Legit Natural Beauty
So we're coming to the end of our discussion this April, on more eco-conscious beauty and cosmetics. I've enjoyed researching and sharing about a topic that has always been near to my heart.
After covering toxic ingredients, animal cruelty and the dangers of making your own DIY skin care from natural ingredients, I wanted to end on a more uplifting note. There is good news to be had here! As I've stated before, there are natural alternatives that I do approve of, should you chose to go that route. If you read up on my recent toner post, you'll recall that I think witch hazel and rose water make fine natural toners. Some other natural tricks I've happened across?
Coconut oil to remove makeup: I need to be clear here, I do NOT recommend coconut oil as a face moisturizer. Not only can actually it be drying, but it also isn't easily absorbed by itself and could end up clogging your pores as it sits on the surface of your skin. This also makes it more difficult for your skin to absorb outside moisture. What you can do with coconut oil however, is use it to remove makeup. The oil of the coconut oil attracts and bonds with the oils in your makeup, practically melting it off. Slather a little on, rub it around and then wash it off, cleansing and toning afterward, to remove it.
For body care, coconut tends to work best when blended with other ingredients, like jojoba or shea butter. It works wonderfully in homemade scrubs and anything that will be rinsed off, due to its oily slippery properties. Just not on the face, m'kay?
Tea tree oil for spot treatment: Most people know that tea tree oil is good for acne, but some people are often confused due to the word oil. Tea tree is actually a drying oil that is anti-bacterial and astringent. It works wonderfully as a spot treatment to dry out blemishes. In the event that you pick or pop a blemish (Which you shouldn't! But. It happens.) it's a good idea to immediately spot treat with a dab of tea tree to prevent bacteria from spreading and to help with the healing process.
Honey: Honey is a fantastic and versatile ingredient that can be beneficial for most skin types. It is a humectant, meaning it helps bind moisture to your skin. It helps soften dry or aging skin. Manuka honey is a well known remedy for acne, due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. And while I have never personally tried cleansing with honey, I have heard good things. I'll share one of my favorite recipes that utilizes honey later in this post, but spoiler: honey can be used to make scrubs and also works wonderfully in masks. Just be careful that your recipe doesn't contain counterproductive ingredients like cinnamon or lemon, which can burn or irritate the skin.
Cucumber: We're all familiar with the image of a woman at the spa with cucumbers covering her eyes, but there is actually some logic to this practice. Cucumbers are an extremely soothing ingredient. Some of my favorite toners contain cucumber as an ingredient for soothing acne skin, rosacea, sensitive skin and even dry skin. For puffy eyes, the combination of cool and cucumber can help reduce underage baggage. Green tea bags also work as a natural alternative.
Aloe: Another universal ingredient. If you have an aloe plant, you can snap a piece right off and use the aloe juice to soothe inflamed skin. Aloe primarily calms and heals the skin, but a little aloe gel can also be used as a light moisturizer.
Natural Oils: You've probably been hearing a lot about face oils these days and with good reason. Skin care experts are now finding that oil can actually benefit even the oiliest skin types by helping fight like with like. Some popular natural oils that you can use on your face are grapeseed or argan oil, but my absolute favorite oil for the face is jojoba. It closely mimics your natural sebum, so adding it to the skin can actually help balance out oil production. I have had numerous clients report a reduction in their acne, once they started giving their skin the oil it wanted all along.
Not to be confused with essential oils. Essential oils are also a magical natural alternative. Lavender oil for example calms the skin and can help heal blemishes. However, because some essential oils can be extremely potent, not all are meant to be used directly on the skin or can be contraindicated with certain conditions. If you want to start using essential oils for your skin care, I recommend doing some research first.
So now you've got a pretty good rundown on the ingredients you can trust when considering natural skin care. But what if it all just seems like too much work? The good news is that more and more companies are popping up to address the demand for clean, cruelty free and green beauty. You can now get mail subscription boxes or shop at local stores devoted entirely to these products. Similar to shopping cruelty free, patronizing green companies sends the message to corporations that there is a demand for natural and clean products.
And as promised, I'll leave you with a completely natural recipe that I learned in esthetician school that I love and have gotten great results from. If you're still just itching to try your hand at DIY natural skin care, start here and have at it!
Honey Face Scrub:
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sea salt
2-3 tbsp ground slivered almonds
1 tsp jojoba oil
20 drops neroli essential oil or lavender oil
Combine all of the above to make your scrub. As much as possible, pulverize the ground almonds so that it does not contain large rough grains. Also avoid large grains when choosing your sea salt. If you have sensitive skin or a nut allergy, you can make this without almonds and substitute brown sugar for a more gentle scrub. Apply the mask in the shower and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing and gently rubbing it off. Do this a couple of times per week and your face will be super soft and supple.
Another resource, I'm working on building is my own Pinterest page. (Link can be found at the bottom of my site.) Although I will continue to gather information, feel free to follow my boards pertaining to natural beauty and cruelty free products. I only pin information that I consider to be safe and sound for my clients, so you can weed through more of the misinformation more easily by checking out these boards first.
Have more questions about green beauty, cruelty free or natural ingredients? Don't be afraid to ask!