Well I’m thinking it’s about time I babbered on a bit about one of my favourite peeves: natural skincare and the people who don’t bother to take care of their skin.
I understand that there are lots and lots of reasons and excuses out there for people not to take care of their skin. The first one, one my sons always use: males don’t take care of their skin!
Well I’m not a male so I’ll pass on responding to that one. I can’t get into a man’s head (though maybe I can get into a little boy’s haha), so I really don’t know what a real-life man might have to say about that.
However for the other half of earth’s population, namely, women, well that’s another story. “I’m a man” is not a valid excuse for them to not take care of their skin.
One excuse I’ve heard is that vanity is a sin. Our lives shouldn’t revolve around our looks, people who judge us for our looks aren’t worth our bother anyways, they’re shallow and frivolous etc. etc.
Okay so maybe it’s a bit true, maybe we shouldn’t care that much about what other people think of us. I mean after all, you can take it from me who am pretty plain if I do say so myself. Aren’t the heroic princesses always flaunting their ravishing golden waves while the witch is burdened with heavy, raven black locks (just like black cats)? (That’s why I’ve always claimed I was a witch, but that’s for another post.) And I’ve got John Wayne’s strong, square jaw, which is okay if you’re John Wayne but……. I don’t think anyone has ever called me “John” yet.
But what about what we think about our own selves?
When you look in the mirror, wouldn’t you like to see something pleasant? Something that makes you feel good? Good looks aren’t just poreless skin, a salon hairdo and designer outfits. Good looks, more than anything else, reflect good health. And who doesn’t want to be (and feel and look) healthy? Even the plainest Jane can presume good health, and have it reflect on her face. You don’t need perfect bones to enjoy a radiant cutis. And you don’t have to have Cindy Crawford’s spectacular figure to impress people with the silkiness of your skin.
Which brings us (at last) to the subject of this post.
Many people say they don’t take care of their skin because creams are too expensive. Well, to them I can reply, I never buy expensive skincare creams myself. I never even buy cheap ones for that matter. I don’t buy creams at all.
All right I do make one exception. For daytime wear I do regularly use this brand called Olay that makes a very cheap little pink thing, it only costs me 6€ at my local drugstore and it lasts for many months. But that isn’t what this post is about.
What I felt like blogging about today is natural skincare. Skincare products and routines that don’t use any artificial chemicals, parabens, sodium laureth sulphate, formaldehyde (a common ingredient in many commercial products and also used for embalming, so if you’re putting that onto your skin then you’re literally embalming your skin too), alcohol, petroleum by-products or any other of these “nasties”.
Now, I personally do use makeup sometimes (yeah I know, so unnatural, the main reason I do so is precisely because I am vain and I don’t see myself as looking very nice au naturel, no skin problems but I’ve got the yuckiest bone structure you’ve ever seen…….). However, I don’t use chemicals to remove that very chemical and unnatural makeup afterwards.
I use oil.
And I recommend oil as a natural makeup remover to everyone.
The kind of oil, I’d say, is also fairly important. You don’t want to be smearing beef tallow or bacon fat all over your face, after all! I use natural plant oils, usually sweet almond oil or coconut oil, to remove makeup. It is so absolutely simple, effective and cheap. If you can’t come by these products which really don’t cost a lot you can always use the olive oil you cook with. I don’t use it even though I live in Spain so it’s everywhere, because it stings my eyes. However I know people that it doesn’t sting their eyes.
After that, I suppose you’ll be wanting to get all that grease off of your face, right? So you probably reach for that milky cleansing cream or that bi-phase gel.
Wait. Don’t do that.
There are more natural items out there that will clean your face just as fine as anything high-end and it will be much cheaper and much gentler and healthier on your skin. And unlike those chemicals it will actually be good for you and maybe in the process ward off some aging and maybe even prevent a bit of cancer.
I like to use all-natural, handmade soaps for cleaning. In the US it is so easy to find them. I’ve never tried any American-made natural soap but I’ve heard that Chagrin Valley makes a superb one. In fact they ship all around the world at very very reasonable prices, so one of my dreams, someday, when (as I wrote here in this post) I’m no longer living just hand to mouth, is to be able to order a bunch of soap from them.
If you don’t want to order soap online, however, or like me you can’t afford to, you can usually find some kind of natural soap in your local grocery store. I can find a few, and this is Spain that we’re talking about so it’s not like the stores are piled to the ceiling with 50 million national brands of anything. So if I can find them in my local supermarket here in Spain, you can find them too.
