Written by | Gelita Mimms
Skin care is a $121 billion industry. Along with the billions of dollars comes thousands of additives, fillers, chemicals and parabens. It’s no secret the demand for natural, organic products is on an upward trend, but even though many labels boast ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, research of the fine print often uncovers ingredients you’ve never heard of and probably have a hard time pronouncing.
Whether you have oily, dry, combination or sensitive skin, the great news is that nature has already produced everything you need to effectively cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturize! The crazy part is that you probably have the key ingredients for natural skin care hanging out in your pantry or refrigerator as we speak. Did you know that the rejuvenating minerals of sea salt stimulate cell growth, or that the glycolic acid contained in sugar boosts new cell production? A few household items and a few minutes of your time can help you feel more comfortable and proud of the skin you’re in without breaking the bank.
The process of exfoliating is a critical part of every beauty regime. In essence, exfoliating is a fancy word to describe sloughing away dead skin cells and flakes that dull your natural glow, causing an ashen complexion. Great exfoliating scrubs typically contain two key ingredients: salt or sugar for exfoliation and an oil such as jojoba, coconut or almond for moisturizing. Keep in mind, many times water can be substituted for oil in cases of oily skin.
ALOE FACE SCRUB
2 tsp of aloe vera gel
2 tbsp of oatmeal
1 tsp sea salt
Distilled or filtered water
Mix all ingredients adding enough water to make a paste. Massage onto face and throat leaving on for five to ten minutes. Rinse with cool water and moisturize as needed. Over time, this weekly facial with clear your complexion and lessen the appearance of blemishes.
We all know coffee is a great way to jump start your morning, but you might be surprised to find that it’s a skin stimulant as well. Believe it or not, coffee is an excellent natural exfoliant. It contains caffeic acid, which can also be found in some fruits, vegetables and wine. Caffeic acid has anti-inflammatory effects and boosts collagen production; I’ve heard of people paying good money for this kind of stuff!
EXFOLIATING COFFEE SCRUB
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 tablespoon water or olive oil
Combine the coffee and water or olive oil. (Leftover coffee grounds from your morning brew work perfect.)
Apply to your face using circular motions being careful to avoid your eyes, nose and mouth. Leave the mask on for a minimum of 15 minutes up to an hour.
Rinse with warm water and enjoy rejuvenated, glowing skin! Repeat 2 to 3 times a week.
Gentlemen, please don’t feel left out. There are some super easy DIY recipes that you can use also. If you’re one who’s sporting facial hair, you want to do what you can to keep it manageable and moisturized. Here’s a great DIY recipe and recommended oils for at-home beard care.
DIY Beard Conditioner
4 parts shea butter (use unrefined for best results)
2 parts sweet almond oil (or olive oil, or sunflower oil)
1 part beeswax
Optional: Essential oil – peppermint, cedar or bergamot have masculine scents.
Place all ingredients into a heat safe container; the shea butter and beeswax will need to be melted down.
The ideal method is to use the double boiler method on top of the stove, but you can also heat the ingredients in the microwave on medium power making sure to stir often.
Once all ingredients are melted and mixed together, please handle the hot container and its contents with care! Pour the warm mixture into a suitable container, preferably a metal tin or small glass jar and let the balm cool until hardened.
The mixture can be refrigerated to speed up the process. Once it solidifies apply a small amount to facial hair using your fingertips to evenly distribute the conditioner from root to ends, making sure to massage into the skin beneath the facial hair.
Use daily on coarse facial hair for softer, more manageable beards and mustaches.
In addition to conditioning your beard, there are some common carrier oils that are rich in moisture, provides anti-inflammatory benefits, sun protection and antioxidants. Using a mixture of some common carrier oils will help keep the skin under your beard moisturized and to give your beard a soft feel and lustrous look. Mix two or three of the following oils to create your own concoction to moisturize and soften the texture of your beard.
Jojobo Oil is loaded with vitamins and minerals, promotes hair growth and provides sunburn relief.
Argan Oil is rich in antioxidants, soothes razor bumps and burns after shaving and repairs split ends.
Grape Seed Oil softens the hair while fighting dandruff and acne and is loaded with antioxidants.
Almond Oil is an anti-inflammatory, moisturizes the skin, softens and adds shine to the hair.
You can also add essential oils such as cedarwood, rosemary, lime or sandalwood to add your own unique fragrance. Beard oils can be applied daily, just keep in mind that a little goes a long way.
Moisturizing Beard Oil
15 ml Jojoba Oil
5 ml Argan Oil
5 ml Apricot Kernel Oil
5 ml Sunflower Seed Oil
5 – 10 drops of Sandalwood Oil
1 Amber bottle with medicine dropper top
*Sandalwood can be substituted by Rosemary, Cedarwood or Spruce Oil depending on your scent preference.
Mix all ingredients together in the amber bottle…and that’s it! Apply a few drops to your damp beard, groom as usual and you’re all set. The oil will be quickly absorbed leaving your beard and skin nicely hydrated and lightly scented; enjoy!
Recipes courtesy of:
“Recipes for Elevation” Ra Sekhi Arts Temple