Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine

This is my current natural skin and hair care routine.

I’ve written many posts on natural skin and hair care, and in this post I’d simply like to sum up what I myself do personally, what works for me and how I do it.

First off, I haven’t used a conventional store-bought cream on my face for over 13 years now.

But I am not all covered with wrinkles. Nope. On the contrary, people always think I am younger than my years, and I’ve got a few anecdotes to prove that. But more on that later.

Nope. Ever since I acquired a book on All Natural Skin and Hair Care the Ayurvedic Way (which unfortunately got lost in one of the 50,000 moves we’ve made), I’ve never picked up a jar of Ponds, Olay (well, except sunscreen, of course) or, G-d forbid, the one million dollar La Mer, again. (Not that I had ever tried out La Mer, I might add, fortunately for my pocketbook.)

My natural skin and hair care routine these days is the following:

I use oil to remove my makeup.

Now, I do have to add that I do use chemical, store-bought makeup. I do own and use all-natural mineral makeup as well as natural lead-free kohl, and I love it. But, you know, you get bored and you want to shake things up and try out new things, right? And much as I love, love, love kohl, the sultry, smoky, smudgy look really isn’t too work appropriate.

Well, as I was saying, getting back to my natural skin and hair care routine, I remove my makeup with just oil and some tissues to wipe the oil off. Then I rub my face a few times with a very hot, wet washcloth.

Later, I do my face in the shower. I shower at night, so it’s the perfect time to remove every last spot of makeup and go to bed with a fresh, clean face.

Once I hop in the shower, I rub oil all over my face again, then wash it off using all natural handmade soap. I have a whole bunch of them, which I alternate. And I’m always on the lookout for more every time I go to handicraft and medieval fairs, so I never run out.

But if I ever did run out, I could always resort to the all-natural handmade olive oil soaps—the original castile soap—which is made by local housewives here and sold in local drugstores.

Very, very occasionally I will put on a turmeric masque or exfoliate my skin with sugar. I do that once in a blue moon, though, because I’m lazy.

After I get out of the shower, I do NOT slather chem-filled creams all over my face. Instead, I use OIL.

I’ve written a short little guide on several oils that you can use on your face, depending on your skin type and/or problems. Oils are the main part of my own natural skin and hair care routine, and you can easily incorporate them into yours.

I, personally, like to use a variety of oils, alternating between them. Once upon a time, I used to create my own facial cream by combining these same oils + vitamin E (wheat germ) oil, aloe vera gel and a few drops of sandalwood essential oil, for the fragrance. But one day I said to myself: what the ****. Isn’t it easier to just slather on the pure oils?

So that’s what I’ve been doing every day ever since. Now, every night, I choose between extra virgin olive oil (easy to acquire here in Spain, the land of olive oil), coconut oil (not as easy to get here, but I can always find it at the pharmacy), sweet almond oil and rosehip seed oil, depending on the mood and what my plans are for the next day.

I know that there are others available, but they either don’t go with my skin type, or are hard/impossible to find here in Spain, which like many European countries has not yet discovered the modern, new-fangled, natural, going-back-to-the-land trend yet.

(Nope, it’s still chemicals all the way for Spaniards. If you ask a Spaniard about natural skin and hair care they will think of The Body Shop. Or even Mercadona.)

I find that olive oil is the greasiest, so if I’m off to an early start the next morning, I usually won’t use it, since I’m not a fan of leaving home with an oily face haha. But I once met a man who used it every day as part of his own natural skin and hair routine, and claimed he was 62 years old and he didn’t look a day over 40, not a single wrinkle. So if we can trust him about his age, well, something’s gotta be up, right?

I find almond oil the most soothing. However, rosehip seed oil gives me the MOST INCREDIBLE GLOW and makes my face look about 30 years younger (so now you know I am at least over 30).

I only use coconut oil in the summer when I have an oily face because, paradoxically for an oil, it actually dries your skin a bit since, more than making your face oily, coconut oil tends to regulate oil production. Which could mean, it makes your face dry haha.

In the morning, I actually don’t wash my face. Okay, so that makes me sound like a pig haha. But really, my face isn’t really all that dirty in the morning. I mean, what could I have possibly done to make it dirty, anyway? Rub it all over my pillow? Well, usually my pillow’s fairly clean too, so not very likely to get my face dirty from that.

(It’s a little less clean now since my cat’s discovered that he loves to curl up on it, but you probably don’t have that problem with your pillows.)

(This is my cat, not that it’s very relevant to this post haha.)

Black Kitty Cat

Nope, in the mornings, usually most of the oil has absorbed, leaving me with a bright, healthy-looking, moisturized, glowy but not oily face. In the case that it should be oily even so—which sometimes happens when I’ve used olive oil the night before—I simply wash my face with hot water and a washcloth and problem solved.

I don’t even—blasphemy and heresy!—use face cream during the day. And my face doesn’t look awful. On the contrary, my skin has never been better.

Just as an anecdote (and cos I love to show off hehe), one day last year I was walking down the street with my son, and we passed a group of his schoolmates. They all started whistling and jeering at him (but in a good, fun-loving way): “Whoo-hoo, Ermenegildo*! Hey, look, Ermenegildo’s got a girlfriend. Who’s your girlfriend, Ermenegildo?”

My son looked at them and asked: “Who are you talking about?”

They pointed at me!

Well, he burst out laughing and told them: “That’s not my girlfriend! That’s my mother!”

Well, to continue with the anecdotes (even though they are totally irrelevant to this post, but I love to show off and they do at least give you an idea of what my skin is like as a result of following this natural skin and hair care routine for the past 13 years).

