How far are you willing to go to look beautiful while doing minimal damage to your body? Not only are department store moisturizers, collagen plumpers, eye-creams, toners, and exfoliants pricey, but many of them contain unwanted, even carcinogenic chemicals that you really shouldn’t be paying through the nose for.
Here are 5 inexpensive, safe, and easy swaps that are better for your skin and your overall health. And they are definitely better for your pocket book:
1. Acne Cleansing Scrubs
You can find these scrubs ranging in price from $10 to $65 depending upon where you shop, but some of them contain ‘micro-beads’ that end up polluting our waterways and harming delicate ecosystems. Some of them, even the cheaper ones, also contain EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) which degrades to ethylenediaminetriacetic acid, only to cyclize to the diketopiperizide, a cumulative, persistent, organic environmental pollutant.
A better alternative? Try a little baking soda as an exfoliant. Baking soda can also be used as a great natural teeth-whitening home remedy.
2. Face Masks
I will admit, I once paid $45 for a 2 oz bottle of toxic face mask. Very clever branding for companies like Lush, Bobbie Brown, Lancome, Yves St. Laurent, and others end up encouraging women to shell out a ton for some toxic crud that should never be anywhere on their bodies, let alone their faces. They even claim their products are natural and fresh when they contain things like propylparaben and triethanolamine.
For a cheaper, and less toxic substitute, try a DIY homemade honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mask. Mix together all ingredients, and if you want, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil like lavender or chamomile, which both have soothing properties and smell great. Leave the mask on your face for up to 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. To switch it up you can also try cacao, avocado, or even banana, too. You won’t miss that old pricey stuff at all.
3. Designer Soaps & Face Washes
Designer soaps may come in pretty packages, wooing those looking for conspicuous consumption. The most expensive soap ever was recently revealed in Qatar; it contained virgin honey, olive oil, and pure gold dust, selling for $3,800 per 100 grams. But most of us can’t wash away our money like it grows on trees.
Furthermore, many face and body soaps contain ‘antibiotic cleansers’ like Triclosan. What else? Benzethonium chloride, artificial colorants, BHA, BHT, silicone derived emollients, parabens, and Formaldehyde releasers [DMDM hydantoin diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, N-(Hydroxymethyl) glycine, monosodium salt, and quaternium-15]. YUCK!
Instead, try organic honey (which can even take off eye-makeup), castor oil, or yogurt mixed with a little peppermint tea if you have dry skin. For oily skin, try a few drops of lemon juice in water. Rinse and enjoy clean, refreshed skin without the toxic gunk.
These skin elixirs can range in price, but many are equal opportunity when it comes to being filled with toxins. Toners can help to remove oil and impurities from the skin, and keep pores from getting clogged, but if you are wiping chemicals all over your face, what’s the point?
Do you want the most inexpensive, effective toner ever? Add 2 parts filtered water to 1 part organic apple cider vinegar and enjoy clear, radiant skin that is much less prone to break-outs.
This is the one that usually breaks the bank for most women, and many men too. Who wouldn’t pay dearly for fewer wrinkles, tighter, firmer skin, and the promise of looking 10 years younger than you really are? You can pay exorbitant prices for designer moisturizers, often filled with endocrine-interrupting chemicals and cancer-causing toxins, or you can use some simple replacements.
One recipe from Inhabitat calls for:
- 1/4 cup organic olive oil
- 1/4 cup organic sweet almond oil
- 1/4cup organic grapeseed oil
- 1/16 cup organic coconut oil
- 1/16 cup beeswax pastilles (for a vegan version, use carnauba wax)
- 1 cup organic hydrosol of your choice (I use rose hydrosol, and it smells gorgeous)
- 1/2 cup organic aloe vera gel
- 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil (a punctured capsule should be perfect)
- 8-15 drops of essential oil (lavender, rose, orange, neroli, or sandalwood all work well)
While getting all these ingredients together may cost a little up front, the amounts used to make a jar that will last for months is minimal, so it is a good investment in safe, non-toxic moisturizer. You’ll also learn a thing or two about natural remedies along the way.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.