I was Facetiming with a friend in LA the other day when she said:
“Your skin looks really good.”
“Thank you! I actually stopped wearing concealer and just about all makeup. Now when I go out it’s just a little primer and some powder.”
For those of you that don’t know, I used to be a makeup counter girl. That’s right. I was one of those girls who looked dressed up and had nowhere to go on a Wednesday afternoon. I would always have foundation, concealer, powder, shadow, bronzer, blush, liner, you name it on my face for eight hours a day, five days a week.
I always thought using an expensive department store product was essential to taking care of my skin, and to some degree that is true. But as I changed my diet and exercise regiment over the years, I learned more about how to take care of my skin and what natural skin care products are good for me. This site is usually dedicated towards food, nutrition, and healthy recipes. But would you believe my pantry has served yet another purpose?!
If you haven’t read a post from a while back about foods for healthy skin, do so now! A big part of how your skin looks roots down to the foods you’re putting into your body. A diet fraught with vegetables, fruits, plant-based fats, and whole grains is essential to your health. But there are definitely some topical tricks you can apply to get your skin looking and feeling better.
1. Coconut Oil
If you’re a Pinterest lover like me, you’ve definitely seen tons of pins and articles raving about the health benefits of coconuts and coconut oil. I actually learned about coconut products when reading David Wolfe’s Superfoods. Wolfe taught me that coconut oil doesn’t just moisturize the skin like any oil would (with that logic, you could technically use soybean oil as a moisturizer. YUCK!). Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.
I know this is embarrassing, but I’m going to put myself out there and talk about how I’ve suffered from nail fungus for years. I’ve tried just about every remedy. But it wasn’t until I started using coconut oil on my nails once after getting out of the shower and once before bed that I noticed a real difference. Not only was the nail and skin softer, but I could see the healthy, new nail starting to grow and my fungus starting to disappear. Pretty cool right?!
You can use coconut oil as a great moisturizer for the face and body. I like using it at night as a moisturizer because I find it too greasy to use during the day, but do whatever works for you! I also use coconut oil as a base for a ton of my homemade scrubs and masks.
2. Coffee Grinds
Don’t throw those K cups away morning after morning! I personally don’t drink coffee, but I do live with a father who is a caffeine addict to say the least. After he brews his organic French roast, I started mixing these used K cups with a little coconut oil and created a wonderful body scrub.
Coffee has been used for hundreds of years not just for drinking, but also for topical purposes. Dr. Max Gerson frequently prescribed coffee enemas as part of his nutritionally-based, holistic cancer treatment. While I can’t conclude these coffee enemas cure cancer, I can say through my own personal experience that coffee grinds make a great exfoliant.
Simply mix up used coffee grinds with a little coconut or oil olive. I find this is good for the whole body, especially rough patches like knees and elbows. You’re welcome to try it, but I personally think it’s a little too rough to use on delicate areas like the face and neck.
And if you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t panic! Call up your local Starbucks or coffee shop and ask if they have any leftover coffee grinds you can pick up. My coffee shop knows me so well I don’t even have to ask anymore.
3. Brown/White Rice Powder
This is the ONLY time when I’ll tell you it’s okay to use white rice. White rice may rank high on the glycemic index and lead to weight gain, but did you know it’s a great natural beauty product for exfoliation and brighter skin?
Grind a couple of tablespoons of brown or white rice into a powder using a coffee grinder, blender, or even by hand if you have the time. White rice will lend a finer, but gentler exfoliation compared to brown, but ultimately it’s your call.
You can combine the rice powder with a little water or oil for exfoliating. You can also make a paste with the rice powder for a brightening mask that will relieve redness and help heal acne scars. I’ve tried this myself and found that the white rice works exceptionally well for this.
Is your skin dry, flaky, and red? I personally feel that way a lot in the winter, but I definitely have a few friends with skin like this year round. Oatmeal is one of the best calming and skin soothing natural beauty products you can use. I like mixing a few tablespoons of oatmeal with a couple of spoonfuls of almond milk. Mix until it’s a thick paste. This mask is kind of messy and tricky to apply. Definitely lie down for a good 15 minutes to lead the mask soak in. When you wash it off, you’re skin will feel much softer!
5. Aloe Vera Juice
I had an African neighbor once who no matter what, looked like she never aged. When I was a kid she had to babysit me one day. I remember looking through her fridge to find some juice and seeing loads and loads of what I now know are aloe products. Something about the aloe vera was keeping her young.
When I got older, I reached out to her and asked about the products. She told me that besides drinking aloe vera juice daily, she would also use it topically. That’s why it was no surprise when I saw Michelle Phan’s natural eye remover tutorial on YouTube. Sure, this tutorial has been around for a while and just about every girl has tried it. And that’s because it actually works. I used to use dozens of department store eye makeup removers that were pretty expensive. Eventually I realized I was practically paying for fragrance and partially hydrogenated oils. Now I make my own aloe vera products for a fraction of the cost.
For those of you who haven’t seen the Michelle Phan tutorial, you can thank me later 🙂
Some Final Natural Beauty Products and Skin Care Tips
I learned most of these while working at a makeup counter. Even though these tips are for department store products, you can definitely apply them at home!
- Always pair an exfoliant with a mask. Think about it. You use an exfoliant to get all the dead skin cells off. What better time than you treat your open and clean pores with a mask. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but using a mask is best combined with an exfoliator. It will make your mask work much better and you’ll definitely notice more results.
- Avoid drugstore brands at all costs. Not that department store products are better, but non-organic drug store products definitely use more synthetic ingredients. They also use cheap fillers and oils. Maybe I’m a skin care snob. And I’m not saying that department store brands don’t use these ingredients. But conventional drug-store brands are the death of skin care if you ask me.
- Develop good skin care habits in your 20s. When I first started using products and washing my face consistently, I thought it would be such a laborious process. But within a month, I was used to things. I know it seems like a chore now, but imagine how much better you’ll look and feel in your 40s compared to your friends who never really worried about their skin or took care of it. That’s what motivates me about health and wellness so much. I’d rather pay now and make the effort to take care of myself than waste my youth and pay for it later.
What are some of your favorite natural beauty products and skin care tips? Comment below and let me know!
Photo credit via Flickr