For the past 18 months, I have been choosing organic / natural beauty products.
A simple realisation - why, if I care about what I put IN my body, am I not considering what I’m putting ON it?
I’ve met people who have done a huge overhaul, throwing everything away and replacing all their products at once, but for me that would have been a little extreme (financially - as it meant changing all my makeup over) so I did it gradually.
I replaced all of my core 'every day' products straight away, and then slowly swapped the rest of my products over as I needed to replace them. It took a few months, and took about a year for me to feel really happy with a range of products that work great for me - and I’m still learning and discovering.
I haven’t taken a ‘religious’ approach to this, I just try to make the best choices I can, given wherever I am.
Here I’ll share some of my favourite daily products (listed at the end).
To be clear - this post is not sponsored by any brands, it is just something I have wanted to share for a long time now, as I am a huge advocate for choosing natural and organic products. My personal experience and what I have learnt has been incredible.
My skin has never been better, and I've never felt better. Our bodies are so interconnected, what we feed it absolutely impacts how we feel - physically, mentally and emotionally (as our hormones are effected too).
But, there was a wide range of reasons that led me to make the swap, which I have shared more on below.
IT STARTED WITH WHAT WE EAT:
For a long while, Dom and I have been very conscious of what we are putting into our bodies. It started for us when Dom discovered he was intolerant to wheat, with particularly bad reactions to highly processed wheat. Being an Italian lover of food, quitting wheat was very hard for him to do. First he moved to gluten free alternatives, but introducing high levels of these standard supermarket alternatives brought about a whole new set of issues (with a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients in many of them) so eventually he decided to go cold turkey - no wheat, and no alternatives - just whole foods in their natural form.
We did it together, and good gravy did we feel the change! Our bodies loved it. And that led us down a path of learning so much about what we are putting into our bodies, and about why organic produce really is worth investing into (yep - think of what you spend fuelling your body as an investment - into your long term health), and about how important our gut health, and having a healthy gut microbiome, is for pretty much... everything. The food talk really deserves another blog post altogether - so I’ll get on topic... :)
We found that the first year of being on the road allowed us to take control of what we were eating very effectively, and forge new habits really well. Especially because there was much less socialising and family dinners (family dinners were hard with all the familiar foods on the table!).
As we travelled through WA we had a number of breakdowns, (as many of you may remember), and as a result we spent a fair bit of time staying with the Antonelli family in the Perth Hills. Paul and Robyn are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to living an organic, wholesome, sustainable life. At first, I’ll be honest, I found it a bit odd when they said they didn’t wear deodorant, or use spray and wipe in their kitchen, or even use ‘normal’ toothpaste. But they challenged us;
Why - if we were paying so much attention to what we were putting into our bodies, choosing whole organic ingredients, and feeling so good about it - weren’t we thinking about what we were putting onto our bodies?
It was an ah-hah moment. Why didn’t I think of this before? I just hadn’t. I’d never considered it.
I trusted what I’d read in magazines, seen on TV, and heard and seen from the people around me. I used my Dove deoderant, my Colgate toothpaste, and my fancy skin care products without a second thought.
As I went away and did my own research (I love to learn as much as I can from every perspective) I discovered SO many things that left me feeling, “HOW is it possible that I have never heard this? That at home, at school, and amongst my friends these thing were never discussed? How have I never thought about this before??”
Since then we have certainly met many people who have expanded our knowledge in this area, and spent time in communities where everyone is having conversations like these. In fact, I think people are becoming more mindful and aware in general, and the dialogue around our health is expanding beyond just how we’re eating and exercising to encompass our whole lifestyles and choices.
But, for those of you who this is all news to (or if you’re just as passionate as me), please… read on :)
A few things I learnt that prompted me to change:
Our skin is our body’s biggest organ. Around 60% of whatever we put on our skin topically goes into our bloodstream pretty quickly.
We have a skin microbiome. There is so much focus on the gut microbiome, but our skin microbiome is just as important.In the same way that our gut needs certain foods and healthy bacteria to flourish, by the way of fermented foods, probiotics, and prebiotics - our skin also has an ecosystem that also needs certain types of micro organisms to function in a healthy way. They are similar in that both the gut and the skin microbiomes are eco systems. Many of the chemicals in our beauty products and soaps can be detrimental to our skin’s microbiome. And then we try to repair this by putting on more lotions and products laden with harmful ingredients. Which then puts our body under more stress, as it is constantly working hard to detox.
