Another Natural Mommy Ponders Her Personal Care Product Choices

Beth over at NaturalMommy posted on her blog that she’s rethinking some of her makeup and skin care shopping as of late. I left a few lengthy comments over there but also wanted to discuss this on my blog. I’ve already expressed what I see as some of the problems of working the CVS system – the tempation to obtain products that really aren’t good for you or for the environment, just because they’re free.

Basically Beth was asking for other natural mommas to share their tips for getting pretty on a budget – and using natural and safer products all the while. This can be a challenge. Personally I hate spending money on beauty stuff, so I do a combination of things to get cute on a budget including:

it's not me, she's just a girl I picked up at a stock photo site

1) Just plain using less stuff to begin with (a lot of skin care stuff is unnecessary and overkill). Most beauty experts agree that noone needs toner, for example. You need a gentle cleanser (only once a day, at night. Splashing your face with water in the morning is sufficient) and a moisturizer, preferably with sunscreen.

Washing your hair less (or skipping the shampoo altogether) works too. I have very thick, coarse, wavy/curly hair and only shampoo once every 4 days. Any more than that and I resemble a brunette Brillo pad. Or Simba with his finger stuck in a socket. And the styling product I use is a little bit of moisturizer in my hands mixed with a tiny bit of styling gel. I learned this trick years ago and it works great for my hair texture.

When it comes to the kids, I never used soap on their skin at all when they were babies. Ever. Water is sufficient to clean a baby’s skin. As they got older, Dr. Bronner’s was my friend. The stuff goes a LONG way. I dilute! dilute! mine just like it says on the bottle. ;)

I never needed diaper rash cream because my kids didn’t get rashes because if they even looked rashy I just took the diaper off or loosely pinned on a prefold and it cleared up the same day.

2) Making my own or using really simple ingredients for skin care. For instance olive oil for a makeup remover and moisturizer. And sugar or salt scrubs to scrub my body, and baking soda to exfoliate my face. Oh and making my own homemade tooth powder. (which my Dentist approves, sans the cinnamon!) Here are some more of my cheap green beauty tips and natural skin care recipes.

One thing that surprised me was the Pollyanna attitude of some of the other commenters. Perhaps they don’t realize that cosmetics and personal care products aren’t regulated the way that the food supply is.  Manufacturers can put pretty much whatever they want in makeup and skin care products without anyone looking over their shoulder. They don’t have to prove the safety of their products.

Putting our head in the sand about stuff we slather on our bodies isn’t smart. We take care to eat well – why would we pay less attention to what we rub in and on our skin, the body’s largest organ and the immune system’s first line of defense? To pretend that everything in the marketplace is safe is not smart. As an example, women in my mother’s generation thought they were doing the right thing by applying talc to their baby’s tushies. Now we know that talc can cause cancer. If we can easily make a safer choice, why wouldn’t we?

One good place to search for safer products is the Safe Cosmetics Database. Searching through the website, I’ve found that some of the data needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, some of the Burt’s Bees products get poor ratings, but upon closer inspection, it appears that the ingredients in question (like sodium borate or castor oil) are only harmful or toxic in very large amounts. Still, it’s a good place to start.

How do you get pretty on a tight budget – while still using natural ingredients?

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12 Responses to Another Natural Mommy Ponders Her Personal Care Product Choices

  1. NatureMom says:

    LOL. You’re asking the wrong gal. Makeup and I parted ways when I was 20ish and the rest of the stuff I was never into, lotions, scrubs, nail polish, hairspray, etc. I am VERY low maintenance… which is why I cut my hair again…I can even be bothered to brush it. My husband on the other hand LOVES all that stuff. ;) Well, maybe not makeup and nail polish but in general he likes all that girly stuff and I don’t. I have a box of Burts Bees stuff and I haven’t touched any of it in about a year. Probably the only thing I would use is the chapstick. I like to be clean though so I stick with soap, toothpaste, and deodorant…that is my beauty routine.

    I use natural soap. My kids have goats milk soap. Everyone uses shampoo bars. We use really natural toothpastes too…no SLS, no sugar, etc. My hubby is really against sugar in the toothpaste.

    I am adamant about natural deodorants. The conventional ones cause cause cancer..I am sure of it.

