Gluten-Free Holiday Gifts

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Every child ought to have the opportunity to travel thousands of miles alone . . . for the sake of her self-esteem and independence of mind, with clothes and toiletries of her own choosing.
~White Noise (Don DeLillo)

I love giving toiletries as presents because everyone needs them and they are always the right size—getting through airport security aside. As a product junkie, I have spent over 8 years to finally transition to all natural products, after much trial and error (the useless natural deodorants, the odd-smelling soaps and greasy hand creams). I finally have an arsenal of effective and adored natural products. I am proud to say that the most unlikely candidates have loved and even used up and replaced the natural products that I have bought for them as gifts. Here is my list of my all-time favorite natural and affordable gifts.

Paraben-Free, Natural Toiletries of my own careful choosing:

1) LaVanilla, The Healthy Deodorant ($18.50): The only natural deodorant to convert me. Deodorant was previously the achilles heel of my natural products collection. Even as someone who doesn't sweat a lot, I felt like a dirty hippie wearing all of the other dozen or so natural deodorants I bought. While pricey for a deodorant, this lasts forever and smells so amazing you will give up your perfume and/or scented body lotion.
2) Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap ($3-$4): A great stocking stuffer or small gift. It smells and feels as clean and pure as its natural, organic ingredients. Wrapped only in a bit of paper that is easily recycled, after using this you won't ever want to buy a bath gel—and its BPA containing plastic container—ever again.
3) The Art of Shaving Facial Scrub ($22.50): I searched Sephora, Kiehls and a number of other stores for a paraben-free mens' face wash to no avail. I finally stumbled on an Art of Shaving store and was pleasantly surprised to read the ingredients in their products. Their facial scrub is not only paraben-free, made from natural ingredients and smells great, but according to the skin care apathetic recipient, was great for ingrown hairs and other shaving related conditions. And yes, when he ran out of this face wash and sheepishly walked out of The Art of Shaving with a replacement in their small, striped boutique bag, he finally acknowledged that he was too old for Clearasil.

4) Clarisonic Skin Brush ($140-$200): A friend bought this under the strong recommendation of her skin care guru (a former skin care expert to the stars who now works out of a small San Francisco apartment). Her skin and enthusiasm for this brush converted me and even her only slightly metrosexual boyfriend. Months and a $170 later, I still think it was a great investment. It cleans your skin better than any other device can and allows your skin to better absorb and reap the benefits of your other skin care products. It makes a great holiday present to yourself or anyone else that warrants a gift in this price range.
5) Burt's Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair (around $10): This is the only hand creme—natural or full of chemicals—that can cure the worst of chapped winter hands. It absorbs quickly and the scent is neutral and subtle enough for all genders. Like other Burt's products, you can recognize and probably even eat most of the ingredients.

6) Ojon Rub Out Dry Cleanser ($10-$24): This is a way to give the gift of time and beautiful hair. Even as a runner, I now only have to wash my hair twice a week. Not only do Ojon ingredients nourish your hair, they save days worth of straightening and styling damage. A one hour shampoo, condition, blow dry and straighten session suddenly takes 20 seconds. The scent is clean, spa-like and subtle.

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