I was noticing that my beloved (albeit expensive) Evan Healy face mask was almost out and in need of another ordering when I had the idea that maybe I could make something similar myself. I checked the ingredients and saw: clay and green tea powder. Wow. It got me thinking about how much money I spend on products I could make at home for a fraction of the price and with more control over the health of the ingredients. (The Evan Healy face mask was pretty pure, but plenty of other products are not.)
I already knew of some DIY options to replace common beauty products, but I also researched and tried a few more. Here’s what I really like:
Bentonite clay is made of volcanic ash and is molecularly very porous. It pulls toxins and impurities (including acne-causing bacteria) from pores, firms and detoxes the skin and helps to slough off dead skin cells.
To use: With a wooden or plastic spoon (clay pulls toxins from metal, so don’t use that), mix 1 teaspoon each bentonite clay and filtered water. Wash your face as usual (I use this gentle soap-free cleanser) and pat dry–so your skin is a little damp but not dripping. Apply the mask evenly, avoiding the sensitive area around your eyes and let dry for about ten minutes. Once it’s dry, wash off the mask, pat your face dry and apply your toner and moisturizer (healthy versions, of course! No use sticking more junk back into your clean pores).
Do this once or twice a week for healthy, glowing skin. For an added twist, replace half of the clay in the recipe with activated charcoal (which I love as a natural teeth-whitener)–it also helps to draw out impurities from the skin.
I’ve already written about oil cleansing as a DIY face cleanser that’s moisturizing, healing and free of additives. It’s also highly customizable based on your skin type and personal preference. I tried oil cleansing, liked it for about a month, stopped because I started breaking out (which I now realize was less related to the oil, more related to intolerance to dairy and eggs). I’m currently attached to my favorite pH-balancing cleansing bar, but I’d still recommend oil cleansing to anyone looking for a healthy and affordable cleansing option. This post has lots more details.
Another option is a honey face wash. Raw honey is naturally antibacterial and contains many enzymes that nourish and heal your skin. Some people recommend using Manuka honey specifically (it has the most health benefits), but you can also get good results with regular raw honey and it’s much cheaper.
The method is super easy: wet your face, massage a teaspoon of honey into your skin, rinse off with water and pat dry.
Apple cider vinegar
Skin is naturally acidic, but most cleansers and skin products disrupt its natural acidity. An imbalanced pH can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, dryness and redness–or all of the above. Apple cider vinegar helps restore the pH balance of your skin, allowing it to function optimally and thus reducing breakouts and other issues.
Mix one part raw, unfiltered ACV and 2 parts filtered water in a container of your choice (I like this one). Adjust the ratio as needed for your skin. (I actually use a 1:1 ratio twice daily and don’t find it too drying.) Apply the mixture to clean skin with a cotton ball. Let dry and apply your daily moisturizer.
This toner doesn’t smell like roses, but the smell fades quickly and your skin will end up smelling like whatever lotion you put on after.
I find it makes my skin softer and less prone to breakouts and others have reported it makes pores and fine lines appear smaller too.
Eye make-up remover
Sweet almond oil moisturizes sensitive eye-area skin and helps reduce the appearance of dark circles. It also removes make-up effectively, costs less than most “natural” eye make-up removers, and has less additives!
Almond oil contains vitamin A (an antioxidant effective in treating under eye circles), is anti-inflammatory and helps moisturize and soften skin, and is non-comedogenic so won’t cause breakouts.
To remove eye make-up: Gently massage a few drops of almond oil into the skin around your eyes. Wipe it off with a damp cloth or cotton ball. To treat dark circles, dab a couple more drops of oil into the skin beneath your eyes and leave on overnight. (For best results you’ll need to do this step daily.)
Several precautions: 1) use sweet almond oil, 2) like anything else, be careful not to get it in your eyes, and 3) avoid almond oil if you’re pregnant (you don’t want to overdo it on vitamin A) or allergic to nuts.
A while back I shared a recipe for a DIY healthy lotion. It’s got coconut oil, almond oil, beeswax and essential oils. I still like it, but you know what’s easier? Just slathering coconut oil all over!
Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer right out of the jar. It smells great, makes skin super soft and glisteny, and is naturally antibacterial so it helps to soothe skin irritation. The downside is that it’s oil, so is pretty oily feeling. Also, not a good idea to slather yourself in it and then lay on nice furniture or put on clothes that the oil will stain. I apply coconut when I get out of the shower and let it air dry for a while before getting dressed.