Skincare for the Almost Vegetarian: Dr. Hauschka and a contest to win for FREE!

As we talked about yesterday, this week and next we'll be looking at natural face, body, and haircare products.

And we'll even have a contest where you can win some products to try for yourself.

Let’s start with one of the biggest beauty lines in the health food world: Dr. Hauschka. Dr. Hauschka is one of those lines that does everything from face care to hair care with a sprightly dance through aromatherapy, sun care, and even cosmetics.

So let’s see what there is to see. And smell. And feel. And try. And . . . well, come along!

What does that mean?
As tends to be usual with health food store products, you always seem to get hit with these mystical, magical phrases that, not to be rude, don’t actually say much.

For example, in their historical notes, Dr. Hauschka says one of the founders, chemist Dr. Rudolf Hauschka, used "... the rhythms and polarities of Nature ... to create plant extracts that retained the vital forces of the living plant and remained stable without the use of alcohol or artificial preservatives."

That sounds great except for one thing: what does " ... the rhythms and polarities of Nature ... " mean? Or is this just marketing hype, natural product-style?

There are lots of examples of this sort of talk, both in this line and in all the lines. I’m not going to discuss it any more because my point is made. Unfortunately, their point is not because I just don't get it.

Where is the independent verification?
Here is another problem that comes up: There are claims running rampant throughout many of the lines, but little independent, third-party verification.

For example, to pick once again on the renown Dr. Hauschka line, the company says they are "100% Certified Natural by the BDIH." The BDIH says they are "... the Association of German Industries and Trading Firms for pharmaceuticals, health care products, food supplements and personal hygiene products." In other words, a bunch of companies, including Dr. Hauschka got together to form an association which, in turn, turns right around and certifies themselves.

Now this does not mean that their self-policing is not great. But, personally, I trust third-party certification more.

And, hand-in-hand with the lack of independent verification comes the rampant use of
words such as "natural" or "pure" which, without any definitive third-party global standard, can mean whatever these companies want them to mean. Meanings which can be very, very different from our definition of these terms.

Okay, we’ve picked on the poor Dr. Hauschka line quite enough.

Let the product reviews begin!
Obviously I can't review every product in every line. So what I will do is look at as many products per line as I can. Then I'll pick a small selection of products to give you a nice overview.

S’right? S’right? Then let’s start with . . .

Luscious lips
The first three ingredients (I list the first three because these are the main ingredients - the lower the list you go, the less of an ingredient there is) in the Dr. Hauschka lip care stick are Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Wild Rose) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil. So what do you get? Protection from the elements and soft, soft lips.

Now, there is nothing fancy about the lip care stick. The cover is a boring old white. The stick is just a fat chunk of orange. But, having stuck my fingers, my face, my feet, and other assorted body parts into all sorts of products, I'd have to say the lip care stick is one of my favorites. And I'm not even a lip care stick type of person (I say, as I slip the lip care stick into my purse).

Rose Day Cream
Now, what you need to know is that these healthy products tend to have more pungent and less sweet scents than your basic Bloomingdales or Macy's department store lines.

Often, this is startling. The rosemary foot balm, for example, made my husband recoil really, really slowly (he thought I wouldn't notice but, ahem, six feet of air between us on a small couch and I noticed) until I washed my hands and stuck my (now wonderfully soft) feet into some socks. I didn’t use it again.

But in the case of the Rose Day Cream, if you like roses, then you will love the scent.

Designed for "... dry, sensitive or mature skin ..." the cream has a wonderfully lush texture. And it makes my face soft. Very soft. But what's in this stuff? The first three ingredients are Water (Aqua), Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, Althaea Officinalis (Marsh Mallow) Extract meaning what you are predominately paying for is water, not roses.

This one I will use to the end, but I won’t buy another one. Why? As nice as it is on my face, I’m actually not fond of the rose scent. I prefer white flowers and lavender and other scents, so I’ll look for that next time. But if you like roses, then this is well worth a try.

Try, try, and try again
Now here is a good thing to know: A lot of these lines have trial or starter kits. Dr. Hauschka, for example, has three excellent kits: A Daily Face Care kit, a Body Care kit, and an Aromatherapy bath kit. But Dr. Hauschka’s kits have something extra special. A generous portion of the sale of these kits goes to the hunger relief organization Heifer International. Good for them!

Real help, real suggestions
Want to know why you should switch form a department store brand to a health food store brand? Want to know which are the best brands? Want a recommendation for a specific sun block, for example? Then tomorrow I have something a little special. Yep, tomorrow I have the first of three interviews with an expert to help you buy the best face care products for your needs (and this is a good interview — I get specific suggestions and product names — so you get the real inside scoop you need!).

Contest coming!
Yes, there is a contest coming where you can win a ton of great natural products, because there is nothing better than trying stuff yourself.