Simple Skin Care: All-Natural Recipes for Bright Healthy Skin

Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care

With wrinkles, bumps, and dry patches, I am always searching for magic potions to erase these unwelcome, overstaying visitors without breaking my budget or reverting to picking and prodding with my fingertips (so guilty).

Like most people, I want to be nice to my face, and all of the products I tested included so many unpronounceable ingredients… Trying to figure out what they were and if they were ok for my skin felt daunting. Plus, when I did find a high-quality natural brand, the price tags sent me back to the easy swipe of a makeup wipe. After all, what I really want in my skin care routine is effective simplicity.

My current skin care routine consists of a couple of my favorite brands mixed with my faithful DIYs. If a product or recipe is difficult to find or time-consuming, I’m out. I need a good balance of convenience and health (Amen?). In experimenting with these ingredients, all of which are found in local stores (or through trusty Amazon), I can see that my skin woes disappear faster and my face feels and looks healthier all around.

There are tons of oils, clays, foods, spices, etc. that tout skin benefits, but here are a few of my favorites:

Carrier Oils

A carrier oil is a base oil or vegetable oil derived from a plant (usually a seed, nut, or kernel) that can be directly applied to the face/skin. They are called carrier oils because other ingredients (like essential oils) can be added to them and they help carry those ingredients onto the skin. They also help dilute essentials oils and help prevent oils from evaporating.1 However, carrier oils also have healing benefits of their own…

Sweet Almond Oil: High in Vitamin E, hydrates, improves skin tone, reduces inflammation, and is good for use on acne, dry skin, and sun damaged skin.
Rosehip Oil: Hydrates dry patches, reduces fine lines and scars, may help correct dark spots, and prevents against some aging caused by the sun.
Coconut Oil: Generally well-loved with hundreds of uses, hydrates, cleanses, soothes burns and damage, removes makeup safely and effectively.

Essential Oils

According to, essential oils are “volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants…Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.” I’ve included a few of my favorite oils below.

Tea Tree: Antibacterial properties, fights acne and blemishes, promotes healing, relieves burns.
Lavender: Calms skin (and minds), hydrates, soothes irritations, helps stop minor bleeding.
Frankincense: The do-it-all oil for all around healthy skin, fights wrinkles and acne (what more do I need?), helps fade scars and dark spots, improves elasticity and fights wrinkles.
Lemon: Fights blackheads, wakes up tired skin, brightens and cleanses.

Other Skin Care Must-Haves:

Indian Healing Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay is very versatile with other mask ingredients or on its own. It’s known for deep cleaning pores, gently exfoliating, smoothening skin, and supporting the overall health of skin. It can be found on Amazon and is also available at Whole Foods. One tub lasts forever, I’m convinced.
Honey: Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great moisturizing and cleansing addition to a natural skin care routine/recipe.

Now for the fun… DIY recipes:

Basic Face Wash

Use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap as your base. I love the almond and lavender scents. For every 3-5oz of soap, add 5-10 drops each of desired essential oils (I use tea tree, lavender, frankincense and geranium). Start small and build up to what you know your skin can handle, too much concentration of essential oils can harm some faces. For extra moisture add drops of almond oil.

Rejuvenating Cleanser

Wash with a carrier oil alone. When your skin needs renewed softness, lightly wet your face with warm water, massage your favorite carrier oil in upward circles into your face (I go back to the basics with coconut oil. Feel free to add 1-2 drops of essential oil). Wet a washcloth with hot water and set over your face to soak in the steam. Lightly rinse and gently wipe oil off with wet cloth.

The Perfect Weekly Face Mask

Use the healing clay as your base. Feel free to use as directed with apple cider vinegar (ACV), but this was too harsh on my skin which is usually not sensitive. I mix 2 parts clay (1-2 tsp) with 1 part ACV and 1 part water. Add 3 drops of tea tree, 3 drops of lavender and a capsule of activated charcoal (I just get the capsules at Whole Foods). I’ll add a pinch or two of turmeric if I’m trying to even out some darker patches. Leave on until dry (you’ll feel the tingling of grossness leaving your pores!) and wash off with warm water. Definitely finish with toner and moisturizer. The possibilities are endless with the clay, so feel free to experiment (with caution while using essential oils)!

Simple Ask for Blackheads

For a lighter mask, mix honey, lemon juice, and one uncoated aspirin or a couple pinches of turmeric. Leave on troubled areas until almost dry/sticky, gently scrub with a warm cloth and rinse.

Refreshing Toner

Drop essential oils (peppermint, tea tree, lavender) into a 3oz spray bottle of water or toner base of your choice (ACV, witch hazel, rosewater, etc.). I love this as a refresher after the gym or for a little skin wakeup call in the morning.

Stubborn Pimple Spot Treatment

I simply drop some tea tree oil on a Q-tip and dab on pimples and cold sores. Lavender and geranium may also help with healing if the problem area has broken skin.

Brightening Under-Eye Serum

You can apply almond oil alone, occasionally with a drop of frankincense. Gently massage with ring finger all around eyes. If using essential oil, be sure to not get too close. Almond oil alone, however, can be applied to lashes as well for strengthening.

Smoothing Serum

I use almond or rosehip oil in a small dropper bottle (or your fingers), with 1-2 drops of frankincense and tea tree when I’m struggling with small breakouts—shouldn’t that be over by now? Massage into forehead, under eyes, and any other troubled area.

One last tip, don’t be afraid to make some small changes and work your way into a new skin care routine. Like anything, it takes some time and trial and error to find what works for you. But, I will say that when I’m caring for my skin with healthy ingredients that come from the earth, I look forward to my daily routine and see good changes in my nourished skin. I hope this encourages you to give it a shot!

You’ll also like 5 Everyday Essential Oils for BeginnersMakeup Hack: Essential Oils and Mascara8 Ways to Create the Perfect Spa (in Your Home!)Natural Items for the Crunchy Girl (in the Bedroom)Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Quickly and Naturally, and Can I Be a Hippie in Heels? Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle

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