Happy November, everyone! I hope you're thinking about ways to take care of your skin as we move into the colder months. Damn, I know I am.
I've also been thinking, the world of skincare could be drastically reformed if products were actually accessible and non-toxic like so many companies claim they are. Earlier in July, I decided to see just how "good" my products were for me. Websites like GoodGuide and apps like ThinkDirty are large databases with information on thousands of skin, hair, and body products. The ingredients and their rated toxicity are posted on the website so you can see just what's in your products - and how your internal organs are affected. I was shocked to find out that so many ingredients have been linked to cancer and other organ failures. This new knowledge made me so angry at first, until I realized that I could change the way I contributed to the skincare industry!
I began thinking of ways to make a super skincare product. How would I introduce a product that was natural and actually worked? And how do I utilize what I already have in my house in doing so? Unfortunately, this isn't an announcement saying that I've launched my own skincare line (though I hope to some day). For now, I want to focus on improving the products that already exist and have proven to work.
I'm going to share ways that you can make the products that you already have more natural-friendly. Some of these tips are as simple as adding an essential oil to your moisturizer, others are multiple step DIYs that you can use alongside other products.
Just think of this as one big DIY Super Post. Before trying any of these DIYs, I suggest you go to the websites/apps I mentioned earlier to see just how toxic your products are. If they aren't that bad for you, you might not need to ditch them completely. Here are substitutes/additions to make your beauty and skincare regime more natural-friendly without completely eliminating every product you own.
Toner + Balm
Toner is a great way to reduce pore visibility and cleanse the skin, all with one product. There are items that are marketed as "toner" like Clinique's Clarifying Lotion or Mario Badescu's Aloe Vera Toner, both of which I have and use regularly. But, there is an excellent natural ingredient that you can replace your toners with: Witch hazel!
So how do we fuse toner with another item on your bathroom shelves to make the most of it?
Add some toner to your cleansing balm! The typical order for skincare routines go something along the lines of exfoliate, cleanse, tone, moisturize. I've added toner, or ingredients with toning properties, to my cleansing balms and it works magic. It gives your skin that much needed tingle, while clearing off excess dirt from the day's work. To keep it 100% natural, use witch hazel and my DIY cleansing balm. Perfect pair!
Jojoba Oil as Primer
My relationship with makeup fluctuates, but I seem to always find myself wearing makeup primer. This DIY is especially helpful because a lot of primers are super bad for you. Primers by BareMinerals, BhCosmetics, and Wet N Wild all have awful ratings on GoodGuide. But don't freak out! There are toxic chemicals in everything from our toothpaste to our deodorant. This doesn't make it okay, but it helps to put into perspective that your body is a lot more tolerant than you may think when it comes to the phrase: "TOXIC INGREDIENTS."
Now, if you've searched for your primer of choice and are totally devastated to find out that it's received very low ratings, I have a solution for you. Jojoba oil is an excellent primer and moisturizer. You don't have to completely eliminate your favorite primer from your beauty routine, unless you're really motivated to do a bathroom cabinet cleanse and go all natural. Instead of using that toxic primer every day, you can start incorporating jojoba oil into your routine (a little goes a long ways) until you eventually rule out the primer.
Photographed above are the two products I use consecutively in my daily routine. Jojoja as primer, then Glossier's skin tint for foundation. Two steps, easy peasy.
*Update: I've also noticed that avocado oil is a lot thicker than jojoba oil, so this may make a winter-appropriate substitute. Since writing this post in the summer, I've also learned that avocado oil is less comedogenic than jojoba oil! Ie: it won't block your pores as badly. I haven't broken out because of jojoba oil, but if you have sensitive skin I would suggest avocado oil over jojoba.
Spot Treatment + Moisturizer
I have lots of dark, acne scars from my unsuccessful battles against pimples. I've had much difficulty "just leaving it be," as my mom says. My impatience resulted in me trying to pop the pimples, which as you probably know leads to scarring. I've wanted to find a dark spot fading product that wouldn't, well, potentially give me some kind cancer.
When I was in high school, I started taking pills and using topical treatment to help combat my acne. I was prescribed Epiduo and I'm pretty sure that cream has some really awful chemicals in it. I've used creams that "help fade dark marks" but really just end up drying out your skin, ie: Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil Night Fade Lotion and Sephora's Even Better Dark Spot Corrector. Neither did anything particularly great for my skin and both cost a lot more than natural ingredients.
Since then, I've dabbled in the realm of moisturizers for "acne-prone skin" with some mild results. The best moisturizer I've used is from Shea Moisture's African Black Soap line, for problem skin. But the curious skincare enthusiast in me begged the question: "how could I make this product even stronger, using natural ingredients?"
Aloe vera and vitamin E oil are great natural ingredients that help fade dark marks. Lemon juice helps to brighten skin, which in turn assists the fading of dark marks. These are all ingredients you can add to your moisurizers at night. I put emphasis on "at night" because lemon juice and sunlight don't mix well. I personally don't enjoy relying on lemon juice because I would rather fade dark marks than lighten my skin. But if it works for you, use sparingly!
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That's all for today's post. Enjoy these substitutions/additions! Continue to email me at email@example.com to talk about all things skincare, poetry, and self care! Have a great week, all.