Sustainable Gift Guide 2018

Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about presents. Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic, vegan and that it’s actually worth to have. To make the search easier, I have gathered some gifts ideas for you. From most affordable to most expensive here they are:

Zero waste goodies
From bamboo straws to naked soaps. The webshop bag-again.nl has a wide assortment for a zero-waste start.
Prices start from €3,95
Zero waste lifestyle
Soaps from Dr. Bronner’s
Fair trade, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and SLS-free soaps. The pure Castile soaps are made from vegetable oils and do not contain any synthetic detergent.
Shop at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €4,50

Dr. Bronner
Picture from @drbronnerseurope

Beauty products from Weleda
All of the products are made with organic ingredients. Are free of synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals, and essential oils.
Shop at Holland and Barret, Ekoplaza, Natuurwinkel or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €4,99
Weleda organic skincare brand

Bamboo charcoal sponge from Benecos
The products of Benecos are made from natural ingredients. Are free from paraffin, parabens, silicones, PEG, synthetic color, synthetic fragrance, and synthetic preservatives. This 100% vegetable Konjac sponge Bamboo Charcoal with mineral-rich charcoal powder cleans the pores to remove blackheads and dirt.
Shop online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl
Price €7,99 Konjac sponge

Socks from Qnoop.
Ethically made in Portugal from organic cotton. Each pair has a button and a loop so you don’t miss again your socks after doing the laundry.
Shop them online at Qnoop’s website or check their points of sale.
Prices start from €9,95

Qnoop socks
Picture from Instagram @qnoop

Beauty tea from Cedar + Stone
This tea is also a good product to add to the bath. It contains herbs that help to strengthen the hair and nails. The tea mix is all made with natural ingredients. It has no additives or caffeine.
Shop online at the webshop nourishednederland.com
Price €12,-
Cedar + Stone
Giftset from Lush
Lush makes fresh, handmade and cruelty-free cosmetics. They have a lot of vegan products and also a lot of package-free products.
Shop at Lush’s website or on one of their shops.
Prices from €12,50
Lush cruelty-free package-free cosmetics

Jewelry from A Beautiful Story
Necklaces, armbands, and earrings ethically made in Nepal.
Shop online at watmooi.nl (Use my code ‘Alisson’ for 10% discount, or check A Beautiful Story’s points of sale.
Prices from €12,96

Sustainable jewelry
Picture from @abeautifulstory_

Erasable books from Greenstory
The notebooks you can customize with different clickable pages and add-ons. They have a monthly planner page, to-do page, bullet journal page and more. Plan, wish, draw, create, and erase what you no longer need.
Shop online at ourgreenstory.com
Price starts from €13,50
erasable notebooks
Nail polish from OZN
This is a vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional nail polish.
OZN uses alternative solvents and compounds that are biodegradable, do not damage your health and do not pollute the environment.
Shop them at OZN’s website or via kenkoshop.nl
Price starts from €14,90
OZN

Boro Mini Baby goods
100% plant-based baby products colored with plants and roots. They sell blankets, linens, bibs, muslin swaddles and more. All made in Amsterdam.
Shop them online at boromini.com/shop
Prices start from €14,95

Boro Mini Baby goods
Picture from Instagram @boromini_babygoods

Aromatherapy box from Tisserand
Pure Essential Oils and aromatherapy products. You can get a set for sleep, travel survival, daily essentials, feel-good essentials, peaceful night, de-stress and energize.
Shop it online at the webshop biggreensmile.nl
Price starts from €15,50

aromatherapy essential oils

Matcha tea
Pure, natural & organic matcha green tea.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
Price starts from €15,95

Matcha tea
Picture from @kissatea

Charcoal face mask from Sukin 
Sukin is a skincare brand from Australia. The products are made from natural ingredients. Are cruelty-free, sulfates and paraben-free. Sukin is 100% Carbon Neutral and the packagings are recyclable. The face mask contains bamboo charcoal as the key ingredient. The skin is left moisturized and nourished by avocado, coconut and rosehip Oils.
Shop them at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl
Price €15,95
skin skin care

