When I talk about All Natural beauty, I mean the kind that tends to involve DIY-ing your own face scrubs, face masks, moisturisers, cleansers, toners…pretty much anything that can be smeared on your face that you might find in your kitchen, if you are stocked well enough. These kinds of masks used to feature a lot in magazines and blogs, and were meant to be a bit of fun, something creative and cheaper in the spur of the moment than going out and buying something “to do the same thing”.

Bella Thorne has caused uproar and division (when hasn’t she?) when she walked us all through her beauty routine on Harper’s Bazaar’s “Go To Bed With Me” series, because her routine involved using a lemon/sugar/olive oil scrub *daily*, and occasionally a coconut oil/honey/cherries or avocado mask, both homemade, both washed off. The cognitive dissonance in what she is saying and what she is doing to her skin is quite something to behold in that video.
You can clearly see my opinion on natural beauty at this point, however that’s not to say that you can’t or that you shouldn’t create and use it, or that all “All Natural” beauty is bad – because, as usual, it’s all shades of grey, based on your own skincare needs and how your skin reacts to each product, ingredient and formula.
I’ve been thinking about this for the last week, and asked myself:

If I were going to create my own All Natural beauty routine, how would I do it?

I have plenty of friends who are keen on All Natural products and skincare, and there’s SO MUCH misinformation, misunderstandings, and politik around it (because it largely is about worldviews and opinions, as with everything these days!) that I want to give a starting point to consider, for all of you who are serious about this, so that you can use it safely and get the most out of it all.
Above all – you’re an adult, so do whatever you want to your skin.

All I ask is that you research what you are doing for your own skin safety, and please consider these points as a place to start:

1 – Pick Your Ingredients Carefully And Know The Effect Of Each Ingredient On Your Skin.

For example: let’s say you wanted to create a brightening mask, so you’ll want to use ingredients rich in vitamin C (vitamin C bleaches your skin to even out hyper-pigmentation and your overall skin tone) – juiced lemons or limes, crushed kiwis/strawberries/blueberries/grapes. In natural crushed or squeezed states like this, you’ve got an extremely powerful ingredient. You might think that powerful is a good thing – but that actually means “unstable ingredient” and “known to irritate scars and sensitise skin”.
Or let’s talk about home-made scrubs: sugar, salt, crushed nut shells, rolled oats and other grains – these all have microscopic jagged edges, and when you scrub it against your skin, it often creates irregular micro-tears on it.
Let me confess right away – I love a good, gentle physical scrub once in a while. I probably only do it once a month at this point because I only do it when I feel a build up of flakey skin, and even then I only do if after I have had a moisturising face mask on (to soften the flakey skin ready to be rubbed off). That’s probably the only time when some skincare experts would recommend it, although many would rather you use other AHAs or BHAs to do the job instead and forego all physical scrubs for the face. Again, the choice is yours.
However – oat milk, rice milk, honey: all are wonderful for softening and moisturising your face, and I have sometimes splashed my face with oatmilk for moisturising and softening my skin, and adding it to the body soaps I create for home use.
Just remember to carefully research your ingredients and what you’re planning to use, and know WHY you’re planning on using that ingredient.

2 – When You Make Your Formula, USE IT IMMEDIATELY – DO NOT STORE IT!

Your formulas are almost certainly going to have water or some form of liquid in it, and if you’re using fruits or sugar, that means you’re creating a safe haven for bacteria to thrive – sugars speed up the growth of bacteria. Every time you dip your fingers into your mixture, you are introducing bacteria to your formula. Simply exposing it to the air will introduce bacteria to it.  If you store it for another day, your formula will cultivate bacteria, which you are then smearing onto your face.
If you created a face scrub using ingredients like ugar, salt, crushed nut shells, rolled oats and other grains, that means that you’re creating microtears in your skin AND the bacteria from the same tub is being smeared across your face *into those new scars*.  In Bella Thorne’s case, she’s then dousing her face with lemon juice, which is also seeping into those microtears and must be causing all kinds of irritations.
Again, think about the ingredients you’re using, how are they going to work together?
One notable benefit of buying skincare products instead of making them is that they have preservative systems in them that ensures the product is safer for much, much longer, so that you can use them again and again up until you either use them up or they go “off” (in other words, the preservative system has broken down due to time or exposure to air/bacteria).
And by the way – storing your formula in the fridge only slows down bacterial growth, it doesn’t stop it, and you’re also introducing the bacteria that’s in the fridge to your formula if the airtight container is not 100% airtight (the majority aren’t).
As for Natural Preservative Systems? Currently they do not prolong the shelf life of a product for very long – we’re talking 6-12 months for a product using a Natural Preservative System vs approx. 3 years for a lot of other products with the usual preservative systems. Whilst there’s talk of using Vitamin E and Grapeseed extracts as Natural Preservative Systems, these are NOT actually Natural Preservative Systems: they are anti-oxidents, they don’t preserve the product.
It’s entirely up to you how you feel about this aspect – your skin, your safety, your responsibility – but, I do recommend you use your formula immediately instead of making a large batch, because it does and will go off really fast. It’s like food, especially since you’re using food products a lot in All Natural beauty, except it’s even more sensitive because it’s going on your face, which unlike your digestive system, doesn’t have stomach acids nor counter-bacteria (like in your intentines) to kill off an unwanted bacteria. Vitamin C in particular is an unstable molecule, it breaks down fast, and as it degrades it becomes more irritating on skin, so – really, please use it up straight away and either eat or chuck anything not used.
But again – your skin, your safety, your responsibility – your choice.
This leads me onto:

