4 Harmful “Beauty” Ingredients and the ONE Healthy Solution to Avoid Them

I was taking a shower at my mom’s house after yoga one night, and I noticed that she had a new bottle of shampoo.

It’s called “Gugo Shampoo,” and it’s rather popular here in the Philippines.

I said to myself, “Hey, I know this. People talk about this.” So while the warm water flowed down my skin, I squeezed the bottle and lathered up my hair.

After washing my hair, I decided (belatedly) to read the ingredients. To my surprise, this so-called healthy, organic product contains Sodium lauryl sulfate, a known skin and eye irritant.

I stuck with my vegan, GMO-free shampoo after that. I also made it a point to read the ingredients before buying or using them.

Aside from Sodium lauryl sulfate, what other ingredients should you watch out for?

These 4 toxic gunks.

Continue reading “4 Harmful “Beauty” Ingredients and the ONE Healthy Solution to Avoid Them”

The Lazy Person’s Guide to DIY Skincare

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

— Bill Gates

I’m one of those people who works hard (on most days) and yet is a lazy bum at home (on most days). And it’s not because I’m tired from work or any excuse like that.

Really. I’m just damn lazy. This took me three weeks to write!

That’s why I’ve been looking for the easiest way to clean my skin.

Of course, there are certain conditions: paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and vegan (gluten-free is a bonus). That’s a lot, right? But, hey, even if I’m a bum, I know that taking care of my skin is as important as taking care of what’s inside my body. Basically I’m feeding my skin the way I feed my entire body. That’s how it is.

Luckily, I found the answer: oils.

Huh?!

Yeah.

Oils. The stuff you use to cook food with (and hopefully your food is vegan).

It’s also good for the skin. A lot of skincare products have different types of oils in their list of ingredients, along with other chemicals that preserve the product. These preservatives and chemicals may give you health problems in the long run. So, as early as now, ditch the cancer-inducing lotions and creams and stick with all-natural stuff.

But it’s like testing for mainstream skincare products. You’ll need to try several oils before finding the perfect one for your skin.

I highly recommend Desert Essence!
I highly recommend Desert Essence!

Here are what I recommend:

  • Jojoba Oil: THIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE and it’s pretty affordable. For PhP595 at Healthy Options, you get 60mL of this. It’s a multi-tasking oil—jojoba removes makeup, deals with razor burns, has vitamin E, and it’s safe for sensitive skin. It copies human sebum, so your skin won’t produce more oil. Jojoba oil seeps into your skin quickly, but still gives your epidermis a healthy glow.
  • Castor Oil: I use this as my carrier oil for my oil cleansing method (to be discussed later). I don’t use it on its own since it’s very heavy. However, add this in your cabinet of oils since you’ll need this for several concoctions in the future.
  • Coconut oil: of course.
  • Olive oil: especially the extra virgin kind. It deals with acne, which I have sometimes. I often use olive oil when I don’t have castor oil for my concoctions, although when I have both, I use them for my facial cleanser.

I would also recommend sunflower seed oil, argan oil, and rosehip oil, if they weren’t so expensive. But if you have the money, you will greatly benefit from these oils, too.

N.B.: These are safe for all skin types, but the ones in bullets are particularly beneficial to sensitive skin, which I have.

DIY Skincare Ideas

With those types of oils I mentioned, I’ve “discovered” the good side of skincare. I don’t have to go to the ER every few months after dabbing on some lotion or cream with something I’m allergic with. I don’t have to be afraid of deodorants anymore. I can go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning with silky-soft skin, minus the hodge-podge of ingredients that are detrimental to my overall health.

Also, I found out that I can be creative with oils. Here’s what I’ve made so far.

Deodorant

I rub my pits with coconut oil right after a bath. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that get the scent out. Works well with baking soda (what doesn’t?) or just on its own. I would rather use it on its own because I’m always late for work and that’s the fastest way to get neutral-smelling underarms.

