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Green Skin Care Using Ingredients From the Kitchen
Have you ever wondered how to obtain a natural, healthy glow without the help of store-bought bronzers, blushes or foundations? The thought of putting all of those chemicals on your face make you cringe?
Are you struggling with acne, scarring, sun spots, or other skin problems? Paying good chunks of money to stay looking beautiful? Good hygiene, a clear complexion, and beautiful skin do not have to cost a fortune or damage your skin.
A simple beauty regimen with ingredients consisting of a few kitchen basics can do wonders for your face and body. At most, you may have to purchase a few items, but for a fraction of what you would pay at a drug or department store.
Let’s face it. We can all spend a small fortune and buy hope in a bottle. Or you can take charge of your skin care by using natural ingredients that are good for your body and good for the Earth.
Let’s start by addressing some of the common problems women have with their complexions.
Blemishes and Blackheads
While unsightly, acne and clogged pores typically surface when the skin becomes bogged down with impurities that cause inflammation. Soap and water does help some, but so too does a good facial treatment. Don’t be afraid of the time commitment involved. With practice, the entire cleaning process can take just a few minutes. The following is an easy face cleaning routine that utilizes a few simple steps.
Items to have on hand:
- An olive oil-based soap such as castile, available in most supermarkets and drug stores. The Dr. Bronner’s line of liquid soaps work extremely well, as they also contain essential oils like coconut oil, and cost anywhere from $5.79 to $12.00 for a 64oz bottle.
- A large towel and pot.
What's your favorite natural beauty care item?
- Wet your face with warm water and apply a little of the liquid soap to your cheeks, your nose, your chin, and your forehead.
- With your fingertips, gently massage the cleanser into your skin in a smooth, circular motion.
- Pay particular attention to the sides of your nose and the area directly beneath your lower lip as these areas seem to be a natural hotspot for those tricky blackheads.
- Avoid applying soap to the upper eyelids. To remove excess dirt and makeup from the eyelids, gently place a few drops of olive oil (not soap) onto a cotton ball and then gently wipe any residue from the eye.
- Next, wipe each eyelid with a warm, wet cloth.
- Now that your face is clean, carefully rinse the soap away with warm water and pat it dry with a towel. Don’t worry about drying your face completely because now we are going to steam clean those pores!
- Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a gentle boil. Be sure to turn the stove off once the water is boiling, and place the pot on a safe heat resistant surface that will not scorch from the pot, such as on top of a heavy dish cloth placed on the counter.
- Now, cover your head with the large towel and carefully bend over the hot pot so that the steam caresses your face. The purpose of the towel is to create a tent that captures all of the steam. Enjoy the heat for at least five minutes and be sure to come up for air every so often.
Once this step is completed, move on back to the bathroom for a cool rinse of water. Your face will feel a little tingly and don’t be alarmed if your face is a bit red. Allow your face to “rest” for at least 20 minutes before applying moisturizer or a cleaning mask, such as the one described below.
This next process is designed to further lift impurities from your skin. Using this mask is recommended only once or twice a week. Believe it or not, too much deep cleaning may cause irritation.
The Deep Cleansing Face Mask
Now for an amazing deep cleansing face mask. Here is the main item you will need to have on hand:
- Bentonite clay, which is a soft, volcanic ingredient available in a bulk herb store or a whole foods market. Pricing may vary from $8.00 to 10.00 for amounts up to 1 pound.
Bentonite works as a natural, super drawing machine that literally “vacuums” impurities from the skin. This wonder clay has many, many uses but for the purpose of this article, let’s stick to your face.
Think of this chalky substance as a magnet, removing the gunk from your skin like nobody’s business. Later, as your mask rinses away and down the drain, you can be sure that the clay will not damage your pipes.
- Mix a small amount of water to 1 heaping tablespoon of the clay.
- Add water as needed so the compound can be applied to your face without dripping.
- Smooth this paste all over your face where it’s needed the most, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Finally, rinse your face off with warm water and pat it dry.
For those with rosacea, please skip this mask entirely and opt instead for a gentler option such as the one below.
Bentonite will motivate your skin cells and encourage oxygen to flow to your face, thereby stimulating that natural glow we all want to obtain. It’s best to do this mask before bed, if possible. After a good night’s sleep, you will definitely notice a difference in your skin the next morning.
Face Mask for Dry, Irritated or Sensitive Skin
This mask costs just pennies to make compared to the store-bought version containing artificial ingredients and fragrances. Through trial and error, I found that the measurements of this recipe suit my face well since I love to really pile on the mask! You may want to wrap a towel around your shoulders and sit somewhere “safe” in case some of the formula falls from your skin. It’s messy, but SO worth the effort.
