Back in the day, I spent my free time making all natural bath and beauty products. My research into natural ingredients, their function and what I could make with them was ongoing and extensive (still is). At the time, my husband and I lived in England, and the people there loved my creations (I even did home shows- like Pampered Chef or Mary Kay, with my products!). We moved back to the states, and maybe it was our location, but the whole all-natural thing didn't really make it there. I'm hoping to get back into it (still have my recipe book handy), as the world seems to be getting back to nature.
Today I wanted to share my weekly facial routine. I try and do this once a week, though the ingredients are mild enough to do more than once a week (but for the sake of the natural oil production of your skin, I don't recommend more than twice a week).
The recipes below are mostly for damaged or acned skin. My skin is normally combination- dry at the cheeks, oily T zone (forehead, down nose to chin), but I do have break outs once a month (yeah, I hate being a woman sometimes). (And please note that my recipes are estimates- they are homemade, so you pretty much just add stuff as you see fit.)
Chamomile Mint Facial Steam
I use the actual herbs, but chamomile tea and peppermint tea work just as well. I boil a pot of water, add the herbs (about 1/2 cup of each herb, or 2 tea bags of each tea), and pour into a large bowl. Keep your face about 9-12 inches from the bowl as you steam, to avoid burning the skin. It's easiest to drape a towel over your head, too, to keep the steam trapped. I steam for about 15 minutes, taking a break every 5 minutes for a breath of fresh air.
Chamomile is good for irritated skin, peppermint for tired skin. Other ingredients you can use are sage or thyme for acne skin, lemon and citrus fruits for oily skin, lavender for stressed skin.
After I'm done steaming, I let my face air dry- no towel. When my face is somewhat tacky with moisture still, I apply my facial mask.
Strawberry Honey Facial Mask (good for one application)
The strawberries (or other fruits such as citrus fruits, blackberries, apples, tomatoes, peaches and grapes) contain fruit acids that help exfoliate the skin, bringing to the surface a new, healthy, youthful layer. Modern companies have taken fruit acids and chemicalized them into Alpha Hydroxy Acids (the main ingredient in many anti-aging serums out there). Why use chemicals when the exact thing is in your house?? Because of the strawberries, or fruit acid, in your mask, you will find it tingles just like a chemical facial mask. It's pretty amazing. Of course, if you are allergic to a certain fruit, do not use that fruit in your mask.
The honey in the mask is great for all skin types, and adds subtle moisture and rejuvenation to the skin. It helps repair damaged skin, and can be used as often as you'd like because it's so gentle.
The apple cider vinegar is best for acned or oily skin. If you find the apple cider vinegar to be too strong, you can always use milk, yogurt, oil or water (all better for dry skin), or witch hazel, or citrus juice (better for oily or acned skin).
So, you've removed the mask with warm water, patted your face dry with a towel. My next step is a toner. I use witch hazel with a drop of tea tree oil (saturate a cotton ball with the witch hazel and place a drop of tea tree oil on the cotton ball). Tea tree oil is great for acned skin- usually clears it up faster than those $20 kits you buy off TV. Now, the witch hazel you buy for cheap at the grocery store does contain alcohol, which can dry your skin out. So keep that in mind if you already have dry skin. Rub the cotton ball over face, making sure to hit the T-zone.
After the toner comes a moisturizer. For the moment I just apply an extremely thin layer of jojoba oil to my face to round out my weekly facial routine. Oils such as olive, avocado, grapeseed and almond are great for the skin, especially damaged/aging skin. But, not everyone's skin can handle oil being placed on it (even in the extremely small amount that I use). Shea butter and cocoa butter make great moisturizers, too, but usually need to be heated and blended with other more liquid items to be used. I'll expand upon making all natural creams and lotions another day.
Definitely worth a try, and I've given you alternatives above to suit your skin type. So get into the kitchen, start experimenting, and see how amazing you can make yourself feel and look for only $1.00!!
If you have any questions about all natural ingredients or substitutes for ingredients above, please comment below and I'll answer them as best I can!
*All pictures courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art