In my heyday of sampling every skin care line known to man in search of the holy grail of night cream, I tried everything from Walgreen’s finest to Neiman Marcus’ expensive-est. And guess what? I never found a product that was good to my skin and did anything other than make me sneeze (ridiculous added fragrance – no thanks), occasionally break out and make my wallet cry (La Mer, you highfalutin bugger, I’m looking at you.)
That’s why every few months, when it’s time for me to make a batch of my skin care essentials, it is the biggest thrill ever. (Life on the edge, you guys.) And today I’m going to give you a peek into my medicine cabinet. It used to look like a drugstore that’d been ransacked after a black Monday sale. Pretty scary stuff.
Over the span of a year, though, I started to become conscious of chemicals and toxins that were lurking in my products, and began to slowly transition to natural skin care. At first, I bought expensive, organic creams and cleansers from my local natural grocery store, but that added up quickly. And really, I didn’t see much of a difference in my skin.
So I tried making my own skin care line, giving it a half-hearted go with almost zero expectations … and came up with surprisingly wonderful results. I’m never looking back and here’s why:
- Amber glass jars and droppers are simple and gorgeous, and look great on everyone’s bathroom counter.
- NO HARMFUL CHEMICALS. Most of my skin care recipes are less than five ingredients. To me, this is the most important benefit.
- When the seasons change — and so does my skin — I can tweak the formulas to give my skin what it needs most.
- My skin has never been better. This speaks volumes, as my skin and I have been through a lot since high school.
- Also, when I run out of, say, a cleanser I just head down to my kitchen in my pajamas and whip up a batch. It’s a five-minute round trip to and fro the bathroom — and BOOM! Done.
Once you get the hang of making your own skin care essentials, it becomes pretty satisfying. Try it and give your skin a month or two to respond … you just might become a convert, too. My girls love to help me “cook” all of my potions. Plus, it’s a good way for me to teach them about how to care for their skin. We spread all our ingredients out in the kitchen and I let them mix a little bit of their own into tiny, one-ounce dropper bottles. Later at night, they’ll get out their little bottles and scrub their faces with wash cloths and feel so grown-up. It’s pretty cute. And at least, I know their hands and faces are getting clean — sometimes.
Avocado Oil Blend Facial Cleanser
Here’s my current cleansing formula. I use it first thing in the morning and then again right before bed. It’s amazing for getting rid of my waterproof mascara (which is no small thing!).
1/5 part castor oil
4/5 part avocado oil
10 drops frankincense
Mix and store in an amber glass dropper bottle
I use the oil cleansing method; you can read more about it here. Typically, I’ll reformulate the cleanser a few times a year, using different oils and amounts based on seasonal changes … or even if I’m traveling. I love the avocado oil because it’s a bit thicker than some oils — and perfect for keeping my skin from drying out. In spring and summer I switch to a lighter oil like almond.
Castor oil is the main cleansing agent, and little goes a long way. In Colorado, especially now that it’s fall and the air is getting even drier, I maybe only use about 1/5th part castor oil because any more, and my skin gets overly dry and upset. In summer months, or if I’m traveling to a humid climate I’ll increase the castor oil to about 1/3. The frank is a yummy-smelling, skin-loving oil and if your skin can tolerate any added essential oils, this is the one.
Apple Cider Toner
1/3 part raw apple cider vinegar
2/3 part witch hazel
amber glass bottle with cap, similar (you can usually find them individually in places like Whole Foods in the toiletries section)
The apple cider vinegar in this skin toner makes me think of fall. But beware, it’s pretty astringent, so if your skin is on the drier side like mine, use it sparingly. I’m using it about every other night after the avocado oil cleanser. It makes your skin feel shiny and glowy and really clean. Make sure you look for an alcohol-free witch hazel since the added alcohol can be really drying.
This one, you guys. This one is my absolute favorite. It’s like butter and makes your skin soft. I use it morning and night. With the recipe below, I can make a small glass amber jar for my face cream and then fill a larger mason jar with the magical goodness to be used as a body cream in the winter.
1 cup of shea butter
1 cup of avocado oil
In a large glass jar (that you don’t mind getting gunky), mix all of the above ingredients. Put that into a large pot filled with water on the stove. Heat (but don’t boil) the water until the contents in the jar melt, stirring continually. When it liquefies and is thoroughly mixed, pour it into your storage jars. Let the jars cool a bit and then them pop into the fridge for a couple of hours if you want them to get a bit harder. (In the summer, I keep a jar of this in the fridge because it can melt when it heats up.)
Tip: When I travel, I make a small batch to pour into these small bottles. I found the same set at Target for about half the cost. Once you make your travel bottles, you’ll be set for quite a few trips.
And that’s it. Simple, functional and beautiful skin care. I’ll give you another update later on in the winter when I change the formulas. Happy fall, friends!