Au Naturel

I have a ton of beauty products littering my life, ahem, vanity. Despite this fact, every now and then I like to put my Martha Stewart pants on and mix up my own skin elixirs using time tested natural ingredients, most of which can be found in my kitchen. What’s great about making one’s own beauty products, aside from it being a lot of fun, is that you can decide exactly what goes in it. This means that there will be no nasty preservatives or cheap, irritating ingredients coming in contact with your skin (mineral oil is the WORST and is in so many store bought moisturizers). You can also customize your potions to better suit your skin type, whether you have ultra sensitive skin or your complexion is a little more on the oily side. Below are four of my go-to beauty DIYs. They can all be made in five minutes out of four ingredients or less. So slice up some cucumber for your eyes, light a scented candle, and pamper yourself with an at home spa day.

matcha-rose-yogurt-face-mask

1 // Matcha Rose Face Mask

Matcha (finely ground green tea) is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. Rosewater is a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated) and has anti-aging and antibacterial properties that keeps your skin soft, supple, and youthful. Plain yogurt is incredibly soothing and helps to hydrate your skin while calming redness. This mask is very gentle and excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I like to do a mask like this two or three times a week to keep it in tip-top shape.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the mask turns a pale green and is a creamy consistency. Spread it evenly over your face and leave on for 15 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and apply a light moisturizer to lock in the hydrating effects of the mask. Easy peasy.

honey-lemon-sugar-scrub

2 // Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

Honey has natural antibacterial and moisturizing properties, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting both acne and dry, flaky skin (combination complexions, this is your holy grail). Brown sugar softens skin and sloughs away blockages and dead cells, while olive oil deeply hydrates. Lemon juice is great for balancing oil production while brightening dull, tired skin. This scrub can be used on the face and the body. If your skin is sensitive, ease up on the lemon juice as it can be irritating for temperamental complexions. This is great for deep cleansing the skin, keeping it looking glowy and radiant. Because of the astringent lemon juice and scrubby sugar, I would not use this scrub more frequently than once or twice a week.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Enough olive oil to get a fluffy consistency

Combine ingredients in a bowl until you get a fluffy, snow-like consistency. Customize the mixture depending on your skin type – if your skin is dry, add more honey and olive oil, if your skin is oily, add extra lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply a light lotion to make your skin even more soft. Your face will feel like a baby’s tush, no joke.

balancing-witch-hazel-lavender-chamomille-toner

3 // Balancing Witch Hazel Toner

Toner is an important, but all too often skipped step in most people’s beauty regimes. This simple version only has three ingredients but powerfully cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Witch hazel, a potent natural material in many clarifying skincare products, helps to kill acne-causing bacteria while balancing oil production. Lavender soothes the skin while acting as a mild astringent, and chamomile tea calms redness and irritation. Use this toner before bed to prep your skin for your moisturizer. Get ready to say ‘bye felicia’ to your pimples.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of witch hazel
  • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 cup of chamomile tea (brewed and cooled)

Mix all of the ingredients well and strain into an air-tight bottle. Keep your toner stored in the fridge to keep it fresh – plus keeping it cold adds to the tingly-clean sensation you will feel when you use it. After cleansing, apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse it off and allow it to sink it before applying your moisturizer. This is my favorite toner and I find it really helps to ward off pimples, even during shark week when my hormones make me breakout like cray.

coconut-argan-hair-mask

4 // Coconut Argan Hair Mask

If you have dry or curly hair like mine, this deeply hydrating mask is a god-send. Even if you don’t, it will help to keep your stresses glossy and softer than a baby bunny. I’ll tell you right now, the consistency is gross and it doesn’t smell great. I hate the smell of raw egg, but it is incredibly nourishing and helps to smooth the hair follicles while strengthening your strands and preventing breakages. Coconut and argan oil are also fantastic lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeply into each strand, keeping your hair hydrated and unbelievable shiny. I use this mask once or twice a month (although I could stand to use it more) and it totally bans frizz, keeping my mane smooth and silky. I am also very prone to split-ends and this mask really prevents my strands from breaking, meaning that my hair stays a lot healthier in between hair cuts. It is worth braving the slightly unpleasant smell, and after you wash it out you will be rewarded with gorgeous, mermaid hair. You simply have to suck it up and let your hair soak it up.

Things You’ll Need

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp argan oil
  • 1 egg

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave so that it is a liquid consistency. Whisk it together with a whole egg and the argan oil and apply to your hair, focusing especially on the ends. Wrap your head in a shower cap (or towel if that’s all you have) and let the mask soak in for 30 mins to an hour. Afterwards, wash the mask out of your hair and shampoo and condition as you normally would. After using this mask, I like to apply leave in conditioner to enhance its hydrating effects. That being said, you don’t need to, and if your hair is oily you would be better off skipping it. Let your hair air dry and resist the urge to make everyone around you touch your silky soft hair.

What did you think of these DIYs? Do you have any all natural beauty recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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Natural Beauty

In the last few years there has been a surge of interest in products that are deemed as being all natural. Words and phrases such as “green”, “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “paraben-free” and “all natural” have become buzz-words in the beauty industry. Many people pride themselves on using exclusively “natural” products. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, sometimes it can be unclear what “natural” really means. A lot of products out there on the market may have those reassuring labels but may not be 100% natural. Like with the food industry, there are many ways that companies can use clever marketing and packaging to suggest that a product is natural and eco-friendly when in fact they are not. Because the government has not completely defined what natural means in terms of food and beauty products, there are very thin regulations about what products can contain and what designates a product as being natural.

