Lately I've been binge-listening to Gretchen Rubin's podcast "Happier" from the beginning. I'll post more about that at a later date, but recently I experienced what she calls the "lightning bolt" strategy of habit change.
According to this idea, you change your habits due to one significant event that basically lights a fire under your ass until you change a habit without even trying. For instance, a woman who gets pregnant might stop smoking, or a man who is diagnosed with prediabetes changes how he eats.
My lightning bolt moment was not quite as dramatic.
As you know, I've begun being more mindful about the food I put in my body in order to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing my endometriosis symptoms. Since I had my second surgery for endometriosis, and my specialist recommended switching to all-natural bath and body products, I've kept that in the back of my mind, but was only gradually making the switch if and when I ran out of something. That is -- until my lightning bolt moment.
Several weeks ago, I was getting myself ready for the day, thinking I could use a little dry shampoo. I have quite a few dry shampoo samples from Birchbox, including R+Co Death Valley, which I know is quite the Instagram favorite. I gave myself a spritz, looked at the ingredient list, and gasped in horror. One of the first ingredients is propane. PROPANE. What the actual fuck?
I only found out sometime in the last few years that the FDA does not review or regulate bath and body products or cosmetics. If you're like Past Staci, you may think "they" wouldn't let us use ingredients that aren't safe, whoever "they" is since the FDA apparently isn't even involved. But Current Staci is much more jaded after one too many rounds of being treated with "safe" drugs and treatments that have done more harm than good.
And now? Now I'm over it all. I don't want to be running around with fucking propane in my hair. So as I finish up each product I already have, I'm methodically replacing each of my products with natural, soy-free ones that aren't full of chemicals that screw with my estrogen.
Here are some of my favorites so far!
So far I've tried three natural shower gel brands -- Dr. Bronner's, Method, and Acure. I tried the Dr. Bronner's almond 18-in-1 castile soap. It is pricier than the other two, but it isn't just body wash, hence the "18-in-1." In fact, the Dr. Bronner's site suggests using it for everything from washing your pets to scrubbing the windows to brushing your teeth. And although the consistency is watery, personally, I think the almond scent can't be beat.
Next I tried the Method Energy Boost scent, which is citrus, ginger, and sea buckthorn. I definitely like citrus scents as a pick-me-up in my morning shower, and I am pretty sure I'll be going back to this one. The wash is both gel-like and creamy, and the price point is more than sustainable.
Currently, I'm using the Acure body wash in sublime sweet orange because as you'll see below, I am a new fan of several Acure products. It smells nice, but the Method scent *just* edges it out.
Hand + Dish Soap
I am super into Method for this category again. The sea minerals scent is a nice clean scent to leave behind on your hands after washing them, and the lime and sea salt scent is great for the dishes. Again, the price is unbeatable for natural, cruelty-free products.
Shampoo + Conditioner
For the longest time, I've been using the OGX products. I tried the coconut milk shampoo once when I needed travel-sized shampoo and couldn't stop sniffing my hair. But then it came to my attention that OGX is not cruelty-free, and once you know something like that, you kinda can't UN-know it, so I am still on the hunt for a good shampoo.
I *thought* I ordered a shampoo and conditioner from Juice Organics to try, but it turns out, I managed to order two different conditioners. I am enjoying the color-protect fig and sunflower oil; it's nice and thick, which I love in a conditioner. I haven't yet tried the smoothing pomegranate that I thought was shampoo. So! I am in the market for a good natural shampoo. Any suggestions?
I also tried a bottle of the Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle conditioner a while back. It's not as thick as I'd like in a conditioner BUT it actually does tingle, has a nice peppermint scent, and it feels REALLY nice on the scalp.
The Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes kill all the same germs the Clorox shit does but with essential oils and environment-friendly materials. I wish this scent was a little more lemongrass and a little less thyme, but these definitely get the job done.
Like the Dr. Bronner's soap, the Trader Joe's Spa face wash with tea tree oil is castile soap, so it is a little bit more liquidy than I'd prefer in a facial soap, but it is both cleansing and gentle. I had a moment earlier in the year when I fell prey to allllll the Glossier Instagram marketing, so I am finishing up milky jelly face wash now. I do really like it, but I finish, I'd like to find a natural face wash with a similar consistency. Any recs?
