One of my favorites in Health and Wellness is Veg Life Vitamin D. I am deficient and also live in Wisconsin so this has been helpful in getting a good vegan Vitamin D. I also am very into essential oils. They help me chill out and give me a sense of well being. The Australian Sandalwood is one of my favorites because it’s not the endangered kind. I have also been taking the Rhodiola tincture for the past few weeks and this has helped me get focused and keep up my energy.
Of all the skin care products we carry in the Wellness department, my favorites by far are those produced by Alaffia. I find them to be very effective, with clean ingredients. Alaffia’s products are primarily based on shea butter that is processed the traditional way by women’s cooperatives in West Africa. Not only is the shea butter fair trade, Alaffia also donates at least 10% of proceeds to reforestation, women’s equality and health care, and other projects to benefit the people of Togo. According to Alaffia’s website, “Shea butter has been found to protect skin against climate and UV aggressions, prevent wrinkle formation, soothe irritated and chapped skin, and moisturize the epidermis. Shea butter also enhances cell regeneration and capillary circulation.” My all-time favorite Alaffia product is the Unscented Shea butter moisturizing lotion, which absorbs quickly, isn’t greasy, and is the most effective lotion I have found.
Feeling anxious or stressed? One of my favorite herbal products is Simpler’s Stress Relief tincture, which is sold in the bulk tincture displaynext to the bulk body care items. Simplers’ bulk tinctures are significantly less expensive than pre-bottled tinctures, and we offer 11 other varieties besides the Stress Relief blend. The Stress Relief tincture features the following herbs (all certified organic), in addition to Bach Flower Rescue Remedy: Skullcap, Chamomile, Nettle, Oat, Passionflower, and Lavender. This blend is both relaxing and a tonic for the nervous system. The suggested dosage is 1-3 mL (in a little water) as needed. Some people like to put their dosage for the whole day in a coffee mug with water, so that they can inconspicuously drink it throughout their day to help them stay calm and relaxed.
One of my favorite, can’t-live without-items that we carry at the Co-op is the Similasan eye drops. Having used cheaper various generic brands in the past, I can definitely tell a difference, needing them less often. I’m also very grateful that we carry high quality essential oils, which make up the majority of my medicine cabinet and, as with the Similasan eye drops, a little goes a long way making them very cost effective.
Everyday I take a Rainbow Light Prenatal one-a-day multivitamin. Even though I try to eat well, I take this multiple vitamin and mineral supplement for “nutritional insurance.” I like the Rainbow Light brand one-a-days because they include some digestive enzymes and probiotics for increased absorption, they are vegan, and I think they are a good price. I take the prenatal even though I am not pregnant because I personally need the extra iron it offers. (I also make sure to take an extra calcium supplement with Vitamin D to make sure I get enough of those important nutrients.)
In the body care section, I like the Organic Grooming “dusk” milled soap and after shave balm. The soap lathers up well, cleanses without totally stripping my skin of moisture, and the bar lasts a long time. I use the aftershave balm instead of perfume or cologne, because I think it smells great and the scent isn’t too heavy. It is very smooth and moisturizes without feeling greasy, so I can use it on my face or body. All of the Organic Grooming products are vegan and have relatively clean ingredients.
There are so many wonderful products in the Willy Street Co-op Health and Wellness department, it’s hard for me to choose which one to tell you about. This month I am in love with all things Four Elements. Four Element Herbals make all kinds of cool stuff from luxurious facial cleansers to herbal extracts made with Korbel Brandy, but one of my absolute favorites right now—particularly in this cold and blustery season—is the rich and creamy Self Heal Cream. I have been nothing short of amazed at how this product lives up to its name: Self Heal. I applied it to a patch of dry, chapped skin on the knuckles of my hands and it immediately soothed the red, irritated area. I have since recommended this cream to several customers and many of them have come back just to tell me how much it helped their hands heal. To find a product that works this well is just great, but when you learn more about Four Elements, it just gets better and better. The are locally produced, organically grown with sustainable farming practices, a family-run farm, made in small batches by hand and are awesome people making awesome products. What more can I say? They sure have won me over!
Over the winter months my hands tend to get quite dry. I’ve tried lotions, creams and oils, and still had trouble keeping my hands moisturized and soft. I’ve since discovered Alaffia’s Shea Butter. Shea butter comes from the oil of the nuts of Shea trees native to West and Central Africa. Shea butter is solid at room temperature, but melts easily in your hands.You only need a little shea butter to coat both hands. Just scrape a little out of the jar with the side of your thumb nail and apply anywhere you have dry skin. If your hands are severely dry, before going to sleep, consider applying a thick coat of shea butter and put on a pair of cotton glove liners or socks; this will allow the shea butter to slowly work into your skin overnight. The same technique can be applied to the feet. Look for Alaffia’s Shea Butter at both Willy East and Willy West.
How do you get hair so lustrous and shiny? Because my hair tends toward the dry side, I use a leave-in conditioner or hair lotion. Two of the best products I’ve found are the Alaffia Virgin Coconut & Shea Hair Lotion and the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut Hair Creme. Either can be used right after you get out of the shower as pre-blow dry protection or on dry hair as a light styling product. They both smell great, too.