If you’re ready to try a more natural alternative with ingredients you can actually pronounce, check out our guide to a natural skincare routine below. We show you some natural alternatives for your daily ritual, many of which you can find in your pantry.
Know your skin type
Just like with any normal skincare routine, it’s important to understand your individual skin type. This will affect what kind of agents you need to keep your skin looking healthy. Depending on if you have oily, dry or combination skin, you will need more or less moisture in some areas and you may want to avoid certain ingredients. Check out our guide to skin types, and identify yours before getting started. The good thing with a natural skincare routine is that a lot of irritations that can occur from conventional skincare products that use harsh detergent sand fragrances won’t be an issue. This will often prevent many breakouts or rashes from occurring.
Cleansing the skin removes sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night.
Natural alternatives: While it may feel counterintuitive to use oil as a cleanser, many of the best natural facial cleanser options are natural oils. We may think that oil will simply clog our skin more, but using oils actually helps dissolve the built-up oils in our pores. Our skin naturally produces oil to help hydrate, seal and protect our skin. Many conventional cleansers strip our skin of its natural oils, leaving our skin to overcompensate and produce more oil in return. By using natural oils as a way to remove the skin of hardened impurities, we are cleaning while hydrating.
Use a small amount (about the size of a quarter) of high-quality coconut oil or olive oil. Gently massage your face for about 30 seconds, then use a warm towel to open up your pores and wait another 15-30 seconds before patting off the oil with a washcloth. You can also cleanse with about ½ a teaspoon of raw honey, which has natural antibacterial properties and provides your skin with rich moisture.
Toning is an important step in your skincare routine that can also be accomplished with natural products. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any makeup or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturizer while minimizing the appearance of pores.
Natural alternatives: There are many naturally occurring astringents that can produce the same effects as your drug store toner. Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic properties and contains malic acid that helps keep your skin pH, which can be easily disrupted by stress, the foods we eat and more, balanced. Using apple cider vinegar alone can be harsh on your skin, so Noelle Tarr, CertifiedNutritional Therapist behind the blog Coconuts and Kettlebells, recommends diluting the vinegar-based on your skin type:
For sensitive skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water
For normal skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water
For oily skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water
Rosewater, lemon juice, and tomato juice can also act as effective natural toner alternatives. The website, Natural Beauty Tips, has some recipes you can try.
Moisturizing provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth, luminous appearance. Humans have been moisturizing their skin with natural fats and oils for thousands of years and there are many proven natural moisturizers that can help maintain dewy skin throughout the day.
Natural alternatives: Shea butter, avocado butter, and cocoa butter are great natural alternatives to conventional moisturizers. The plant-based fatty oils present in these naturally occurring butters can protect the skin and lock moisture in. All you need to do is apply small amounts to your skin as you would a normal moisturizer to unlock their benefits. Natural oils are another moisturizing option, and they can be just as effective for moisturizing as they are for cleansing. Avocado oil, sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil, and others act as powerful hydrators. Although coconut oil has recently been widely praised as the best natural moisturizer, it should be noted that this oil has a higher comedogenic rating (a rating that indicates an oil’s tendency to clog pores and cause acne) than other oils. Pay attention to comedogenic ratings to find the best oil for your skin type.
Also important to note: choose oils that are virgin or cold-pressed to ensure you are receiving the oil’s full nutritional properties. Oils that are virgin or cold-pressed haven’t been tampered with or processed, making them closest to their raw, natural state.
Exfoliating is an excellent way to remove dead skin and clear out pores. An exfoliator helps stimulate skin cells and circulation, giving your complexion a rosier look. Most experts agree that exfoliating two to three times a week is sufficient, more than that and you can damage your skin.
Natural alternatives: Luckily, there are many natural exfoliating alternatives to help slough off dead skin cells. Some of the best options include oatmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and ground almonds. These exfoliates can be mixed with essential oils, honey, yogurt, and other natural ingredients to add moisturizing, antiseptic and nourishing benefits. Make your own DIY facial scrub recipes using these alternatives.
As with all things, finding what works for your skin is key. Experiment with different natural ingredients until you land on a mix and routine that suits your skin’s unique qualities.