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Why We Love This Minimalist Mom's Perspective On 'Clean' Living

September 10, 2018
Photo by Daniel Kim Photography
September 10, 2018

It wasn't until three springs ago, 26 and newly pregnant with my son Poe, that "skin care" really entered my consciousness. As a nutritionist practicing a primarily unprocessed and plant-based diet­, flush with green smoothies, leafy salads, live probiotics, and a food-based prenatal, I had one stick of pirate-red lipstick to my name and lathered from toes to nose in virgin coconut oil. Coupled with a ruminating cocktail of pregnancy hormones (nature's blush, really), I was basically a walking glowstick.

While minimal and effective, my skin care routine lacked discernment and substance. It really took the responsibility of pregnancy for me to devote as much attention to my external body care as my internal, to learn the whys behind my inherently scant approach. No different from our abstinence from alcohol, raw seafood, roller coasters, and tackle football, our newfound devotions to comfortable shoes and extra hydration, during those tender nine months, all choices, big and small, are effective. Everything we apply to our skin absorbs into our bloodstreams and during pregnancy passes through the placenta to our developing babies. What we put on our bodies, daily, affects our health and our natural ecosystems just as much as what we put inside—our beauty products and cosmetics as penetrating and powerful as any bite. Since, vanity and pantry have both become my family's allies in wellness.

Fast-forward to today, with a second baby in my belly and two years more of life and motherhood now strapped to my back pocket, my husband Andrew and I have become increasingly sentient of the effects that some chemical advancements have on our health, especially those household, food, hygiene, and skin care products meant to eliminate harmful microorganisms. Though well-intentioned, these products can also wipe out naturally existing microorganisms that are benign—even beneficial—and when it comes to what we put inside our bodies and on our skin, they can potentially leave us more susceptible to dietary and skin sensitivities, irritations, and other skin problems.

Photo: Mother Dirt

Cultivating our family's everyday wellness routines—a stasis of diet and motion, of introspection and fresh air—we're now more conscious of welcoming the outside world in. Andrew and I fill our fridge with local and seasonal produce, plan adventures pathed across the world's mountains, and make sure our toiletries are a thoughtful compilation of plant-based and family-friendly products like Mother Dirt's. Making sure we're keeping safe while restoring and maintaining beneficial bacteria, salubrity is manifested by stepping away from sterility.

Cultivating our family’s everyday wellness routines—a stasis of diet and motion, of introspection and fresh air—we’re now more conscious of welcoming the outside world in.

Our bodies' largest organ and our first defense against pathogens, our skin plays host to trillions of microorganisms, relying on an extensive and thoughtfully cultivated biome to keep us well. Often influenced by preservatives and antimicrobials, while flux isn't harmful, a modern lifestyle obsessed with being "clean" has made it more challenging for our bodies to repopulate our own good bacteria—hence the issue!

So, much like taking our daily probiotic and welcoming our weekend nature walks, recently Andrew and I have been supplementing our skin care routines—and even Poe's—with Mother Dirt's AO+ Mist and Cleanser. Unpreserved and vegetable-derived with no added fragrance, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or preservatives, the AO+ Mist plays up to my essentialist sensibilities: one product that allows those good bacteria (Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria, aptly referred to as AOB!) to flourish on our skin, keeping the "bad" in check, our skin clear, and our bodies exposed to fewer chemicals. Keeping handy in our shower along with Mother Dirt's Shampoo and Moisturizer for after-workout ease (the bacteria in the AO+ Mist thrive off sweat!), the line's added zero effort to our altogether stripped scrub, we're feeling more balanced from the outside in. We're welcoming "dirt" while wholly celebrating "clean" living.

Alexandra Dawson author page.
Alexandra Dawson

Alexandra Dawson is a Washington, DC based nutritionist, wellness warrior, mama bird, and the writer and photographer behind celebrated plant-based lifestyle and recipe website and Instagram @tallulahalexandra. Extremely passionate about whole body wellness, a balance between a nourished mind, body and spirit, through In My Bowl and Tallulah, Alexandra actively strives to make that philosophy and lifestyle accessible to every demographic.