Our Immune SystemThere is a study by the University of Pennsylvania that linked the skin microbiome to the immune system. They showed that the skin microbiome kind of acts as the eyes and ears for the immune system. Detecting if there is anything harmful to go into battle against.
However if we are constantly using antibacterial soaps and cleansers, we are removing both the bad and the good bacteria, and we basically blind and deafen the eyes and ears of the immune systems. So it is just going to fight - because it doesn’t really know what’s going on. And it does that in the way of inflammation (things like eczema, and acne and irritated skin).
Some man made ingredients can mimic or effect our hormones.
Many personal care / beauty products contain a mix of chemicals that have been shown to disrupt female reproductive hormones. Chemicals such as parabens have been shown to increase estrogen levels (which may contribute to estrogen dependant disease such as breast cancer). I’ve linked to a paper on this below. One of Australia’s best organic makeup brands was started because of exactly this... the founder was trying to fall pregnant unsuccessfully until she stopped using commercial beauty products.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a natural / organic brand that isn’t also ethically made and Cruelty Free.
The people behind these brands have chosen to go into this industry with a more mindful approach, creating products that our better for our health and the environment around us. Making products such high quality ingredients isn’t as lucrative as most of the brands in the cosmetic industry, so you’ll find that behind many of these brands, there’s a whole lot of love.
Our skin is designed to receive sun rays. We have thousands of vitamin D receptors on our skin. Our relationship with the sun was something that interested me a great deal as we are outdoors so much, and I do love sunshine. It makes me feel good.
While we do need to be cautious of how much time we spend in the sun, the way our skin reacts to sunshine has a lot more to do with what we’re putting on our skin than we realise.
This goes for all products we lather on our skin, but also the sunscreen we choose to use. There are two types of sunscreen - mineral or chemical. Most of the sunscreens I grew up with were the latter and I never understood the difference.
When we were on the Ningaloo Reef there were signs around asking visitors to please not lather on chemical sunscreen because of the damage it does to the reef.
Which got me thinking, if it destroys the reef’s ecosystem - what’s it doing to our body?
There are so many things I could discuss here, but I would encourage you to do your own research. Bottom line is, there are some fantastic non-toxic options available (in 50+) - which they also asked visitors to use when snorkelling the Ningaloo Reef.
A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE NATURAL / ORGANIC PRODUCTS:
Dom and I have also tried and love:
Meeamo - certified organic skin care range developed by Naturopath and Herbalist, Hillary. We have used the cleanser, face oil, and moisturiser since we first changed to natural products and love it. Smells amazing. Feels amazing.
Remedy Skin + Body Advanced Naturopathic Skincare.
Organic (and 100% and plant based) activated botanicals. I have used the Catalyst serum, followed by the Elixer A+ and then the B3 Hydrate.
When I told Bonnie (the ray of sunshine who started Remedy in Cabarita Beach) about this blog she offered a special discount code for you to use this week - use “LOVERS” for 40% off.
Edible Beauty - I've tried the Illuminating Face Oil and the Sleeping Mousse. These products smell good enough to eat and I've loved. Most recently I've used their probiotic serum - which is great to give you skin's microbiome a boost.
- Akhal - We used the organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil - divine. You can probably tell I love face oils! Use this link for an automatic discount, or use the code 'LOVERS'. Click Here
Most days (if out and about) I'll wear a BB cream, a cream blush, mascara, a little lippy, and either a dap of face oil or a cream highlighter on my cheek bones. On occasion I'll use a foundation, highlighter on my eyelids and bronzer too.
- Ere Perez - I LOVE their Oat Milk Foundation. It is light and hydrating, but with great coverage at the same time. I use the shade 'brew'. I also adore their vanilla cream highlighter, and their rice bronzer.
- Eye of Horus - I use their mascara and (on occasion) their eyeliner. I tried a few mascaras and didn't love any of them, and then a number of people (some of you guys!) recommended it to me when I was on the hunt for a good mascara with natural ingredients. I love this mascara! I'm also obsessed with their bio lipstick. Currently using the rose shade. I did have the peach but I lost it - loved it too.
- Inika - Australian owned, certified organic, vegan, cruelty free make up. And it's amazing. I use their mascara (they do an amazing full volume which I use in brown) and their bronzers (they have nice matt bronzers - great for a little contouring or to boost skin tone in summer when your body is darker then your face... I'll alternate between 'sunkissed' and 'sunbeam').
- Organic Skin Co - I am using their lip / cheek cream in Petal.
