BY LAUREN SPANSKI
From drinking cocktails sun to cozy dates spent in front of the fire, there are so many variations to spend the day.
Unfortunately, there’s also hundreds of variations of chemicals that come with Valentine's Day. While these gifts are given out of love, so many of the bath and body products, makeup, perfume, candles, and sweet treats gifted are filled with harmful, toxic ingredients.
The average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from common personal care products, cosmetics and soaps. We know you want to give your loved ones gifts they’ll love, and gifts that you can feel great about giving.
Here are six gifts to share with your nearest and dearest (and for those looking for self-care tips!).
KEEP CHEMICALS OUT OF VALENTINES DAY AND ENCOURAGE SELF-CARE
Even though the vast majority of women value self-care and taking time to nurture oneself, only a fraction of women spend 30 or fewer minutes a day on themselves. Let’s change that, ladies!
What’s worse, for those who do spend time on self-nurturing activities, like taking a bath or DIYing a facial, they may be introducing a host of harmful ingredients into their bodies.
According to Mia Davis, the head of health and safety for Beautycounter, a non-toxic personal care product company:
The lipstick we wear, the food we eat, and the soap we use to clean our children’s hands often contain harmful chemicals. The load adds up quickly day after day. And as we swallow, breathe in, and lather up, toxins entering our bodies may have lasting impact.
And the load does add up quickly indeed, considering that about 60% of what we put on our bodies in the form of body wash, body lotion, shampoo, perfume, and makeup absorb into the skin and into the bloodstream. Yikes! If there are truly hundreds of chemicals in conventional care products and about 60% of them are absorbed, just think about all of the harmful substances floating around in our bodies! That’s simply not good for our health or beauty.
To give you an idea of what some of these harmful ingredients are and what their impact is, here are some of the nasty chemicals found in conventional personal care products:
A byproduct of carcinogenic petrochemical ethylene oxide found in many shampoos, lotions, bath bombs, and other products
Strong endocrine disrupters which mimic estrogen and can cause the growth of breast tumors; found in deodorants, shampoos and conditioners, spray tans and lotions, and more.
Linked to birth defects in boys and lower sperm-motility in men; found in plastic materials, toys and food packaging, household cleaners, cosmetics and other personal care products like nail polish and hair products
Occurs naturally in crude oil and tolu trees; a neurotoxin found in synthetic fragrances and nail polish that can lead to impaired breathing, anemia, lowered blood cell count, and liver and kidney damage
SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, AMMONIUM LAURYL SULFATE
Surfactants and cleansing agents that can lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, and cancer; found in makeup foundation and hair colour.
An organic alcohol used in engine coolants and antifreeze and also found in facial moisturizers and shampoos; can cause kidney and liver damage, skin irritation and allergic reactions.
In popular treats and candy, you can find:
- Artificial colors and flavors
- Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat)
- High fructose corn syrup
- Loads of sugar
Ready for some alternatives?
The following 6 Valentine's Day gift ideas are completely non-toxic and truly good for the body and soul. Whether you’re shopping for the health nut, beauty lover, or the sweet tooth, these will bring smiles.
6 TOXIN-FREE GIFTS FOR YOUR LOVED ONES THIS VALENTINES DAY
1. MAGNESIUM BATH SALTS
As the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and involved in over 600 cellular actions, magnesium is an incredibly important nutrient for our muscles, heart, hormones, sleep, and mood.
Additionally, magnesium plays an important role in:
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Reducing migraines
- Easing the symptoms of depression
- Reducing symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps
So it’s concerning that most people are deficient in this mighty mineral. Luckily, magnesium has been given a lot of attention lately in the health arena, except all of the information can make it difficult to understand what kind to take. According to research about magnesium’s absorption capabilities, magnesium is best absorbed through the skin compared to taking a supplement. Magnesium chloride is the type of magnesium that you want to look for to take a soak in the tub to attain its many benefits. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency here.
Taking a bath with magnesium flakes is a great way to increase your levels of this incredible mineral and take some time for yourself to relax and unwind (glass of wine recommended).
Here’s how to prep your magnesium bath:
- Fill your tub with warm-hot water (you can also fill it partially to do a foot soak)
- Add 1-2 cups of magnesium bath salts to your water and stir it with your hand to dissolve in the water
- *Optional: add 5-10 drops of an essential oil of choice (lavender is beautiful here)
- Soak for 20-30 minutes
Shop high quality magnesium chloride bath salts here.
2. RAW, ORGANIC CHOCOLATE
It turns out chocolate is a health food. Thank goodness, right?? Women are wise, intuitive beings that have actually known this for centuries wink* wink*. Raw, organic chocolate is one of the highest sources of antioxidants on the planet, more than 20 times that found in blueberries! It also contains protein, calcium, magnesium and healthful flavonoids.
Chocolate has also been found to offer emotional benefits, by increasing serotonin levels (the happy hormone) and invoking feelings of relaxation and contentment. However, the high heat from the refining process damages cacao’s many micronutrients and health benefits. You really want to eat chocolate raw to take advantage of all the amazing antioxidants and mood-boosting compounds. You also ideally want it made without refined sugar to maintain it as a delicious health food.
Moreover, it’s important to look for certified organic chocolate because that means the cacao beans and other ingredients were not treated with pesticides or herbicides.
The absolutely delicious raw, organic chocolate you’ll find in our shop is made even more scrumptious with the addition of crunchy hazelnuts and natural sweetness of pure maple syrup without any dairy.
