art

Starting with a clean canvas...

It makes undeniable sense to me to kick off my Makeup by Micki @ Makeup Etc. personal blogs, with a blog post about skincare. Our skin is essentially our canvas, onto which we apply our art: our makeup, so there’s no doubt that it should receive the utmost care and quality products to keep it as clear, clean and fresh as possible. A well cared for canvas will allow for products to apply perfectly and a masterpiece to be created without hinder.

In October, last year, I came across an interview with young actress, Chloë Grace Moretz with a Vogue Magazine, in which the interviewer asked her the secret to her seemingly always perfect and blemish-less skin (even through her teen years!). She replied “I wash my skin with olive oil—straight-up olive oil.” Sorry Chloë, but why are you wasting olive oil, that could be paired with balsamic vinegar to form a delicious accompaniment to a fresh loaf of beautiful bread, on your face? And how does it work?

After reading that interview, I was immediately curious and began to research. At the time, for the last 10 months or so, I had been using a range of (now, upon reflection) ridiculously expensive skincare, and I was in the stubborn frame of mind that because it was expensive and had simple basic packaging, that the ingredients in it must be natural and the products beneficial to the skin. However, it is safe to say that during that time, my skin was at the worst it had been in my entire life, but naïvely, instead of thinking about what I was religiously applying to my skin twice daily, I used more of the brand’s range to try and fix the breakouts and uneven skin texture. Masks, lotions, toners, cleansers, pore strips and so much more, I used them all in an obsessive routine that seemed to help one problem, but cause another.

Considering the benefits of washing your face with olive oil, I found a long list of amazing skin beautifying properties it offers, including a high antioxidant level, deep moisturisation, anti-aging, as well as an impeccable talent of removing makeup. I mean, of course it does, I knew that oil breaks down even the most waterproof makeup, as I’ve always used it to take off stubborn liquid lipsticks, so why hadn’t I thought of using it to wash my face before? I guess the idea of applying oil to the skin to most people, especially those with an already normal to oily complexion, seems completely insane – why add to the oil we buy primers to keep at bay?

It wasn’t until I came across this wonderful blog post by Nadia from ‘Body Unburdened’ about her favourite oils for ‘naturally clear, flawless skin’ that I was truly inspired to give this natural skincare thing a go. She writes in her article that the idea of using oil to deal with bad skin seemed like the ‘ultimate enemy’ and that she’d even resorted to using rubbing alcohol on her face at times. This resonated me a lot, especially when I started to notice what was actually in these expensive skincare products I had been so devoted to, as I realised they all contained a lot of isopropyl alcohol. I used to think of it as: alcohol kills bacteria, and blemishes and blackheads are caused by a build-up of bacteria, so surely using alcohol based products, especially toners, would help fix these breakouts. But no, when researching it, it turns out that using concentrated alcohol on your skin, or products containing a lot of it, actually strips the natural oils from your face which prevent blackheads and clogged pores, and in turn, your skin produces excess oils in order to replace what you’ve washed down the sink or wiped onto a soaked cotton pad, and thus…breakouts.

Ok, so I was doing this. Every blog, article and website I sifted through said this method of oil cleansing and using only pure natural ingredients for their skincare routines had changed their lives, as well as the health of their skin, so I delved deeper, researching all the natural ingredients that are beneficial to the skin. I know there’s a million more things that can, and most probably will be, added to this list, but here’s the initial list I compiled and refer back to often, with all the benefits each ingredient offers to the skin.

-       Liquorice – Anti-inflammatory

-       Chamomile – Soothing, calms redness

-       Green Tea – Anti-inflammatory

-       Grapeseed oil - Collagen & Elasticity

-       Witch Hazel – Anti-irritating, cleansing

-       Sea Blackthorn Oil – Vitamin C, healing properties

-       Evening Primrose Oil – Anti-inflammatory, emollient properties

-       Rosehip Oil – Improves texture & quality

-       Jojoba Oil – Barrier repair, healing

-       Coconut Oil – Anti-bacterial, anti-viral & anti-fungal

-       Tea Tree Essential Oil – Fights breakouts, redness & inflammation

-       Raw Honey – Reduces breakouts, moisturising, antiseptic, fades scarring

-       Himalayan Sea Salt – Balances, protects & restores

-       Lemon Essential Oil – Antibacterial, fights breakouts, fades scarring

-       Lavender Essential Oil – Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory

-       Argan Oil – Aids healing, moisturising

-       Almond Oil – Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial & antiseptic

-       Shea Butter – Moisturising

-       Peppermint Essential Oil – Antimicrobial, removes blackheads

-       Frankincense Essential Oil – Acne fighting, reduces pores, tightens & lifts

-       Hemp Seed Oil – Reduces pore size, blackheads & acne

-       Tamanu Oil – Healing, anti-inflammatory

-       Castor Oil – Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, vitamin E, fades discolouration

-       Moroccan Red Clay Powder – Clears & tighten pores

-       Activated Charcoal – Purifying and detoxifying

This list comes in handy all the time when mixing my custom oil blends and making face washes or moisturisers, as I can simply choose what skin benefits I’m needing, and use them to create a custom product that it simply amazing and 100% natural.

