Inspired by Tafline’s rueful post on skin care, Miriam offers 5 easy and totally natural ways to keep your face shining.
Think of people you love – is it the light in their eyes, or the way they smile, that warms your heart, or is it their perfect appearance? Right, it’s their human beauty and warmth, not a resemblance to some fashion model. Still, everyone wants to look well. Here are some tips for preserving your natural beauty naturally.
1. Keep your skin clean, but never use commercial soap on your face. Most commercial bath soaps are really detergents. Buy handcrafted natural soap. Nowadays you can find handmade soap in drugstores and supermarkets as well as in health food stores.
Or use brown sugar for a gentle scrub that will clean but not dry or damage your skin: take a teaspoon of brown sugar in your damp hand and gently rub it all over your wet face and neck. The grains roll any dirt or grease out and the minerals in the dissolving sugar clean and nourish your skin. This is best done in the shower.
For oily skin and acne, you may use the sugar scrub twice a week. People with dry skin may do this once weekly. Those with delicate or damaged skin should not scrub, but should wipe their face with a soft cloth soaked in warm herbal tea or oatmeal water: 1 tsp. oatmeal in 1 cup water – boiled briefly, strained, and applied warm, not hot.
2. Treat your skin to a stimulating mask with once a week. Mix1 tablespoon honey with 1 tablespoon mashed avocado, banana, or finely-grated apple. For oily skin, add 1 tablespoon yogurt or kefir and a thick slice of cucumber. For very dry skin, blend 2 tablespoons almond, jojoba, or good olive oil with 2 tablespoons mashed fruit – avocado is especially good.
Apply to face and neck . Sit down with your feet up for 20 minutes. The mask will dry and you will feel it tighten. Rinse off carefully with warm water and pat your skin dry. Again, this is most practical just before a shower.
3. Use only warm water on the skin, never hot. Hot water dries the skin out and makes wrinkles. Forage for skin-friendly flowers to make a tonic facial rinse: purple mallow flowers, orange marigolds, yellow sow-thistle flowers and all yellow wild flowers except for mustard. Pick the flowers in season (now is the time in the Middle East) and dry them for future use. If that’s not realistic for you, use chamomile tea bags or buy your herbs from the health food store.
4. As Tafline pointed out, drinking enough water is essential to flexible, healthy skin. Boost your water power by drinking at least one cup of demulcent tea made with one of these wild herbs: plantain leaves, mallow leaves, hollyhock leaves, chickweed. Ratios are 1 tablespoon chopped herb to 1 cup boiling water. Cover and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
5. Eliminate regularly. Lack of sleep, a hangover, or constipation inevitably lead to dingy skin. One advantage to the herbal teas recommended above is that they provide slippery demulcent properties that soothe the digestive track and keep you regular.
And a bonus tip: Always, always moisturize. Learn to make your own natural lotions – there are hundreds of sites that teach how – or use plain almond or olive oil in a pinch. Commercial moisturizers promise all kinds of miraculous improvements, but they inevitably have preservatives and fillers that don’t do you any favors in the end. Good-quality oil – a few drops rubbed into your moist face – will protect and moisturize just as well, even if it doesn’t smell as glamorous. Whichever way you choose, never expose your face to sun or wind without protective moisturizer on it.
Things you should know about commercial skin products:
Photo of skin cream by sunshinecity via Flicker.
Miriam also blogs at Israeli Kitchen.