3. CLAY FACE MASKS
It’s no secret here at The Clean Collective that we love a good facial treatment. It’s one of those things that is easy to do at home and feels oh-so good. One of the latest things we’re obsessed with in our shop is the Australian Clay Beauty Kit. The kit carries pink clay, yellow clay and white clay to deliver potent rejuvenating, toning, soothing and healing benefits for the skin, all with just three products that are easy to use at home.
The reason why we love this kit so much is because of all the many benefits of clay masks. Clay has been used for healing for many years. The Earth is made up of mostly minerals, and that’s exactly what clay is made up of. These minerals are so beneficial for the body and skin, for providing nutrients and supporting the skin’s natural rejuvenating processes.
One of the biggest benefits of clay masks is their ability to draw out toxins and impurities from the body.
Here are the top ways you can benefit from clay masks:
- Absorb excess oil on the skin
- Pull toxins and dirt from deep in the skin
- Provide the skin with minerals and nutrients
- Remove dead skin cells for increased cellular turnover
- Sooth and benefit the skin, no matter your skin type
There are many types of clay out there, and there’s something for every type of skin and skin concern. Dry, mature skin may not do well with highly detoxifying clays, but benefit from a gentle, soothing and toning clay.
The clays offered in the Australian Clay Beauty Kit are gentle and effective, safe for all skin types. Whether you’re looking to assist your skin in cellular renewal and wrinkle reduction, reducing inflammation, pulling out impurities, reducing acne, or nourishing and hydrating the skin, you’ll find what you’re needing in this kit. (Truly, all skin types and skin concerns can benefit from all of these actions).
4. COFFEE BODY SCRUBS
The caffeine in coffee is great for giving the body an energy boost when mum life gets exhausting. Coffee is also great for the skin for providing stimulation and rejuvenation. Caffeine, in addition to coffee’s natural antioxidants, has been found to help reduce cellulite and increase cellular renewal for reduced wrinkles and dull looking skin.
A coffee skin scrub can also:
- Increase circulation, resulting in healthier, plumper and more radiant looking skin
- Give the skin a more uniform appearance
- Create a softer feeling on the skin
- Increase the skin’s ability to absorb nutrients
- Improve the appearance of stretch marks
With its high polyphenol antioxidant content, free radical fighting powers, and ability to a decrease fatty cell size (cellulite) by 17% when used topically according to one study, you need no more reasons to add coffee to your skincare routine.
The coffee scrub we carry in our shop also contains magnesium to soothe sore, achy muscles, and meadow foam seed oil for locking in moisture and delivering additional antioxidants. Get yours here!
5. DIFFUSERS & OILS
The benefits of aromatherapy are the stuff of beauty. Essential oils can help many ailments and discomforts, from making it easier to breathe through congestion to boosting the immune system to beautifying the skin.
There’s so much information out there about essential oils and it can be confusing knowing what’s safe and what isn’t. Is it okay to ingest oil, or use them topically without diluting? That’s a blog post for another time, but what we can tell you is that there is one method that is generally safe and appropriate for anyone and any time, and that is diffusing.
Diffusing involves the dispersal of a small amount of essential oils into the air through misted water or pressurized air.
For beginners and avid essential oil users alike, diffusing oils makes a great gift with many benefits:
- Get rid of unwanted odors in the home and purify the space
- Ease the symptoms of the cold, flu, and congested sinuses
- Promote relaxation and ease stress
- Improve sleep quality
- Disinfect a space from harmful mold
- Increase cognitive function and focus
- Boost energy and motivation
The two main types of diffusers are the nebulizer and the ultrasonic cool mist diffuser. A nebulizer is touted as being the most therapeutic form of essential oil diffuser and is more expensive because of this. Nebulizers do not use heat or water to diffuse essential oils, and instead use a process of creating condensed air to atomize the oil and release it into the air as a vapor. They can be loud to operate and require more essential oil drops than water diffusers because more oil is used during operation.
The ultrasonic cool mist diffuser uses water to disperse essential oils into the air and tends to cost less than nebulizers. The ultrasonic diffuser dilutes a few drops of essential oils in cool water and mists the oil-water into the air. It also adds humidity into the air, and may not be the best option if you already have a humidity/mold issue.
As far as essential oils go, it’s important to find high quality oils that are pure and certified organic. Not all oils are created equal, and lavender oil from one company can vary greatly from another. Find a company that guarantees only 100% pure essential oils that are organic and third-party tested.
If you or someone you’ll be exchanging gifts with is pregnant, read our post about essential oil safety and pregnancy.
6. ORGANIC HERBAL TEAS
The wonderful thing about herbal teas (besides the literally hundreds of therapeutic benefits of them) is that most people* can enjoy them. Because they do not contain any caffeine, pregnant women, nursing women, and children can enjoy them (*with the exception of certain herbs that may not be safe in certain circumstances).
They also make for a thoughtful gift, for the mama-to-be, the nursing mum, or that someone who prioritizes natural remedies. When packaged simply with a bag or box of tea and a lovely tea infuser.
Browse our wide selection of herbal teas in our shop and find exactly the right gift for that certain someone on your list. Know a mum-to-be who you’d like to pamper? Check out our mama teas for pregnancy. Nursing mums would love a special tea made specifically for supporting breast milk production and soothing a fussy bub.
Our tea collection also offers relief for digestive discomforts, supporting fertility, relaxation, and boosting natural energy.
What do you think about our list of toxin-free gifts? Have any ideas you’d like to add? We’d love to hear them in the comments!