I’m not very big on new year’s resolutions. But last year, for the first time in a long time, I made just one resolution for 2017: to prioritize hair care and skin care.
Throughout the year, I ended up doing just that. I tried a number of different products to improve the health and appearance of my hair and skin. I spent the first half of the year pursuing natural, DIY products since I wasn’t ready to invest in the more expensive beauty products from the store. After I formed good habits, I turned to some highly rated, well-trusted face washes, creams, vitamins, and tonics I had read about online.
But no matter what I tried, I found myself inexplicably breaking out in a way that I never had before in my life! I could not believe that I was getting acne as I neared 30 when I’d never struggled with it as a teen! I tried more products to clear up and heal my skin, but nothing was working. In a desperate effort, I decided to eliminate everything in my skin care routine except the natural products I had used before, and my skin was back to normal in three days. Weeks of pimples, bumps, and scars, and then everything cleared up in just three days.
I took the hint.
So after a full year of experimentation and vetting these products, I am so excited to share with you my completely natural DIY skin care routine! I’ve learned my lesson to stick with what I know works for me, and my skin truly does love these natural, nourishing homemade skin care products. I also love how inexpensive it is to make my own products, and how I can customize them based on the season, the state of my skin, or my mood!
Now, please note that everyone’s skin is different and so everyone should alter their products and their routine based on what works best for their skin. Personally, I have combination skin that is healing from terrible bouts of eczema. And by “combination skin” I mean that I have eczema and some dry patches, and I also have areas that are… not quite oily… but are very sensitive to too much moisturizing.
The products in this post all deeply nourish my sensitive skin, help even its tone, and speed along its scar healing and recovery. They also help to exfoliate and smooth, and protect my skin against the drying cold, which means I’m lathering them on every day right about now!
But before I get into my products and process, I want to talk about ingredients. You’ll notice I use a few ingredients over and over in my skin care. That’s because they’re amazing! I’ve tried a number of different natural ingredients in my routine and these are the ones that have worked beautifully for me.💖
Natural Skin Care Ingredients
An all natural, concentrated cleanser made completely from plant oils, Castile soap is extraordinarily versatile and works super well with my skin. Castile soap can be purchased in a number of scents and scentless versions, including a gentle baby wash! It’s inexpensive, versatile, and lasts for a long time. And in addition to my skin care routine below, I also use Castile soap for bubble baths and household cleaners!
Honey is a wonderful antibacterial that helps to eliminate breakout-causing bacteria and diminish breakouts. It’s full of antioxidants, promoting skin healing and helping you gain a natural glow. Honey is also an emollient that helps to nourish, calm, and condition sensitive skin, and it works wonders on your hair too!
I have tried a number of natural oils on my skin (and hair) and have found that jojoba oil and avocado oil (below) work the best for my body. Jojoba oil very closely mimics the natural oil our skin makes, and it never irritates my sensitive skin one bit. While other oils tend to sit on top of the skin or moisturize only the top layer, jojoba oil sinks deep and nourishes my skin. It leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth, and beautifully colored, and protects it from rougher weather or fabrics.
Similar to jojoba oil, avocado oil deeply conditions my skin with lasting effects. I find that avocado oil is heavier than jojoba oil, sometimes a bit too heavy, so I tend to use this more sparingly in my skin care routine.
Lemons are another antibacterial ingredient that helps to clear up pimples and acne and smooth and brighten your skin. They help reduce the oil on your skin and lighten dark spots, helping to even your skin tone. It is important to note that lemon is phototoxic, which means that it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. Try not to use lemon treatments before spending a lot of time outdoors, and always be sure to use sunscreen on your face.
Vitamin E is an ingredient well-known for promoting skin health and luster. The antioxidant oil helps to moisturize, nourish, and decrease the effects of aging on skin. It is best when diluted, and is great for deep conditioning and helping to heal, hydrate, and smooth our skin.
No DIY ingredient list would be complete without essential oils! The best natural way to customize your homemade products, essential oils not only add smell goods to the things you make, they also add their own unique benefits based on what oil you are using. Citrus oils and ylang ylang help decrease breakouts and minimize oily skin; chamomile helps to calm inflamed or red skin and eczema; and lavender helps to regenerate skin cells, promoting the healing of dark spots, scars, and sun damage. These are just a few of my favorite essential oils to use in skin care, and there are so many more available!
And now for my natural skin care routine. 🚀
For my body, I swear by Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. I’ve tried a bunch of body washes, soaps, and cleansers and I always come back to this. It is smells amazing, it’s inexpensive, it lasts forever, and it seems to exfoliate as it cleans. Give me only this Castile soap!
