18 July 2013

Natural Beauty Tips From Beauty Expert, Jessa Blades


So, Jessa Blades.  She was awesome!  She was our natural beauty expert and speaker at the Natural Beauty Night.  I found her through Rubi Jones' blog.  See below for some great tips she shared with everyone...






NATURAL BEAUTY TIPS FROM JESSA BLADES:

1.  Be curious about what is in your make-up and skin care.  The FDA does not regulate ingredients in personal care or its labeling.  Read ingredient labels and learn about companies. Marketing claims on personal care products are not defined under the law, and can mean anything or nothing at all - including claims like organic, natural, animal and cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.

2.  Choose products that are fragrance-free.  Fragrances can case allergic reactions and are often a coverup for phthalates, which can be linked to liver damage and birth defects.  Avoid heavily scented products.

3.  Wash your makeup brushes every 1-2 weeks.

4.  Toss your mascara every 3-5 months.  Do not share with friends. 

5.  Go easy with the soap.  It removes dirt and grease from the surface of your skin, but also strips away your body's own natural skin oils. Choosing a milder soap may reduce skin dryness and your need for moisturizers to replace oils your skin can provide naturally.

6.  Look for polish that is Three-Free, which means it does not contain the toxic chemicals toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate.

7.  When looking for toothpaste... try to avoid preservatives and words that you cannot pronounce.  My favorite brands are Weleda, Jason, and Dr. Ken's

8.  When choosing a sunscreen...look for physical sun blockers like Zinc and Titanium Oxide. Use a non-petroleum based lip balm with an SPF factor.  My favorite brands are Badger, Keys Solar, California Baby, Lavera, Soleo Organics, and Vive Sana

9.  Use products that have multi-uses and can save you money...like coconut oil, baking soda, local raw honey, and apple cider vinegar.  This way you can spend extra here and there if you need to on certain products, knowing that you've saved a ton in other ways.

10.  If you're going to start with only a few things, start with the products that you use every day or even multiple times a day...like lipstick, lotion, mascara, toothpaste, body/hand soap.

11. Think baby steps (if needed).  It may be difficult to switch all your products at once.  Just do what you can.  One idea is to replace products one by one as you run out of them. 

12.  Remember that chemicals enter your body through inhalation as well.  If you spray a product, do so near a window or in an open area opposed to an enclosed bathroom.  






FOR HAIR

See those gorgeous locks?  Well, she did say that awesome hair is just a family thing.  :) BUUT.....she does use:

1.  A small handful of Baking Soda to wash her hair (she says to massage it in, then rinse out). For a deep clean from time to time, she will combine with...

2.  Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar (this will cause a foaming reaction, FYI  :)  then...

3.  Argan Oil rubbed into ends from time to time.

Sometimes she will alternate this routine and just do a Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. 

YES.  So simple.  So clean and free of harmful chemicals.  I've been hearing about this routine from many people these days and I really want to try it.  For starters, I need to just get these goods in the bathroom before I hop in the shower...and find a water proof container for the baking soda (maybe a Mason jar?)  Sometimes those little logistics help me to make a change. And I think it's also fun and empowering to be resourceful and figure out a routine for using something so inexpensive and natural. 

Also, Jessa said that you need to find out what works for your hair.  Depending on the length and texture, you may find that one of these products works better than another. 

Do you use any of these items on your hair?  What's your natural hair routine?  Do share!!

FOR SKIN

Jessa says that Local Raw Honey is a miracle ingredient.   

1.  Honey makes a wonderful hydrating face mask that provides gentle exfoliation.  She loves the "honey pat" technique:  Apply the honey to clean skin and begin to tap (like you are typing) all over your face.  When the honey becomes too sticky to lift your fingers, rinse off.  

2.  It's great to use on your skin to heal a cut or skin irritation.  

3.  It makes a great lip balm (and tastes good, too!)

4.  It also soothes coughs and sore throats internally.


OVERALL INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

Jessa also provided this list of ingredients to avoid...I've going to carry this info. around in my phone (or take a picture of this) so that I have it handy when shopping.  These names are gibberish to me so it has taken some time, but little by little I'm catching on to some of these terms and remembering what to look for.   


SLOW DOWN & TAKE CARE

Jessa also made us this "Mountain Woman Tea" (one of her custom blends)...Because she says that even if we don't live in the mountains, we still have to exert so much energy and face high stress each day in the city.  And we should do what we can to slow down and take care of ourselves.  You can buy some of this herbal blend here






How do you all feel about going natural with your products? Does it feel like it matters? (I used to say no.)  Or does it feel overwhelming/too expensive? (I used to say yes.)  Ha!  

