Many beauty products on the shelf promise great things. Formulated in labs to firm, reduce wrinkles, and beautify, the products are often synthetic and contain potentially harmful parabens. These chemicals are being studied, and scientists are discovering various ways these ingredients can affect us.
So how do we beautify and take care of our skin, hair, and health without the use of synthetic products? Mother Nature has provided a wide array of emollients, antioxidants, and look-good, feel-good oils to nourish us from the inside and the outside. Here’s a breakdown of the best performers.
Keeping those lovely strands healthy can be a challenge, especially for those of us who keep our locks long. Split ends, frizz, and strength can all create mayhem in your mane.
The natural oils produced on the scalp help protect hair, but the longer the hair, the harder it is to keep healthy. First things first: invest in a boar’s hair brush. The bristles are the closest imitation of human hair in a brush, and they help transfer your own natural oils from root to tip.
Next, turn to your kitchen pantry. No perfumes or petrochemicals, the following hair treatment helps nourish, strengthen and de-frizz. After washing your hair, squeeze the water out (but do not towel-dry or rub out the moisture).
Place a teaspoon of oil in the palm of your hand. It can be grape seed, safflower, coconut, olive, or sunflower; any of these will do the trick. Rub the oil between the palms of your hands and massage it into your hair from root to tip.
For the body
Mediterranean women are known for their glowing skin. They don’t seem to age quite as quickly as people in other Western countries (like the US). Why? The secret seems to be olive oil.
They cook with it, the stuff moisturizes their hands and their skin, and the antioxidants work their magic. A great way to soften and protect skin on a regular basis without the parabens, perfumes, and other synthetic chemicals is a post-shower EVOO massage.
First, scrub down your skin with a washcloth or loofah to exfoliate your body. After showering, pat dry so your skin is still slightly damp. Then, take one to two tablespoons of oil and massage it into your skin — head to toe. If you’re prone to acne, olive oil may not be the best idea. Instead, use sunflower, safflower, or grape seed oil for an equally delightful experience.
Don’t forget, consuming healthy oils is an important part of getting the best benefit from these wonder oils. Coconut oil is great for cooking; and as an addition to the diet, it can be very beneficial, thanks to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. In fact, it’s often recommended as a homeopathic treatment for psoriasis.
Like avocados, it’s considered one of nature’s perfect foods and has a long history of health and beauty benefits. The vitamins and antioxidants of coconut, grape seed, safflower, sunflower, olive, and almond oils (to name a few) will do wonders for your skin, hair, and overall health … especially when ingested and used topically.
For the face
There’s a reason that luxury shave kits make use of nature’s bounty. We are hard on our epidermis: shaving, sun, and various quotidian chemical exposures all put our skin through its paces. Pampering your skin is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.
It may seem counterproductive; using oils for cleansing or beautifying facial skin? But that’s correct. If the proper oil is used, the good oils will dissolve the bad ones.
With the use of a wet, hot washcloth, all the pimple-inducing grime will be washed away. An added benefit is that this method also prevents the skin from over-producing oils that cause acne. Eschew olive and coconut oils for this and turn to apricot kernel oils, sunflower, grape seed, or safflower oil.