Natural Products that I’ve Fallen in Love With

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I’ve turned into a girl…and had to buy a kaboodle!

Many of you may have read about parabens, dioxins, and endocrine disruptors that may play a role in influencing my Endometriosis symptoms (plus I’m a dirty hippy deep down inside).  I’ve kind of been on this little crusade since last year to go through my personal products and read the labels and find alternatives that I like as much (if not better). Well, my little collection is growing and I figured I’d share what I’ve fallen in love with during this search.  I’ve still got a few products in my cabinets that I’m looking to replace..but that’ll come eventually.

I’m not being paid or compensated to do these reviews.  These are just products that I’ve discovered and truly enjoy and wanted to pass on the word.  As I bump into more products that I love, I’ll continue to update this page with links and my thoughts…so feel free to come back and check it out.  More info on the products, including their ingredients, can be found on their respective links!

AND if you have a natural product that YOU love, drop the info in the comments section below (maybe I’ll fall in love with it, too!) !

Cleansers:

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  Orglamix Dry Clean Daily Brush Cleanser: I use this pleasant-smelling spray to clean my make-up brushes after every use.  It’s a way of keeping them ungunkified between monthly washes. It contains a lot of essential oils, and a smidgen of alcohol.  Runs about $12.

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  Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner – Made with essential oils, this all-natural disinfectant is a nice way to keep our bathroom clean and germ-free.  This is meant for non-porous surfaces and I can’t stop cleaning my toilet seat and counters anymore. 🙂 It smells great and makes me feel better about my home and health.  Typically runs $4.30 a bottle, but you can find it cheaper at other sources.

Dental Hygiene:

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Dental Floss by Desert Essence – I enjoy the Neem Cinnamint flavor, but they also make a Tea Tree version.  Lots of essential oils to help kill the bacteria between our teeth and gums *yuck*  And I hate flossing… so very much, but I feel better about doing it with this product.  It’s about $4.

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Tooth & Gums Tonic by Dental Herb Company  – my amazing holistic dentist turned me on to this stuff!  Herb extracts, water, and glycerin…and that’s it!  And it’s wonderful!  It lasts forever because a little goes a long way, and gives me incredibly fresh (and bacteria-free) breath.  It’s about $30 for an 18-ounce bottle, but that bottle lasts me a few months.  Seriously concentrated stuff.  And you can have your dentist order you a free sample from their webpage!

Deodorant:

  Truth Serum – I’ve found it!  I’ve used this for almost a month and haven’t had any bad reactions or issues.  And better yet: it hasn’t failed like deodorants in the past!  Meet Truth Serum, a liquid spray you can buy on Etsy.  It’s made of mineral salts and essential oils, and the scent reacts differently for each person.  It’s $14 for a bottle, and I think I’m going to get two months out of this one.  I love it.  Love, love, love it.  And a few friends of mine who use it love it as well.  Be warned: it’s not an antiperspirant, so you will likely still sweat.  But even on hot days, I’ve yet to stink.

Feminine Hygiene:

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Pads by Emerita – These cotton pads are a God-send.  I’ve been stepping away from conventional bleached cotton pads for over a year and have been on a crazy safari looking for an unbleached pad that a) was absorbent, b) didn’t have cute little printed designs or dye on the pad, c) actually stayed in place on my panties, and d) wasn’t as thick as a tree-trunk.  These…do all of those things for me.  Emerita also makes pantyliners, tampons, and an overnight pad.  These run about $10 a pack.

Laundry:

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  Anders Farms wool dryer balls – All natural, unscented, undyed wool balls that replace those chemical-laden dryer sheets.  They soften clothes and soak up moisture, so your clothes dry even faster!  I toss 8 balls into the dryer with a large load…or 3 balls with a small load.  Anders Farms sells these on Etsy for 3 balls for $10 or 5 balls for $15.  They supposedly last about 1,000 loads of laundry!  AND if you’d feeling really fiesty, you can add a few drops to essential oil to each balls a few hours before using them for a bit of scent (I haven’t tried this yet…).

