Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Confessions of a Greenophobe

I’m going to start this post off with a little honesty-I’m not really an “organic” person.  I’ve never been one to stray toward non-chemical products and in the grocery store, the label “pesticide-free”  waving at me from a pile of apples tends to send me running in the opposite direction, and I tend to binge eat overly processed candies on a cyclical basis.  Why do you ask?  It’s not that I’m an earth-hating, GMO-toting, Grinch (hey, I recycle); I just carry the wide-spread fear that in buying natural products, I pay more and sacrifice effectiveness. 

BUT-it is springtime; that means new year’s resolutions are still hanging in there, not to mention Lent, and with the added bonus of the beauty of nature popping up all around me; I decided there’s no better time to turn a new life and go natural…err…at least try it out.

Lucky for me I have an awesome downtown Athens apartment, and there is a just as awesome natural body care shop just down the street (corner of East Clayton and College to be exact).  So I took a stroll to Keeping It Natural (walking gives me “green” bonus points, right?) and took the plunge into their soap-filled world of earthy and organic products. 

Keeping it Natural had EVERYTHING-even things I didn’t know existed, like black soap (ironically clean) and bars of lotion.  And it smelled really good.   We’re talking yankee candle meets a candy shop in a field of lilacs good, none of that dirty, gritty stank that I imagined all natural products carried with them.  So there I was, in a cute little green and brown store, surrounded by hundreds of products that I was tempted to eat while I read their labels, just a tad bit overwhelmed by choice. 

Luckily, the store owner, Melissa, was there to save me.  And with her guidance and expert knowledge of all of her products, I navigated my way through the shelves of locally produced and organic temptations until I settled on a couple of products that were 1-not the super expensive, overly trendy items I was anticipating 2-pretty perfectly suited for my life.  BONUS: the labels were adorable and I got to play pretend photographer with my Instagram later.  I know, I know, I’m so artsy.

Clovertree Apothecary Deep Cleansing Face Wash was perfect for my not-so-perfect skin, and easy to fit into my lifestyle; I already wash my face, so I just substituted my regular bar soap for something a little less chemical-ly.  Let me tell you something-I am NOT a morning person.  I cringe at the idea of waking up before dawn and find myself burying my head in pillows at the sound of that hauntingly familiar iPhone ringtone.  This stuff didn’t exactly make me want to get up in the morning, but it definitely made it a teensy bit more bearable.  It had just the right balance of citrus to wake me up, with a little honey balance to ease me into the waking world.  Super refreshing.  The smell alone would keep me using this stuff on the reg, but the fact that it actually works is an added bonus.  It keeps my skin super clear, without slathering on scary sounding things, like sodium laureth, yikes.

Face wash is great and all, but I wanted to get something fun to, and to my surprise, found out there was local, natural make up, too! SallyB’s Skin Yummies is located right in Atlanta and Melissa helped me to find a really cool gel-like charcoal eye shadow from her line to dress up my organic experience.  I’m not a big fan of the harsh black raccoon-eye look, so the fact that this went on in a less gothic manner made me really happy.  Not to mention, I just switched from a thick eye shadow brush to an angled one and boom-instant eyeliner!   Plus, look at the packaging; it’s kind of adorable and even has a little mirror on the inside for on-the-go application (or general vanity, your call).  And guess what guys-it’s not expensive!  We’re talking like half of the price of all of the department store face cleansing regimes and makeup pieces.  And this is coming from a jobless, constantly-broke, extremely stingy college student. 

 So what are this springtime’s realizations:  Natural products work just as well, if not better, than their chemical-laden counterparts.  AND they actually smell good, like really good.  Keeping It Natural has about a million options for anyone looking to go natural, and Melissa offers fantastic prices and an incredible knowledge about organic and natural products.  Needless to say, I know where I’ll be frequenting for body wash needs and cute little presents in the future.  I’m not going to get ahead of myself here and pretend that I will be growing my own organic carrots or housing a colony of compost worms in my kitchen anytime soon, but this girl’s life may have gotten just a little more natural.

All this talk about yummy smelling organics has me daydreaming about twizzlers; I think those might be processed?  Baby steps……….

- Guest Blogger: Katie Bazemore, University of Georgia Student