As Freshen Up’s resident natural beauty enthusiast, I fancy myself skilled when coming to sourcing chemical-free products for personal care. So when I was recently asked to share what are my go-to products that I use daily, it was easy to create a concise list. There are many, many other products that didn’t make it for the simple fact of keeping this list current and short.
Below, I detail my affinity for each product, breaking down exactly what it does and why it’s been a game-changer in my routine. The products I chose are all special in their own right. They are above all -chemical free, all while incorporating active ingredients that are potent yet gentle to my sensitive skin/ body. I couldn’t help on including couple honorary mentions – I guess narrowing down to six was harder than I thought.
Let’s dive right into my Top 6 Natural Beauty & Hygiene Products:
The very first thing I do when I wake in the morning is brush my teeth. I typically make my own toothpaste but if I have to use a store bought one – Redmond Earthpaste is my brand of choice. Earthpaste uses Redmond clay along with several other ingredients to deliver clean teeth without the use of harmful chemicals. Instead they use essential oils like Tea Tree which has been shown to have strong antimicrobial properties. The paste itself is thick with a brownish hue in color (very different to the stark white you probably grew up using), and without the normal lathering/ foaming we’ve grown accustomed to (this absolutely doesn’t equate to a better clean; take it from board certified dentist, Dr. Wesley Mullins). I love that it cleans without the traditional burning feeling that we typically get from commercial brands. Their spearmint (which is my personal fav), wintergreen, and peppermint flavors leaves your mouth tingly fresh. Earthpaste works to neutralize the pH of harmful bacteria living in your mouth, as well as helps polish the enamel on your teeth, promoting whiteness – gentle yet still abrasive. And to further help with gum and teeth health, I will add Skinny & Co to incorporate coconut oil pulling (the peppermint flavor is heavenly).
PYUNKANG YUL Calming Skincare Set $50
Who doesn’t want clear, blemish free, glowing skin? I didn’t think this was possible for me without the use of products that are chemically derived or strong prescriptions like Accutane, which by the way has had a rocky history with regulation, as noted by a study conducted by LEDA at Harvard Law School. I’ve suffered with acne for most of my teens and adult life, but it wasn’t until I decided to look at the ingredients in some of the products I was using (EWG Skin Deep is an amazing resource for this), and realized that many contained harmful irritants that was making my skin worse. An Amazon search led me to the Pyunkang Yul shop and to their Calming Line. Ingredients like White Willow Bark, Centella Asiatica extract, Tea Tree and Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract, all caught my attention. In addition to the omission of 20 kinds of harmful ingredients, and the positive reviews. I decided to give it a try, and completely fell in love with the products and results. It is fragrance free, light weight yet moisturizing (I tend to have dry skin) and perfect for irritated and sensitive skin types. The set includes your face staples – face wash, toner, moisturizer and night balm. I use all these products as part of my daily skincare regimen. The only thing that is missing from this line up is a sunscreen. I prefer to use physical sunscreens, and was having a hard time finding one that doesn’t leave a white cast on brown my skin. (However, I’ve been recently testing out one from a woman-owned small business, and I love it so far. Once they receive the go ahead from the regulatory bodies, I will post the link.)
When it comes to bath soaps – I gravitate more to soap bars than gels/ liquids, and I think I’ve found the holy grail in Pacha Soap Co. This issue I’ve found with most bar soaps I tried, is that they were extremely drying (even the ones that touted to be hydrating.) But not Pacha! It incorporates emollient moisturizers. Even their names ooze luxe, creamy goodness – French Lavender, Jasmine Gardenia, Sand and Sea. You really can’t go wrong with any of their varieties. Their products are all hand-crafted with premium organic plant oils, fragranced with all-natural essential oils and even colored with natural mineral pigments instead of dyes. With this in mind, their bar soaps are gorgeous and look like something you would typically get at an overpriced boutique. (Sold at Whole Foods and Wheatsville as well.) They are also completely free of parabens, sulphates, SLS, and despite it’s chemical-free ingredients. I was very pleasantly surprised to find I could still get a very rich lather from their soap bars. The Coconut Lemon Bar is my all time fav – it reminds me of back home on the islands. Proceeds from sales of their products are used towards supporting clean water initiatives and hygiene education for healthier communities around the world, is so you can truly feel good about purchasing their products and the impact they can have!
Next up is underarm care, and my go to is Freshen Up’s The Essentials: Natural Deodorant Detox Set. It includes the main staples to ensure my pits remain natural and healthy. I’ve learnt that our underarms need more than just odor relief. Regular exfoliation helps reduce folliculitis and ingrown hairs (especially when used prior to shaving). It also helps with evening out our skin tone. Both these products contain papain enzyme, rose water, clary sage essential oil, and turmeric that promote this benefit. This set typically lasts for a month, and contains 1 deodorant toner (This article explains the difference between a deodorant toner and deodorant) and a 4 count underarm detox mask packs. If you haven’t started detoxing, your armpits are missing out -it perfectly supplements the benefits of the deodorant toner (think: double odor bacteria removal and glowing underarm skin). It keeps your pores clear so sweat can be released without inhibition, as well as aid in lymphatic drainage. If you are new here, then you’ve probably never heard my ‘3/4 of our lymphatic system drains into our left underarm‘ rant – I implore you to watch the video; that goes for if you aren’t new as well- the more you hear the more you stay consistent with your underarm routine. This deodorant toner is super light weight and yet not drying (over drying of your pits can lead to acne, just like on your face). I would say the aroma reminds me of a subtle fruity flower. The mask allows you to get crafty- you can mix with either water, AVC, milk, aloe vera juice or whatever you feel like experimenting with. Best thing- I can also use to give myself a facial; making this kit multifunctional and naturally the bomb.
Ranger Balm is the decadent, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant balm my dry, sensitive skin has always dreamed of. It houses blue chamomile as its hero ingredient, a sky blue-colored component that the brand’s founder Jaycee Hill sought to nourish and soothe, rather than irritate, her son’s painfully sensitive skin. Once warmed between your fingertips, the blue balm turns into an oil, (not greasy at all) letting organic, feel-good offerings like sunflower seed wax, grapeseed oil, and coconut oils absorb into your skin. Instantly, you feel warm, soothed, and it even has properties to ease anxiety and stress. Skincare-wise, it plumps, smooths, hydrates, and calms irritated skin (which is why it’s especially good for wintertime). The balm houses notes of herbaceous aroma with sweet and grounding undertones. It’s like magic and an integral part of my morning and nighttime routines. I use it right out of the shower to seal in moisture. A little goes a long way; its light-weight formula will have you fooled into thinking you need more to get the job done. I nearly forgot to mention – it doubles as my lip balm. I love it when my products can be used for more than one purpose.
I can’t talk about vaginal care without mentioning menstrual products. The truth is, most mainstream feminine products like tampons and pads are largely unregulated and can contain chemicals, bleaching agents, toxins and artificial fragrances. Considering that your vagina is a mucous membrane and directly absorbs what it comes into contact with, a lot of these products inevitably do more harm than good. Honey Pot pads are made from pesticide-free cotton and infused with essential oils. Lavender, rose, aloe vera, and mint oils create a “cooling” effect that helps with discomfort. Talk about a period upgrade.
Video content is more your jazz? Watch my special natural beauty & hygiene edition of My Daily 6 on Freshen Up YouTube channel. *Coming Soon*.