My Homemade Skincare Regimen

I have a love/hate relationship with all-natural homemade products. Half of me wants to do what’s right for the planet and my body, the other really just wants to run over to target and get a huge a** bottle of something chemically laden cause it’s easy and everyone else is doing it. But then I’m all, “self, that’s selfish (haha pun!) you should want to do what’s best for the earth. And you don’t want to give your money to some huge conglomerate that’s just going to squander your money and make profits off worker’s from other countries”. “But self, it’s so much easier!!”… You see, it’s complicated.

But deep down, I really want to go “all-natural” and I really don’t want to have to depend on someone else to do the research on what’s best for my body and the planet. So, here we are. 🙂

And I wanted to share with you my latest “switch” to homemade products…

My skincare routine.

Now, I have extremely sensitive, reactive, acne-prone skin. After basically attacking it all throughout highschool (and reaping the uh, benefits), I have learned to be extremely gentle on my skin.

That said, I also need the stuff to work. My skin breaks out like nobody’s business, so I need solutions to fight the oil and bacteria, yet be gentle enough so that my skin doesn’t react to harsh treatments. Most of these products are great for all types of skin, but I will give you a few options if you are on the drier side of the skin spectrum.

There are 3 ways I take care of my skin. Cleanse, Treat, and Moisturize. Now you may be thinking, but Amy, if you have oily skin, why the heck would you want to moisturize? In fact, I thought that too. Up until recently I ran away from anything that might add moisture to my skin. But, what I found out was that the more you take away, the more your body is going to ramp up it’s oil production. So if you moisturize well, your body will slow down it’s oil production. Get it? Plus, moisturizing will keep the wrinkles at bay so… 🙂

Without further ado, my routine.

Morning

Cleanse: Honey Cinnamon “Scrub”

Mix 1 cup RAW honey with enough cinnamon till it makes a light paste… emphasis on light- cinnamon is strong!

This amazing scrub is enough to get any dry skin off from overnight while still being absolutely luscious. And it smells heavenly. I try to do it first thing in the shower and leave it on till the end to rinse. On the weekends, I’ll take a bath and leave it on for a good 20-30 minutes while I soak.

If you have extra dry skin: DO NOT ADD THE CINNAMON. It can be somewhat drying and irritate any super dry patches you may have. The honey is extremely moisturizing though, so just use it plain. Or add sugar to the honey for a light scrub. Remember, not too much. You want more honey than scrubber. We don’t want to tear at your skin.

Benefits of Honey. Benefits of Cinnamon.

Treat: Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Mix 1 part ACV to 2 parts water (filtered or distilled is best)

That’s it. Put it in a squeezy bottle (you know the ones you can get for traveling) and just put a bit on a cotton ball on swipe on your face.

This is great for all skin types. Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing because it works to balance your skin’s ph levels so it’s not too oily or dry.

More benefits of ACV.

Moisturize: Aloe Vera

Straight up aloe vera  on a cotton ball. That’s it.

Make sure though to get 100% aloe vera. Which can be easier said than done. Personally I like Aubrey Organics, but just make sure to read the ingredients. Also, it’s a great sign if the packaging tells you to refrigerate after opening (bonus for a cooling effect and tighter pores!) meaning that it’s not full of preservatives.

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Evening

Cleanse: Baking Soda Paste

I keep a plastic container of baking soda in the bathroom. I just pore some out into my palm, add a bit of water and wash with my face like normal.

Baking soda is another way I exfoliate my skin. If you have dry skin, I recommend NOT using baking soda, at least not every day. Maybe once per week? Also, the more water you add, the less abrasive the baking soda, so feel free to add quite a bit, till it’s really not a paste anymore. Or, you can add some to honey (as done in a.m.).

Benefit of Baking Soda

Treat: Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is amazing for acne, plus about a million other ailments. Make sure to purchase 100% pure tea tree oil, which then can be diluted due to your sensitivity. There are two options for dilution- oil or water. If you dilute in water make sure to use distilled. The concentration you use is up to you, but I would recommend starting out with about 5 drops per 1/2 cup, and go from there. I don’t recommend putting pure tea tree oil on your face- it will be much too strong and can burn. Once diluted, put in a sprayer bottle and you can spray onto a cotton ball or directly onto your face. If you use a carrier oil (more information below), you can use the same ratio as above; but put in a squeeze bottle instead.

If you have very dry skin- do not use tea tree oil. There are many essential oils that you can use instead, including but not limited to chamomile, lavender, rose, and sandalwood.

Benefits of tea tree oil.

