Easy skincare the natural way

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It’s increasingly clear that natural skin care – indeed, reducing the number of chemicals we use, both in our food or on our faces – is the most healthy & sustainable lifestyle that any of us can choose. But it can feel tough to make the transition. The natural approach still has a reputation for being messier, less efficient.

It is a lifestyle change, for sure. Natural beauty is about more than switching ingredients & slapping avocado pulp on your face once a week. Drinking more water really does improve my complexion. After I quit smoking, I stopped looking exhausted & grey within a fortnight. If I fall off my healthy eating wagon & spend a few days snarfling cheese, caffeine & sugar, my skin quickly tells me to stop – by getting sore, flakey & oily within 48 hours.

Once you’ve taken care of yourself naturally for a while, though, you begin to recognise that it’s far easier to stay healthy than it is to constantly compensate for self-neglect with endless product experiments & an ever more complicated beauty regime. Don’t roll your eyes – I still go out & party. But your body reacts much more elastically to a night of gin & tonic (or whatever) if you’re filling it with water & veg the rest of the week, & not forcing it to process unnecessary toxins that don’t actually feel much fun at all, if you’re completely honest with yourself.

You also start to notice that the healthier your routine, the fewer blemishes you get. It’s tougher if you’ve any sort of scarring (although even that will benefit from constant rehydration, plenty of vitamins & using products that don’t make it worse by drying your skin or blocking your pores) but for many people, this healthy new complexion brings greater confidence & requires less foundation. This means less frequent scrubbing & cleansing, giving your skin the chance to stay balanced & take care of itself for longer.

Some products will still be necessary, of course, especially if you enjoy dressing up & wearing makeup, but it’s increasingly easy to find decent, affordable skincare cleanser & moisturiser with natural ingredients. When you need a deeper cleanse, it’s actually good fun & really easy to knock a facemask together from kitchen ingredients.

My favourite recipe is:

Oats, banana, yoghurt & honey facemask

which I use once or twice a month. My pores are immediately smaller & my skin feels fresh & healthy straight afterwards. The next day, I usually get a couple of whiteheads where any pimples or infections were brewing.

For one average-sized face, use:

2 teaspoons of porridge oats

Quarter of a ripe banana

2 teaspoons of natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon of runny honey

Stir them together gently to form a smooth paste with ingredients evenly distributed throughout.

Tie your hair back! You don’t have to wash your face first, but it works best if you do. Don’t moisturise, & you definitely shouldn’t be wearing makeup for this.

Smooth the mixture over your face & relax until it’s nearly dry, but not tight or crispy.

NB: the oaty bits can sometimes fall off while the mask is drying. They wash out of fabric, but getting them off soft furnishings can be tedious.

When it’s time to remove the mask, soak a face cloth in warm water & just hold it against your face to soften the mixture, which can then be wiped gently away without over-scrubbing your skin.

Oats reduce inflammation, soothe dry itchy skin & are completely hypoallergenic.

Bananas are packed with minerals & antioxidants, & also reduces inflammation.

Yoghurt contains lactic acids & enzymes that smooth & soothe the skin.

Honey is anti-bacterial, moisturising & great at absorbing impurities from the skin.

You can use any combination of these ingredients as a facemask.