When I hit about 23, my skin went kind of nuts. I developed cystic acne all over my cheeks and chin, the kind that’s impossible to cover up with any amount of makeup. My friends lovingly referred to it as my “3D acne.” Once it became clear that “giving it time” was not the solution, I ran to the nearest CVS and Sephora in search of a magic cure.
That year, I spent a significant chunk of my salary on makeup and skincare products. Every night I went to bed with gobs of product slathered on my face, just praying that the next day I’d wake up a new woman. Unfortunately, most of the products I used were too harsh for my sensitive skin, and ultimately threw it out of wack even more. Dry patches on my cheeks interspersed with angry red zits…the worst. Slowly I started seeking out gentler and more natural products. I also made some changes to my diet, generally cleaning it up. While my skin still isn’t perfect, it’s much more balanced. I feel good about the ingredients I’m putting on my skin and in turn absorbing into my body.
In fact, I’ve loved going natural so much that I’m actually writing this blog post au naturale! (Just kidding!) I am, however, makeup-free in the above picture. Here are my top five natural skincare products currently living in my medicine cabinet.
1. Homemade oil cleanser
I started oil cleansing last summer, using Liz Wolfe’s recommendations are a guide for the oils and ratios. There are some great oil cleansers on the market, a few of which Mil has featured, but I like knowing that there are exactly two ingredients in my cleanser. I use a mix of castor oil and jojoba oil, massaging it into my face, and them wiping it off with a steamy hot washcloth. This method removes waterproof makeup like a charm, and leaves my face soft and moisturized – but not greasy. It really has done wonders to help balance out my skin.
Toners can really dry out your skin. I remember in high school using that Seabreeze stuff that I’m pretty sure is just alcohol. What was I thinking?! Luckily Thayers’ toner has very few ingredients in it besides witch hazel, and none of them are alcohol. Not only does witch hazel have significant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it also just feels great sweeping it across my face. I love using a toner after I cleanse, because it always seems to catch that tiny little bit of makeup my washcloth missed.
I don’t oil cleanse every day. Some nights I don’t feel like taking the extra few minutes to steam my face. On these days, I turn to african black soap. It’s made with shea butter, tamarind extract, plantain peel, and some other somewhat odd ingredients. All I know is that after reading dozens of glowing reviews, I gave it a try, and have really liked the results. It’s supposed to be good for blemished skin, but doesn’t leave my face feeling tight like other cleansers have.
4. Raw Honey
About once a week, I apply a honey mask to my face while I’m reading a book or watching The Good Wife. I basically just splash warm water on my face and then rub raw honey all over it, leaving it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with tepid water. I like to massage my face a little while it’s on. Honey moisturizes the skin while helping kill bacteria that can lead to future breakouts. Plus, it’s kind of a bonus if some of it accidentally drips into your mouth.
I have a bad habit of picking at my face which over time has left me with little scars and marks scattered across my face. I’m sure I’m the only one who notices them, but I notice them often enough that they bother me. About a year ago, I bought this vitamin c serum which I began using every night. After a month, I definitely noticed that my skin looked brighter and my scars and discoloration seemed a little less noticeable. I recently ran out and have been thinking about attempting to DIY my own serum. I’m a little nervous about it though. Thoughts?