Favorite Natural Skincare Essentials & Additions for Athletes
OK, admission: I’m not always into ‘natural’ options for my skincare/makeup/general life. I sometimes wish I was the kind of person who only opted for natural, organic options all the time, but honestly, I think there are times when we need stuff that’s a teensy bit stronger/more effective… And I find things like tea tree oil are actually too harsh for my skin! But when I can find products that are actually natural/organic and really do work well, I’m psyched. I was realizing last week that I have actually made a pretty solid shift to mostly using natural products as my go-tos for a few things, so I wanted to share because honestly, they’re working great and I’m a little shocked!
(I’ll note that while these are almost entirely skincare versus makeup-based, I talk about makeup here. So, the usual caveat: NO ONE is saying you should or have to wear makeup while working out, or any other time. This is just what I do and what I like! You do you.)
Suntegrity “5 in 1” Tinted Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen (light)
I had this recommended to me in California last year when I was dealing with possibly the worst breakout that I’d had in years… And most of it, I realized, had been caused by a combination of moisturizer, sunscreen, and a dirty helmet strap and a LOT of hours on the bike. Pro tip: CLEAN YOUR HELMET! Anyway, I was desperate enough to actually go get a facial, and the woman I worked with there suggested swapping my normal sunscreen/tinted moisturizers that I was using for this Suntegrity one, which uses zinc oxide instead of chemical sunscreens. It’s also a moisturizer, and bonus, it’s tinted, so I could start skipping any foundation (I don’t wear a ton normally… but I do like that this zinc oxide is tinted so it doesn’t end up looking chalky!). It’s been really great, helps me avoid sunburn when I’m riding and running, and it doesn’t make my skin look or feel greasy—and the breakouts I was dealing with are under control.
Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner
I’ve used witch hazel before as a toner, but the cheap versions are often alcohol based, so I found them too drying. Which, as someone with oily skin, sounds great, but it dried out my skin without clearing up the oily part. (Seriously, WTF.) Anyway, my sister started using Thayer’s alcohol-free option and I borrowed it last time I was home to use as a toner for a few days and I almost immediately noticed a huge difference in my skin! It was a lot smoother and less oily, and the witch hazel is amazing as a makeup remover as well. (I like the rose petal one, but also use the plain version.)
Seventh Generation Natural 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergent Free and Clear Unscented
I talk about this EVERY time I give a talk about all things lady parts and bike related… You can prevent so many rash and saddle sore issues just by getting your laundry sorted. That means making sure your chamois is inside out when it goes in the wash, double rinsing, and making sure that your detergent isn’t irritating your skin. (I did a whole article on it here.) We both have super sensitive skin in our house, so we only use detergents that are unscented and dye-free—bonus points for a natural one that will still get our kits clean. We’ve been really liking Seventh Generation—it’s natural, it’s not hella expensive, and it doesn’t leave us with residue or anything that could give us a rash.
Still dealing with saddle sore issues? Check out the book!
ChlorOxygen Chlorophyll Concentrate
OK, so a bunch of people claim that taking this in water actually will decrease your body odor, especially if you sweat a lot. That’s intriguing to me, but I have to admit, I don’t use it for that. I actually hesitated to include this on the list, but I think it’s saved me a couple of times… from hangovers. My cousin recommended it to me a couple of years ago and said that if you’re ever in hangover-danger-zone, adding this to a big glass of water before you go to sleep can help mitigate the symptoms. Now, I have to admit, I can’t confirm that it’s helped because of the actual chlorophyll, which helps bring more oxygen to your blood cells, or just because it’s made me down a huge glass of water before I went to bed, but I will say that I haven’t had any major hangovers since. That’s also because I rarely would drink enough to get hungover, but still!
Thieves Essential Oil
Again, this was a recommendation from my cousin, who clued me in to ChlorOxygen—but this one is all about for if you’re starting to feel a little under the weather, like you have a cold coming on. She swears by just using a couple of drops of Thieves Essential Oil basically poured directly down her throat. It’s a combo of clove, lemon peel, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, and I’ve been using it a few ways. I wouldn’t recommend her usage to everyone, but I’ve found for me it does seem to nip a sore throat in the bud when I can feel one coming on, making it ideal for travel and when I know I’ve been surrounded by sick people on planes/etc. The other thing we use it for is just dropping a bit into our essential oil diffuser. It smells so freaking yummy! And third, since I always have it in my bag, I will use it in a pinch as a sort of perfume substitute.
Sea Salt + Water
When I think back to my favorite hair moments, they all point to one thing: my hair, post-beach. Whether it was when I had longer hair and salt water would leave me with beachy waves that weren’t poofed out like crazy, or my short hair being piece-y and texturized, the ocean has always been my best stylist. So rather than spending a bunch of $$ on chemical-heavy texturizers, I’ve started just mixing some sea salt in with water and shaking it up, spraying it on. (This isn’t great for dry hair types, but oily hair types like mine can get away with it!)
I am NOT a fan of using coconut oil as lotion or for anything on my skin, and I’m really not a huge fan of the whole ‘coconut oil as lube’ thing. (There are just some hygiene issues there that I think are potentially hazardous…) But ANYWAY. I am a fan of using warmed up coconut oil on my hair as a hair mask—just warm it up so it’s in liquid form, apply to damp hair, and leave it on for 30-ish minutes. I like looking like a crazy old lady and putting a shower cap on for it so I can wander freely around the house instead of staying trapped in the bathroom.
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