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5 Natural Skin Care Options Reviewed
Naturally Beautiful Skin
I have always been into DIY and all-natural skincare. As a teenager I often went to bed with mayonnaise in my hair (smelly, but effective) or toothpaste on my forehead (nice smelling, somewhat effective). Now, thanks in large part to the internet existing, I have access to much better homemade beauty suggestions.
One reason I love DIY beauty is very practical: it's cheaper. I've always been a bit of a cheapskate and saving money gives me a thrill. I also love making things myself. It gives me a sense of empowerment to be able to make something myself instead of paying someone else to do it for me, not to mention the ability to personalize everything. Finally, and probably most importantly, it means I know exactly what I'm putting on my skin. Skin is porous and whatever we put on it gets absorbed into our bodies.
Because everyone's skin is different, you should know that I have oily skin. It used to be very acne-prone. Full disclosure: I solved my acne issues using traditional medications (first acutane as a teenager, and then later a round of antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and vitamin A cream). For me, some of these DIY treatments solve minor breakouts, but I did need full-blown help when my problem was at its peak.
This is my current skin care regimen: splash a little water on my face, and then tone with lemon juice. That's it.
Lemons have some fantastic qualities for skin care:
- It lightens dark spots
- It cuts through oil and grime
- The citric acid acts as a mild exfoliant
- It has antibacterial properties to help fight acne
- The scent will help perk you up a little
There are many ways you can incorporate lemon into your skin care routine:
Use actual lemons: I know an older woman with amazing skin, and her routine is to slice an actual lemon and rub that on her skin at night before bed. She rubs it in, lets it sit for a minute or two, and then rinses it off. I have tried it and my skin felt refreshed and smooth afterwards. The only reason I don't do this every day is because of the hassle of keeping fresh lemons around.
As an astringent: This is what I do. Because my skin is quite oily I use straight lemon juice to good results. Most people cut it with water - the more sensitive your skin is, the more water you should use. You can also mix lemon juice into another homemade astringent (usually water, apple cider vinegar or lemon, and some essential oils).
Make a creamy cleanser: Combine lemon juice and yogurt for a milky, smooth cleanser that provides all the benefits of lemon juice and moisturizes.
While you're at it - drink a glass of lemon water every morning 20-30 mins before you eat! It detoxifies your system, is alkalizing, and is great for digestion. Plus, a little citrus first thing will really help perk you up.
Up next is every DIY-ers magic ingredient: baking soda. We all know that baking soda is practically supernatural in its abilities to clean and deodorize, so why not on our faces too.
NOTE before we go any further: baking soda can be rather abrasive and drying. If you have particularly sensitive skin proceed with caution.
Benefits of baking soda for the skin:
- It exfoliates
- It draws out impurities
- It is alkalizing which helps kill acne
A few ways to use it:
Make a face wash: combine a small amount of water with baking soda in a dish until it forms a paste. Splash your face with water and gently rub mixture onto your skin. Wash off like regular face wash. For a more exfoliating wash, spend more time rubbing it in.
Make a face mask: the steps are the same as the face wash, except you let it dry onto your skin. This can be very irritating if you already have dry skin, so only recommended for oily complexions.
Sunburn treatment: it might seem counterintuitive, but the alkalizing properties of baking soda make it a great sunburn treatment. Soak a cloth in a mixture of baking soda and water and then let the cloth sit on the sunburned area. Don't rub!
Other uses: baking soda makes a great foot bath - just pour ½ cup in for every gallon of water and let your feet relax and smooth out. It also helps whiten teeth. Put toothpaste on your brush and then sprinkle a little baking soda on top.
The Oil Method
I have already done a post explaining all the ins and outs of the oil method here. For a while this was my go-to method, and then my skin started to act up again and I had to stop. I don't think it was because of the oil method, I have many friends who have been using it as their primary skin care method for years and can't say enough about it.
Benefits of oil cleansing:
- It draws out impurities without taking out the good oils in your skin
- Doesn't disrupt the pH balance
- Leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth
- It's nice and relaxing to do!
You can get the full how-to on my other post, but here are the basic:
Create a mixture of carrier oil (almond, olive, or avocado work well) and castor oil (the secret ingredient). More castor oil will be more drying, so figure out the balance that works for you. Throw in a few essential oils if you like. Rub the oil into your skin generously, and spend a good amount of time really massaging it in.
Steam the oil off with a cloth. Soak a cloth in hot water and lay it over your face, letting it sit until the cloth cools. Do this 2-3 times.
Voila! Smooth, clean skin.
This one I think I may have made up, and I love it. It occurred to me one day that people who go in the ocean a lot tend to have great skin, so why not use it for skin care? I use salt as an occasional exfoliator, and for a while used it as my primary skincare method. I have no complaints about that, I just found that the lemon juice worked even better so switched it up.
Benefits of salt:
- It exfoliates
- It disinfects
Here's what I did:
Soak a cloth in hot (but not too hot) water. Sprinkle salt on it and rub the cloth in on itself so it dissolves a bit. Then place the cloth over your face for a brief steaming effect before scrubbing over your skin. If you want to exfoliate, scrub a little more. If you don't, just give a little rub and then remove the cloth. Rinse remaining salt off your face.
That's it! So easy, and really surprisingly effective.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Like baking soda, apple cider vinegar seems to pop up everywhere that people are making their own beauty products.
Benefits of apple cider vinegar:
- It is alkalizing, evening your pH balance
- It does a double-duty - its acidity cuts oil, but it also has an alkalizing effect, evening your pH balance
- It lightens red marks and blemishes
There are a few ways you can use ACV in your skin care routine:
Make a toner: this is the most common method and one I've used to great success. Just mix ACV with water (1 part ACV to 2 parts water). Add an essential oil or two to improve the scent. Grapefruit extract is great for your skin and has a nice citrus scent. You can also add lemon juice, or other active ingredients (like tea tree oil for acne).
Spot treat dark spots: simply dab ACV on age spots, acne scars, or other dark spots with a q-tip before bed. Don't rinse off.
ACV is an alternative to the lemon water in the morning for boost your digestion and cleanse your system as well - but let's be honest, lemon tastes wayyyy better than this stuff.
Vanilla! Who knew? This most delicious ingredient in all baked goods is also amazing for your skin. Specifically, it is very smoothing. Add a smidgen to any homemade toner or cleanser to get the effect. You will smell like the best thing ever, and have soft, smooth skin. Honestly, I skeptically tried this and was blown away.
Bonus: Essential Oil Basics
Moisturizing and soothing
Grapefruit Seed Extract