3 – Figure Out A Routine That Best Suits You And Your Lifestyle.

Let’s say you decide to do all in with All Natural Beauty – alright. Since you’re going to have to make up your formulas on the spot in order to use them, this is going to take time out of your morning/nighttime each time you want to make something, because you can’t safely store them (again, your choice as above!). You have to factor the time it takes to create and use your formulas into your daily routine.
So, time yourself – how long does each formula take to make?
And – do you enjoy making it? Do you see yourself making your formulas time and again, twice a day?
Tip: make a ritual out of it. All routines and regimens are rituals. Maybe it’s part of your waking up or going to bed routine, or maybe you do it after you come back from work to unwind, or it’s Your Special Time To Yourself. Make a ritual out of it, and it might become the H word (habit…shh…).

4 – How Much Does It Cost?

The most expensive part about starting anything new is the initial cost of buying what you need at the start, however it’s also worth looking at the cost over time.
  • How much will it cost you to buy everything you want/need?
  • How long will it take you to finish those ingredients? Going back to 2, it’s clearly better that it’s fresh enough when you use it so you won’t spread bacteria on your face.
  • Roughly, how much does each formula that you make cost you each time?
  • How does it compare to the up-front price of an equivalent beauty product off the shelf?
  • And how many uses can you get from that same beauty product in comparison to the number of uses you get from your formula?
  • Go back to 3 – are you happy to take the time to make your formulas each morning/night and add to the cleaning up/washing up/putting away of whatever you’ve used to make your formulas?
  • Regardless of all this, are you enjoying the benefits of your new routine?
If you are serious about maintaining an All Natural beauty regimen, you should understand more deeply what you’re getting from it and whether it’s worth it to *you* – that’s the most important thing.

5 – ALWAYS USE YOUR PREFERRED SUNSCREEN. (Louder for the peeps at the back!).

No matter what you are putting on your skin – be it store-bought or home-made – ALWAYS use sunscreen. For example, whether you are getting your vitamin C from applying lemon juice or from a cream with a vitamin C suspension, you must use sunscreen because vitamin C (and the AHAs and BHAs) will make your skin more photosensitive (sensitive to strong lights, like sunlight), leading to sunspots and increasing your risk of skin cancer over time.

Is Natural Beauty Good For You?  Like with all things, *maybe*.  I do have a friend who can only handle All Natural beauty because she could be allergic to most preservative systems used. I genuinely believe that you’re better off eating it all than applying it to your face because your skin can’t absorb everything you’re putting on in its natural form, and for a lot of ingredients, it’s far more damaging to your skin to apply than to eat (plus eating it = getting more benefits to your skin through your body).

However, you gotta do you, and even if nothing else, please do it *safely* – know what you’re doing to your skin, use ingredients with intention, and think very carefully about hygiene and the safety around it, really weave it into your routine.

 

Good Resources To Set You Off On The Right Foot:

 

Thinking of using Essential Oils in your All Natural Beauty? 

Neal’s Yard always give detailed usage advice with their essential oils, including dosage and consequences of not following instructions. Please read it carefully.

Speaking of Neal’s Yard, they have a Create Your Own Skincare Recipes section to inspire you, along with a range of products to help you create your own skincare.

Here’s some important oils to be careful with, advice from a wonderful Naturopath who also follows scientific principles.

Be careful taking advice from Young Living and doTERRA about essential oils, some of it is not accurate (although their blends are famous).

Why Bella Thorne’s beauty routine was so controversial

From a knowledgeable beauty reporter’s perspective

From a biochemist’s perspective

 

Got any questions or suggestions? You can ask me any time

Or you can DM me on Facebook or Instagram 

 

Take good care,

Catherine x