Despite the popularity of natural products, products are not necessarily of a lesser quality or harmful because they contain artificial ingredients. For example, there seems to be an overall consensus that parabens (a synthetic ingredient in many cosmetics that prohibits the growth of microorganisms such as fungus and bacteria) are cancer-causing and toxic. Many people go out of their way to avoid all products that contain them, despite the fact that there has been no official research conducted that has proved that parabens are in any way unsafe. In fact, the research that has been carried out regarding the parabens that are used in the cosmetic and health industry has proven time and time again that parabens are not harmful and do not pose a significant health risk in the small amount that they are being used. That being said, while I myself do use a variety of products, with both natural and synthetic ingredients, I do recognize that there are merits of using natural beauty methods. For those who find it important to use only natural products, the best way to ensure that what you are using is completely natural is to make your products yourself. Not only is it actually a great deal cheaper to make your own skin care products but it is also very easy and I find the simpler the recipe for a product and the fewer the ingredients, the more effective and gentle to the skin the product is.

With this in mind, and inspired by a suggestion from the talented lady behind The Urban Gazelle, here are three recipes that I enjoy using in my own skin care routine. Most of the ingredients are very cost-effective and friendly towards most skin types. They are also incredibly quick and easy to make.

CoconutOilTeaTreeFacialCleanser

Coconut oil is one of the best ways to remove makeup. I read an article years ago about the benefits of washing the face with coconut oil (hydrated, balanced skin, fewer blemishes because of the oils antibacterial properties) and initially found it to be a strange concept. For people with oilier skin, you are used to being told to wash your face with oil free products and that oils cause breakouts. While that can be true if the oils are comodegenic, the truth is that washing one’s face with a hydrating, nourishing oil like coconut oil actually breaks down the oils, dirt and make-up on your face, allowing you to rinse away all of that pore-clogging junk leaving behind a hydrated, balanced complexion that is not stripped of all it’s necessary oils like so many cleansers tend to do. I promise that I have never had a breakout as a result of using coconut oil and that if anything I feel it prevents pimples and leaves my skin really soft and glowy.

What You Will Need: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Jojoba Oil also works well) and Tea Tree Oil

What to Do: This is without a doubt the easiest recipe for a cleanser. Simple scoop out some coconut oil into a small container and put 3-4 drops of tea tree oil into the mixture and stir until well blended. You can add more or less tea tree oil depending on your skin type and how astringent you want the cleanser to be. Simply wash your face how you normally would (avoiding your eyes, use plain coconut oil to wash any eye makeup off) and take it off with a warm damp wash cloth.

roseandlavenderclaymask

Roses are known for more than their luxurious appearance and beautiful smell. They have been used in skincare for hundreds of years due to their moisturizing properties. Similarly, lavender is renowned for its ability to reduce stress and balance the skin. It also has natural antiseptic qualities making it a great ingredient in acne-fighting products. Yogurt is incredibly moisturizing and is great for soothing sensitive, irritated skin while green clay is often used to draw out impurities and purify the skin. I found the inspiration for this mask here, but modified it switching out the honey for rose and lavender hydrosols.

What You Will Need: 1/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, 1 teaspoon of Green Clay, 1 teaspoon of the rose hydrosol, 1 teaspoon of the lavender hydrosol

What to Do: In a small bowl mix the ingredients together with a spoon. If you want a thicker consistency, simply add a little more of the clay until it has a creamy texture and goes on smoothly. Pat onto your face, leave for 15 minutes and then rinse off. Enjoy your smooth, hydrated, delicately scented skin.

green tea toner

Although most skincare routines stress the importance of using a toner to remove excess oils and impurities, a lot of the toners that are offered in stores contain alcohol and are very dehydrating. This toner is simple to make, will not dehydrate the skin and has a base of antioxidant rich, fragrant green tea along with witch hazel and a drop or two of grapefruit essential oils. Witch hazel is a natural antiseptic and is a great product to use even on its own as a toner. It helps heal everything from insect bites and pimples to sunburns. I like to add the grapefruit essence for a light and uplifting scent and also because grapefruit oil has lots of antioxidants but it is completely optional. I store this in my fridge overnight but carry it with me in a little spray bottle and I like to spritz this mixture on my face throughout the day to keep my face feeling fresh, clean and balanced.

What You Will Need: 1 cup of strongly brewed green tea (to increase the level of antioxidants that are infused into the tea), 4 table spoons of witch hazel, 1-2 drops of grapefruit essential oil (optional)

What to Do: simply mix the tea with the witch hazel and essential oil in a small bowl and siphon it into either a bottle or spray bottle, depending on whether you like to spread toner on your face using a cotton bowl or whether you like to mist your face with it instead. Store in the fridge when you are not using it. It keeps for about a week and a half when kept in the fridge which it why I tend to keep the portions small for each batch. The green tea especially, has a very brightening effect on my skin and I really enjoy using this during summer months for its fresh smell and healing, cooling effect on my skin.

I hope you enjoy these easy, all natural skin care recipes. For any of you who try them out, I would love to know what you think and if you have any other all natural beauty recipes you think I should try, please let me know in the comments. Happy Monday!

xoxo,

Alicia