After reading Kelly’s post from the ‘The Kitchen Cupboard’ series about using more natural ingredients to make up your skincare range, i hopped on the bandwagon to see if i could incorporate what she was suggesting into my own Skincare regime. If you haven’t read it already (where have you been?) you can find it HERE.
My New Skincare Journey
So… I’ve embarked on a new journey to find healthier, smoother, tighter, more radiant skin using natural ingredients. To be honest with you, this is not the first time i’ve considered using natural skincare products. A while ago i became more health conscious and immediately hunted around for a more natural skincare brand. I came across Liz Earle and her naturally active skincare range which i tried out. I have to say it is the best skincare range i have tried to date! it beats Clinique hands down (my previous staple skincare brand). My skin is rather sensitive and reacts immediately to anything that is remotely irritating. But the Liz Earle range really did bring out the best in my skin. It evened out my complexion, controlled my oily skin and really gave me smoother, more radiant skin. Now when you have sensitive skin and find something that works, it’s very hard to consider alternatives. But Kelly gave me the nudge i needed to move one step further and consider simple ingredients as effective ways of caring for my skin.
The first day i tried lemon on my skin i really liked it. A nice little tingle. I used the left over shell of the lemon half after i squeezed out the juice for my refreshing morning lemon water. I cut the shell in half and rubbed it, flesh side down, onto my face in circular motions making sure to avoid the delicate eye area. I left it on whilst i showered and then used my muslin face cloth to remove the lemon juice by soaking it in the warm shower water and then wiping my face, rinsing and repeating until it was all gone. My face was left feeling so soft. After that time lemon has become a staple in my new skincare regime. But lemon is quite strong and i can’t use it daily otherwise my skin will react. So i use it 1-2 times per week.
I began to hunt around for another gentle cleanser to use in between my lemon cleanses. I know i could just use water, and i do sometimes, but i wanted more. I came across the Oil Cleansing Method a while back but never tried it out because i was happy with my Liz Earle products. So i decided to give it a go. Read more about Oil Cleansing HERE. The most important oil in oil cleansing is Castor Oil. This is the ‘active’ ingredient that really draws out the dirt for a real deep clean. But too much castor oil can leave your skin very tight and dry as it can strip off too much of your natural oils so it is advised to use it at 10-30% depending on your skin type. My skin is very oily so i need to use 30% to really remove the excess oil & dirt. If you have dry skin you need as little as 10% and normal/combination skin 20% or so. These amounts are not set in stone. It’s really down to you to try out different ratios to see what you prefer. If you find your skin is a little oily after use, then add in more castor oil. If you find it’s a little too dry and tight then reduce it. But 30% is a good amount for my skin. The other oils you use is down to you. Sunflower oil is the most common, closely followed by olive oil. But whatever oils you use make sure they are non-comedogenic (explained below) so as not to aggravate acne and spots. My Cleansing Oil Blend consists of:
30% Safflower Oil
39% Sunflower Oil
1% Tea Tree Oil
Sunflower oil is an oil wealthy in Oleic acids (74%) with high amounts of Vitamins A, D, and E, also has beneficial amounts of lecithin, and unsaturated fatty acids. It helps restore elasticity and moisture in the skin. Oils and butters containing oleic acid tend to be very moisturizing and regenerating to our skin. They often offer anti-inflammatory properties and some, like olive oil, mimic our natural sebum. They tend to be absorbed well by the skin, which offers softening and moisturising effects. Oils high in oleic acid will go rancid far less quickly than those high in linoleic or linolenic acids. I call it the forgotten oil because it’s not really considered in skin & haircare that much anymore. But as you can see it’s really a very good oil to use.
Safflower Oil is a light feeling oil and is one of the highest natural sources of linoleic acid (78%) and therefore helps to rejuvenate damaged skin and provide a moisture shot, so that even dry skin feels smooth. It works with the skin to soften and retain natural moisture. The rich linoleic and oleic acid content helps to give an instant smooth feel to the skin. Also contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Vitamin E and minerals. Linoleic acid is considered an essential fatty acid, one we can’t make ourselves in our body, so we have to get it from the outside world. It is crucial to normal barrier function in skin, and a deficiency can lead to dry skin and hair, hair loss, and poor wound healing. It is a major component in ceramides – about 14% – which make up about 50% of our stratum corneum or outer layer of skin. Studies have shown linoleic acid can restore the barrier function, helping to prevent trans epidermal water loss and reduce scaling on your skin. This oil is fast becoming one of my favourite oils. It’s great for hair too and is suitable for dry hair & skin types.
Neither of these oils are considered comedogenic (0) so combining these two oils gives me a great balance of both oleic and linoleic oils. My skin absolutely loves this oil blend! When i first get in the shower i pour a generous amount of my cleansing oil blend into my hands and then rub it all over my face, including my eye area (apparently it’s a great makeup remover. I don’t really wear makeup so i can’t comment). I then shower and once i’m finished i use my face muslin, soaking it in the warm shower water and place it over my face for a mini steam. When the cloth gets cool i rinse and repeat and then use the muslin to wipe off the oil really well, rinsing and repeating, finishing off with a splash of water. My skin loves, loves, loves it! Its so smooth and soft after use. The same results as with my Liz Earle cleanser. You can use all sunflower oil or all safflower oil if you wish or choose a completely different oil like Jojoba or Avocado oil for a luxurious cleanse (both low on the scale). The choice is yours.
I think the muslin cloth is absolutely essential and i can’t finish off this section without giving it a mention. It’s great at wiping off excess product but also as a light and gentle exfoliator. It gently buffs and polishes the skin removing trapped dirt and dead skin cells to keep the skin supple and fresh. I don’t think either of these cleansers would work as well for me without my muslin cloth!
A quick explanation of comedogenic – Cosmetic ingredients tending to produce or aggravate acne.
These ingredients refer to compounds that have shown in tests to increase possible comedone formations (acne formation). These comedones – whiteheads and blackheads, are, in their turn, the starting point for pimples and acne. A rating from 0 – 5 is then determined for both the comedogenic and irritation value of each ingredient. Here is a link to the most comprehensive comedogenic chart i could find. So if you are prone to getting spots then it’s better to opt for ingredients that are low on the scale (0-2). If, like some, you can slather shea butter all over your face without issues then you can choose any oil you please, high or low on the scale. As a note, although ingredients by themselves can aggravate spots and acne, products formulated with some of the same ingredients might not necessarily be aggravating. The blending of these ingredients in formulas can dilute the possibility of causing spots and so on. The main concern is when you use them in high amounts or undiluted and intend to leave it on.
Join me next time for my take on natural toners!