a l l n a t u r a l i n f o
I am of the firm opinion that all-natural beauty products are not only effective, they are superior to the standard beauty products that are being sold today. Just like natural food has become accepted and revered, natural beauty care is finally beginning to receive the credit that it deserves. There are no strict standards in place to guide consumers to the real thing when it comes to completely natural. So it's buyer beware, and be educated as to what constitutes a completely natural product. When you see the word "natural" on a beauty product, it is basically meaningless. This is a buzz word that is routinely used to entice you to buy products. Read your ingredient labels carefully. If you see any long chemical names that you can barely pronounce, there's a very good chance that it is not a completely natural product.
You may ask, "So what's the problem? I've been using these kinds of products all my life." Again, I would suggest that you compare your beauty products to food. And you should! The skin that surrounds your entire body takes in a large portion of whatever is put onto it. If you think that skin doesn't absorb, then think about birth control and Nicotine patches. Skin does absorb, and it is presently absorbing toxins every day if you use beauty products that contain potentially dangerous ingredients. It may be a small amount on a daily basis, but when used constantly throughout your life, it can be quite a large amount, some of which remains! Sure, these chemicals have been tested, but when all of these chemicals are put into the body, they merge with each other. These combinations, have not been tested. So basically speaking, you are the guinea pig.
Completely natural beauty products are not just watered down replicas of the store bought versions. They are the real thing. More and more companies are coming forward, bringing their wonderful, truly natural products to the market under the name all-natural or organic. So your options are opening up, but continue to read your labels. You may have to use these products up more quickly, and protect them from excess heat, light and bacteria. You may find them to be a little less refined in their appearance. What you will have are rich, full-bodied products, that work with your body, not against it. In turn, your skin will thank you with radiant, healthy beauty. After using un-natural products for years and years myself, I was amazed at the difference! My skin seems to be getting younger and healthier all the time.
Make Your Own Beauty Products
Rather than going to your bathroom shelves for your beauty products, just take a trip to your kitchen pantry. Because we all start off with different skin types, there will be differences to keep in mind when formulating your homemade beauty recipes. We'll focus on facial masks here. These are easy to make and use, and you will probably find most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. For those ingredients that you don't already have, just take a trip to your grocery or healthfood store.
Basic Skin Types and Their Particular Needs -
Sensitive Skin - A sensitive skin reacts the most to changes in temperature, skincare products, and seemingly... everything. If you have a sensitive skin, your goal is to bring it to a more normal range. This can be acheived by finding a skincare routine that works for you (and of course is all-natural). Learn to treat it with the care that it deserves. Do not use anything that makes your skin tingle or burn. Use soothing ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Honey.
Oily Skin - Generally your skin becomes greasy in appearance within an hour or two after cleansing, and remains that way throughout the day. The pores are usually enlarged. This is usually hereditary, but is manageable through proper diet and skincare. The usual method for dealing with this type of skin is to dry it out. This is just a temporary fix though, which just creates more of the same as the body tries to lubricate the dry surface. I prefer to treat this skin as more of a normal skin type, don't dry out, and don't add too much oil. Eventually the oiliness calms down. There are ways to reduce pore size naturally, which helps the overall appearance. Cucumber and Tomato will be good choices to reduce large pores (mash and apply, or mix with yogurt for more creaminess). Also clay masks (look for Bentonite or Fuller's Earth at your healthfood store) will help to purify and tighten the pores. Just make a paste by mixing with water.
Dry Skin - Diet, heredity and age play a role here. After forty, most of us need more help in keeping the skin supple and moist. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet, including some oil (fish oils are great), and give yourself nourishing facial mask treatments weekly. Avocado and Banana are good choices for dry skin. When mixing your masks, you may want to add a bit of a good, rich oil such as Avocado, Wheat germ or Almond. Egg Yolk is also a good choice for feeding your skin what it needs.
Acne Prone Skin - Acne can be one of the most devastating problems, especially when it is on your face or body. Improper skincare, nutrition, hormones, and even stress can play a role. Make sure to keep hands and face very clean, because acne can spread once it has started. Never squeeze blemishes, they can break open beneath the surface and cause internal havoc, not to mention scarring. Cleanliness is key to getting rid of acne. For individual breakouts, try treating them with raw Garlic (antiseptic). Also, when you are tempted to squeeze, apply a dot of moist clay to the blemish. This will not only stop you from picking, it will also spot dry, without drying out the entire face. Remove the clay spot later carefully by moistening first with a warm wash cloth.
Combination Skin - A person with this type of skin will usually have an oily T-zone, with a normal to dry cheek area. When using your masks, you can work on supplying the needs of each area with different ingredients, or by using the same ingredients that will be effective for both. See Oily and Dry Skin categories for your choices.
