Holy allergy season Batman.
I’ve never had allergies until this year, but before you think I’m on some random non-beauty tangent… I beg differ! Incessant sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose are all very real beauty problems. Not to mention that allergies feel like crap!
Word is they’re getting worse with climate change—something about a longer growing season, more pollination and something something. To boot, according to this NPR piece, pollen got going even earlier this year in LA, which may explain why I’ve felt like I have a cold for two months. A cold that mysteriously appears and disappears over the course of the day.
Another reason more people are suffering from allergies? We’re too clean and our immune systems are suffering for it.
I’m pretty sure that’s not my problem though: As many of you know we’re big proponents of being a little dirty (and skipping the soap sometimes). Whatever the cause, everyone seems to be suffering. Which has got me thinking about possible natural remedies.
Some quick googling lead me to peppermint tea, face steaming, and reminders to wash your pets. Oh, and don’t smoke if you have allergies, you guys. Real remedy gold here.
The Neti Pot was also mentioned on NPR as a good natural way to combat the achoos. It’s a tiny little pot that let’s you poor water through your nasal passage, known more formally as nasal irrigation. This apparently clears our allergens, which sounds like an awesome plan.
I tried a Neti pot once in ashram in India. I know, I’m embarrassed for me too. Anyways, it felt super weird, but I’d totally do it if it works.
Have you tried the Neti Pot? Know of any other good natural allergy remedies?
In its eternal quest to sell us more stuff we don’t need, the beauty business is pretty much predicated on lies. There are lies around claims, around effectiveness, around ingredients. There are lies around lies.
Here’s a list of some of the worst offenders, made worse by the fact that we often take them for granted as truths. But surely we’re forgetting a few. Can you think of others?
You should shower daily. And that of course means, lathering up from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. That way your skin can be scaly dry, your scalp a wreck, and you can invest in the myriad of moisturizing, conditioning and so-called soothing products to tame your flyaways, and assuage your flaky skin. This post offers a refresher on other reasons why daily showers may not be ideal.
Exfoliation turns back the clock on aging. While we’re onboard with very moderate and occasional exfoliation, for the last ten years the industry has been pushing extreme scrub and burn beauty rituals: from AHAs to glycolics and beyond. As holistic skincare expert Evan Healy pointed out in our book, this behavior is likely what lead to the rosacea epidemic she saw in her practice, among women who weren’t predisposed to it. I know for myself, using glycolic acid left my skin red and sensitive for years.
Soap isn’t good enough for your body. Why would you use a simple bar of soap with three ingredients when you can use a body wash, specially designed for your body and filled with some of the absolute nastiest chemicals the industry has to offer. Oh and add to that lie, this one: Anything designed for “washing” doesn’t also moisturize as many a body wash likes to claim. And add to that, you don’t even need to use that much soap either.
Cleanse your face morning and night. What could possibly happen to your skin while you’re asleep in your bed that it requires a full scrub down upon waking. I remember reading somewhere how back in the day a big antacid company had the genius idea to picture 2 tablets dropping into water, instead of just one. Within months their sales doubled. That’s what this twice a day face washing is, if you ask me.
Your eyes need their own cream. Siobhan’s gonna fight me on this one (she loves her a good eye cream!), but while I acknowledge that using a special cream on your eyes is a beautiful and gratifying ritual, in my experience they’re just a slightly thicker version of face cream. The skin around our eyes is sensitive and more delicate, but that’s precisely why natural eye creams have been become my favorite face creams.
Your split ends can be fixed. No product can fix split ends, because hair is dead and no amount of conditioner can bring it back to life. Sure, it can help coat or mask, but if your ends are split you should either ignore them (if like me, you live in fear of hair cuts) or get a trim.
Your stretch marks can be cured by cream. While we’re still willing to believe that heavy-duty moisturizing with skin-loving oils and creams may help in the prevention of marks—once you have them, learn to live with them. The darker ones usually fade with time through the skin’s natural repair system, and there’s just no cream that will make them disappear. If you read the book, you’ll remember that I also tried laser to get rid of mine. Terrible idea. It left the area red for months, and did nothing.
OK which lies have I left out?
It’s obviously a great time to be a dirty bird. In July we confessed our hatred of soap and in November we felt vindicated by a New York Times article about people who are forgoing soap and other cleansers in an effort to embrace a more laissez faire (and healthy) approach to personal hygiene. Now, there’s a piece flying around the internet about a guy who stopped using soap and shampoo for a whole year, and liked it so much he has announced he’ll be sticking with it. My friend Patrick James, a great writer who I used to work with at GOOD, alerted us to it the other day with his post, which you can—and should—read here.
It probably goes without saying that this great unwashed boy blogger Sean Bonner is our new hero. We haven’t smelled him or anything, but we believe him when he says he banished his BO and finds his hair more manageable than ever before.
He wrote about it for BoingBoing last week and here are his results:
—My skin feels better than ever before. Not that it ever felt bad, really, but it feels awesome now.
—Still no stink at all. I swear even when I’m really active and sweating I don’t notice any B.O., and I used to be über self-conscious about this and would think I was stinking if I walked up a flight of stairs too quickly.
—Dandruff is history.
—My previously wavy and mostly unmanageable hair now seems much more willing to bend to my will, a dream of mine since I first looked in a mirror, brush in hand, then tried and failed to make any sense of that monster.
—Unexpected bonus: travel is much easier.
We agree! His conclusion:
I will definitely be sticking with this. I’m still annoyed it took me 35 years to learn what I clearly already knew as a baby kicking and screaming when my parents tried to wash my hair. I know now, but I’d still rather not think about how much I spent on soap and shampoo and related products over the years when they were likely causing all the problems I was trying to protect against.
Image that doesn’t really make sense given the topic of the post via
How often do you shower? When we asked you all the question the other day we were surprised to find your answers were all over the map. We were inspired, of course, by that recent New York Times story about attractive people who don’t like to bathe (or, in some instances, wear deodorant). And as you all know, any time we can encourage people do buy and use fewer personal care products, we do.
So as the seasons change, and people start reaching for their magnums of synthetic-filled moisturizer, we have another idea: Just shower less. There are surprising benefits, from healthier, clearer skin, to higher sex appeal. Click through our GOOD post an explanation.
As some of you may recall, soon after we launched this blog, Siobhan went public with the following statement: “Alexandra and I both hate soap.” It seems we’re not alone.
The article tracks fellow members of our dirty tribe who are abandoning their antiperspirants and daily showers in favor of natural oils and a little sweat—one guy likened antiperspirant to covering his pores in Saran Wrap (we’re stealing that one, buddy!).
But it goes beyond keeping skin and hair hydrated. As the article points out, it’s also about healthy bacteria:
Resist the urge to recoil at this swath of society: They may be on to something. Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.”
I’m just going to put it out there and say that, like some of the subjects in this piece, I generally do not shower more than three times a week. Am I gross? Maybe. But my skin and hair feel better, and I’ve reduced my water consumption by about 1,000 liters a week—something worth thinking about when you live in California. I also don’t take the subway, work out vigorously or go to an office every day… All things that make it easier to shower less.
So how about you? What’s your weekly shower number?