Thursday, 5 January 2012

My Body Care Resolution/Revolution


No? Me neither!

But they (whatever they are), along with 30 other ingredients I can't pronounce, are in the moisturizer I used to use, and they could very well be in yours too.

I know that what we put on our bodies is absorbed into our bloodstream. That means, that AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLwhatever.......  is (or hopefully *was*) in my bloodstream. My moisturizer also contained METHYLPARABEN,  which has been found in many breast cancer tumours.

This scares the crap out of me.

I, like so many other North Americans wants to have soft, smooth skin. But at what cost? I, naively, have always just thought that Health Canada would be looking out for my best interest and would not allow dangerous ingredients to be added to products sold in Canada. WRONG! Upon doing some research, there are literally thousands of ingredients that are used in products sold in Canada that have not even been tested, let alone studied for years and years to determine long term effects and dangers.


I don't typically make New Year's resolutions. But last year, I did.

My goal was to make-over my body care products. I've been trying for years to "green" my products, but this time I was going to take it to a new level.

Here was my criteria for the big make-over:

  • Products had to contain ALL *natural ingredients, preferably with mostly (if not all) edible oils and butters, etc.
  • Products must contain a minimal number of ingredients (5 or less) to reduce fossil fuel consumption required to source ingredients from around the world.
  • Products must be 100% biodegradable, because after all, it all ends up in the water system!
  • Products must contain minimal packaging, and no (or very minimal) plastic.
  • Products must score a '1' or less on Skin Deep's Cosmetic Database.
*Natural can be defined a number of ways, but to me, it means ingredients derived from nature, particularly oils, butters and extracts (preferably edible) that are in their purest and least processed form possible. I know that is vague, and that crude oil is 'natural', but that is a post for another day:)

So, the first few months of my make-over was quite depressing really. My search for such products was a complete failure. Many *natural* products I found were crazy expensive, had one or two (or more) suspect ingredients such as "flavor" or "fragrance" and still contained lots of ingredients and/or excess packaging. I just wasn't satisfied.

So, I decided to make my own products! Yes, I was going to stand in my kitchen until my feet and back ached trying recipe after recipe, tweaking batch after batch, until I made something that was 'just right'. It meant lots of research and perseverance, but one day it all clicked.

At first, I thought this product I had made was perfect for my baby's bottom. It was smooth and creamy; created a light barrier to protect his skin and took care of the thrushy rash he would get every so often. I was amazed! So then, I started slathering it over his whole body after his baths, and on his chapped cheeks and red chin when he was especially 'drooly'. I started using it on myself too. My upper arms have always been 'bumpy', I often get razor burn, and I always have dry lips. After just a couple uses, my arms were smooth, itchy red razor burn was gone and my lips were soft. And, best of all, it was just 3 ingredients: Organic Fair Trade Coconut oil, Local Beeswax and Vitamin E.

I knew I wanted to green my products, and in the process found a way to reduce the number of products too. And not just a little either! My two major players in this process were Ancient Winds Naturals "All Purpose Salve" made by yours truly and my business partner, Raquel; and Norwex body cloths, another 'green' body care must have, in my books!

Here are the stats:

By using my All Purpose Salve and body cloths, I have now replaced a total of 8 products. EIGHT!

Lip Balm - 19 ingredients
Makeup remover -  I seldom use this as I typically go 'au naturel', but it did get used sometimes, so I will include it in the count -16 ingredients
Facial moisturizer - 33 ingredients
Facial cleanser - 52 ingredients (yes, really, this is not a typo!)
Body lotion - 10 ingredients
Baby lotion - 11 ingredients
Diaper ointment - 17 ingredients
Antiseptic ointment for cuts & scrapes - 9 ingredients

For a grand total of 167 ingredients.


I'm kind of saddened by this. And disgusted. At the system. At myself.

I had bought into this idea that I needed all of this stuff. Yes, I live in a dry climate. Yes, my baby sometimes gets a sore bum. But really? 167 ingredients in 8 products?

I can't believe that not only did I buy into this notion that we need to have many products to achieve nice skin, but I also, for a short time, promoted it. When I was newly married just over 6 years ago, I lived in a new city where I had no friends. I signed up for a popular multi-level marketing skin care company in order to meet people and hopefully generate some income too. I followed along doing what I was told; selling and recruiting; and I quickly did quite well. The whole idea was getting people to buy more and more products! And the product really worked, so it was easy to sell. The main skin care line was four separate products, then there was the under-eye cream, microdermabrasion, and on and on. I was selling skin care systems to women that easily contained hundreds of chemicals.

I told women that they needed this.

Now I am telling them that they don't.

I'm not saying women shouldn't care about how they look; I am saying that women (and men) should care about what they are putting on (and ultimately in) their bodies.

I also had a pivotal moment when a lady in my 'up line' suggested I should be using the product that creates a more even complexion. I told her that I didn't want to lose my freckles, to which she replied, "you like your freckles?" I was taken aback and it really hit home for me that this simply was not the gig for me. I liked who I was, freckles and all and I wanted to empower other women, not make them feel inadequate. I am grateful, though, for that moment, as it was my cue to move on. And I have moved on and have completely removed all of their toxic products from my skin care regimen as well. When we know better, we do better.

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." - Hans Hofmann

For myself and my family, I wanted to find something that really works. I wanted something that contained few ingredients. I wanted to use fewer products. I wanted my products to be packaged in a responsible way. I wanted to be able to feel good about the ingredients in my products. Period.

And, I achieved that. Not in the way I thought I would; but I did it!

My bathroom is much less cluttered and when I travel, my bag is much lighter. And I have no doubt, my body is less toxic!

And it has, seemingly overnight, blossomed into a thriving business. I honestly feel like we are not just adding another product into the already saturated body care market, but rather promoting a lifestyle that is about simplicity, conscious living and using less. In turn, I hope that in using our All Purpose Salve, people can use fewer products overall; which means less waste, less plastic, less clutter and fewer toxins, in our bodies and on our planet. And people can also feel good about what they are putting on their bodies, and their precious children as well. To me, it just feels 'right'!

With gratitude,

If you would like to learn more about our All Purpose Salve and all 28+ ways to use it,  "Like" us on Facebook! We also update regularly with ideas and information on safe cosmetics and body care, conscious living, new retail locations, giveaways, and product updates.

If you are already using our salve, we would love to hear from you!


Based on my experience, your body care resolution is great and amazing. I think that avoiding such harmful chemicals on going to your bloodstream is good. I should also check the contents of my beauty products.
I was recently given a tube of cream manufactured by L'Occitane as a gift and as a vegan, started researching the ingredients. One of them was hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloydmethyl taurate, which sounds bovine-related...which is why I typed it into my search engine...and arrived here. L'Occitane are a ludicrously expensive brand and it saddens me to learn that the romantic illusion conjured up from memories of watching Manon de Sources and Jean dear Florette that their marketing achieves is bullshit. I'm pretty sure their recipes were far better before all these chemicals were put into their products. It's possible to make great creams and lotions at home without any chemicals and they smell, feel and work better too. I tried this L'Occitane cream on my face and right now it feels uncomfortable. I usually just use plain coconut oil and am about to rinse off the rip off gunk and get out my jar of Aldi coconut oil. Yep, Aldi- and it smells better too ;-) Your products look great. It's good to see someone promoting a sensible and non-violent cosmetic concept which should be normal to us; debrainwashing people into realising they don't need this horrible stuff is so important. Animal testing too; for goodness sake, if products contained only natural, safe ingredients then there would no longer be an excuse to torture animals...

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