“Um, you’ve got some food on your face, there…” “Yeah, I know. I’m exfoliating” (Day 303)…

oatmeal mask

I’m trying really, really hard not to buy any beauty products or cosmetics that I can’t get in bulk and pour into a bottle or jar I already have. Unfortunately, despite all my efforts, stores like the Big Carrot, the Body Shop and even Grassroots just aren’t coming through on certain items — specifically, thick hand creams, body butters and exfoliating scrubs.

So I’ve decided to take the plunge and try making some of my own. I’m more than a little nervous, as the thought of slathering oatmeal, honey and other breakfast items on my face isn’t exactly thrilling, and while I love a little coconut oil in my smoothies every now and then, I’m not sure rubbing it into my hands every few hours is wise.

This is where you wonderful, hippie-tastic readers come in — if any of you have any recipes you’d like to share for keeping skin smooth, hydrated and, perhaps most importantly, zit-free, PLEASE do share in the comments below! I promise to try as many of them as I can and report back.

P.S. For those of you who get Alive magazine, check out page 66 for a two-page spread on Green as a Thistle! (I can’t find the article online, but it’s a pretty cool mag, so check it out anyway).

Image courtesy of the Body Shop (which, by the way, doesn’t refill it’s shampoo bottles anymore — lame!)

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22 Responses to “Um, you’ve got some food on your face, there…” “Yeah, I know. I’m exfoliating” (Day 303)…

  1. Denise says:

    For exfoliation I sometimes mix a bit of sugar with any liquid soap we’ve got at home.

  2. sue says:

    I LOVE the book “Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair” by Dinah Falconi. All of her recipes are fabulous, and she has a glossary of what properties each oil has, so if you don’t want to mail order expensive shea butter, you can replace it with anohter fat that does the same thing. Salves and lip balm are super easy to make. Body butter is a little more difficult, but still do-able. I switched a year ago, and my skin has never been better – in fact, for the first time in my life, it’s actually not a problem. Though I had excema, not zits, so your mileage may vary on that one.

  3. Tracy says:

    Zits — use tea tree oil! (They sell it at The Body Shop, but just get the good stuff from the health food store!)

  4. Jenna says:

    If you are wanting to make a larger batch of scrub, I just made about 15 sets of the following for Christmas presents and they went over really well.

    Brown Sugar Scrub
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup raw sugar (you can use just white if you need)
    1/4 cup honey
    2-3 vitamin E capsules, the oil popped out and added (they also sell the vitamin E oil. Use whichever is easier to get.)
    Enough olive oil to mix it all together into a paste.
    (Essential oil of any scent is optional… I found an organic based Chocolate Orange oil for mine…. but it can be skipped.)

    Mix the sugars, honey, and vitamin E together. Stir in the olive oil. Add essential oil if using. Store in a jar with a screw top lid. (If it seperates, just shake or stir it all back together each time you use it.

    At bath time, rub into feet and hands. Wash off – making sure not to skimp on rinsing as the oil can get things slippery! My mom got hers a few weeks early and she says it works better then any of the expensive store products to soften and smooth her hands and feet.

  5. Trix says:

    When I haven’t replaced my facial cleansing kit, I use toothpaste on my zits.

  6. Rhett says:

    If you need any tips, Amy’s got a whole video on products she likes to make. It’s under our beauty tag.

  7. Rhett says:

    Also…wow! How did you swing that spread in Alive? We are constantly publicity-starved.

  8. pat says:

    The coarse exfoliants (oatmeal, sugar) are fine for removing dead skin prior to rehydration but you might as well use a loofah. Unfortunately , they do not help with acne and adding creams, oils etc will make acne worse. The chemical exfoliants are the only products that go deep enough to unblock the pores (salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinoic acid, benzyl peroxide). As far as I know citric acid (lemon juice) and acetic acid (vinegar) have not been shown to be helpful and the others arent available in bulk!
    I think you will have to remain spotty for the rest of the year!

  9. dahlia says:

    i find that using a simple plain clay mask (i can get fine clay bulk at my health food store) a couple times a week on my skin does wonders for minimizing pores and keeping the oils balanced. it isn’t bulk, but gratefulbody.com has astonishingly natural and effective products. i use them on my face and straight olive oil below the neck! i do want to learn to make body butters and the earthly bodies heavenly hair book recommended above was adamantly recommended to me by a budding-herbalist friend.

  10. dahlia says:

    oh, and a dab of clay on a budding pimple will dry it right up! only for at night, of course…

  11. sophielovespeanutbutter says:

    My two favorites are:

    salt/olive oil scrub ~ exfoliate hands & feet (definitely not face). The quantities don’t matter that much. Somewhere near 50-50%. Sugar works well too. You may want to try this one sitting down the olive oil make the tub/shower really slippery.

    corn starch~ brushed through the oily parts of my hair to keep from having to suds the folicals everyday. Does not work on wet hair, must be dry. Use a comb to sprinkle a smidge at the roots then comb through. A little goes a long way and you only need it on the oily parts, generally bangs and the crown of your head.

