You can make your own DIY body care items with local seasonal ingredients like tomatoes.
Q: Do you know of any 100-mile body care products?
A: Are you much of a swimmer? Good, because there's now a sea of natural body care products on the market, people. You might not spot them all at your local health store, but they're out there swimming across the World Wide Web, doing laps around farmers' markets and surfacing in specialty boutiques and spas coast to coast.
Within that wave of products, countless local brands are popping up all over the country. In the 416, that means Toronto-made brands like Pure & Simple and Consonant Body (both fab skin care), Bite Beauty (deluxe lip line), WorldProducts (awesome two-in-one hair care), Ella's Botanicals (yummy lotions and soaps), as well as indies like Priya Means Love (my fave body butter), Skin Essence (lovely organic skin care), DaLish Cosmetics (great lip/cheek balm; whipped up by a former NOW staffer!). And the list goes on.
If you've got a heart-on for nontoxic cosmetics made close to home, you may have noticed that it's a lot tougher to go totally 100-mile with body care than with food. Even the natural, organic ingredients we use on our faces or feet tend to come from faraway places. Think shea butter from Africa, olive oil from the Mediterranean, rosehip oil from the Andes and coconut oil, aloe and cocoa butter from countries that never see snow.
A growing number of brands are making a point of weaving signature local ingredients into these imported contents. Mary Ginseng House uses, you guessed it, Ontario-grown ginseng. BC's Mont Echo grows its own sea-buckthorn, while Seaflora Skincare fishes its own seaweed off the West Coast. Ameya Studio out of Edmonton uses 100-mile grains, honey and foraged rosehips. Quebec's Blue Lavande harvests all its own lavender.
Is anyone offering body care made exclusively of locally harvested ingredients? I've found one maker so far, and that's Sigrid's 100-Mile Healing Salve and 100 per cent local Flower Power face cream. Sigrid uses certified organic sunflower oil (from the Stratford area), local grapeseed and hemp oil infused with local in-season roots, and leaves and flowers from her own field as well as lavender essential oil from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
No doubt there are others hiding out at farmers' markets, but in the meantime there's a lot of fun to be had making your own DIY body care with local seasonal ingredients. Heck, if you've got produce ready for pickin' in your backyard, you can forget 100-mile and go 100-foot.
What kind of fruits and veggies work well for body care? Tomatoes are looking nice and juicy right about now. Time to blanch a couple. A UK study has found that a diet rich in cooked tomatoes increases skin protection, fighting sunburns and wrinkles. You can also apply a little cooled, mashed tomato pulp or juice directly to your skin to help control breakouts and give you a gentle beta-hydroxy acid peel. Rinse after 15 minutes.
On an actual zit, dab a little antibacterial crushed garlic. Again, rinse after a few minutes.
Got a rose bush? Google how to make your own toning rosewater with the petals. Snip off the rosehips and cook up your own super-moisturizing rosehip seed oil in a slow cooker on low with a cup or two of another oil. (Tough to find local organic, but you can get cold-pressed Ontario-grown oils by Hempola and Pristine Gourmet.)
To me, hemp oil is the great Canadian beauty oil, amazing as a moisturizer, conditioner, face wash, hair serum - you name it. But you have to keep it cold.
What else? Ground local oats with a little warm water or a drizzle of - you guessed it - local organic milk makes an awesomely soothing and purifying face scrub.
Local organic farmers' market berries, eggs, honey, yogurt, cukes (mashed or sliced on your eyes) in any combination all do wonders for your skin and get you tapping into beauty secrets hiding right in your own backyard.