Many of us are turning to organic skin care as an alternative to those endless experiments with artificial chemicals that promise to solve all your beauty woes without really addressing the basic problem: that harsh ingredients & an unhealthy lifestyle contribute to those spots, wrinkles & sensitive patches. It’s much easier now to find a natural cleanser that doesn’t dry your skin, without spending tens of pounds on what shouldn’t actually be a luxury. DIY beauty is also growing more popular, as people realise that many skincare ingredients can actually be found in the kitchen.
It’s actually not as messy or time-consuming as you expect, either, & it’s conveniently cheap. Like a good kitchen, all you need are a few staple ingredients & you can whip up an instant spa experience whenever you feel like it.
Find this in your health-food shop or pharmacy; it’s great for moisturizing & massage. It contains lots of vitamin A, which helps prevent wrinkles, & vitamin E, which encourages the healing of scars & blemishes. You can use almond oil even if you have oily skin – try gently massaging your face with it during a warm bath, & sponge off any excess with a soft dry towel. It’s also a great base for aromatherapy oils, or mixed with oats for a facemask or exfoliant.
Used for centuries to absorb excess oil & impurities from the skin, Fuller’s earth can be tolerated by most skin types & makes an excellent facemask for acne sufferers or anyone wishing to avoid the perfumes often found in commercially prepared facemasks. It comes as a dry powder that just needs to be mixed with a little water when required. You can buy it online, at the health food shop & sometimes at the pharmacy.
Used in many body moisturizers, you can buy chunks of untreated shea butter online & use it to soothe particularly dry skin. It’s much harder at room temperature than the ready-prepared creams you can buy, which use shea as an active ingredient, & feels quite oily when you apply it, but is useful if you want to avoid perfumes or chemicals.
Rose essential oil
This is expensive but goes a long way. It’s excellent for skin care, having a lifting, toning & smoothing effect alongside antiseptic properties. It also smells wonderful & is said to be an aphrodisiac! Blend a few drops with almond oil for a luxurious facial massage, but never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin.
Magnesium (epsom) salts
These can be bought over the pharmacy counter for a few pounds. Put a handful in your bath to draw out impurities, reduce itching or inflammation, soothe sore muscles & prolong the amount of time you can wallow without getting all wrinkled & “pruney”. They’re good for spotty skin, too, & can be applied directly – mix 1 part salts with 4 parts water & apply with a clean cloth or cotton wool.
Excellent for eczema sufferers, oats moisturise dry areas, soothe itchy skin, reduce inflammation & are completely hypoallergenic. You can throw a handful in your bath, but this can be pretty messy! To avoid getting covered in soggy oats, put them in a clean unwanted sock or the foot cut off a pair of tights. Tie a knot in the top or put an elastic band round to stop the oats floating out. Alternatively, mix some oats with yoghurt to make a soothing facemask.