All this is to say I use only natural body butter, lotions, shampoos, etc. They are not really much more expensive. Besides, there are so many chemicals out there interfering with our air, our water, our bodies -- why add more than you need? Also, I had a brush with a blood disorder some years back that may have been related to chemical exposure (or viral), so I got careful about reading food and cosmetic labels assiduously.
It's also true that even people who live very modestly and don't go in for luxury like to feel luxurious sometimes, like to be pampered, like to feel feminine. And people who don't have the money or time or health or energy to do much traveling (not to mention the stamina for airport lines given the security checks and so on), need aromatherapy to transport them to exotic places. What is the answer then to meet these varied needs? Body Butter. Yes, fragrant, vegan, smooth, moisturing cream to spread slowly and sensually over your dry, rough, aging skin after a nice shower or bath.
I'll never get to Bali except via Bali Lime Papaya. Vanilla Vera Cruz takes me way south of the border. The Far East is mine with Thai Lemongrass. Desert sun and camel rides? Tunisian Jasmine. African jungles and clove harvests? Madacasgar Spice. Sunsets and surf in Hawaii? Waikiki Pikake. Paul Gaugain made it to Tahiti to do some painting and lie around under the palms a lot, but for me it's Tahitian Gardenia body butter. The perfect complement to my Tuscan bean and sausage and vegetable soup? Tuscan Blood Orange body butter. April in Paris? French lilac. They have fragrances too (totally vegan) in spray bottles. Lovely to spritz on after the butter.
Another favorite is the body cream by Alba Botanica -- the scents of the islands: kukui nut, coconut, papaya mango. The shampoos are great too, and the Jasmine face cream is the best! A related company is Avalon Organics, which carries a wonderful lavender face cream and a great lemon hand lotion.
There are some other companies I've discovered as well. Green by Nature makes a super hand cream called Almond Cocoa. Wonderful fragrance and so thick and creamy and great for chapped hands in winter.
Natures Gate makes pump hand soaps with no bad stuff in them and they really wash your hands well, gently, and fragrantly. Their shampoo is nice too, especially persimmon and geranium, lemongrass and clary sage, and patchouli and mandarin orange.
Desert Essence is another favorite. I love their tubes of hand and body lotion: Spicy Citrus, Almond, Chai Vanilla -- not to mention their Shea body cream in a tube with honey -- and the skin ointment really works on my elbow psoriasis. Be Fine makes a lemon-shaped container of lemon oil paste called Rough Spot that is also terrific for very dry patches.
This really wasn't meant to be an advertisement but more of a thank-you to good companies that produce a healthy, enjoyable, reasonably priced product that does what it aims to do without polluting the environment or irritating your skin! But do check out their websites if you like this kind of thing and then kick back and soak up the luxury of body butter!