Friday, March 17, 2017

Natural Beauty Products Reviews

Horse Creek Soap Berry Vanilla and Lovespell

Today's post is off the healthy recipe theme and covers another part of my life I updated to live healthier, doing so about eight years ago. Just a note: I was not asked to review any of the products here, or provided money to review them. I only post on this website the products I love enough to buy and use in my own home.

What you put IN your body is essential to good health, but what you put ON your body is also very important.  The skin is the largest organ of the body and some of what is put on the skin will be absorbed into the body. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. (1)
You're kidding me right?

Yes,  Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for (ahem) "delicate" areas of the body.  (2)

And another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients. (3)

U.S.researchers have reported that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors.

Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks).
Is that something you really want on  and ultimately IN your body?

I started with my soap.  Most soap dried out my skin, but looking at the ingredient label of my moisturizing soap was an eye opener. I was using a generic product that was similar to Dove, but not made by Unilever.


Plus it started turning to mush in the shower after 10 days, so even though it was cheap it wasn't a bargain.
So I tried several different natural soaps, liking several of them but not having a particular one that stood out as a favorite. One issue I had was that most of them were so highly fragrance.  I wanted something that smelled nice but not like I'd bathed in perfume.  Then I tried this one particular brand about a year ago as the maker is the friend of one of MY friend's daughter so I bought some just to be supportive. I fell in love with it.
Goat's milk sop handcrafted in Colorado - it's made the way soap used to be made without all the additives.  The goat's milk is very moisturizing and the lather is the absolute softest and creamiest I've tried in a natural bar, rinsing clean and leaving the skin soft. The original blends were formulated with a bit of beef tallow, but the latest products I got are all vegetarian ingredients.

You can get unscented or a number of light scents.  My all time favorite is Fresh Snow which is just sold around the holidays.  When I said favorite - I bought a dozen bars of it as it's just made once a year I didn't want to run out.
It's not a minty smell, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it is a very FRESH smell, like the smell in the air when the snow first falls, that just makes me want to huff the bar.  I also bought some of their goats milk lotions, which Rachel can add any of the fragrances too.
Even better is the ingredient list.  The Horse Creek soap contains:


That's it. Now I'm sure someone is going to say "lye?  Isn't that caustic?" Technically yes, but you can't make soap without it.  Not going to happen.  In a soap like Horse Creek, that is superfatted, the chance of any irritation in the tiny amount of lye needed to process is about zip. You are more likely to be sensitive to a fragrance in any brand of soap than the lye that's used to make it.
My husbands favorite to shave with is Bay Rum. We just cut the bar in half and use in his shaving mug.  We also both like his shower soap called Shave and a Haircut -  it's a light scent that blends all the smells of an old fashioned barbershop. I like it as well, and think it would be a great unisex fragrance. 
I love all of them, and can't wait to try the Cranberry/Orange, Vanilla Oak  and Lemon /Parsley which I've not tried yet. If you have troubled skin the Avocado/Clay soap is has been a huge hit with customers.

In addition to the soap and the lotions, there are also some great lip balms (the sweet orange is addicting) and a rose/clay sugar scrub that's just yummy.

At $5 a bar it might seem pricey for soap, but after using them a year, I can tell you a bar lasts 3 times longer than the soap I was using, so it's very competitively priced for the quality.

Next are the skin and body care items that I have used over the years.  I admit, I've strayed to try a high end name brand or two a close friend was using or selling and always came back to these products, especially after looking at some of the toxic ingredients in some of the popular brands.
 My favorites are
Their lavender body oil or sleep balm before bed is the bomb and their simple three step skin care is about the most easy and economical product around.  The serums are absolutely amazing.  I do add a Rodan Plus Fields eye cream which probably isn't close to "natural" but works better than any eye cream I've ever tried.

Some favorite Eminence products - sour cherry whip moisturizer, blueberry soy night cream, acai firming mask, blueberry exfoliating cleanser (very gentle), coconut oil infused acai berry toner, and recovery oil. (Yes, and they do smell as yummy as they sound). I really loved these products but they are pretty pricey so if you're on a budget, you might skip except for an occassional splurge.

I also always protect my skin from heavy winter winds/cold when working outdoors and summer sun with a layer of beeswax cream before I go outside (which has a natural spf of 15) from
The creams come in a number of formulations and fragrances (and unscented)  This is the only product of all the cosmetic stuff I have around the house that my husband uses regularly and I caught him borrowing the formula for sore muscles (it doesn't have that medicinal smell most such creams have and it gently increases circulation without being hot on the skin). Their solid bee balm sticks and bars are great for feet, especially cracked heals and elbows and are easily portable. Beeswax is also a natural fungicide so the use of the bee balm is helpful if you are prone to athlete's foot.  This is also the company I get my beeswax pillar candles and little decorative candles from.
As far as makeup - I don't wear much but threw out my last order of Avon cosmetics when I saw the "made in China label" on my makeup, a country that REQUIRES animal testing.
I switched to:
In addition to their deodorant, hair and bath products and salve, I love their tinted moisturizer in "fair/medium" and lipsticks (my favorite lipstick is the beautiful pink "dogwood").  The honey milk bath has Epsom salts to sooth sore muscles and release toxins as well as colloidal oatmeal, dried buttermilk and goat milk, dried honey and vanilla powder.  When I get out of the tub after soaking in this, both the husband and Abby the Labrador retriever want to snuggle up to me because I smell good. Their skin care is also outstanding and priced to fit a smaller budget.

I can honestly say that my skin, using good quality skin care which nourishes the skin with real, not synthetic ingredients,  not only does not look eight years older since I started using these products, but I'm usually mistaken for early 40's, NOT late 50's.  Good genes, a lifetime of sunscreen and a diet rich in foods that promote collagen have helped a lot, but the skin care has made a noticeable difference. Especially in the chronic redness and irritation I always had with dry skin and Rosacea.
Point and shoot selfie at age 49. (no filters)

Point and shoot selfie at age 57. (no filters)
So  next time you go shopping for personal care, do your skin and the environment a favor with products that nourish and support.  You will find they are worth every penny.


1. Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479–484.
2. Kasting and Kretsos.Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74 Robinson et al. 
3. The Importance of Exposure Estimation in the Assessment of Skin Sensitization risk. Contact Dermatitis 2000; 42:251-259.

1 comment:

  1. It only makes sense. Everything is made up of chemicals so it is wise to see what chemicals we are exposing ourselves to! And your skin looks fabulous!



Thanks for visiting. Having been fortunate enough not to have to diet as a young woman - hitting middle age to find my Metabolism moved to Aruba and didn't even send a postcard was a rude awakening. Thanks for sharing the fun and the pain of getting back in shape. Note: If you are a stranger and include a link in your comment - it will not be posted, to ensure no SPAM or viruses are shared. Any link I post is tested first.