My transition towards a more natural lifestyle hasn’t been limited to only what I eat and when. I’ve also changed my beauty routine, which has helped balance my skin and scalp, and saves me tons of money!
It all started when, several years ago, I started getting cystic acne all over my face. I later found out that it was related to an ovarian cyst. I assumed it was because of our polluted food, water, and environment, so I started eating organic and followed a Chinese medicine treatment as well as meditation for a few months, which helped the cyst eventually go away.
Why Acne Products Don’t Work
I decided to start washing my face with natural oils instead of “special acne treatments” that were just making my condition worse. My face was always red and blotchy from the products overdrying and irritating my skin, and I was still full of acne so I had to do something.
“But, Liz, the products are supposed to help your skin, not make it worse!” I know, that’s what I’d believed wholeheartedly ever since puberty slapped me in the face at age 12. The short version is, soaps and cleansers strip your skin of the natural oils that protect it and keep it healthy. We’re supposed to have bacteria on our skin. I know it sounds gross, but that’s just how it is. It took a lot of experimentation and trial and error, but I eventually found the perfect -and very simple- beauty routine!
Oil Cleansing Method
Oil cleansing can work really well, but you have to find the oils that work for you. To do it, you rub oil on your face and then wipe it off gently with a hot washcloth, then tone and add a bit of the same oil for moisturizing (if you feel like you need it).
I started with hemp oil for washing, rose water with lavender for toning, more hemp oil with a bit of tea tree oil for moisturizing, and straight tea tree oil for spot treatments. It definitely made a difference, my face felt more moisturized, less irritated and -though I still had cystic acne since it was an internal issue-, it was less horrible and my face didn’t hurt all the time.
When I moved to Japan, I couldn’t bring hemp oil, so I looked into an alternative and found that pumpkin seed oil was very close to the oil we naturally produce, so I got that for washing. And it worked even better! **Sidenote: I had also moved away from America and was eating clean organic food on the daily in Japan. I’m sure that helped as well.**
Once my hormonal issues settled down, I realized I wasn’t getting cystic acne anymore, but I still had regular pimples and blackheads and such and I wanted them gone. While there was improvement little by little, I wanted my clear face back, ASAP! That’s when my husband chimed in…
Cavewoman Face Washing – Ditch the Facewash!
My husband had a lot of acne as a teenager and would even breakout now and then in his mid-twenties, but somehow, his face was now clear and clean and smooth and I wondered why mine wasn’t.
How do you do it? I asked desperately one day. You don’t even wash your face! It’s not fair!
Him: So, don’t wash your face.
Of course, I still had pimples and scars from everything my face had been through over the last 3 years, so I wore makeup (the mineral kind! that helped too).
But I wear makeup!
Him: So don’t wear makeup!
Me: -_- Easy for you to say, I have to cover this up!
However, as he said those words, I knew it made sense. Of course it did! I had stopped using face products with chemicals in them to avoid putting irritants on my skin, but I’m sure all the tea tree oil was irritating me as well. So I decided to do it. And so I stopped washing my face!
I did wear makeup, only a light layer. It’s mineral makeup so it actually acts as an antibacterial barrier and it can easily be rinsed off with plain water, or just left on for my face oils and bacteria to eat it. (I know, “gross!”, but stay with me).
My face started to feel better, the irritated pimples went away, my scars began to fade, my face just loved its natural state! I used to have an oily face and now I’m as matte as can be! The oils on my face were balanced as they were intended to be.
And because it was getting better and better, I did eventually forsake makeup altogether! I was back to wearing my bare face again! Though I still had some scarring, it was so much better than before, I felt confident without makeup!
Natural Beauty Routine
I only rinse my face (with water only) when I shower, or if I went out and wore makeup. Other than that, I just let my face be au naturel. After rinsing my face and/or after I exfoliate, I pat my face dry and spray rosewater (with a bit of lavender) as a toner; then I apply a neutral, anti-aging serum I came up with, which works best for me. (I’ll list ingredients below).
If my face feels dry (mostly in the winter), I just apply some of my serum or some plain coconut oil, even without rinsing. About once a week, I exfoliate with a Lunatec facecloth. I really recommend it. It lasts forever and it doesn’t collect bacteria! And for those random breakouts, I apply a tiny bit of lavender oil morning and night until it goes away, which is usually pretty quick! If it’s too irritating, you can dilute it with a carrier oil or only use it once a day.
So is there a natural makeup remover?
If I ever wear full makeup to go out or something, I use coconut oil to remove eye makeup, but I only rinse the rest of my face with water. But keep in mind that my powder foundation and blush are mineral; if you wear regular makeup to go out, I suggest using cleansing oils as stated above. (I’ll give you some recipes for that below too!). To be honest, if I’m only wearing a bit of mineral makeup on my face, I just leave it on. Make sure it’s pure minerals though!
Natural Hair Care
Then, I started wondering about the chemicals in shampoos and pore-clogging moisturizing agents in conditioners. I was buying the mild and natural kinds of shampoos with supposed minimal additives, but still. After reaping the benefits of allowing my natural oils and bacteria to thrive on my face, I decided to finally try… dun dun dun… not washing my hair!
That’s right. I don’t wash my hair. Not in the conventional way at least, and not often at all. I knew about the cleansing effects of baking soda (don’t we all) and I learned about the PH balancing effects of apple cider vinegar from all my research on natural face care. So it made sense when I found out that it was possible to stop using shampoo and conditioner and instead use baking soda and ACV to clean your hair. So I did!
Stop Washing Your Hair!