Giftsets from Naif
The skin care products of Naif are made with natural ingredients such as flaxseed oil, avocado oil, and tomato extract. The brand started in 2013 as a baby skin care brand. Now the brand has expanded and also makes products for women.
Shop at the Etos, Holland, and Barret, or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €17,95
Naif

Raw Halo chocolate gift box
Raw chocolate. Vegan, made with natural and organic ingredients. Sweetened with coconut sugar.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
Price €21,50

Raw chocolate
Picture from @rawhalo

Boho beauty box 
Bo.ho is an eco-friendly French makeup brand. The products are made from natural ingredients, are cruelty-free, vegan and organic. All of the packagings are recyclable.
This gift set includes an eyeliner, a mascara, and a red nail polish.
Shop it online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl
Price €22,95
boho natural cosmeticsBook: This Is A Good Guide by Marieke Eyskoot
This book is filled with practical tips about sustainable fashion, beauty, food, baby products, home, work, and leisure. You will find the right addresses, beautiful brands, inspiring insights, surprising facts, and useful solutions. The book is in Dutch and in English.
You can buy it online at bol.com, at a bookstore or at a concept store.
Price €24,-

Hammam towel from Happy Towels
These towels are made of bamboo or organic cotton and are ethically made in Turkey.
Shop online at happytowels.nl
Prices start from €25,-
Happy towels

Kenko essentials gift box
Kenko is a Dutch multibrand online shop. They sell only eco-friendly products. They put up together a gift box with different products. Perfect to try out new organic brands.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
 Price €29.99
keno shop nederland
I hope this guide helps you to find a gift for this season. But remember that the most sustainable option is to give nothing. There are other options like giving things that you own and don’t use anymore. Or books that you read and don’t need to keep. Another gift you can give is to donate to a cause in the name of the person. And lastly, you can give someone an experience. Going to the cinemas together, go for a snack, go to the woods. Those kinds of experiences are very valuable. Time spend with a dear person is the best present. (If you ask me)

With Love,
Alisson

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Washable And Reusable Products: ImseVimse

ImseVimse is a Swedish brand of reusable textile products. It started as a cloth diaper brand but it has expanded and now they make washable products for women as well.
In order to protect the environment, for all of their products ImseVimse uses cotton that is organically cultivated. Like this, they can be certain to offer clean and good products.

The production takes place mainly in Europe, primarily in Latvia and in Turkey. They impose strict demands on suppliers and manufacturers. And carry out annual checks on the working conditions in their factories. All of their products meet the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 for textiles. Which means they are sustainably produced and have been tested for harmful substances.

The motto of the company is to create good products that matter and make a difference in the world. ImseVimse’s head office is based in the Swedish city Visby, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From their collection I got the following products:

IMG_1378
Pantyliners, baby bibs, washable wipes, and cleansing pads
IMG_1382
These cleansing pads are washable, ideal for makeup removing.
IMG_1390
The pantyliners are made of 100% organic cotton. These pads are perfect to combine with a menstrual cup.

From the baby collection, I use the all-in-one cloth diaper.

I hope you like this brand and give it a try.  In The Netherlands, you can buy ImseVimse at the webshop www.GreenJump.nl

With love,

Alisson

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12 Loco Things Dutchies Do Part 2

This month I celebrate that I live in The Netherlands for three years. It’s the third country I have lived in and the third one I call home. Before NL I lived in Germany. I thought I didn’t need to integrate or learn about the culture anymore. But the past three years have totally shown me the opposite. I already blogged about 12 crazy things that Dutchies do, but today, I want to share with you twelve more habits that I haven’t seen people doing in any other place I’ve lived before. Get ready!

1. Bread
Dutch people love bread. For breakfast and for lunch, bread is the Dutchies favorite food. Every Saturday before doing grocery shopping, a good Dutchie makes space in the freezer to be sure that the four extra loaves of bread will fit so a happy week can begin.  Dutchies know every trick on how to unfroze bread. The favorite trick is to put the bread on top of the heather or on a spot where a sun ray is shining.

