I thought I’d share with all my lady readers (and men, if they’re interested) a few of my favorite, go-to products. I’ve switched up my skin routine on multiple occasions throughout my life, but for the first time in a really, really long time I’ve finally found a routine that keeps my skin happy and healthy. Many of these products are absolutely wonderful for the often extremely drying winter months that are quickly approaching. Some of my favorites on this list can be bought at your local grocery store. Over the years I’ve tried to get away from synthetic products and take up a routine involving more all-natural products that my skin and body has benefited from. All-natural products don’t necessarily have to cost an insane amount of money either.
So, without further adieu, here are some of my all-time favorites:
1. Brown Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub
Many recipes online include honey, but I leave the honey out of mine. Brown sugar is a natural exfoliate that doesn’t lend itself to being too rough on the skin. Olive oil counteracts the sugar and is incredibly moisturizing. Together, this scrub is to die for. I use this mixture only on my face in the morning every two or three days. I avoid using this on the rest of my body because I usually dry brush the rest of my body, which I will get to later, or use my very favorite Salux exfoliating cloth in the shower, which I will also get to later. I keep my brown sugar scrub in a mason jar and keep it right in the shower. I’ve seen a dramatic difference in my skin using this brown sugar scrub, and I will never use anything else. Plus, brown sugar and olive oil are relatively cheap, and the products last me months!
2. Raw Honey
Raw honey is full of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that effectively fight pimple breakouts and soothe irritated skin. I use honey as a mask that I massage into my face and neck area once a week or so, and I allow the honey to soak in for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Sometimes I’ll mix in nutmeg but raw honey is really all you need to reap all the benefits that it has to offer. The honey mask will leave your skin super soft and will lessen any annoying redness. It is important to stick to raw honey, however, because raw honey has not been pasteurized so it will still contain all the amazing enzymes your skin loves.
3. SheaMoisture Shampoo, Conditioner and Deep Conditioning Masque
I am a HUGE fan of SheaMoisture products, but their Raw Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner line is my favorite! There are virtually no harmful chemicals in the products, and I can tell that my hair loves the products too. The products are a little bit more on the expensive side for me but they can last me about a month and half if I am conscious about the amount of product I use when I shower. But, the price more than makes up for itself in the benefits and improvement I’ve seen in the condition of my hair. The Deep Conditioning Masque is also lovely, but I found it to be pretty similar to the regular conditioner so I probably won’t continue to purchase it. All in all, SheaMoisture has a great product line, and I have started to try some of their make-up line, which I’ve been enjoying so far too.
4. SheaMoisture African Black Soap – Bar Soap
This is another huge favorite of mine from the SheaMoisture line. African Black Soap is an all-natural way to help heal and soothe problem skin. Black soap is made from the ash of locally harvested plants and barks such as plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, and shea tree bark. It also has the highest concentration of shea butter so it not only acts as an all natural UV protectant, but it is also great for sensitive skin. For me, this soap has been an absolute blessing. It has helped clear up my problem skin, and it has virtually eliminated my break outs altogether. I use the bar soap for my entire body, including my face. SheaMoisture has developed an African Black Soap face wash, but the bar soap is nearly half the price of the face wash and includes essentially the same ingredients so I can’t justify having two separate African Black Soap products for my face and body. For awhile I also struggled with some breakouts on my back, but this soap has cleared it up! I am over the moon with African Black Soap and particularly SheaMoisture’s additions to the soap. I do find it to be a tad bit drying for my skin, but its nothing that a little coconut oil can’t soothe, and overall I have seen such a huge improvement in my skin. I don’t know why I never researched or tried out African Black Soap in the past, but I am so glad I’ve tried it now! Also, as an aside, the bar soap is quite large at roughly $4.99 a bar, so I cut up the bar in about 5-6 separate pieces and use one piece at a time. One bar typically lasts me about a month or so. I do use the bar soap often – sometimes twice a day if I work out. This stuff is AMAZING!
5. Coconut Oil
I’ve raved about coconut oil in the past, and this post is no exception. I use the very product pictured above, and I just LOVE coconut oil. Like honey, coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties, which makes it a great addition to a routine combating acne or breakouts. It’s my go-to all-over moisturizer. I use it mainly on my face, back and legs. At night, I massage a small amount into my face and wake up to fresh, bright, soft skin. Coconut oil is a miracle worker as it helps repair troubled skin and soothe irritated skin. The best part is that coconut oil is quite cheap, and a jar, like Nature’s Way above, can last months and months and months. No more synthetic moisturizers for me – I’ve used coconut oil as a moisturizer for months now and my skin loves it.
6. Eco-Dent Extra Brite Tooth Whitener
Eco-Dent’s tooth whitener is essentially baking soda with a few other all-natural ingredients such as peppermint extract and mrryh extract. This tooth powder is less abrasive than regular baking soda, however, and I love the other all-natural ingredients. I’m not a huge fan of whitening products in general because my teeth are super sensitive. For instance, after just one use of Crest Whitestrips my teeth were so sensitive afterward that it felt like someone had hit me several times in the mouth. I don’t feel that way with Eco-Dent tooth whitener, and I have noticed that it has whitened my teeth and brightened my smile. I use this powder twice a day mixed with my regular toothpaste. I’ve been so impressed with it that I’ve been using it for several months, and I don’t intend on stopping. It’s a great addition to a dental hygiene routine if you’re looking for a less abrasive way to whiten your teeth without the painful after-effects of other teeth whitening products (I’m looking at you, Crest).
7. Salux Nylon Japanese Exfoliating Cloth
Alright, I’m just going to go out there and say it: loofahs are gross. They are hard to keep clean, and they should be replaced every two weeks. Sure, loofahs are great for exfoliating but their shape (and hidden, tight crevices) make them hard to thoroughly clean in between replacements, which causes all those dead skin cells to build up on the loofah. Yuck. Not so with Salux’s exfoliating cloth. I had read a review somewhere about this japanese cloth last year sometime, and I finally purchased one about 6 months ago on Amazon. I LOVE this thing. It’s made out of polyester and nylon so it gets the job done as far as exfoliating is concerned, but the main reason I love this product is because the cloth is large, which allows for easy total body coverage, and it can easily be tossed into the washing machine to be cleaned without fear that tight crevices are being missed (because there are NONE!). It also requires less replacements because of its shape and ease in keeping the cloth clean. It comes in a variety of pastel colors, and it hangs nicely in my shower. I use the Salux cloth as an exfoliate for my body – from neck to feet, and my skin always feels so smooth after I use it. If you’re looking for a great exfoliater that is easy to keep clean – this is your product!
8. Dry Brush
Dry brushing is a lesser known technique. My mom bought me my first dry brush while we were on a cruise to the Bahamas last year. I didn’t use it right away but after I did some research on dry brushing I realized I was missing out! Dry brushing not only exfoliates the skin, but it also stimulates the skin’s lymphatic system, and it can also help eliminate or control cellulite by softening hard fat deposits in the skin. “When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. By stimulating your lymphatic system and helping it release toxins, dry skin brushing is a powerful detoxification aid.” In contrast to the Salux cloth, dry brushing is done BEFORE entering the shower and you want to brush the skin in long strokes always toward the heart. I alternate between shower exfoliating and dry brushing depending on how much time I have or what my mood is. Dry brushing, in my opinion, does take a bit longer that exfoliating in the shower, but it’s totally worth it.