I have a few made of glycerine (and speaking of glycerine – oh were we speaking of glycerine? – well as I was saying, speaking of glycerine, a lot of glycerine soaps pretend to be all-natural just because they have glycerine in them well that is quite a silly idea, that would be like saying that plastic bottles are all-natural just because they have natural water inside them), some made of oatmeal and another one made of olive oil, all from my local supermarket. If you want to know if it’s true when they claim that their soap is “all-natural” you do have to read the ingredient list. All-natural soap shouldn’t have anything more than lye (sodium hydroxide), plant oils (usually coconut oil), water and maybe some essential oils. Artificial colorants are also okay for me in my book however. If they have things added to enhance them (like oatmeal, lemon peels, etc.), well obviously they should be things that are clearly natural, like oatmeal, lemon peels, etc.
Ayurveda recommends that you cleanse your skin with chickpea flour mixed with a little sweet almond oil, milk and turmeric. Rice meal is also fine. I used to do that but owing to the fact that here in Malaga they don’t sell chickpea flour, and also, why not admit it, to the bonanza that at the time I moved here there was this most awesome and heavenly store called “More Than Soap”, I gave up my chickpea flour and turned to a bevy of the most divine and exotic soaps from my favourite shop. Unfortunately they went out of business because, who can compete with dollar-store, chemical-laden, carcinogenic shower gels that only cost 60 cents (well 75 cents now, they upped the price of course)?
After you cleanse your skin, of course, it’s time to MOISTURIZE. That is so important. Cleaning your skin will undoubtedly keep it healthy, but if you want it to look good and defy the ravages of time, you must moisturize.
This is what happens if you don’t moisturize.
This is a person whom I know who proudly declares that she never moisturizes her skin. In that photo she’s younger than 40. (And to all the people who know me, please don’t ask me who this is, top secret! I will never reveal!)
Well I originally wrote a long spiel debunking the zillion excuses that she likes to resort to to explain why she prefers not to moisturize. But now I’ve changed my mind. I figure, it’s her skin, she can do what she wants with it. (As long as that doesn’t mean her complaining to me 5 years from now all perplexed as to where all those crows’ feet, sagging jowls and etched lines suddenly and mysteriously materialized from………)
Anyways, so I promised to tell you my secret to beautiful skin (or to beautiful, natural, healthy moisturizing at least), but I’ve already told it to you. It’s natural plant oils. Once again.
I alternate the oils I use every night, so I can receive their different benefits and also to prevent allergies (you can get allergies even to natural products). Here is a list of some of the oils that are out there, some of which I use (and some which I don’t because I don’t have that kind of skin):
- sweet almond oil: good for all kinds of skin, a general, all-purpose moisturizing oil, I find it too heavy for the hot Mediterranean summers however (if you want to read just how hot we can get here you can do so at this post)
- avocado oil: for drier skins, deeply nourishing, especially good because it purportedly encourages collagen production (don’t know if that’s true, I haven’t actually gone out and measured how much collagen I have), I like this oil very much and use it all year round, it gives very soft, beautiful, glowy skin
- coconut oil: also another good, general, all-purpose oil, this is recommended for oily skins especially because it regulates oil production, if you have too much oil on your face coconut oil will actually dry it out a bit and keep the oil down, I like it for this reason in the summer as high temperatures make your skin go crazy pumping out oil day and night (skin probably thinks that you ought to be frying that egg on your face, and wants to make the task easier)
- rosehip oil: excellent for mature skins, prevents wrinkles and deeply moisturizes and nourishes, also helps to attenuate light scars
- vitamin E/wheat germ oil: another goody for mature or dry skins
- extra virgin olive oil: a richer oil that nonetheless won’t make you oilier than usual, however because it is thick I’d recommend it only for night-time use, it makes all skins soft and supple and the vitamin E in it fights free radicals, which helps your skin stay youthful
- hazelnut oil: an astringent oil, supposed to dry out oily skin big time but still leave you with a soft, smooth complexion, the only oil listed here which I’ve never tried
Well I’ve gotten tired of this topic so I suppose I will have to carry on another day. However all the oils that I personally use are on this list and they work stupendously for me.
This is all that I ever need for good, complete care of the complexion. Even sunscreen (as strongly recommended as it is and even more so here at these latitudes) is something I use sparingly. Some people allege that chemical sunscreens cause cancer. I won’t enter into that debate at this moment, but I do use sunscreen sparingly. I prefer to prevent sun damage the “natural” way: I stay out of the sun whenever my work permits it.