The internet is great for continuing to procrastinate writing NaNoWriMo related stuff. Most recently I’ve been researching skin care products for these annoying dry patches I get on my face and body during the winter. Part of me wonders if it’s like a mild eczema, though I doubt it’s anything more than flakey, dry skin.
Years of working at Whole Foods Market (mostly during grad school) has made me more aware of the contents of my food, cleaning and bodycare products. It’s a snobbery that is almost warranted at some times, given that there is a LOT of crap in everyday products that are either unnecessary, possibly toxic, and at other times, just gross. (Have you even SEEN the guacamole dip sold in the cold case at some of the large grocery chains? Look for the avacado content. Shudder when you realize it’s not there, or at the end of the list, under sour cream and a whole bunch of hydrolyzed, autolyzed and otherwise manipulated contents.) It’s not so much that I fear death or cancer at the hands of these products, but feel rather that if guacamole can be made at home using 5-8 ingredients, mostly containing avocado, then why make it out of mostly sour cream and a few dozen other things. Beyond that, it would be nice to be able to not only purchase less-toxic products, but also products that come from sustainable sources. When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, I’ve started to have a real distaste for the artificial and now prefer the real thing.
Body care is a special issue, though, when it comes to natural and organic products. There is no FDA standard or regulation that specifies what the words “natural” and “organic” mean with body care. They definitely mean something for foods, but you can seriously make a product that’s chock-full of synthetic detergents, artificial colors and fragrances, and maybe throw in some organic aloe vera and organic lavander and call your product “Organic Spring Shampoo” or whatever you want to call it. This means if you actually care about the contents of your bodycare products, you must read labels and not go by flashy packaging or ad copy. Then you have to have some sense of organic chemistry and the taxonomy of herbs to decipher what’s naturally derived and what’s synthetically produced. Yay! The end result is that in a normal grocery/drug store you might be lucky to find one brand that is actually as organic and natural as it claims. Here in the Northwest, Burt’s Bees is happily ubiquitous in the regular stores. Not so, I’m sure, in middle America.
Natural bodycare, of course, beyond being hard to find, is costly. And lucky for me, last winter I got hooked on products by evanhealy which I purchased in Chicago. They were rather pricey, though, and required me to order them online… so I used it up and tried to find better options. Since then, I’ve tried Better Botanicals semi-Ayurvedic based face care and have been relatively unimpressed. I’ve also tried MyChelle, which has GREAT cleansers and a fabulous exfoliant and night creme, but doesn’t really have a day cream that I really love.
The only thing I remember liking, and pretty much using up, was the TimeWise cleanser and lotion by Mary Kay which I had bought from a coworker while I was interning for my MSW in Chicago. Hardly a bastion of natural skin care, it did leave my skin feeling pretty nice and hydrated without feeling weighted down by thick emollients.
I keep thinking that if I’m going to go the Mary Kay route, I should just use up the UV-protecting, Sensitive Formula Oil of Olay that I bought for BurningMan 2K4. I can’t bring myself to do it, though, and I’m not sure why.
Tonight I will be turning in two free coupons for free swag at the local Aveda store. Aveda, along with The Body Shop, have long promoted a natural, sometimes organic, cruelty free and/or earth-friendly facade for their bodycare products. Through the years, though, I’ve found some of their products hard to distinguish from the contents of other supermarket bodycare. Maybe the plus is that they’re done w/ more sensitivity to the environment, or maybe they provide better paying jobs from some of the less industrialized countries that they get their materials from, maybe they offer their employees a 401-K and stock options. It’s really hard to know what is marketing, what is actually doing some good and what is just poisoning the earth like every other corporation (unavoidable in some cases, but at least let’s be upfront about it.)
Tonight I will see what Aveda, and possibly also the Body Shop (or one of the other mall bodycare specialty shops) has to offer for my fickle, no-nonsense, just wash-and-moisturize-me skin.
And now… back to attempting to write fiction.
* One last thing – I’m also shopping for less-toxic toxic-mold killing cleaning products. I’m tempted to just dilute bleach and say to hell w/ it, but I really want a better option.