Make-up:

Growing up, I never wore make-up.  My cousin’s boyfriend did my make-up for my senior prom, my friend did my wedding make-up when I was 21, and I’ve literally owned the same tiny travel case full of crusty, well-expired make-up for nearly a decade.  I’m a Tom Boy, but am now beginning (in my late-30’s) to embrace make-up and the fun of it all…plus I want to cover my zits…

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Orglamix au naturel mascara  – This is the first mascara I’ve ever tried that doesn’t make my eyes burn. I told you I’m sensitive! HA!  Anyway – I bought it in “espresso” and it looks fantastic! It has great coverage (I usually only need one coat), it doesn’t clump or make those horrible little spider legs, and I don’t find it on my face in the middle of the day in little specks of mascara-dust!  It’s not waterproof, so if you’re prone to turning on the waterworks, may not be the best choice for you.  But I’m hooked. It’s $20 and it’s not a full-size tube (but it’s not small either)…well worth the money just so my eyes don’t burn and I feel good about what’s going onto my lashes.

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  Orglamix Chroma Lip Shift – I figured I’d try out this new product ’cause…why not?  It’s pitched as a color-shifting iridescent lip gloss…and IT is!  I purchased the color Bewitchment, which is a blend of mauves, roses, silvers, and blues.  This handy-dandy pen-type dispenser works with a spin of a dial and product fills the brush.  Word of warning: don’t add too much product to the brush! That was my mistake!! Smooshed it all over way too thick. Ha!  BUT, just one or two clicks will suffice and a little goes a long way.  I wear mine over my Fate lip gelee and it adds such a deep richness and subtle shimmer! And it feels super moisturizing and stays on well.  I love it!  And the little brush applicator is perfect! Keeps my finger clean, pop the lid back on, and keeps my purse clean, too 🙂  But at $19 a piece, the price is a little steep for me.

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     Orglamix eye primer – I had no idea what primer was…let alone that my eyes needed their very own primer!  I tried bareMinerals eye primer, but found it gunky, hard, and sticky.  Orglamix’s primer goes on smooth, isn’t sticky, and it’s natural (my favorite part!).  My shadow stays put all day, looks vibrant, and my eyes feel great.  $15 for a 10g pot.

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Orglamix eye shadow – I’ve tried the loose mineral eye shadow – very different than the packed shadows I played around with over the years.  Tap a little into a lit, transfer to your brush (or finger) and apply.  They also offer pressed or cream shadows.  You can leave it subtle, or layer it on for a *pop* of color!  There are oodles and oodles of shades to choose from…it’s kind of a new addiction.  $12 for a pot, or you can get a sampler (you choose up to 3 colors and get a brush set) for $22 here.

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  Orglamix HD powder – A finishing powder to lock make-up in place and make those fine lines and wrinkles disappear.  This replaced my bareMinerals mineral veil.  Also gives my skin an airbrushed appearance and smoothness.  I love it!  And if I get a bit of an oily sheen throughout the day, I just poof some of this on and *magic*…$24 for a 6.5g pot.

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  Orglamix Lip & Cheek Gelee – these two shades came to me as a gift.  Incredibly smooth, creamy, hydrating lip and cheek tints.  The colors are very, very subtle, despite their vibrancy in the pots…and I love them.  And their scent is so light, yet pleasant.  I’ve recently received the “Fate” color in an Orglamix Mystery Bag and I am infatuated with the color!! Runs for $18 for a 10g pot.

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     Orglamix lip balm -Okay…of all the products I’ve found since beginning my Natural Scavenger Hunt: these are my favorite.  The most amazing lip balms I’ve ever tried in my life! And I consider myself a connoisseur of lip balms!  These are incredibly hydrating, my lips feel rejuvenated and nourished, my lips don’t peel AT ALL anymore, they’re soft, supple, and movie star lips!  The flavors are fun and incredible!  You can get a grab bag of 5 random flavors for $16.  I can’t shut-up about these!

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  Orglamix miracle worker color corrector cream – I received this as part of my Orglamix Mystery Bag.  It’s a creamy concealer that hides discolorations such as blemishes, blood vessels, dark circles, and freckles.  Just a little dab’ll do ya!  So far I really like it!

