The Importance of BYO skincare products when travelling remotely

I think it’s amazing these days seeing the prevalence of cancer amongst seemingly “healthy individuals”. How many times have you heard someone say “yeah he passed away from cancer but it makes no sense, he was the healthiest guy, always eating the best foods and exercising regularly”. It is my belief it all comes down to the products we are applying externally and surrounding ourselves in daily that are endocrine disruptors (or hormone disruptors). See Wikipedias definition here.

A few years ago I never used to care for what I was putting on my skin, in my hair or brushing my teeth coconut oil with until I dated a highly passionate vegan. I hadn’t even heard of the concept of chemical beauty products, all that mattered was that it smelt pretty, moisturised, left a minty taste, smoothed or untangled. A simple internet search of unpronounceable chemicals contained in my favourite deodorant or moisturiser revealed some pretty disturbing results.

I started exploring alternative options and visiting speciality health food stores and paying more money for natural products. This was certainly trial and error as I found many products were not effective and I had to go through many brands until I found one that suited. For example finding a natural deodorant that actually worked took quite a few months and quite a few dollars, but I was so happy when I finally found a reliable brand and have to this day stuck with it.

Common Misbeliefs 

The biggest misbelief people follow regarding everyday skin care products you find at your supermarket is “if it’s so bad how can it end up in the supermarket and why would these companies want to harm your health?”. The sad truth is many companies want to find the most cost-effective option for manufacturing their products, with very little care for your health but total focus on how much profit they can make.

The use of animal products 

This involves using multiple animal by-products which include ground up intestines, meat industry beauty productshormones from adrenal glands and proteins obtained by boiling ligaments, bones and skin. For a full list see peta.org’s animal ingredients’ list here . The reason companies decide to use animal products is because they are cheap and usually by-products from the meat industry. Also animal skin oils etc are most closely related to our skin, therefore giving a smooth texture upon application, especially in moisturisers and makeup.

The use of chemical products

Again the main reason companies (including big names) use chemical products which are harmful to your health is because of the low cost involved. Have a look at the top chemicals to look out for in your personal skin care products here. You will see listed many chemicals which can affect internal organs, lead to skin allergies, cause chest pain, nausea, affect your immune system and the worst- cancer.

So the issue is not if you use these products once or twice or even for a few months at a time. Rather it is the long term exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals that will do the damage. Of course your skincare routine is engrained to your daily habits- my main tip is don’t change your entire beauty product range overnight- it’s just too overwhelming, trust me I tried! Once you start looking at the ingredients of every bathroom product you will find toothpaste, shampoos, moisturisers and all hair products contain some kind of toxic chemical or ground up animal part. Start with just one and go from there. It took me almost a year to almost fully change my beauty products to natural options. It is also a process of simplification- for example my everyday hair wash I just use diluted apple cider vinegar and for moisturiser face and body I use coconut oil.

The problem with remote regions

Luckily in countries like Australia there are regulations and bodies in place to measure what makes a product “organic” or “vegan-friendly”. Many remote spots just haven’t been educated on the dangers, therefore I’ve found products are much worse off than Australia because of a largely unregulated industry. In Thailand there are entire sections in supermarkets that claim to be organic but a simple scroll of the ingredients will reveal anything but. Small villages in Indonesia, Polynesia and Philippines that I have lived in all rely on toxic products as there is no other option.

Herein lies the importance of bringing your own beauty products on your surf trips. You could say you’re only living in these spots for less than a few months but once you are aware of just how bad most supermarket products are, it’s hard to go back. Again simplification wins. You don’t want to pay for excess baggage because of all the products you’re going to bring to last a few months.

The lesson learnt is not to only evaluate what you put inside your body but equally as important, be aware of what you’re exposing your body to and the long-term effects on your health.

Advertisements

Homemade Beeswax Hair Product/Lip Balm

About three years ago I came across a great recipe for a natural alternative to commercial hair product of the wax & pomade kind. It’s been great for travelling as I don’t have to try and find some strange branded hair product in a foreign country packed full of chemicals. It’s inexpensive, very easy and quick to make and it feels amazing to use a product you made with your own two hands and know exactly what ingredients are contained within.

I also use this same recipe as a soothing lip balm without having to alter the recipe.

Ingredientsnatural beauty

2 Tbs. grated beeswax

1 Tbs. Olive oil

1/4 cup coconut oil

Beeswax is usually obtainable from your local market or speciality health store. For those around NSW/QLD border I buy mine from Byron Bay- $3.50 for a solid block of wax in a container that holds 15Tbs or more grated! You’ll also need a container to scoop the finished produce into. I use a small glass container with a screw top lid. You can use an old lipstick tube and scoop the mixture into it if you are also using as a lip balm.

Remember both beeswax and coconut oil have great healing properties (particularly beeswax) so you can also apply the mixture direct to reef cuts or other wounds to help keep infections at bay.

Directions

Slice sections of beeswax off the block or use a grater and measure out 2Tbs. (or thereabouts) of beeswax. You can experiment with the amounts, the more beeswax the more solid the mix. Depending on the season bear in mind that coconut oil solidifies in more cooler temperatures and liquifies in heat.

Heat a small saucepan on low-medium heat and place the grated beeswax in the pan. Measure out the olive oil and coconut oil and pour in. The beeswax will melt into the oil much like butter would. Gently stir until all of the beeswax has dissolved and remove from the heat.

Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture starts to turn cloudy off-white and begins to harden enough to scoop into your container. Allow to cool.

This amount will last me up to six months and is certainly investing the short time it takes to make a safe and chemical free hair and multi-purpose product.

El Naturale Teeth Whitener

The teeth whitening industry is currently estimated to be a whopping $11 billion industry. That’s a pretty high figure considering many people have a fear of being in the dentist’s chair! Aside from a wisdom tooth extraction at an army base in Thailand which cost me about $7AUD (story for another time) I haven’t visited the dentist for around a decade and don’t plan to unless I experience obvious pain or problems with my teeth, mouth and gums. I much prefer to be pedantic about brushing my grills twice a day every day without exception, eat as close to nature as possible to avoid cavities from highly processed, sugary foods and once a week brighten my smile with a simple at home method.

Baking soda & lemon teeth whitener

This little at home teeth whitening trick is relatively new to me but I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ve been using this method for about two months and have noticed an improvement in the whiteness of my teeth (I do love my coffee) and the general smooth natural teeth whitenerfeeling of my dentures after I use the baking soda and lemon combo.

  1. Grab a small bowl and mix in about one heaped teaspoon of baking soda.
  1. Cut open a fresh lemon, only a small end slither of about 2cm and slowly squeeze the lemon juice onto the baking soda which will cause the baking soda to fizz from contact with the citrus. Stir the lemon juice in and gradually add more juice as needed until you have formed a smooth paste.
  1. Place your toothbrush in the mixture until its surface has a nice layer of the paste and lightly brush those grills, reapplying the mixture onto your brush along the way. natural whitener Brush for about two minutes then rinse out your mouth with fresh water.

This is such a simple, easy and cost effective way to whiten your teeth. The baking soda is pretty abrasive therefore you only want to be using the above technique once a week max. The idea of the fresh lemon juice is that it helps activate the properties of the baking soda and increases the effectiveness of the teeth whitening.