Really: it’s either I’m lazy or late. Or both. (*waves to office mates reading this*)

Moisturizer

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Lavender oil (bought this from Healthy Options)

I use jojoba oil for this. Four drops of this makes my skin bright and peachy. My office mate noticed the difference just after 3 days of me using it! I rub my face with pure jojoba oil once in the morning and once at night, after bath and before bed (if I don’t use my oil-based facial cleanser).

For my arms and legs, I would use five drops of jojoba oil and a a few drops of lavender oil on each limb. It sends me to sleep almost instantly. Especially if my phone doesn’t ring.

Facial Cleanser

Have you heard of the oil cleansing method? No? Here’s an in-depth guide. But the gist is that:

The oil cleansing method stems from the belief that oil dissolves oil. While I haven’t heard this from my former chemistry teacher (who is now a good friend of mine, by the way), it does make some sense. Depending on what your skin type is, you’ll need to balance the ratio of your carrier oil and secondary oil.

You’ll also need a hot towel.

Your carrier oil should always be castor oil. Your secondary oil can be any oil that is lighter than castor oil, so that castor oil can move into the pores and work on the dirt and muck stuck on your skin.

Mix the two oils and rub the mix on your face for about a minute, or until you feel they’ve seeped into your skin already.

Put the hot towel on your face. It’s like a facial. Allow the towel to cool, and then heat the towel again. You can do this two more times or until you feel that you’re clean enough. Gently wipe off the extra oil off your skin. You don’t have have to do anything else.

Do this once a day, preferably at night. You’ll notice a cleaner, clearer skin after a few days.

Facial Scrub

Homemade coffee scrub
Homemade coffee scrub

My face tends to be oily and grimy over time, so I had to whip myself up a facial scrub. I never really believed in scrubs before, but when I looked for all natural recipes for facial scrubs, I knew I needed to have one in my skincare routine.

With olive oil as my base (2tbsp), I mix 4tbsp of ground coffee and 2tbsp of brown or coconut sugar. This mixture deeply exfoliates my skin and gives it that really perky look. Probably it’s the coffee and sugar, but my face has that healthy high.

Lip Balm

Before I went vegan and all natural, I was dealing with lip balms that made my lips even drier—to the point of getting allergies and going to the ER! I swore of lip balms after that, but my lips were still dry and chappy. At VegFest last November, I got myself a vegan lip balm from Crazy Rumors.

I’m so happy I have a vegan lip balm, but I tend to forget it at home.

Luckily, I always remember to bring my jojoba oil like I would always bring my rosary and my crystals. When I feel my lips chapping up, I just use one drop and rub my lips. Rubbing my lips gets the dry skin off, too. I feel absolutely renewed.

In Conclusion

It’s really up to you if you want to take out the usual creams and lotions you’re so used to from your skincare routine, but when you do, stock up on oils already. They’re good for any season and any reason. Discovering a healthier alternative to skincare has made me more creative as well as cleaner and healthier.

Yes, the oils, are a little pricey, but the long-term effects are worth the investment.

Make the right investment with oil. Your skin will thank you.

 

Skin’s Best Friend (An Ode to Coconut Oil)

Over the weekend I gave away my usual bath and beauty products that cost me around PhP1,000 every month. It sounds like it’s a small price, but trust me; I don’t want, later on, to find myself at the dermatologist’s clinic and finding out my skin allergy’s gotten worse or that I’ve developed another skin condition.

My skin is sensitive, so I rarely put on makeup, and I have a moisturizing ritual every morning and evening. I try my best to eat healthy so that proper nutrients go into my body, and I pick the best stuff to smother my skin in. Well, I don’t want to deal with having to pick shampoos, conditioners and soaps *for sensitive skin,* and so I’m sticking to a few healthy, local, and natural products that make my skin glow the way it should.

Continue reading “Skin’s Best Friend (An Ode to Coconut Oil)”