The greatest argument for using a homemade facial moisturizer is that it is almost always made up of natural substances. You have probably been taught that they are best for you.
The reason being, of course, that they are natural, but the lesson stops there. There is a lot of truth in that teaching, though. Natural substances, especially those you are more used to eating, are seldom harmless when applied topically to the skin. There can sometimes be exceptions, though. Not everyone’s skin is the same, and there are those who have allergies to certain otherwise healthy and harmless substances. If you put aside issues of safety and assume many of the natural ingredients used for cosmetic purposes are found in your own kitchen or the produce department of your supermarket, the remaining question is that of effectiveness.
There are, after all, a few processed foods that are as healthy to eat as many natural foods. Likewise, there are a number of commercial moisturizers on the market which are very effective at doing what they are designed to do. However, some of those products can be quite expensive, and if you can find something in your refrigerator or pantry that works even half as well, it will be more convenient and cost-effective in the long run.
Another advantage to mixing up your own brew is you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin. Commercial products say on the label or box what chemicals or compounds are inside, but for all you know the chemical that keeps the oils in suspension might be the same chemical used to remove rust from the hulls of ships.
These four natural substances, which just so happen to be food items, can be used separately or, in some cases, mixed together to add moisture to your skin:
1. Avocado, Yes – Banana, Probably Not – If you rub a banana on your skin, you may or may not see any results beyond attracting bees and flies. Whether or not a banana will work isn’t all that clear. What is clear is that avocado is very effective. It’s really a matter of finding out what has worked for others before you go through every food item in your pantry. You can save your bananas for the breakfast table and focus on the avocado. Eat the part of the avocado you don’t put on your face. This makes the avocado, which can sometimes be expensive, truly cost effective. Another popular ingredient that can do cosmetic wonders is coconut oil.
2. Buttermilk (or Plain Milk) – Milk baths have long been touted as being a virtual fountain of youth for keeping your skin fresh and looking young. Buttermilk baths can serve the same purpose, although they are more expensive. If you are mainly concerned with the skin on your face, buttermilk is a good choice. Quite a number of commercial moisturizers contain alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids as active ingredients. The lactose in buttermilk is also a hydroxy acid and happens to be an excellent exfoliant. You can use milk, although buttermilk is said to be much more effective. If you do choose to use milk, though, make sure it isn’t lactose-free. You don’t have to bathe in the liquid, either. Just dampen a cloth, pat your face and let it dry.
3. Olive Oil – The WD-40 of the Kitchen – Olive oil has many uses beyond cooking. It would seem too much to expect it to have beneficial cosmetic uses as well. That’s not the case, however. Olive oil is one of those natural ingredients that happen to be good for your skin. It is even more effective when mixed with avocado. That would make a moisturizer almost good enough to eat.
4. Honey – Finally, there’s honey! You definitely don’t want to walk outside on a warm, sunny afternoon when your face is covered in honey or you’ll have plenty of visitors. What honey does to benefit your skin is it draws moisture from the air.
Some Combinations Work Better
Some of the above can be combined, which may be a way of saying that more is often better. With your olive oil and avocado mix, you can also add in honey or coconut oil. A honey/sour cream or honey/buttermilk combination is said to work too. Some of these combinations will taste good and are even good for you while others will taste terrible. Since all of these mixtures are applied topically, the taste really doesn’t matter. Some of these mixtures are meant to be patted on while others are applied as masks and left on for up to half an hour.
Not everything you might want to use will necessarily come from the pantry or refrigerator. There are a few ingredients you will need to look for in a health food store or pharmacy. Tea tree oil and vitamin E are two that would be found in a health food store. You might want to use essential oils too, as most have healing powers, most are skin safe, and several can rightly be called “ultra-moisturizers.” Tea tree oil is one of these. Three other highly popular essential oils are lavender, rosemary, and carrot seed. One item which is considered by many to be a staple in this area is coconut oil, which can be used alone or in combination with other oils or substances. Coconut oil is one natural substance that should definitely be on your list of things to try.
Refrigerate after Opening – or Closing
Some of these items or mixes you should either keep refrigerated for additional use or dispose of after using. Some of the mixes can be kept in a pint jar and will last for weeks or months. Some may need to be stored in the refrigerator while others do not. Since so many of these moisturizers contain food items, it’s easy to see why refrigeration may be necessary. If something turns rancid, it may still be effective, but you will probably not want to put in on your face.
While homemade and natural concoctions often go hand-in-hand, there are also plenty of natural substances on the market that are inexpensive and work just as well as commercial creams and lotions. Some of these can be purchased in bulk in a health food store for a tiny fraction of the cost of a bottle of heavily advertised lotion. In times of rising prices or falling incomes, making your own homemade facial moisturizer may be worth the effort.