Choosing Natural Hair and Skin Care
BY SUSAN HUSSEY
Think of your average morning— you rise, floss and brush your teeth, wash and moisturize your face, take a shower, shampoo and condition your hair. Then you probably apply body lotion, deodorant, makeup, hair styling gel or spray, and possibly, perfume. You're not even out the door yet, and you've already exposed your immune system to more than a thousand chemicals. This may lead to allergic reactions such as a perpetually runny nose, the rings around your eyes, the blotchy, flaky skin, upset stomach, the fog that surrounds your brain even after a couple of cups of coffee—the cause might be as close as your morning grooming ritual.
The human immune system is a model of efficiency, protecting us from all sorts of germs and other nasty critters. Sometimes the immune system starts a war against something you wish it wouldn't—like strawberries or your favorite face cream. More than 50,000 chemicals have been introduced to the marketplace since World War II, and that can be overwhelming to the skin, which is your immune system's first line of defense.
So what's the best way to defend your skin and hair from the excesses of modern life? Start with choosing skin care products the right way. Don't look at the front of the bottle. Turn it around and start with the back. The ingredients label is your friend—it can let you know so much. First, is the label really, really long, and is it full of long chemical names that would sprain your tongue to say them? Chances are the product is mass-produced and distributed. It may have been made more than a year ago and spent that time in a hot warehouse, before being transported to the store where you picked it up. A product that has been made for this purpose must stand up to these conditions—it must not spoil, and, if it is a cream, it must not separate. Thus, any natural ingredients must be in such small amounts that they will not cause the product to break down. In other words, it is not a living product.
To take care of your hair and skin naturally, you must find natural products. A natural product is made in small batches and shipped directly to stores. A natural product does not contain ingredients such as synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers, colors, or fragrances that are included for the convenience of mass production and distribution. A natural product contains natural ingredients which you will recognize. Best of all, however, natural products work.
They're effective because they contain herbals and other natural ingredients which the body recognizes. Herbs have been used for thousands of years for hair and skin care; they tend not to promote allergic reactions for these reasons (do not assume that you can't be allergic to a natural product although allergic reactions occur less frequently with natural products).
Take Rosa Mosqueta® Rose Hip Seed Oil, for instance. This rare, golden oil is organically grown and processed in the Andes Mountains and has been used by South American women for skin care for many centuries. Recently, the oil was scientifically studied by a Chilean dermatologist, who proved that it reduced the appearance of wrinkles, as well as helped reduce scarring and hyperpigmentation. You can find this remarkable oil, high in essential fatty acids, in Aubrey Organics' Rosa Mosqueta® Rose Hip Moisturizing Cream. But that's not all: you'll also find silica-rich horsetail and coltsfoot extracts, which help rebuild the skin's collagen; organic aloe vera, one of humankind's most ancient skin healers; skin-soothing almond and calendula oils; and just a smidgen of bitter almond oil for its delicious, non-cloying scent. You won't find synthetic preservatives—Aubrey Hampton developed his own natural preservative more than two decades ago, made with citrus seed extract and vitamins A, C and E. We even make our own cream base from coconut fatty acids, organic aloe vera and purified hot water (a little like making pudding).
What you put on your hair is just as important as what you put on your skin for a few reasons. Take hair spray, for instance. Conventional sprays are very hard on your hair—and the environment. Many use ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons, and almost all use a form of plastic—PVP/VA copolymer—to hold the hair in place. This plastic can build up on the hair, and cause your hair to look dull and damaged. Enter Aubrey Organics to the rescue. Natural Missst Hairspray uses natural gum arabic to hold the hair in place, and pro-vitamin B-5 (panthenol) to keep hair soft and smooth. You'll also find horsetail extract (silica is great for your hair) and B vitamin inositol in this remarkable formula. Yes, Aubrey Organics' Natural Missst Hairspray contains alcohol, but it evaporates on the hair instantly, leaving the natural ingredients in place all day long.
The personal care marketplace is enormous and includes every conceivable product to make us appear more attractive or take care of personal hygiene. The average person uses between 10 to 45 pounds of soaps, toiletries and cosmetics every year. With this amount of consumption we should assure ourselves that the products we are using are the safest, healthiest and most wholesome possible.