If you've walked down the aisles of Sephora recently or flipped through the pages of any magazine, you'll notice that beauty - like food and lifestyle - is returning to its natural roots. Yes, the newest treatments and scientifically investigated products are just as interesting, but products boasting of being organic, cruelty-free, and sans harmful chemicals are rising in the ranks of popularity (and smart marketing). Personally, I've significantly simplified my beauty routine in the past year and have seen a great improvement in my skin. As the saying goes, less is more.
The biggest difference in my routine has been my inclusion of truly natural skincare products, i.e. plants and products made directly from them. To get started with your own organic skincare routine, start small and build up. These three items benefit all skin types, can be used day or night and on the body, and are the foundation of a simple but impactful organic routine.
Witch Hazel astringent is made from the leaves and bark of witch hazel plants. It has skin healing, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflamatory properties and has been used historically as a natural cure-all for cuts, bruises, rashes, insect bites, burns and other skin injuries. Its redness-reducing, bacteria-killing, and oil-combatting powers makes it a great acne-fighter in addition to a daily preventative treatment for clear skin maintenance.
Post washing my face morning and evening, I wet a cotton ball with the natural astringent and wipe it over my face and neck. Sometimes, if I'm home mid-day, I'll use it again as a sort of wake-me-up for my skin, which always feels refreshed and clean after applying. The clear liquid is quickly absorbed for easy layering of your other products.
By this I do not mean products that include aloe vera in their list of ingredients or those tubes of clear, processed jelly you purchase for sun burns. I mean the real deal, literal plant. I have several pots of aloe plants in my home because one is never enough. They require very little attention, just direct sunlight and watering every so often.
Break open an aloe plant's leaf and you'll find a clear gel-like pulp. Chemicals in the gel speed up wound healing by increasing circulation around the injury and preventing cell death, guard against infection by killing bacteria and fungi, and hydrate and calm the skin. Although I don't use aloe vera on a daily basis, if my skin is feeling particularly dry or I have dealt with extracting a blemish, I'll include it in my routing after cleansing and applying witch hazel. Break open the aloe leaf and directly apply the gel to your skin and allow it to absorb. If I have a cut or skin injury anywhere, apply the fresh gel to the area and layer on top a natural oil. Through being diligent in this application, I've thankfully been saved from many a scar due to these organic remedies.
...Which brings me to the third staple. No beauty routine is complete without an organic oil and there are so many options out there too, such as:
- Marula Oil
all offering natural skincare benefits. My personal favorite is a combination of several pure organic oils from Herbivore Botanicals that does wonders for my skin. Natural oils are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids, providing nourishment and moisture to the skin while strengthening skin's protective barrier to maintain hydration over time. If you have an oily skin type and think that putting more oil on your face may be counterintuitive, think again. Over-production of oil is caused by dry, dehydrated skin attempting to moisturize itself by producing oils. By delivering to the skin the intense hydration it needs, the skin will balance itself and produce less of its own oils.
Just as your body benefits from a healthy diet, skin responds in kind to an organic regime. Begin your foray into the world of natural skincare with these three simple items and soon enough you'll be diving in head-first to plant-based products and treatments.