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Monika goes Au Naturale (with her beauty routine, that is.)

By Monika Cancilla

I read a statistic the other day that the average woman exposes herself to 500 chemicals a day via her beauty and grooming practices. Now, I’m pretty sure that number is inaccurate, because if you could see all of the products I use on a daily basis that number would surely exceed 10,000. I’m a glamor-puss, through and through. I love red lipstick and hairspray. Luxurious soaps and lotions are my calling. It’s part of who I am and who I’ve always been.

That said, I’ve been feeling a pull lately toward the natural side of beauty products. Why the change?

1. Motherhood. It sounds cliche, but being pregnant really made me think about what I was putting on and in my body. My enhanced sense of smell told me what to avoid (nail polish and hairspray made me gag the entire 9 months) and ever since then I’ve started to wonder, what the heck is in this stuff???

2. Compassion. I no longer want to give my money to companies that, frankly my dear, don’t give a damn. I’d rather support businesses that have more of a concern for our bodies and our planet, not just a profit. (They exist, I swear!)

3. Examining my routine. After assessing my (excessive) skincare regimen (which requires 4 different products morning and 5 at night) I began to wonder if my skin really needed all of this stuff. Maybe all of these ingredients are why I’ve had problem skin for so long? Maybe my skin just wants a break from all of the acids, moisturizers, antioxidants, etc?

Hunting for the best natural beauty products doesn’t come without it’s challenges, however. The biggest one? Price. Some companies will market themselves as these all natural, peaceful loving hippie-dippy companies, but then they try to sell you a facial cleanser that costs $65. Sixty. Five. Dollars. For soap.

The other big challenge is that some of these natural products simply don’t work in a practical way. Applying straight oil to your face will probably make your skin break out. Using apple cider vinegar as a toner will make you smell, well, like vinegar. I’m on a mission to find products that will do what they say, and help keep up a glamorous appearance.

In a nutshell, I’m looking for products that…

1. Are made with natural ingredients and are safe for the body and the environment.
2. Are affordable. I won’t spend more that $20 on any one product, no matter how good it is.
3. It does what it says and helps to maintain a classy impression.

If you have any recommendations or products that you are curious about, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Since I began my Au Naturale makeover last week, I’ve already found a few products that I love…

Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin.

This is a basic lip balm with a punch of color. It’s moisturizing, not sticky, and is only five bucks! Comes in an array of colors.

Spectrum Coconut Oil

For about the same price as a bottle of body lotion, this stuff really helps to soften the skin. Just scoop out a little bit, melt it in your hands, and apply. It goes on a little greasy, so I mostly just use it on my legs and arms. I also use it as an eye cream at night.

Pure Bentonite Clay

Sheila recommended this stuff a while ago, and I have to say it lives up to it’s claims. It’s great if you have blemishes or just want to give your face a deep cleaning. The “pulsating” feeling you get on your face is an experience not to be missed! I mix it with apple cider vinegar and apply it at night.

  • http://allyourbasenotes.blogspot.com Jessica

    Pregnancy did me in, too. I got extremely nauseated from anything scented and lots of chemical smells, so I really had to pare down my products and find the least perfumed and chemically.

    One of my favorite multipurpose products is organic jojoba oil. It’s the only makeup remover I use, and I also use it as an intensive moisturizer, and even on the ends of my hair or as a cuticle softener. I’ve also used light olive oil (light, so it doesn’t have a smell) as an after-shower moisturizer. I just transfer it into a plastic bottle and leave it in the shower and apply before I towel off.

  • Monika

    I have a bottle of organic jojoba oil left over from my infant massage classe. I will have to try it out! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Danielle

    Great article and so true! Wilderness Family Naturals sells pretty much every coconut product you could imagine. Their body butter is amazing. The Shea Butter Store makes phenomenal and wonderfully scented bath products using only oils and essential oils. Their body washes are the best. One more! Rose Mountain Herbs sells high quality organic oils, butters, essential oils, etc. They also have great prices on glass jars if you make your own products! It is so easy to find great natural products these days. Kudos to you for spreading the word!

  • Monika

    Thanks Danielle! The hard part is going to be cosmetics, especially foundation and concealer. Oy!

  • Dani

    I love Paula’s Choice products, and she just recently debuted a new line called Earth Sourced. I’d love to hear what you think.