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Natural Hair and Skin Care

July 9, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In an attempt to personalize HealthyFellow.com, I’m going to invite you all into a part of my world that only my wife and select family and friends ever venture into: our bathroom. Don’t be scared! There’s a perfectly logical reason for this. If you’re anything like me, you probably stare at the seemingly endless wall of natural hair and skin care items at your local health food store with a perplexed look on your face. The good news is that this very expression often attracts the cosmetics attendant on staff to try to rescue you from your daze. The bad news is that I rarely feel like I end up walking out of the store with exactly the type of product I was looking for. But through much trial and error, I’ve found a group of products by a single manufacturer with which I’ve experienced some success. I’m not trying to sell you anything, but rather hope that this information will assist you in finding cleaner products at a fraction of the cost and time.

Several years ago I was working as a consultant for a ritzy health food store. My primary function was to assist the owner in selecting products to stock. But what would often happen is that I’d also provide information to the customers and staff about why and how to use natural remedies to support their health goals. I had absolutely no problem doing that with the food and nutritional supplements, but had a harder time with the “cosmaceuticals”. I frequently found that the most popular “natural” hair and skin care products were often filled with suspect ingredients – mostly harsh cleansing agents, preservatives, synthetic colors and fragrances. These are substances that I personally try to avoid because they may very well pass through the skin and into the body. (1,2,3)

Fortunately, I recently discovered a reasonably priced line of holistic products by Aubrey Organics that suit my sensibilities quite well. Before I go any further, please allow me to make a few statements of fact: 1) I have no financial or other affiliation or relationship with this company whatsoever; 2) All of the products discussed here today have been purchased on “my own dime”. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the nitty gritty:

Shampoo – Calaguala Fern Treatment Shampoo

  • Key Features: Most importantly, it leaves hair looking clean without drying out the scalp. It has a pleasant scent. A little bit goes a long way, which makes it cost effective. Several of the ingredients possess hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties (calaguala extract and organic evening primrose oil).

Lotion – Ultimate Moist™ Green Tea / Rosemary / Mint Hand & Body Lotion

  • Key Features: Its primary ingredient is coconut oil which is an excellent moisturizer with antiseptic side benefits. (4,5) Most of the other components are organic. This lotion is also rich in skin protecting antioxidants such as matcha green tea powder. (6,7,8) The scent is mild and it absorbs well without the slightest hint of skin irritation.

Deodorant – Men’s Stock Natural Dry Herbal Pine Deodorant

  • Key Features: This deodorant actually works! It has a masculine scent that isn’t overpowering. I like that it’s delivered via a spray bottle because I find most stick deodorants irritating. The odor fighting effect lasts a long time. It’s an excellent deal for the money.

Lip Balm – Treat ‘Em Right Lip Balm

  • Key Features: Virtually 100% organic. It’s base consists of organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil and organic hemp oil. It does any excellent job of taming my chap prone lips. The flavors I’ve tried (spearmint and peppermint/tea tree) were both well balanced.

In the past, I was a big fan of Aubrey’s Vegecol sensitive skin lotion, but no longer need to use it now that my eczema and psoriasis have cleared up. Vegecol is considerably more expensive than the Ultimate Moist lotion that I currently use for both my face and body.

I’m not an expert on this company but, as far as I can tell, they appear to pride themselves in operating an ethically sound business – no animal testing, environmentally responsible production practices and support for independent health food stores.

I don’t have many reservations about the Aubrey Organics products I’ve tried. I will tell you that a few of the shampoos have a scent that I don’t personally care for. So, if it’s at all possible, test the scent before buying. Apart from that, they’re not the cheapest hair and skin care products on the market, but I think they’re fairly priced. As with most natural health items, you often times will find better prices when shopping online.

Be well!


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15 Comments & Updates to “Natural Hair and Skin Care”

  1. Sam Bakker Says:

    Hey excellent post on Natural Hair and Skin care. I found your advice very good.


  2. JP Says:

    Thanks, Sam.

    Be well!


  3. David Says:

    I dont know all ingredients of these products, although I suspect the deodorant may include some natural irritant ingredient in order to that smell. I am cosmetic critic in my country, I have reviewed many products and read thounsand cosmetic formulas and out there are many natural bad products, simply because natural does not mean better. There are very good artificial ingredients in cosmetics (most silicons like dimethicone are terrific ingredients as natural moisturizing factors), and others natural so bad. There are good and bad artificial and natural cosmetic ingredients, really.

    Very useful this article and this video from the Cosmetics Cop, Paula Begoun



    At Beautypedia.com, by Paulas Choice, you can find most facial Aubrey Organics formulas. Reality is that for Paula Begoun among 57 Aubrey Organics reviewed formulas, 42 are formulas loaded with irritant and inflammatory ingredients which harm skin.


    I hope all this researched material can be helpful for you. Most, if not all, Dermatology books I have read share the main opinions of Paula Begoun about cosmetic formulations.


  4. David Says:

    When I said Paulas Choice I wanted to say Paula Begoun. Paulas Choice is her skin care line, the only one in cosmetics which recommends products from other brands.

  5. JP Says:

    Thanks for the information, David! I will check it out.

    I can only relay that my own sensitive skin (body, facial and scalp) appears to respond well to the Aubrey products I’ve mentioned.

    I do agree that natural hair and skin care products can be problematic. In fact, that’s why I wrote this column – because through much trial and error, I’ve finally found some holistic products that have benefited me.

    I appreciate your input and the links!

    Be well!