2. A closet full of food
A typical Dutchie house has a special place, mostly under the stairs. Full of food! They call it a ‘voorraadkast’. Three pots of peanut butter, five bars of chocolate, twenty different kinds of cookies, chips, cans of soup, bottles of cola, beer, cleaning stuff… Dutchies are well prepared in case of… war? a surprise party?
Dutch Funny Habits

3. Birthday calendar
The best place to remember when ‘tante Marijke’ has birthday number sixty, is in the comfort of the toilet. Dutchies love to hang birthday calendars in their bathrooms. More precisely in the guest bathroom. It’s very handy to remind yourself that you have to send a ‘verjaardagskaart’ when you are doing your business.

4. But please only one
When you get invited to have a coffee at the house of the parents of your Dutchie partner, remember to answer with the word ‘lekker’ when they ask you if you want coffee. Besides coffee, you will be offered cookies, chocolate OR cake. OR, not AND. This means you are expected to eat only this one thing you choose. If you happen to eat more than one piece, you can expect a comment like ‘Oh, but you already had one’ or ‘you must be hungry’. It makes you feel very guilty about eating two or more pieces of sweet. This rule applies to birthdays as well. There might be three different cakes. But you are allowed to choose only one piece.
Dutch Vlaai

5. Is water not ok?
As soon as you visit a Dutchie, you will be asked ‘Wat wil je drinken?’ (What do you want to drink?). Coffee, tea, something fresh, juice? You are not even done hanging your coat and you are already welcomed with that question. If you politely answer the question with just some tap water, your Dutchie host will surprisingly repeat that you could get a soda or a juice instead. Dutchies don’t like to offer water. I guess they don’t want you to think that they are cheap?

6. Camping
A well-respected Dutchie goes or has been going to ANWB’s recommended campings of the south of France and Italy in the summer. When I hear my Dutch partner talk about camping, I imagine a tent in nature, ‘The Revenant’ style. Oh, how wrong I was. Dutchies go camping deluxe. They take their whole house with them (camping version). From cutlery, pans, pots, cups, chairs, fridge, heater, veranda to air mattress plus bed. Dutchies have all they need to go camping for weeks. The campings have, all they need to survive in nature. Washing machines, restaurants, swimming pool, disco, pubs…
Dutch Camping7. The (test) emergency alarm
Don’t be scared if you hear a frightening sound on the streets in the middle of the day. It’s not that the Hunger Games have started. It’s probably 12:00am on the first Monday of the month. The day where the emergency alarm gets tested in the whole country. Dutchies are used to it and just ignore it. I keep on fantasizing about being the chosen one to represent my district. Now for real. What happens if there is an emergency on the first Monday of the month at 12 o’clock?

8. Dus
If you want to show off in front of your Dutch friends or colleagues, just add the word ‘dus’ (‘so’) in all of your sentences. At the beginning or at the end, Duchies use the word ‘dus’ a lot! It can be used to communicate a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can be everything from an angry stopword to a suggestive come on and more.

9. Fireworks
Most countries will have a few safe firework displays on New Year’s Eve. It starts at midnight and lasts around 20-30 minutes. And that’s it with the fireworks. Everyone can go back to the party. On the other hand, in The Netherlands, the fireworks are the party. Every year Dutchies spend a lot of money and go fireworks-mad. The steady stream of fireworks begins the 31st of December around noon. Climaxing with utter chaos at midnight. Grown-ups and !children! will light up the fireworks one after another until around 2:00am. I’ve never seen anything like this. I might be a party pooper, but this custom I dislike a lot. And by the way, my dog as well (he’s from Spain).

10. Dutch old houses… why?
Most of the old houses in The Netherlands are designed very weirdly. In theory, the idea is good. It’s all about hygiene. But in practice: super annoying. I am talking about having the toilet separate from the shower. Not only in a different room but on another floor! And how about the mini sink that you can’t actually use, so you end up washing your hands in the kitchen. And please! Why old houses have dangerous stairs?