  2. carrie says:

    Tiffany I am not as au natural as you are. Although I admire women who feel good enough about themselves to go without makeup. I curl my eyelashes, put a touch of makeup on to cover my dark undereye circles, and use lipstick or gloss. On fancy occasions I like eyeshadow and mascara. Without lip color I look dead. And without concealer under my eyes I look like Wednesday from the Addams family. ;)

    I actually just scored some really generous sample sizes of mineral makeup at for under $4. Those will probably last me a year.

    re deodorants: When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, her oncologist told her right away to stop using her antiperspirant.

  3. NatureMom says:

    Haha…I think I look like a clown with any kind of lip color. ;) I do like mascara but it has to be a pretty special occasion before I wear any and by then what I had is expired. Its not so much a “natural” decision as it is an “I can’t be bothered” thing. :)

    FYI, at Costco they have a big box of mineral makeup from Bare Minerals I think for $30.

  4. melanie says:

    when i was in my 20′s and wearing make-up, i thought i looked horrible without the undereye concealer. i gave it up a long time ago. although i’m sure i don’t look any better, there is no before/after to make it SEEM worse. i am doing a personal lifelong experiment, no face soap except maybe once a week, but no make-up, moisturizer, etc. just water mostly and let my skin take care of itself. i’ll have to wait until i’m 60 to see if it ‘worked’, LOL!

    would you be willing to post the toothpowder recipe?

  5. carrie says:

    Hi Melanie. I’m sorry I thought the recipe was in the link above.

    It’s simple. I just mix equal parts Baking Soda and Sea Salt. Then I add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Easy!

  6. Tsoniki says:

    Yikes, I am very bad in this area! I love Bare Minerals though so maybe I’ll try the mineral site you mentioned. I should just make a list of what I need to replace and do it a few at a time so as to not be overwhelmed!

  7. Jana says:

    Hi Carrie, thanks for the awesome ideas for at home recipes. I am newly converted to the natural life, just wished I had been exposed to or knocked on the head earlier with it all. Dr. Bronner’s is my newest natural obsession. I use it for body wash, a couple drops in my Aubrey Organics shampoo to amp up the sudsing factor, washing dishes so my hands don’t get all raw……..just love it for everything!
    Sounds like everyone loves Bare Minerals, I have been planning on trying it out next time I need to purchase, and will check out the Costco deal, so thanks for the heads up on that!
    Just changing my diet and drinking a lot of water has gone a long way towards keeping me looking good without all the products, so that is my biggest tip for cutting back on beauty costs!

  8. Monica says:

    I’m all in natural beauty products but my #1 discovery was honey as baby and toddler shampoo/wash.

    One day I was washing my face with honey as I usually do while my son was taking a bath and I decided it won’t hurt to try on his hair. It worked great and we’ve been using it for abourt 6 months, I think. His scalp gets really clean and honey rinses easily. It won’t irritate his eyes and he even gets to try a bit of it! Everybody is happy!

    It won’t work for adult’s hair, I think. Honey alone is not enough to clean my scalp at all.

  9. Carrie,

    You sound like me with your comment about Wednesday from the Adaams family. Unfortunately my son and daughter are like this, too. People are always asking me if DS has been crying or if he’s sleepy. Ours is from extreme allergies. That is what started us on the path of natural products. I think that since we “went natural,” I have used less products as well. For instance, I always thought I had terrible hair and HAD to have hairspray to keep it in line. When we first started using natural products, I found a natural hairspray, used it and loved it. Then, just recently I decided to try going without, and for a few months, I haven’t used any hairspray! For me, that was huge! Also, for makeup, I only use a little mineral makeup, natural mascara, and natural lip crayon for every day. In fact, some days I don’t wear makeup at all, and if I want to really look special, I will use a little natural blush, eyeshadow & eyeliner, but that is only once in a while.


  10. carrie says:

    Monica I have used honey – just a drop – on my face and it is a wonderful moisturizer, and not sticky at all because I use it on my damp skin. Never heard of putting it on the hair though. :)

    Audrey, thanks for your comments. I think my circles are mostly due to my skin tone and heredity.

  11. Nell Taliercio says:

    I haven’t gotten far enough into my natural journey for the makeup and skincare yet, although I know one day I will. Right now I wear some light powder, tiny bit of blush and lipstick. If I’m going on a date with hubbs I’ll do more. And then there are many a day where I wear nothing at all. Those are usually my lazy around the house days. ;)

  12. Pingback: soap making recipes

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