As a teenager I had problematic skin; categorically classified as combination, with big pores and acne. For this reason I have a long standing belief that I must wear make up to look nice, even normal. Like many people around the world, my problematic skin cleared significantly once I gave up eating dairy products. The relationship between dairy consumption and problematic skin is well documented. Dairy (even organic and varieties without added hormones) all contain natural hormones that can lead to acne because milk is comes from pregnant cows. Some studies suggest there are around 60 different hormones in one glass of milk and cheese (coagulated milk) is even more problematic. All animal proteins contain inflammatory proteins that have been linked to disease, but dairy’s proteins have been most linked to skin problems, especially whey and addictive casein proteins. I have long stopped putting these products in my body but what about the products I was putting on my body?
I was left inspired after watching a Facebook video in which a girl made up her face using only items in her pantry, including a Mars bar… But also when I read an DIY make up article by Pure Jojoba which explained how you can make almost any make up using just nine of the following natural ingredients:
The benefits of making your own make up are endless: it’s cheap as you’re not paying for a brand, its satisfyingly easy using a few products likely to be in your pantry, you can be sure it’s safe as you know what’s they’re natural ingredients and you can package it in whatever you like, hence avoiding pesky plastics.
Below are a few I have tried, tested and loved as well as a few I am going to try shortly:
I simply combine tapioca (otherwise called arrowroot) powder and carob or cocao powder. Tapioca acts as the base, whilst carob is a sweeter tasting powder, providing a slightly lighter in colour than cocao, so I prefer to use carob in the winter and cocao in the summer. I am going to start incorporating turmeric for its oil secretion properties. You can start by combining a quarter of a cup of tapioca and carob each then add more or other powders until to achieve desired colour. I stored in my previous powder foundation container but you could also use a jar.
Blush or Bronzer
I recently attempted to make my own blush, with a beautiful big organic beetroot. I borrowed my friend’s dehydrator, sliced up the beetroot into small slices and dried for the directed amount of time. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to making your own powder so I ended up chopping into even smaller pieces and dehydrating again. I put the pieces into a high power blender and blitzed, then used my powder brush to transfer into a jar. If you find, like I have that the blush is too moist you could try putting the powder on a sheet of baking paper and baking it in the oven, then pressing it with a pestle. If this sound like too much effort, you can also buy beetroot powder online at http://www.biome.com.au. I realised whilst writing this that I had forgotten to combine my homemade beetroot powder with other powders to make a blush. As a rule, combine tapioca powder with beetroot powder, then with other powers until to reach desired colour.
To make bronzer combine brown powders like allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocao with smaller parts of tapioca, beetroot and turmeric.
Eyebrows are the window frames of our face… Or something. I have a love-hate relationship with my eyebrows, having to trim scarily long hairs, fill patches and darken to the colour to that of my hair colour. I was recently acquainted with activated charcoal, purchased on eBay, but you can purchase in a glass jar from biome.com or have a go at making your own. I use a thin eyebrow brush to through to the natural line of my brown. The powder you use will depend on your hair colour, use the pictures above to decide.
I recently found a recipe for mascara by The Rogue Ginger, using (no surprises here) activated charcoal. This is Erin’s (AKA The Rouge Ginger’s recipe) which I am going to try this afternoon:
- 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated soap
- 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal
- 3 drops of almond, coconut oil or other oil of your preference
- 1/8 teaspoon of filtered water
Place your finely grated soap into a heatproof dish and warm on the stove (or microwave). I put my heatproof dish into a pot on the stove. As the soap warms up add the water then add the activated charcoal and oil. Mix together with a wooden skewer and pour into your designated container. Let set. Wash your heatproof dish and skewer for next time. To use wet your mascara wand with a drop of water from the tap or use purified water. Rub across your mascara and apply to your lashes as you would normal mascara. The mascara dries quickly and there is no flaking, add as many layers as desired. I’m going to try to pour mascara into my previous mascara container.
Is it just me or has eye shadow been in overwhelming excess since 2008? I feel I won’t be able to use up my supply in this lifetime, but if I can lucuma, carob, cocao would make lovey shades, activated charcoal using a fine brush could also be used as an eyeliner.
