Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Friday, April 17, 2009

Homemade Beauty

When I was a teenager, like most young girls, I loved strong fragrances. I loved the fruity and exotic smelling soaps, candles, and lotions at Victoria’s Secret and I even wore perfume. By the time I graduated from college, though, something changed. I noticed that these products were starting to irritate my skin, give me headaches, and even make my nose itch. I also noticed that most brand name makeup was really bothering my skin; I’d try a new concealer or foundation and I’d get red patches on my face that were dry, itchy, and swollen! I even went to a wonderfully inquisitive dermatologist who asked me questions about what I had used on my skin or what I had been exposed to. This was what started me really thinking about how things that we expose ourselves to or put on our skin (or in our bodies) affect us. So being the librarian that I am, I started researching.

I discovered that I have very sensitive skin. About the only thing I can do is tan extremely easily. In fact, ten minutes in the sun and I have some color, so I have to be careful to not get too dark. As a child, I used to get so dark that a girl in my swimming class when I was about eight actually asked me what color I was! I had no idea what in the world she was talking about.

So I started buying the sensitive skin care and makeup products by Neutrogena, Almay, or Aveeno. But when I became vegan, I became wary of buying products when I wasn’t sure what the ingredients were. And when I found some good recipes in Natural Beauty at Home, I tried them. I haven’t bought facial cleanser, shampoo, or body lotion for over a year now.

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Today I made a batch of facial cleanser. In a blender, I combine the following until smooth and creamy:

1 cup warm distilled water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp vegetable glycerin (I find this at Nutri Foods)
1-2 drops vitamin E oil (ditto)

I fill several small travel bottles with them and store in the refrigerator. I find it stays thicker stored in the refrigerator. I use this blend in the mornings to wash my face. This recipe usually lasts me about 2 months.

I also made some rosewater toner. When I found out how easy this is to make, I cringed that I didn’t make it sooner! It smells so good and feels wonderful on my skin:

4 tbsp rosewater
2 tbsp orange flower water
2 tbsp witch hazel (I love this name)

Combine all in a bottle. To use it, just wet a cotton ball and stroke on the face and neck. It’s very gentle to the skin. In the summer I keep it in the refrigerator but it doesn’t have to be refrigerated.

I find the rosewater and orange flower water in either the baking section or the liquor section (they keep changing it!) at Holiday Market, but I think I will look for a bulk place online since I use them in so many things. And, since I don’t shop at Holiday much, the last time I was there I bought them out of both (about 15 bottles)!

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