Is Natural Worth It?

The automatic answer is yes!! And you're probably already thinking, "Natural what? I mean there is so much that goes into that category!" Well today we are talking natural skin care and makeup. While most people tend to think of eating clean and organic, and even using organic cleaning products (also definitely worth it), most people forget about their skincare and makeup, and that's a big mistake! Turns out, skincare and makeup are a huge component in living a better and healthier life. Everything that we put on our skin gets into our bloodstream in just 26 seconds and most makeup brands are loaded with chemicals, irritants and even roadkill! And skincare products aren't much better with chemicals, and allergens and unnecessary harsh treatments.

But before you write me off as one of those "crunchy" people who is trying to save the world and the trees, I'm not. When I had friends start jumping on the "all natural" bandwagon I was skeptical. Partly because I was in love with the makeup I was using and didn't want to change, and partly because I had struggled with my skin for so long and it was the clearest it had ever been and I didn't want to mess it up. But, I was spending tons of money and I couldn't have told you what most of the ingredients in my products were, let alone accurately pronounce them! Some of those ingredients? Triclosan, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, butylated hydroxyanisole, and phthalates. Have no idea what those are? Yeah, me neither. Until I started reading up on them.

Triclosan and Triclocarban are a common chemical used in antibacterial bar and hands soaps that actually impairs your immune system. Parabens are a common preservative used in shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics. If it ends in "-paraben" and starts with something like "methyl-", "isobutyl-" or "propyl-" it will mimic estrogen in your body and is linked to cancer. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are surfactants commonly found in shampoo, bubble bath, and body wash and are likely to cause acne. Counter productive anyone? Butylated hydroxyanisole is a likely carcinogen found in lipstick and makeup. Phthalates, such as DBP, DEHP, DEP and others, are chemicals often found in fragrances, nail polish, and hairspray, are known to interfere with the endocrine system. Convinced yet? Or at least worried? I was!

I mean, let's be realistic. We can't cut all the chemicals and harmful junk out of our lives, but I think it's definitely realistic to find ways to cut out of a lot of them! And through this experiment I've discovered that actually making my own skincare and cleaning products is significantly cheaper than buying the regular ones, and I actually know what's going into them!! Now, I will state up front that most of the things that I have tried aren't my recipes, so I'll let you in on the secrets of where I found them.

Still skeptical? That's ok. I was too. See, I had struggled with my skin for about 12 years. I had acne on my face, my arms, my back, and my chest. I felt like I couldn't wear sleeveless tops most of the time, and swimsuits were hit or miss, and I definitely wasn't going out in public without makeup on. I had been under the care of a dermatologist the whole time and they had tried just about every type of treatment on me. I had done microdermabrasion, silk peel, chemical peels, blue light treatments, Differin, Retin-A, and just about every other prescription cream, Proactive, Proactive Plus, prescription washes that I don't even remember the names of, and even specially dermatologist formulated washes and oral antibiotics and nothing made a significant difference. The doctors wanted to put me on something like Acutane but my mom had heard too many horror stories and so we didn't go that route. The only makeup that I could wear was incredibly expensive and came from France so it was seriously to get when I ran out. So finally about a year ago I was just fed up. The transition started on a total whim. I remembered that the aesthetician in my dermatologist's office always used tea tree oil products on me after a microdermabrasion, so I when I saw a bottle of tea tree oil in Trader Joe's I thought, "Hmm, why not?" So I bought it. And that was just the beginning. I'll take you through all the products that I've start using and give you the recipes!

So in the morning I start by washing my face with coconut oil soap. And then I use the tea tree oil as a toner, followed by a orange jojoba oil serum and I finish off with Obagi Luxe Hydration moisturizer  (the only thing in my AM routine that I don't make).

Coconut Oil Soap

I followed the recipe from the link, and then I added .25 oz of Pure Peppermint Essential Oil, .25oz of Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and about a .5 oz of the topical Tea Tree Oil. (I used the same oils in the same ratio for the laundry soap in this link, but I'll get to that in a minute). Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus Oil are natural antiseptics, the Peppermint just smells good, and the Coconut Oil is moisturizing.

Tea Tree Oil
Well this comes in a bottle, so it requires very minimum effort. The only thing slightly confusing about Tea Tree Oil is that you can get the Pure Essential Oil which requires diluting, and then you can get Tea Tree Oil that is processed specially for topical use without dilution. The second type is what I use. I have found that the Trader Joe's brand is the cheapest and works fabulously! All you have to do it just use with a cotton ball. I use it on my face and arms and back and everything. I love it. Its a natural antiseptic so it kills the germs that cause acne. It is basically the natural alternate to benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in most acne washes and medicines. The problem with benzoyl peroxide is that it dries out the skin as it kills the germs. That in turn causes the oil glands to over-produce because they think that it's needed, and therefore the breakouts continue. Tea Tree oil does the killing of the germs without the drying out of the skin, so it actually stops the vicious cycle.

