substitutions #1 – what worked, what didn’t?

Slowly, over the past two weeks, I’ve been making changes to my skincare and make-up routine. I’ve weeded out the bad (toxic, unpronounceable chemical-laden products) and begun to replace them with more natural (often vegan) products. It’s not been a perfect transition, by any means, and there have been some hiccups along the way…

OK, surely a first world problem, but giving up some of my most beloved skincare products has definitely been tough. For years, since I was about 13, I’ve used Johnson and Johnson’s baby lotion as a cleanser. Why? Well, my mum always used it. Plus, it smells nice, and seemed to agree with my skin, and removes make-up without stinging my eyes. And as it was ‘safe for babies’ not once did I stop to think there might be anything harmful in it. Now I discover that it’s loaded with parabens and other nasties, it’s been trashed (luckily, I’d nearly finished the bottle anyway).

The search for a replacement cleanser is ongoing. I’m from England, and the odd thing about American cleansers is that they all involve water. I much prefer a lotion that I can just wipe the make-up off with. What’s the deal with this, Americans? Anyway, my first attempt to replace my beloved Johnson’s has failed miserably. Yes to Carrots nourishing wipes burn my skin. Looking at the ingredients list I see they contain alcohol, so…not surprising really. Then I turned to a gift my mom had bought me a few months back and I’d not opened: The Body Shop’s chamomile cleansing butter. It works fairly well, but it’s kind of greasy and definitely not chemical-free. So now I’m experimenting with a sample of Liz Earle’s 2-step cleanse and polish system (NOT chemical free, I believe, but almost there…) which has rave reviews from everyone. My skin has broken out with a weird red rash on my chin (and my skin never breaks out) so this one may be a dud too.

On the plus side, replacing my much-loved Clinique 7-day facial scrub has been a breeze. Yes To Carrots grapefruit scrub does the job just as well and smells about ten times better. Not to mention, it’s cheaper. Yay!

The second product I’ve been loathe to replace is my incredible, wonderfully wonderful Olay night regeneration cream. I’ve used this religiously for about five years, and, guys, IT WORKS. It’s also chock-full of nasties, so what’s a girl to do? I finished up the tub whilst the tiniest of tiny violins played in the background. Then I looked in my cupboards for a substitute.

So far, pure jojoba oil is working pretty well. It’s suitable for oily skins (mine is dry, but too much oil makes me break out, just as it would anyone I expect) and helps cleanse pores. I have to say, I don’t wake up with quite the same ‘glow’ as Olay gave me, but nor do I look like Cruella De Ville, so I’m happy. If anyone has any recommendations for a great all-natural night-cream, let me know in the comments!

Enough grumbling – another positive! Body lotion! I’ve found the BEST body lotion I think I’ve ever used, and it’s completely natural. Nubian Heritage’s Coconut & Papaya Body Lotion ‘nourishing, exfoliating, and renewing,’ smells tropical and gorgeous, absorbs nicely into my skin, and keeps my legs soft and dewy all day long. The first ingredient listed is NOT water (always a good sign) but coconut oil. It also contains shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, papaya extract, coconut milk, vanilla bean, olive oil, and essential oils instead of the dreaded ‘fragrance,’ (which often contains a cocktail of nasties that the company does not have to divulge). I bought a 13 fl oz bottle on sale at Sprouts for $8.95, but I believe it generally retails for around $11.00. You can find it at Amazon, amongst other online retailers.

Another coconutty body butter (as you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of coconut anything) you might want to try is from a little-known vegan, all-natural brand called Rosemira Organics. It’s pricey, though: a full tub is $22.00. The one I sampled was the Sweet Coconut Body Butter, and it basically contains coconut, coconut oil and something else (I lost the label!). It smells delicious, but it’s VERY oily. The instructions say to pat into skin after a shower, which you kind of have to because it’s so greasy. However, it does the job. If your skin is really dry, or you want something for winter, this might be a good bet. You can buy it at www.rosemira.com.

A final note: lip balm replacement has also proved easy-peasy. See my review below for the amazing Mi-Me lip balm review (the lip balm being amazing that is, not the review, which I’d say is average at best, ha ha) and at night I’m using an already-owned tin of Lush’s Honey-Trap lip balm, which is delumptious.

As I continue on this adventure, I’m thinking of compiling a list of the all-natural or vegan brands I come across on a separate page, with links to websites. Let me know if this would be helpful!

Have you made any substitutions recently? If so, what worked, and what didn’t?

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