Ask A Health Coach: How to Pack an All-Natural Gym Bag

April 13, 2016
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market

I’m switching over to all-natural beauty products, but can’t exactly take my DIY coconut oil and apple cider vinegar concoctions to the gym! What can I use that’s easy to travel with but still good for me? —Meg

I love that you’re switching to all-natural beauty supplies! A lot of us are so careful about what we eat and put in our bodies, yet so often we forget about how toxic the stuff is that we slather on our skin.

Beauty products often contain a whole host of fillers designed to make them last longer, absorb quickly, and make you look gorgeous and glowy. Some of them—like phthalates, triclosan, and parabens—have been scientifically linked to dangerous health effects including hormone disruption and cancer.

When I found out my beauty products could throw my hormones out of whack (causing both breakouts and more rapid aging), I ran all of my favorites through the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep search. There, I got the chance to see EWG’s “grade” on everything from my cleanser to my eyeliner, based on how eco-friendly and “clean” it was—plus short fact sheets listing any mysterious chemicals that could be swimming around in those beautiful packages. I was super surprised to learn that some of the most expensive products I owned—you know, the ones where you squeeze out every last drop because they work so well and cost so much—were actually the most full of hazardous chemicals. Eeek. Not good.

So I did a total gym-bag recall, and replaced all my old, potentially harmful go-tos with clean  products that aren’t linked to weird side effects. Here are my top must-haves for your green gym bag.

  1. Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

I have three packages of these biodegradable, hypoallergenic pre-moistened towelettes: one for my gym bag, one for my car, and one on my bedside table in case I get too lazy to wash my face before bed. One swipe effectively removes makeup, sweat, and dirt while leaving my face fresh and hydrated, but never dry or tight. If you’re going to work out after a long day, use these before you start sweating to help keep pores clear (and prevent future breakouts). Running to brunch after a Saturday morning Pilates class? A wipe can hold you over until you get the chance to hop in the shower, if you’re in a pinch!

  1. Nourish Organic Face Toner

Sometimes post-sweat session (especially a hot and intense one) gives you a ruddy complexion just won’t quit. A spritz of this toner helps—rosewater nourishes and cools, while witch hazel is pure magic for fighting shine and redness. It’ll also help kill any lingering bacteria that might’ve made its way from the handles of the elliptical to your complexion. Tip: Spray all over the face, then immediately apply moisturizer to lock in hydration that lasts all day long.

  1. Herban Cowboy Maximum Protection Deodorant in Blossom

Did you know your pits can actually become immune to your antiperspirant? It has to do with the chemical formulation of most sticks on the market, which usually contain alcohol, parabens, propylene, glycol, aluminum, or triclosan. All are known hormone disruptors, and they can really do a number on sensitive underarm skin, too. Switching over to a natural deodorant was the best thing I’ve done. This stick is marathon training–approved, and keeps you smelling sweet and rosey even in the toughest conditions!

  1. Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell Dry Shampoo

Ladies with long locks get it—after a workout, there’s not always time to wash (not to mention style) your hair. Enter dry shampoo. Let your roots dry or blast them with a dryer for a few seconds, tap a little of this organic powder into the hairline, let it sit for a few minutes, and then massage it in. Voila! Bouncy, non-greasy hair is yours—just make sure you shower eventually!

  1. Badger Argan Oil

This is an all-in-one natural oil that you need in your bag (or your medicine cabinet). This is specifically formulate for locks, but argan oil is really beneficial for use on hair, face, or body to moisturize and heal without clogging pores.

  1. Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion

This face wash doubles as a moisturizer—one less item to pack! Use it like you would a normal cleanser, massaging into skin to remove makeup and sweat, and then rinse with water. Because it doesn’t contain any harsh detergents, it won’t foam up like soap, but it’ll get your skin super clean. And thanks to emollient sweet almond and plum seed oils, it leaves even the most sensitive skin smooth and hydrated.

  1. Mineral Hygienics Mascara

You don’t need a ton of makeup after you work out—your complexion will look glowy thanks to the boost in circulation you get when you’re pumping blood. But the one product I always keep on hand is a good mascara, because it helps you look awake and fresh! The wand on this all-natural mascara gives lashes serious volume—just a few coats and you’re ready to take on the rest of your day.

  1. Thinksport Exclusive Reusable Bottle

Your workout doesn’t stop once you hop off the spin bike/treadmill/yoga mat—your body continues to burn more calories all day long. It’s so important to rehydrate and refuel afterwards to really reap the benefits of your sweat sesh. I recommend drinking two liters of fluids throughout your day—and an oversized water bottle makes it easy. I usually fill mine up with lemon water to start my morning, then refill after lunch with an electrolyte drink or even chlorophyll water for extra nutrients.

Have you switched over to green beauty products? Which are your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

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