Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
A few years ago, I wrote a long post listing cosmetics, soaps, and other personal products made with healthy, non-toxic ingredients. It’s a sad thing when you basically have to assume the worst about the average product designed to be slathered all over the largest organ of your body—your skin. But that’s the situation in which we find ourselves now.
Today’s post is an update of sorts. What products am I using? Which ones have I used? And are there any others that I can safely recommend? It won’t be as comprehensive as the last one. It will be more personal.
In fact, let’s just go through an average day and week of personal product use. I’m pretty spartan, as you’ll see. I’ll also include other products I like (but might not always use) where applicable.
I wake up and brush my teeth. I don’t use toothpaste usually, just a swish of hydrogen peroxide while brushing. For guests and those times I do feel like toothpaste, I’ll use something like Squigle Tooth Builder or Claybrite. Squigle uses xylitol to discourage pathogens from setting up shop and adds minerals that presumably aid in re-mineralization. Claybrite also uses xylitol but throws in mineral-rich clay.
I take a shower. Most of my showers are water only. Maybe I’ll wash the armpits and other hidden regions if the situation calls for it, using AOBiome’s Mother Dirt Face and Body Cleanser (if I’m not very dirty) or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap (if I am). Mother Dirt Face and Body Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that doesn’t destroy your precious skin biome. Dr. Bronner is that soap that comes in the crazy bottle featuring a veritable infographic. Both use inoffensive ingredients.
I spend so much time in the ocean or my saltwater pool and hot tub that I’m not ever really “filthy” enough to require a full-body scrub down. As long as you’re not just sitting in your own filth for days on end, you can get away with going easy on the soap.
About once a week I’ll shampoo my hair with AOBiome’s Mother Dirt Shampoo. Like the body wash, the stuff is designed to cleanse without negatively impacting the live surface bacteria living on your scalp. It actually supports your native skin bacteria, helps it do its job. Each ingredient was hand-picked and independently verified not to destroy the skin biome.
The next two bits will draw gasps of disbelief. That’s okay.
Next, I shave. Do I dip an oak-handled lathering brush into a mason jar of bespoke artisanal shaving cream? Do I slather on the Primal Kitchen avocado oil? Does it involve coconut? Pastured egg white meringue, perhaps?
Nope (although I do use the avocado oil for something which I’ll get to later). I use good ol’ Gillette Foamy, the same stuff I’ve used since I was 14 years old. Old habits die hard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t obsess over everything. Nothing—and no one—in this life is pristine.
Then I apply a little Bleu de Chanel deodorant under my arms. It provides enough fragrance that I never have to use cologne. I’ve also used Primal Pit Paste and Schmidt’s. Both work well and have great ingredients—and I have them both in my medicine cabinet—but i’m just so used to the Chanel. Once, when I was camping, forgot my deodorant, and really needed it, I mixed equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Worked great, albeit messily.
And finally, a couple times a week I’ll spray myself all over with the Mother Dirt Mist and Live Probiotic Body Spray, which colonizes your body with the same ammonia-consuming bacteria abundant in soil and fresh water. Ammonia is the smelly byproduct of skin bacteria. It’s what makes us stink. Back when the product was just coming out, a NY Times writer tried it for a few weeks, foregoing soap, shampoo, and deodorant entirely. Her skin improved. Since she was no longer washing away natural oils, she was more moisturized than before. She had a smell, but not a bad one. Just a “natural” one.
Another benefit of using this spray is that the bacteria convert ammonia into nitric oxide, which our body uses for endothelial health and general vascular function. More nitric oxide, better blood flow. I’ve noticed a definite effect.
To style my hair, I don’t really do a whole lot. I find that the constant exposure to salt water really helps my hair stay manageable sans product (beach hair is best hair). If anything, I might tousle it with a little avocado oil and towel dry it. Once every few days I’ll use a tea tree oil gel.
Another “hair product” I do endorse is collagen powder. Ever since I started taking 20-40 grams of collagen every day to help heal my Achilles tendinitis, I noticed a strange but welcome side effect: stronger, thicker hair.
If I’m spending a long time in the sun and need sunblock, I use Epicurean. It contains zinc oxide, a physical barrier to UVB and UVA (for when you’ve had enough of each). If you’re going to use sunblock, just pick one that uses zinc. They don’t exactly rub in and disappear like typical sunblocks, which is why they’re so much safer.
I’ve also heard good things about Feather Eagle Sky skincare products and oils.
As you can see, I’m not big on personal care products. I use what I like, and I tend to use them sparingly. But I know many readers have been curious, and many of you are probably experts in your own right, so let’s hear it:
What do you use?
What do you endorse?
What’s missing from my list?
Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!