For my face, I try to oil cleanse once a day (usually in the evenings) with jojoba oil. Oil cleansing is receiving some new big fame, but if you’re not familiar with the practice, you’re gently removing bad oils from your face and replacing them with good oils. And since oil is the best way to dissolve oil, (you can guess what I’m going to say here) this cleansing method is done with oil! This practice works well on all skin types (yes, even oily skin), and truly helps to hydrate and condition your skin. (If you’d like to learn more about oil cleansing, check out this website for more information.)
If I wear makeup, in the evenings I oil cleanse and use jojoba oil to remove my makeup. Then I use this DIY Castile soap face wash in the evenings and the mornings to wash my face.
Hydrating Castile Soap Face Wash
1 part Castile soap
1 part distilled (or boiled and cooled) water
jojoba oil (I use 1 tablespoon per 8 oz of face wash)
vitamin E capsules (I squeeze 2 capsules in per 8 oz of face wash)
essential oils (I use 5-10 drops per 8 oz of wash, depending on if I’m using scented Castile soap)
Add the ingredients to a soap pump (like these) and shake to combine. Every few days you’ll likely need to shake again to blend.
Special Treatments (Face Masks)
Each weekend I try to do a spa self-care day on Sundays. I sit under the dryer with a deep conditioner in my hair, I repaint my toenails if they need it, and I do a face mask. I love how face masks nourish and rejuvenate my skin!
I almost exclusively use one of the three face masks below.
- To deep cleanse: a clay mask. This deep cleansing mask pulls out impurities from deep within my skin without irritating it, and leaves my face feeling super clean and fresh. It does leave my skin feeling a bit dry, so I usually moisturize after with a very thin layer of jojoba oil, followed by my lotion.
- To exfoliate: a lemon and baking soda mask. This is my favorite face mask and the one I use most often. I generally mix about four parts baking soda with one part lemon juice, but I’m really just eyeballing it until it makes a thick paste. I spread the mask over my skin, let it sit for 20 minutes, and then wash it off with warm water and moisturize.
- To hydrate and tone: a turmeric, honey, lemon, and avocado oil mask. In addition to the other super ingredients in this mask that are described above, turmeric also helps to exfoliate, lighten scars, and even skin tone. The other ingredients do the same, and help to condition and deeply nourish my skin. Together they make a face mask that my skin absolutely loves. I mix about 2 parts each of honey and avocado oil and 1 part each of turmeric and lemon juice. I leave the mask on for about 30 minutes and then rinse off well with warm water. After this mask I also wipe my face with a warm, damp washcloth after to make sure all of the sticky (and the staining turmeric) is gone.
2017 was the first year that I learned about and tried using toner, and my sensitive skin loves this DIY apple cider vinegar toner. For those who aren’t familiar, the purpose of toner is to restore the pH of your face after washing. Often times, soap is more alkaline than our skin and the acidic toner helps to restore the pH balance of our skin after washing. Natural toners like this one here can also help to hydrate our skin, clear our skin of free radicals and infection causing bacteria, and ease skin conditions like eczema.
This ACV toner also helps to even skin tone, exfoliate, reduce skin’s redness, and prevent or decrease the length of breakouts. I’m seriously in love with this and I make sure that I always have AVC in my pantry so I am never without.
Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 parts distilled (or boiled and cooled) water
1-2 capsules vitamin E
essential oils (I use about 8-10 drops per 8 oz of toner)
Combine the ingredients in a small, lidded container. Shake to evenly combine, and shake again before use. You can either store this in a spray bottle and mist your face after washing or, as I prefer, store it in a squeeze bottle and apply it to your face with cotton pads or cotton balls.
With dry skin and eczema, I take moisturizing my skin very seriously. I have tried so many different products on my skin and have finally found a combination that works for me.
In the mornings, I use jojoba oil and a sunscreen (not optional!) for my face. It is so important to protect your skin from UV rays! If you haven’t already, please add a sunscreen to your skin care routine. In the evenings, I moisturize my face with jojoba oil alone.
For my body, I LOVE this deeply nourishing moisturizer made of raw shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and vitamin E. This lotion (or cream or balm… whatever you’d like to call it) keeps my skin so happy and is helping my skin to heal and even its tone after years of eczema and eczema scars.
Whenever I apply this moisturizer, I feel like a sun-kissed goddess, even in the winter, because of how beautiful my skin looks with this cream!
Deeply Nourishing DIY Moisturizer
1/4 cup raw shea butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon beeswax
3-4 capsules of vitamin e
~20 drops essential oils
Melt the shea butter, oils, and beeswax over medium-low heat until all of the ingredients are liquified. Pour into whatever glass container you will store the moisturizer in and let it cool. Stir in the vitamin e and essential oils when the mixture is mostly cooled.
This also works amaaaazing for healing scars and my dry lips in the winter time!
Well, that’s it! My comprehensive wrap-up of my all-natural skin care routine.
Do you have any skin care resolutions for the new year? What products are you excited to try?