I love a good DIY. Part of it comes from being perpetually broke (thanks fibro), and part of it comes from my herbalism studies (damn, dirty hippie). And of course, being punk rock and a love for all things DIY go hand-in-hand. But in the esthetics world, DIYs are commonly frowned upon. The general consensus seems to be “why eat moldy bread when you can take a penicillin pill?” I get where they’re coming from. The problem with skincare DIY projects is that a lot of it is actually harmful to the skin, because anyone can post a DIY and say it’s safe/effective (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.) But, there’s something so satisfying about whipping up something for yourself, seeing results, and knowing EXACTLY what’s going on your skin (no mystery ingredients that you have to Google just to find out what the hell it is). So, I wanted to dedicate a few posts throughout my blogging to DIY skincare recipes that are beneficial and safe.
I’ll be doing a DIY mask series soon, but in the meantime, I want to focus on body care a bit. The skin on your body needs just as much attention as the skin on your face. It needs to be cleansed, exfoliated, moisturized, all of it.
Remember The Body Shop? The store in the mall with all the good-smelling, more natural things. I have fond memories of a 90s childhood filled with trips to this store at the Baybrook Mall, being allowed to pick out one or two of the squishy bath beads if I had behaved myself. I think because of this memory, I didn’t take The Body Shop seriously as I got older. But, a few months ago, I came across The Body Shop Body Care Manual. It’s full of good, DIY-esque information and recipes. I was able to pit it against my newly acquired esthetics education. So, I’ve picked a few of my favorites! Enjoy!
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 6 or more fresh lemon slices
- Small bowl of warm water
- Washcloth (or, my favorite, scrubby gloves)
This is a really great scrub to wake you up in the morning, or to re-energize. Place the oil and slices in the bowl of warm water, and let the washcloth/scrubby gloves soak everything up. Keep the cloth/gloves within reach of your shower. After showering per usual, turn off the water, and start scrubbing with the soaked cloth/gloves. Start at your feet and move upward, toward your heart (this is an ayurvedic principle that stimulates your circulatory system). Towel off the excess liquid and moisturize.
Why this is legit: lemons contain vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. It also provides citric acid and vitamins A and B, which encourage the exfoliation of dead skin, circulation, balance overactive oil glands, soften wrinkles, and help brighten the complexion. I love this scrub because it’s the same principle as a chemical exfoliant. There’s no sugar or salt or other abrasive materials doing the scrubbing, just the lemon doing what lemon does.
- Start by making some peppermint oil salts (Epsom salts + a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Shake, and add the oil drop by drop until you’re happy with the consistency/infusion).
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and add a heaping tablespoon of the peppermint salts.
- Soak for at least ten minutes to soften and refresh your skin.
- After thoroughly drying your feet, use a pumice stone or those scrubby gloves I love so much to exfoliate.
- Rinse off any dead skin you’ve culled from exfoliating. Apply your favorite moisturizer and put on some socks.
Why it’s legit: Peppermint is incredibly soothing and therapeutic. Not only does it relieve headaches, soothe upset stomachs, and decongest your nasal passages, it also works as a powerful mental stimulant. The cooling sensation comes from the active component, menthol. The body reacts to the menthol by increasing blood flow to the area which creates a comforting sensation of warmth.
- 2 ounces unscented lotion (make sure it’s free of drying alcohols!)
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 7 drops rosemary essential oil
- 5 drops pine essential oil (omit this one if you wish, I don’t see how it helps the recipe except for scent)
- 3 drops lemongrass essential oil
Why it’s legit: Eucalyptus is incredibly bracing, so this is absolutely perfect if you need a little waking up. It stimulates the mind and body, and it’s also an analgesic (stop giggling, it means pain relieving). If you aren’t loving the smell of eucalyptus, try rosemary. It has the same properties, minus the menthol, so minus the scent. A lemon and orange blend can also be refreshing, but can also be photosensitive, so stay away from the sun using this blend. This recipe is also legit because it’s so versatile. If your skin is dry, you can use a carrier oil instead lotion, or body butter. Play around with it!
- 1 tbsp. Demerara sugar (or coconut sugar, if you can’t find Demerara)
- 1 tbsp. golden brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. superfine sugar
- 4 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. lemon or lime juice
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Remember to start at your feet and scrub upwards, toward your heart, for maximum benefits.
Why it’s legit: all of these sugars are an obvious exfoliant, and we all know why exfoliation is important. Honey is antibacterial and amazing for hydrating the skin. We’ve covered why lemon juice is beneficial. The ginger and cinnamon are energizing, disinfecting, and deodorizing.
Which of these DIYs are you dying to try? Let me know in the comments!
Lemon image: http://www.studiodiy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/When-Life-Hands-You-Lemons1.jpg
Peppermint image: http://pantrygardenherbs.com/files/2011/08/peppermint-3.jpg
Koala image: http://www.getmynutri.com/image/data/eucalyptus/dance_of_the_seven_eucalyptus_leaves_by_celem-d6fh1l5.jpg
Brown Sugar image: http://cx.aos.ask.com/question/aq/700px-394px/can-you-freeze-brown-sugar_f2f65177-f079-43bf-9010-738f8d8680fe.jpg
All recipes are from The Body Shop Body Care Manual. Commentary and noted adjustments are from me.)