Up until this year, greening my beauty routine with all-natural, homemade products made out of bananas, honey, and other gooey stuff was out of the question. I’m Maria Rainier, a self professed geek and tech girl. I blog about online schools and spend half my time working on computers and websites. I’m comfortable with complicated things like computers and hard to pronounce product ingredients. Those chemicals were invented and put in a bottle for a reason, weren’t they? Because they worked! I’d already suffered bad skin in high school—there was no way I was going back to that, not even for Mother Earth.
As it turns out, it took a proverbial slap in the face for me to begrudgingly go green. At the request of a friend majoring in environmental science across the pond, I read up on the ingredients of the items in my beauty regimen: facial soaps, creams, shampoos, whatever. Aside from the fact that each product is wrapped in about thirty layers of packaging (more waste in the landfill that won’t biodegrade for centuries), beauty products regularly contain phthalates, formaldehyde, parabens, and other chemicals that cause harm to lab animals during testing and which Europe is calling quits in favor of less toxic ingredients. Prenatal exposure to phthalates has been connected in research with liver, kidney, and reproductive system damage. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen, contributing to risk of breast cancer.
Okay, I figured, but I’ve been using this stuff for most of my life and I’m healthy-ish. Studies indicate, however, that later complications in life like certain cancers and obesity can trace factors to the chemicals in the foods we eat, the products we put on our skin, and even the air we breathe. Damage doesn’t occur overnight—the chemicals in question are stored in the fat cells in our bodies and may only cause harm after years of use.
Begrudgingly, I began weaning my sensitive skin off of beauty products—some of which I’ve used for the past ten years—in lieu of products I began making at home. The change, made slow enough, was effective, and none of the recipes were difficult to whip up. Over the course of a year, I have eliminated most store-bought products from my bathroom and saved literally hundreds of dollars (not kidding–$10 face wash adds up over 12 months, not to mention shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, and the like).
Try these homemade green beauty recipes yourself, instead of spending big money on trips to the salon or spa in 2011 and see how much money you save and how beautiful being green can be. Check out more recipes online.
Oatmeal and Onion Face Mask for Acneic Skin
Ew, I know, but oatmeal clears clogged pores and onion juices are anti-inflammatory, so they’ll shrink existing acne and help remove scars over time and semi-regular use. This recipe will make enough for 8 applications, but use them all up in a week because it won’t keep for any longer; keep refrigerated.
Boil 1 oz purified water over 3 tbsp plain organic oatmeal and let it sit for five minutes. Meanwhile, puree 1 peeled, medium onion in a food processor. Add the onion puree to the oatmeal while the latter is still warm. Put it on your face when it’s warm (not hot) to touch; add honey or green clay if you find that it runs off your face.
Lemon Egg-white Mask for Tightening and Toning
Beat together an egg white and juice from half a lemon (strained) for 3 minutes and apply to face. Don’t get any in your eyes—lemon juice stings! Leave the mixture on your face for 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
Mayonnaise/Baby Oil Dry Skin Mask
Combine 2 tbsp real mayonnaise with 1 tsp baby oil and apply to face, neck, rough elbows, and knees, and anywhere else the winter hasn’t been too kind. Leave for 20 minutes and rinse off with water.
Apple Cider Vinegar/Green Tea Toner
In a clean glass bottle, put in three parts freshly brewed (and cooled) green tea with one part organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Apply to a cotton ball and dab sparingly over face; the vinegar gets rid of impurities (the smell goes away when it dries) while green tea is packed with antioxidants, which will slow the aging of your skin.
Honey/Avocado Hair Revitalizer
Peel and stone 1 avocado and mash it in a small bowl with 2 tbsp honey. Massage it into your hair, using your fingers to massage your scalp and relax the built-up tension there. Slap on a shower cap and leave it in for 20-30 minutes and wash hair as usual.
Take out all the harmful chemicals from your hair routine by making your own shampoo. The liquid castile soap will make sure all impurities are removed while the aloe vera gel and essential oils maintain moisture. It won’t lather initially as much as you’re used to, but if you apply it directly to your scalp and begin massaging, the bubbles will come.
Put in an old shampoo bottle:
¼ cup distilled water
¼ liquid castile soap (some come with essential oils already added to add scent and moisture)
3 tbsp aloe vera gel
½ teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil
Shake up the ingredients and use like any other shampoo.
More homemade beauty products:
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