Real Stories _ Real Living Made Simple Series - Contributor

When it comes to skincare, simpler is better.

In high school and college, I struggled with terrible acne. At first, I tried every product in the drug store that promised "clear skin."  But when nothing worked I knew it was time for a different plan. So, I did my research.

Coming Clean_ Natural Skincare Routine for All Skin Types

First, I changed my diet.

I know this is a skincare routine post but what we eat can directly affect our skin, too. I know when I cut out sugar and dairy my skin looks so much better. If you're struggling with acne or your skin looking dull, you may want to try eliminating or cutting some things from your diet and see how it affects your skin. 

Second, I want to make a disclaimer that diet and skincare aren't the only things that affect our skin.

Hormones can cause breakouts and sometimes that's just life. It's OK to get an occasional breakout. Stressing about an occasional breakout can make our skin worse too. During those times, it’s best to do what we can to keep our skin happy but not let it ruin our day. I’d recommend drinking extra water and getting plenty of sleep to start.

All that being said, there are lots of things we can do to improve our skin and make it look the best we can. Even after changing my diet, I realized I was scrubbing, poking, and washing with chemical-laden products that may have actually been causing my acne or at least preventing it from getting better. 

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ in our body? And anything we put on it gets absorbed immediately. Unlike eating something unhealthy, your skin doesn’t have a digestive system to push out the bad stuff. 

Also, listen to this. The average American woman applies 168 chemicals to her face and body each day. That’s a lot of chemicals getting absorbed rather quickly.

Of course, not all of these chemicals are harmful, but many are and many we still don't know about. I like to lean on the side of caution when it comes to what I put on my skin. That's when I created my own skincare routine that has kept my skin clearer and brighter ever since. 

My Pretty Simple Natural Skincare Routine

1.) Makeup Remover 

I like to use coconut oil to remove my eye makeup. It’s thicker than some of the other natural oils and can cut through stubborn eye makeup. Just be careful not to run too hard. Instead, try to warm it up, perhaps in your hand, and pat it into your skin and then allow to sit on the makeup to remove it. Gently wipe away with a dry or wet cloth. This will help prevent unnecessary wrinkles.

2.) Oil-Based Face Wash

I then use a natural oil such as jojoba or grapeseed to wash my face using the Oil Cleansing Method. I massage the oil into my face, cover with a wet washcloth, allow it to “steam,” and wipe away makeup and grime. I don't recommend coconut oil as it can clog pores and cause more breakouts. Also, if you haven’t tried the OCM yet you must. It feels like a day at the spa and can get deeper into your pores than traditional face washes.

3.) Natural Foaming Cleanser

I then "double-cleanse" by cleaning my face with a foaming cleaner to remove the rest of the impurities. You could use a natural foam cleanser or even make your own. This is an important step in the Korean Skincare routine that everyone swears by. Plus, your skin will feel extra fresh.

4.) Tone

Personally, I love using straight apple cider vinegar to tone my face but that may be too abrasive for those with sensitive skin. If so, you can dilute with water. Witch hazel also makes a great natural astringent. Feel free to add your favorite essential oils. Some of mine include lavender, frankincense, and tea tree.

Lately, though, I've been using my own DIY Rose toner that I simply made from boiling rose petals from my garden for 20 minutes and then sifting out the petals. It's heavenly! Also, rose water can calm irritated skin, maintain skin’s natural PH, control oil, and fight acne and wrinkles.

5.) Mask

Once a week, I try to use a homemade mask. My favorites are ones made with bentonite clay or turmeric. These are my go-to masks when I’m fighting breakouts! You could even add rose water to either one of them in addition to essential oils.

Since it's (almost) summer, I also use what I call an "ice mask." Simply take an ice cube and rub over your entire face after cleansing and toning. It will tighten up your skin, help banish acne, fight wrinkles, and give your skin a glow. Oh, and it's also great for puffy eyes. Just be careful not to leave on your skin too long. A nice gently rub will do the trick. Plus, it’s free!

5.) Moisturizer

Lastly, make sure you end with a good moisturizer. Again, you could use a natural store bought one, jojoba or grapeseed oil, or try making your own. This one is made from ghee and is incredibly light and fluffy. If you have a Kitchen Aid you MUST make it. Seriously, it’s amazing. It takes a while to whip up but the end result is luxurious and so good for your skin.

Just a quick note to wrap things up. If you are unsure whether a product contains chemicals (and what they may be!) I’d recommend giving the Think Dirty app a try. You can scan a product right on it, or even google it and find out what’s really lurking in your favorite beauty products. They also give recommended products to try instead.

What does your natural skincare routine look like? What are your go-to products? I'd love to know!



Sarah Althouse - Real Stories


Meet Sarah

Sarah Althouse writes about all things homemaking at Pretty Simple Ideas. She lives outside DC with her husband Josh, daughter Penelope, and a cat named Squeakers.

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