11. Geslaagd!
Walking around the city at around June – July you will wonder two things. The first is why do Dutchies hang the Dutch flag in the middle of the summer. And the second is why is there a backpack hanging below the flag? Well, Dutchies are very proud to announce that they have a graduated kid from school. So proud the whole neighborhood should know. I think this weird tradition is actually cool! I guess this is a way of saying goodbye to school and embrace new changes.
Funny Dutch Habits

12. December
December is the most wonderful time of the year. Dutchies makes sure of that. The celebrations start on December 5th with Sinterklaas. A holy old man that comes all the way from Spain on a steamboat to bring you presents. You set your shoe by the chimney and Sinterklaas, fills it with treats. Then the 24th there’s Christmas evening, the 25th is the first Christmas day where Santa Claus (or the Kerstman) brings more gifts. And because two days of Christmas is too less to get around to all friends and family Dutchies also celebrate the second Christmas day on the 26th. So much Christmas. I love it!
Sinterklaas and AmerigoI´m going to leave the ‘haring”, the real-life doll when someone turns 50 and some more loco things for next year. For now, I can only say that even though the Dutch culture is different than mine, I have learned to like it and embrace it. Some things I find funny, others I really like and I´m learning from them.
Thanks to all the Dutchies that have embraced me and made me feel welcome in The Netherlands the past years.

With love,

Alisson

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Read 12 loco things Dutchies do part 1

Natural and Organic Beauty Salon in Amersfoort: Frankie & Olive

The skin is the largest organ in our body. It absorbs most of what it comes in contact with. The majority of store-bought beauty products have artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and stabilizers that get absorbed through the skin’s pores right into the bloodstream. These products can cause a range of negative long-term health effects. Skin sensitivity, allergic reactions, hormonal imbalances, cancer… the list of side effects and reactions to these chemical ingredients is long and scary. Not to mention the negative impact the production and the waste of these products have on the environment.

Since I started reading about the side effects of regular beauty products I rather not risk a chance for a health problem and have decided to only use organic and natural beauty products. When I discovered that at the beauty salon ‘Frankie & Olive’ the treatments are done with only natural products, I wanted to go and try it out.

Lieselot is the owner of the salon. She works exclusively with 100% natural and organic products. Besides, the products are environmentally friendly and ethically made. I went for a basic facial treatment. It included:

  • Deep cleaning
  • Peeling
  • Removal of impurities
  • Eyebrows epilation
  • Face and neck massage
  • Relaxing face mask

The room of the treatment is decorated in a minimalistic way. There are big windows, which bring in natural light. I felt completely relax and enjoy the whole time. Lieselot is very kind and knows a lot about natural skin care. She has been in the business for 9 years. For the face treatment, she uses products from Phenomé and from Aster & Bay.  They feel good and soft on the skin. All of the products are organic, cruelty-free, fair trade, recycled, and free of plastic and nanoparticles.

Frankie & Olive is a combination of a beauty salon and an art studio. As soon as you enter, you can feel the mix of natural products and modern paintings. The atelier is situated in the Krommestraat 56 in Amersfoort.

If you love natural and organic products then Frankie & Olive is the place for you. The salon is open from Tuesday to Saturday. You can call or make an appointment online here.

Frankie and olive amersfoort

 

Frankie and olive beauty salon Amersfoort

Now you know where to go for a beauty treatment in Amersfoort. If you only want to go there to buy the products that it’s alright! Lieselot will gladly explain to you how to use them. She is there from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am.

With Love,
Alisson

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Favorite Eco-Products​ From May

Since I started to care more about the products I use, I have been collecting different eco-brands and trying them out. Every month on this new blog series, I will show you my favorite products. It’s time to promote the best eco-friendly products which are encouraging us to think a little greener about our consumption and to protect the environment. Here are the products I tried in May:

Natural deodorant

Creme deodorant from The Ohm Collection
Last year, I discovered this Dutch brand and I have been a fan since. I tried their powder deodorant ‘no sweat’ and like it a lot. This spring they released a new line of creme deodorants, I immediately wanted to try it out. I chose the smell of orange blossom. The ingredients are all certified organic and the oils are all-natural. To use it, you have to twist up, put a drop on your fingertips and apply it on your armpits. You don’t need much: a fingertip will do the job. My experience with this one was very good. I like the soft smell of orange. This deodorant is free of synthetics and aluminum, it’s cruelty-free and vegan.
Read more about The Ohm Collection here: www.theohmcollection.com 

