You know you should avoid phthalates, parabens, triclosan and other antibacterials, and synthetic fragrances in the products you put on your body. But that begs the question: What ingredients do you want?
We’ve teamed up with EcoFriendlySpot.com, an online organic marketplace, to help you figure that out, starting with this list of 5 Fabulous Organic Body Oils and Butters that will make your soap, lotion, cosmetics, and other personal care products safer to use and enjoy.
NOTE: The pictures accompanying the organic body oils and butters descriptions are posted as an example of what’s available in the marketplace and not intended to be product endorsements per se.
Shea Butter – Shea butter is the rich fat extracted from the nut of the African karate tree. Naturally infused with Vitamin A, it is off-white or ivory-colored, and very emollient and moisturizing. You’ll come across it in lip gloss, hand creams and body lotions, hand and body soap, and hair conditioners. But it is also sold on its own, to use directly to treat cracked and dry skin or to revitalize split ends.
Though it is edible, it has a very strong and distinct flavor that may require some getting used to. But you don’t need to eat it to benefit from its soothing properties! NOTE: In some cases, a dangerous chemical called hexane is used to process the karate tree nuts into shea butter. When shopping, choose “100% Pure,” hexane-free butter, or look for products whose ingredients, including shea butter, are certified organic.
Argan Oil – This oil is derived from the kernels of Morocco’s argan tree, Argania spinosa L. Getting to the oil is a labor-intensive process; the kernels lie inside a fruit that must be dried in the open air, then removed out of the nut or pit inside.
Though in some cases the kernels are roasted to produce a nutty-scented oil for cooking, the oil used in personal care products comes from simply cracking the kernels open. But it’s worth the trouble. It is safe to use and very moisturizing!
Essential Plant Oils – Many lotions and soaps get their appealing but artificial smell from synthetic fragrances that contain phthalates, chemicals that can disrupt our hormonal system. Essential plant oils are the natural oils retrieved from real flowers and herbs, like rose, lavender, geranium, bergamot, citronella, orange, lemon, peppermint, pine…and many, many more.
If you have a favorite scent and like to smell it in your soap or lotion, look for it or its latin name when you’re reading the ingredients list on the product label. Auracacia, an essential oils producer, has put together an “Essential Oil Directory” that lists many plant oils and describes that they smell like and how best to use them.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has emerged as one of the best natural and organic body oils to use because it is so versatile. I use it to: remove make-up, moisturize dry skin, condition my hair, help heal cuticles, moisten my lips…and that doesn’t even get to its uses in the kitchen, where it is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to corn and vegetable oil that might be tainted with GMOs.
Coconut oil is terrific on its own, but is also an important ingredient in lotions and soap. By the way, don’t let the word “oil” mislead you if you decide to keep a jar in your bathroom. Coconut oil is usually sold in solid, buttery form, which makes it easy to apply.
Almond Oil – This sweet and fragrant oil is a mainstay in many lip balms, body lotions, hand creams, bar soaps, shampoos and conditioners. It’s rich in Vitamin E as well as other vitamins and minerals, and because it comes from an edible almond plant, you can use it in cooking and baking as well. Plus, it’s a favorite of massage therapists worldwide. Add a couple of drops to your own favorite lotion or cream, or look for it as an ingredient in pre-formulated personal care products.
What’s on your list of favorite organic body butters and oils? Please share!