My secret shame is this -- up until recently, my skincare regimen consisted of washing my face in the morning, after workouts, and in the evening...and that's it. No moisturizer even, and I will probably end up wrinkly AF. I think after years and years of drugstore products, acne prescriptions, Accutane, and fluctuating adult hormonal acne anyway, I think I kind of just gave up and figured no matter what I did, acne was going to be a part of my life.
But! Instagram strikes again. I tried Glossier's Solution and got pretty into the idea of acid exfoliants. I giggled over all the K-beauty sheet masks. And I resigned myself to the fact that I needed to grow up and start using moisturizer like you're supposed to. I didn't think Solution did much for me in the end, and by the time I was ready to reorder, Glossier was out of stock anyway, so I decided to do some research and found glowing reviews of Mad Hippie's Vitamin C Serum. I should mention that I think the number 1 difference in my skin lately has been the way I've been eating, but I do think this serum is making me a bit more...glowy. I'm pretty obsessed with it.
Acne Spot Treatment
The Incredibly Clear Acne Spot Treatment is...incredibly efficient. If I feel a zit on its way, I dab some of this on before bed, and I can't say it gets rid of the zit immediately (nothing does), but it definitely shortens the length of time said zit stays on my face.
The Origins Ginzing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer/Cream is actually an old favorite from well before I started going all-natural. I think along with Aveda, Origins is like the OG of all-natural beauty products. I first fell in love with this moisturizer when I got a sample and realized it smells like an orange creamsicle. I MEAN... Are you sensing a theme here in the type of scents I like? It is super lightweight and hydrating and I swear by it before bed.
I am going to be rull honest here -- I know we are all in a face mask moment right now, and I love them as much as the next girl, but I am not sure any of them do anything. At least not immediately. If you've found a mask that does show marked results, feel free to tell me I'm wrong. But because I don't see much of a change, I see their value in the fact that doing them is a fun, relaxing 10 minutes of self-care and there is nothing wrong with that. But because that's all it is to me until I'm proven otherwise, I'm not breaking the bank on masking, so I love love love the Yes To line, which is made with fruits and veggies. I particularly love this little trio -- for $4, you get three different masks in one pack -- one to clear your skin, one to calm your skin, and one to make your skin glow. And if you're more of a sheet mask girl, they have versions of those too.
My legs get dry in the winter from the cold and dry in the summer from my inevitable sunburns. For a long time I used some Bath & Body Works body creams because they smelled so nice, but I stopped after a while because I hated going to bed with my legs feeling greasy. So I am delighted to tell you that is NOT a problem with the Acure Lively Lemongrass body lotion. I am truly obsessed with this stuff. It is lighter than a cream but the argan oil in it sinks into your skin by the time you're done brushing your teeth, and it does not feel oily or greasy on the sheets. And I am super into the scent.
Y'all. I know all the influencers are into the Vital Proteins collagen peptides, but TBH, they are hella expensive and I was kind of overwhelmed by the variety available. The grass-fed collagen peptides from Thrive Market (where I am buying lots of my organic staples at a discount) are the same thing. They are tasteless, which is nice in a protein powder which can often taste chalky. I've only been slipping these into my smoothies for a week or two now, so update to come on if I see any differences in my skin, hair, and nails.
You may have noticed there are a number of products not listed. I need your help! Here are the bath and body products I have yet to try in natural brands. Which brands do you like?
- Toothpaste - I'm thinking I'll try Tom's or Dr. Bronner's.
- Makeup - OH GOD WHERE TO START?!
- Laundry detergent - Might as well clean my act up from top to bottom.
- Self-tanner - Does natural self-tanner even exist?
- Sunscreen - For aforementioned sunburns.
- Hair product - I will probably go back to using the Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep. I used it for years to tame the jewfro before Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day lured me away with a sample, but it is a great product and all-natural.
- Purple shampoo - I use the Fanola No Yellow shampoo once a week to keep my balayage looking tight, but it is FULL of chemicals, so please let me know if you know of a natural one.
And the toughest one of all...
- Natural deodorant - I am REALLY skeptical that I can find one that works, and not stinking is really important for someone who works out as much as I do. Nothing pisses me off more than having to breathe in someone's stench all throughout a hot yoga class, so if you know a good one, PLEASE lemme know in the comments or on Insta. Bonus points if it is an effective antiperspirant.
No more parabens, sulfates, or phalates up in this house!