Whatever goes on your skin should also be able to go in your mouth. Pick up a bottle or jar of your favorite moisturizer or cleaner and let me know how many of the ingredients on that list you can pronounce – or identify. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and absorbs around 60% of the products you use topically – whether natural or chemical. It isn’t always in your budget to do a complete beauty makeover and buy all new cosmetic and skin care products, but here are a few things that I do that are both cost effective and keep my skin looking healthy and young.
Raw honey has excellent medicinal remedies and works wonderfully as both for cleansing your skin and keeping it hydrated. I rub a thin layer onto my face each morning (pull your hair back and use a sweatband if you aren’t going to jump in the shower after) and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Don’t make it too thick or it will drip. This daily routine keeps my skin super soft and clear – even through PMS. Have allergies or itchy skin? Also eat a tablespoon while you’re at it – local, organic honey works best for this purpose as it will acclimate you to area pollen. For my face I don’t worry about local – YS Eco Bee Farms makes a good quality product for a decent price (available in stores or online at Amazon, iherb and other retailers.)
Sugar is full of glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and is usually a key ingredient in pricey products. The natural glycolic acid in sugar not only helps condition and moisturize skin, but protect it from toxins. I long ago stopped spending $10-18 a jar on body scrubs and instead grabbed a $3 bag of brown sugar and a loofah mitt. That is all you need for amazingly soft skin. After I’ve washed and shaved I simply put a couple tablespoons of sugar on the mitt and scrub away. It’s great for exfoliating your face as well.
Far from clogging the skin, sugar works well to cleanse completely, so it can not only reduce acne and help prevent further breakouts. Sugar moisturizes on its own, but you can also add oil to kick in even more moisture.
Brown sugar is gentler than white, making it ideal for super-sensitive skin. The benefits of a brown sugar scrub extend not just to the body, but also the scalp. Try it if you are prone to dandruff or an itchy scalp.
I’ve used Coconut Oil instead of body lotion FOR YEARS, although I am also now obsessed with my homemade body bars (see below). Coconut Oil is a rich and wonderful way to keep your skin hydrated and less prone to dry patches, eczema or body acne. A little goes a long way so don’t overdo it – a couple tablespoons will cover your whole body. If you find you are getting your clothes greasy that means you are using too much. I often throw a robe on after I’ve applied it and then get dressed a bit later. It is also excellent for sunburn relief, to soften chapped lips or even as a makeup remover (just put a little on a Q-tip or tissue and wipe eye makeup right off.)
I started making these body bars a few months ago and I’m in love. They are simple to make, smell fantastic and leave my skin perfectly moisturized. You need: coconut oil, cacao butter (can sub with shea), beeswax (get the pellets, not the block) and essential oil – I love using lavender. Use equal parts beeswax and cacao and a tad more coconut oil so they soften better in your hands. For six bars I use 1 cup beeswax, 1 cup cacao butter, 1 1/4 cups coconut oil and a tablespoon of lavender.
Melt the beeswax and cacao together down in a double boiler and then add the coconut oil and mix in well. Remove from heat, add your oil and pour into molds. The whole process takes me 20 minutes and I have enough to last for months. I keep the one I’m using in a glass container in my bedroom and wrap the extras in wax paper, tape them and store in an airtight container. Again there are all kinds of variations and recipes on these – have fun!
And don’t forget – the BEST thing you can do to keep your skin looking great is to drink plenty of water! Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day.