DIY Skincare 101: Ingredients to Use and Not to Use
Now more than ever, women worldwide are flocking to their kitchens to find natural, at-home ingredients they can use to give their skin the extra love it needs during these trying times. And we are with you! There is a beautiful sense of power and creativity that comes with making your own face masks and other DIY treatments just with a few simple ingredients you already have at home. It's fun, natural, and safe—right?
You may think that because these foods and ingredients are safe to eat, they must be safe for your skin too, but that's not entirely the case. Our skin is much different than the inside of our stomachs (weird to think about, we know—but it’s true!). That means that not every ingredient is DIY skincare safe. But don't worry. We've done the research for you to find out what ingredients are DIY-approved and which ones aren't, so you can avoid sensitivity and irritation and just have fun with your skincare.
Best Ingredients to Use for DIY Skincare
Skincare formulations are trickier than you'd think. There is a lot of science and expertise that comes into formulating products that are safe to use and can withstand the elements and test of time. So when it comes to making your own skincare at home, we recommend sticking to the indulgent face mask. This one-and-done wash-off treatment allows you to enjoy the benefits of these ingredients without putting yourself at risk for infection or allowing for bacterial growth potential (it is food, after all).
For All Skin Types
Honey is one of the most versatile ingredients and is arguably the best overall for DIY skincare. This natural humectant is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, clarifying, hydrating, moisturizing, and full of antioxidants. For DIY skincare (and for your health), using raw organic honey is best as it will contain most of its original nutrients like propolis and bee pollen. Honey can be applied on its own or combined with the other safe, DIY skincare ingredients we have listed below.
You've likely used aloe vera before to soothe your skin after a day in the sun, and the same logic can be applied to using aloe vera in your DIY skincare recipes. Aloe vera contains minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids that nourish and hydrate sensitive skin. Aloe vera is also extremely cooling, refreshing and can treat inflammation, redness, and irritation.
Pure aloe vera can be applied alone or combined with honey and a few drops of rose water to hydrate, soothe, and rejuvenate the skin.
Oats are a wonderful, natural ingredient that has been used for centuries to treat irritations and provide moisture. Plus, we are guessing you already have some in your cupboard. For those with dry skin, natural compounds in the oats known as beta-glucans and avenanthramides work to calm inflammation, repair the skin barrier, and act as natural emollients that add moisture.
The best way to use oats in a DIY facemask is to blend about 1/4 cup of oats into a fine powder that can apply evenly to the skin. Taking the oat powder, you will add a couple tablespoons into a small bowl and combine it with two tablespoons of hot water and stir well. Once you have this paste, you can add enough raw honey to make it a pliable consistency. Apply to the skin, leave on for about 15 minutes, and voila!
Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
Turmeric is a medicinal herb that has been used in Southeast Asian cuisine and beauty rituals for thousands of years. This yellow spice is fantastic for oily, acne-prone skin because it is naturally anti-inflammatory, helps balance oil production, is high in antioxidants, and defends against acne-causing bacteria. Turmeric can also help treat those stubborn post-acne scars and hyperpigmentation by brightening and evening the skin tone.
You can create a turmeric face mask by combining turmeric and raw organic honey until it forms a paste. Apply onto freshly cleansed skin and let sit for up to 20 minutes to calm inflammation and redness.
Avocado is one of the best and safest DIY skincare ingredients for those with normal to dry skin. This green superfood supplies healthy fats and moisturizing agents to calm and plump the skin. You can combine 1/4 of an avocado (save the rest for toast) and mix it with a bit of raw honey until well combined. Apply onto freshly clean skin and leave on for 20 minutes.
Ingredients to Stay Away From
Using baking soda as an exfoliating or cleansing treatment is getting a lot of hype right now, and it shouldn't be! Here's why:
Our skin has a naturally acidic pH, around 4.7 to 5.5 on the 14-point scale. Maintaining this naturally acidic mantle is essential for protecting our skin from bacteria, pollution, and other environmental stressors. Not to mention, we need this acid mantle for ceramides, cholesterol, enzymes, sweat, and our natural oils to do their job.
Baking soda is highly alkaline with a pH of 9 and can significantly disturb our skin's pH and acid mantle. This disruption can cause rashes, redness and even affect the long-term health of the skin.
Lemon and Other Citrus Juices
Just like baking soda is too alkaline for the skin's delicate pH, these fruit juices are too acidic for the skin (with a pH of around 2). While some of your favorite products may use these citrus extracts for a natural boost of Vitamin C, these raw juices have not been formulated to be beneficial for the skin in DIY skincare. Not only can these acids disrupt your skin barrier, but they can also be photo-toxic in the sunlight and leave your skin extremely sensitive to UV exposure.