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   Orglamix “plump up the volume” lip plumper –  ooOOooooOoooh! This contains all kinds of oils that not only hydrate your lips, but puckers them up just a bit.  Buyer beware: heavy cinnamon and anise flavors…and if you’re like me, you tend to lick your lips.  I like to apply this plumper to my bottom lip, smoosh my lips together, wait a few minutes for the tingly effect, and I follow it up with some lip balm or tint.  Kissably soft, a slight plumping, tingly-goodness, and masks bad breath.  And my favorite tiny detail?  The vial is glass!  I’ve also had no issues with it leaking in my purse or pocket.  One of these runs about $12.50.

Paper Goods:

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  Natural Value Bathroom Tissue – Unbleached, undyed, no fragrance added, AND made from 100% recycled product! What more could a pseudo-hippy chic ask for?!  Figure if I’m changing my feminine hygiene products, may as well change my TP, too!  Granted, it’s not as soft as Charmin, but it’s also not stiff and scratchy 🙂  Feels good, gets the job done, is two-ply (yes!!), and is safe for sewers and septic systems.  Four double rolls ran me about $4.60 on Vitacost.  I’ll keep this stocked!

Sex!:

  Chiavare Personal Moisturizer – aka an all-natural, vegan, gluten-free lube!  You can read my full review here.  I just love it.  A .5ml bottle runs about $10.  The 3.5oz bottle is about $30.  My husband loves it, I love it…it’s well worth the price!

Skincare:

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   Orglamix Beauty Balm – Finally!! A facial lotion that doesn’t leave me greasy by the end of the day! I LOVE IT!  You can also blend it with your favorite loose powder mineral foundation to make a liquid foundation, but I haven’t done that yet.  This is awesome.  Runs about $21 a bottle, which lasts me a month.

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   Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap – I have loved Doc Bronners’ soap going on seven years now!  It lasts FOREVER! It’s an incredibly versatile product (housecleaning and body cleaning!), and a little bit goes a really, really, really long way.  AND minty-tingliness to wake me up in the morning.

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 Konjac sponge – this natural bamboo & charcoal konjac sponge has since replaced my facial brush and washcloths.  It’s a nice way to exfoliate my dry and … blackheady face.  It’s a vegetable fiber sponge, which I soak in water for a few minutes before using.  It’s soft, yet scrubby, and can be used for 2 to 3 months (with proper care) before having to toss it.  This one runs about $12.50.

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  Now Foods red Moroccan clay  – this is relatively new to my regimen, but so far it’s fantastic!  There’s one ingredient: Montmorillonite (a natural mineral silicate).  Just add water and *poof* an amazing clay that tightens my skin and sucks out my blackheads.  I bought mine for $5.

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  Orglamix Beauty Box – A monthly subscription box of that boasts between 4-6 Orglamix products!  Each one is a full-size product!  And every month the themes are different!  I received the March 2017 beauty box as a gift (squee!) and it contained 1) pineapple & papaya enzyme mask, 2) a bronzing hair/body oil, 3) a bath bomb, 4) a little pot of solid perfume, and 5) an eyeshadow pot.  Items found in the Beauty Boxes are often limited editions and not sold on Orglamix’s site.  A subscription is $29 per month, but you get a discount if you pay for more than one month at a time.

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  Orglamix Milky Jelly Cleanser – I’ve recently replaced my Andalou 1,000 Roses foaming facial cleanser for Orglamix’s milky jelly cleanser.  I love that I can pronounce all of the ingredients!  It comes in a 1oz glass bottle (yay for not plastic!), and all I use is 2 squirts on my fingertips.  It comes out a thick cream, but you rub it on your face and it rubs into an invisible oil.  I gently exfoliate with a damp cloth and rinse will cold water.  My skin is soft, clean, and well-taken care of.  My first time trying this, I was doubtful…c’mon – it’s OILY!  Um…nope.  I tested it by following my face wash with toner…and the cotton pad was clean and perfect.  Now I don’t even follow-up with toner.  My skin is so happy!  $12 for the 1oz bottle and one bottle lasts me about a month.

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  Orglamix Mojo– I received this Mojo as a gift as well.  It’s a serum that’s packed full of good extracts and antioxidants to help fight sun damage and the signs of aging.  I use 1 pump, and pat it into my face, and let it dry – follow it with my usual moisturizer.  (Update: 3/10/17, After using it twice a day for seven days, I can tell you that my rock-hard, deep red zits have calmed down dramatically and are barely even visible and not painful at all!!  My skin is soft.  And it may just be the placebo effect…or the serum…but I truly feel like my crow’s feet are getting…softer…less dramatic.)  This runs $52 for a 1oz bottle.

