Although I have been concerned with nutrition since I was very young - for some reason I never had the "I'm invincible" mentality that a lot of youth have - it was only around the time that I became pregnant with Big A that I began to worry about the effects that things I put on (perfume, shampoo, soaps, etc.) or near (house cleaning products) my body, rather than just in it, might have on my health.
Since then, we have switched to using only all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products in our home without much difficulty, but finding affordable, effective personal care products has proven more challenging.
I now use only Live Clean hair products and a few years ago stopped wearing my beloved French perfume (Angel by Thierry Mugler). This is because I read that it was full of carcinogenic compounds and anything that is inhaled gives me particular concern. But I LOVE perfume and I have not yet found anything "natural" that compares.
Last year I purchased a series of perfume samples made in small batches from organic ingredients from a woman in British Columbia. I hated ALL of them. First off, they all smelled the same to me, and secondly they all smelled like Pinesol. Since then I've been using the Red Tea Source scent made by Roots.
I have managed to discover some lovely bath and body products made by Lush Cosmetics.
Lush is a British company that has actually been around for a long time. They have stores in 43 different countries across the world.
Unfortunately, I was turned off of it years ago by the overly soapy smell of the stores, and my memory of buying a fairly expensive bar of soap with a short shelf life that ended up having to be thrown away before I was finished with it. Fine for folks with money burning holes in their pockets, but not for someone like me who has spent the vast majority of my life being a student.
So when I received a huge free swag bag of Lush products at a Wychwood Barns (one of the biggest gems in our community: www.wychwoodbarnscommunity.ca) natural living event, I brought it home and threw it in the closet without much thought. It was only a few weeks later when I ran out of body moisturizer, that I pulled out the bag and looked inside. Fortunately, the products had not yet hit their expiry date, and the shelf life is definitely longer than what it was on products I purchased in the past.
I spied their Vanilla Dee-Lite body lotion and eagerly decided to give it a try, since vanilla is one of my favorite scents.
The verdict? It is dreamy! For the first few days, I kept wondering who it was around me that smelled so good...until I realized it was me! It is rich and moisturizing, without being too greasy or heavy. I used it up quickly.
Next I broke open the Dream Cream, a rich body lotion perfect for dry winter weather. This stuff is great for preventing dry, itchy winter skin. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a nice, perfumey scent, but rather, since one of the first ingredients is extra virgin olive oil, it has more of a "salad dressing" aroma.
To prevent the usual chapping and cracking of my fingers that I usually get in winter time, I have been using their Lemony Flutter on my hands before bed. This product is very effective and has a delicious lemon candy-like scent.
The last product I received was their Creme Anglaise, another rich hand and body moisturizer. I love this one too, and it has a very pleasant scent thanks to the almond oil, vanilla, myrrh and orange oil it contains.
All of the company's products are 100% vegetarian and are never tested on animals. They also offer discounts and incentives for returning the pots and bottles to the store so that they can be recycled.
After discovering how much I love these products, I checked out their website and found out that they have a whole line of natural perfumes, as well as other yummy-looking products, and they are very reasonably priced. I have almost finished my Roots Source Red Tea perfume, so I plan to head down to one of their Toronto stores in the next few weeks to do some testing of their scents. I'll keep you posted if I fall in love!