Dull Complexion - The dullness, or grey appearance can come by the lack of good circulation, or by excess dead skin buildup. Both of these situations can be improved by using the correct skincare products and measures. Exfoliation is the key for this type of skin to bring it back to a radiant glow. Try a manual scrub using either ground Oats, Corn meal, or Almond meal, mixed with Honey or oil . Or try an enzymatic exfoliant such as Papaya (mash up the pulp and apply to the surface of the skin for about 5 minutes).
Some Simple Ingredients and What They Can Do -
Yogurt - Healing, cleansing, emollient, and mildly astringent. This is like dream food for the skin, it loves it! Use it for any skin type. Works well to soothe a sun or wind burn. Yogurt adds a nice creaminess to any mask, and helps to soften the skin.
Oatmeal - This soothing, emollient ingredient will make your skin amazingly smooth and soft. This can be prepared like your usual Oatmeal, and used as a calming, soothing facial mask. Or use it crushed up as the exfoliant in a scrub (mix with Honey or oil - See above).
Pumpkin - Loaded with vitamin C, this member of the gourd family is quite emollient. Mash the pulp and use it straight, or mix with Honey or yogurt for a more creamy consistency.
Cucumber - Bleaching, cooling, soothing, astringent and healing. You've seen Cucumber slices placed on the eyes during a facial, now you know why. Not only are they cooling and soothing to the eyes, they help to tighten the tissue with their astringent properties.
Carrot - Containing vitamin A, Carrots are also antiseptic. This is a very nourishing ingredient for the body whether used internally or externally.
Papaya - This tropical fruit contains protein digesting enzymes which help to relieve surface tension. It is usually used for its exfoliation properties. It is a powerful treatment, so be careful not to rub it into the skin. Just apply to the surface for just a few minutes.
Honey - One of the greats of all-natural skincare. Almost anyone can use this gift from the bees with its rejuvenating, hydrating, humectant (attracts water to the skin), soothing and healing properties.
Avocado - This fruit from California is loaded with rich oil that is quite nutritious for dry or mature skin. It's also an loaded with antioxidants.
Banana - Nourishing, works well on dry and mature skin.
Tomato - Being acidic helps to make this a wonderful ingredient for tightening pores. It's also rich in Vitamin C and Potassium.
Beauty Recipes Using Some of These Ingredients -
Honey Almond Scrub
This is a Honey Almond scrub with a Peppermint twist! This product will exfoliate your skin to help make it smoother and softer.
· 4 T Almond meal (or Almond flour)
· 2 T Jojoba oil
· 4 T Honey
· 5 drops of Peppermint essential oil
Pour the Almond Meal and Jojoba oil into a 4 oz cobalt or amber glass jar (preferably). Stir well. Then mix in the Honey and Peppermint essential oil. Keep stirring until the mixture is completely mixed.
To use: Cleanse the skin first. Apply about a teaspoon amount of the scrub to a moistened face. Mix with water to make it a more fluid application (do not add water to the jar, mix with the small amount of scrub in your hand). Scrub the skin gently in circular motions, letting the almond meal do the work (harder pressure will only damage capillaries!). Massage every square inch of skin except the delicate eye tissue. Remove with a warm washcloth. Be careful to remove every bit of the scrub. Apply a freshener or hydrosol with a cotton ball to remove any excess product. Finish by applying your moisturizer. Use about once a week to help keep the skin soft and smooth and relieve surface tension. This is a perfect treatment to have before applying a soothing mask.
Banana Facial Mask
· 1 ripe ripe Banana
· 1 T Honey
· 1/2 teaspoon Jojoba oil
· 1 T Yogurt
· 1 egg white
· 1 T Kaolin (white) clay
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg white, then blend in the yogurt, Jojoba oil, Honey and then the Kaolin clay until it becomes a smooth creamy mixture. In a separate bowl, mash up the banana until it is smooth, then blend into the first mixture.
The best way to use this masque is while sitting in the tub because it is a bit messy. Apply to the entire face, neck and shoulder area. As it sits, keep applying more while you build the masque up as well as massage it in. Let it remain on the skin for at least 10-15 minutes and then remove with a warm washcloth. Finish with a freshener or hydrosol on a cotton ball to remove any excess product from the skin, then moisturize as usual.
This is a wonderful softening and firming treatment in one.
Kelp Firming Mask
This mask treatment will help to soften and firm your skin at the same time.
· 3 T Yogurt
· 1 tsp. Organic Powdered Kelp
· 1 tsp. Honey
Place 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt into a small dish. Add the powdered Kelp, stir well. Add the Honey and stir until all three ingredients are blended into a smooth consistency.
