What does low tox living mean to you? Does it mean avoiding toxins in products? Or do you also avoid toxic stress brought by work pressures, technology and pollutants?
Figuring out where to start with low tox living can be overwhelming and seemingly unrealistic. So why bother?
Our guest blogger, Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life, has more than one good reason. Parabens, Phthalates, Triclosan, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrogenated oils and Alcohol – these are just some of the many common toxins found in food, skincare and household products we consume and use every day!
This month we have partnered with Alexx to share her expertise and knowledge on low tox living!
Hi everyone, I’m Alexx from Low Tox Life and I’m very excited to share with you a bit about my story, what led me to ridding my life of toxins and why toxin-free skincare is so important for your health and wellbeing.
The journey towards my starting this business “Low Tox Life” – an online health and sustainability education business – came in three waves. First, when I left the cosmetics and fragrance industry when I was 25 and all of a sudden didn’t get headaches and migraines anymore – and boy did I used to get A LOT of both, resulting in a massive amount of pain killers being taken, unfortunately.
Second was when after years of chronic tonsillitis, it stopped when a naturopath worked with me to identify my trigger (gluten) and remove it from my diet and build my immune system back up with herbs – I was wowed! Third was when my son was born nearly 9 years ago and the scrutiny I put everything under in terms of what I was going to allow on his skin and as food – I learnt enough by that point to go: Wow. I’m pretty sure more people would want to know this stuff and have support in making switches to safer, better products and whole food, and voila: here we are where Low Tox Life is a blog, a bank of over 250 gluten free recipes, a podcast, 6 e-courses to help people achieve specific goals, and soon to be a book too, released July 1 with Murdoch Books.
So let’s take a closer look inside your bathroom cabinet.
First stop – body moisturiser
This time of year, many of us feel the effect of seasonal change and our skin can become a bit dry. A word of warning before you reach for the mainstream moisturisers. Whilst your skin may feel silkier on the outside, on closer inspection there’s a bit of a war going on as your natural skin bacteria try in vain to battle the masses of toxins you’ve just lathered on their home turf. Chances are, many of these toxins will fight their way through and end up in your blood stream, and from here it’s all down hill.
I remember the first time I tried Black Chicken Remedies Love Your Body Oil. My sister in law was helping with the Black Chicken Remedies PR and had a sample for me to try “You’d love this I reckon” – she supposed right! For me, it does exactly what even the most expensive skincare brands claim to do, but without the added nasties. With body oils you don’t often get great penetration into the skin, but this one absorbs right in!
Some areas of our body sometimes need extra attention, especially in dryer months. I’m talking about lips, elbows, the backs of our hands and any other area exposed to the elements. For me it’s my elbows.
Active ingredients like Petroleum Jelly have long been used as a solution for dry skin; particularly dry lips. I’m targeting Petroleum Jelly because it’s used in a host of well-known brands that claim to alleviate dry skin.
But did you know that Petroleum Jelly has the opposite affect on skin and create even more issues such as skin disorders, acne, dryness and general skin irritation?
Some brands actually tout that their products are “safe” for external use only. The trouble is, many ingredients in products have particle sizes small enough to be absorbed through the skin and I don’t have time to research each ingredient for whether or not it can cross the dermis – a deep layer in the skin before the blood stream. So my strategy is to simplify and find products that don’t make you feel you need a chemistry degree to decide whether or not you’re going to use it!
One of the best remedies for dry skin is using natural, non-toxic oils. I love the Black Chicken Remedies Balm of Ages, named so because it draws on ingredients that have been used for centuries. One of which is Camellia Tea oil that has been used by Japanese Geisha to protect the skin against free radical damage and can even prevent stretch marks. It smells insane and I often use it as a perfume by rubbing a little into my hands and around my neck line. I get so many comments! As I said before, it’s super soothing on my elbows, which are prone to dryness. I’ve even used it as a flight cream before – the Balm of Ages FLIGHT SHIELD!
Now this is where a lot of people get it all wrong. The skin contains natural oils and bacteria that are the body’s armour against toxins. The trouble is, they easily wash away and become ineffective with chemicals that are used in many skin cleansers and soaps.
