Have you noticed the flood of moisturizers for use in the shower? These lotions come in several formulas, from moisturizing washes to rinse-off lotions. The latter confuses me a bit: is it conditioner for skin, or is it creating a protective barrier that clings even when the goop is washed away? And do I want anything that durable anywhere near my living, breathing skin? And what is with the sparkles?
Lotion: the thing we use to replace the moisture we just removed with soap. Soap dries our skin out, and moisturizer – depending on the ingredients – can both replenish the moisture and form a protective barrier.
While I admire the brilliant marketing – even better than meeting a need is creating one – I’m not fooled by the in-showerness of this new product category. Most of these new products contain very cheap ingredients. Despite the pennies that go into production, once they hit the shelves, these products come with some serious sticker shock. They range between $5-9. (Caress is around $5, Dove around $7.) While five bucks may not seem like much, and my healthy alternative is in the same price range, a major difference is that these in-shower moisturizers only provide a handful of uses and mine will last you all month. That is, unless you’re a person who actually follows the “quarter-sized dollop” recommendation. (Does anyone really do this? It’s like the seven chip or two Oreo serving size. Right!)
And with Gatsby Ice Deodorant Shower Lotion, the guys aren’t in the clear, either. (I’m ignoring Nivea on principle.)
Moisturizing on either side of the shower curtain is a bright idea. The key is to moisturize healthily. Despite the “newness” of in-shower lotions, you’ll notice they contain the same ingredients found in most lotions, soaps, bath washes, conditioners and shampoos. These ingredients are typically derived from petroleum or rendered animal fat. Shower lotions are gunked up with mineral oil, a friendly-sounding euphemism for the same stuff that makes plastic and runs cars. Naturally, I’m just dying to get this all over my skin and into my pores. Yum! I bet you are, too! Other petroleum-based products include “baby oil” and “bath oil”.
There’s an alternative that is:
- healthy for you
- healthy for the planet
- rich in vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids
- naturally cleansing and exfoliating
- completely customizable!
Apples, I present, for your savings, health and shower time enjoyment: almond oil.
Almond oil is excellent for your skin. Just a few tablespoons post-soapage will leave your skin glowing and soft all day long. You’ll smell wonderful, too – and naturally so, rather than adding to the office or store potpourri of artificial shampoo, conditioner, lotion, perfume, cologne, deodorant, detergent and aftershave fragrances.
On top of saving money, using something really healthy for you, and looking great, here’s the best part: the personalization factor.
Purchase a few different essential oils at any beauty supply or natural health store (they last forever). Lavender, peppermint, lemon, sandalwood, and cedar are some of the most therapeutic, and are completely sparkle-free. Add a few drops to your almond oil and enjoy!
Great for the girls: floral and food scents (especially citrus and vanilla)
Great for the boys: natural and herbacious scents (but no patchouli, pulllllease!)
And, for a natural, extra-rich skin scrub, try coarse sea salt. It might seem odd at first, but I think slathering the body with all kinds of surfactants and chemicals is really the odd thing. Salt draws out toxins and stress naturally. It can be a little drying, so if you have very dry skin, try fresh shredded coconut instead. I learned these natural tension-busting tips from a masseuse I used to go to after the fast-paced, intense production days on the set of Responsible Health. (Thanks, Brooke!) Whether you’re active all day on a whirling set, logging lots of focused computer-hunching time, or chasing after an energetic toddler, the satisfying rush of productivity becomes stressful to your body as the hours fly by. The salt really melts the stress away!
Note: Don’t bother with the pricey almond oils in beauty stores. Just pick up the one hanging out right next to the olive oil at your grocery store. I also suggest buying vegetable glycerin soaps so your skin doesn’t need so much moisturizer to begin with.
Let me know how you customize your moisturizer. Do you have any natural cosmetic health tips you’d like to share? Tell us!