Washable cloth pads

Sanitary pads from Imse Vimse
These washable pads were my lifesavers during my post-partum time. The pads are made of 100% organic cotton. To use it, you have to place the printed side facing up and wrap it on to your underwear. The pads are very soft and comfortable. When I used them for the first time, I was surprised by the fact that the pads don’t smell so bad as the disposable ones. The pads can be washed in the washing machine at max 60°.
Read more about Imse Vimse here: www.imsevimse.com
You can get these pads online at http://www.greenjump.nl

Qnoop sustainable socks

Socks from Qnoop
No more missing socks with Qnoop! Qnoop is an Amsterdam based brand of sustainable socks. The socks have a button in one pair and a loop in the other so that you can tie them and put them in the washing machine without losing them. I have the ‘Glitter Rib’ socks in pink. They are made of certified bio cotton. The button, to tie them, is hand-made of biodegradable material. The socks feel very soft. I like to wear them, to give my outfits an extra touch.
Read more about Qnoop here: www.qnoop.com

Dream cream Lush

Dream cream hand & body lotion from Lush
Lush makes products with fresh and as much as possible natural ingredients. The products are ethically hand-made and cruelty-free. They have a big selection of vegan products too. This time, I tried the ‘Dream Cream’. The cream feels light and is very good for a dry skin. It has a soft smell of chamomile. I like it because it absorbs quickly into the skin. It leaves my skin with a soft and smooth feeling.
Read more about Lush here: www.lush.nl

Eco products of the month

I hope you enjoy my list and that you would like to try some of the products I mentioned. Check here to see my list from January, and here to see my list from February.

With Love,
Alisson

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FAVORITE ECO PRODUCTS FROM FEBRUARY

Since I started to invest more in eco-products, I have been collecting different brands and trying them out. Every month on this new blog series, I will show you my favorite products. It’s time to promote the best eco-friendly products which are encouraging us to think a little greener about our consumption and to protect the environment. Here are the products I tried in February:

6 IMG_9601Natural deodorant from Ben & Anna
Ben & Anna’s natural deodorant sticks have a solid consistency. Their main ingredient is shea butter and baking soda. They only use organic and biologic ingredients. They are free of aluminum, PEG’s, parabens or phthalates, vegan and cruelty-free. On the picture above, you see the pink grapefruit version. It has a nice citric smell and it feels smooth on the skin without feeling greasy or sticky. To apply, you need to push up the bottom of the tube with the thumb and then rub a thin layer of the deodorant on your skin. The tube is made of 100% carton.
Read more about Ben & Anna here: https://www.ben-anna.com
You can get this deodorant at Blur in Amersfoort or online.

8 IMG_9606Milk Bamboo Sleep & Nursing Bra
Due to my pregnancy, I stopped using wire bra’s and started looking for soft wireless bra’s. That’s when I found the nursing bra from Cake Maternity. It is made from a soft, sustainable bamboo yarn and it has hidden pockets for breastfeeding mamas. The materials of this bra are qualified with the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, which ensures this garment is free from harmful substances.
Read more about Cake Maternity here: https://www.cakematernity.com

5 IMG_9600Weleda pomegranate regenerating body oil
Weleda is a Swiss company that makes organic skin care products. Their products are free of synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals and essential oils. This time I tried the pomegranate regenerating oil and use it on my body. Especially on my belly and on my thighs, where I have a lot of striae. The oil has a light smell and I think it’s perfect for an after shower treat. Pomegranate oil has antioxidant properties that improve the regeneration of the skin.
Read more about Weleda here: http://www.weleda.nl
You can get this body oil at the ‘Natuur Winkel’, Holland & Barret, Ekoplaza or online.

