Please tell us about yourself, Samantha…
I grew up in Idaho in a small ski town called Sun Valley. I spent most of my free time in childhood and adolescence doing something outdoors- hiking, biking, skiing, river rafting, backpacking, and just spending time outdoors. I grew up with reverence and a deep connection to nature.
After high school, I moved to California for college. I am still studying and will soon be on my way to medical school to pursue a career in Chiropractic. I am very passionate about holistic medicine and the body’s innate ability to heal itself. I believe that our bodies are inherently capable of incredible healing and the goal is to support the body in that journey.
How long have you been on your all-natural path, and what inspired you to be on it?
Growing up where I did, I got an early start with all natural products. My grandmother owned a natural food store and she always had books around about all natural remedies for every condition you could imagine. She and my grandpa both used natural remedies daily. Living just 3 blocks away from them, I saw them nearly every day and witnessed their use of natural remedies.
After I moved to California, I lost some of my connection with nature. I didn’t pay much attention to what went into the products I bought and used, and it began to take it’s toll on me. My previously clear complexion was replaced with blemished and reactive skin. I started feeling less vibrant. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago, when I had a severe health crisis, that I was forced to reconsider what I was putting in and on my body. After years of trying the conventional approach to health and beauty, it was clear it had failed me and I needed a different way.
I went back to my roots in Idaho and spent nearly a year on a healing journey, working with many different holistic practitioners and two wonderful chiropractors. I learned that I had undiagnosed food allergies that were causing great harm to my body. Out of necessity, I began reading labels of every food I bought. This then lead me to start reading the labels of the beauty products I was buying.
I stumbled upon Grateful Body’s skincare line in a natural food store, and I decided to give it a try. The transformation in my skin was remarkable. I could feel the higher vibration of the products and how they were truly nourishing and transforming my skin. I read every word on the Grateful Body website, and their philosophy really spoke to me. It was the first time that it really ‘clicked’ that what I put on my skin is just as important as what I put in my body. After that, I gradually began switching every product I use (on/in my body and in my house) to an all natural version. The difference in how I felt was profound once I eliminated toxic ingredients. And with few exceptions, the natural version of products have been much more effective than their chemical laden counterparts.
What makes you choose ‘the ANB’ and what do you like about it?
I learned about the ANB through Grateful Body. I saw that they were including one of my favorite products in the ANB samplers, and the price of the sampler was less than the price of that one product itself. As soon as the samplers were available, I scooped a couple up. When they arrived in my mail, I gleefully opened them, knowing that my GB items were in there. But I was overjoyed when I tried all the other products in the sampler, and realized that it was the greatest deal I had ever seen for absolutely wonderful products. I found new favorites, and was happy to pass along to my friends and family any items that weren’t for me.
I was even more excited when I realized what a great resource the ANB is. It is the most comprehensive collection of information, products, articles, and DIY recipes I have seen. I know that I can turn to the ANB experts for any questions I have regarding natural beauty and health, and always get a very informative and thoughtful response. And I know that I can trust all the companies that are affiliated with the site to be the best of the best in purity and efficacy. The icing on the cake is all the great reviews of products from those companies! Oh, and how can I forget the awesome giveaways! Every month, the ANB has a giveaway with products from different ANB vendors. Just last month I won an amazing collection of products from Jenulence worth over $100!
Which products and/or DIY recipes have you tried from our sites and what are your favorites and why?
Oh my goodness, that is a long list! Of course, first on my list would be ANY Grateful Body product. Quite literally, I have never been less than impressed by any product I have tried- and I’ve tried a lot! My staples are the Extra Gentle line, Sea Cell Serum, Sun Sense Booster and Essential Eye Cream. I also adore the Affirming Gel. My newest product from GB is their Velvet Phytonic (another sampler discovery), and it is another incredible product. My skin eats the GB products up and then breathes a sigh of gratitude for their concentrated nutrients. Thanks to GB, my skin has returned to its healthy glow.
Another company I love is Jenulence. I am never without their Alkanet Root Lip Balm (yet another sampler discovery!) . It glides on smoothly, gives a beautiful color, and tastes like roses. I love that I can adjust the intensity of the color by how I apply it. A light application gives a beautiful subtle color, while a heavy application gives a rich, deep color. I just began using their Herbal Clay Masque (White Clay), and it too is wonderful. It gently purifies and exfoliates my sensitive skin and leaves it feeling soft, calm, and glowing. I can say the same for the Soothing Chamomile Toner. It leaves my sensitive and reactive skin soft, soothed, and glowing.
Next on my list has to be MelanSol Sunscreen SPF 20. Their sunscreen is the best I have ever used. It glides on smoothly, sinks in quickly, doesn’t leave me covered in white, and really feeds my skin. I have very pale skin that burns incredibly easily, and I haven’t been burned once using MelanSol. It’s also the first sunscreen that hasn’t caused my face to break out.
A new product I’ve fallen in love with is Aura Sensory ‘Shine Enhancing Shampoo’. It is the purest and most natural shampoo I have found, and the most effective too! It really does leave me with a squeaky clean and shiny head of hair. And the more I use it, the shinier my hair becomes! It has a wonderful soft citrus smell, and a very light lather. I vow to never be without it!
Ok, I know my list is long, but I have just one more that I absolutely MUST share. Evan’s Garden ‘Tooth & Gum Powder’ is remarkable. I have only been using it for a month (it is also a new discovery from the most recent sampler), but my mouth has never felt better. It has completely replaced my previous natural toothpaste. A few months ago I had a lot of dental work done, and my teeth and gums stayed very sensitive and sore. The tooth and gum powder instantly soothes any sore areas in my gums or teeth. My mouth feels sparkling clean and any pain has completely subsided. This is another product that I will never be without. And a little goes a long way!
What would you tell a friend about choosing all-natural beauty products?
READ LABELS! If you can’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin. Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs whatever you put on it. That means that any chemicals you apply to your skin are likely to end up in your blood stream. I think there is a common misconception that chemicals cooked up in a lab are somehow more effective. And our culture has a tendency to believe that isolating some “active ingredient” from something natural is also more effective. I believe this is patently untrue. The beauty of a whole and natural plant, for example, is in the synergy of every compound and element in it. You can’t take away one part of the plant and expect it to work in the same way that the whole plant does.
I am a proponent of radical simplicity when it comes to all natural beauty. Complexity doesn’t mean better. Often, simplifying our routine allows the body to achieve balance and heal itself. Something as simple as a hydrosol (a steam distillation of a plant), is incredibly beneficial to the skin because it contains the entire plant system and all of the innate healing within that plant. I use hydrosols liberally on my skin all throughout the day, and it brings balance to any condition my skin is in- oily, dry, congested, irritated, you name it. Along with the simplicity that comes with all natural products, they are more concentrated and effective .
Although it may appear that natural products are more expensive, what you don’t see on that price tag is how much of the product you have to use. When I made the switch to natural and organic skincare, I was amazed by how much less of each product I needed to use. It actually ends up costing LESS in the long run, because you need so little. It may seem daunting at first to make the switch to natural products, but don’t think you need to jump in all at once. Start with the products that you use the most. And most importantly, make sure you are an educated consumer.
Take the time to understand what is in the products you use, and where those ingredients are sourced. And don’t be afraid to make your own! The ANB is an excellent source for DIY recipes that cost so little to make. And if you make it yourself, you have the peace of mind knowing everything that went into it!