When I first embarked on my natural skincare dedication, I tried my best to equip myself with a toolkit that would never fail me. In my mind, this meant coconut oil for cleansing, salt for exfoliating, a carrier oil for moisture, and always tea tree oil for pimples. I knew that there were alternatives for these ingredients, but I had finally adopted to a skincare routine that was - for once - working. I rarely strayed away from them and would stock up on each weeks before they would run out.
Within the first week of being home for winter break, my tea tree oil ran out. I was really annoyed at first because I could feel breakouts coming and I didn't have time to go to the store that night, either. I considered ordering some from Amazon, but it all started to seem overly dependent. Now, a month later, I've successfully dealt with my breakouts (and I've had about four) all sans tea tree. And if my routine isn't reliant on it like I thought it was, that means there are infinite substitutes for my current items that I haven't tried yet! Here's how we can kick our old habits and incorporate new, equally effective natural ingredients into our skincare routine.
Assess What's Working
Before we can consider trading old for new, we should seriously ask ourselves if all of our current skincare products are working in our favor. Too many skincare products in one routine can end up doing the opposite of what you want; it's not uncommon for people to counter their own intentions because the products they use are combatting each other's benefits. Long story short, do a quick evaluation of your shelf and throw out what's not working.
Make Notes of Dual Functions
Tea tree oil is without a doubt a staple for home remedies. In addition to zapping pimples overnight, tea tree oil's anti-fungal properties can help with the nasty stuff under your toenails, dandruff, and sunburns. If an item on your skincare list has multiple purposes, it doesn't mean you should throw it out! Maybe this just means it's time to move it off the skincare shelf and put it on a different one.
Consider Your Needs
Now that you've simplified your checklist, it's time to think about what your skin really needs. Not what the magazines and blogs are telling you, and not what I'm telling you either. What are some patterns that you've noticed? Does your skin react really quickly to when you eat dairy? Are there some products that cause irritation? What does your skin love? Does it glow when you use a certain oil or exfoliant? Take note of what your skin needs and how it performs with different items, then build your new list from there.
Do the Research
Like cooking, baking, friend-finding (kidding), and many more things that require specifics and decision making, skincare involves substitutions. Coconut oil for cleansing can easily be swapped out for olive oil, just as an oatmeal clay mask can quickly overshadow your dependence on that DIY salt scrub.
Ultimately, the world of skincare offers an unlimited amount of possibilities. In the month that I ditched my tea tree oil as the "#1 Solution to Acne," I also learned that lavender oil makes an amazing substitute. It helps to fade acne scars while also protecting the skin from wear and tear. And we can't forget about the power of masks, either. I turned to Moroccan red clay to bust break outs by mixing it with a bit of lemon juice, water, and rosehip oil for an acne-ending-scar-fading super pack.
Tea tree oil is still a very special ingredient to me because it was one of the first natural items I started using when my skin was really bad in high school. It's been with me through cystic breakouts, awful scarring, and even the good days. And plus, the jar is the perfect size for making spell-casting herbal blends.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Good luck with your swapping.