4 IMG_9599Shea butter from Zoya Goes Pretty
Zoya Goes Pretty is a brand based in Bulgaria that makes organic skin care products. They use 100% raw, unrefined and organic butter. All of their blends are as simple as possible with cold-pressed shea butter and melted below 40° to keep all essential nutrients. In the process, there are no toxic chemicals used. All the products are cruelty-free and vegan as well. I used the shea butter with argan oil on my face and body. Sometimes I use it to remove my make up. I like that it doesn’t have perfume. It feels very natural and soft on my skin.
Read more about  Zoya Goes Pretty here: https://zoyagoespretty.com/all-products/
You can get the products of Zoya Goes Pretty at Blur in Amersfoort or online.

7 IMG_9605Matt lipstick from Alverde
You got me. Lipsticks are my guilty pleasure. I love to combine them as part of my outfits. From pink to red, to purple. I like to wear them in all the shades. For me, it’s important to only use lipsticks with natural and organic ingredients. That’s why I use the ones from Alverde, a natural cosmetics brand from Germany. You can find it at any DM pharmacy store. These creamy matt lipsticks I use, are made of sunflower, jojoba and mimosa floral wax. They are easy to apply and give the lips a chic matt appearance that lasts long.
Read more about Alverde here: https://www.dm.de/dm-marken/alverde/
Unfortunately, I haven’t found where to buy these products in The Netherlands. I often go to Germany and never miss to visit DM shop. If you are interested in some products, I could bring some extra next time :).

3 IMG_9598

I hope you enjoy my list and that you would like to try some of the products I mentioned. Check here to see my list from January. Please contact me if you have any questions.

With Love,
Alisson

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All-natural Organic Deodorants I Tried

All my life, I’ve been using regular deodorant. I always switched between the one from Dove, Nivea and whatever sensitive brand I could find in the shop. I never thought bad of them, but I never read the ingredients… Last year I started to be more conscious about the products I put on my body and soon enough I learned about all the chemicals those brands use to stop making us smell bad. During my research, I learned that your perspiration itself is odorless. The bad smell is caused by bacteria. When you begin to sweat under your arms, your body has created the perfect place for bacteria to grow.

Normal deodorants contain alcohol and anti-microbial ingredients to reduce bacteria. They also contain perfume to mask the bad smell. Antiperspirants deodorants work by using a chemical, usually, a form of aluminum, to actually reduce the perspiration itself. The aluminum reacts with sweat to form a plug in the sweat glands. These plugs decrease wetness, and therefore, decrease the chance for the bacteria to grow. It is not really proven if these chemicals are bad for your health, but I don’t want to take the risk. Instead, I started researching about all natural, organic deodorants.

Organic deodorants are made with all natural, plant-based ingredients. They don’t contain aluminum, alcohol or artificial perfumes. There are no harsh chemicals that could potentially irritate sensitive skin and they won’t clog your pores.

Today I share the products that I have tried and the ones I still use:

Aromaco from Lush. This is a deodorant bar. It’s made with chamomile, patchouli, lemon, baking soda and witch hazel infusion. To use it you just gran the bar and rub it on your armpits. My experience with this one was not good. I guess it’s the smell of patchouli that my armpits didn’t like. It only worked the first weeks, but then I had to change it and use something different.

No sweat from The Ohm Collection. This is a powder deodorant made with certified organic ingredients and from natural essential oils. I tried the ‘coconut’ one. To use it, you put some powder on your fingertip and apply on your armpits. You don’t need much: a fingertip will do the job. My experience with this one was very good. I like the soft smell of coconuts. After some weeks, I could skip deodorant for one day and still didn’t have a bad smell.

Baking soda. This magic ingredient helps to absorb moisture from the skin, it absorbs sweat and reduces body odor. Plus, it kills bacteria! To apply this, there are a lot of methods, but I decided to use plane baking soda. It worked really good for me, but after a couple of weeks, the skin in my armpits started to get too dry. Next, I decided to stop using it every day, and instead using it once per week in combination with other deodorants.

Modern druids lemon squeezy. This one is a cream deodorant made with tapioca starch, coconut oil, shea fruit, baking soda, bergamot oil, lemon oil, and, limonene. To use it, you put some cream on your fingertip and apply it on your armpits. My experience with this one was positive as well. This is the deodorant that I currently still use. I like the citrus smell a lot. Since I started using natural deodorants, I have realized that I smell less and different than before.