My son has decided to change high schools this year. So that, of course, led me to run around the city scouting out different high schools for him. Yes I know, he could do it. But does the youth of today ever do anything nowadays if you’ve got a mami to do these things for you?

So I entered into a high school to find out about the programmes that they offered, and the lady at the desk asked me: “Yes, are you interested in attending this school next year?”

Now, I nearly did a double take. I mean, this was a high school, not a university. And I haven’t stepped foot in a high school since…… well, let’s say people the age of my son hadn’t even been born yet the last time I attended a high school haha.

And one last anecdote, which I love love love. One day, I opened the door to—surprise surprise—a sleazy salesman. But unlike other sleazy salesmen, he didn’t plunge right into his boring spiel right off.

Instead, he stared me over, then blubbered out: “Young lady, would your mami or daddy happen to be in the house? I’d like to talk to them, if you don’t mind.”

I kid you not. This actually happened to me. And not such a long time ago, so it’s not like I’m telling you about something that happened in the twentieth century haha.

Well, I nearly leapt onto this salesman and hugged him. But I didn’t do that. I slammed the door in his face instead. Not because I was upset with him nor even because he was a salesman, but because I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what else to do. A minute later, I wished I’d hugged him instead, though.

So, if you should just happen to be the salesman in whose face I slammed the door, or if you happen to be a salesman and someone (who apparently looked like a teenaged girl) once slammed the door in your face, please know that I’m sorry, and it had nothing to do with you as a person.

On the contrary, I’d love to hug you.

But back to this blog post on my all natural skin and hair care routine.

As I was saying, I don’t use face creams or day creams, not even during the day. Usually, the oils that I’ve dumped on my face the night before are more than enough to keep my skin wildly gorgeous.

Chemical-filled, store-bought creams have no place in a natural skin and hair care routine, or at least not in mine. And that includes the creams that you wear to face the world every day.

However, sun protection is a major issue in our life, and I don’t believe in skimping on sun protection.

Having said this, I know that chemical sunscreens are also a major source of cancer. I have a vague idea that there are studies out there that sort of prove it, although I can’t actually give you the references at this moment, because these are just the little tidbits of information you go along picking up as you go through life or browse around on the internet on a lazy day.

But we all know (or at least suspect) that chemicals are toxic and do at the very least often contribute to the development of cancer. So it only makes sense to avoid them in every way possible. And that includes in your sun cream.

I’ve never as yet found any brand of sunscreen which is 100% natural and also satisfies me and also works. I think the ones I liked best in the past were all the ones by L’Oréal, because they use Mexoryl, which is a broad spectrum sunscreen and when I used it, I didn’t tan at all. And it didn’t leave me all greasy.

But although Mexoryl has been shown in studies to be innocuous, the medium it’s in, which is, after all, a chemical-laden cream, is not so innocuous. Such creams certainly don’t fit in with the natural skin and hair care lifestyle. Hence I’d like to avoid them if possible.

I recently found a couple of brands of sunscreen which are made of all natural ingredients and which I can get in Spain (ie. I don’t have to order them from the US, which is both pricey in terms of shipping as well as taking a long time to arrive). As you might expect, since Spain hasn’t exactly jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon yet, I do have to order them online.

These brands are Badger and DeVita. I just ordered Badger yesterday and I’ll let you know how I feel about it in a future post. (I ordered it from iHerb which carried it at the lowest price plus—the shipping was free!!)

Well, as I was saying, in my natural skin and hair care routine, I don’t use face creams other than sunscreen. However, I do use makeup, as I’ve described above.

Incidentally, aloe vera gel has an SPF of about 6, I believe it was (I read about it in some article on the internet but of course I didn’t take note of the source). Shea butter has an SPF of about 4-6 and coconut oil has an SPF of about 2. I’ve read some sites that say 4, but if you only use coconut oil you do tan, so obviously it isn’t keeping all the sun’s rays out of your skin.

Nonetheless, if you wish to continue with your natural skin and hair care routine all the way, you might wish to consider these for sun protection if you are only going to be outside for a few minutes. For example, walking from your car to your office, or running to the neighbourhood grocery store.

At any rate, it’s important to get your 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your skin every day in order for your skin to produce vitamin D, which is necessary to protect yourself from cancer. But on the other hand, if we go out all day, we’re in the sun for way more than 20 minutes. So then we need sun protection.

How I wash our clothes also came under bombardment when I jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon. After all, you wear clothes every day, and they touch your skin every day.

I’ve now also switched over to using natural soap flakes to wash all our clothes.

I’d already been doing that for years, but other people were all swearing by their respective laundry detergents and I wanted to give them a try. Well, not only are conventional laundry powders and liquids expensive, they don’t even work as well as soap. At least not on our super dirty, male-dominated laundry.

So it’s back to soap flakes for me. Our clothes come out clean and spot-free, even when they’re very dirty. And it’s cheap, too. Well, cheaper than laundry detergent, at any rate.

Plus it’s all natural.

I’ve also started on a new no ‘poo routine. Which you’d only expect, seeing as I’m writing about natural skin AND hair care. You can read all about what I’ve been doing so far, here: Going No ‘Poo.

And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how about you? Do you have an all-natural skin and hair care routine you’d like to share? Don’t be shy, tell tell! As you know, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

*not his real name

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

All Natural Skincare

Bentonite Clay for Hair

Going No ‘Poo

Thrillers by Moi

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All Natural Skincare

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.