Happy Chinese New Year! If the winter is wrecking havoc on your skin and hair, the New Year is a great time to change your beauty routine! Here are a couple of my favorite all natural cosmetic tips to help rejuvenate your skin and hair.
Many people only use sunscreen in the spring and summer months, or when they are going to be outside for long periods of time. I suggest using sunscreen year round, even if you are only going outside for a minute or two! The majority of aging is due to sun damage, so use it daily and start using sunscreen when you are young!
I don’t recommend most commercial brands of sunscreens since many of the synthetic chemicals in these brands are potentially irritating or potentially toxic, or they contains a lot of fillers. I suggest using a natural based brand, since they usually use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and contain little to no fillers. Most natural brands double as moisturizers and contain a lot of good ingredients for your skin. Zinc oxide is an effective full spectrum sunscreen. Titanium dioxide is pretty effective too, but not as effective as zinc oxide. Try to get a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based sunscreen that isn’t made with nano-sized particles.
Most people are super busy so may not have much time to spend on skin and hair care. One reason I love natural ingredients and products is that many of them are multi-tasking. Most plant ingredients used in skin and hair care have many different properties, so it is possible to use only one or a few ingredients to meet your beauty needs.
A great example of a multi-tasking ingredient is a carrier oil! If you find a carrier oil your skin and hair loves, you can use the same carrier oil for many different uses. Some uses include sealing in moisture, removing makeup, cleansing the skin, deep conditioning the hair, as a base for perfumes, as an antioxidant, for its fatty acid and vitamin content, or to use for many different skin issues. Many oils are good for balancing oily, dry, or dehydrated skin, or for conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea. Some oils can be used for all of the above purposes, while others can only be used for a few tasks. I recommend using cold pressed, unrefined or expeller pressed, unrefined oils.
I love using virgin, organic, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil. I use it on my body to help seal in moisture. I use it as a deep conditioner for the hair. I often recommend it as a spot treatment for acne. My mom loves using it on her face instead of creams! I have used it in perfumes: virgin, pressed, unrefined coconut oil smells delicious and adds a fruity, tropical back note to products. It is very nourishing for the skin. Plus I use coconut oil in cooking and baking too! (Please note: not every carrier oil is food grade). I add coconut oil to a lot of other products when formulating. Oils have so many amazing uses!
Another multi-tasking ingredient: hydrosol. Hydrosols can be used for many purposes. All of them hydrate and are acidic, so they can rebalance the pH of your skin. They are effective toners. All of them have their own properties too. Some of them are slightly astringent, but non-drying. Others are soothing since it is thought they have anti-inflammatory properties, so those hydrosols are perfect for irritated skin. A few are high in natural antioxidants. Many aromatherapists use certain hydrosols for their anti-aging properties. Many are excellent to use on different skin types and conditions.
One of my favorite hydrosols is rosewater. Rosewater is excellent for all skin types, especially dry, mature, and sensitive skin. But many young people and those with oily skin love it too! It is very balancing and slightly astringent. Aromatherapist and hydrosol pioneer Suzanne Catty recommends it for anti-aging, moodiness, and pms! I use hydrosols as toners and misters, and in products like cleansers, hair rinses, masks, scrubs, lotions, moisturizers, serums, and more!
Skin Care And Aromatherapy Links:
My green and white tea recipes for Chinese New Year! http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/811-eco-living-white-and-green-tea-infusion-and-tea-flower-mask
An Eco Living article explaining the differences between carrier oils, water based ingredients, and moisturizers. http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/70-other-topics/261-eco-living-all-natural-moisturizers
My recipe for a deep conditioning hot oil hair treatment! http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/817-eco-living-deep-conditioning-hot-oil-hair-treatment
Many natural ingredients are excellent for acne, including coconut oil. http://allnaturalbeauty.us/ani67.htm
My Eco Living and DIY article on sunscreens and sunscreen ingredients. http://www.anbportal.com/absolutenm/templates/?a=1025&z=126
An Eco Living article on a few ingredients for winter skin care. http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/575-eco-living-ingredients-for-winter-skin-care
My article on natural autumn and winter skin care routines. http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/118-eco-living-all-natural-autumn-and-winter-skincare
From my eco blog: what are carrier oils, hydrosols, and essential oils? http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/2006/03/carrier-oils-essential-oils-hydrosols.html
The Aromatic Plant Project is a wonderful resource on all things aromatic. Here is their page on hydrosols. It’s a non-profit, founded by aromatherapy pioneer Jeanne Rose. http://www.aromaticplantproject.com/hydrosols.html
My eco blog post on choosing carrier oils for your skin type. http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/2006/03/carrier-oils-for-specific-skin-types.html
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
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