DIY: Natural beauty

Green Lifestyle Magazine

Using these 100 per cent natural ingredients and recipes will help you look your best all the time.

DIY beauty

You can make your own effective beauty products with a few simple ingredients.

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I detoxed my beauty act over a year ago, going completely DIY, and haven’t looked back since. Making your own beauty products means you can be sure what’s going on your skin is pure, safe and truly natural. You’ll be minimising your exposure to chemical nasties as much as you can, as well as helping the environment by reducing the amount of packaging you accumulate. It’s a total win-win! Here’s some of my top tips.

Multi-purpose wonders – beauty cabinet essentials

These 100 per cent natural, effective, yet totally basic, ingredients form the cornerstone of my natural beauty routine. Some can easily be grown in the garden, and others can be sourced from any good health food store. These ingredients may seem minimal, but they’re all multi-purpose wonders that’ll save you time and money as well as your skin and health.

Herbs and flowers, fresh or dried

Facial cleansing and toning: Herbs and flowers such as rosemary, thyme and calendula help put nutrients back into skin, toning and conditioning as they gently cleanse and rejuvenate. They also help brighten dull skin, or calm blemish prone or sensitive skin.

Hair conditioning and highlighting: Conditioning your hair with a final rinse of a herbal or floral tea puts nutrients back in, helps to thicken and soften hair and can help fight scalp problems like dandruff. Some herbs even highlight your hair’s natural colour over time – chamomile for golden tones and rosemary for dark and red tones.

Castile soap

Cleanser & shampoo: Pure castile soap is very mild and won’t dry out your skin and hair like other soaps or shampoos can. It can build up a little on hair, so if you’re using it as a shampoo, be sure to cleanse it with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) once a week to dissolve any residue.

Apple cider vinegar

Toner: Apple cider vinegar makes a smoothing toner and is fantastic for healing blemishes. In a small jar, dilute one part vinegar with two parts water and spread over your face with a cotton ball or pad after cleansing.

Hair conditioner: Rinsing your hair in diluted apple cider vinegar makes it fuller and shinier and helps seal the cuticles, so your hair won’t dry out.

Cold-pressed plant oils

The oil-cleansing method: Washing your face with oil may seem counter-intuitive, but in actual fact it is one of the most effective ways to remove dirt, grime and excess oil without drying out your skin or destroying its natural pH balance.

Moisturising: Cold-pressed plant oils like jojoba, coconut, almond, apricot or avocado are brilliant skin conditioners. They form a protective barrier on the skin without clogging pores, balance the skin’s natural oil production and help to reduce signs of ageing as well as nourish and help protect skin from sun damage. Plant oils are natural humectants, meaning they attract water from the atmosphere and hold it in dry areas of your skin.

Hair conditioning and masks: Lighter plant oils like jojoba oil can be used regularly to condition the ends of your hair after showering, and heavier oils like coconut and almond make excellent hair masks – just massage into your hair, leave to soak in for a few hours (overnight even better), then wash out with castile soap.

Face and body scrubs: Blend plant oils with ingredients like nut meal, oats or sugar and you have a luxurious body scrub that is effective yet very gentle and softening.

Other uses: Plant oils have an endless list of uses – use in place of shaving creams and gels, toothpastes, mild sun protection and to heal skin irritations. The best part is, most can be eaten as part of a healthy diet!

Baking soda

Degunk your hair: Baking soda helps dissolve residues that can build up on your hair after using castile soap or other hair products.

Exfoliate skin: Make a super quick, simple and gentle exfoliant by mixing baking soda with a little water to form a paste and rubbing gently over skin before rinsing with plenty of water.

DIY Natural Beauty Recipes

Herbal or floral cleanser and toner:
Pour a cup of boiling water over 2-3 teaspoons of dried herb or flowers of your choice, cover with a lid and allow to steep until cool. For woody herbs like lavender, thyme and rosemary, boil the herbs for 10 minutes to release the oils, then allow to cool. Strain into a small jar and store in the fridge for up to one week. To use, apply with a cotton ball or spray bottle and leave to dry on skin.

Plant oil cleanser:
Simply place a small amount of oil on the palm of your hand and massage well into skin. Moisten a soft cloth with hot water and hold over your face to steam the pores open and encourage the impurities and oil out. Repeat the steaming process a couple of times before rinsing with warm water.

Grab a quality, cold-pressed plant oil and massage directly into your skin (face and body) to condition and nourish. Job done! Some commonly used plant oils include almond, jojoba, rosehip, coconut, macadamia, avocado, evening primrose and olive oil.

Tahini dry skin mask:
The natural oils present in tahini help to soften and moisturise dry skin. To make a mask, simply spread some tahini over your face straight from the jar and leave for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Cacao rejuvenating mask:
This one is terrific for giving your skin a little perk up, and the smell also helps lift your spirits. Combine 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder with 2 tablespoons warm water and spread evenly over clean skin. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Sugar face and body scrub:
Mix some plant oil with brown sugar until you get a paste-like consistency. Adding a little lemon juice can help with blemished skin. Use as a gentle scrub, then remove with warm water and a soft cloth. You can use nut meal or oats in place of sugar if you like.

Apple cider vinegar hair conditioner:
Fill a bottle or glass jar with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and a cup of water and use this as a final rinse after shampooing for fuller, shinier hair. Don’t fret, the smell will disappear once your hair dries.

Coconut deodorant booster:
Rub coconut oil into your armpits before applying your natural deodorant. On cooler days, you might get away with using it on its own. You can also mix it with a little baking soda first.

DIY Top tips

Eat a clean diet
What you put in your gob matters as much as what you put on your skin. Eat a diet rich in green vegetables and healthy fats from foods like nuts, plant oils and grass-fed meat to keep your skin healthy from the inside out.

Slow down
When we’re sick or stressed, our skin and hair are usually the first parts of our body to go haywire. Learn some de-stressing techniques such as mantra meditation or deep breathing, and make sure you give yourself some down time.

Wear less makeup
Makeup can contain a cocktail of chemicals that can prematurely age your skin or make it look dull and lifeless. Wear less makeup, or better yet, go au naturel and know you’re doing your skin a big favour by allowing it to breathe.

For more natural beauty tips and recipes, download Maria’s Natural Beauty Guide free of charge by visiting econest.blogspot.com.au.