To use: Cleanse, apply the mask all over face, neck and shoulder area. Massage lightly (the Kelp acts as beauty grains to promote exfoliation). Leave on for about 5-10 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth. Use a freshener or hydrosol on a cotton ball for complete removal. Apply your moisturizer as usual. Kelp contains iodine, so those with iodine allergies should not use this mask
Basic Directions for Using Masks
Masks are your best choice for quick results. The effects will be noticible, and depending on which ingredients you choose and your skin type, should last for anywhere from a few hours, to a few days. Your skin is always in a constant state of change. Therefore, nothing is absolutely permanant when it comes to your skin. You cannot expect to acheive any permanant solutions by using masks. But when used regularly, they are a wonderful choice to help maintain your skins radiant good health. I would recommend using them about once or twice a week as a pick-me-up, or as part of your skincare regimen. They can also be a great source of relaxation. Make sure that when you apply your mask, you are ready to lay down on something comfortable and put your feet up. Taking a bath with a mask on is also a great idea because you can get into the tub with your mask already on, and the removal is very easy. Perhaps you'd enjoy adding some soothing music and some breathing excercises. Make this 'your' time, and plan this treat for a moment when you have your own space. Another option is to get together with friends and give these treatments to eachother. Whatever you do, make it fun and relaxing and it will be something that you'll look forward to.
Always apply your mask on a clean face. To give yourself a complete facial, you may want to steam your face first to open the pores, release toxins through perspiration, and to increase circulation. You can do this by pouring heated water (not too hot) into a large bowl and using a towel as a tent over your head (face over the bowl to receive the steam) for about 5-10 minutes. This is a very good recommendation for normal to oily skin. Sensitive skins, or those with Rosacea should avoid this step. If you feel that the steam is too hot... it is. Experiment with getting the water at the right temperature, and what length of time works best for you.
Unlike masks that you buy from the store, natural masks generally do not have a preservation system. So the best way to prepare your masks are in small portions. You can refrigerate any unused product, but make sure to use it up at the same rate that you would use up food. The freshness is what makes these types of masks so appealing and effective, but they must be used up relatively quickly. Whip up your mask, and apply it in upward circular motions to the face, neck, and chest area. Feeding, nourishing masks can sit on the face anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Masks that draw and tighten should be removed as soon as you feel that the drying process has occurred, usually within 3-10 minutes (depending on how thick you layer the mask). If you feel any tingling or burning that doesn't feel good, like a sunburn feeling, remove the mask immediately and rinse with cool water. Masks should feel good, they should never hurt. Remove your mask with a warm washcloth. Soak the mask first to loosen, and always be gentle with your precious skin. Finish the process by spritzing the face with a nice hydrosol (actual distilled flowers and/or herbs) and then apply a nice all-natural moisturizer. Your skin should now feel clean, refreshed, and firm to the touch.
Feel free to experiment with the ingredients that are right for your skin type. Natural ingredients are generally much more forgiving than un-natural ones. But please remember that even natural ingredients can have adverse reactions for someone that has allergies to certain foods. For example, if you have an allergy to nuts, don't use almonds. If you are allergic to iodine (shellfish), don't use kelp. If you really want to be sure that you are not allergic to a certain product or ingredient, do a patch test first. Apply a small amount to the inside of your forearm and watch to see that it doesn't get itchy or red. If all goes well after a couple of hours, you should be okay.
Good Skin Care Basics
We were all given our own set of genes when we arrived into this world. These will determine basic aspects of what your skin will be like. Work with your skin and get to know what it needs on a moment to moment basis. Because everything is in a constant state of change, such as the climate, our hormones, moods, etc.. we need to constantly evaluate what our skin's needs. This is where mask treatments play a crucial role. But for everyday skincare, your routine will be pretty consistent.
You'll want to find a cleanser that works for you. A mild all-natural cleanser or soap should be applied topically, massaged into the skin and removed with a warm wash cloth. This will remove the oil and dirt from the pores. Then follow up with a freshener or hydrosol on a cotton ball. This will freshen the skin, add the properties of the hydrosol, and remove any excess cleanser. Follow this step with an all-natural moisturizer that will add the nutrients and oils back into the skin to complete the process. The right moisturizer for you will allow your skin to breathe, and for your own oils to come to the surface freely. When these steps are performed morning and night, your pores will remain open and clean, leaving your skin full of healthy botanicals, and looking beautiful.
Skin can also be a reflection of your health, so be sure to maintain a healthy diet (including 6-8 glasses of water a day) and get plenty of rest. Seek harmony in your life, and try to always find the positive in every situation.
My hope is that after reading this, you can now see that whether you make your own all-natural beauty products, or you buy them... going the all-natural way, is the healthier choice. I know that you will find it fun and satisfying to make your own beauty formulations. I also hope that you are inspired to learn more about this fascinating subject. If you're like me, once you start down this path, there's no going back to the old toxic ways.
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