My love affair with what I can only call “experimental organic skincare” began at the delicate age of twelve. One morning I awoke from an ethereal dream where an old lady told me to bathe in olive oil. The next natural step for me, who has never been commended on logic skills, was to follow those instructions. Of course I did do some internet research prior to blindly submerging myself in one of the main ingredients in bruschetta. To my surprise people were singing praises to the benefits of using olive oil in your skincare routine. Some people were so enthusiastic about these benefits they can safely be described as crazy. But what crazed them about this oil? Naturally, being an individual both curious and neglectful of basic plumbing knowledge, I added a few generous cups to my bath that day. I would by no means advise anyone to do this. As you may have predicted I clogged the plumbing and got a long lecture on the hazards of olive oil and septic tanks. Coating yourself in any kind of oil in that extreme a manner is unnecessary, slippery and a very bad idea.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. If you are careful about what you eat, what you put into your body, should you not be careful what you put on your body too? You can walk through the beauty aisles of any store and peep some common themes in the products. They advertise the presence of ingredients like honey, milk, avocado, coconut, shea butter and cucumber. The majority of these products are anything but natural, a far cry from what they advertise. It’s a personal preference, but I like to be able to understand the ingredients that go into my beauty products. If the reason you’re buying something is because it is ‘coconut’ you might as well skip all the fillers and put the much more beneficial real coconut products on your skin. Most lotions and moisturizers contain water as the first ingredient and that is drying to your skin over longer periods of time. Natural ingredients are fully moisturizing while providing vitamins and antioxidants directly to the skin. When you buy olive oil you are paying the same amount as you would a moisturizer, it will last much longer, and you are not paying for preservatives or fillers. Here I will explore some ingredients straight from your kitchen to your skincare routine. Do some experimenting of what works best for you. The internet is teeming with recipes for homemade face masks and moisturizers. Your favorite salad ingredient could be even healthier on your face! Be careful, research before you dive in, don’t get too enthusiastic and if you get a severe rash there is definitely something wrong.
1. Olive Oil. I love olive oil. It is the holiest of all oils. The ancient Mediterranean societies as good as worshipped it; it was described by Homer as ‘liquid gold’, and it was the cause of many wars due to its popularity and numerous benefits. (globalhealingcenter.com
) But, as described earlier, it is not for baths. I adjusted my olive oil routine to be my moisturizer. Some people might be hesitant to try using an oil on their skin, for fear of breakouts. I have oily skin, but when I use olive oil I do not find that my skin is unusually oily. It is softer and smoother, and in my opinion it eradicates bumps and blemishes. It is brimming with vitamins such as A and E, and considered by many to help with anti aging.
) The most nutrient-rich olive oil option is the organic extra virgin. I put a little on my skin like you would a lotion. I do this daily, after showering as that is when your skin is best at absorption. I use gross little rags to wipe off the excess oil and wear clothes I don’t care about as I saunter around and let the oil soak in. Olive oil takes patience, it takes three times longer than a lotion to apply and it takes a good fifteen minutes to lose its greasy luster. But it is so worth it. Unlike purchased lotions, it is free of preservatives, chemicals and it is completely moisturizing. It lasts all day, where most lotions do not. It is also a good addition to a gentle salt scrub. Add some olive oil to coarse sea salt and you have the holy grail of exfoliators.
2. Coconut. In skincare, I like to use both the oil and the milk. Coconut milk is a great addition to a bath, leaving skin soft but not oily. Coconut oil, similar to olive oil, is a great moisturizer. It is my favorite eye makeup remover as it is so gentle. It absorbs quickly and well, but I would still recommend wiping off the excess oil to avoid getting everything you come into contact with greasy. When looking for coconut milk, I like to buy the kind that comes in a tin can, preferably organic, and definitely not low fat. When choosing the oil select an organic extra virgin unrefined option if it’s available. If not, just go for the extra virgin.
3. Avocado. Avocado is famous for face masks. Where do you think those popular green face masks got their inspiration from? It is moisturizing and vitamin packed. I have not mastered the avocado face mask. Last time I tried one it was actually a disaster. Avocado does not stick to your face. It slides off. It gets on everything. It turns everything green. It does, however, truly make your skin glow. Among its benefits of deep moisturization, it is also good for reducing wrinkles and sunburns. (Oliver)
4. Honey. Now honey makes a face mask that sticks. It sticks to your face (and your hair, clothes and whatever you may accidentally bring near your face). I experimented with my fair share of homemade face masks that added other ingredients to honey, but my favorite of all is just simply, honey! Apply a thin, and I mean thin, layer of honey like you would any face mask. If the layer is not thin it will drip all over everything you’ve ever cared about. Leave it on for 30 or so minutes. Wash it off with warm water and prepare for a shower because I’m sure you got it in your hair. (Padykula) The good thing about honey, is that it is not oily. I know that with all the “oil-free” skin care advertised these days, people are fearful of using oil on their skin, and honey is a good compromise for those who want a more natural skincare routine but are hesitant to dive in with the oils. It leaves your skin luminous and clean.
5. Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is not a kitchen staple, but I thought I’d throw it into the mix of natural skincare must-trys. Tea tree is my go to for red areas and occasional blemishes. It leaves no trace of oily residue. It is known to be a great cure for acne, and it’s helpful properties extend far beyond skincare use. (bodyecology.com
) If you are going to get into using tea tree oil, make sure that you dilute it before applying it directly to your skin. I buy an already diluted type and dab it with a Q-tip onto whatever blemish I want banished. It tingles strongly and can clear your sinuses with a few swift sniffs.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is not for the faint of heart. The uses of apple cider vinegar extend far beyond skincare. Drinking it straight up is more common than you might think, and great for weight loss. Like tea tree oil, it is not an oily substance. It is also known for helping with acne. If you can stomach the strong, unmistakeable (but surprisingly refreshing) smell, I highly recommend looking into its many uses. I usually just add it to baths, since it is good for helping balance the body’s pH. It is also rumored to help with varicose vein reduction and sunburn soothing. (StyleList)
Tap the endless beauty resources locked in your kitchen cabinets and see what you can find! It is cost effective, safer for your skin and better for the environment.