Firstly, they’re 100% natural (if your supplier is trustworthy) and without any contamination risk or aggressive surfactant. Secondly, they’re raw active ingredients your skin craves. On top of that, they’re easy to make and cheap if you’re into DIY and you don’t even have anything special to do for at least one of them. If you can’t bother, I’ve seen beautiful formulas all around the cosmetic planet. In a nutshell, raw-ingredient cleansers are great products and it would be a pity to dismiss them.
I’ll babble a bit about the cleansing phase of your beauty routine and the whys and hows, and since I’m developing a fondness for lists, I’ll list clays and herbs you can use too. Ready? Let’s go ahead and start!
THE HYDROLIPIDIC FILM
Our skin has several layers but the one we’re interested in today is the one we see and touch, the epidermis.
As you know, it’s our first line of defence and it protects itself and us with a shield, the hydrolipidic film. It’s called hydrolipidic because it’s composed of water and lipids. The water-based part of the film is acid: it’s the acid mantle. To make it short, let’s say that its role is to make your skin very unwelcoming for unwanted bacteria.
A healthy skin is slightly acidic then, with a pH between 4,5 and 5,5. As a matter of fact, « bad » bacteria thrive in an alkaline environment while « good » bacteria (the nice ones that help cleanse our skin) weaken. We don’t want that, do we?! That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your skin’s physiological and it’s just as important to avoid stripping it from its lipids.
How is the hydrolipidic film damaged?
There are obviously many reasons but excessive or inadequate hygiene with detergent cleansers is as damaging as pollution or a prolonged sun exposure.
Too many cleansers have harsh surfactants such as SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or
To sum things up: forget squeaky clean skin. The poor thing is actually squeaking its dismay! You just can’t cleanse it like you wash the dishes! Cleansing means that you’re indeed detoxifying the skin and helping it get rid of makeup, pollution or sunblock, anything actually that stuck to it during the day. However, it’s the first and in my opinion the most important (but overlooked) step of a skincare routine. Do it properly and your skin will be clean, detoxified and refreshed with very few needs as far as cosmetic products are concerned. Bathe your face in oil stripping foam and your routine is wrecked right from the start. At best, you’ll need a lot more products to repair the self-induced damage. At worst, no product will be able to make up for it.
Now, I get that many people like a good decadent foam. I do too sometimes. Foaming cleansers fill you with joy? Read the INCI list, avoid harsh surfactants and we’re done.
You like diversity and you’re open to other suggestions? Let’s get to the raw-ingredient cleansers!
Honey contains carbs, minerals salts (iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium), trace elements (copper, selenium, zinc…), amino acids and vitamins (A, B, C, D, H, K and PP) and enzymes. As if that wasn’t enough, it also produces hydrogen peroxide, a useful substance for healing. Honey is antioxidant, anti-irritant, hydrating, softening, regenerating and antibacterial. it’s just perfect!
- Acacia: soothing, tonic
- Chestnut: boosts blood circulation
- Lavender: antiseptic
- Thyme: antiseptic, tonic and healing
- Manuka: antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It helps to reduce swelling and boosts healing. It costs an arm but it’s an exceptional honey and it’s even used in some hospitals as a salve for wounds. You need it if you have big skin issues and the budget.
Now, how to wash your face with honey? You only need to take a small amount and massage your damp face with it, then rinse. Easy as pie! Every single person I recommended honey to was wowed!
It won’t take your makeup or your SPF off though. In this case,
It means literally the cleansing dirt. Rhassoul is a volcanic clay coming from the Atlas, Morocco, where it has always been used as a cleanser for skin and hair. It’s naturally soothing, healing, decongesting, remineralising and stimulating. Phew, that’s a lot of things! Rhassoul cleans your skin with a mechanical action. It acts as a blotter and absorbs impurities and toxins. That’s not all that there is to it though! It will also recharge it with minerals.
Mix it with a small amount of water or hydrosol and blend until you get a paste. It should not be too liquid nor too thick as you need to apply it easily on your face. You can let the
You’ll see, it’s excellent against blackheads and it makes the skin so bright!
It has the same absorbing properties as the
My favourite! Oats have a long history in treating skin issues. Chickenpox anyone?! They have different types of phenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as proteins, fatty acids, beta-glucans and
You can buy colloïdal oats or you can make your own with oatmeal. Grind the oatmeal in a coffee grinder or a blender and pass the powder through a sieve to make a very fine powder. This ingenious way of making your own colloïdal oats is not mine. The excellent Lise M. Andersen created and shared the process plus very useful information on her blog. Go read her article and colloïdal oats will no longer be a secret to you!
You can use honey, clays or oats as single ingredients but it’s such a fun to create your own composition! Why not adding plants powders or even make your own with dried plants?! Just make sure you make a very fine and soft powder. We wouldn’t want to scratch your skin! Possibilities are endless but I’ll give you a few ideas:
- ananas powder,
- orange peel powder,
- almond powder,
- etc., etc.
Ayurveda recommends using powder-based preparations to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. They’re often made with chickpea or almond flour, spices and/or herbs. Be creative and play with ayurvedic powders to make the synergy your skin needs:
- Amla: rich in vitamin C, it brightens the complexion, cleanses, purifies and helps the skin regenerate. It soothes Vata and Pitta.
- Ashwagandha: antioxidant and regenerating, it helps heal damaged skins. It soothes Vata and Kapha.
- Brhingaraj: repairing an anti-ageing, it also soothes inflammation and brightens the complexion. It soothes Vata and Kapha.
- Brahmi: tonic and
anti-ageing, it reduces pimples too. It balances the 3 doshas but it’s particularly interesting for Pitta.
- Neem: it’s purifying and antibacterial and it helps regulate sebum production. It soothes Pitta and Kapha.
- Manjistha: anti-ageing and astringent it’s also good for
skinmarks. It purifies and soothes too. It balances Pitta and Kapha.
How to wash my face with powder, I hear you ask. It’s very easy:
- Pour a small amount into the palm of one hand.
- Add a few drops of water and mix until you get a paste.
- Massage your face very
- Enjoy glowy skin.
Herbal cleansers exfoliate the skin, so be mindful of not over-exfoliating and alternate with a gentle cleanser.
We’re done! You’ll find formulas on
Do you have products recommendations?