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This is not a modern concept. For eg, our grandmas would have hardly gone to buy skin care things from store, but still they know all the tips and tricks using just kitchen ingredients.For eg. an oil massage before a bath (abhyanga) when followed religiously, will give you a healthy,resilient and glowing skin and can even cure the muscle pains and fatigue.This is the only anti ageing practice you need.Also they used to use wood ash and tamarind for cleaning utensils. They had no peeling skin or harmful chemical residue left on utensils.
But we prefer easy, less time consuming methods or preferably ready to use products that comes packaged.
One thing as consumers, we neglect to do is read the ingredient list of any product, be it your skincare product, food you buy from stores, washing powders, baby products, pet products…anything. We trust the advertisements, and our judging factors are the smell, flavour, cost, packaging of the product and if we are getting any free products when we buy them. In most cases, these factors hold a higher rank than whether we actually need the product?, whether it, in anyway harms us? or rather whether it is sustainable and aids to a healthy lifestyle?
Why should we use these natural products, when what we already use serves the purpose?
Right from the tooth paste we use, to the cosmetics and home care products, everything is just a mix of colours, fragrances, pertoleum by products, chemicals and preservatives. Our skin absorbs upto 60% of what we apply on it and these non-biodegradable chemicals, enters our blood stream or build up on our skin and can cause cancer,infections, fatigue, dizziness, irritate eyes, hormonal imbalance, respiratory problems and in the extreme cases even DNA damage.The fragrance you love the most about these products, are for masking the smell of concoction of chemicals that constitute the product.
Why is it that we have not heard about these ingredients or brands?
Because in our consumerist society advertisements, are the deciding factors for us and we don’t keep our eyes open. In India there are no strict rules or laws to maintain quality or to test toxicity of everyday products and we still rebound to instant noodles, brick powder mixed chili powder and cancerous baby powders eventhough some brands are caught red handed often. Fair and lovely still lures teenagers and there are barely any informed moms who could teach children to make better choices. We don’t have time to research on whether the products we consume are really the only things we consume with it. And later we wonder how that uncle, aunty or colleague who never drinks, smokes or eat outside, still fell sick.
Here are some image from web, that might help you understand how bad it is.
What is the difference between organic and natural?
Organic products have ingredients produced by organic methods defined by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act. But for a natural product there are no regulations on how the ingredients are grown. It is a more generic tag where the product is devoid of artificial color, flavour, preservatives, hormones etc. All organic products are natural, but not vice versa. So be careful when buying products tagged as natural, unless they are from trusted brands. There are many known brands in market that boasts of natural ingredients but have preservatives and chemicals in them. The parabens and synthetic preservatives used in these products increases the shelf life of the product. But it can disrupt the endocrine system of your body. Natural preservatives used in organic products have shorter shelf life, but these freshly made products are like food for your skin. Your skin and body will thank you for it.
Where to start : Right at home. Ditch all your non-natural products at home for a week and see what you can make use of, from kitchen or your garden to replace them. See the difference it makes to your skin and environment. Let me give you some examples.
1. Use few drops of essential oils like lemon grass, tea tree oil mixed in water for repelling insects and bugs.
2. Other fruity or floral essential oils in water for cleaning floors.
3. Aloevera gel or almond oil as moisturizer
4. Green gram powder or crushed hibiscus mix as shampoo
5. Chick pea flour as cleanser
6. Soap berry powder as detergent
7. Use charcoal powder and salt mixed with coconut oil for cleansing the teeth
But are these always practical in our busy lives or do they always seem appealing?
That’s why we have these natural and organic brands that sell pre-made packaged products made of pure ingredients, handmade in small batches and hence has a shorter shelf life compared to products with preservatives..These are available everywhere as these brands sell via websites, local organic stores, social media like Instagram and FB and via online platforms like Amazon and Nykaa.
If you go through my posts,you will see that I always include the link to shop or mention where you can buy the products from.
What lifestyle changes can help your quality of living and the environment?
Do you ever wonder where, all the used plastic tooth brushes and sanitary pads go. In landfills. They don’t degrade and they stay there for ever. So does, the chemical laden water that seeps into the ground from our kitchens and bathrooms, thereby polluting ground water.
Just know that for every product you use there are alternative natural ones. Including your home care products, baby care products, cosmetics like lipsticks (Read the review here)or for men may be things like shaving cream, hair gels, natural deodorants etc.
The water from using the natural detergents, shampoo and cleaners can be reused for watering the plants as these are totally safe and biodegradable. The natural detergents are very mild on skin and cleanses the utensils without leaving any grease or dirt and uses much less water than the heavy duty chemical gels.
Also using sustainable cotton clothes with natural dyes makes huge difference to your lifestyle as well as the environment.
Organic food helps to flush out toxins from your body over a period of time and promotes overall well being.
Using menstrual cups can bring a huge change in women’s well being as well as help the environment .(Read more here)
1. Natural products are not appealing :Many of you might think natural products means ones that smells very herbal, like ayurvedic medicines or something that is of good quality and zero appeal. Let me just bust that bubble now. The concoction of essential oils used in many of the products I have used smells out of the world and even freshens up the room with natural fragrance. Take a look at the soaps below if you don’t believe me. Unlike hot processed industrial soaps, these are cold processed, which means there is no loss of nutrients or quality of natural ingredients. Also these are rich in natural butters, oils, clays,fruit and flower extracts.
2. Organic products are super costly : This is another myth. When you buy a mass produced product from store, you don’t realize that the product itself costs only one fourth of it’s MRP and that you are actually paying for all the marketing and fancy packaging.But for an organic product to be made it involves steps like ethically sourcing quality ingredients, an artisan making fresh batch of products by hand and send with love.
Also you just need a pea size of the product compared to the normal variants. The products are very concentrated and pure that a little goes a long way.There are affordable natural skin care brands as well as high end ones.It depends on the ingredients in the products and the process of making them. But every customer makes a difference for these people unlike the mass producing, cosmetic tycoons.Almost everytime I buy a product, I get hand written notes on how much they appreciate us buying from them. You can consult the makers to have products curated for your needs. They even customize products for your liking.
This is not an overnight change you can bring about in life. Start by reading more on this and make informed choices in life.
Going forward,read the ingredients in all the products you buy and make a conscious choice.Many of these chemicals that are listed might be alien to you. But in this age of technology,the answers are just one click away. Search the ingredient name in web and read about it. Infact you just take your tooth paste/ shampoo or detergent at home and just read about all the ingredients in them. I am pretty sure, you will think twice about using them again.
If you feel this is a tedious process, the alternative is to read my blog posts :)Hope this post was informative.