Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Homemade Beauty

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
True, but sometimes the beholder doesn't see all the work that goes into the finished product. While a small percentage of women roll out of bed looking absolutely fabulous and stunning, most of us require a bit more work to get that way.
First comes the cleansing, then the toning, followed by the moisturising. Then there is the makeup application, the hair management (how do eyebrows sprout up overnight like that?), the hair styling, the finishing, the spraying.
And what exactly are we putting on and into our bodies by using all of these products on a daily basis? A lot of chemicals, some dye, fragrance and a lot of artificial crap.
If you have ever wondered where your moisturizer ends up after it seeps into your skin, or how those long-lasting lipsticks stay on your lips so long, or just what are all of these ingredients that we can't pronounce in these jars of potions and powders, I encourage you to borrow "Drop Dead Gorgeous", by Kim Erikson, from your local library. (This book is also available through my "Green Lending Library--see left sidebar for more info).
These book changed my beauty routine for good. Did you know, for instance, that some ingredients which the United States allows in beauty products have been banned in many European countries? And have you ever thought about transdermal medication patches like Nicoderm and pain patches? How do these medicines get into our system? Through the skin, our bodies largest organ. If medication can enter our system through the skin, where are all of these lotions and other beauty products ending up?
But don't worry--the book is certainly not all doom and gloom. Ms. Erikson offers many great resources for making your own beauty products as well as a comprehensive list of companies which use natural ingredients in their products.
Here are a few of my favorite natural beauty products to get you started. You should have most in the kitchen cupboard.
Baking Soda: Excellent at removing product buildup in the hair. Mix with shampoo at about a 1 to 2 part ratio (1 part soda to 2 parts shampoo) and shampoo as usual. Leaves the hair light and fluffy. Also works wonderfully as a deodorant. Sprinkle some in your hand and dust your underarms.
Oatmeal: Whiz up in the blender until just broken and store in your bathroom cupboard. Is an excellent, moisturizing exfoliant and very gentle on the skin. Mix into a paste by adding water to some oatmeal in your hand and rub over face. (Stand over the sink as it can be a little messy.) Rinse off and check out the glow.
Almond Oil: The most wonderful moisturizer I've ever used. Use 2-3 drops on your face after washing and massage into the skin. This is a light oil and will absorb quickly. Additionally, use as an all-over body moisturizer. Last year I went through a bottle during winter and it was the first time I didn't suffer from dry, itchy winter skin. (It's rumored that Jackie Kennedy used Almond Oil as her facial moisturizer.)
NOTE: I should confess here and now that I'm not a completely "natural" girl. I still haven't found a great eyeliner or mascara which is natural and will stay in place. I have switched to all mineral face makeup though (powder/blush), and lip gloss. Anyone have any great natural eye makeup sources to share?

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