Once my lips wore a bold’n gorgeous dark red color thanks to Chanel and I smelled like Miss Dior Cheri perfume. My hair must have been washed with some very fragrant and absolutely not natural shampoo (ohh, maybe one of those ’silver’ shampoos) and topped off with an icky hair mask. I was seventeen and the world was at my feet. Oh gosh, those were the days.
After a couple of years came the weird urge to get into gardening + gardening school, followed by natural nutrition studies. The result? A full on hippie-town makeover.
Although I’ve always sneaked in some natural stuff (born and raised forest gal and all) like homemade face masks or having lemon juice dripping down my face for those desirable summer highlights I kinda enjoyed the fake stuff. The big brands, the fancy packaging (or why not the cheap stuff at the 1 dollar store) in short, the things that we think we need because ’we’re worth it’ or some other crap excuse companies make to sell more. So I’ve done the whole bottles and jars that lists over 30 ingredients, half (at least) of which I cannot pronounce or have any clue what they are made from. And you know what? I wasn’t any more happy or fulfilled and I certainly wasn’t saving any time or money. Using things on my skin and hair that doubles as food, medicine and other things needed around the house on the other hand is way easier on my wallet, that’s for sure.
Truth is I feel far more radiant and beautiful than I ever did before now that the things I use ON my skin are things I could actually put IN my mouth. And that right there is my rule of thumb. See, if I wanted to, I could totally add some raw cacao and dates to my face cream and have raw truffles in a jiffy. Or nut milk to my face mask and end up with a healthy smoothie. Weird? Maybe so but consider this, isn’t covering our skin and hair with heavily chemical laden concoctions slightly err, more questionable?
The main reason however doesn’t have anything to do with myself, my time nor my finances. The passionate Planet Earth-lover in me (pretty much all of me) sleeps so some much better when I do all I can to sustain and even boost this grand organism. Because is letting chemical cocktails flow down the drain sexy? Not so much. Is covering our highly absorbable skin with something we’d never in a million years put into our mouth delicious? Try ’disgusting’.. Also, you will feel like a freaking magician when whipping up awesome edible face masks, beautifying skin cream and totally high vibe 3-ingredient exfoliants in the kitchen. This, my friends is using whole foods at it’s best AND.. it’s so darn Greenylicious!
Fun & Fabulous Facts
-The dirty on skin & hair care
Your gorgeous skin is your largest organ and since it is porous, it will obediently absorb whatever you put onto it. Studies have found that our skin absorbs at the very minimum 60-70% of what we put onto it. The skin on our face is more porous and will absorb even more. Same goes for underarms and genitalia where absorption rate is up to 100%. So.. not very sexy, eh? The good news is that I have collected both the no-no’s and the solutions below to help you steer clear of carcinogens, allergens and irritants found in the mainstream stuff.
Personally I drew the line and began ditching unnatural products when studies surfaced about how incredibly nasty parabens were. These widely used preservatives (Ethyl-, Methyl-, Butyl-, Isobutyl-, and Propyl-Parabens) are estimated to be in 60-90 of all makeup and skincare products. Even though it certainly was a major wakeup call for me I didn’t stop using some non organic products that didn’t have parabens in them. Now this is a big thing, see even though a product might use another preservating agent we don’t really know how those substitutions might harm our bodies or the earth either long- or short-term. Replacing bad stuff with new chemicals isn’t very cool in my book. It’s also wise to think twice and do your research with products labeled ’organic’, ’natural’ or even one that may lure our senses to think it’s really a kind and good product by looking a certain way (anyone notice the common ’organic’ design-looks out there).
Anyway, I think I was around 17 when this all started, I just recently turned 26 and feel like it’s just these last few years that I’ve gotten the hang of not using conventional products just because that’s what we’re used to. I still seek out and use the best of the best organic non-animal tested fouride-free toothpaste and some makeup but that’s about it. All other things are prepared in our kitchen. It’s not really crazy hippie nor very time-consuming. It’s the hugest investment you can do for yourself, for your family and this earth. Yeah, no biggie, right?
I wish I could tell you to simply stop using and buying the conventional products all together but I understand that the situation is more complex. As human beings we’re very attached to habits and therefore I’ll give you this basic list of things to look for and preferably NOT put on your or your family’s skin/hair. I get that you have some die-hard routines that makes your hair shine, your lips pout and keep your kiddos skin silky soft – just know that you can have ALL of that with natural skin/hair care as well! What I think we have to remember is that we’ve come to a point where we as a collective need to understand that it’s not only about ourselves anymore. Stepping up to take our awesome responsibility (& honor!) and leave a lush green footprint, one that will have made tremendous change – that’s where we’re at today.
