Today I’ve had a fair few customers come into the shop today wanting advice on Natural Skincare… So I thought I’d introduce a few tips on the subject. Did you know that your skin is the LARGEST organ in the body? (between 1.5 and 2 square meters total surface area!) and it absorbs whatever you put on it regardless of whether it is toxic or beneficial – so the quality of what you put on it is really important. Most people associate health with the food you eat- but what you put on your skin is equally important. The standard cosmetic brands are packed with toxic chemicals which (when used day after day, year after year) could potentially affect your health in the long-run. The cumulative effect of toxins over a lifetime is a real concern.
A Natural Skincare Routine
Step 1: Oil Cleanse
This is one of the best skin-care tips you could follow: oil dissolves oil- much better than water or foaming face washes. Meaning that any greasy make-up/pollution residue on your skin will be wiped away immediately. Many toxins are oil soluble (not water soluble) so if you live in a city- oil cleansing is definitely the way. Acne or oily skin? No worries – wipe off the excess and follow with a swipe of natural toner -see next. In fact, over-washing oily/acne prone skin with harsh soaps and cleansers can actually make the problem worse by causing a rebound effect of increased sebum production. Simple kitchen oils such as olive or coconut do the job of cleansing perfectly. Many Natural Oils and Plant Extracts also have anti-inflammatory properties to calm redness and irritation. So use natural products and your skin will thank you!
Step 2: Tone
For this next step, use natural hydrosols or Rosewater/Orange Blossom Water (a by-product of essential oil production). Buy small batches and keep these in the fridge. Avoid drying toners containing alcohol. A great tip is to use the residue of your morning/evening herbal tea as a toner – Common Herbal Teas such as Green Tea, Rooiboos, Calendula or Chamomile are great for the skin. They reduce inflammation, have fantastic antioxidant properties (aka anti-ageing) and most importantly they don’t dry the skin unlike most commercial toners. So next time don’t just throw the teabag away- soak a cotton pad with the remainder and swipe over face: ‘Waste Not Want Not!’ 2in1 drink plus skincare… let the plants work their magic internally and externally!
Step 3: Moisturise
You really don’t need to spend £££ on a good moisturiser – in fact most of the expensive moisturisers are 90% water and the rest toxic chemicals with a dash of ‘therapeutic plant extracts’! What you pay for mostly is branding and clever marketing. Have a go at making your own moisturisers or skin oils instead. Many herbalists and aromatherapists offer courses on making your Natural Skincare Products – check your local area. This saves a lot of money in the long-run as you can buy many of the base ingredients in bulk (such as shea butter, essential oils and plant infused oils). I actually just use a skin oil as a moisturizer as I find it easier to make and it lasts longer without the need to add a preservative (when you start adding water to formulas, you need to add preservatives and anti-microbial agents).
Good Base oils include Almond, Avocado and Coconut. To these you can add more expensive oils in smaller amounts – such as Argan, Rosehip or other plant-infused oils (such as Calendula). Aloe vera is a nice addition to improve hydration. Essential oils can be blended in too – my favourites for the skin are Geranium, Frankincense and Sandalwood and I add these at a 1-2% dilution. But these are just a few – there are hundreds of different options from mother nature so start playing!
Note: most commonly used essential oils and plant extracts are safe but others can be irritants to the skin so read up first. Individual reactions are also possible so test on a small patch of skin first.
Organic Skincare Brands
If you don’t have the patience to make your own, there are some great natural brands out there- check out Love Lula www.lovelula.com for some inspiration. In regards to brands, I particularly like Napiers, Neal’s Yard, Dr Hauschka, Antipodes and Herbfarmacy. Always go organic (especially for products such as moisturisers that stay on your skin rather than being washed away). Pesticides and toxins are absorbed into the skin and into the bloodstream with not so nice consequences.
In the near future I’ll be posting some specific Recipes for you to try – if you fancy a bit of DIY Skincare. Plus, check out my Resources page under ‘Beauty’ for links to suppliers/brands.
Nature knows best! Go Natural