Your Natural Skin Care Routine
There are literally hundreds of procedures you can do to keep you skin smooth, soft, and hydrated. There are thousands of cosmetic solutions and if you look at the programs of the big cosmetic companies they consist of many different products like facial cleansers, masks, hydrating creams, anti-aging creams, eye creams and many more. All of those products have their role in the skin care routine and I will try to cover the best routine you can do to keep your skin young and hydrated with only natural products. If you are reading my blog you are already aware of the synthetic products included in the cosmetics and you are here looking for a natural and safe solutions.
Let’s start with few facts about the skin:
- The skin is the largest organ of our body and is capable of absorbing everything we put on it.
- The skin has the capacity to absorb about 60% of the cosmetic products we apply on it. This makes an average of 6.6lb (3kg) of cosmetics absorbed per year by our skin. Then it is our choice those cosmetics to be natural products or synthetic chemicals.
- When we intake toxins and chemicals, our digestive system and liver enzymes have the capacity to degrade them to nontoxic elements. But when we apply chemicals to our skin they are absorbed in pure form, entering directly into our bloodstream.
We have discussed many times about the synthetic chemicals widely used in the cosmetic products and makeups. Those are parabens, PEG, SLS, synthetic silicones and so on. All of them have their natural versions but using natural ingredients will make the cosmetic products very expensive. The need of developing synthetic version of many natural components is driven by the need of the cosmetic companies to expand, to produce more, and to produce cheaper.
Our skin, to stay young and smooth, requires regular cleaning, detoxification, moisturizing, and protection. To do this we use facial cleansers for daily cleaning, clay masks for deep cleaning and detoxification, skin moisturizers, and facial creams to lock down the moisture and protect the skin form drying. Many high quality anti-aging creams combine moisturizing and emollient properties and contain collagen. They aim to keep the skin smooth, soft, and moisturized reducing the wrinkles. They also contain a good number of synthetic chemicals which are easily absorbed into the skin. All the safety studies with cosmetic products are done for short time. We don’t actually know what can happen after 10 years of use of some products. How they will impact our skin and health in general.
On the other side it is proven that the collagen applied on the skin doesn’t have any effect as the collagen molecules are large enough not to be absorbed into the inner layers of the skin – the dermis where it is needed. On the other side many natural oils and essential oils can promote natural collagen metabolism.
About the age
You should consider using a complete skin care routine once you hit 20s. Preventing the wrinkles form appearing is a lot easier than fighting with them once they are here. All of the big cosmetic companies have products targeting different age. Most of the time this is pure marketing trick. Alternatively they add more natural and expensive ingredients in their luxury products, targeting women above 30s such as argan oil. Even if you see argan oil mentioned on the box, usually it inclusion rate is very low. The concept to use cheaper products when we are younger because our skin is younger and healthier is wrong. Actually, removing wrinkles once they occur is a very hard task, nearly impossible. We should aim at early preventing the appearance of wrinkles rather than removing them later. The difference between 20s, 30s, and 40s, when you use natural products will be minimal and mainly in the type of products you are going to use and the frequency of the procedures.
The aim is to remove dirt, makeup, excessive oils, and bacteria. There are many face cleansers with neutral pH. The skin pH is neutral to slightly acidic and this makes many people to think that they should use cleansers with neutral pH. The commercial cleansers however have as main ingredient SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) – the most used synthetic chemical in cosmetics, soaps and shampoos. It allows for soaps with neutral pH. For natural and safer cleansing of your face I would warmly recommend a homemade soap. Yes it is made with lye and is pH is higher, around 8-9. The lye soaps have built a bad reputation during the years because of the lye. It comes from the fact that in the past there were no good formulas to calculate the right amount of lye according to the oils you use and very often the soap have been either too soft or with unsaponified lye – too harsh. Today we have very precise calculators and there is no unreacted lye left in the soap. Even on the opposite I make my soaps with 3-5% superfat which means unsaponified oils for additional conditioning.
About the pH, I would say that being a bit higher than the neutral is even better because it allows for better removing the oils, dust, and bacteria. Anyway after washing your face you will apply some face cream. If you make your own homemade soap you can use essential oils like tea tree and lavender that have excellent antibacterial properties and help skin regeneration. You can also buy natural homemade soap with essential oils from many stores including online.
How often you should cleanse your face? – I would say daily, once per day. The best time is before bed and after cleaning your face with natural soap, apply a natural nigh cream.
It works excellent for any age. If you are around 40s you may use natural soap with 5% superfat and additional vegetable glycerin.
Deep skin cleaning and detoxification
The aim is to clean the deeper layer of the skin from toxins and to remove the old and dead cells in order to allow new, young cells to grow. For deep cleaning and detoxification it is best to use natural clays such as French green clay, bentonite clay, and red Moroccan clay. Those natural clays have proved their properties for thousands of years and they have the ability to absorb many toxins and oils and to exfoliate dead cells. Clays however, once applied to the face dry very fast and even on many facial masks is written that they must completely dry off before washing them out I do not recommend it. When you leave the clays to dry off on your face they absorb also the moisture from within the cells and dry off the skin. The clays can absorb oils and toxins very well while moist or even in liquid form.
My recommendation is not to apply pure clays just mixed with water. Mix two tbsp of clay of choice (I prefer French green clay) with some grapeseed or jojoba oil, and one tbsp vegetable glycerin. Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil and vit E oil. Mix well to reach smooth mixture. Apply to your face and leave for one hour. It will not dry off at all. Once you washed it out you will immediately notice the result. I promise you it will be a huge difference compared to only clay with water. If you have acne instead of lavender you may use tea tree essential oil and red Moroccan clay.
How often to use face mask with clays? – Once per week is more than enough regardless of your age after the 20s.
Skin moisturizing and protection
Here are coming the facial creams. They are many types of creams like rehydrating, anti-wrinkles, eye creams, night creams, and so on. The aim of all face creams is quite the same, to moisturize the skin, to prevent later drying off, and to soften the skin (emollient). A good face cream should be a moisturizer and emollient in the same time. If you notice the ingredient list of a commercial face cream, among the unknown synthetic chemical products, you will notice that all of them consist of water and some oil or silicon. This is because the water is the only real moisturizer and the natural oils are emollients. Carrier oils are not moisturizers. They can however protect the skin from drying off.
For good moisturizing effect you can use a combination of rosewater and glycerin. After that as emollient and sealant you need to apply less greasy carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, or cocoa butter.
If you are in your 20s jojoba or sweet almond oils are a great choice. If you are 30s and above I recommend coca butter as it has unique antioxidant properties. After 40s you can consider using argan oil or creams with argan oil. If decide on making your own facial cream you can use as less as 20% of oils and the rest is aqueous solution for younger skin and up to 35%-40% oils for aged skin.
My choice will be to make my own face cream combining hydrosol like rosewater and some carrier oils. I have published a good recipe for anti-aging face cream here. Making your own face cream is not more difficult than cooking a simple recipe and is a lot of fun. You should consider using essential oils also in your cream. Some of them like the calendula, geranium, or neroli have the property to boost the natural collagen metabolism.
How often to apply face cream? I would recommend you not to overdo it. The skin cannot tolerate excessive oils or silicon (in the commercial creams). You should use facial cream once a day after cleansing your face with soap. You need to first remove the natural skin oils which have absorbed dust and toxins with cleanser / soap and then to apply face cream. The best time to do that is before going to bed. If you live in a very warm and dry area than you can apply face cream twice a day, morning evening.
I believe these procedures are enough for a complete natural skin care routine. If you have some specific skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, dermatitis you can include some additional procedures that I will cover in other posts.