I Ditched Traditional Beauty Products And It Changed My Skin Forever
As the face behind the holistic-minded lifestyle site The Local Rose, an eponymous line of natural skin care, and a swoon-worthy Instagram feed packed with organic produce and crystals, Shiva Rose pretty much embodies our ideal of beautiful, healthy living. That's why we're thrilled to team up with her for a new series this week covering all you need to know to get gorgeous skin. If you're inspired to learn more, check out her new course, How to Get Glowing Skin Naturally: Ayurvedic DIY Rituals and Recipes for Luminous Beauty.
About a decade ago, my skin began to dry out from hormonal imbalances, autoimmune issues and stress. It was then that I realized that, even though many of us eat organic and healthy, we continue to slather on toxic and drying chemicals on our largest organ—the skin. So I decided to do something very simple: Throw out anything that was made with ingredients I couldn’t recognize.
I began using traditional Ayurvedic oils, like sunflower seed oil, almond oil, sesame oil, coconut oil and kukui nut oil, which is used by Hawaiian women for its anti-aging effects. I also started making homemade hydrosols using essential oils, and homemade face masks from ingredients easily found in the kitchen. By approaching my skincare regimen like food, I knew I would be respecting my body with wholesome and nourishing goodness.
One of the first things I noticed after my switch had to do with moisturizers. As we age, our skin stops producing as much oil and gets more dry, making it necessary to replenish its suppleness with fluids and oils. But many traditional moisturizers contain alcohol, which is very drying. So instead, I started misting my face with herbal teas or essential oils and spring water—I would just DIY it, combining four ounces of purified water with ten drops of whatever essential oil I wanted to use at the time, and pour into a spray bottle to give myself a spritz whenever I needed it. If I wanted more of a toner, I also used ingredients like aloe, apple cider vinegar, or witch hazel. And then, of course, I'd use hydrosols all the time, whether it was to set my makeup, give me a midday refresh, or a wind-down before going to bed. All of it helped, and before long my skin felt super hydrated instead of insanely dry.
Then came face masks, which I like to make either weekly or monthly to help boost my skin. Once a week I make an exfoliating paste to help brighten my skin tone—I'll take two tablespoons of chickpea flour and mix it with one tablespoon of water, then press it gently onto my face and rinse it off after a few minutes. Monthly I'll make a mask from avocado, banana, honey and yogurt to help moisturize. It's super easy, too: Just combine 1/4-cup of each ingredient in a bowl and apply to the face for 20 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Lastly, I love to steam my face once a week with incredibly nourishing herbs like nettle, chamomile, raspberry leaf, comfrey leaf, calendula and rose. You simply add the herbs to a bowl of hot, steaming water, and then lean into it with a towel draped over your head. This opens the pores and releases all the buildup of pollution, toxins, dirt and makeup. After, I apply my face balm or oil for a dewy look.
When it comes to my diet, I started adding in more healthy fats—things like ghee, coconut oil, and raw butter—to help with my dry skin and hair. Of course, by now we all know the merits of coconut oil when used topically, but did you know ghee can also be used on the skin? If you don’t like the ghee smell, you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a palm full of the stuff and use it as an incredible face and body moisturizer. It's so rich in vitamins like A,D,K and E, not to mention antioxidants and fatty acids, so my skin has really benefited from it.
And since I'm an outdoorsy woman who enjoys hiking in the canyons and swimming in the sea, I've noticed some sun spots popping up on my skin. Many women use the toxic whitening chemical hydroquinone to treat them, but that doesn't metabolize in your body. So instead I use lemon, mixing it in a mask with yogurt that I apply on the sun spot for 20 minutes. The lactic acid in the yogurt and the natural bleaching quality of the lemons make this a potent powerhouse for dark spots. But if that doesn't quite do the trick, I'll also make a mask using chickpea flour, combining 1 tablespoon of it with 1/2 a teaspoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and 3 drops of lemon juice. I'll leave that on the spot for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.
Overall, my skin and my health has improved tremendously since I started using the beautiful, pure, natural bounty from our Mama Earth. It's also about connecting to our selves, the source, and the natural world through these beauty rituals. Taking time to nurture ourselves is a form of empowerment, and if we make more conscious decisions, we'll see the results on the inside and outside.