Much like the face products that just make your condition worse by altering the natural state of your face’s population, shampoo overdries your scalp by stripping its natural oils and bacteria, which then requires the use of conditioner to try to balance things out. Except you already overdried your scalp, so now it tries to overcompensate by producing more oil, and then you feel it’s too oily and shampoo again, and… you get the idea.
The important thing to remember is that, really, only your scalp gets oily (mostly because you strip it with shampoo), the rest of your hair is usually clean unless you’ve been in a sandstorm or rolling in the dirt. So you only need to apply the baking soda and ACV to the scalp. Here’s the ratio I use:
- Mix 1-1 baking soda and water in a squeeze bottle with a thin nozzle so you can reach your scalp with it. (Hair dye applicator bottles are perfect for this).
- In a similar bottle, mix 1-1 ACV and water (play with the ratio if it’s too strong or if you feel overly dry afterward. I use a 2-1 ratio with only a third of it being ACV)
- Distribute baking soda mix evenly on scalp and scrub thoroughly with your fingertips (try not to scratch or the ACV will sting!)
- Distribute ACV mix on your scalp, gently massage for a bit. Let it sit for a minute (or don’t, I don’t and it works fine).
- Rinse. Done!
That’s all! Do this on your first day off shampoo. Then, don’t wash your hair for a week. It will get a bit greasy since your scalp will still be producing the amount of oil it has been your whole shampooing life.
After that week, use the baking soda and ACV again up to twice per week for a couple of weeks. After that, you really won’t need to use this process more than once per week, at the most. If you exercise, you may want to cleanse once per week.
“But what about the rest of the days I work out or sweat!?” On those days, I just rinse my hair with plain water. Scrub your scalp like I do with the baking soda but with plain water. And that’s it! I only cleanse fully twice per week.
After a month or two of following this routine, my face cleared up even more! And my hair is super soft, not oily at all (or dry) and I discovered I love my natural waves!
The ACV doesn’t leave a smell so don’t worry about that. And your hair/scalp doesn’t smell bad either while following this routine.
Natural Beauty Routine Conclusions: No Shampoo, No Facewash!
Here are some before and after pictures so you see I’m not exaggerating when I say going natural is the way to go!
Natural is definitely better. My face and scalp are well-balanced, I look young again, my face is clearer than it’s been in ages, the acne I was getting on my back also went away, and I’m saving a LOT of money. EVerything lasts for about 3 months or more and even the “pricey” items aren’t that expensive. In fact, I use iHerb to order my oils and such, use my code (PRJ377) to get a discount!
In the meantime, here are the measurements for my serum and face-cleansing concoctions in case you want to try them:
Natural Beauty Product Recipes
Natural Anti-Aging Skin-Correcting Serum
With a lot of experimentation, I came up with this combination that includes soothing and regenerating carrier oils, as well as essential oils that mimic the effects of Hyaluronic Acid but without making your skin super sensitive to sunlight.
(This is for a 3 oz batch)
1 part almond oil
1 part rosehip seed oil
15 drops lavender oil
10 drops oregano oil
Almond oil has a very low comedogenic rating (it doesn’t clog pores), so it’s a great carrier for those prone to acne. It also has Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, and other things skin loves. The secret ingredient is rosehip seed oil; it includes what almond oil does, plus antioxidants and other things that help lighten dark spots, correct scars and minimize fine lines. Yes! A natural oil does all this! Lavender soothes irritations and blemishes, it’s a natural antibacterial so it keeps bad stuff off your face, and it helps speed up healing. Oregano has many of the same qualities as lavender and rosehip seed, so why not?
Natural Makeup Remover
As I mentioned above, I use simple coconut oil to remove eye makeup. But if you want to remove the makeup from the rest of your face, you may want to try something else. Though not everyone has this problem, coconut oil can actually clog your pores; so here’s what I recommend as a makeup remover if you don’t want to risk it, or if you tried coconut oil and it didn’t quite work out.
Basically, you just mix a non-comedogenic carrier oil with lavender oil, tea tree oil, or peppermint. Now, keep in mind that these essential oils are actually very astringent, which is why they’re good for cleaning stuff off our face. However, if you use too much, you may end up with irritated skin.
You might have to try a few combinations until you find what works for you, but I’ve tried a lot and I am confident that these suggestions will give you good results! I usually mix the oils in a travel size bottle so it’s ready to use whenever I need it.
– Prepare your blend:
- Non-comedogenic carrier oil (Suggestions: Almond, Hemp Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Argan)
- Astringent essential oil (5-10 drops per 2 oz. of carrier oil – Suggestions: lavender oil, tea tree oil, peppermint)
– Get a soft, microfiber washcloth or baby muslin washcloth and warm water ready. Not too hot or you’ll irritate your skin, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
– Warm up the about a teaspoon of the oil blend in your hands by rubbing them together a bit, then apply it on your face without putting too much pressure or being too rough and rub in a circular motion for about 20-30 seconds. Don’t use it on or around your eyes! The essential oils are too irritating for that area.
– Dampen the microfiber washcloth with warm water and use it to remove all the oil and makeup from your face. You’ll have to do a few passes until the cloth looks clean.
– Apply rosewater for toning and moisturize with the same carrier oil you used or with the serum mentioned above.
Remember to wash your washcloth! I recommend using a dye and fragrance-free detergent mixed with a bt of baking soda to get as much of the oil out as possible.
Have you tried this? Are you going to? Let me know if it works out for you. Do you like it? Do you have any changes or adjustments?
Please share in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions!
Stay natural, people!