Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Experiment in Homemade Skincare Products

Friends, that was a tasty hot toddy.  I'd share the recipe, but I didn't do veer too far from the original recipe.  A shot of whiskey, lemon juice, and hot water.  Oh yeah, instead of using honey, I made a quick simple syrup out of spices I found in my cabinet - cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom pods.  Too bad this blog post isn't about hot toddys - it's about skincare.  I'm sorry friends, I didn't have an opening picture for this post so I tricked you with hot toddys.  But if you are interested in making your own fresh almond cleansing cream, or at least seeing if it breaks me out like a teenie bopper, keep reading!
I've decided to try homemade skincare products, and I'll share my results on this blog every Friday for the next 4 weeks.  I'm in a never-ending battle for the perfect skin.  I'm always looking for a new product, something that is going to work better, be less expensive, have less weird ingredients and smell great.  Recently though, I started breaking out.  I disavowed all natural products and said I was going all industrial chemicals, whatever.  Put it on my skin!  I don't care as long as it works!  Well it did work, for about 2 weeks.  I was using a Clean and Clear product and my skin was looking great.  It feel to shreds after 2 weeks though.  My skin looked worse than it had in months and I tossed that chemical junk in the trash. 

So I'm back to the hunt for amazing skincare products.   At my local natural foods store, I learned about Dr. Hauschka skincare line.  I love the natural ingredients, but the price is way too steep for me.  $50 for a tube of almonds that cleans your face for 2 weeks?!!  I decided to make my own version at home, and it turned out great!   

I am using a mixture of ground almonds (skins on), pulverized so they almost look like almond butter, combined with a little bit of grapeseed oil and a few drops of lavender oil (just for smell).  I've used the almond cleansing cream for 6 days so far, and my skin is looking excellent.  The only thing I have a problem with is that Dr. Hauschka recommends no moisturizer at night.  For a girl like me with dryer skin, this is tough.  I go to sleep with tight skin and it's a little uncomfortable.  That said, when I wake up my skin is great!  Not tight at all, very clear and my pores are tiny. 

During this experiment, I will continue to follow this routine - When I wake up in the morning, I wash my face with the almond cleansing cream.  I apply a Weleda Rose Cream moisturizer and then my makeup.  At night I remove my makeup with Cetaphil and MAC eye makeup remover before applying the almond cleansing cream.  I am following Dr. Hauschk's advice and not using a moisturizer at night in order to allow my skin to find its own balance.  I have dry skin and apparently I'm confusing my skin by adding moisture with a product so my own skin won't create moisture.  I've never trusted my skin to do what it needs, but I'm ready to give it a try.  

I'm really excited about making my own skincare products, and I have plans to write about other homemade skincare products such as toners and shaving oil.  I hope you'll continue to read along and see how it goes!

Recipe for Fresh Almond Cleansing Cream:
adapted from Carekate

Fresh, almonds with their skins (organic if you are rich.)  I sometimes use almond meal and grind that down even further until it releases its oil
Oil of your choice (grapeseed, olive, jojoba, castor, sweet almond - I use grapeseed  oil because that's what I have on hand)
Coffee grinder, blender or food processor 
Small, airtight container
(I add a few drops of Lavender oil for smell, but it's optional, see below)

left to right - almonds, grapeseed oil, lavender essential oil, and a coffee grinder

Witch hazel (preferably alcohol free, but I've never managed to find it)
Ylang Ylang essential oil 
1 Teaspoon Vitamin C powder or crystals (I found these in the bulk section at the natural foods market for cheap)
Lavender essential oil (calms redness)
Teatree oil (antiseptic properties, good for break-out prone skin)
Ylang Ylang essential oil

I take a handful of almonds and grind them up for about a week's supply, but I thought I'd be more specific for the blog.  To make a one-month supply, grind about 150 almonds, or 6.25 ounces, until they turn start to turn into a paste.   I add a couple drops of grapeseed oil to help the process.  Any oil could be added - olive oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil.  The oil helps it become a paste, but it's not essential.  You can also add a little water, but then make sure you refrigerate your cleansing cream so it doesn't mold.  If you are going to add an essential oil, or vitamin c powder.  

mix until the almond meal (on top) looks closer to almond butter (on bottom)

I keep my homemade cleansing cream on my bathroom counter and I've had no problems so far.  You can keep it in the fridge if you are more comfortable doing that, but I find it inconvenient.  

To use, scoop a piece of your almond cleanser paste (a little smaller than pea-sized) into your hand.  Mix it with a little water until it becomes white and spreadable. 

this is the size dollop i use (left), and this is what it looks like when you add water (right)

Apply the cream to your face in a "press and roll" fashion.  By pressing the almond cleaning cream into your skin instead of scrubbing your face like a hardwood floor, you are keeping the almond bits out of your pores and not irritating your skin.  Here's a video showing the press and roll technique.  I do this for about 2 minutes. 

this is my best neutrogena girl impression.  did i ever think i'd post pictures of my makeup-less face covered with almond meal on the internet?  no.  no. no.

I hope this homemade almond cleansing cream pays off for me.  I'll update you on Friday!