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Common problems faced when using homemade / herbal beauty products

Updated on March 13, 2013

Not getting desired results using herbal products ? Want to know why?

We all have our famous beauty secrets handed down by our grannies over generations and we all swear by them. Natural ingredients are any day better than putting all those chemicals on your face, right?

Don’t’ we all remember grandma’s long tresses and glowing skin and how she would warn you that you will gradually lose all your hair if you shampoo everyday. How many times have you sworn off the artificial cosmetics only to return to them again. Why have you been disappointed with the tall promises of herbal products and turned back to those “AWFUL” chemicals again?

Very few herbal cosmetics have been able to stand the test of time for the simple reason that these have natural ingredients and would get spoilt without the use of preservatives which are … are right exactly those dreaded “AWFUL” chemicals. So it is a fine line for the manufacturers, use too little preservatives, the product goes bad soon, use too much preservative and it is no longer the gentle herbal product … a catch 22 situation.

You may switch to herbal shampoo containing reetha (Soap nut), shikakai, amla (Gooseberry) but the chances are heavy that they also will contain SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate).

You would obviously then think that the best bet for herbal products would be freshly prepared homemade products. Sorry to disappoint you there too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with natural ingredients and they have some very real benefits when properly used but the fact remains that most often than not the hygiene conditions are not up to the mark when we prepare, store and use homemade products.

This is where the cosmetic products and the “AWFUL” chemicals win. Without proper preservation and hygiene, what you gain from the natural ingredients would be lost in the risk of infection & skin reaction. The least that can happen is you will not get what you looked forward to – a flawless skin and flowing dark tresses.

The fact is that the environment in which your (and mine) grandma lived was much less polluted. She was exposed to much less stress and ate fresh food with less pollutants. The result being that the cleansing agents could be much more gentle and yet effective. Can you imagine trying to wash out the grime of heavy pollution of today using only soap nuts? You would be washing your hair for ages.

When I return home after office and wash my face I sometimes feel shocked at the grime that comes off even after I have been working in an AC office all day. Definitely chickpea powder will not be sufficient to clean my skin. So is there no role for herbal products in today’s lifestyle.

There are certain safe ways to use herbal products. First of all you have to be very careful and check the ingredients and make sure that you are not allergic to any of them. Secondly make sure you use the product within the date of expiry (That is elementary, I hear you say but there are many people who go on using a product beyond its expiry). Third and very important is trust your nose. Usually your nose will tell you if a product has gone bad. There might also be white residue / mildew formation which can be checked for visually before using the product. Last but not the least, stop using the product immediately if you start to break out/ face problems.

If you are using homemade scrubs, make sure that they are prepared after properly cleaning / sterilization. If you have to store them, make sure that they are stored hygienically. Try not to use milk in the products as far as possible because many people tend to break out when milk is used in products as it is a very suitable medium for bacteria to grow.

It is very difficult to undo damage once done so just be careful what you use on your precious skin and hair as these are God’s gift to you.


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