The Easiest Moisturizer Ever. Shea Butter and Coconut Oil for silky smooth skin.
My garden is like my grocery store, and I'll look there first before spending tons of money on all-organic, all-natural anything. After all, there's nothing more organic, fresh, natural or local than the plants growing right outside my front door.
Still, there are some grocery store items I just can't live without. They're all in the all-natural skin care section, and they all cost a fortune. Luckily, Do-it-yourself beauty options are within everyone's reach. DIY natural skin care is a great way to get the products you want and the prices you want.
Best of all, I've found that slathering on super-yummy moisturizer in the mornings kills my cravings for sweets. I've got silky smooth skin thanks the moisturizing effects. And I've got a skinnier waistline thanks to the craving-killer effect. All at a fraction the cost of my L'Occitane favorite. That's a win on all counts!
The Problem with Store Products
All natural skin care products are worth every penny - it's just better when there are fewer pennies coming out of your pocket.
Common skin care products are chock full of fillers that have little positive effect on your skin or hair. Mineral oil and petrolatum are the most common culprits. They make your skin feel sort of hydrated for a little while, but the effects never last long. They're usually accompanied by a long list of alcohols and additives that I can't even pronounce.
There used to be an ice cream commercial that said - if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it. The same is true in skin care. I think if it's that much of a mystery, it's probably not worth purchasing.
Recipes for Homemade Skin Care
A simple web search turns up dozens if not hundreds of recipes for homemade skin care. Some of them are very simple. Others have almost a dozen ingredients, most of which are essential oils added for fragrance.
I have a tendency to improvise, with less than positive results. So I've given up on recipes, and settled on an easy formula for making small-batch moisturizing skin creams that are easy to make, easy to use and based entirely on ingredients you already have in your cabinets.
The recipe below is for a oil-based cosmetic base. There are great debates on oil vs lotion, . People with really dry skin (like me) tend to use expensive lotions with a high oil content. This moisturizer is a great substitute for them. I'm not sure about everyone else. Leave a comment and let everyone know how it works for you.
As for the ongoing discussions about the best moisturizer (shea butter vs coconut oil), this moisturizer base has the best of both worlds. You can't go wrong!
- Put Shea Butter in a small bowl or tea cup. Add coconut oil. Add castor oil
- Stir. Microwave in 15 second increments to melt. **Don't test hot oil on skin**
Ingredients for the Moisturizer Base
- 4 heaping tablespoons Shea Butter
- 5-6 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1-2 tablespoons Castor Oil
Understanding why you use these ingredients in these approximate proportions is the first step to diy skin care freedom. When you have a general idea of each ingredient's function, you can tweak the recipe to suit your skin, the season and a hot of other factors.
If you're headed to San Pedro for a tropical vacation, using more Shea Butter and less coconut oil will keep your moisturizer solid under even tropical conditions.
If you're headed to the pool, an extra does of castor oil will help counteract the drying effects of chlorine; if you're headed to work, extra castor oil may leave your skin with a healthy sheen.
You might love it or hate it. The best part is you can always change it. Just microwave the mixture and add a little more shea butter or castor oil to fix it right up!
Let's review some of the most common ingredients in your diy skin moisturizer.
- Shea Butter. Many beauty supply stores stock tubs of Shea Butter from Ghana or other African countries at prices well below what you'll pay at organic stores or groceries. Shea butter is solid at room temperature. It's what makes your moisturizer firm.
- Coconut Oil. Most health food stores and many groceries stock food-grade coconut oil. It's great for frying or adding flavor to foods. But it also works wonders as a moisturizer for your skin. Coconut Oil is liquid at room temperature. It's what makes your moisturizer spreadable.
- Castor Oil. Health food stores carry large bottles of castor oil at a low price. But you'll just use a dab, so the small bottles in the grocery store laxative section are fine. Castor oil is a great moisturizer, and it makes hair stronger. It can have a slightly greasy effect, so a little goes a long way.
There are all sorts of other oils in your kitchen or pantry that you can add into the mix. But these oils are really all you need. Complicating the recipe beyond these three ingredients is mostly gilding the lily.
The Yummy Part
The moisturizer mix is not terribly exciting. It takes a couple minutes to throw everything together, then you're left with a cup of oil with no obvious redeeming qualities.
It doesn't look like any Shea Butter products you've ever seen, and it's certainly not anything you'd pay money for in a store.
Don't worry. It gets better.
Now's the time to season things up. The moisturizer base has a naturally sweet scent; it's something to do with the coconut oil, I think. It's a natural match for desert-type scents.
Think of all the great flavors you use in cooking and baking. Do you love the smell of gingerbread, or do you find the smell of cinnamon irresistible? Indulge yourself!
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite cookie spice blend (minus the sugar of course). Nutmeg, cinnamon, gingerbread or Garam masala are great choices.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Make sure you're using the kind without corn syrup. You want your skin silky, not sticky.
- Add all the above and enjoy. Just remember the spices will blend into the moisturizer, but won't disappear. A little goes a long way.
The Garden Part
If you're like me, and spend lots of time browsing the skin care section. You'll notice lots of savory-sweet scents. The current trend blends all sorts of herb scents with all sorts of culinary flavors. There's vanilla mint, lavender mint, lavender vanilla, rosemary and a host of others. There are a few ways you can achieve the same effect at home - no artificial scents required!
- Add a few drops of essential oil to your base. Essential oils can be expensive, but you'll use it sparingly. If you're not obsessed with your garden (like me) then this could be the way to go. You could also brew your own essential oils. I've never managed to do this, but it sounds like fun.
- Add fresh herbs directly to the mix. This sounds weird and it looks a little weird, but it works wonders. Pick 7-10 whole mint leaves or 2-3 whole lavender buds . Bruise them between your fingers without tearing them apart, and then drop them into the cooling oil. If the oil's too hot, they'll turn crispy. Fish them out with a fork. Otherwise, stir them around to release some of their natural oils and leave them in the cup for a long-term infusion.
How to Use It?
This moisturizer is extremely thick - probably thicker than any you've used before. Keep it near your shower. After you shower, before you towel off apply the moisturizer to your skin. The shower water mixes with the moisturizer and thins it to lotion consistency.
If you accidentally over-apply, just rinse off the excess, towel dry and get on with your day.
The moisturizer works great on dry skin as a lip balm, or elbow/knee/heel spot treatment. But if you try all all-over application without adding water, you might end up with a greasy mess.
The Weight Loss Part
Using this moisturizer is like wearing desert instead of eating it. Human appetite is intertwined with scent. The smell of apple pie or chocolate chip cookies can make your mouth water even if you're not hungry.
I'm no expert, but the opposite also seems to be true - scents can cause hunger but also assuage it. I get my sweet cinnamon and vanilla fix out of the way first thing in the morning, with no cost to my daily calorie count.
The grocery store bakery section holds no allure, because the cookies and pastries have no tantalizing smells. It's as if my body has a new subconscious standard- if a baked good doesn't smell as good as my morning moisturizer, it's not worth having.
This could be an isolated effect, so let me know if it works for you, too.