Bananas, Inside and Out

It took what felt like eons to find a high quality, cold expeller-pressed, sustainably harvested, pure banana oil, but I finally found a great source in far away Brazil, and ordered two small bottles. They arrived yesterday!

Don’t be deceived: an online search for ‘banana oil’ will yield hundreds of hits, all of which are banana fragrance oils, culinary banana oils and banana extract, and banana ‘essential’ oils, which are not essential oils. But a cold-pressed oil that’s nothing more than the natural oil extracted from the fruit and peel of the banana – and not just banana peels infused in nut oil -  is hard to come by.

Pure banana oil is a reported mineral-rich wonder for skin and hair, and I was curious if it will fit well into my natural skin and hair care routine. Last night, after a shower, I dabbed a bit behind my right knee. (Always do an allergy test before trying anything radically new on your skin or hair.) I’m giving it 24 hours, but as of now, more than 12 hours later, the skin there is clear. Excellent.

Tonight, I’ll massage a few drops into my face after a shower, and see how my skin reacts. If all is well tomorrow, I’ll try it when we go swimming or out on the boat. If all is still well, I’ll incorporate into my body care routine and see how it treats me.

It makes sense to me that if bananas are so good to my insides, that they’ll be good to my outside too. My take on skincare is that we all have different skin, what works for me may not work for you, but that you’ll never know until you try.

When I think about the years I hammered my skin with over the counter, drug-store-spectrum products - never giving a thought to whether they were tested on animals, were vegan, or contained ingredients I could never pronounce – it makes me cringe. I’ve apologized to my skin for that a thousand times. I do believe in talking nice to my skin, and apologizing if I’ve screwed up.

Now, my skin and hair care routine revolves around coconut oil, black castor bean oil, jojoba oil, lemon juice, charcoal, pure clay, and a few organic, vegan, cruelty-free products from Dr. Bronner’s and Alaffia. And maybe now, banana oil.

The skin is a big, porous sponge wrapped around our bodies. Everything that goes on it, goes through it, and straight into our bloodstream and lymph channels. When you realize this, the thought of a commercial cream that contains polyethylene, aminophenol, triclosan, or BHA is horrifying.

A bottle of pure jojoba oil lasts for months. And all it is is jojoba oil. Alaffia is a pure, fair-trade, Africa-made product made by women that’s affordable, vegan, and cruelty-free. Bronner’s is a hippie’s stand-by, enough said. And by purchasing fair trade, vegan products, and recycling the containers, we shrink our consumer footprint, which is more important than ever before.

Plus, the natural oils and pure cleansers like jojoba oil and Bronner’s have been good to my skin and hair. My husband likes that they don’t contain fragrances, and so do I. We both prefer the scent of a clean, healthy body over that of a perfumed one. In summer, I switch from Bronner’s unscented liquid castile soap to the one containing pure peppermint oil, to cool me down in the shower. The pure, refreshing scent fills the house. Perfect summer aromatherapy and Ayurveda practice. Love it.

Today is August 1. Impossible to believe. It feels like last week I was planning for the summer gardens and dreaming of the ocean. Time is sprinting by. My husband said last night that we need to make the most of it - that summer and our lives are not going to last forever. He’s not usually that introspective. But I think he also senses the hastening of time, a thing that is peculiarly noticeable as we age. Summer will soon start winding down. 

Football season will start, bare feet on Earth will become untenable, we’ll start craving hot soups, and one dark night, one of us will turn on the furnace. But all that’s many weeks off, it really is. I still feel the pulse of summer, full bore. There’s still plenty of time to play and eat from the veggie patch.

Much love,
Barbie xo

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