So this presents two problems: one is that once your natural skin armour is removed, and you have little to no protection from a whole range of toxins you’re faced with every day (pun intended); and two is that the chemicals that strip away your skin armour then continue their journey through the skin layers and into the blood stream. See where I’m going here?
For me, cleansing is of course about removing make-up but also about restoring balance and providing some nutrients for skin bacteria to stay healthy and continue doing their job. I am a huge fan of oil cleansing – only oil can dissolve oil naturally and only oil does a great job of my waterproof mascara!
I love the Black Chicken Remedies Cleanse My Face and have used it for years. Even if I go off to try something else, I always come back to it!
It’s safe, and contains 14 remedial oils to target impurities without disturbing your skin’s natural sebum balance. Something I like to do that gives me the sense of having had a facial, is dampen a hot cloth, work a couple of pumps of the cleaner into the cloth, wrap it over my face and then wipe away make up. It’s the most delicious bed time routine in the winter!
Polish and shine
I have to admit that it took me a while to find something that would provide the same smooth-skin feeling that my old luxury cosmetic exfoliator did, without the toxins. I was never going to go BACK of course because of the plastic microbeads (which I wrote about on my blog HERE) and all the common endocrine disruptors you find in those sorts of products, BUT it did take me a bit of a search. The Black Chicken Remedies Complexion Polish had to make it into my faves-box because it is JUST. SO. CLEANSING. It’s a brilliant face polish and because you can add as much oil/water as you fancy, you are in control of how much exfoliation you experience – gentle through to vigorous. Rice, Argan and Myrhh powders are just some of the ancient ingredients in this amazing product that help to even skin tone, increase circulation and cell activity plus stimulate collagen production.
Mouth washing and cleansing
There’s been a lot of attention lately on the mouth-gut axis and how we can maintain oral health. For decades we’ve been told that Fluoride is important for dental health, but we haven’t been told the full story and are often misled by media. I wrote about this topic on my blog after reading a news article about potential down sides to Fluoride – especially in our water supply. A nutrient dense, low starch diet is key to dental health. Eating colourful foods and ethical, organic meats to turbo charge your nutrient intake AND delivery. Other things we can do are draw on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and the Black Chicken Oral Swishing Oil and Copper (Cuprum) Tongue Cleaner do just that. They both are based on ancient Ayurvedic practices of detoxing the mouth with oil swishing and removing excess toxins from the tongue. I literally cannot feel right in the morning if I don’t give my tongue a good scrape these days – I can’t wait to see what you think (once you get over the slight ick factor of what comes off your tongue in the morning!).
The perfect shampoo “Go-Between”
I may have the thickest hair on the planet. This means I’m staring down the barrel of 30 mins to blow dry it and I’ve never been one to love spending time on ‘doing myself up’. I’m a 5 minutes for make up
TOPS – Even on my wedding way! True story. So, I do love a bit of a dry shampoo save to stretch the shampoo days further apart – But it’s actually a brilliant thing for fine / thin hair too on any day to add a bit of volume! The problem with mainstream dry shampoos is that they contain less than exciting ingredients such as Butane, Isobutane, Ethanol and Propane – not good for me, nor for the planet. Black Chicken Remedies’ Dry Shampoo is just gorgeous. It contains only natural powders and plant essences to absorb the oil on your scalp and give your hair the extra volume and texture you didn’t even know you were missing. It is also made right here in Australia as all their products are, and packaged in a cardboard tube that you sprinkle the product out of, rather than spray from an aerosol can – which we all know are NOT a good idea for our environment.
Voila. Those are the pieces from the range that I’ve picked to share with you in the gorgeous new “Alexx Stuart Low Tox Boxx”, to help you get started on your Low Tox journey and see which ones my absolute favourites are.
Feel free to connect with me over at lowtoxlife.com or on insta @lowtoxlife.
Enjoy making some beautiful changes and remember – don’t feel guilty about what you didn’t know yesterday, just get excited about what you’re going to change from today!