  6. David Says:

    I am happy you find useful this information. Paula Begoun is one of the most valuable independent sources in skin care products. In skincare facial products in general Clinique, Estee Lauder, DDF or Olay have terrific formulas (always with exceptions), and Paulas Choice is a brilliant brand for those addicted to antioxidants like me. Also, cosmeticscop.com is a very good website for debunking cosmetics myths and reading a sensible position in many controversial things (for example, parabens and preservatives controversy, which probably has not a definitive answer nowadays).

    Also, a very good independent information source in skincare and cosmetics in English language is thebeautybrains.com For example these are articles from them about parabens (very eskeptical like me about its ‘terible danger’)


    Thanks for your blog JP and for letting us sharing ideas and information.

  7. David Says:

    Talking about skin care, this summer I will be trying new Enhanced Fernblock from LEF

  8. JP Says:

    Great! Please let us know how it works out for you!

    Thanks again, David!

    Be well!


  9. sad man Says:

    any thoughts on help for scalp folliculitis?

  10. JP Says:

    *If* I had scalp folliculitis I would probably try the following:

    1. I would adopt a low carbohydrate diet – devoid of processed foods, starches and sugar.

    2. I would emphasize foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and limit vegetable oil consumption.

    3. I’d start using a high potency multivitamin/mineral, evening primrose oil and fish or krill oil. These provide the antiinflammatory fatty acids DHA, EPA and GLA.

    4. I’d begin taking a high dosage of probiotics (healthy bacteria).

    5. I’d use natural shampoos exclusively. A gentle product containing tea tree oil would top my list. Alternating it with the shampoo I mentioned above might be valuable as well.

    There are certainly other natural options available but I believe this is where I’d start.

    Be well!


  11. Becky Says:

    I would also add “Coconut oil”. I recently discovered it for myself and now use it to remove make-up and as a moisturizer. It works unbelievably well! I was at first afraid to put it on my face – as it is an oil and thought it would definitely clog the pores. But after watching a few youtube reviews decided to try it anyways. It worked wonders – my skin looks healthy and radiant day in and out. I would definitely recommend it. And, the price is great – only a few bucks!

  12. JP Says:

    Thanks for sharing your positive experience with coconut oil, Becky!

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Update: A cold cap may protect against chemotherapy-induced hair loss …

    More Info: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/keeping-your-hair-in-chemo/?_r=0

    “Hair loss is one of the most obvious side effects of cancer treatment. Now, a growing number of breast cancer patients are freezing their scalps as a way to preserve their hair during chemotherapy.

    The hair-saving treatment, widely used in Europe, requires a specialized frozen cap worn tightly on the head before, during and for a couple hours after a chemotherapy session. The method can be time consuming, expensive and uncomfortable, but numerous women swear by the results.”

    Be well!


  14. JP Says:

    Update: Dietary supplement improves appearance, health of aging skin …


    Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology; Volume 144, March 2015

    A dietary supplement improves facial photoaging and skin sebum, hydration and tonicity modulating serum fibronectin, neutrophil elastase 2, hyaluronic acid and carbonylated proteins

    “In the present study, administration of a dietary supplement containing Pycnogenol®, low-molecular-weight HA, collagen, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and coenzyme Q10 significantly improved facial photoaging, as assessed 2 weeks after the end of a 4-week treatment period. This finding coupled with a significant increase in sebum, hydration and tonicity, if compared with placebo. The improvement in facial photoaging also coupled with an increase in serum fibronectin and HA and a decrease in serum carbonylated proteins and neutrophil elastase 2. Our findings suggest a systemic modulation of these parameters that may represent biomarkers of photoaging pathology and could be used to monitor progression or improvement in this condition. The results from this study are in agreement with a previous investigation where a dietary formulation (BioCell Collagen®) administered for 12 weeks improved skin dryness/scaling and global lines/wrinkles with a significant increase in hemoglobin and collagen in skin dermis at 6 weeks and hemoglobin at the end of the study [16]. In summary, our dietary compound shows a synergistic efficacy of its individual ingredients in improving facial photoaging 2 weeks after the end of a 4-week treatment period. Pycnogenol®, HA, collagen, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and coenzyme Q10, which all possess a rationale of efficacy in modulating the ECM, can be put together in a dietary compound that produces an improvement in skin photoaging also modulating serum HA, carbonylated proteins, fibronectin and neutrophil elastase 2 levels. The clinical meaning of these parameters and their involvement in the photoaging pathophysiology at the systemic level warrant further investigation. Future studies will also address the long-term effects of the formulation used in this investigation in patients affected by photoaging. A limitation of our study is that the ELISAs we used do not allow to discriminate among different forms of some of the analytes that have been the object of our investigation.”

    Be well!


  15. JP Says:

    Update: Another reason to avoid smoking …


    Niger J Surg. 2014 Jul;20(2):83-6.

    Association between use of tobacco and age on graying of hair.

    AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between smoking, chewing tobacco (gutka), and age of individual on graying of hair.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: The present study was conducted on 120 patients attending the Outpatient Department of the DJ College of Dental Sciences and Research, Modinagar, UP. The individuals were classified into four groups (group I, II, III, IV) on the basis of the form of tobacco use (smoking or chewing). The Pearson correlation coefficient was utilized to find the correlation between the mean percentage of individuals with gray hair, risk multiplication factor (RMF), and age of the individual.

    RESULTS: Mean percentage of individual with gray hair and RMF (r = 0.6487) are found to be positively associated. A significant and positive correlation was observed between the age of the individual and the frequency of individuals with gray hair.

    CONCLUSION: This study suggests that there is a significant association between tobacco use and aging on graying of hair.

    Be well!


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