I remember as a child, I would use Vaseline as lip balm. When my best friend Ella told me there was petrolium jelly in it I was in disbelief. Then when I was a teen, everyone was using Lucus Pawpaw ointment as lipbalm becuase as my friend told me “all the models are using it”, however this too has petrolium jelly in it. The Rouge Ginger’s lip balm recipe is free of heavy chemicals:
- 2 tablespoons cocao butter
- 1 tablespoon of beeswax grated (I would use soywax)
- 1.5 tablespoons of almond oil
- 1 teaspoon of hibiscus tea
Simply mix all together and store in small container.
There are other zero waste beauty products you can easily make at home beyond make up.
Homemade toothpaste is perhaps the epitome of the zero waste movement, the founder of which I would argue is New Yorker Lauren Singer, who blogs as Trash is for Tossers and has just opened the Packaging Free Shop in NYC. Lauren writes of toothpaste:
Sure, you have to get over the saltiness of the baking soda, get into using a spoon instead of a tube, and you might miss the frothing and bubbling of commercial toothpaste, but I think of it this way: There was a time when we were trained to tolerate the stinging minty paste that we all grew up with, the one that burned because it was “working.” That burning became normal – I was taught to believe that it was what clean felt like. Not because it was super clean, but because that is what my family and my authority figures said. I later realized that my aversion to brushing with baking soda wasn’t because it doesn’t work, it was because it didn’t align with how I was raised to view cleanliness.
Lauren’s recipe, which I use, is as follows:
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 25-30 drops organic food grade peppermint essential oil
Simply mix all three ingredients in a glass dish (I use a mason jar). To use, scoop out a little bit with a spoon and put it onto your toothbrush. Add more or less peppermint or coconut oil depending on your textural preference. Give yourself some time to adjust (I had to), it’s pretty different, but that’s OK.
You may also like to try a whitening toothpaste treatment with activated charcoal:
You need 4 tablespoons coconut oil, 10 drops peppermint essential oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal. Take coconut oil in a bowl and add peppermint essential oil to it, mix it thoroughly and add charcoal. There are also many recipes with bentonite clay you could try.
I have tried soy-wax based deodorants and found my pits to be smelly and my clothes to be stained. I recently tried a recipe I found on SEED blog which I find works much better at taming body odour:
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I used virgin, because it smells nice with lemongrass
- 10 drops lemongrass or other essential oil
Simply mix all ingredients together and transfer into an empty deodorant container or a glass jar.
I confess I used to purchase dry shampoo in an aerosol can (bad) for $9 on special (worse). Similar to powder foundation, I combine tapioca powder and activated charcoal, as I have black hair but you could tapioca on its own for blond hair or combine with the power most similar in colour to your hair. I use an old blush brush to apply onto the roots of my hair, then brush through with a hairbrush. It can seriously drag out the time between washes which is great for those of us with dry hair.
I was recently on the http://www.biome.com website (not sponsored by them, but slightly obsessed) and saw the following recipe for a facial cleanser for acne prone skin which I am going to try when I have used up my current cleanser:
- 2 tbsp cocoa butter
- 1 tbsp shea butter
- 2 cups liquid castile soap
- 2 tbsp certified organic palm free glycerine
- 10 drops vitamin E oil (optional)
- 3 tsp activated charcoal
- 3 tsp bentonite clay
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 20 drops rosemary essential oil
- 12 drops tea tree essential oil
- 6 drops peppermint essential oil
- Remove the dispenser lid from the mason jar. Place the jar into a saucepan that has been filled with about 2cm of water. Turn the heat to medium.
- Add the cocoa and shea butters to the glass jar and heat gently until they melt.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E oil and glycerine if using.
- Add the activated charcoal and bentonite clay and stir until combined with a wooden spoon (don’t use metal as it will react with the clay).
- Add the castile soap, followed by the essential oils and stir.
- Place your dispensing lid back on tightly. It is now ready to use.
I have been using Arbonne skin care for some years now however I would like to transition to making my own skin care too and will be trialing
Skin toner, or simply toner, refers usually to a liquid designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores. I haven’t used a toner in years as most commercial brands contain alcohol, but I have found a natural recipe that I am going to try soon (I’ve started a batch of my own ACV recently!)