Moisturize: Olive Oil

Olive oil is amazing for all skin types. It’s properties are very similar to the oil (sebum) that our bodies produce already, plus it’s full of vitamin E and A which help keep your skin fabulous. Make sure to use organic olive oil to keep away from any yucky chemicals.

Olive oil can used plain, but I use mine mixed with tea tree oil. I use olive oil as my carrier oil. Make sure to mix this combination before use. I squirt some out on a cotton ball and go to town. Do not wipe off afterwards though. Your skin will drink the olive oil in, and you will love the results in the morning.

Benefits of olive oil.

 

That’s it. That’s what I use on my face. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but it become habit very quickly. I would recommend buying small amounts of the ingredients first so that if you decide you don’t like something, you’re not out a huge chunk from your wallet.

 

BONUS: I buy all my containers from here. Their website is fabulous and the prices rock!

 

Let me know what y’all think if you try anything, or if you make your own homemade skincare. I always love hearing of different “recipes”.

 

Love!

Paleo

Ah weddings… they bring out the crazy in all of us. About two months back I went in to meet the woman that is making my dress. In that, it came to my attention that I had grown slightly larger then I used to be.  Oops. I mean ok, so I haven’t gone for a run in like 9 months, and I may have become too close and personal to a pint of ice cream, but I’m not that big am I?

I was in denial for a while. It happens to the best of us. I had gone up a pant size, and was about to need to go up another when I decided enough is enough. I stepped on the scale. It had been months since I’ve done that. I had gone up 25 lbs in 6 months… big Oops.

So ok, I needed to workout more and eat less. I get that. I tried that. But nothing seemed to be happening. I’m not willing to starve myself. I like food (ie check out my very first post). And I was working out for an hour several times a week. That’s gotta do something right? But, nothing. Nada. Zip. That equaled to a very annoyed, very stressed Amy. I do not like to be annoyed, stressed Amy. Neither does Mr. Right. 🙂

And while all this was going on, I also had my face to worry about. Let’s side step a little bit and talk about acne. I have had acne since I was 9 years old. I started getting the occasional zit (I mean the big ones) in elementary school, and by middle school my face was covered. I had tried everything. I tried the hardcore stuff, the natural stuff, the dermatologist, and everything in between. The only thing that ever worked for me was antibiotics, but I’m obviously not going to stay on those forever.

I am now 23 and my face looks just like it did when I was 16. It still flares up terribly around my cycle, and only starts to calm down a few days before my next one… and that’s while I’m on birth control. Let’s not talk about the 3 months that I tried to go off the pill. It was a nightmare! My face ached it was so broken out. Add on the fact that I’ve been trying to workout more, and it seems like when I workout really hard my face breaks out even more!

So, here I am, at my wits end. I do not want to be fat and acne-ridden on my wedding day. I refuse. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! So I started doing research. It couldn’t just be from what goes on my face. It has to be hormonal, and it has to be affected by what goes on inside me.

That’s when I discovered the link between inflammation and acne. I had read The Clear Skin Prescription by Nicholas Perricone about 2 years ago, where he stated that acne was an inflammatory disease. But for some reason it didn’t click until now. While I was recently looking up information on how to control acne with diet, I stumbled up on the Paleo Diet; otherwise called the caveman diet. It’s centered around eating as our ancestors did. The main staples are meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries. You completely cut out all grains, legumes, and sugar. Dairy is allowed only in small amounts, and only if it is organic, grass-fed, and full-fat. In all the research I was doing on acne, this kept coming back as the bases of an anti-inflammatory diet. It stabilizes your blood sugar, which lowers your inflammation, and BONUS, keeps you full longer. Who knew that what I did originally for my face, could actually help me lose weight? And guess, what? I’ve been at it a week, and have lost 3lbs! No crazy exercising, a few runs, some yoga, and walking my dog. I feel great, full of energy, and NOT HUNGRY! My cravings for sugar are almost all gone, and each day it’s becoming easier.

I found a great book (at Costco of all places) called Practical Paleo. It’s full of research, ideas, and recipes. It’s full of big pictures, and easy to understand text. It helped answer a lot of my questions.

Oh, and my acne? Doing a lot better. It’s obviously not going to clear up in a week, but I have no new cystic flareups, and my face isn’t tender at all. (What am I using on my face? Remind me to tell you all about my love affair with Lush. 🙂 )

Granted, it is pretty hard to eat out- but it’s completely doable. Just make sure to ask the server all you can about the food and tell them that you can’t have any dairy or wheat (that usually does the trick). Look for meats, fish, and lots of veggies. Salads are pretty easy to work with.

This is all pretty new to me, so I will make sure to let y’all know of any good recipes I’ve found, tips I have, and how my results are going.

 

Love!

xoxo