Natural Shaving Creams and Gels: Buying Tips
Unlike many beauty rituals, shaving is not one most of us enjoy. It doesnt have the sensuality of moisturizing, the skin-exciting tendencies of a good scrub, or even the feeling of freshness imparted by a flossing. Removing the tiny hairs on ones face, if a man, or (seemingly) everywhere, if youre a woman, involves all kinds of exactitude and the potential for injury and irritation.
Which is all the more reason to make the shaving experience a bit more pleasant by using a shaving cream or gel. You will not only save your blades (when they are better able to move over the skin, they last longer) but will give you a closer, better shave meaning you wont have to repeat the task quite as often. It definitely beats a scrape with just soapy lather!
Because pores are opened and microcuts can occur, even when using a good quality blade, shaving cream or gel is one of the bathroom products worth finding in a nontoxic version. Whatever makes up the frothy stuff you put on your face or legs can bypass the skins normal defenses, so it makes sense to make it as natural as possible. Check the ingredient lists before you purchase, recommends Dr. Jeannette Jacknin a Scotsdale, Ariz., holistic dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin ($38 at amazon.com, or $10 for Kindle edition). Look for natural oil-based products with herbal extracts and other soothing ingredients, like:
> Natural oils of macadamia seed, jojoba seed, coconut, sesame, soybean and olive. They're all moisturizers.
> Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory and skin calmer
> Aloe is soothing and healing to the skin.
> Glycerin draws water into the skin to help keep it moisturized.
> Marshmallow extract is a natural anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory
> Evening primrose is an anti-inflammatory that also helps ease itchiness
> Calendula extract helps ease the discomfort from minor burns and cuts, which are common during shaving.
Dr. Jacknin recommends avoiding the following ingredients in shaving creams:
> Synthetic fragrance
> Petroleum or mineral oil
> Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES)
> Propolene glycol
> Triethanolamine (better known as TEA)
If you have products in your cabinet and youre wondering about the potential health effects of their ingredient lists, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database You can search products as well as specific ingredients, and find out what the science says about them, though be aware that worrying results of lab or occupational studies don't necessarily translate into the same risk for consumers exposed to small amounts.