It really has been such a process for me to feel converted to removing harmful chemicals. For me, I started thinking twice about it when I realized how much even small amounts of certain foods were affecting my skin and my health.  It woke me up to the fact that small amounts of harmful chemicals could most definitely still affect my body.

If you've been swaying towards (or already living) a more chemical free lifestyle...what inspired you to make the change??  It would be interesting to hear!

xo, Mara

The Natural Beauty Night was sponsored by Vine.com.
Photography by Kylie Whiting.
Art Direction by Linsey Laidlaw.
Venue in Red Hook:  Home/Made.

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65 comments:

  1. this beauty night looked absolutely amazing! come to CA and do it again! :)

    i always love when i have a minute to catch up with your blog... i know i am not alone when i say that your positive love messages are a breath of fresh air on the internet. also, love love love that you are putting all this natural beauty info out there for all your readers. there are so many dangerous products/ingredients out there causing so many problems people are unaware of.

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    1. Ah - thank you so, so much.
      And I would LOVE to come do this in CA and anywhere else! You guys have inspired me to try and see how I can make that happen. I'll work on finding a sponsor for it. It could be so, so fun.

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  2. Oh Mara, thank you so much for doing this Natural Beauty Night project and sharing the info with us. I have been excitedly waiting for your feedback and I am loving every bit of it. I started my Natural Beauty routine about 2 years ago and slowly but surely replaced all my usual skin products with natural ones. I decided to make this change because I was worried about the effect of the chemicals in the products as well as wanting to have less of an impact on the environment. I love my new beauty routine and will never look back as it has been great for my skin, my conscience and my pocket!

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  3. I've never heard about the honey for a face mask thing, I'm definitely going to try that! And if you do find a way to get that baking soda into the shower without getting all goopy first, please share! I've been hearing about that one for a while, but have had the same hesitation :)

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  4. Great advice! I've stopped using shampoo on my hair as well, and it's thicker and fuller than it ever was before. I can also go more days between washings! I have an expensive honey mask that I love on my skin, but I'm going to try the regular local, raw honey and see how it goes. Thanks!! I love this advice so much! I had some major issues with painful skin rashes a few years back, never could figure out what it was, but started cutting out all the fragrance and harmful ingredients. I've never felt better.

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    1. SO amazing to hear that cleaning up your products has helped your skin & rashes. I, too, used to get some mysterious rashes and I have finally pinpointed that it does seem to be related to my products. That is another motivation to say goodbye to the chemicals. I'm working on all my cleaning products, too. I'm getting there...

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  5. I've never heard of using baking soda for your hair, but I think I'll have to try it now. So simple and pure! This post was a good reminder to get rid of the gross stuff in my routine. Pinning so I don't forget!

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  6. I would love to know more about natural ways to combat acne. I have had clear skin my whole life and in the past year, as my hormones have decided to go wonky, so has my skin. It's TERRIBLE! I tried the Philosophy brand of face products and broke out because apparently I'm allergic to salicylic acid! So now I use Boscia brand. But it doesn't really work. My skin is still a mess! Help!!

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    1. Alyssa, I had some acne my whole adult life and tried every product and routine imaginable. Two years ago I went dairy free for some autoimmune issues I have...and I was surprised to see that my acne went away COMPLETELY!!! I couldn't believe it. And still, I sometimes look at my face in the mirror and can't believe that this is my skin. If I have even a little bit of dairy now, my skin will break out and just look overall less healthy with larger pores, etc. It is crazy how much it is related. The other big thing that they say is related to acne is sugar. Sugar will mess with your hormones a ton. Anyway, I recommend going off sugar and dairy for a bit to see what happens. Easier said than done. For me, the dairy has to be 100%. But it has been worth it and I'll never go back.

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    2. I should add that my skin an mood got worse when I went off dairy. It took about 4-6 wks to clear it out of my system. My dr. said it's like a drug withdrawal as our bodies get addicted to it.

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    3. Hello, Alyssa. I had a similiar experience to Mara's, only wheat and corn were triggers for me, too. My big three were dairy, wheat and corn. My nutritionist said that other common allegies include peanut and of course, all the processed disgustingness. Anyway, unlike Mara, my relief was almost immediate... like, huge difference within 48 hours. If you are like me and cannot live without cheese, try sheep milk cheese. I buy mine at a Middle Eastern food store. It's very affordable and delicious. I hope this helps you. BEST to you!!