So, open up that bathroom cabinet, empty your makeup bag and have a full on investigation party. These are some of the things you do not wish to see as a listed ingredient (..and you’ll soon be pretty clear on the why).
Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl, Isobutyl) have been found in breast cancer tumor and is linked to hormone imbalances since it’s a known endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen. It is also linked to male sterility and early puberty for women as well as skin irritations and rosacea.
Formaldehyde (Dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidynyl urea to name a few) is banned in Sweden and Japan since it’s linked to leukemia, asthma, allergic skin reactions as well as being considered a carcinogen for humans.
Petroleum Byproducts – PVP/VA Copolymer, Propylene Glycol (PG) PEG’s & Butylene Glycol. You are very likely to find Propylene Glycol in nearly 70 % of all skin/hair care products and The EPA considers it to be so toxic that it requires gloves, clothing, goggles & disposal by burying. Propylene Glycol is considered a neurotoxin and also makes your skin even more penetrable for other chemicals to reach your blood stream.
Frangrance/Perfume – DEHP, DEP, DHP, DBP5, Dibutyl Phthalate is one of the most easily absorbed chemical compounds and since fragrances are considered to be a trade secret there are 3000+ chemical that aren’t listed on your go-to products. Fragrances have been linked to infertility, hormone disruption, cancer, asthma, allergies and even possible birth defects. Note that Phthalates are often labeled as a “fragrance” (see below).
Phthalates – You may have noticed that some products now state ”phthalate free” on the bottle. Phtalates are otherwise not listed among the ingredients since it lurks behind fragrances and other ingredients. Phthalates have been linked to decreased sperm counts, damage to liver and kidneys and birth defects.
Dyes – Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5&6, Red 33, FD&C, D&C, Aminophenol, diaminobenzene, p-phenylenediamine, CI followed by 5 digits. These are banned in EU as a carcinogen, they may be contemned by heavy metals and are linked to tumor growth, AHDH in children among other things.
Heavy Metals – Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, Nickel, lead acetate, thimerosal, mercurius solubilis, mercurius sublimates, mercurius corrosives, mercuric chloride. Sounds pretty heavy for your silky creams, eh? Higher levels of heavy metals have been found in women with breast cancer and both males and females with muscle disorders, mood swings, nausea, headaches and hair loss to name a few.
DEA, TEA, MEA, and Nitrosamines. These are foam booster and they are found in almost all personal care products like baby shampoo, regular shampoo, sunscreen, foundations, shave soap, cleansers and mascara. They are banned in Canada and EU and repeated use may cause cancer and precancerous states in skin, liver and thyroid.
Triclosan – This is an antibacterial registered by EPA as a pesticide. Sounds like something you want your skin to absorb? It’s in anti-bacterial products, facial tissues, baby wipes, deodorants, hand sanitizers and cosmetics amongst other things.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is used for car washes, engine degreasers ..and in around 90% of all personal care products that foam. Yay! Not so much.. SLS has the potential to form a specific carcinogen by interacting with other chemicals and the list of other health risks linked to these two is way to long for this post.
Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea. Antimicrobial preservative used mainly in cosmetics. Diazolidinyl urea acts as a formaldehyde releaser (see info on Formaldehyde above) and may cause joint pain, depression, cancer, ear infections and insomnia only to name a few health risks.
Greenylicious Skin & Hair Care
Eating for healthy hair & skin. What you put into your mouth will also determine the quality of your hair skin and nails as well as all other parts of your body and overall health. Foods that boost your hair and skin are whole foods rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals (especially zinc and calcium) and vitamins (vitamin C, E and B’s in particular). So load your plate with avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, whole grains, berries, leafy greens, raw cacao, concentrated superfoods like moringa leaf, maca, chlorella, camu camu, bee pollen etc. Also, drink lots of pure water as good hydration is key! It’s basically the overall Greenylicious way of eating/drinking. If you have no idea to begin or need a little boost of inspiration I highly recommend grabbing my ‘30 Raw Breakfast’ app which is packed with delicious and healthy treats. Yum!
