My skin story:
I am a 43 year old black woman and I have “normal” skin that tends to get more dry than oily. For the longest time, I thought it was oily because I had random breakouts of adult acne (and I won’t even start with the stress acne – it SUX). It bothered me enough to warrant a visit to the dermatologist; I got an Rx that kept me mostly acne free and Glycol to fade any scarring and discoloration.
On a follow up visit I asked about natural alternatives – specifically the ones I am about to tell you about. The answer was an interesting one – she said “Don’t concern yourself with all the options out there. It doesn’t matter how you cleanse, just do it well and don’t dry your skin out. Even oily skin needs moisture.” Duly noted.
After that, I decided to ditch all the facial cleansers marketed to help my skin with things like retinoids and other stuff I can’t spell or pronounce and adopt an all natural skin care routine. My grandmother didn’t have all that back in the day and her 87 year old skin looks aMAZing. My mama doesn’t use a bunch of specialized ish, and her skin is beautiful.
Needless to say, I haven’t purchased a lotion, cream, cleanser, toner, or anything else like that in years now. My “routine” is so simple and effective, it’s unreal. First let me tell you ALL the things I use for my face & body:
- Oil – specifically avocado, castor, and coconut
- baking soda
- lemon juice
- apple cider vinegar (acv)
That’s it folks! And guess what… I don’t even have to think about ANY of these things since they are always in stock at home anyway because they are all household staples! The oils for cooking (except castor), the honey and lemon juice for tea and colds, and baking soda, lemon juice and acv for cooking and cleaning.
Now here’s what I do with them:
I’m sure you’ve heard of the OCM = Oil Cleansing Method. Like most, I shied away from this initially because it seemed counter intuitive. If you have oily skin, you would think you don’t want more oil; if you have dry skin, you’d think you need more than to clean with oil. Can you really clean with oil? Well, after trying the method 3 times before figuring it out, I’m here to tell you that YES YOU CAN. The trick is using the correct oils for your skin type and using pure oils (learned the hard way that not all olive oil is really just olive oil). Here’s how I do it:
1 part cleansing oil + 1 part moisturizing oil
I mix mine in a small pump bottle and use 1-2 pumps per “wash” so I don’t have to mix it every night. Wet your face with hot water to open pores. Rub the oil into your face all over in circular motion for at least 1 minute to really get it into the pores. Get the water as hot as you can stand it, soak and wring out a washcloth (preferably white so you’ll see all the gunk you clean off your face), and wipe away the oil from your face. Do this last step several times until you can’t feel any more oil on your face, rinsing really well between times – remember that the oil you are removing now has all the dirt from your face. YES I said DIRT.
Castor Oil – Properties = humectant (attracts and retains moisture), anti-bacterial (destroys bacteria), and anti-inflammatory (fights swelling).
Moisturizing oils (research them to decide whats best for your skin care concerns)
- Avocado Oil (my oil of choice) – high in Vitamins A, E, and B, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antioxidant, anti aging effects.
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) – make sure it’s pure!
- Grapeseed Oil
- and countless others that you could research – here’s a good place to start
Honey – anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, humectant. It’s just plain GOOD! Hey if it was good enough for Cleopatra, I’ll take it!
I just rub a quarter sized amount between my fingers to warm it up, then smear it all over my face and let it sit there while I do other stuff like shower, or a chore or 2. Then rinse, dry and move on to other things.
Exfoliate (once weekly)
1 part honey & enough baking soda to make it around your face
Just like the honey cleanser above, gently rub on and rinse off like you would with any other exfoliator. No need to use any specialized brush, towel, loofah or whatever – we’re not trying to rip your skin off, just get rid of the dead skin cells.
Tone & Clarify (anytime)
Lemon juice – brightens skin, fades scarring and discoloration. High in vitamin C and antioxidants (use this only at night – DO NOT go out in the sun after use)
Apple Cider Vinegar – antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral
Rose Water – antibacterial, anit-inflammatory, and hydrating
Use them just like any other toner – swipe over your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse and stay away from your eyes!
Coconut oil – quite possibly the best oil out there. Anti-oxidant, prevents dryness and flakiness, anti-aging, helps with eczema (used it on my youngest who had a touch of eczema) and other skin problems. It even has a smidge of SPF.
Avocado oil – high in Vitamins A, E, and B, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antioxidant, anti-aging effects.
Both melt into your skin beautifully, leave you extra soft, and a little goes a long way. Be aware that coconut oil smells like raw coconuts (DERR), so I you can’t stand it don’t use it.
To be clear, my skin is absolutely not perfect. But it is in the best condition it has ever been in my life! And without spending a mint on junk that I’d have to keep buying for the rest of my life for it to “remain effective” (I am slave to NO product)!
I know you’re probably saying stuff like “what about makeup” and “the lighting is different”, etc.
First, there’s no makeup that will make skin brighter (not lightened) without looking like makeup (on brown skin anyway). Second, you’ll just have to trust me that au-naturel works – at least for me.
Finally y’all, I just have to say this…
I am so mad at Beyonce and Nicki for all this “flawless” shit! I need the world to know that I DO NOT wake up looking like a Queen, I wake up looking like I’ve been sleeping HARD for the last 6-10 hours. And I need the world to appreciate that I make sure I LOOK flawless(ly imperfect) before I go out in public – most of the time. 😉