Items to have on hand:
- 1/4 cup cooked oatmeal – quick or regular
- 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- If handy, a 1/4 mashed fruit such as strawberry, banana, or mango. Avoid citrus fruits!
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk
- 1 heaping tablespoon of honey (raw, organic works the best)
- Mix everything together in a bowl and slather liberally over your face.
- Let sit for at least 20 minutes and try not to get too close to the dog! I made this mistake.
- If you have too much left over, apply it to your hands and feet, as it is a great restorative for dry, cracked skin.
- Rinse your face thoroughly with warm water, then with a cold rinse.
- Pat dry and enjoy your supremely hydrated skin.
The natural pectin of the fruit plumps your skin cells for extra bounce and suppleness. Citrus fruits contain the most pectin, but can be overly acidic to delicate facial skin.
Honey heals blemishes and works as a natural humectant as it attracts moisture from the air, and oatmeal helps to reduce inflammation and can be soothing to damaged or sunburned skin.
Finishing Oil For Your Face
Now that your face is naturally clean and hydrated, it’s good to add a little oil to your skin that is high in good, fatty acid. For those of us beyond the age of 25 but younger than 100, some added help in this department is never a bad thing!
The next and last step to a complete, homemade facial begins and ends with one simple but effective ingredient: Avocado oil.
Main item to have on hand:
- Avocado oil. Pricing varies from $7.00 to $15.00, but keep in mind the specialty gourmet labels do not produce better results. A simple, inexpensive brand works just fine.
Don’t be alarmed if your kitchen pantry does not include this unique ingredient. Avocado oil is available in many supermarkets and natural food stores. I’ve chosen this particular oil to mention because it penetrates your skin quickly and seems to really go to work on my tired, puffy eyes.
This oil also may be used for cooking and as a deep conditioner for the hair, but for now we’ll focus on its miracle benefits for your face. Without going into too much detail about alternative oils (yes, by all means use olive or coconut oil as a very capable substitute), I want to mention that spending more money and using argan oil also will benefit tired, needy skin.
I’ve chosen my favorite standby because I literally use this on my face, hair and I cook my eggs with it, to obtain even more of the omega 3 benefits from this oil. After all, beauty really is skin deep. The more areas you use it, the more benefits you’ll see from it.
- Using your fingertips, blend a few drops of oil into your skin in light, circular patterns beneath your eyes, along your cheekbones, upward to your temples, and on your forehead where laugh lines appear. Dab a little on each corner of your mouth, too. Adjust this application process as you feel necessary to fit your needs.
Natural Beauty Products For Your Face
Olive-Oil Based Soap
$5.79 to $12.00 for a 64oz
blackheads and blemishes
$8.00 to 10.00 for up to 1 pound
$7.00 to $15.00 for 16.9oz
cleaning and hydrating
$9.99 for 22oz
$5.00 for 17oz to 25oz
$2.00 for 11oz to 42 oz
$6.00 to $7.00 for 1 pound
Bonus All-Over Body Moisturizer
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention a naturally pure, healing, all-over body moisturizer called coconut oil.
After cleaning your skin in the bath or shower with the olive-based soap we discussed above, gently pat your skin dry, and apply this oil to everything from your shoulders to your toes.
Item to have on hand:
- Coconut oil. Most supermarkets now feature coconut oil on their shelves at a retail price of around $9.99 for 22 fluid ounces. Try and consider buying the extra virgin, organic oils as they perform well.
If you are consuming this oil, it’s good to know that the product is certified unrefined and free of solvents. Once purchased, I prefer to store the oil in the refrigerator, although this product will not go rancid if left out.
- Simply scrape out the amount you need with a spoon and let the warmth of your hands melt the refrigerated oil.
- Apply carefully and you will literally feel the oil soaking into your skin.
Coconut oil is a rich emollient that contains anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This wonder food also works well as a deep hair conditioner, as a chapstick for your lips, and even a diaper rash treatment. Yes, I even cook with this oil, too!
Don’t worry if your skin feels a little oily. Be patient and allow this soothing skin conditioner to work its magic. I find that it’s best to apply it right before bedtime, but it certainly helps to apply the oil right after the morning shower as well, especially for itchy, winter skin.
These ideas are just some of the many, many ways in which you can use simple kitchen ingredients as part of your beauty routine. The great part is that you may adjust and tweak these recipes to your liking as you become more adventurous with the products you have available. Enjoy these natural skin care tips and watch your skin glow!
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness