Years ago, a guy that I really liked asked me out on a date. Of course I said yes. Unfortunately I let my imagination run away from me and by the time the day arrived I had already pretty much planned our wedding (embarrassing, I know). I was nervous but ready. What I didn’t know was that within hours my skin would ruin the whole thing.
Essentially, what happened was this: I decided to apply a face cream I hadn’t tried before. And it was a disaster. Within twenty minutes I started to feel a tingling sensation on my cheeks and looked in the mirror to find my face was covered in blotches. An hour later, my eyes were swollen half-shut and blisters had started breaking out all over my cheeks. I tried desperately to wash the cream off but the damage was done. In the end, what was supposed to be a romantic day out with the potential man of my dreams turned into an emergency doctor’s appointment with my date in tow. He probably wondered what on earth he’d got himself into. Like I said, disaster.
I have always had really dry and sensitive skin, especially on my face. If I wash my face with soap it gets so dried out that it feels like a mask and it is uncomfortable to even smile or frown. And, as my date horror story illustrates, I have a tendency to react badly to some cosmetics and creams that would usually be considered fairly innocuous. Despite these facts, I really never would have believed that I would decide, after using conventional skin care my entire life, to stop putting any store-bought products on my face.
And this is why: they don’t work. At least, they never really worked for me. I tried the most expensive, the most popular and everything in between. I don’t even think stickability was an issue because I kept using some of these creams for a long time. I would slather cream on in the morning and again at night but it still felt uncomfortable and looked dehydrated. About six months ago, I finally got fed up and, inspired by Pinterest, decided to make my own.
Guess what? It worked. I have not used anything but homemade skin care for the past four months and I have no plans to go back to my old routine. Here’s why:
1. Results. This is the big one.
Basically, I have fallen in love with shea butter. There is a wide range of oils and butters that are suitable for skin care so it’s just a process of experimentation to find out what works for you best. Some suit certain skin types more than others. Coconut oil, for example, is better for normal/oily skin, whilst shea butter and cocoa butter are richer and moisturise more deeply so are more effective for people with dry skin types. I use a combination of two parts shea butter to one part coconut oil on my body, which doesn’t need moisturising so much, and a mix of mostly shea with a small amount of coconut and sweet almond oil on my face. Some people dislike the smell of shea butter but I am used to it and quite like it now. In any case, you can easily add essential oils if you want your cream to have a specific smell. I also use sweet almond oil as a make up remover which works really well – having spent serious £££ on cleansers and toners in the past I can honestly say I prefer the oil as it removes my mascara so easily without any irritation.
2. Ease & Cost.
To make my first batch of face and body creams it worked out at about £6 in total. I have been using them every day for the past three months and am still not even halfway through. I actually get a bit frustrated that they are lasting so well as I am keen to have an excuse to make some more! It’s also unbelievably easy, I promise. It takes me no more than 10 minutes to make a batch of cream which is, funnily enough, less time than I used to spend scouring the skincare aisle in the supermarket for something that would actually work.
3. Health. For myself and the planet.
I buy organic, raw and unrefined ingredients in reusable or recyclable packaging. This means I know exactly what I am putting on my skin. Many of the chemicals commonly used in the cosmetics & skincare industries have been subject to comparatively little testing and potentially linked to a wide range of health problems. I decided I’d rather not take the risk and avoid exposing my body to toxic ingredients where possible. My old moisturiser of choice had 34 ingredients and I didn’t have a clue what most of them were. My new one has three.
Making my own products also means helping the planet by reducing plastic waste and contributing to the reduction in toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere by factories. This was something I honestly never considered in the past, but now it makes so much sense to try and do what we can to protect our planet from further damage. It’s our home and we all need to play our part.
I realise this post is a little different to the kinds of things I usually write about, but I felt it was worth sharing as several people had asked me about it. I also want to say I am sorry if any of this comes across as preachy – it’s not my intention to demonise conventional skincare or make anybody feel bad for using it, but I do think it’s important that I share what has worked for me in case it helps somebody else too. A lot of people want to help the environment, avoid toxic chemicals and save money. I love simple ideas that allow you to do all these things.
Have you ever tried making your own skincare or beauty products? Would you consider it? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear from you! You can also connect with me on Instagram & Pinterest and if you like what you read you can follow my blog using the link on the home page or on Bloglovin.
P.S. I forgot to mention that my story has a happy ending. Remember the date I dragged to the doctor’s? We ended up getting married and he swears that he has no recollection of our disastrous date! Just goes to show that bad date isn’t always where it ends.