Orange Jojoba Serum
This one is fairly simple. It is just jojoba oil and Sweet Orange Oil. So I start with about an ounce of jojoba oil (also use the Trader Joe's brand on this one) and then add about 60 drops of the orange oil. Sweet orange oil is good for brightening up scars and dark spots on the skin and the jojoba oil conditions and moisturizes the skin. The more moisture the less likely to get wrinkles. I just use two sprays on a cotton pad and wipe over my face and neck.

Obagi Luxe Hydration Moisturizer
I absolutely love this moisturizer. In fact, this is the only moisturizer from which I have seen consistent results. It feels heavy in the jar, but on the skin it emulsifies quickly and leaves no residue. I also use their facial sunscreen. It's really the only brand that I trust for those two products.

So that wraps up my AM skincare routine. Before I go on and talk about my makeup, I'll go through my PM routine. I'll admit, I'm one of those people that never can manage to wash my face before I go to bed. I realize that is terrible for your skin and also leads to breakouts, so I knew that things needed to change. So now I keep all my nighttime beauty products by my bed and I do the whole routine once I lay down for the night, and it actually gets done! I start by taking off my mascara with jojoba oil, then I take off my makeup with Younique Shine Makeup Remover Wipes, I follow that with a Geranium Brightening Moisturizer and Avocado Eye Cream. I rub the residue from applying the moisturizer into my hands and then put Merle Norman Super Lube on my cuticles. And after I take my gummy Hair and Nail vitamins (yep I'm one of those), I use EOS chapstick and top it off with a Peppermint Vitamin E Oil. And then its off to sleep!

Eye Makeup Removal
I grew up with my mom using Vaseline to take off her mascara, and when I got to the age where I started wearing mascara she taught me to do the same thing. I just hated the mess that it made, and honestly it still took so long. I mean it's faster than bottled eye makeup remover (which for me always took forever) but it still was too long for my patience. And I hated the greasy mess that it made. And it never seemed to get all the makeup off so it would get on my pillowcase and sheets. So I started sleeping in my mascara (I know, it makes your lashes fall out!) and then taking it off in the morning right before I washed my face so I could get rid of the residue. And then I switched to jojoba oil. It only takes a few drops for each eye, the makeup comes right off, and there isn't a residue. Because the makeup comes off so easily there is less pulling on your eye which equals less wrinkles. And it also moisturizes your eye skin, which normal makeup removers don't, and which Vaseline actually doesn't because of the petroleum in it.

Younique Shine Cleansing Cloths
Though most wipes won't admit this to you, they are only supposed to be used to remove makeup before face washing; they won't actually cleanse your skin or help prevent breakouts. These wipes, however, are different. They are made by a brand that makes everything all natural and chemical and allergen free, so even to start out its a better choice. The wipes are made with a blend of sunflower and olive oils, rosemary, jojoba and vitamin E. They take off the makeup, cleanse your skin, and moisturize it too while they're at it.

Geranium Brightening Moisturizer *
The jojoba oil and the geranium oil help regulate the skin's oil production without clogging the pores. Sandalwood is a natural anti-inflammatory to decrease redness of the skin and blemishes, and the vitamin C in the lemon oil fights acne and dark spots. I just use the built in dropper on the bottle to dispense in my hand, and then I gently rub/pat all over my face, neck and chest.

2T jojoba oil
2T grape seed oil
18 drops geranium essential oil
8 drops sandalwood essential oil  (already diluted)
2 drops of lemon essential oil

Combine and store in a dark glass bottle.

Avocado Eye Cream *
Avocado oil is a natural wrinkle fighter, and is high in Vitamin E, and the shea butter is another moisturizer. The skin around the eyes dries out and wrinkles the fastest, so using a eye cream is imperative much earlier than we tend to think! I use my fingertip to just pat the cream around my eye and then let emulsify the rest of the way while I'm sleeping.

1T shea butter
1T avocado oil
1t vitamin E oil

Melt shea butter in a hot water bath on the stove. Once it has cooled for 2-3 minutes add the avocado and vitamin E oil. Stir to combine, and continue stirring while the mixture cools to create a creamy texture. I store this in a cute little jar.

