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My beauty routine May 5, 2010

Filed under: green living — raffydarko @ 10:55 am
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Switching to natural cosmetics has deeply changed my consumption of beauty products. These are my current staples – organic products are in green. Most of them are made in Italy and can be bought on line – Lavera and Weleda on the other hand are German brands and can be found virtually everywhere.

FACE

  • Bjobj make-up remover and tonic all in 1 (very practical, and I use less cotton pads)
  • Bjobj cream for greasy skin (I don’t apply it every single night but the result is still good)
  • Bjobj eye contour cream

HAIR

  • Tea Natura shampoo for greasy hair (I put some in a plastic cup and then dilute it – no need to use a lot)
  • Bjobj conditioner OR
  • Splend’or conditioner (very cheap – not labeled as “organic” but actually presents a good INCI. As I said in my previous post, always read labels!)

I haven’t used a hair-dryer in years – I just keep my hair wrapped up in a towel for an hour after shampooing and then let it dry in the hair. Also in winter, though of course I don’t go outside like this…)

BODY

  • Aleppo soap (a fantastic soap made of laurel and olive oils, makes skin soft, also does wonders for the problematic ones)
  • Cien intimate wash (again, a cheap product with a good INCI, available at German Lidl stores)
  • Weleda anti-cellulite oil
  • Bjobj sea water cream (for a more tonic skin)
  • Mineral deodorant, also known as alum crystal rock (which lasts ages) OR
  • a roll-on regular deodorant

LEG HAIR REMOVAL

  • waxing at the beauty parlour, THEN
  • regular retouches with Silk Epil at home (when hairs are still short and it doesn’t hurt much!)

tip: non-organic (silicone-based) lotions are said to stimulate hair growth. I don’t have proof for this, but I noticed that since I started using organic products, my hairs grow much more slowly…

MAKE UP

  • foundation: mineral – I especially like the intensive f. by Everyday Mineral, which can be bought on line from the States
  • blush: mineral or by the Body Shop
  • eyepencils: Kiko, Rimmel, Urban Decay and others. Unfortunately I still haven’t found an organic eyepencil soft and pigmented enough
  • mascara: Lavera – very smooth and doesn’t clump
 

Regift… paper April 12, 2010

Filed under: green living,saving — raffydarko @ 10:55 am
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When it comes to creativity, I’m a slacker. I’m always afraid of not being too good at making things with my hands… I know it’s silly, since I can’t judge the results of what I haven’t even tried. (I envy ┬ápeople who are able to modify clothes, I should find someone to teach me.)

But at least I can reuse some things as they are. Wrapping paper, for example. I just received some birthday presents with a lovely wrapping which I will surely reuse. The lilac one in the picture is a metallic envelope; the flowery one is made of a very thin paper, with a second layer underneath in burgundy – very classy! It comes from a luxury perfume shop (thanks to myboyfriend for giving me a wonderful niche fragrance). The pink one: genius. It’s tissue, it used to wrap an Easter egg and my very creative almost-sister in law used it to wrap her present. Tissue as wrapping paper is very practical, since it can be ironed before reusing.

 

Goodbye Swiffer! March 29, 2010

Filed under: green living — raffydarko @ 3:26 pm
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I love Swiffer as the next person: it’s a great invention, it’s handy and easy to use, it catches all dust – and who doesn’t hate dust? But it’s disposable, anti-ecological then, and expensive.

I’ve been looking for a cheap alternative, so I was thrilled when in a forum I was given this idea: use pile cloths instead. “Pile”, as an English term used in Italian, indicates a soft textile made 100% of polyester, which is used for sport garments – the correct term should be polar fleece.

Well, being totally synthetic, this textile generates electrostatics, so it really works as well as Swiffer. And of course can be reused and reused after it’s washed. Check out my new colourful Swiffer-surrogates, made from an old scarf!

 

Not so skin deep

Filed under: green living — raffydarko @ 1:19 pm
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It’s almost 10 years since I discovered organic cosmetics. I used to wash my hair with some Garnier shampoo then and I thought the 3 phases treatment by Clinique was the best for my face. Little did I know about what these products contain and I lived peacefully without knowing. But one day I started having problems: my scalp was itching and had crusty spots. The dermatologist I saw prescribed me a shampoo for dermatitis, which didn’t change the situation much.

One day, doing some research on the web, I ran into an e-commerce site which sold shampoos and other cosmetics made with hemp – they were described as lacking in SLS, among other things. SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate: that’s how I found out that shampoos usually contain a large quantity of this substance, a surface-active agent which helps foam forming and is also very irritating. A bell rang. Could that be just the cause of my problems, that I had become intolerant to SLS? I bought some shampoo and conditioner from the site and tried. Well, yes: my dermatitis went away, and moreover my hair, which tends to be greasy, now was shiny and displayed a lovely colour. It didn’t happen immediately, because my scalp had to adapt, sort of, to the new chemicals used on it – which, as I then found out, is quite common. For a while my hair felt heavy after washing, but after the first tries it was like reborn. And the hemp conditioner: pure delight! Apparently hemp is chemically akin to human skin, which makes it a perfect “ally” for our beauty and health.

I gradually changed my whole beauty routine, making some mistakes along the way (a face cream by Lush once filled my face with strange pimples!) but ending up with nice and healthy hair and skin. Organic cosmetics are not cheap, but using them is indeed being a smart consumer. Besides, these products don’t have to be used in large amounts to work and they last long. And – you don’t need to buy many products if you are using some quality ones.

I started getting information about the ingredients of cosmetics, their dangers, and the so-called “natural” alternatives, by reading discussion by experts in dermatology and chemistry and consumers. Now I knew each product has on its label a list of ingredients called INCI, and the position of each ingredient on it varies according to the quantity. It’s laughable, for example, that some shampoos are marketed as “made with extract of the extraordinary flower from New Guinea” when said extract is ingredient number 30 on a long list… (I’m making up the flower but you sure have heard a lot of marketing stunts like this!)

Besides SLS, worst offenders include petrolatum, which comes from petrol (yes) and clog the pores. Traditional foundations abound in petrolatum, which explains why face skin after a while gets greasy. There are hundreds of substances that are better avoided and for different reasons: some are irritating, some pollute the environment, some are of animal origin, some can even be absorbed by our body or be suspected carcinogens. We have to be careful about the matter: there are many hoaxes going around on the web, which somehow belittle the validity of all the studies about the danger in the chemicals of everyday use.

Chemist Fabrizio Zago has compiled a huge directory called Biodizionario, giving his own evaluation of the chemicals found in cosmetics (and cleaners). It can be easily consulted by everyone around the world since it uses a red/yellow/green code. It’s particularly useful for a specific reason: it’s not just the certified organic products which are green – sometimes even a cheap wash or shampoo bought at the grocery store can turn out to be a safe one.

Italian users can find useful information about natural cosmetics in the site Sai Cosa Ti Spalmi and its discussion board (which includes a directory of hundreds of INCIs analyzed by the users). The lazy ones can get started by reading SCTS’s first on line magazine issue, with its clear article about the first steps to knowing organic cosmetics.

It’s nice to know that by treating better our Earth, we can also cuddle ourselves.