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  Orglamix Spot Remove Acne Treatment – Okay, I’ve waited a week before reviewing this product.  And what a week: our Endometriosis Awareness Walk was last Saturday, I’ve started my period a few days ago, AND our wedding is this Saturday.  Of all times to break out with stress zits…this is the time!  So, I’ve been using this spot treatment (it comes in a roller) twice a day.  My zits aren’t growing, their redness is gone, and they’re shrinking.  It has my gratitude!  One little glass roller-jar costs about $11.

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 Out of Africa lemon verbena hand cream – I’ve never been one to get into the habit of lotioning my hands.  But this winter has been rough on my hands and my nails are peeling and it’s…awful.  So I did some research and bought this hand cream. It’s luxurious heaven in a bottle…but man is it expensive! $10 for a tiny bottle…I may end up looking for something similar since my budget doesn’t enjoy that price tag…but man…it feels fantastic and soaks in so well into my hands.

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   Orglamix Cuticle Oil Pen – These self-contained little “pens” have a brush on one end, oil in the middle, and a clicker knob on the other end.  Each click dispenses just a wee bit of oil onto the brush, which you then brush on your cuticles (or anywhere else that may need a little extra hydrating attention).  I use this on my cuticles after I wash my hands – since my cuticles are dry and tearing.  So far, so good!  Each pen runs about $8.  I received the Starfruit Pear scent in an Orglamix Mystery Bag.  And since it’s self-contained, I can carry it around in my purse without any worry of spillage!!! *woot*

Products that I’m still using (or at least using up) that I may eventually replace:

Sensodyne toothpaste (although I need this for my sensitive teeth, so not sure will be able to replace.  On the plus side: no parabens!); and,

Tizo facial mineral sunscreen.

**Updated April 12, 2018**

If you noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with Orglamix…I can’t help it : it’s run by this amazing stay-at-home mom named Cheri who offers incredible (and very personal) customer service!  And amazing, all-natural products.  I love supporting small businesses…and becoming healthier at the same time!

Truth, Theory, or Tall Tale?

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Environmental toxins may play a role in the development and progression of Endometriosis?

Truth

Do I sound like a dirty hippy?  Maybe.  But there are a lot of theories out there about what may cause or influence Endometriosis.  But scientific studies have been long-published, and are also newly-emerging, that support the evidence that environmental toxins play a role in Endo’s development and progression.

A study published in the 2015 book “Endometriosis A Comprehensive Update” discusses just those factors.  The abstract states, “[h]uman exposure to toxins is often unavoidable, but measures including a detailed history taken by clinicians and lifestyle changes can help detect and limit exposure and assist in the body’s detoxification processes. Growing evidence suggests a possible link between endometriosis and environmental pollutants.”

So I may sound like a dirty hippy, which is okay by me, but the chemicals and toxins that we expose our bodies to may very well play a role in the progression of this disease.  You may want to do a little bit more digging on this subject.

Tampons : Taboo ?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe History o’the Tampon:

The Egyptians used softened papyrus as a makeshift tampons and the Greeks used lint wrapped around wood.  Other materials used in the past were wool, paper, plant fibers, sponges, grass, and cotton.

Early tampons available to women in the 1920s did not have an applicator.  Some had to be removed by actually reaching in and handling the cotton or gauze tampon, while others had strings for easy removal.  In 1929, Dr. Earl Haas invented a stringed tampon with an applicator.  He filed for the patent in 1931 (a portion of which can be seen here), and later trademarked the name “Tampax.”  The rights and product were then purchased by Gertrude Tendrich, who founded the Tampax company.  And in 1936, the first Tampax ad was launched and a package of 10 tampons cost a whopping 35 cents!  You can view the ad here. There are a lot more tampons on the market to choose from, some with applicators (cardboard or plastic), some without, some organic, some with odor control, some without.

