It all began a few years ago when I read a book called Skin Deep by Pat Thomas. Until then I had been using Nivea soft as my main moisturiser and rather shockingly (but at the time I didn't think that much of it) after applying it my skin would burn (why did I think this was ok?!)
After reading the book I realised the damage I was causing to my skin and body by slathering it with chemicals, and not just my moisturiser but also toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. I immediately switched to using natural oils on my skin and gradually changed all my other toiletries to more natural products too. There was definitely a transition period with my skin where it felt dreadful, it lasted about a week but once I got through that, I haven't looked back.
Before I shower in the evening I do a quick bit of body brushing, it exfoliates, gets the lymphatic system moving, it improves circulation and releases stress. I wash with just water and a bit of organic soap where I need it. I wash my hair about every other night. I have had about as many problems with an itchy scalp as I have with eczema and have tried many many shampoos. At the moment I am using Avelon organics scalp normalizing shampoo and conditioner, and inbetween I am treating my scalp to an overnight coconut oil mask which also includes a few drops of lavender oil, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil. All of which have anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. I wash it off in the morning with the shampoo. It has really helped a lot, though I don't feel like my scalp is totally normal it is much better.
After my shower I use the Akamuti Avocado Night Cream on my face and coconut oil on my chest where I also get dry skin from time to time, which I buy from a website called Real Foods. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser because it is the most similar to the skins natural sebum, the small molecular structure of coconut oil allows it to be absorbed easily into the skin. I also use Shea butter on particularly dry areas such as my heels and lips. Shea butter is a rich, creamy, hard moisturizer when unrefined and melts into a smooth oil on the skin, is rich in vitamins A, E and essential fatty acids.
As for deodorant, I stopped using them years ago in favor of a deodorising crystal. Weirdly I don't get too much body odor now, compared to when I was teaching anyway. I think I am a bit like a skunk; if I am put in a particularly stressful situation my body reacts like a skunk does in the presence of a predator and releases a ghastly odor from my arm pits to scare off the predator. I don't face the same stresses as a fulltime-mother as I did a teacher (still stressful but different types of stress) so I find I don't even need to use the crystal deodoriser. I do use some coconut oil and if it's a special occasion I might use a dab of essential oil such as lavender. I also use a bit of coconut oil on my armpits in the evening before bed.
Millions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill every year here in the UK, so my teeth are now brushed with natural bristles held a bamboo tooth brush (I bought this one) and I brush with a non-foaming (slight phobia of bubbles) fluoride free toothpaste called Sarakan which I also buy from Real Foods.