Traditionally a persons hair have been viewed as something that mirrors the overall health and vitality of that individual. Letting ones hair grow to it’s full length is in yogic traditions considered as something incredibly powerful and also that your hair are intelligent antennas and something that can help raise the creative life force when left uncut. However much of that is true (and I believe a lot of it is) I think it’s really nice to take care of those locks. Healthy hair just feels good.
– Washing. I’ve gone from conventional shampoo to organic shampoo, to washing with a mixture of baking soda + water for a long time (which didn’t work for my hair type at all as it got super brittle and dry). So back to organic shampoos and then I found out that you can wash your hair with Moroccan Rassoul clay and I fell in love. I add 1 tbsp worth of dry clay (buy as powdered or in pieces) and around 4 tbsp warm water to a small jar, let it sit while I hop into the shower, wet my hair and then pour some of the mixture of water and dissolved clay onto the top of my head, both sides and lastly on the backside of my head. Then I massage thoroughly (important) to make sure the mixture covers my whole scalp. After this I might do a body scrub (recipe below) just to let the clay work it’s magic for a while but you could also rinse it out straight after applying. Note that this mixture doesn’t foam and may take some getting used to but the results I experience makes it all so worth it. My hair has tons of volume (never did before), looks way healthier, has more shine and I only need to wash it 2 times a week or less (without it looking oily at all). I highly recommend you give this a go. You can order Rassoul clay online or find it in bigger health food shops.
– Conditioning. I always thought I needed copious amounts of conditioner to make my hair look and feel soft and lush but find I get the same effect by using Rassoul clay to wash my hair. However, I do apply a few drops of almond/jojoba/coconut/argan oil to the tips of my wet hair after washing it. This is something that will deeply nourish and make a noticeable difference to your hair. I also do hair masks once in a while (once a week is ah-mazing but my reality is more like once every three months..). I figure something is better then nothing and my hair does love those masks once I do them (recipe below).
– Brushing. I’m pretty passionate about having a minimum amount of plastic in our lives and so I stopped using a plastic brush (even if it did have a wooden handle) and comb and started using a boar bristle brush. This obviously isn’t something for those of you don’t use any animal products and if that’s the case, I urge you to skip the all-plastic thing at at least opt for a brush with a wooden handle a non-synthetic brush. Brushes made of plastic makes the hair more porous and brittle (hello frizzy hair) while natural brushes help close the hair and allow it to keep it’s natural oils, nice bounce and shine. Brushing your hair every day helps with keeping it healthy by massaging the scalp and evenly distributing it’s natural oils. It’s advised not to brush your hair while it’s wet but that’s not something I stay away from.. yet.
You’ll want to nourish your skin according to it’s specific needs. Is it dry, oily, rough, sensitive? Diving into Ayurvedic knowledge about body constitutions (doshas) definitely cleared up some questions for me and I can definitely recommend doing that. Maybe your skin is best nourished by applying sesame oil and not coconut oil and maybe calming lavender essential oil to go with it works better then fiery ginger. Perhaps a salt scrub works wonders while a sugar scrub doesn’t. Who knows? Only you.
– Dry Brushing. Giving yourself a little moment of dry skin brushing before hopping into the shower has got some amazing health benefits including tighter skin, better digestion, stronger immune system and the quicker cell renewal. Since dry brushing stimulates your lymphatic system it also helps the ever ongoing process of releasing waste and toxins from the body through the skin. HERE’S my honey Sarah’s guide to dry skin brushing.
– Exfoliating. This is also a nice treat for your skin. One that nourishes both by moisturizing and being gently exfoliating. There’s a recipe below for my go-to exfoliant. Play around with which carrier oil, essential oil and exfoliating ingredient works best for you.
– Moisturizing. I’m pretty basic when it comes to making my own skin care and for my body I usually use a mixture of sesame oil, almond oil and some essential oil that I keep in a bottle. As previously mentioned though, your skin might love coconut oil or shea butter better. Experiment and know that you can never go completely wrong. It’s still awesome ingredients you’re using and your skin will greatly benefit from them.
– Deodorant. As noted before, the skin under our arms have the ability to absorb 100% of what we put onto it so if you use deodorant, needless to say a natural and non-toxic one is very important. There are many different options so visit the natural skin-care section in your nearest health food store or do a quick search on the internet to find a good web shop. It may take some trial and error before finding your favorite but your body will thank you.
– Soap. We use a trusty organic olive oil Aleppo soap as our go-to by the sink and in the shower. It’s all natural, have really few ingredients and doesn’t come with a plastic bottle that you need to dispose of. Win-win in many ways.