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  7. to be honest... I've never really cared out thought it mattered. but perhaps I should care. my eyes have definitely been opened.

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  8. I have been working towards being chemical free in my cleaning supplies for some time but only in the past 4 months have I worked towards being chemical free in my beauty routine. I read Jessica Alba's new book "An Honest Life" and loved how easy she made it all seem. the points you shared have the same feel to them. I wish I could have come to the natural beauty night but NYC was just a bit to far from Baltimore for me to make it. :)

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    1. Ah - I really want to read that book, too. I'm glad you reminded me of it.

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  9. This is awesome, thanks for sharing! I never really thought about this at all until the last year or so. It does seem daunting/exhausting to try and keep track of it all but I am sure it can be done little by little. Thanks also for providing the list of chemicals to avoid!

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  10. I have become so with my hair products and face wash

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  11. Thanks for sharing this information. I have yet to figure out how to make the change financially and never cared enough to just jump in! But I will definitely start with that list of things to avoid! That will help immensely I am sure!

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    1. Tresann - regarding the finance part - I know that it's harder to find dirt cheap natural products on the shelves...but I've actually found that I've been saving money by adding in a few DIY items into my routine. It's been so, so fun, actually to feel resourceful that way.

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  12. This is so awesome! Thanks so much for putting this info together. good idea too to save a screen cap of that image on your phone for shopping too. Question though: did she happen to say what the best brands are for nail polish and soap?

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  13. Yay, I've been anxiously waiting for a tips + products post from this party! I'm totally down with going natural, but just haven't made the time amid job, grad program, and thesis work to do the research on what would be best for me. I have been using coconut oil as a straight-up moisturizer at night ever since you posted about it, and LOVE how my skin looks and feels. The only thing I'm hesitant about are natural hair products... I feel like I will really miss that shampoo scent in my clean hair, and since my face already smells like a macaroon (ha) I'm hesitant about also smelling like a salad on top :)

    Keep 'em coming! Love these posts.

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  14. Has anyone tried coconut oil as a condition for your hair? I've heard about putting it on at night, then washing it out in the morning. Just wondering if anyone has tired it, and if so, did you like the results?

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    1. I've been wanting to try this, too. I'll try and do it soon and let you know..

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    2. I do it about once a week. My hairstylist told me it is the best deep conditioner there is - and it's way cheaper! I usually just put it on in the morning and wait about half an hour before rinsing it out.

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  15. actually, Indian people have been using coconut oil in their hair for generations! i often use coconut or amla (indian gooseberry) oil in my hair. one of the brands i use regularly is this (http://www.amazon.com/Dabur-Vatika-Enriched-Coconut-Bottles/dp/B000JWM7FA) which you can grab at any Indian grocery for half the price.

    it is common for Indian women (and men too, actually!) to take oil baths once a week - they rub coconut oil in their hair on their arms, legs and let it soak in for an hour or so then wash it out, it does wonders for conditioning and minimizing hair loss and greys.

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    1. Oh my goodness....AMAZING. No wonder people from India have such beautiful skin and hair. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  16. This is awesome! I've heard about that hair routine and am prepping to try it once my shampoo and conditioner run out. I've one question (which may seem a little backwards because i'm trying to be natural but... don't judge, haha): will that natural hair routine work if I dye/highlight my hair? Will it make the dye wash out faster? Does anybody here use this routine even though they dye their hair?

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  17. I would love to go natural, but must admit i am a bit skeptical. Maybe I am just used to the convenience and cheap prices of the products I use.

    Any thoughts on conditioning hair? I know that If I only wash (with regular shampoo) that it is really hard to comb through if I don't use a conditioner. Maybe it would be different if I tried the baking soda/vinegar routine.

    I think you are right Mara, sometimes figuring out the logistics of something helps to make it work!

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    1. I've read from many that say their hair started to get softer after using these natural products...as the hair wasn't being stripped by the shampoo. But to do a natural conditioner, I'd definitely try a coconut oil soak (at night, while in the bath, or for an hour or so) followed by the baking soda/vinegar. I want to try this myself and need to...but many have raved about it.

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  18. I've tried the baking soda/ apple cider vinegar routine and loved the results. My problem was that I had to use more vinegar so that my curly hair didn't dry out. I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the smell! It made me hesitant to hug people because i didnt want them to smell the vinegar on my hair. Anyone have any ideas for how to counteract the smell?
    Also, on you recommendation I ordered the Deodomom deodorant. I LOVE it. It works so well that I've been recommending it to everyone. Thanks!

