With so many beauty products, with so many complex chemical ingredients, it is no wonder that women in the West suffer from many more skin and hair disorders than women in developing nations who don’t lather themselves in toxic cocktails. But beauty products are so fun, no? I certainly think so. But when I started getting chemically sensitive skin, I had to look into other options. And thus began my research into natural, homemade remedies.
Dry Skin and Hair Tips:
– Drink fresh apple juice. It will help cleanse and detox your skin from the inside out, helping it recover its natural moisture.
– The following essential oils are good for your skin and hair: geranium, neroli, sandalwood, patchouli, chamomile, rose. Remember to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil or base cream. You can even just add them to a simple moisturiser like VegeSorb (a vegetable-oil based version of sorbolene). Or add 5 drops to a sink of warm water, dip in a face cloth, wring it out and place over face. Inhale the aroma! This is not only good for your skin, but for your mind too.
– Although it is tempting to exfoliate any flaky patches, be GENTLE. Try this natural, gentle exfoliant once or twice a week: a spoon of honey mixed with some rolled oats or oatmeal…massage gently over moistened face. If you want a lighter scrub, add some full-cream cows or goats milk until you get a texture you like.
– Eat oily fish (eg, sardines, salmon, mackerel) and olive or flaxseed oils.
– Honey is really good for dry skin, or sensitive skin, or skin with imperfections…it is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, ant-bacterial and will help clear up any infections. Use runny honey, preferably organic. Rub in circular motions over the skin and then leave on for 10-15 minutes. Can also be rubbed into hair and scalp to help itching/dandruff/dry scalp. Honey washes off easily with warm water.
– You can fill a little muslin bag with some oatmeal or rolled oats, wet thoroughly and then either: 1) massage gently over face and body for moisturizing, gentle, exfoliating cleansing or 2) hang under the warm water running into your sink or bath before washing in the water. This is a very gentle, moisturizing way of cleansing.
– Fresh Avocado: if you don’t mind looking like a delectable swamp monster for a little while, mash some fresh avocado up and smother your dry bits with it. It is super richly moisturizing. Good for your hair and skin. You can also eat any bits that fall into your mouth…
– Warm some sesame oil on the stove until it is a nice temperature for applying on your skin, and then massage it into your hair and scalp. Next, wrap a warm towel around your head and relax for as long as you can without washing out the oil. You may need to shampoo twice to get the oiliness out. But it will leave your hair shiny and your scalp comfortable.
– Bathe your nails in a bowl of olive oil if they are dry. Then lather on a hand cream or oil.
– Cold Cream works as a great face/body moisturizer, baby barrier cream, makeup remover, after-sun cream etc etc. It is a great idea to make your own cold cream. It is simple and cheap to make yourself and you can be sure of what goes in, and also tailor any fragrance or fine-tuning essential oils to your skin and preferences.
– Use chamomile and basil for your facial steams.
– Try not to wash your hair too often if it is dry. Condition your hair with eggs, oils (macadamia, olive, avocado, coconut and sesame are good), honey, herbal rinses (mix a dash of cider vinegar with some water and cooled herbal tea eg. chamomile).
– Massage a dollop of mayonnaise into your dry skin. Leave for 15 minutes and then wash off. This is a speedy skin-nourisher.
– Just before you step into your bath, add 10ml of olive or sunflower oil to the water. This will make you skin divinely soft. Be careful stepping out! it can be slipper.
-Melting together 50g coconut oil, 50g cocoa butter, 30ml almond oil and 15 drops of neroli oil will work wonders as a dry-ends cream for your hair. It will act as a barrier against drying and splitting.
– 5ml of cider vinegar and 6 drops of chamomile oil to 3L of water will work to restore the hair’s pH and fragrance it. Use as the final rinse after conditioning.
Pimples, Acne and Oily skin and Hair Tips:
– Honey! I love honey! Massage in circular motions over affected areas to help clear-up spots, redness, dryness, infections, inflammation and redness.
– To help clear up redness associated with pimples, mix 15ml oatmeal with 60ml warm water. Add 2 drops of chamomile oil, and apply as a face-pack. add more oatmeal if the mixture is too runny. Leave for 15 minutes, and then rinse off.
– I find that dipping a cloth or make-up remover pad in organic, un-pasteurised, un-homogenised goats milk and then swiping over face will help clear up breakouts and sensitivity.
– Lavender oil applied neat onto affected areas once a day until the breakout clears up (or the skin becomes irritated). Tea Tree oil is also good applied neat, but is much more likely to cause irritation.
– Put a handful of Salad Burnett in a bowl big enough to lean over, and cover in hot water. Put your face about 20cm from the water and cover head with a towel. Steam for 10 minutes if you have oily skin, less if you are sensitive. Stop if you feel uncomfortable.
– Cut a clove of garlic in half, and rub onto pimples/ boils etc. It will help clear any pustules very, very quickly. You can apply it about 3 times a day.
– Neat witch hazel on a cotton ball patted onto spotty areas will help clear the area. Or you can use witch hazel all over your face as a good, natural toner for sensitive, pimple-prone oily skin.
– Diluting 1 tsp of cider vinegar in 3L of warm water, used as your final rinse, can help ward-off oily hair, allowing you to go longer in between washes.
– Try to find a shampoo that doesn’t contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), because it can break down the lipid barrier on your scalp, encouraging your scalp to produce more oil, or get itchy and eczema. Same for your face wash. SLS is usually found in foaming products.
– Aloe-vera… this is great, especially if you have sensitive skin which is also troubled by spots or acne. I have very sensitive skin, and whenever I get a bad breakout, I apply lavender oil to the area and then dab Aloe Vera over my face to prevent any drying or irritation. It also helps speed up the healing process.
– Apply lemon juice directly to pimples or acne regularly…dilute it if it irritates your skin or if your skin is sensitive (note: use sunscreen of you are doing this)
– Grated cucumber, applied daily to the affected area for 15-20 minutes can help reduce the recurrence of pimples and blackheads.
– Soaking a cotton cloth in water as hot as you can handle, and then draping it across your face/chest/back until it cools to warm, and then rubbing it over the skin in gentle circles and help dislodge blackheads and pimples. Repeat a few times in a session, once a day. Don’t be too harsh with the rubbing. If you have sensitive skin, don’t do the rubbing…just hold a cloth soaked with warm-hot water on the affected areas.
– Mix some kaolin or green clay with 3 drops of lavender/geranium/tea-tree/chamomile/lemon oil and add water until you get a paste. If you want, you can add a spoonful of honey. Apply to face and leave for 15 minutes. If the mask starts drying and cracking, spritz with water or rosewater spray.