– Gentle Exfoliant. If you’ll make the recipe for my basic exfoliant (below) you can absolutely use this in your face as well as on your body. This is a good way to get rid of dead skin cells and help rejuvenate your skin on your face. Just do it gently.
– Cleanser + Toner. You can remove any makeup by simply massaging your face and the area around your eyes with a little virgin coconut oil. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and dry by gently dabbing your face with a clean towel. For a quick cleanse and toner apple cider vinegar is great. To do this you simply add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to a cotton pad and wipe the pad over your entire face and neck. Wait a little while before applying moisturizer.
– Face Cream. The cream I use on my face is really easy to make and saves me many bucks compared to when I bought that super expensive organic face cream for a while.. My current fave face cream has three basic ingredients and I may change it slightly depending on season or mood. You’ll find the recipe + instructions below. You can also use some virgin coconut oil as face cream which in all simplicity works wonders on your skin.
– Mouth. I use a tounghe scraper (which I swear by), then I floss and lastly brush my teeth with a non fluoride toothpaste. I’ve started exploring the world of natural and non-toxic tooth brushes and even though I’m loving the wooden one that we have for Caspian, the adult size isn’t as great. See what you can find and remember plastic isn’t good in anything weather it’s your tupperware or toothbrush. A great tip for a natural teeth whitener is brushing your teeth with a pea-sized amount of turmeric paste once in a while (as crazy as it sounds).
Things to know when it comes to babies and skin care is that not only do they absorb more then adults, they are also more affected by the cocktail of toxins and chemicals since they are still in such an early state of development. Virgin coconut oil and lavender essential oil are our go-to’s for Caspian. A gentle oil like sesame or almond with a drop of lavender essential oil in the bathtub goes a long way. Arrowroot powder instead of talc if needed during the diaper period. Coconut oil or cacao butter with a little lavender essential oil is nice if you want to do a massage. Wait for as long as possible with shampoo and allow your babe’s hair to do it’s own thing. It won’t get oily for years. If the hair is dirty because of sand, food or any other things then rinsing with warm water and maybe some coconut oil works well. Please use either organic baby wipes or non at all and opt for warm water and a little organic olive oil soap to wash when changing diapers instead. Remember that the skin around genitalia absorbs 100% of what we put onto it and really, water and olive oil is also the cheapest option if you feel like organic wipes are to costly. Also cloth diapers = awesome.
Fabian uses a really cool old-style shaving kit complete with a sandalwood shave soap and a wooden brush. These kits can stay with you for a lifetime if cared for as opposed to that regular metal bottle of shave foam that needs disposing of once empty. It’s kind on the skin, earth friendly and I also thinks it’s kinda sexy. Fabian also use the same boar bristle hair brush and face cream as I do. Simple, smart and all kinds of goodness. For his hair he uses an organic styling wax.
Apart from natural face, hair and skin care that I’ve talked about above it’s important to consider using natural products when it comes to the monthly moon cycle. Organic tampons and sanitary napkins are crazy important, your body will absorb all the bleach (almost all tampons contain bleached rayon – a material that creates the possibly carcinogenic byproduct dioxin), fragrances, dyes and nasties that’s in the conventional kinds. A silicone menstrual cup such as Divacup or Mooncup is the best option according to me. No adding to land-fills and no toxins. Gentle, cheap and good in many ways.
Products / Brands I Love
There are a few amazing filled-with-heart brands out there and two (yes, I’m picky) of my favorites for ready-made natural skin care Living Libations and MoonRise Creek (as seen in some of the pictures). Specific ingredients like coconut butter, shea butter and the like I order from Råvarubutiken and Organic Makers. You are very welcome to add your favorites in the comments below!
Essential Oils for infusing massage oils, face creams, body oils, bath water and to use in oil burners. Maybe a few drops while showering for a quick aromatherapy sesh? ..or while cleaning the house or clearing out stagnated or unwanted energy.
Soap Nuts. We use both soap nuts and organic really kind laundry detergent when doing our laundry. This is practically the same as the importance of using organic and natural skin and hair care. Soaking your clothes in chemicals will of course result in your skin absorbing those same chemicals from your clothes. Not so hot..
Crystals for high vibes all over the place, please.
Palo Santo Sticks & Sage Smudge Sticks for the same reason as crystals and essential oils.
Glass Jars/Bottles/Droppers. If you’re making your own skin care product you’ll want t o store it in glass jars (preferably dark toned) because plastic-free is the best way to be. Also, glass won’t allow toxic chemicals to leak into your precious concoctions as plastic will.
