From the time I was about twelve until just a few years ago, I used the same conventional face wash every day, twice a day. I loved it- it made my face feel clean, not too dry, and left a lovely tingle. As I became more conscious of what I put in and on my body, I felt less comfortable with the knowledge that I was applying chemicals to my face every single day for years on end.
And so the search began. I tried purchasing several natural facial cleansers, but none were quite right and often left my skin feeling too dry. I tried that whole wash-your-face-with-olive-oil thing, and...no. Just, no. More research, more experimentation, a couple weird concoctions, and finally- a natural and effective face wash that I can make quickly and inexpensively.
Here's a breakdown of each of the ingredients and why they're awesome for your skin:
Aloe vera: Aloe is probably most well-known for its ability to sooth sunburns, but you don't have to have a sunburn to benefit from this healing plant. Aloe is an anti-bacterial cleanser, soothes inflamed skin, and effectively removes makeup.
Witch hazel: Witch hazel is a natural astringent, meaning it removes excess oil, toxins, and dirt that are often the culprit of clogged pores. As it removes this dirt and oil, it also tightens pores which prevents future clogging. Like aloe, it's also great for soothing irritated and inflamed skin such as in the case of acne.
Tee tree oil: Tea tree oil is great for it's anti-bacterial and cleansing properties. It gives your cleanser a fresh scent and leaves you with that nice tingle that I loved about my conventional wash.
Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil (which is actually a wax) is the perfect moisturizer for the delicate skin on your face, especially if you tend to be on the drier side. It contains very similar properties to the sebum that our skin produces, making it a great natural moisturizer.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are packed with nutrients that are healing not only when ingested, but when applied topically as well. The ground seeds provide a gentle exfoliation of the skin, removing dead skin cells and other dirt/oils. This ingredient also gives your cleanser its firm, gel-like texture.
Convinced yet? I thought so. Here's how to make it:
Gather the following ingredients. Though the cost of all these things will initially be more than a single bottle of facial cleanser, you will be able to mix at least 4-5 batches, making it cheaper in the long haul.
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1/4 cup aloe
- 1/4 cup jojoba oil (optional, but recommeded for dry skin)
- 3-4 drops of tea tree oil
- 1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds. A coffee grinder works perfectly to get a nice fine texture.
Stir all ingredients together in a glass jar, and let sit for about an hour before using to allow the chia seeds to gel. Store in a cool, dark place to protect the sensitive omega 3 oils in the seeds. To use, dampen your face with warm water and apply a quarter sized dollop of the mixture. Gently rub the cleanser over your entire face for a minute or two, then rinse well.
You may have to adjust the ratios of each ingredient according to your skin type. My skin tends to dry out easily, which is why I use so much of the jojoba oil in mine. You can use less oil if you have oilier skin. The amount of chia seeds can also be adjusted to create the desired firmness. The more liquid you have, the more seeds it will require to keep it from becoming too runny.
Essential oils: feel free to include additional essential oils in yours, such as invigorating eucalyptus or calming lavender.
Charcoal: One ingredient that I previously experimented with but decided not to include was activated charcoal. Charcoal is actually an excellent cleanser and provides many benefits to the skin, but as you might imagine, it creates a very black liquid and a huge mess every time I washed with it. More work than it's worth IMO, but you're welcome to give it a shot.