Pre-kids, I paid marginal attention to the ingredients in my skincare products. But once my first child was born, I intuitively knew to avoid chemical-laden baby products. I started acquiring natural baby shampoos, soaps, and creams, and ditched the alcohol-clad wipeys for more gentle options. This newly adopted mindset caused me to scrutinize the products I was putting on my own body, too.
Thankfully, natural and paraben-free products were cropping up like weeds. Now, not only can you buy safer alternatives at your local health food store, but you can also find them widely available in chain grocery stores. And no, these natural products aren’t festering on the shelves just waiting to be purchased, because—contrary to popular belief—they contain earthly ingredients that help with preservation. Cocoa butter, coconut oil, and olive oil all contain antimicrobial properties that enhance the shelf life of moisturizers and creams for up to eighteen months. Pop into the Jackson Whole Grocer or Barrels and Bins in Driggs and peruse the racks for safe beauty products, scrubs, and cleansers.
Do they Work?
Okay—so if you’re like me, you’ve lived most of your adult life in the Mountain West and your skin, well, it’s showing the effects of the sun, dry climate, and wind. You’d like to be okay with your aging complexion, but there’s a part of you that longs for an even skin tone that is wrinkle-free.
This is where I come in, ’cause—you see—I’m not embarrassed by my little twinge of vanity and I’ve really done my homework. True, I may splurge for some expensive natural alternatives around the holidays (they last me all year, by the way), but I’ve adopted a daily skincare routine utilizing relatively inexpensive and easy-to-come-by options. I remember—way back—my friend and Ayurvedic practitioner, Cate Stillman, advised me against lathering my skin with anything I would not eat. It was then that I started using oils.
You may equate castor oil with the likes of ipecac syrup. Believe me, my memory is scarred with images of my grandmother chasing me with spoonsful to thwart my sickness. However, castor oil’s unique combination of fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals are extremely beneficial to the skin. When applied to the face, castor oil’s high concentration of vitamin E can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Castor oil also increases circulation to the skin by delivering oxygen and vital nutrients to the cells.
My wintertime wrinkle serum consists of a tincture bottle full of castor oil with twenty-five drops of rose essential oil. Right before bedtime, and soon after a gentle scrub, I spread a dropperful onto my face and neck and sleep on it. In the morning, my skin looks perky and radiant. I’ve tried expensive wrinkle creams and serums, but the effects I’ve gotten from castor oil beats them all. For a lighter summertime preparation, substitute coconut oil for castor oil.
Okay—so you like the idea of going au natural, but you’re not quite game for slathering food-grade oil on your face. If that’s the case, there are a few lines of skin products, carried locally, that I personally recommend. Eminence Organics
is a Hungarian skincare line made from organically grown fresh fruit pulps, plants, and exotic spices. They source ingredients from worldwide farms and then mix them in small batches to assure both potency and quality. Eminence’s natural and holistic approach to skincare centers on their philosophy that nature provides the healthiest and most effective choices for healing and rejuvenating your skin. And, best of all, Eminence products are free of parabens, petrolatum, mineral oils, propylene glycol, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
The Eminence line, consisting of best-selling products like Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer and Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant, is available for purchase at the Chill Spa in Hotel Terra (Teton Village) and Body and Soul Salon and Spa in Jackson. And while their products come at a price, they last a long time and yield results. According to Brandy Chaplin, Chill Spa esthetician, “…it’s okay to emulsify [add water to] Eminence products to make them last longer. It will not affect the results. And keep an eye on how much product you are using…a thin layer of a masque will be just as effective as putting it on thick.”
Sourcing natural makeup options can be tricky. Luckily for us, a few mineral-based makeup lines are available locally. The Jane Iredale
line, carried at the Stillwaters Spa
at Teton Springs Resort, benefits both the body and skin. Jane Iredale makeup contains pure mineral pigments for color and coverage, includes only natural preservatives, and harbors no nano-sized particles—particles easily inhaled or absorbed by the skin that can toxify the lungs and body. Another similar brand that adheres to strict nano particle specs is Colorescience
, available in Jackson at the Body Sage Spa
, Reincarnation Medical Spa, Sena Spa, and Teton Dermatology. Or try Arbonne
, a line sold locally by Stillwaters Spa hairdresser and esthetician Nicole Ratajczak. “Arbonne’s Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer delivers sun protection and natural-looking coverage,” Nicole says, “while restoring and maintaining optimal moisture balance. I love this product for the natural girl who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but wants a fresh look that protects her skin from the sun.”
If you need a little something, but are turned off by cakey creams and over-the-top eye decoration, these makeup lines are right up your alley. Their products cover, moisturize, block the sun, and liven up your complexion in a totally natural way. For a subtle midwinter pick-me-up or a quick powdery sunblock, keep some bronzer on hand. I swear—it will last you all year.
You see, we can make healthy body care choices when armed with a little knowledge. And cherry-picking products that contain natural ingredients will still give you a peace of mind, whether or not you believe the paraben safety hype. If you’re like me and covet a healthy glow—despite our regional environmental complexion hurdles—combo up the DIY option with a luxurious splurge now and then. No chemistry degree required.
Homemade Makeup Palette
Mica, a sheet mineral found in many rock formations, produces a glimmer in direct light. Available in many tints, mica is a suitable bronzer for different complexions. And you don’t need to mine it out of a quarry to create your own makeup. fromnaturewithlove.com stocks mica in various shades.
2 tablespoons beeswax
4 tablespoons jojoba oil
1 tablespoon evening primrose oil
8 tablespoons distilled water
3 tablespoons emulsifying wax
Mica in desired shade
Melt the beeswax and combine it with the jojoba oil and evening primrose oil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add distilled water and emulsifying wax. Allow it to cool and gradually sift in the mica. Go slowly. You always can add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s in. Store in a glass container.
Those with sensitive eyes will benefit from the natural nature of this accentuating shadow. Formulated from ingredients you’d traditionally find in the baking aisle, homemade eye shadows are safe even for allergy-prone ladies. This homespun mixture blends just as well as expensive pressed shadows.
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon magnesium stearate
1/2 teaspoon jojoba or coconut oil
Mica in desired shade
Slowly add mica to the arrowroot powder, magnesium stearate, and oil mixture. Store in a glass container.
You might not equate beets with makeup when you first pull them from the ground, laden with dirt. Yet, as a resourceful earth goddess, you can easily muster up a concoction suitable for a night on the town.
1/4 cup beeswax
1/4 cup castor oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Wash and run beets though a juicer, yielding approximately 1/4 cup. Melt 1/4 cup beeswax and combine it with 1/4 cup castor oil, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and the desired amount of beet juice. Store your gloss in a glass container.