I hopped straight onto iherb.com to order a whole bunch of these oils and ingredients, which all up costed around $100 max – which would equal to less than 2 products from the previous skincare brand I was using. Also, after 5 months of using these products religiously and mixing a good array of DIY products, I still have so much left, so spending $100 for about a year of perfect custom skincare products, makes me extremely happy…More spare dollars for makeup! ;)

iHerb is a site I buy from a lot; it’s so cheap and has a whole bunch of bath, body, cosmetic and health food products and, not only is the shipping super reasonable in price, but it arrives in a matter of days all the way from the USA and you earn loyalty credit to spend on your next purchase – amazing!

Some of the superstars of my all-natural skincare!

Some of the superstars of my all-natural skincare!

So, what to do now that you’ve got all these awesome ingredients? How and when do you mix and use these products? That was my question exactly, and there’s a million and one DIY recipes and mixes you can find online, or you can simply mix up whatever concoction takes your fancy but, if it helps, here’s my daily skin routine and the links to the recipes I use as a guideline:

Morning:

- Rose & Witch Hazel mix to refresh & clean the skin of last night’s oils

- ‘DIY Radiant Beeswax Lotion’

Ingredients

½ cup grapeseed oil (optional: use any oils you want!)

½ cup jojoba oil

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup beeswax

½ tsp Vitamin E oil

20 drops essential oils (I use a mix of lemon and chamomile)

L’Oréal Lumi Liquid Illuminating Primer (optional * use any liquid illuminator for a natural glow)

 

Directions:

1.     Combine oils and beeswax pastilles into glass jar

2.     Put jar into a saucepan with water that comes ¾ of the way up the jar.

3.     Heat on stovetop over medium-low heat and stir until melted.

4.     Let cool to room temperature by leaving out or placing jar in fridge, stirring occasionally with a fork as it cools

5.     Once at room temperature, add in vitamin E, essential oil and liquid illuminator.

 

Evening

-       Castile Soap to remove makeup and cleanse skin – Castile soap is the purest form of soap, made from vegetable oils, with no alcohol or any added ingredients.

-       Rose & Witch Hazel to clean away any remaining makeup residue

-       4-6 drops of DIY All-Natural Oil blend from Body Unburdened, see recipe here. Although it’s said to be for acne-prone skin and I don’t fit into that category, it’s still been amazing and keeps any blemishes at bay, and feels amazing!

-       Pawpaw ointment to moisturise lips before bed.

 

Weekly Treatments

-       Moroccan Red Clay Powder mixed with 2 capsules of activated charcoal and water to make a paste, and applied all over the face or just over the t-zone and chin, until dry, so remove blackheads and tighten pores – this works!!!

-       Lemon juice & baking soda to exfoliate. Baking soda is the finest, most natural way to exfoliate without damaging the skin, and the fresh lemon juice purifies pores. Only exfoliate 1 or 2 times a week.

I also sometimes customise and change up the DIY recipes I find to suit however my skin is feeling and what I think it needs. For example, I have an oil blend for when I do get a blemish, with tea tree, chamomile and almond oil for their anti-inflammatory, soothing and antibacterial properties. Custom skincare for any type of skin, what could be better?

So, does it work? Well, I haven’t turned back since, and I can’t see myself going back to any other form of skincare again, as this method of all natural skincare has completely changed my skin. I barely ever get a single pimple, and if one starts to form, the awesome anti-inflammatory and bacteria fighting ingredients in my skincare diminishes it before it can become an actual blemish. So, my skin is always smooth, my skin tone has evened out so much, that I’ve been so much more confident not having to wear any makeup at all or just keeping the coverage to a minimum, which is such a relief in comparison to how troublesome my skin was a year ago! I also used to feel like I needed to do pore strips and face masks at least every week, if not 2 or 3 times, as I always noticed blackheads I wanted to be rid of, whereas now, thanks to the powerful blackhead-preventing properties of frankincense oil and protectiveness of the jojoba oil, I haven’t reach for the pore strips in months, sticking only to a clay mask once or twice a fortnight, as I haven’t needed to do anything else.

Having good, clear skin can change your life, improve confidence and if you’re a makeup lover, will make application and products wear like a dream, so I would recommend anyone to make the change to all-natural skincare, and I hope it helps you achieve the perfect, flawless canvas, with or without makeup.