As I may have mentioned before, I've been working on embracing a more natural and holistic lifestyle over the past couple of months. I started seeing a naturopathic doctor back in August, and she's really inspired me to do the work necessary to get my mind, body, and soul back on track and in sync.
After dealing with an uncommon series of breakouts, I started looking into natural skin care options. For quite some time, I had been following the OCM (oil cleansing method), but fell off and got lazy with my skin care. With my habit of washing my face with any old thing in the shower, moisturizing inconsistently, and living life in the super-stressed lane, it's no wonder I started breaking out in ways that haven't occurred since puberty. I'm proud to say that I haven't fallen asleep with makeup on in years - but that was really the only thing I could pat myself on the back about. My skin care routine was tragic, and needed a complete 180.
After reading and hearing about the wonders of black soap, I received a bottle from Love Thy HNS - an online beauty and hair boutique based in Montreal. The first thing that amazed me about the Alaffia African Black Soap was that it got every single stitch of makeup off of my face without leaving me feeling like I lost a layer of skin. My natural makeup remover staple has been coconut oil, but I found that the black soap alone did the trick amazingly.
The Alaffia African Black Soap is created from a saponification process including shea butter, West African palm oil, and ashes - and also contains African mint and other citrus essential oils. I love the tingly feeling that the mint adds, and appreciate the fact that the black soap doesn't give me that OHMAHGAWMYFACEISTIGHTENINGUP feeling 5 minutes out the shower.
After washing with my black soap, I splash my face with the coldest water I can tolerate to tighten my pores back up - then to moisturize, I use grapeseed oil. I learned that my skin LOVES grapeseed oil when I started the OCM, so I made sure to get back on it when I re-launched my new and improved skin care routine. Grapeseed oil is extremely light, and has astringent and antioxidant properties as well. Because I have oily skin, a lot of people wonder why I would put MORE oil on my face to moisturize. My chemistry days reminded me that oil dissolves oil, therefore the grapeseed helps to dissolve any excess oils in my skin - and also tricks my skin into thinking it's sufficiently moisturized, therefore eliminating the need to overproduce oil.
I'm back to incorporating my cane sugar scrub into my repertoire, but my new natural skin care BFF is honey. Let me explain.
I've started using honey as a super-simple weekly mask (major thanks to @jchiron18 on Twitter!):
- Splash face with warm water to open pores
- Rub honey over face
- Let honey sit for about 30 minutes - it'll set and get very sticky
- After approx. 30 minutes, massage your skin in circular motions - you'll feel like you're pulling your skin off, but keep at it!
- Massage your entire face for a few minutes, then rinse with water
Voilà! Baby-booty soft skin!
Honey is an amazing humectant, which means it draws and binds water from the air into your skin - hello, moisture! Honey also has great antibacterial properties, so using it as a spot treatment for pimples is highly effective. If you're anything like me, you KNOW you've gone to bed with a spot or two of toothpaste on your face, trying to zap a blemish before it gets worse. Toothpaste will dry that sucker out, but will also dry your skin out in general. Honey will do the trick by killing the bacteria that causes blemishes to flourish, but will moisturize your skin at the same time. If you want happy skin, not angry skin - get some honey in your life!
So far, so good! While I'm still solely responsible for managing my stress and the physical effects it brings, I can definitely see the improvement since I got back on track with my regimen. Black soap + grapeseed oil + cane sugar + honey = great skin for Bee! Give it a try, and see how it works for you!
Do you have any natural skin care tricks? Share in the comments section!