Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Create Your Own Beautiful Complexion

There is big money in selling beauty and, unfortunately, most of what is being sold doesn't work.  So, I am going to share with you the secret to having beautiful skin without going broke! 

First, how I know this will work: I am 47 years old and only have a few lines under my eyes.  I have no wrinkles and other than a bit of slack at the jawline, my skin is healthy, taught and virtually blemish free.  In fact, my skin is so healthy that folks tell me I glow.  (That's me, in the picture above.)

OK, now on with the secret sharing.

In order to have skin that is always its most radiant and healthy you only need to do one thing: exfoliate.  For those of you who don't know, that means to remove dead skin.  You need to exfoliate 2-3 times per week, or more, in order to reverse and maintain the absence of the signs of aging; not just once per week as most folks say. How simple or complicated you want to make that process is up to you.

When you exfoliate, you want to use a scrub or scrubber that leaves your skin red after you have finished with it.  For me, that means using a barely moistened boar's hair brush.  For you, it may mean starting with something more gentle, like baking soda or a nylon poof.  Overtime, as your skin gets stronger, you will have to start using more abrasive scrubs, though.

Some of the best choices for an exfoliant, from gentlest to coarsest are:
In deciding which exfoliant to use, it is important to know that sugar and salt with both form hard, sharp little clusters if not mixed with an oil; so they may not be best for oily skin.  There is also a trick to using boar's hair brushes:  The drier they are, the more abrasive they are and, while using them, you don't want to press so hard that you squish the  bristles.  It is the bristle tips that do the most scrubbing.

Using any of the above exfoliants on its own will get the job done.  Using them in conjunction with a cleanser and/or moisturizer will allow you to nourish your skin at the same time.  Exposing the fresh skin beneath the dead is a great opportunity to fortify your body's armor and shore up its resilience.

Whichever you choose, this alone or with your favorite cleanser and moisturizer is enough.  Really and truly.  Just try it for a few weeks and you'll see.

A homemade facial cleanser that uses natural ingredients is better for both your skin and for the environment. Before you create your own cleanser, you will need to first know your skin type: oily, normal or dry, in order to select the most beneficial ingredients for your skin.  The other thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to both heal and protect.

Use the following to personalize your cleanser or do some searching to see if you kind find things you like even better.  For me, however, I have found these few ingredients provide your skin with all that it needs:
  • If you are making a salt or sugar scrub, then you either want to use coconut or straight Vitamin E oilCoconut oil, in scrub, is OK to use on oily skin, but pure Vitamin E is not.  Pure E is too thick and will remain on your skin for too long after rinsing.  Coconut is thinner and rinses more completely.  If you are not using sugar or salt, then you can either add oil to your scrub or save it for the moisturizer.
  • Raw Honey or Propolis
  • Aloe Vera Gel - 100% pure.  Can be store bought.  If you grow your own, even better.
  • Vitamin C - I use fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  • Benzonite clay or powdered charcoal - for oily skin only.
  • Yogurt or avocado - for dry skin.
  • Peppermint essential oil or eucalyptus oil (for a cooling effect)
I have oily skin so I use 1Tbsp. honey, 1Tbsp. aloe and 1/4 tsp. lemon juice with powdered charcoal and a few drops of peppermint oil.  Whatever you decide on, play with the proportions until you get a combination that works best for you.  I like my cleaner to be fairly thick and heavy on the mint.  If you are using an exfoliating ingredient, add it to your cleanser after you have mixed everything else together.

Regardless of whether or not you add oil to your cleanser, you should still follow your scrubbing with a moisturizing toner.  I use a mixture of apple cider vinegar, Aloe Vera juice, lemon juice and raw honey.  I have two moisturizers: one for my eye area and another for my face and décolleté.

The eye formulation contains more honey so that it's thicker and stays put.  The other is thin, like a toner, so I can spray it from a bottle.  I like the refreshing feeling of a light moisturizer, rather than the heavier warmth of a creamier emulsion.  The joy of making your own, though, is that you can adjust the mixture until you find the consistency that works best for you.  Another perk is that you can use decorative jars and bottles to store the products in and create your own labels for them, as well.

As for storage, I keep all of my products in my medicine cabinet.  Those that don't use salt or sugar ferment over time, making them even more potent.  If you don't like the idea of using fermented ingredients, you may store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.  You can even buy a mini fridge to keep in the bathroom so that you don't have to make a round trip to the kitchen every time you wash your face!

If you decide to try this, let me know how it went for you.  I personally love it!

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