Have you ever read the ingredients labels on your skin care products? If you have, you were probably confronted with a list of intimidating chemicals and substances you were unable to identify. But those ingredients don’t just seem scary, many chemicals often used in beauty and skincare products have been found to have potentially harmful side effects on humans. And, what’s even more concerning, we as consumers are often kept in the dark about the actual ingredients of those skin care products and how safe or unsafe they actually are (1). So, if you’re interested in giving your skincare routine an all-natural update, or just replacing a few items with non-harmful options, these are the products that you should try out.
Instead of wasting money on expensive wipes or bottles of extra-strength remover to handle your stubborn makeup, try coconut oil instead. It may seem counter-intuitive to rub oil all over your face when you’re trying to get clean, but coconut oil is actually one of the easiest ways to break through all of your makeup products. It even disintegrates waterproof mascara. Simply take a generous amount of coconut oil and, using your fingertips, rub it in circular motions all over your face and eyelashes. Then, take a dry tissue and wipe your face clean.
Next, you’re going to want to wash your face and remove any excess oil or
makeup you may have missed. My favorite all-natural cleanser is African Black Soap. Traditional African Black Soap contains oils and shea butter, which means it cleanses your skin without stripping away all of the natural oils on your face and leaving you with dry, tight, and parched skin. This is important if you have oily or acne-prone skin, because robbing your skin of its naturally-occurring oils will force your it to produce more oil to compensate, ultimately leaving you with more oil and more blemishes than you had to begin with.
For toner, you have a couple of different options. Witch hazel is a great
anti-inflammatory and protective option (2), so if you have acne or want to prevent skin cancer (and who doesn’t?), you should definitely consider grabbing some the next time you’re at the store (3). Your other option is apple cider vinegar, which, because of its acidity, is spectacular at balancing out the pH in your skin. Just make sure you dilute it, as straight apple cider vinegar is far too strong for the skin. To start out, try a ratio of 1:3 of ACV to water, and adjust from there.
So, you have a blemish. Or two.Or too many to count. Whatever the case may be,
you want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. For this, your best option is going to be tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is antimicrobial and has even been shown to have a significant effect on acne when compared to benzoylperoxide, a popular chemical used in acne treatments (4). Simply dab a bit of the oil onto the affected area, and allow to dry.
Finally, you’re going to need to moisturize your skin. For this, a
non-comedogenic oil is a good solution. Examples of these would be hemp seed oil, shea
butter, or sunflower oil. If none of those options appeal to you, you can even use aloe vera gel. But, whatever you do, do not use coconut oil as a moisturizer, especially if you are someone with acne prone skin. Coconut oil is fairly comedogenic, meaning that there’s a decent chance it will clog your pores if you slather it on and let it soak into your skin. Alternatively, try one of the other options listed above.
Once or twice week, you may feel like giving your skin a little extra TLC by
indulging in a mask or exfoliating away your dry skin. For masks, some mashed up avocado, banana, or a generous layer of aloe vera will provide your skin with the moisture and antioxidants it craves. And to get rid of dry skin, try baking soda or a mix of sugar or salt with your favorite oil and exfoliate away. These steps should always be done after you cleanse your skin and before toner. And, if you’re exfoliating and doing a face mask on the same day, be sure to make exfoliating your first step, rather than doing it after your mask.
As you can see, there are a multitude of fantastic, all-natural products you can start incorporating into your daily skincare routine. And, meanwhile, you’ll be avoiding all of the sketchy chemicals and ingredients that over-the-counter skin care products often contain.
Barrett, J. R. (2005). Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of Beauty Products. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(1), A24.
Graf, J. (2015). Herbal Anti-Inflammatory Agents for Skin Disease. Skin Therapy Letter, N.p.
Thring, T. S., Hili, P., Naughton, D. P. (2011). Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells. Journal of Inflammation, 8:27.
Bassett, I. B., Pannowitz, D. L., Barnetson, R. S. (1990). A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. The Medical Journal of Australia, 153(8), 455-458.