Merle Norman Super Lube
This product was one of those that I grew up around because my mom and my aunt used it. If you have read my post on my must have products then you already know how I feel about this. While this product does have petroleum in it, it also does have mineral oil so it gives great moisture. The mineral oil ends up doing most of the moisturizing work while the petroleum creates the barrier against the air to let it do it's work.  It really works like a dream and I don't know what I would do without it.

EOS lip balm
This is also one of the products I talked about in my must-have post. I absolutely love this product. It's great because it is 95% organic and 100% natural and it's easily accessible and fairly inexpensive. It also paraben and petroleum free but packed with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and shea butter. In my opinion it doesn't get any better than that!

Peppermint Vitamin E Oil 
I got a .3 oz amber glass roller bottle and filled it with half vitamin E oil, and half Peppermint Essential Oil. Vitamin E helps heal and moisturize dry lips while the Peppermint Oil is a natural lip plumper. And yes you can feel it working. It's pretty cool in my opinion.

The other component of my skincare regimen is my bath routine. I also use the coconut oil soap for bathing, as well as washing my face. I have four or five different bath salts that I have made that I rotate with each bath. The only other product I use in the bathtub is an exfoliating sugar scrub by Shea Moisture. After my bath I use Tea Tree oil as a toner on my back, arms and chest (the same way I use it on my face), and then moisturize with Stress-Melting Body Butter.

Bath Salts
I started with Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts and for each cup of salts I added to the glass jar, I added 10 drops of each essential oil. I did several different combinations: Lavender Salts with Wyndmere Sleepy Time Oil; Chamomile Salts with Geranium and Sandalwood Oils; Milk and Honey Salts with Almond Oil and Bergamot, Sweet Orange, and Lemon Oils; and Lavender Salts with Lemongrass, Peppermint and Eucalyptus Oils.

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Scrub
This exfoliating scrub feels amazing and is completely natural and has ethically traded and sustainably produced ingredients. The shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil and vitamin E are healing and moisturizing. The hibiscus and chamomile extracts are firming, toning and calming to the skin. I use it once a week on my whole body and also about once a week on my face. Right now I use it every bath on my baby bump to help prevent stretch marks and I have at least myself convinced that it is working!

Stress-Melting Body Butter *
Stress saps magnesium from your cells and can cause anxiety, fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer so it helps with cramps and also general relaxation. The essential oil mixture is a mood-boaster and helps you relax. I use this as my main lotion over my whole body after every bath. My skin loves it!

¼ c shea butter
¼ c coconut oil
¼ c cocoa butter
¼ c magnesium oil
10 drops orange essential oil
10 drops bergamot essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil (already diluted)

Melt shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter in hot water bath on the stove. Let cool for a few minutes and then add magnesium oil and essential oils. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then whip with a hand mixer on medium for 3-5 minutes. Store in a lidded glass container.

Just because your makeup and your laundry products aren't part of your daily skincare doesn't mean that it shouldn't be! Switching to homemade laundry detergent and all natural makeup were the final components to getting my skin to be completely clear! It was like a magic trick!

Homemade Laundry Detergent
I use the same coconut oil recipe as for the bath soap, except the lye-coconut oil ratio is slightly different so that the laundry soap doesn't sud too much. But all that is all explained in the link. And with it being a lower sud soap it can be used with HE washing machines. You grind up the soap and mix it with washing soda and then add lemon essential oil to each load. I use 3-5 tablespoons of detergent per load depending on the size. I use Downy Free and Clear fabric softener and the Bounce Scent Free dryer sheets. With laundry products, a lot of the skin irritants are found in the fragrance.

Younique Cosmetics
This makeup brand is a complete lifesaver for me. All of the products are completely natural, chemical, irritant and allergen free. Even product has a ingredient list printed right on the website so you can see what each product contains, and the purpose of each ingredient. I was incredibly skeptical of using natural makeup, because most of the natural brands have products that don't actually react the way normal makeup brands do, and the concentration of the colors are low, and they just end up being poor quality makeup, or they ingredients in them that people are allergic to. This brand, however, is different. The colors are incredible, the foundation and concealer actually match your skin tone and have incredible coverage and yet feel like you have nothing on. My skin absolutely loves it and keeps getting better and better! And the best part is that everything in this line of makeup and skincare is significantly cheaper than a brand you would buy at Sephora or Ulta. So, you're saving money and making your skin happy! You can't get any better than that!

So now I challenge you to take the step and make the lifestyle change to natural skincare and makeup! Don't let the idea be daunting. It really doesn't take much time and your skin and your general health will definitely thank you. I'm here to tell you that!

* Recipes taken from the book "Hello Glow" by Stephanie Gerber


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