Homegrown Skincare: DIYs to Make the Days Go By
When most of us think of purchasing skincare products, we think $$.
Every year, luxury cosmetic brands make a fortune selling various “must have” items, claiming that they’ll help us achieve perfect complexions.
However, what they don’t always tell you is that many of the benefits found in their products can also be found right where you are: at home!
As we’re all woefully aware, this is a perfect time to try out some new DIY beauty tips (along with continuing to wash our hands, stay inside, and maintain a steady routine).
If your endeavors are more personal care-oriented, though, we’ve got you covered: in the spirit of skipping any non-essential store visits, now’s a good time to look around the house for homemade remedies in lieu of products that you’d normally go out and buy.
On top of helping to “prevent the spread”, you’ll also give your bank account a break, which isn’t such a bad idea, given the current economic climate.
Whatever the reason is for you to seek crafty home remedies, here’s a few basics to get you going.
Baths: one of our favorite go-tos when it comes to getting some seriously simple R&R.
The ever-popular bath bomb, made famous by brands such as Lush, provides brilliantly vibrant patterns in the tub (we also have a sneaking suspicion that they were invented specifically for Boomerang-ing, but that’s for another article).
Will your ability to chill be affected if you don’t have one handy, though? Absolutely not!
With benefits like relieving skin inflammation and irritation, a calming salt bath is a great replacement for traditional bath additives, helping to soothe both your nerves & your skin. Particularly in cases of eczema, 1 cup of table salt in a warm bath will aid in preventing stinging when you bathe (1). You’ll want to make sure and soak for 20 minutes for best results.
Along with table salt, epsom salt is the most common and a popular pick, although not as accessible in all cases. You may even find that himalayan salt is useful, if you have some available; use this in the same proportion as table salt.
Much like your natural oil secretion, aka sebum, your household oils can provide a quick hydration boost when you’re in need.
This won’t work with just any oil off of your shelf, though - olive and coconut oil are your best bet, due to their natural contents and gentle effect on your skin.
Olive oil in particular contains vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols, which are all plant fats that help moisturize (2). Good for the face and body, you can even use it as a base for a simple sugar scrub! Mix ½ cup of granulated sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil as an easy scrub recipe, for example.
No olive oil handy? Try coconut oil - specifically the unrefined version - which is also chock full of vitamin E. Since it’s created using the actual coconut meat, it’s one of the most natural options (you can also tell if this is the case if it’s described as “virgin” or “extra virgin” on the label).
Good for full-face coverage* or for a spot treatment (the latter being highly recommended for those with oily or combination skin moods), coconut oil is even gentle enough to use on those sensitive areas like your under eyes and lips (3). As with any moisturizer, be sure not to overdo it, and wipe away any excess oil using a soft towel.
Chapped hands due to an uptick in handwashing? Warm a bit of coconut oil between your palms until it liquifies, then gently rub your hands together to absorb the liquid all over. If you also stocked up on germ-preventing items, you can even add an extra layer of hydrating protection by wearing non-latex gloves for a bit afterwards.
Working/on your feet more than usual these days? This method works well for dry, cracked heels as well.
*Coconut oil, and oils in general, may not be for everyone; if your skin is more of an oily mood, they may clog your pores and create blackheads & breakouts. Of course, if you have a nut allergy of any kind, exercise extreme caution when trying these home remedies on any part of your body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Arguably the most controversial topic on the list, apple cider vinegar or “ACV” makes the list mostly for myth-busting purposes: like, can it really prevent hair loss?
What about stubborn dandruff?
And can it help us achieve “The Rachel” or “Joey” coifs of our dreams?
Popular belief around the DIY beauty community would have us saying a resounding “Y-e-s!”.
Sadly, after careful research, the short answer is: no.
After diving deeper, most of what we were able to find in terms of “benefits” was anecdotal, meaning they are claims only - not scientifically backed. It appears that there is little to no proven information behind apple cider vinegar’s ~cure-all~ hair care claims.
Alternatively, if you take it upon yourself to research, you may find some beauty blogs that highly regard ACV when it comes to the at-home treatment of flaky scalp and psoriasis; even going so far as to suggest that it stimulates hair growth.
However, due to our personal commitment to provide only science-based solutions, we simply cannot present this as such.
Be that as it may, and much like our social distancing efforts actually working, we were able to identify a few small glimmers of hope: for one, apple cider vinegar does help remove stubborn product buildup, often left behind by our shampoos and conditioners. Yay, science!
To create an apple cider vinegar hair rinse:
- Mix 3-5 tablespoons of ACV with water
- After you shampoo/condition, pour the rinse over your head and evenly distribute
- Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then rinse
NOTE: If you’ve never smelled apple cider vinegar before, it’s… pungent. If the scent is too strong for you, and you have some handy, try adding a few drops of essential oils to soften the blow. :)
The key to using ACV on your body: dilute, dilute, dilute. It’s highly recommended that you don’t add more than 5 tablespoons of it to your mixture, and that you rinse thoroughly to prevent potential scalp irritation. You’ll also want to avoid any contact with your eyes. If scalp irritation occurs, don’t worry - it should clear up within a few days!
If you have an item or two to spare
With grocery stores running out of essentials and families already struggling to purchase food as it is, we didn’t feel that it was right to list all of the items that you can use on your body/face as “basics”.
Nonetheless, if you are fortunate enough to spare a few groceries for your DIY efforts, here’s the rundown on a few more dual-purpose staples:
Although avocado oil is more commonly researched (6), avocados are still a popular purchase for at-home aficionados. They can make great face masks when combined with honey, olive oil, or egg whites.
Great for a healthy breakfast, also great for wiping away dead skin! This can act as an exfoliant and hydrator, making it one of the better at-home scrub options.
Not to make this all about your face, but many of these offerings do fall under the same category, with yogurt being no exception. Studies suggest it can add moisture, brighten skin, and even your skin tone (5). Pair it with oatmeal to up your DIY face mask game!
The most disposable of the list, old coffee grounds can be mixed with coconut oil to create an effective exfoliating body scrub while you shower. Although, don’t say we didn’t warn you about the mess afterwards…
Before you start
Let us remind you that all of these are suggestions, even if science does back their beneficial factors.
Set aside a few minutes of playtime this week to experiment with what you have available in your household. Bon appetit!
Written by Adrianne Neal