Photo and intro by Gabrielle. Expert advice by Rachael Weesjes.
My new friend, Rachael, is an esthetician. In April, she generously shared her best skin care tips, and lucky for us, she also offered to share her fabulous at-home concoctions to solve our skin concerns. These are natural, food-based, creams and cleansers — I’m betting you’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need in your kitchen right now. So let’s get started! Glowing skin, straight ahead!
ACNE-PRONE AND OILY SKIN
A lot of people avoid the word oil when it comes to buying products for their skin. They think they have oily skin already and that’s a bad thing, so adding more oil to it will make it worse. But I wish everyone would throw that mindset out the window today and never let it back in!
Oil dissolves oil. Say it with me: Oil dissolves oil. Cleansers for oily skin tend to be drying, so your sebaceous glands, which are microscopic glands in the skin that secrete the oil, are going to go into overdrive because they are getting the message that all the oil is gone and they then produce even more oil than before. That leads to more blocked pores, more blemishes, more oil, more cleansing, and round and round it goes.
Let’s start with a cleansing option. You’ll need two oils for this part. First is castor oil. This is your base oil and you will not be using a lot of it. For oily skin you will use 30% castor oil to 70% of your secondary oil choice. You might want to tweak the amounts depending on your own personal results. You know those travel-sized shampoo bottles? Perfect size in which to mix your cleanser.
Your secondary oil will be a vegetable oil or sunflower seed oil or sweet almond oil. I like extra virgin olive oil. Castor oil will remove the impurities in your skin, has anti-inflammatory properties, and will heal your skin as well. The EVOO prevents dryness. Remember, if you use too much castor oil you will end up with super dry skin.
Once it’s mixed, pour a puddle into the palm of your hand, rub your hands together to warm it, and start to massage your face. For the castor oil to do its job properly, massage for five minutes. I say five because everyone always does three! Then, take a hot washcloth and lay it over your face, leaving it there until it’s cool. Wipe away the oil with the washcloth. You will probably have to repeat this step two or three times to make sure you’ve removed all the oil. This is actually where many people stop because they find that their skin is moisturized enough just from the cleansing. And you can stop here if this is how you cleanse your skin frequently, but if you want that little extra treat of a facial you can continue with the next steps. I will add that if you start to do the oil cleansing method, you really should do it only at night before bed; if you are washing your face at night, there is no need to wash it in the morning. And bonus! A lot of people don’t find the need to cleanse every night once they start with this method.
Next is toner. Mix two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar – it must be organic – and two teaspoons of tap water. Dip a cotton ball into the mix and wipe your face. If you find the vinegar too strong of a smell, wait five minutes after toning and then rinse with water. Otherwise, continue on with the facial. If you find your skin reacts to the vinegar, dilute it more with the water.
On to exfoliating! Grind one tablespoon of oats, add one tablespoon of honey, apply to your face, and rub in gentle circles for three to five minutes. Rinse off with water.
And now for the mask, which is my favorite step because you get to be a scientist and mix up ingredients any way you want! This one is a lemon and egg-white mask. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C, it’s great for getting rid of sun spots and uneven skin tone, and it will help exfoliate. You will notice tightness once you apply the egg whites, but that will go away once you remove the mask.
Beat one egg-white until it’s frothy. Add lemon juice (the equivalent of half of a lemon) to the egg-white, apply it to your face avoiding the eye area, leave on for 15 minutes up to 30 minutes, and rinse off with warm water.
I like to use coconut oil as a finishing cream. Choose the organic, unrefined kind. It is a hard white substance when cold, but at 24 degrees Celsius it melts and becomes oil. Melt about half a tablespoon in your hands, and massage your face with it.
You may find that your skin will get a bit worse before it gets better. Apple cider vinegar will definitely open up blockages and a lot of oil will be released, which can cause more breakouts. But be patient: it will subside once your skin adjusts to how nicely you are treating it!
To cleanse dry skin, use the oil cleansing method described above, but adjust your oil amounts. Your mixture will be a blend of 10% castor oil to 90% of your secondary oil. Again, extra virgin olive oil is my favorite choice.
Pineapple coconut water is a brilliant toner for those of us with dry skin. So refreshing with just a simple swipe over your face with a clean cotton ball. And to exfoliate, grind up some oatmeal, mix with yogurt or kefir, apply to your face, and leave for ten minutes before rinsing off. If you enjoy a good mask, mash half of a very ripe avocado and add approximately a quarter cup of honey. Apply to skin and leave on for ten minutes, rinsing completely with a washcloth. As for finishing cream, my newest discovery is cold-pressed avocado oil. It is very concentrated in vitamin E and other antioxidants. Just a dab of avocado oil on the cheeks and forehead, then massage in. It takes about ten minutes to absorb. If it takes longer, you’ve applied too much.
Again, I favor the oil cleansing method, but an anti-aging cleanser’s ratio will be 20% castor oil to 80% secondary oil. For toner, dip your cotton ball into pineapple coconut water and swipe all over your face.
Lack of moisture in the skin is definitely going to make fine lines more pronounced. Since aging skin shares the same concern as dry skin, the exfoliation technique is the same: oatmeal mixed with yogurt or kefir, applied and left on for ten minutes before rinsing off.
I have two mask options for aging skin.
For the first mask, mash up one ripe banana and mix with two tablespoons honey. Apply to your face, leave for ten to 15 minutes, and remove. The banana is going to tingle like crazy; if you feel it burning, remove immediately. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to do a test patch first. Bananas are known as nature’s Botox. Yes, you read that right! Bananas leave your skin firmer, the vitamins A and B will fade dark spots and lighten the skin tone, vitamin E fights free radical damage, and the potassium is very hydrating. Honey is a lot of things including anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, but we’re using it in this facial because it will help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Another anti-aging mask option is mixing a half tablespoon of L. Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) and one teaspoon olive oil. Apply to face carefully. If it gets in your eyes, it will burn.
I tried to find an easy-to-make-with-pantry-items anti-aging finishing cream, but none of them felt right to me so I will just tell you what I do for my clients with mature skin. This will be the most expensive part of any of the facial steps I’ve listed, but it’s absolutely divine. Two tablespoons each of sweet almond oil and rose hip seed oil, and ten drops each of cypress oil, which is very firming for the skin, and geranium oil, which regenerates the skin. You can store this in a glass amber bottle. Use only at night, and don’t use too much unless you want to be super greasy.
A few additional notes from our own personal esthetician: Any mixture using fruit or eggs needs to be made and then used right away; there is no storing of that kind of thing. Which is one thing that freaks me out the most about store-bought beauty products: some of the stuff I used had a shelf life of up to two years! And make your at-home process as easy as possible so you’ll treat your skin regularly. I keep a container with ground oatmeal in it to make it easier to scoop out whenever I need it.
Oh, goodness. Don’t those sound fantastic? I want to head straight to the kitchen to mix up some skin care! I’m definitely feeling empowered to treat my skin kindly and gently — and cheaply! Thank you a hundred times over, Rachael. What about you, Friends? Any homemade skin care recipes that have worked for you? And have you tried any of the solutions Rachael suggests in the post? How did they work for you?
P.S. – If you’ve got a few insider tips from your own career, would you be interested in sharing them with the rest of us? Let me know!