and then "sprinkle" a few drops on your hands, rub together, and smooth into skin. It leaves your face feeling very hydrated and protected. My skin drinks it up, but it doesn't clog my pores. It also works well under make-up. I love that it has very important omegas and botanicals to heal your skin!
4. French Green Clay Facial Mask with Organic Red Bush Tea ($8.00) - A great little mask with only the two ingredients! It really pulls out all of the nasties and clears your pores with tons of antioxidants. Just mix a little bit with some water, make a paste, apply, and relax.
5. Exfoliating Clay Scrub ($10.00) - This scrub has bentonite clay, which I use in my detox baths, and flax seeds, which are full of omegas and are very moisturizing. The result is that it gets rid of the old and reveals bright, new skin! Just put a little in your hand, add some of your facial cleanser and/or water, and gently rub around your face. Good stuff!
Other facial care products I have queued up to try are Acure Organics (I love their other products and will be reviewing soon), Pangea Organics, and 100% Pure...I just haven't had to change things up yet! Both the Annmarie Gianni and Brittanie's Thyme products are available online at all of the links I provided (each brand and the individual products are hyperlinked), but I have yet to see them in stores (at least near me). I also frequently buy my Brittanie's Thyme from the awesome Abe's Market. I just wait for deals, and then I stock-up! Sign-up on all of the companies' websites to make sure you are in the loop!
I hope all of this information (and I know it's a lot, but I just want to assist you in making the BEST choices possible), helps you put your best face forward!