We have spent the last few years reducing our consumption of storebought goods – food, cleaning products, health and beauty products. I am a big proponent of making things from scratch. This ensures minimal ingredients and no added chemicals that are at the least, not necessary, and at the worst, harmful to us. For years I have used natural cosmetics and beauty products – Aveda and Urban Decay, Beauty Without Cruelty, LUSH and Nature’s Gate are several brands I have used over the years. But because they are commercial products, they still have added products to ensure shelf stability. I’ve become determined to switch to all homemade products for my personal care. For years, I have worn makeup daily coverage with either a base or more recently, tinted moisterizer from Urban Decay. This past Spring, however, when I used the last of my tinted moisterizer, I made a conscious decision to not reorder any. I’ve been going makeup free since then (except my for Urban Decay Peroxide lipstick and the very rare eye makeup). For my face washing regimen, I use natural almond soap – the soap is not homemade (yet!), but that is on the horizon. Over the summer and fall, I did not have any problems with dryness, but winter dry skin is something I have always battled even in warmer places like Florida and Texas. I debated whether to get some face lotion when I started to feel the tight skin that signals winter’s arrival. This spring, however, I got Green Beauty by Julie Gabriel with the intention of trying several of the skincare recipes. When my skin began to tighten, I flipped through looking for a good recipe to try. In a moment of either frugality or just plain laziness, I decided against making anything elaborate and just went with the simplest ingredient that would help my skin. I bought a bottle of Grapeseed Oil and a bottle of Almond Oil, both from Spectrum – both are good for either cooking or skincare purposes. Grapeseed Oil is a little heavier than the Almond Oil so I have only used that a handful of times, but the Almond Oil is so light, it has really become my “go to” oil. At night after I wash my face, I pour a moderate amount into my hand (1 tbsp approximately?) and coat first my hands (my hands crack in the winter) and then slowly massage the oil onto my face and neck. If I have used a lot of oil, I will usually blot with a piece of flannel, but leave enough oil on my skin to keep it supple. I tend to wipe most of the oil off my hands (mainly to prevent leaving fingerprints on my phone) but the oil that remains helps with the dryness. For problem areas, like my knuckles that are usually cracked pretty bad, I use Calendula ointment.
Almond Oil is light enough that I actually use it during the day as well. I will put a small amount in my hands (less than a teaspoon) and lightly massage onto my face after my morning shower. A light blot with some flannel and I am good for the day. I even use a little oil for lip gloss rather than using lipbalm.
After my last bottle of Nature’s Gate shampoo was emptied recently, I decided to use Castille Soap. I usually use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castille soap for my children – including for washing their hair, so I figured I would do the same for myself. While my hair is definitely clean, I find the castille soap a bit “harsh” leaving my hair feeling a little bird nest-y. So I added (you guessed it!) a little Almond oil and it really improved my hair texture after shampooing. The largest bottle of Castille soap (32 oz) costs somewhere in the range of $16 – $18 dollars and this is for the concentrated soap – it should be diluted a fair amount before use. So obviously for the money, I am getting a lot of use. I feel comfortable using on my children’s skin and hair as well. While I am using the unscented soap, either getting a scented version or adding my own essential oils is an easy option.
Things I would like to make myself in the near future and which are on my ever-growing To Do list: