Monday, September 14, 2015

Natural Beauty Oils

As much as I love lotions and creams, I've become a big fan of natural beauty products. Less processed, fragrance-free, and pure oils are my new favorite thing. I feel happy about putting good-for-me products on my face and the beauty payoff is brilliant, especially considering the price.
I buy my beauty oils from Trader Joe's because it's convenient and super affordable.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is probably my favorite multipurpose beauty product. I blogged a little 'first impression' post when I started using coconut oil about two years ago and I've gone through about one jar per year, which sounds insane, but I use it for so much stuff and my sister also occasionally dabs it on her hair. It smells just faintly of coconut, which is one of my favorite scents.
I need to mention right now that coconut oil is not for everyone. My sister's (super sensitive) face skin had some adverse reactions to it and it took her several months to recover. My skin is really durable and I have crazy cell-turnover. Seriously, if I skip a day of hardcore loofah body scrubbing and/or (gentle) face exfoliating, I can tell. This is going to sound uber disgusting, but the next time I hop in the bath, I can rub the dead skin off of my body the same way it flakes off when you're recovering from a sunburn. I know, I'm nasty. But that proves that I have amazing cell-turnover, right? Or it proves that I'm some sort of snake-human hybrid that sheds. The latter sounds quite possible too. Anyway, because my skin is durable, coconut oil works great for me.

Coconut oil has been solidly incorporated into my beauty regime.

Face
Every morning, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser. Then, I splash my face with softener (which is like a gentle toner) and I gently rub the tiniest amount of coconut oil all over my face and neck. I use the oil sparingly because a little goes a long way.

Every evening, I remove my makeup with an oil cleanser. Then, I shower and slather my body with coconut oil while my skin is still damp. It seals in the moisture and leaves my skin feeling baby-like.

Hands & Feet
During my morning and evening skin rituals, I also slather any leftover oil onto the backs of my hands to moisturize. I still love my L'Occitane hand cream and use it religiously but the coconut oil keeps my hands really supple. The appearance of your hands really gives away your age so I'm incredibly diligent about keeping my hands soft.

Every few weeks, I slather my feet in coconut oil and then throw on a pair of aloe socks to keep my heels soft. This is an especially important routine for me in the summer when I'm sporting sandals and I want to make sure I don't scare people off with a bad case of hobbit foot.

Hair Mask
About once every two to three weeks, I like to do a coconut oil hair mask. I only wash my hair twice a week (it's healthier and great for lazy people like me) so it's already a lot less crispy compared to a few years ago when I was a daily hair washer. However, to get my hair looking super shiny and less processed, I slather my whole scalp and the entire length of my hair using lots of coconut oil. I probably use about ¼ cup. I grab huge scoops, let it melt in the warmth of my hands, and then slap it onto my hair and massage it into my scalp. I like to wrap my hair up into a tight bun on the top of my head and I'll leave it in to soak for a good 6 hours. The downside is that I'm a night shower-er so that means that I have a grease-bomb head in daylight hours. The upside is that I don't even care and in all honesty, it's often so saturated that it just looks like my hair is wet so it's not a big deal.

After my hair has been soaking for a while, I'll shower and wash my hair as usual. I'll sometimes shampoo my hair twice, if I think I need a little extra oomph to get the coconut oil rinsed off my scalp. I've been a little lazy about it before and when my hair dries, the coconut oil residue leaves my hair looking oily, which is gross.

Lashes & Brows
I use Revitalash regularly, but I also like to smear a little coconut oil on my lashes and brows. I feel like it keeps the hairs moisturized so they don't go brittle and break off (which I feel like happens because I'm a religious mascara and brow gel user) and I think it helps keep them thicker and lusher.

Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is super rich and thick so it's great for using in the winter and in the evenings. Even with my resilient skin, it hasn't been that great for rubbing all over my face (like I can with the coconut oil) because it's just a little too heavy for me. However, when my skin is feeling extra thirsty, it does seem to be the quickest solution to inject moisture back in.
Eyes and Neck
I love it under my eyes because it's incredibly moisturizing and it seems to reduce the look of under eye circles. I also love slathering all over my neck to keep my skin looking moist and soft. Wrinkly neck skin is a pretty loud indicator of old age so I'm trying to nip that in the bud.

Scars
Vitamin E oil is also super awesome for reducing the appearance of scars. I have some hyperpigmentation and acne scarring on my face and this has been helping.

It's also been amazing on my mosquito bite scars. Every summer, I get feasted on by mosquitos. Even when I don't scratch the bug bites, they end up leaving behind a purplish brown mark that doesn't fade until the following summer where the cycle begins again. Vitamin E oil has helped the scarring fade much more quickly.

Hair
Like coconut oil, Vitamin E oil is also awesome for keeping the ends of my hair from drying out and going brittle. But, because this is so heavy, I never use it as a mask. Instead, I take a few tiny drops and just brush them into the ends of my hair.

Cuticles
Because of its heavy texture, I've been loving Vitamin E oil as a cuticle cream. I slather it onto my fingernails and toenails and it keeps them looking healthy and prevents hangnails. This is a favorite use for me because I love at-home manicures.

Pre-Sun
Vitamin E oil can act like a sunscreen. I definitely recommend using an actual SPF too but this really helps and is a great substitute when I don't have any sun cream on hand or I just don't feel like doubling up on products.

Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil comes from a plant native to the southwest and is an ingredient found in many beauty and makeup products. It has a faintly nutty and pleasant smell.
Makeup Remover
I love my Mac Cleanse Off Oil but when I'm on the road I don't want to carry multiple products when I can carry one multitasker. This stuff is just as good at removing makeup so I just rub a few drops into my skin and massage all over my face. Then, I add just a little bit of water to emulsify the oil which makes it easy to rinse off cleanly. To be honest, it doesn't rinse off quite as cleanly as the cleanse off oil, however, I tend to double cleanse anyway (which means I follow up with a separate face wash and my Clarisonic to make sure all the makeup residue is wiped away) so I'm not bothered by that too much.

Stretch Marks
I have a few unsightly stretch marks on my inner thighs. Sure, no one really sees them unless they're getting real pervy, but because I'm self conscious about them, I want to be rid of them. Jojoba oil isn't magic so the marks haven't completely disappeared but they're certainly diminished greatly and they're much less noticeable. I just drip a little into my palms and then massage the oil onto my thighs.

After Sun
Jojoba oil is great for rubbing onto sunburns. I love aloe too but because this is super moisturizing, it helps heal the damaged skin much more quickly.

Hair
As if I need to layer yet another oil to my hair! My favorite use for jojoba oil in my hair is as a detangling aid. I bleached the ends of my hair (I'm still into the ombre look) and as you know, bleach thin the hair and leaves it susceptible to breakage. If I ever get caught up in even the gentlest gust of wind, my hair turns into a bird's nest. Jojoba oil makes it so easy to brush out the ends.

Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has a strong scent that sometimes makes my eyes water, but it's a miracle worker.
Pimples
If I ever feel a pimple coming on, I dab a little tea tree oil on the offending spot before bed. In the morning, poof! It's totally gone. It can also be diluted with water and used as a toner to treat acne-prone skin.

Dry Scalp
Mixed in with shampoo, tea tree oil can help treat dandruff. I only wash my hair every few days so my scalp does tend to get a little flaky with third or fourth day hair and this helps prevent that embarrassment.

Mosquito Bites
In the summer when I go outside to water the garden, I get swarmed by mosquitos. When applied to a fresh bite, tea tree oil calms the itchiness and after a few hours, it almost completely disappears.

Travel
My favorite thing about all four of these products is how easy they travel. Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it can be stored in a small jar and it doesn't count as a liquid. The other three products come in small bottles that travel really easily but can also be decanted into smaller containers or vials as necessary.

Hope this was a helpful little roundup of products!

xoxo.

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