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  19. I have been trying to go more natural little by little. I just discovered the wonders of apple cider vinegar and love it! I cant wait to try using baking soda more. I figure baby steps, as little as they are will help me and my family. Thanks for your blog

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  20. Thanks so much, the tips are great! I look forward to trying some out!

    I have been working on going more natural with variable success depending on if I like the products. I have been struggling to find a face lotion that does not have harmful ingredients that I like. Does anyone have brand recommendations for non-greasy face lotions to use on a daily basis? Bonus if it is unscented and double bonus if it has some SPF!

    Great tips everyone! Thank you! Thank you again for posting the tips!

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  21. she does that on her hair instead of shampoo? wow! that's pretty amazing. and what makeup brands are natural? i would love to eat all organic/buy all organic/natural products, but i just can't afford it.

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  22. I started my journey towards a chemical free life five years ago when my oldest was born. He was born with a birth defect that the doctors weren't sure if it was caused by pesticides or by some challenges I faced during the pregnancy. While I couldn't control what my body did, I knew I contributed to the way my body did everything, so I decided to do my part and eliminate pesticides from my diet. It's harder than I thought for sure, but really worth it! I've now been venturing into natural beauty as I am a make up artist and well aware of the chemicals I've been slathering on to myself and others for years...not a beautiful thought ;) FYI I've been using coconut oil ever since your post on it and love it! And I loved all your alternative suggestions for it too haha!

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    1. oh wow. thanks for sharing. and ugh - pesticides - so, so sick that food is just covered in it...and yet it could lead to birth defects. sigh. This makes me want to grow my own food.

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  23. Ikea has some great apothecary jars that you could use to hold your baking soda in, for the shower. :) I'm gonna try some of that tea! I started drinking tea in my last pregnancy because I deal with perinatal and postpartum anxiety, so drinking teas at night really help to calm and relax me during those times. I saw an herbalist during my last pregnancy that would give me tea every time I came to her office. Now when I drink tea I imagine I'm in her office (as she mixes me some tinctures), with light hardwood floors, open wood shelving, and the smell of herbs permeating the room. Happy place. :)

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    1. love this. I think that's so powerful when things we do remind us of something positive.

      (and thx for the jar recommendation!)

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  24. I wish wish wish it worked for me but I cannot get my hair to like being washed by baking soda and Apple cider vinegar. Any suggestions, anyone? My hair turns out dry and lifeless looking. In the meantime, I have started using Miracle Soap. Love this stuff. I also use it for my laundry and will try it in my dishwasher when I run out of dishwashing liquid.

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  25. Here is Aus you can buy your baking soda in a shaker bottle with a clip top lid - it's so good and I use it for lots of stuff. I always have one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in my cleaning bucket.

    I'm really curious about the honey as a face mask. I might have to try this one.

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    1. That shaker bottle sounds PERFECT.

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  26. What I love most about your blog is how willing you (and your friends/guests) are to share information, gifts, goods, advice, and thoughts. You're so open! While I couldn't have made this night in person, it's so nice to feel like I was right there with you because you share so much on your blog. I have the desire to make a switch to fewer chemicals in my lifestyle, but my process is slow. Although apple cider vinegar has been something my mother taught me to use. Just knowing these tips/products helps me move in the right direction. As you say, one by one as each product runs out has worked well for me.
    Thank you for all you share!!!

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  27. I have been trying to use more natural products in correspondence with eating less processed food. So far this combination has made for a happy body and fabulous glow-y skin (a win-win.)

    I've been looking for a new tea, so I just might have to try out the "Mountain Woman Tea."

    Also, Jessa's hair is seriously amazing.

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  28. This info is great. I've been trying to incorporate natural products into my home for years, but some of the most difficult ones so far have been cosmetics and shampoo/conditioner because it gets so expensive to experiment with different products to find the ones that work best for you. Right now I am using makeup that is a compromise - it has none of the worst ingredients, but isn't completely natural either, because when I tried some of those they looked terrible on me. I would be interested to see how to apple cider vinegar and baking soda tricks work on my super fine hair. It's worth a try!