With Love,
Alisson

More about natural products:
Skin care products I use from the kitchen
Products I use as body lotion
Natural hair care routine

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Natural Products I Use As Body Lotion

All my life, I’ve been using regular body lotions and body butter. The ones from Nivea, DM, The Body Shop, Victoria Secret and all those magic brands where you can not only get one but stack for the whole year. I never thought bad of them, but I  never thought that they did a good job. Some lotions left my skin soft, but after a couple of hours, it left my skin dry, needy for more lotion. Since I started to be more aware of which ingredients are in the products I use, instead of regular body lotions I started using natural oils.
There are many differences between lotion and oil, but toxins are a big one. Body moisturizers often contain synthetic chemicals and petroleum by-products. These substances penetrate our skin and may be bad for our health in the long term. Organic plant-based oils are made without added ingredients and are in fact effective at keeping the skin hydrated, and also less risky for our health. The fewer ingredients the better. Today I share with you the products I use as body lotion:

Argan oil: As a whole body moisturizer. In my hands, I mix almond oil with 2-3 drops of argan oil and rub it on my body. On the parts of my body where I have stretching marks, I warm a couple of drops of pure argan oil in my hands and gently rub the areas I have the marks. Argan oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, anti-oxidants, omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid. It can help prevent stretch marks by improving the elasticity of the skin. The vitamin A and vitamin E will help to rejuvenate the skin while moisturizing it, making stretch marks less likely to form.
If you already have a stretch mark or two (or a lot like me!), start by massaging argan oil and brown sugar into the affected areas before your next bath. Rinse well and apply the oil as I explained.

Almond oil: As a whole body moisturizer. I mix it with argan oil and rub it all over my body. Sometimes, when I´m feeling lazy I use it pure. The almond oil has the ability to keep skin looking and feeling good, it´s rich in vitamin A and vitamin E.
I bought mine while on holidays in Colombia. But you can find it at any organic drugstore.

Castor oil: I use it on the driest parts of my body. On my feet, elbows, and knees. This oil penetrates deeply and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. This helps to soften and hydrate the skin.

Love and light from Lush: I use it on my hands every now and then. To be honest, I got this cream as a present. I like the brand Lush and what they do to reduce packaging waste, but some of their products have safe synthetics, and even if they are safe I want to reduce as much as possible those ingredients from my life. I decided to keep the cream and finish it, rather than throw it away.

Body lotions
These are the products I use as a body moisturizer. The brown bottle without the sticker is where I store the almond oil.

Next week, I´ll be sharing the deodorant I have used and the one I´m currently using. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

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Natural Hair Care Routine

On November 2016 I stopped using regular shampoo. It´s been a process and I want to share with you what I have done so far. First of all, I want to remind you why I decided to do it (more about it here). Store bought shampoo have chemicals ingredients that are bad for you, and for the environment. Out of curiosity I started reading about the ingredients in my Garnier shampoo and realized how little I understand them and how chemically it all sounded. During my research, I discovered that chemicals in regular shampoo, strip away the hair´s natural conditioning making the oil glands to release extra oil, causing the hair to look greasy and making us using shampoo again and often.  An alternative to this method is the “No-poo” method. That was the first method I tried:

The “No-poo” method
This method suggests that by washing your hair with a more gentle product or even with just water only you´ll achieve clean hair without the damage or dependency in regular shampoo. I was washing my hair once per week with a mix of rye flour and water as shampoo and apple vinegar as conditioner. I only use the vinegar for the tips of my hair.  Every 4-5 washes I used baking soda as shampoo. To prevent dandruff, I massage my scalp with lemon every three or four weeks. I used corn flour (maizena) as a dry shampoo once or twice in between washes. I apply the powder to my hair with a make-up brush. When I felt the tips of my hair too dry, I used argan oil as a hair serum. I was happy using this method until I went one month on holidays to Colombia and wasn’t able to find the ingredients there, and honestly, I found it too much work. Please note: it takes time for your hair to adjust to this method. The first weeks my hair was more greasy than it was before, but after the 3rd to 4th week my hair started looking prettier than ever. Read more about my first weeks here.