    I’m still using my Burt’s Bees lipbalm and gardeners hand salve that I’ve had for a bit. Won’t be buying any new though because ol’ Burt sold out to Clorox. *sigh* On with the search for a more local company and most likely some forays into making my own too! :D

    On battling the zit monsters, I would say change your pillow case everynight or every-other night but that probably doesn’t fit in with the flavor of what you are doing. If you do tea tree oil on your face, cut it with something. Sorry, I don’t have a recipe but it says on the label not to use full strength on your face. Maybe checkout the label on one of the store brands of tea tree zit-zapper and copy that?

    Bon chance!

  12. Shana says:

    I cut my tea tree oil with jojoba oil, and it works well. Something like one part TTO and 4-5 parts jojoba.

    And I can definitely vouch for the brown sugar-olive oil scrub. I can buy both in bulk at my hippie store, and it’s been great. Just keep a brush and some eco-friendly cleaner nearby, because it’s treacherous! Esp. with your showering-in-the-dark thing!

  13. pignolia says:

    The only thing I’ve used on my face for the past year is jojoba oil. I use it to cleanse, remove makeup, and moisturize. My skin has never been happier, and I haven’t had any problems with zits.

    If I need to exfoliate, I’ll use a little organic chamomile tea as a scrub.

    Unfortunately I haven’t found a great hand/body moisturizer that works well. Though a friend of mine swears by organic vegetable shortening.

  14. Courtney says:

    olive oil and honey mixed together can keep on the shelf for a while. Simple enough, but oh so heavenly.

  15. Barb says:

    “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin,” I’ve often heard. Since your skin is your biggest and most absorbant organ, it takes in all the chemicals.

    Washing:
    I use aloe gel (also very healing to spread on any skin burn or irritation). I only use the type you can use internally; it’s very pure. (I get it from the health food store I work at.)

    Face, hand, and body moisturizer:
    I mix about 1/4 cup aloe gel, a few drops vegetable glycerin (to attract and hold moisture. Don’t overdo or it will have a tacky sensation), and 1/2 to 1 tsp avocado oil (nourishing for older skin. I’m 40. Jojoba, apricot, grapeseed or olive oil would work fine.)

    Coconut oil is great for skin and I’ve used that, too. But it tends to feel a bit too slippery sometimes.

    Tea tree oil for pimples, lesions, rashes. I never cut mine with anything, but you can.

    Many fruits or vegetables can make a great skin exfoliant or cleanser due to the hydroxy acids they contain. Cucumber, avocado, papaya, apricots…

    Absolute best thing for skin: drink lots of water, and get your essential fatty acids. Avoid sugar and dairy (although using milk to wash your face is very nice and softening!) Sugar particularly ages skin and there’s a connection between cow’s milk and acne in some people. Goat’s milk is fine for most people.

  16. gettinggreen says:

    Wow! Thanks for all these recipes and advice everyone! Tracy, I’ve tried tea tree oil on my pimples but it doesn’t seem to do much, and Trix, I’ve also tried toothpaste with similarly disappointing results. Both do dry them up somewhat, but I suppose once a zit makes its appearance there’s no coaxing it off stage. And Rhett, I will definitely check out your (or rather Amy’s) beauty tips! (Also, I have no idea how the fine people at Alive mag found me, but they did, and just called me up for an interview, so I honestly don’t know much about self-promotion). I’m interested in this jojoba oil, actually… maybe I’ll start with that and see how it goes.

  17. Asprin is my favorite secret weapon. Dissolve some uncoated aspirin in water, mix into your favorite mask and slap it on for about 15 minutes.

  18. linda says:

    I use only JoJoba oil on my face and hands, and love it! Took a few days to get used to it, and sometimes I need to wipe it off my face after 5 minutes if it doesn’t all absorb. Also, I don’t need to reapply every day and can just give my face a light wash.

    Every other day I use a face-cloth to wash my face, and it’s all I need as a scrub – reuseable, non-disposeable, non-consumeable.

    For the odd PMS zit, I dab on some witch hazel. You could probably find a recipe to make your own into a glass bottle if you want to avoid the regular store-bought stuff.

    Another thing most people don’t think of, if you have dry skin, there’s a good chance you aren’t consuming enough good oils and water. Inner hydration makes a big difference.

    If you want to learn more about simple chemical free living, google “multiple chemical sensitivities” or “environmental illness” and check out some of the resources.
    Folks who can’t use modern concoctions were some of the early “green” goers.

  19. GreenYogini says:

    I’ve also found a great face wash with coconut oil from Desert Essence: http://www.desertessence.com/pages/skincare.html#Facewash. It ranked a 1 in the EWG cosmetics database, and it’s about the only cleanser I’ve found (natural or otherwise) that leaves my skin feeling clean, but neither oily nor dry. :) I also love their clay mask, but I haven’t found a way to purchase that in bulk. I have seen some powdered clay masks, but usually they seem to come in tiny pre-measured packets, which seems to defeat the purpose.

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