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DIY skin care remedies

Updated: March 2, 2012 03:50 PM EST
A natural humectant, honey keeps moisture in, which makes it ideal for hydrating skin and hair. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock) A natural humectant, honey keeps moisture in, which makes it ideal for hydrating skin and hair. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock)


By Marisa Belger
From Green Goes Simple

Your skin is your body's biggest organ. And to keep it healthy and radiant, you may be tempted to visit the beauty aisle. But the quickest, most efficient skin care remedies are already in your cupboard and refrigerator.

You can whip up homemade moisturizers, masks and balms that will keep the whole family soft and supple throughout the winter months -- and will save you money too. Plus, DIY skin care means that you get to control what ends up on your skin and that of your family, making natural ingredients easy to incorporate into your beauty regimen.

According to Stephanie Tourles, licensed holistic aesthetician and author of Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self, effective winter skin care remedies are just waiting in your pantry (plus maybe a quick trip to a the pharmacy or health food store). Tourles recommends using the following ingredients and DIY treatments for every member of your family:

Jojoba

"The chemical makeup of jojoba oil is amazingly similar to our own natural moisturizing sebum," says Tourles. "Keep a bottle of plain jojoba oil in the bathroom cabinet. Jojoba can be found at your local pharmacy or health food store. After showering or bathing, pat skin dry, and then massage your entire body -- including your face -- with a thin layer of the oil."

Allow the oil to penetrate your skin for five minutes before you get dressed. "With regular daily application, you will be rewarded with super-soft, comfortable skin," she says. "And jojoba oil can be used by all skin types, including oily."

Honey

Honey is a superstar ingredient that you'll almost always have in your kitchen. A natural humectant, honey keeps moisture in, which makes it ideal for hydrating skin and hair, according to Janice and Lauren Cox in EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends.

For a quick and easy moisturizing mask, simply warm a jar of honey in a pot of hot water and then smooth the warmed honey -- be sure it's not too hot -- across a clean face. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, and then remove with warm water.

Oats

"Keep a carton of old-fashioned oatmeal in your pantry to use as a bath additive that will keep dry skin at bay," says Tourles. "Oats have been used for centuries as a skin-pampering ingredient in facial scrubs, body scrubs, masks and anti-itch remedies for such things as poison ivy." 

For a moisturizing bath, add 1 cup of oats to a drawstring muslin bath bag. Pull the string tight and put the bag in a tub of warm water. Jump in and squeeze the bag to release the milky oat essence. Soak for about 20 minutes; during this time, gently rub the oat bag over your entire body. Pat dry and follow with an application of jojoba oil. Repeat the oat bath two or three times per week to help treat itchy winter skin.

Olive Oil

To reduce static in your hair and add a bit of conditioning gloss, Tourles recommends pouring 1/4 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil into your palm, rubbing your hands together and lightly running them through and over dry hair. Use a little more if your hair is past shoulder-length.

Avocado

The fruit that's often mistaken for a vegetable is packed with hydrating oils, protein and vitamins. A ripe avocado can be instantly transformed into a moisturizing mask. Simply mash one with a fork and apply it to clean skin. Kids love this! They finally get permission to wear the guacamole on their chin.

Coconut Oil

If there's one ingredient you should always keep on hand, coconut oil just may be it. A multitasking lubricant, coconut oil is as effective in cooking (try it with your next stir-fry) as it is for moisturizing dry hair and nails, and even as an all-over body hydrator. Simply apply organic coconut oil to the extra-dry sections of your body.

Marisa Belger's work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at Lime.com and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. She is the managing editor of and frequent contributor to Green Goes Simple.

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