Hair soap bar from Lush
I discovered Lush´s hair soap bars and got one to make my time during holidays easier. I used the same ingredients as my previous routine, but instead of the rye flour, I was using the soap bar. It is very convenient while traveling. I have to admit that I bought the soap bar on a hurry and didn’t read well all the ingredients. When I did I discovered that the soap bar has SLS. Just the ingredient I have been avoiding for so long. I did, used the shampoo bar until it finished but was glad to found the next one.

Hair soap bar from Vlot Amsterdam
I discovered this hair soap and have been a fan since. The ingredients are castor-, jojoba-, coconut-, olive-, sunflower oil, water and little pieces of dried coconut. Since almost six months I have been using it as shampoo. To use it I first wet my hair and rub the soap on my hands, then I rub my hands on my hair and massage it. I then rinse it with water.
Next to the hair soap, I use these products:

Apple cider vinegar: As a hair conditioner. I filled a small bottle spray with one teaspoon of vinegar and water. Once I am done using the shampoo bar I spray this mix on the tips of my hair and rinse it with water.

Argan oil: As a hair serum. I only use it on the tips of my hair when I feel them dry.

Baking soda: Every time my scalp felt too oily I used baking soda as shampoo. I didn’t use it often but it helped me during the transition time from store bought shampoo to the “no-poo” method.

Fresh lemon or lime: As a mask against dandruff.

Corn flour: As a dry shampoo. I use it with a make-up brush in between washes.

Once per week, I wash my hair and only brush that day. I let it air dry if possible, if not I dry it with the hairdryer. When I notice my hair getting greasy, I use the corn flour on the roots of my hair and remove the rest with a towel. To get my curls looking good, I sleep with braided hair.

2 IMG_8119
These are the products I use for my hair. The spray bottle is where I store the vinegar.
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

Next week, I´ll be sharing the products I use as a body lotion. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

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SKIN CARE PRODUCTS I USE FROM THE KITCHEN

The largest organ in our body is the skin. It absorbs most of what it comes in contact with. The majority of store-bought beauty products have artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and stabilizers that gets absorbed through the skin’s pores right into the bloodstream. These products cause a range of negative long-term health effects. Skin sensitivity, allergic reactions, hormonal imbalances, cancer… the list of side effects and reactions to these chemical ingredients is long and scary. Not to mention the negative impact the production and the waste of these products have on the environment.
Last year I became more aware of the beauty products I use and decided to start using more natural ones. I even started making some of them myself.

Today I share with you the products I use for my face:

Argan oil: As a makeup remover and moisturizer. I first wet a reusable makeup pad, then put some drops of the argan oil and then I rub it in my face. It leaves my skin clean from makeup and at the same time it moistures it.

Apple cider vinegar: As a cleanser and toner. I dilute it with water and rub it on my face after I removed my make up.

Baking soda: Once per month as a deep cleanser mask. Baking soda is a good exfoliating agent that helps to remove dead cells. It also balances the pH level of the skin and it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. To make the mask I mix one tablespoon of baking soda with some drops of fresh lemon juice, just enough to make a paste. Then I add a couple of drops of wether argan or almond oil. I apply the paste to my face and let it for one minute, then I rub it off using my fingers and lukewarm water.

Coffee grounds: As a daily body scrub. I make it myself by mixing one cup of coffee grounds, one cup of organic sugar, 1/2 cup organic coconut oil and some drops of vanilla essential oil. Coffee and coconut oil are rich in antioxidants, which are very beneficial for the skin. I use it on my face and on my body.

Papaya and sugar face mask from Apsara Skin Care: Once per week as an exfoliator. This facial mask is made with natural ayurvedic ingredients. It has papaya extract, turmeric, and raw sugar which gently loosen dead skin cells so that they can be easily washed off.

Sun safe from The Ohm Collection: As sunscreen. I use it in the summer and for example when I go to Colombia (where I come from). The ingredients are certified organic and from natural essential oils.

 

Skin care products
These are the skincare products I use for my face. The chariTea bottle is where I store the vinegar.

 

Next week, I´ll be sharing the products I use for my hair. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

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