- 3/4 cup strong green tea
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- Simply pour the green tea and apple cider vinegar into a glass jar or a glass spray bottle.
- Use a cotton ball to apply your homemade toner after cleansing or as often as desired.
- Store this toner in the refrigerator–it should keep for about two weeks this way.
- While these two ingredients alone are enough to make a homemade toner, you can also experiment with adding things like: Orange essential oil (astringent, oil-reducing, stimulates collagen production), Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial, soothing, anti-inflammatory), Lemon juice (brightening, toning, helps reduce red marks).
I was taught to always use a high-quality moisturiser from adolescent however I feel my skin has become overly dependent on moisturisers to regulate the oils on my face. Very recently I have been looking into using essential oil serums as a moisturiser, especially on My Nourished Life. From her bog I learnt of the importance of selecting a cold pressed carrier oil such as jojoba, castor or sweet almond oil, which acts as a base and dilutes the essential oil moisturiser serum (20:5 ratio normally).
For Oily Skin
These oils have properties that tend to regulate and normalize oil production:
For Breakouts and Blemishes
These oils can be added to your moisturizer to calm and prevent breakouts, and can also be applied neat (undiluted) as a spot treatment:
- Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea tree)
For Dry, Chapped Skin
If your skin tends to be dry and chapped, a deeply moisturizing oil like shea butter or cocoa butter is a good base. Argan oil and rose hip oil are also good facial oils for deep moisture. Here are the essential oils that are best for dry skin types:
For Aging Skin
Argan oil and rose hip oil are some of the best oils for aging skin that tends to be prone to wrinkles and sagging. Use them as a carrier oil and then add these essential oils to nourish aging skin:
For Combination Skin
These are some of the best essential oils for skin that tends to be both dry and oily:
For Red Marks and Dark Spots
Some of the best essential oils for skin with red marks or dark spots are:
These can be used in a serum for toning and brightening skin, especially if you tend to need help with uneven skin tone. Simply use 3-5 drops each per tablespoon of carrier oil.
My dear friend Katie, who founded SEEDblog.net swears by this recipe for body butter, but I also found another recipe which is exactly the same but uses coconut oil instead of shea butter (also whip from solid with essential oils for several minutes).
- Half a cup of shea butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoon base oil, for example extra virgin olive oil
- 10-20 drops essential oil(s); optional, for example you can use lavender oil
- Before you start to prepare whipped shea butter, make sure your unrefined shea butter is on a room temperature. Do not melt or heat it! Put your shea butter in a bowl and mash it with a fork. The same way you make a mashed potato.
- Add base oil(s) and mash it little bit more.
- Put the mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix it on a high speed with electric mixer for approximately 5 minutes.
Essential oils are actually a relatively new product for me. Last year I purchased essential oils off an online candle making company, not realising the difference in quality. My dear mother buys me perfumes for my birthdays and Christmas gifts but I have kindly asked her for books instead. Between the alcohol in perfume and the corporate greed of companies and celebrities that profit from designing them, I’d prefer to opt out and use simple essential oils from trusted brands such as DoTerra. Aromas such as lavender has long been used in aromatherapy for relaxation and skincare, dilute with a carrier oil such as almond oil or rose hip oil, I’m thinking I could use a facial moisturising serum as a perfume on my wrists. Isn’t simplicity lovely?
Have fun and enjoy,
References and Resources
The correlation with dairy and skin problems: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/the-dairy-and-acne-connection/
How to make your own activated charcoal: http://www.paris-to-go.com/2014/07/diy-activated-charcoal-and-homemade.html
Toothpaste recipe: http://www.trashisfortossers.com/2013/10/zero-waste-toothpaste.html
Mascara recipe: http://www.therogueginger.com/2014/08/home-made-mascara.html
Facial cleanser recipe: http://www.biome.com.au/blog/category/diy-skin-care/
DIY deodorant and body butter recipes: https://www.seedblog.net/blog/
Body butter recipe: http://sheabutterguide.com/shea-butter-recipes/
Moisturising oils for differing skin types: http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/best-essential-oils-for-skin/
I purchased DoTerra oils from: http://www.shopnaturally.com.au/doterra-australia.html