The three most important things you can do for your skin are to keep it clean, keep it moisturized, and protect it from the sun. Keeping your skin clean and hydrated won’t only help your complexion glow, it’ll also help it function more efficiently. Our skin is our largest organ, and taking proper care of it is important to our overall health and well-being.
Using a simple cleanser will lift surface dirt and impurities from your skin and keep it soft. Soap is the classic cleanser, but, while many of us grew up using simple soap and water for our faces and bodies, if your skin is taut and dry after cleaning, you may be using too strong a soap. Luckily, several natural ingredients can replace traditional bath soap with beautiful results. There are also new natural soaps available that are less harsh. Just switching out your bar soap may work wonders for your skin.
Here are a few non-soap alternatives that you likely already have in your home.
Oatmeal. This common breakfast grain is probably the most popular non-soap cleanser around. It’s gentle, mild, and can be used for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive skin. To use, simply grind whole oats in a food processor or blender until you have a fine powder. Mix this with a little water to form a paste, and massage the mixture into your skin with a warm washcloth. You can also add 1/2 cup ground oatmeal to a warm bath to cleanse your whole body.
Sugar. Raw or granulated sugar works well as a gentle skin cleanser and scrub. It’s not at all dehydrating, and it’s perfect for dry skin types. Mix 1 teaspoon with a bit of water to form a paste, and massage it into wet skin with a warm washcloth or your fingertips. Sugar is gentle enough for your whole body.
Honey. Used as a beauty product since Egyptian times, honey is an excellent skin cleanser. It can be used alone, or mixed with a bit of lemon juice for oily skin types, or milk (including nut milk) for dry skin types. Simply massage it into wet skin as you would any liquid soap or cleanser, and rinse well.
Milk. For clean and healthy skin, milk is an instant beautifier both inside and out. It’s rich in protein, natural fat, and lactic acid, all of which can help clean and detoxify your complexion, leaving it soft and smooth. Make sure you rinse your skin well after cleansing, as you don’t want to smell like spoiled milk. Other dairy products, such as sour cream and plain yogurt, also work well as natural cleansers.
Cleansing scrubs are another important part of any natural beauty regime. They exfoliate and remove dead cells, which improves the texture of the skin and allows it to retain more moisture. This, in turn, enhances the efficiency of moisturizing lotions and creams. Scrubs aren’t limited to the face; they can be used all over to keep skin soft and glowing. Don’t forget rough areas, such as knees, heels, and elbows. Depending on your skin type, use cleansing scrubs 2 to 3 times a week for clean, healthy skin.
When making scrubs to use on your face, grind the ingredients as finely as possible. Treat your skin with care, and gently scrub in a circular motion. After use, rinse thoroughly, and always pat — never rub — your skin dry. The best time for deep cleansing is in the evening before you go to bed; this will not only relax your body, but will also give your skin a chance to rest and rebuild as you sleep.
Following are some natural cleansers and DIY scrubs to try at home to keep your complexion clear and glowing.
- Avocado Stone Scrub Recipe
- Cleansing Grains Recipe
- Cleopatra’s Aloe Vera Cleanser Recipe
- Olive Oil Cleanser Recipe
- Strawberry Cleanser Recipe
Natural Beauty Basics
Beauty basics start with a life full of eating healthful meals, getting plenty of sleep, and learning to relax. The following lifestyle shifts will do more for your skin and hair than the most expensive cosmetic product or treatment.
Eat a balanced diet.If you aren’t eating well and you’re drinking everything but water, it’s going to show up on your skin. The best cure for a dull complexion is a healthy diet and plenty of water. “Beauty from the inside out” means just that.
Learn to let go.Stress can cause issues not just in our life, but also in our skin. When you’re feeling tense, your body releases cortisol, which may cause an increase in oil production in both skin and hair. Practice deep breathing, go for a walk, or take a yoga class. A clear mind means clear skin.
Bask in your beauty sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is important for skin health. Nighttime is when your body resets itself and your skin repairs itself. Lack of sleep may reduce this renewal cycle and dull your complexion. A good night’s sleep will not only make you feel better, it’ll also do wonders for your appearance.
Practice safe sun habits. One of the healthiest things you can do for your skin is to keep it protected from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Use a good sunscreen whenever you go outdoors to help prevent premature wrinkles and skin cancer.
Keep it clean. Keeping your skin clean and clear is the basis of health in general. The product you choose to cleanse your skin is a matter of personal choice, but the secret to a truly beautiful and glowing complexion is ridding it of dirt and surface impurities every day.
Janice Cox is a bestselling author of several DIY beauty books, including Natural Beauty from the Garden and Beautiful Luffa.