We all come from a different experience and I feel strongly that each of us has something to share, so I’m always happy when someone writes a guest post for Attainable Sustainable. Today, April from Our Food Storage is guest posting about her beauty routine. April is the mother of five kids who are four and younger, including a set of triplets. An advocate for eating locally grown, fresh foods, and cooking from scratch, she provides baby steps on how to gather a year’s supply of food for emergencies like illness, job loss, financial difficulties or natural disasters. Each post comes complete with a recipe to demonstrate how she rotates those items as part of their daily meals. Here she is:
Last fall we moved from a very humid environment to a dry, moisture-leeching environment, and my skin has suffered ever since. I think I aged ten years just from the climate change. And I’ll admit it, I’m vain. I don’t want to look ten years older. I found myself needing to exfoliate much more often to get rid of all the dry skin, and my face still felt so tight most of the time that I was sure it might crack and fall off.
Over the years I’ve learned that not all exfoliants are created equal. Many of them contain things that have rough edges like ground up nut shells that will leave tiny tears in your skin. That can’t be good. That favorite one available at all drug and super stores is one of the worst for you (I admit to using it for years before I found that out). Then there is the ingredient list that reads like a chemistry experiment, which let’s be honest, actually is. The one I had been using was running out, and I didn’t want to buy more because it was a little pricey, it contained ingredients that are questionable both for my body and the environment, and I didn’t like throwing out yet another plastic container, plus the packaging. I decided to look into other options and discovered a wonderful alternative. It’s environmentally friendly, budget friendly, and it all comes from my food storage. My skin looks and feels better than it has in a long time. I feel like I knocked those ten years right back off my face. Other people have noticed, too.
I now exfoliate with baking soda (NOT baking powder). I keep a cup of baking soda in my shower caddy, add some water to make a paste. After washing my face I rub it on my skin, then rinse. Baking soda is basic on the pH scale, and your skin is not, so in order to be pH balanced (as all the commercials tell us we need to be), the next step is to use apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 8 to 1. I had a little bottle that I filled with 8 tablespoons of water to 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I keep that in my shower too with an old washcloth that I use instead of those cotton pads.* Put that on your skin with your old washcloth (I leave mine dry so the vinegar solution is not diluted more). Leave it on for a few minutes then rinse. When you get out of the shower use your favorite moisturizer** and feel your baby soft skin.
Does this mean I’m standing in the shower wasting lots of water? No. While the vinegar is on my face, I’m washing and conditioning my hair. I use the baking soda and vinegar first thing, then rinse my face at the end.
Does my face smell like vinegar? No. You can smell it some while you are in the shower, but you rinse it off and the smell is gone. Trust me, my husband would complain if he had to kiss a face that smelled like vinegar.
How often? I do it probably twice a week, but you can see what you like.
A couple of times a month I take an egg white, add a tiny squirt of lemon juice, whip with a fork to make it a little foamy and apply to my face as a protein mask. I leave it on for about 10 minutes. I do it right before my least favorite time of the month, and I’m no longer dealing with that annoying teenage breakout. I put the yolk in a little container in my fridge and add it to my eggs or omelet the next day. The broken shell goes in my garden to protect my plants from slugs and cutter bugs and eventually add calcium to the soil. I buy the eggs from my neighbor, and I always bring her my empty egg cartons, so none of that goes in the garbage. I zest the lemon before I juice it and freeze the zest for when I need it in a recipe. I put the lemon rind in my garbage disposal to freshen and clean it. I could also compost it. No waste.
I buy baking soda in bulk because I use it for all kinds of things including baking, laundry, cleaning, plumbing emergencies, cold remedy, and now skin care. I have a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar for use in cooking, making salad dressings, and now for my face. This reduces the amount of packaging I’m throwing away.
Honestly, I’ve been doing this for a month, and my skin is smoother, clearer, better hydrated and my pores look smaller. I asked an aesthetician I know about this little regime, and she said it sounded great.
*I doubt the vinegar would hurt my nice washcloths since I use white vinegar as a deodorizer and fabric softener in my laundry, but I don’t feel like testing the theory of repeated direct contact on my good washcloths.
**I finally found a moisturizer I like that isn’t full of poisonous chemicals. You can go to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to look up the products you use and see how they score. You can also search for better ones. The moisturizer I’m using scores a one on a scale of seven.
Photo: Flickr user woodleywonderworks