Many are unfazed by the fact that they’re absorbing chemicals in copious amounts each day – not only through poor air quality but also from many bath and body products, paint on the walls, polish on the floors, and so on. So why pay attention to this if you’re one of them? I’m going to tell you why, along with how. And for all you gentlemen out there, this is not just for the ladies!
I’m often met with blank stares when I start explaining why I’ve chosen to reduce my exposure to chemicals in simple ways – namely my kitchen and my home, bath and body cabinets. I read the small print on everything – especially when it comes to food or body products – and if I find there’s an ingredient I don’t understand, back it goes on the shelf.
A lot of the products we use are filled with chemicals linked to an array of concerns. Take parabens for example — chemical preservatives present in most shampoos, body lotions, bath scrubs, face washes, commercially made soaps and deodorants (just to name a few items they are found in) — have been strongly linked to cancer. Triclosan, widely found in toothpaste, washing soaps, bath soaps and deodorants, is an endocrine disruptor, and can wreak havoc with thyroid and reproductive hormones, as well as cause skin irritation and dryness.
If you think those are scary, imagine just how long the list actually is.
One of the huge misconceptions is that going natural is expensive, or requires buying only fancy foreign products. So here are some tips on wallet-friendly products that you can keep at home. The best part is, they’re all local and easier to find than you may expect!
Raw Honey: Replace your regular intake of white sugar with natural honey. Use it with a spot of sea salt and a teaspoon of coffee to make a shower-worthy body scrub. Use it alone to tighten the pores, reduce wrinkles and tame those pesky pimples. The best part is, quite a few expensive foreign-bottled raw honey comes from India itself.
A sorbet with a sprig of peppermint is a cooling way to beat the summer heat.
Peppermint: Whether as a food-grade essential oil or a lovely plant, peppermint serves multiple purposes too. Keep the rodents and ants away by sprinkling peppermint drops or keeping fresh peppermint leaves around the home. Add a few drops of oil to your bucket of soap to keep the floors squeaky clean or the toilets and sinks smelling fresh. Add a drop or a few leaves to a glass of water to calm the stomach and freshen the breath.
Turmeric: Everyone knows about the haldi doodh vs Turmeric Latte joke. Add it to your milk of choice (almond, coconut, dairy, you name it) for a healthy pick-me-up and anti-inflammatory. Use it in scrubs for a softening, antiseptic facial that will leave your skin glowing. And of course, no meal is complete without this incredible cancer-fighting Indian kitchen favourite.
Infuse your drinking water with lemons to keep body fat at bay.
Lime or Lemons: A glass of fresh lime in summer can cool the body off. Infuse the limes with regular water and sip from morning onwards to keep a bit of body fat at bay (coupled with regular exercise!). Add it to your facial products to take some of the day’s pollution off the skin. And a squeeze of lime added to white vinegar will keep your white clothes sparkling through summer!
Coconut Oil: Another traditional favourite, this works for pretty much everything. Cook with it. Massage it into the head to strengthen hair follicles and enjoy better growth. Use it as body lotion to keep the skin soft and dewy. Scrub foot callouses off with it. Replace your regular make-up remover with coconut oil. This is one of the best things you can keep in your kitchen.
Ambika Behal’s Honest Beauty, with daily doses of health and beauty tips, is available on the Juggernaut app here