A question has been bubbling away in me for sometime now – is it possible for someone like me to completely free myself from the beauty counter and make everything I put on my skin for six months? I’m going to give it a shot and hereby declare my Beauty Independence (as of 1st July)!
I have loved beauty bits for a long, long time. Straight out of school I studied beauty therapy and aromatherapy. Such a keen bean, I opened a beauty salon with a vision to starting a natural beauty range, but the call of adventure was too strong and I went travelling instead.
Over the years, I’ve worked for some of the largest cosmetic houses – behind counters, managing stores, running promotions and nearly ended up as a Beauty Editor for one of the big magazines. All because I love the nurturing, the self care and the loveliness of it, but… And there always has been a big BUT and that BUT is getting BIGGER AND BIGGER.
The more I read, the more the beauty industry annoys me, from advertising and false promises to weird ingredients shrouded in magic and mystery. Magazines aren’t game to talk about it, because so much of their advertising revenue comes from the cosmetics companies, but I really think a lot of the industry needs a bit of a kick up the proverbial.
There are some fabulous changes happening and some wonderful new products available. The problem is they can be hard to find and tend to be expensive, because they often don’t have the advantage of mass production lines. And, let’s face it – it’s all downright confusing trying to figure out the good from the ugly.
Luckily, I love making my own – other people love baking cakes, I like whipping up beauty bits, so I thought it’d be fun to lay down the gauntlet for myself and see if it is possible to make everything I put on my skin for six months and share my adventures, here. Perhaps, I’ll tackle hair care at a later date, but for now I’m going to focus on skin. My two exceptions are: sunscreen and mascara, because skin cancer and eye infections are not my friend!
I’ll tag my adventures #beautyindependence on Instagram and will be researching recipes on Pinterest. If you make any homemade beauty of your own, I’d love you to use #beautyindependence so we can all share the what and hows.
If you have a moment I’d love to hear if you make homemade products and what you love to make in the comments below?
In honour of my decision, I’ve decided to do a cheeky rip off recipe.
Vogue and a host of bloggers have declared the Eve Lom cleanser as ‘probably the best cleanser in the world’. And, yes, this made me very curious, but not quite curious enough to pay $110 for 100ml of privilege, although I did pop into a fancy store to sample some and yes, it is quite lovely.
Those of you already rocking the oil cleansing method will look at the ingredients below and nod and say, ‘told you so’, because it’s basically a glorified oil cleanser. Really, if you wanted to keep it simple you could wash your face with coconut oil and be done with it, but if you’re like me and like trying new things and getting a bit fancy, read on.
In my mind this is a good cleanser for normal to dry skin, because using coconut oil on the face is not recommended if you are prone to black heads (it’s considered a comedogenic oil). If you’re concerned about blackheads, but really like the sound of this cleanser, I would head over to the oil cleansing method post and come back when your blackheads are no longer a concern. Personally, I’ve found oil cleansing one of the best (long term) ways to slowly dissolve and tackle blackheads. I also did a bit of a round up of cleansing options in this honey face wash post.
Oils ain’t oils
The use of a large amount of hops and clove essential oils in the Eve Lom cleanser surprised me. The two oils are listed as potential skin irritants in aromatherapy texts, so I went the prudent route and only used 1 drop. Hops (yes, the stuff they use in beer) is not very common and I think it’s a waste to buy an essential oil you won’t use much, so I looked at its chemical composition and found that my beloved sandalwood is quite similar and doesn’t have the same skin irritant issues.
Lanolin is quite expensive – you’ll need to cut off an arm and a leg if you want the organic stuff – so I listed it as optional. I made one batch with lanolin and one without and couldn’t see much difference in texture, however it is a phenomenal skin softener, nourisher and protector, which is why it’s been used.
I’ve added Vitamin E, because it’s an anti-oxidant and can help stabilise natural oils for longer.
Curiously, Eve Lom has a mineral oil base, something I just can’t face doing, because mineral oils are thought to clog pores (hence, used in barrier type creams), kind of questionable and bad for the environment, too. I added the skin-friendly grape seed oil, instead.
The amount of grape seed oil may need to change depending on where you live. If you’re in a cold climate then two tablespoons, while warmer climate folks may want none. This is part of the adventure of working with coconut oil without chemical emulsifiers and the like.
Personally, I would do a first batch, using the recipe below and use it no matter what the texture, because the product will work just fine no matter what the texture is. When you’re making your second batch, think about adjusting the recipe to suit you and your climate better – if it’s too hard make the next batch with two tablespoons of grape seed. If it’s not setting or is too soft, don’t use the grape seed oil and if need be increase the cocoa butter by a teaspoon or two.
Muslin cloth is great for washing the face, because it acts as a gentle exfoliant and dries quickly. I buy a length from the fabric shop and cut it up, but I have been known to use tea towels and they work pretty well, too.
How to use the cleansing balm
If you’re new to the world of oil cleansers – welcome! I doubt you’ll look back.
This cleansing balm works well when used once a day and can also double as a make up remover, so a lot of people use it at night.
Massage the balm into the skin, hold a hot cloth over the face for a moment or two to help relax the mind and dislodge the stubborn stuff and use the cloth to wash the oil off. You can repeat this process for even better results. Follow with a toner and moisturiser.
Don’t get too worried on the how-tos, basically massage your skin while your washing your face or moisturising, by pressing your fingers in nice, deep circles so it feels good.
If you’re new to making homemade products
Here is a post on sterilising equipment and storing products. And, always, always test for allergy in a discrete spot first. There is no point in using something that is irritating you when there are so many good options available.
Here is the printable tag for the pretty label: DIY cleansing balm | Blah Blah Magazine
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon lanolin, optional
- 1 tablespoon grape seed, sunflower or macadamia oil
- 8 drops sandalwood essential oil
- 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 5 drops chamomile essential oil
- 1 drop clove essential oil
- 3 drops vitamin E
- Heat coconut oil and cocoa butter in double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl, sitting in a saucepan of water over a medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, whisk in the lanolin and grape seed oil.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 5 minutes and whisk in essential oils and vitamin E.
- Pour into a sterile jar.
- Leave to cool with the lid off for an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the cleanser hasn’t hardened, it can take the best part of a day to set.
- Label with date and ingredients.
- To use: Massage the balm into the skin, hold a hot cloth over the face for a moment and use the cloth to wash the oil off.
- You can repeat this process for even better results.
- Follow with a toner and moisturiser.