Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Searching for Yummy Smelling 'Eco' Lotions

After our "What does Sustainable Healthcare Mean to You?" I was reminded how prevalent cancer and illness are in Nova Scotia (higher rates than any other province in Canada). We may leave in a country with "free" healthcare, except for when most cancer medications aren't covered by medicare.

When my uncle, a lobster fisherman, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was informed that the life prolonging drugs were not covered by medicare, his options were... die sooner.

When we find out that products we slather all over our skin, products plural, contain cancer causing toxic chemicals... why would we continue to choose these products?

I've found we continue to choose those products because it's just so darn difficult to find comparable alternatives that are truly "clean" of chemicals and similar in price. That works.

For example, my latest attempt to find a yummy smelling body lotion that is equally moisturizing that it is clean... AND smells like summer.

Alba's Kukui nut lotion. Although Alba is sold in health food stores and in the "natural" section, it most certainly is far from free of chemicals. Having a little statement that says it has 100% Vegetarian ingredients really doesn't mean much, especially when you have the following ingredients:
polysorbate 60, dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance.

The scariest of the above five? The "fragrance" which of course is one of my favourite parts. According to David Suzuki, "fragrance" or "parfum" is one of the "Dirty Dozen" cosmetic toxic ingredients to avoid at all costs and can hide any of 3000 chemicals. Many of these are triggers for migraines, asthma and allergies. Some ingredients have even been linked to cancer causing agents and neurotoxins. (p. 8 of David Suzuki's Dirty Dozen Backgrounder).

Ok, all winter I have been using Green Beaver's Apr├Ęs Ski lotion which is clean of chemicals and works like a dream, no residue and moisturizes all day. It's just... after I apply this stuff I smell like a well roasted chicken. Now, although Andrew thinks it's pretty hilarious and yummy, I'm really kinda tired of smelling like a thanskgiving turkey. (It's the rosemary).

Sadly, the other Green Beaver options just aren't as moisturizing... so I went in search of something else.

I found Dr Bonner's Magic 'All-One' lotion. Yes.... I know, 'Magic All-One' lotion?? Who NAMES these products??? I picture a smokey, sweet haze and some tie dyed shirts. Seriously though.

Anyhoo, the ingredient list is fantastic. It smells like yummy peppermint... and even though I KNOW peppermint can be drying, it was that or an icky orange or patchouli type. I really just didn't want to smell like sandalwood patchouli. Ya know?

As you can seen, I'm leading up to something. The lotion feels greasy and sticky going on. It smells very strongly of peppermint and I feel nervous eating anything after having the stuff on my hands. Eventually the greasy feeling does go away, but after a few hours my legs are itchy, flaky and dry and my arms are red.

The price was right, the ingredients were perfect, even the post-consumer recycled packaging was great. Sadly the actual lotion lacked in awesomeness.

Ah well... the search continues...


article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I say we recruit our girl at Five Seed to make some body butters!!

  2. It is so hard to find a good natural lotion! And hard to make one, too! I've been trying to perfect one forever! Keep me posted on what you find - I'll be sure to share it!

  3. Have you looked at I use their Shower Oil and love it!

  4. What about the yummy LUSH line? (I prefer fragrance-free lotion but for soap, the "Karma" scent is sure to please, and I love "Honey I Washed The Kids.")

    I've been awaiting a comment from you on my recent post on eco hypocrisy:

    Go Canucks? Is the rest of Canada rooting for the Canucks or not? Newish to Canada, I'm not exactly a fan but it's getting dicey.

    YogaSpy in Vancouver

  5. I hear your pain! As a person who struggles not only with extremely dry skin, but horrid chemical and scent allergies, I have tried to no avail to find an acceptable moisturizers. In winter when it gets really bad, I use olive oil on the really dry spots. And I smell like a nice salad dressing. All natural doesn't always mean scent/allergen/whatever free. And in addition look at the packaging! Phthalates anyone?!

    If you find a good one that doesn't make you smell like lunch, please post :)

  6. What about coconut oil after the shower or shea butter (if you have time to hang out before putting your clothes back on)?

  7. I'd have to look up the ingredient list on the packaging but I really like the Live Clean brand. I'm using their shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer. The body lotion I have is the aragon oil one and I find it to be hydrating, smells good and isn't greasy. But you'd have to look up the ingredients.

  8. Great blog!
    Have you tried using oil? I am now using oils before I shower and it helps with keeping my skin from drying out without being too oily. I use different essential oils to aid a scent and different oils depending on the time of year. It's very reasonable, cost-wise and all natural. Krista from Bhavana gave me this idea. Love it! The massage I get while doing this is a wonderful bonus.

  9. I made the best lotion ever! Cut lavender off our bush and put it in a bottle of organic olive oil. Rotated it every day for a month. Took out the lavender, and voila! It smells wonderful and I use it all over my body instead of body lotion. It seriously is the best lotion I have ever used. Smells awesome!

  10. I'm very hard to impress as far as beauty products go, and virgin coconut oil is the thing.

    It smells vaguely like food until it absorbs (which happens quickly- my problem with other food-oils was that they seemed to hang out on my skin for ages) and then leaves your skin looking so healthy.

    The best part is that I love it's effects on both on my ultra-dry legs and my slightly-oily face. Plus it's just 1 ingredient, which can be eaten by the spoonful-- so you know it's perfectly good for your body!

  11. Yes, you are right missb33, olive oil does tend to stay on the skin. To get around that, I lube up at night and all is golden in the morn. I don't know why but I just can't stand coconut oil. I want to love it, I really do. But the smell just turns me off. Maybe I need to mix in some essential oils.

  12. wow, thanks for the suggestions and tips everyone!

    I don't like oil... BUT what I was thinking was I should make another sugar scrub w some oil... I have some jojoba and almond oil still. so that is part of my plan. :)

  13. Glad you researched the Alba stuff--always frustrates me to see these "natural" products on the shelves that people just assume are better than mainstream but most the time they're not any better. Fragance is the worst! I actually avoid scent in most my products for that reason and it always strikes me as weird when I'm around people wearing scents now ;) I finally decided to select a mainstream lotion that is fragrance free, works wonders, and scores better than many of the "natural" ones. Sometimes we compromise I suppose ;) Will be interested to see what you find! Glad to get the review on Dr Bronners and your insights on the naming seriously cracked me up.

  14. Just read the commentary---definitely am going to have to look into the coconut oil. I'm on a coconut craze :)

  15. I am also an oil- lover,I use it because it's so simple. Favorites are coconut or almond oils.Have you tried Badger Balm? I don't know the background of the company too well, but the Mr. swears by it.He has dry sensitive skin and doesn't want to smell like a cupcake or "sporty-fresh"(whatever that is!)...he also can't use stuff with heavy peppermint or salicylic acid in it(too irritating).It's been an interesting search to find something that feels okay and isn't loaded with chemical or "skin renewal" extras.


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