I’m all about an overall minimum of stuff and fuss as possible and my skin & hair care routines mirror that. In the morning I’ll wash my face with some water and apply a pea-sized amount of my face cream. I may use some natural makeup but not every day. It depends on what my plans are. I’ll floss, use my tongue scraper and brush my teeth. In the evening before going to bed I’ll repeat the floss, tongue scrape, brushing-routine and if I’ve used makeup I’ll remove that with some coconut oil, rinse off the oil, maybe do a apple cider vinegar toner and then after a while, apply my face cream. Roughly once a week I’use my body scrub to exfoliate and moisturize while in the shower. I also love dry brushing before showering and one of my favorite things to do on an evening is apply a face mask or/and a hair mask (after putting Caspian to sleep because he’d freak if he saw me looking like Shrek). Note that during these 1.5 incredibly full and messy years since Caspian was born my routines have been thrown out the window and they have just recently become sort of a possibility again. I’m not perfect but I do what I can to support this earth in my everyday life.
My Basic Recipes for Natural Skin + Hair Care
These recipes below are my go-to’s. You won’t believe the effect of the face masks that leaves your skin super nurtured and soft. The body scrub is seriously amazing, the face cream addictive and the hair mask such a heaven sent. Have fun!
3 tbsp shea butter
3 tbsp cacao butter
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
5 drops palo santo essential oil or any other essential oil of your liking.
1. Gently heat all oils in a water bath (using a metal or glass bowl). Add your essential oil of choice once oils/butters are liquid. Give it a stir and refrigerate until almost solid which may take around 2-4 hours so check every once in a while. Using your immersion blender you’re now going to ‘whip’ your face cream which will make it soft and sort of fluffy. So blend your cream base with the immersion blender for 20-30 seconds, transfer to an airtight glass jar and keep in a cool, dark place. Apply a pea-sized amount to your face (or your body) when needed.
Face Mask – 2 ways
1 tsp matcha tea powder
2 tsp raw honey (vegans use 1/4 banana)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 drop essential peppermint oil
1. Halve, pit and scoop out 1/2 avocado and add to a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Apply to clean face but not too close to your eyes (there is a picture of me using this face mask below). Let sit for no more then 10 minutes. The important thing is to not let it dry. Wash off with warm water, gently dry your face with a clean towel and if you please, moisturize after a little while. Stores for 2-3 days in the fridge
1 tsp rose hip powder (or 5 goji berries if you can’t find rose hip)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup rolled oats
1.5 tbsp water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Apply to clean face but not too close to your eyes (there is a picture of me using face mask below). Let sit for no more then 10 minutes. The important thing is to not let it dry. Wash off with warm water, gently dry your face with a clean towel and if you please, moisturize after a little while. Stores for 3-4 days in the fridge
1/4 cup coconut sugar/ muscovado sugar/ cane sugar
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil
Add all ingredients to a glass or metal bowl and thoroughly combine using a fork. Transfer to an airtight glass jar, store dark in your bathroom cabinet. Upon using take desired amount with a spoon and exfoliate your skin while in the shower. Enjoy the amazing smell!1
Hair mask-time means play-time in the kitchen. Follow the guidelines below that lists possible ingredients to use depending on your hair type. Aim for 1/3 cup worth of mixture depending of course on how much hair you have. You may use various essential oils here as well. I usually go for a basic one like: 1 banana or an egg and then 2 tbsp raw honey. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender and apply hair mask to brushed hair. Make sure tips and lengths are covered and let it sit for 20-or so minutes. Rinse it out with warm water and finish off by applying a few drops of argan/almond/jojoba oil to the tips of your hair.
Pick ‘n mix from the components below. For example try 2 tbsp Coconut oil + Lemon juice + 1 banana.
For Dry Hair: Organic Free Range Egg (1), Coconut Oil (2 tbsp), Olive Oil (2 tbsp)
For Oily Hair: Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp), Lemon (1/2 a lemon, the juice)
All Hair Types: Banana (1), Honey (2 tbsp)
I hope with all my heart that you’ve found some new inspiration and nuggets of wisdom in this guide. I’d love for you to share your two cents/tips and tricks in the comments below or on Instagram using the hashtag #earthsprout
Please share this with the world, your friends and family. Greenylicious skin & hair care is much needed and wildly awesome on so many levels!
Let’s rock this revolution!