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  29. I love that there are more and more natural products on the market. Thanks for sharing this information! I'm in the process of going from retail natural products to making my own natural products, which is so, so satisfying. I love the process because it allows me to connect where the things that truly sustain me come from...good for my body and soul. I've been making my own deodorant, toothpaste, and face/body cream for about a year and just started making some of my own make-up (although mascara has been a little tricky to get right). I also use apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. It feels really self-sustaining to know that I can create what I need with things that are usually in my cupboard and they work so much better with my body.

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    1. looove this. thank you. and I do love the idea of making our own products as much as possible. I agree, it is so satisfying...

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  30. This may seem like a very silly question, but how do you store the baking soda and ACV in the shower? We have a small shower so storage space it limited and I would be very nervous to have glass jars in there (for kids safety and my own).

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    1. I would do ACV in a spray bottle and spray it on your hair - this way you can distribute it easier. As for the baking soda - some sort of plastic container should work...I need to do my research on finding the best containers. Post coming!

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    2. Ha, I didn't even think of a spray bottle! That would be perfect. Thanks! And I look forward to all your upcoming posts related to these topics, I love them.

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  31. I've been using coconut oil to wash and moisturize my face and diluted apple-cider vinegar as toner for about two weeks. Actually, that's how I found your blog. It took a while to get used to the greasy feeling, but my skin seems to soak it in quicker now and I love that I'm not putting harmful chemicals on my face anymore. And for a face regimen, you really can't beat the price of coconut oil and vinegar!
    I think I'll try the baking soda for hair. Eventually maybe I'll be completely chemical free in my hair and skin, but I'm taking baby steps now.
    Thanks for providing so much helpful information here! Your blog is a wonderful resource and such a pleasure to read.

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  32. I tried washing my hair with baking soda almost as soon as I read this yesterday. I realllllly wanted it to work, but I can't even brush my hair! I pulled out so much hair trying. Maybe I used too much or didn't rinse it out well enough? Maybe I'll try the shampoo you suggested in today's post.

    Do you know anything about the store LUSH? http://www.lushusa.com/ They sell fresh, handmade cosmetics. I walked into their store in Salt Lake, but have only tried a face mask.

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  33. Hi Mara, I love your posts! I too have had issues with my hair drying too much with the baking soda/vinegar combo. Glad it works for others but would like to hear specifics on amounts, etc. I do want to mention that I use soap nuts for laundering, put about 6 in a muslin bag and toss it into my washer and the clothes come out as clean as it did with Tide, but no residue and is good for the environment. Thanks for everything!

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  34. Coconut oil is also great for both the hair and the skin. Even Miranda Kerr swears by coconut oil as an all around beauty and health must-have.

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  35. I definitely think that going natural with beauty and cleaning products is important. I used to just watch what I ate. Little did I know, our skin is our largest organ of our body, so what goes on our skin is just as important. I just found this helpful bit of information out recently, so I am doing a slow conversion. I use soap nuts to wash clothing. Natural soaps, and coconut oil as my daily lotion. I also use some of Jessa's amazing products. I have yet to find a good natural deodorant, so I don't use one=) I just wash my underarms a few times a day. But maybe I need to try the one you suggested. (That goody bag by the way looks amazing!!!) I use a shampoo that is coconut oil based, with no junk in it. But I'll have to try the baking soda. And next on my list is to try coconut oil as a facial cleanser. I love your blog, I am glad I found it through Jessa's post!

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  36. This is a great article and very interesting. I know a lot of people are encouraging natural beauty approaches because a lot of makeup and stuff have harmful chemicals. This really shows how effective chemical solutions can be. However, there are solutions that have had a great impact in industries. Chemicals such as Biomedical Polymer have been seen as a positive tested chemical and doing a lot of good in products.

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  37. Hydrating keeps the skin healthy. The more you hydrate the better the condition of the skin when it comes to elasticity, cooling down through sweating as well as moisturizing.At the same time do not use any skin care product that contains any harmful chemical. :)

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  38. I just discovered your blog and i love it. The tips that you have mentioned are really helpful. You have to be choosy about beauty products because these products have great impact on your skin.

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  40. This is such a helpful post!! concise and genuinely helpful info. Thanks xxx

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  41. This is awesome, thanks for sharing!
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  42. Hello, Alyssa. I had a similiar experience to skincare.I would love to go natural for skincare or healthcare.do you have any genuinely helpful tips for me.

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  43. Great advice of nature beauty tips for external features of skin
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  46. Body Mint, a natural deodorant, is a product that I came across while doing research on alternative means for reducing body odor. Body Mint The Natural Deodorant

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