Holistic Skin Care Staples

skin care essentials Over the last two years or so, I have made big efforts to detoxify my life of things that were physically, mentally or emotionally weighing me down, so to speak. One of the most exciting and satisfying things I have done is a complete overhaul of my beauty and hygiene routine. I remember when I was in high school, one of my favorite things to do was going to Walgreens to load up on all sorts of cremes, cleansers and 'miracle products.' I would literally spend close to one hundred dollars everytime I went on things that I thought would give me better hair, skin and nails. Unfortunatly, my skin continued to breakout, my hair was a dry mess from hot tools and my nails were weak and brittle. What I have learned through the years is that your skin, hair and nails are a reflection of your inner health. Through my health and wellness journey, I've enjoyed going back to basics, especially with my beauty routine. Here are my favorite holisitic skin care staples.

Is your hair brittle and thin? Maybe you need to be incorporating more healthy fats into your diet. Are you struggling with acne? You couldbe intolerant to something you are eating or your hormones could be out of balance. I have learned through trial and error. It also didn't happen over night. After three years following the nutrient dense paleo diet and over six months following the autoimmune protocol, I finally feel at peace with my skin, hair and nails. While my skin is glowing and acne free these days, I still treat it extremely well by eating skin super foods like fermented vegetables and gelatin rich bone broths. I also take great care to protect my skin from the sun, although it isn't too hard of a task in Portland, Oregon. Lastly, I have ditched all of the Walgreens wonder products for more effective and truly beautifying, age-old products that help keep my skin clear, soft and glowing. A couple of years ago, I implemented the oil cleansing method for cleansing my face, which really changed the texture of my skin for the better. You can read all about the oil cleansing method here.

JOJOBA OIL | a bright and golden liquid oil with properties that are very similar to our own skin's sebum makes this oil a fabulous choice for oil cleansing, moisturizing and removing makeup. I use jojoba oil in both my morning and nightime routines. For my daytime moistruizer, I use 3-5 drops of the oil with 3 sprays of rose water. I combine both in the palm of my hand and then gently pat it on my face—taking extra care to be gentle with my skin. Give it 5-10 minutes to absorb into your skin before applying makeup, if using. Make sure to buy organic, unrefined jojoba oil if possible. At night, I use jojoba oil to remove makeup and to oil cleanse. I apply 5-8 drops of the oil onto the tips of my fingers and then gently move my finger tips in a circular motion around my face. This helps to promote circulation (think of it like a mini massage) and encourages the dirt you've accumulated during the day to loosen from your pores. After 2-3 minutes, I run a washcloth under warm water and then gently use the wash cloth to remove the oil from my face and lightly pat dry with a soft towel.

ROSE WATER | a beautifully fragrant natural facial toner hydrates your skin and helps lessen inflammation. I love using this combined with my jojoba oil as a light moistruizer or on its own as a facial toner. To apply as a toner, I pour a little bit on a cotton pad and use it all over my face. I have found that if you have sensitive skin or any signs of red inflammation, rose water does wonders. Witch hazel is another option that I absolutely love to use as a toner and deeper face cleanser. Just pour a little bit on a cotton pad and use it all over your face to remove dirt and tone the skin. I usually use witch hazel at night, before washing my face to remove any surface layer dirt.

ARGAN OIL | this oil has become very popular over the last couple of years thanks to its amazing moistruizing properties. It comes from Morocco where it is used both internally and topically. This is one of my favorite oils, but do note that it is heavier than jojoba oil and does not sink into the skin as easily, which is why I like to use it as an overnight treatment.  At night, after cleansing my skin with witch hazel and then jojoba oil, I moisturize my skin with argan oil. To use, put 3-5 drops on your finger dips and lightly press oil into your skin.

RAW HONEY | one of my absolute favorite beauty weapons is raw honey; it is an all around miracle for your skin. It is highly-moistruizing, great for those with sensitive or acne prone skin and helps to remove toxic build-up in your skin without harming the natural oils. Cleopatra is rumored to have taken baths in honey because of the amazing healing properties. Honey mask: pour or scoop approximately 1 tablespoon of honey onto your fingertips and then spread onto your skin. It may help to use some water to help smooth the honey onto your skin. Leave mask on for 10-15 minutes and then gently remove with a water wash cloth. Follow up with either jojoba oil or argan oil. Use 1-3 times a week.

CLAY MASK | a staple in cultures all over the world, clay masks help to detoxify your skin. For those with particularly oily or acne prone skin, masks can be particularly helpful. I have found that my skin prefers green or white clays, which are a bit more forgiving and gentle on the skin. I like to use a clay based mask at least once a week. Amazon sells green, white, red and bentonite clay in bulk, which is a great, cost-effective option. Use 1-2 times a week.

LIP BALM | having moistruized and soft lips is something that is important to me. I find that if my lips are dry and crackled, I am more likely to pick at them, so I just prefer to be proactive and protect my lips. Of course there are a million different lip balms and chapsticks out there, but note the ingredients next time you pick one up in the grocery line.; it should have a few ingredients: jojoba oil/coconut oil/shea butter, beeswax, vitamin e, maybe an essential oil. The list shouldn't be longer than eight ingredients. Protect your lips!