Waleda - certified natural and organic skin care, started in 1921 by Rudolf Steiner (the man who started Waldorf education and biodynamic farming).
I absolutely love their body oils. I find myself buying more before I've run out because I never want to run out. The Pomegrante body oil and the Sea Buckthorn oils are my favourite daytime body lotions, and the Lavender oil for before bed. I also love their Skin Food cream for dry spots.
- Essano - This certified organic range can be found at just about every supermarket in Australia, which has made is an easy go to for us when we've been in the middle of the Outback or just on the go. I've used their body lotions, Shampoo and Conditioner, face wipes, and body wash many times - and always happy.
- Thankyou - Another easily accessible and well priced option, you can find Thankyou products everywhere. Their bodywash and handwash is made with natural ingredients and free from SLS, SLES, EDTA and Parabens.
- GRANTS - We tried a few and this is our favourite - plus it's super easy to find (on the bottom shelf in the toothpaste section of most supermarkets). Toothpaste is one of the top things I'd encourage you to switch over.
- Schmidt's - Another really important product to switch, but one I found oh-so-hard to do. Some people find that once they eat well, and have flourishing skin, they no longer need to wear deodorant - BUT if, like me, you'd still like to have a good option this is the best brand I've found. One stick lasted me almost a year so the slightly higher price tag was well worth it.
- No Pong - I found this at my local organic store (recommended by the lady who owns the shop) and while I did have to get used to applying with my fingers, it's one of my favourites yet. And unlike Schmidt's, this one is Australian owned.
- FYI --- Inbetween these two I've listed - I have tried A LOT of deodorants.
Feel Good Inc. - this was the brand recommended around the Ningaloo Reef. We love it. Aussie owned, 50+ suncreen that preservative free and free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, paba and parabens.
For thousands of years natural oils, plants and flowers have been used to make humans smell a little nicer. In that last 100 years, the perfume industry has, quite literally, become toxic. Fragrances contain a huge amount of chemicals, and - most worrying - it is one of the only products where the ingredients are not required to be listed, so you really don't know. Try switching to an organic & natural option. Essential oils are a beautiful option (an area I am VERY keen to learn more about) or try a brand like ONE SEED (I've been using their Bohemia and love).
We have spent years outdoors - and naturally pick up colour easily so I don't need to use a tan right now. However I get asked this question SO much I thought I'd include a few good options. If you do want to use a tanning product that's not harmful, have a look at Loving Tan or Eco Tan by Sonia.
Still on the hunt for my favourite shampoo / conditioner. I do really like Essano though. Would love recommendations!
I use organic coconut oil as a treatment once a month (I leave it in a few hours as my hair gets very dry).
To style - my all time favourite is the Hair Resort Spray by Kevin Murphy
Making sure you're putting the right ingredients inside your body will do wonders for your skin and hair. Here's a few tips and tricks:
- Drink lots of pure / filtered water. You've heard it before, here's another reminder.
- Get your pre and pro biotics.
I love incorporating probiotics like live fermented kimchi and sauerkraut (love Kehoes Kitchen), Coconut Yogurt (we love COYO as it's lowest in sugar), or Kombucha (we always try and find Remedy Kombucha as it has almost no sugar - so many brands add sugar back in so be cautious).
And for a great organic prebiotic - have a look at BEAR's Nourish a prebiotic multi- fibre powder.
- Try to add collagen into your diet. Collagen is what our skin, nails and hair needs to remain youthful, strong and glowing. It is missing from most modern diets, but an easy way to add it in is with some collegen powder that you add to your water, smoothie or coffee, or consuming bone broth reguarly. For INCREDIBLE options for both of these, we love (and eat a lot of) Nutra Organics.
- Choose organic, in season produce whenever possible. What we get from the vegetables we eat, the nutrients and the vitamins, is completely dependent on the soil it has grown in. You want to know that the soil is rich and thriving, and that no nasties or pesticides have been sprayed onto what your eating or the soil it has grown in.
FURTHER READING / LISTENING / LEARNING
Where to begin and what to avoid
Natural beauty makeup artist and guru Emmily Banks is your go-to for cultivating beauty from within. I was fortunate enough to meet her on my last trip to Sydney and could have chatted for hours. Have a look at this page for a few great tips and nasties to avoid: Click Here
A paper on the effects of cosmetic chemicals on female reproductive hormones: Click Here
This podcast interview with Jasmina Aganovic on the skin’s microbiome is fantastic
Melissa Ambrosini Podcast on SKIN
A few more reasons to switch:
10 Reasons to Switch to Natural Beauty