I’m all about moisturizers and soft skin, especially when the weather is this chilly. The air and wind outside have stripped my hands of moisture and sometimes hydrating just isn’t enough to restore skin. Store-bought lotions and potions are often expensive stews of chemicals, alcohols, solvents, and synthetic fragrances, which actually increase skin’s dryness. Some products even contain carcinogens or trigger allergic reactions.
There are various recipes out there for homemade moisturizers and creams using limited ingredients. Everyone has different skin and needs tailored products, but most natural moisturizers contain plant oils. Some oils to look for are: shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. Products may additionally contain other plant compounds or essential oils, like rosemary oil or lavender oil, or essences, like rose water. Ensure that products are “paraben-free,” or “phthalate-free.” A good rule of thumb when choosing products (or even with food) is to skip over products with any ingredients you cannot pronounce. It’s just not natural.
Keep It Simple
Save money on fancy moisturizers and use the extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen on skin after moisturizing. Take several drops of olive oil and smooth on skin while skin is moist from cleansing. What’s great about olive oil is that it’s rich in monounsaturated fats, which hydrates skin without leaving skin greasy. Alternative oils are wheat germ oil (rich in Vitamin E), almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil.
Make a Gel
An alternative, easy, natural recipe is flaxseed and water. Stir 1 teaspoon flaxseed into 1/2 cup cool water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture becomes thick and gelatinous. Cool and pour through a sieve to strain out the seeds. Dab the strained gel onto skin and massage in. Keep refrigerated and this moisturizing concoction should last a few days.
Sweeten Up Your Skin
Honey has long been enjoyed for its benefits on the skin. In fact, honey is a potent antiseptic, helping to ward off bacteria that cause acne and other skin problems. Honey also doubles as an anti-inflammatory, reducing redness and irritation, and it seals in moisture improving skin hydration and minimizing the appearance of fine lines. To make a honey mask at home, pick up the following items from your local store:
-4 ounces plain yogurt
-2 teaspoons raw honey
-1/4 teaspoon olive oil or almond oil
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Apply to face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse. Repeat one or two times per week.
-Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
Author and integrative medicine expert
All-Natural Moisturizing Lotion Recipe
Different oils will suit different moisturizing needs. Do some research, experiment and see which oils work best for you. Here is a basic recipe:
-2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel
-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
-1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, apricot kernel, or avocado oil
-1 teaspoon pure beeswax
Combine aloe gel, glycerin, and oil in a bowl. Melt the beeswax in the top of a double boiler. Add the melted wax to the ingredients in the bowl, whisking rapidly until blended, then more slowly until the beeswax mixture thickens and cools, about five to seven minutes. Transfer the lotion to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keeps two to four weeks.
Save that vegetable glycerin from the moisturizing lotion recipe and use it for your homemade shaving cream. Because shaving strips away the outermost layer of skin cells, sensitive “new” skin is exposed every time. Many store-bought shaving creams contain petroleum-derived chemicals, including isopentane and additional compounds that are irritants, hormone disruptors, and potential carcinogens. Use safer shaving creams and try the following homemade recipe:
-1 cup real witch hazel extract
-1/2 cup high-proof vodka, rum, or brandy
-1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
-10 to 20 drops each peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils (thyme or rosemary essential oils also work)
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. To use, pat a little mixture onto freshly-shaven skin. The lotion keeps indefinitely.
-Annie B. Bond
Better Basics for the Home
Have a homemade moisturizer recipe? I’d love to hear it! Please leave your ideas in the comment section below.