Do Tampons Contain Dioxins and Other Harmful Chemicals:

Some people believe that exposure to dioxins increases your changes of developing Endometriosis.  Dioxins are a carcinogen byproduct of manufacturing pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and paper. This has caused many women to pursue a natural and healthy lifestyle, avoiding as much exposure to environmental toxins and dioxins as possible.

The FDA assures the public that due to newer standards and processing procedures, the amounts of any dioxin levels found in today’s tampon products are safe.  “…dioxin levels in the rayon raw materials for tampons are reported to be at or below the detectable limit of the state-of-the-art dioxin assay, i.e., approximately 0.1 to 1 parts per trillion. FDA’s risk assessment indicates that this exposure is many times less than normally present in the body from other environmental sources, so small that any risk of adverse health effects is considered negligible. A part per trillion is about the same as one teaspoon in a lake fifteen feet deep and a mile square.”

Deodorizing or artificially scented tampons may contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer and birth defects.  Many cotton crops in the United States are routinely sprayed with pesticides; cotton which is then transformed into your tampons.  Additionally, many people are concerned that non-organic tampons or pads contain cotton from GMO crops.

Regardless of the FDA’s public announcement that tampons are safe, legislative efforts are ongoing for additional regulation and research.  Tampon safety concerns have been raised before the Congressional House in 1997 and again brought in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, and in 2014.  Each of these acts was brought forth by New York 12th District Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. Her bill would seek further research about dioxins and other chemicals found in tampons and encourages the FDA to further scrutinize the the materials and toxicity levels of feminine hygiene products and to better inform the public about any potential risks.  Keep up the good work, Congresswoman Maloney.  If you would like to write Congresswoman Maloney, you may reach her at one of her several offices, which can be located at the bottom of her page here.

Additionally, there is a petition on Change.org to force manufacturers of tampons and pads to fully disclose their ingredients on their packaging.  If you wish to review and/or sign the petition, you can locate it here.

Retrograde Menstruation:

Many physicians believe Endometriosis is caused by retrograde menstruation.  Think of a backwards period.  Menstrual blood in your uterus flows backward, through your Fallopian tubes, escaping out into your pelvic cavity.  The endometrial cells contained in that blood stick to your pelvic cavity and organs, grow, bleed, and cause adhesions.  There have been several studies on retrograde menstruation, and oddly enough not every woman who has retrograde menstruation has Endometriosis.

Many people have voiced questions and concerns if using tampons blocks the natural flow of menses, forcing it to back-up and cause retrograde menstruation.  And many people do not believe that retrograde menstruation is a cause of Endometriosis.  And yet others believe that the use of tampons lessens the risk of developing Endometriosis.  An interesting response by the Endometriosis Research Center can be read here regarding the findings that tampon-use reduces the risk of developing Endometriosis.  The truth is : nobody really knows.

What Am I Going to Do:

I have a unique situation: I have two cervix; a left and a right.  During my teens and 20s, I didn’t know I had two cervix.  And always “bled around” my tampons: the string would be filthy, my clothing would be ruined, but generally the cotton was unused and…not completely bloodied.  In my 30s, I was told I have the two fully-functioning cervix.  And my physician encouraged me to try using two tampons.  And *voila* it worked.

But since reading all that I’ve read about Endometriosis, chemicals, and healthy living, I’ve made the switch to organic pads.  If using tampons increases my exposure to dioxins or other chemical toxins, or even increases the risk of retrograde menstruation, I’m not going to take those risks.  And if they don’t increase any of those risks or exposures, who cares?  I’ll be living healthier anyway with organic, unbleached goodness.

I have yet to take the step to washable/reusable fabric pads.  I just remember seeing a menstrual pad belt  when I was a kid and it was…horrifying.  And that’s all I can think of when I think of these new (easy and convenient) washable pads.  But who knows? Maybe I’ll get tired of spending money on disposables and take the plunge!

What about you? Want to chime in? Drop a comment below 🙂

Resources:

About.com

Bloomin’ Uterus

Caronlyn B. Maloney

Change.org

Congress.gov

Congress.gov – second link

Endometriosis Research Center

Estronaut.com

Mercola.com

Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health

Naturally Savvy

Naturopathic Doctor News & Review

Sciencedirect.com

Swarthmore College Computer Society

United States Food and Drug Administration

United States Food and Drug Administration – second link

United States Patent and Trademark Office

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa