A few years ago, I tried to purge my bathroom of all lotions and potions containing scary toxins, hormone disruptors and chemicals I couldn’t pronounce. I vowed to clean up my beauty act by consciously changing the products I use in my home and on my body.
When a friend recently told me that she uses a little coconut oil as her main hair product (and believe me, her hair is gorgeous), I decided to go deep into my kitchen cabinets and do some research to see what I could make myself.
My sleuthing led me to the following five great homemade beauty treatments. If you make these, you’ll not only know what you’re putting on your skin and hair (and what you’re not), you’ll also be saving a lot of money.
1. Coconut oil all-purpose moisturizer
Coconut oil is the darling of the beauty industry right now thanks to its makeup of vitamins E, K and iron, lauric acid and antimicrobial and antifungal properties. That means it’s great for your hair (particularly for those with thick, curly, unruly hair), moisturizing for your skin, works as an amazing makeup remover and can help with dandruff, acne, dry lips, athlete’s foot and cuticle care. What can’t this stuff do?
You do have to somewhat get past the notion that you’ll smell a bit like a Piña colada after slathering it on, but it’s worth it. If that bothers you, simply add a few drops of any essential oil you like. You’ll find that a little goes a long way — one jar of coconut oil should last you for ages. My favorite way to use it is to slather it on my feet and heels, slip on a pair of socks and when I wake up in the morning, my feet are super-soft.
2. Egg mask
While it can be a bit messy, an egg mask is a great way to tighten and shrink your pores. All you need to do is combine a teaspoon of cornstarch with one egg white, whisk together until it's frothy and then apply the mixture to your face. I recommend getting horizontal (not sitting at your computer) while your mask dries, which will take about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
3. Almond exfoliator
Many facial cleansers and masks on the market today contain micro-beads, which may exfoliate your skin but are truly horrible for the environment. In a nutshell, those tiny particles of plastic go straight down your drain, into the sewer system, ending up in the ocean where sea creatures absorb and eat them, eventually traveling through the food chain, back to you and the food you consume.
The good news: fruits and nuts are great, natural exfoliators and cleansers. I love almonds for this very reason. I eat a handful for energy, make my own almond milk and use them on my skin. To make an easy and effective clarifying mask, grind one tablespoon of almonds, then mix with one tablespoon of honey and one egg white.
Apply to your face and leave on for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the mask by massaging it in a circular motion for a minute and then rinsing with warm water. In the meantime, please kick your face wash, body wash and toothpaste with micro-beads to the curb.
4. Banana-avocado conditioner
A great, natural hair softener can be created by mashing a banana and half an avocado together. It truly doesn’t get any easier than that. Simply comb the mixture through dry hair (this part can be challenging, but will lead to better absorption of nutrients), cover your hair with one of those oh-so-attractive plastic shower caps and leave on for at least 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water. It’s a potassium/moisturizing fatty-acid combo that is sure to make your locks look glossy and healthy.
5. Apple cider vinegar toner
I'm not a person whose beauty routine has numerous steps. However, a toner is quite a lovely thing. I love apple cider vinegar when cooking, but I’ve also learned it’s great for keeping skin looking even and blemish-free.
Take a big handful of fresh parsley and place it in a French press (assuming you’re a coffee purist and have one at home). Cover it with 1/2 a cup of boiling water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then plunge and let the liquid cool completely. Alternatively, soak the parsley in a mason jar and then strain the liquid well.
Transfer the parsley water to a small spray bottle, and add a splash of ACV and four drops of tea tree oil (a fantastic antiseptic). Shake well and then simply spray your clean face with the mixture. You can store the toner in the fridge, making it even more refreshing in the upcoming summer months!