100% Natural Skin Care

by heather

milkDo you ever think about the ingredients that are in the face soap and lotion you cleanse your skin with every day? What about that mud mask you slather on every week to tighten your pores?

If you’re using a mainstream commercial brand then chances are there’s some really nasty chemicals in there. Chemicals you wouldn’t want to go near, much less knowingly put on your face every morning and night.

Before I hopped onto the green train I never thought twice about buying products like Biore, Aveeno and Garnier to cleanse and moisturize my skin. I liked the way they smelled, so I bought them.

The problem is that face and body care products aren’t regulated by the FDA. Which means companies can essentially put whatever they want in these products. And, they do. Even products you think sound safe, often aren’t.

For instance, look at the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) run down of The Body Shop’s Golden Apple Wrapped Soap. Now, I used to manage a Body Shop in college. I love their products and always felt they were safe and natural.

Apparently, not anymore.

This particular soap scored a 7 out of 10 with EWG, which means it’s very hazardous. Ingredients in this soap have been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies, and other concerns.

I’ve phased out pretty much all mainstream commercial brands over the years. But even “natural” companies, like Burt’s Bees and The Body Shop, don’t score so well all the time.

I had a breakthrough just a few weeks ago, when I ordered the book Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin, by Narine Nikogosian (a steal at Amazon for $10). This book features ancient, 100% natural skin care recipes that you can easily (and cheaply) make at home. Now, nothing goes on my face that I wouldn’t also put in my mouth.

It’s All My Kitchen

What’s so amazing about this book is that many of the recipes are hundreds of years old. Women have been using these combinations to cleanse and nourish their skin since ancient times. Why should we be paying out the nose for lotions filled with dangerous chemicals? Our skin responds better to simple cleansers like carrots, oatmeal, milk and honey.

I’ve been using these recipes for about a week now, and I have to say already I’m noticing a difference. So, I wanted to share a few of my favorites so far so you can try them too!

Honey, I Got the Milk Cleanser

I’ve been using this cleanser almost every night since I got the book. And, it’s lovely!

1 Tablespoon oatmeal (old-fashioned, not quick or steel cut)

1/4 cup milk

1 Tablespoon honey

In a blender, combine oatmeal, milk and honey and blend until smooth. Gently wash your face with the mixture (I pour it on a washcloth and scrub), and then rinse with warm water.

Here’s another favorite…

Positively Energizing Grapefruit Moisturizer

1 Tablespoon cottage cheese

1/2 egg yolk

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon grapefruit juice

In a blender, combine cottage cheese, egg yolk, honey and butter. Mix until smooth. Add grapefruit juice and blend again.

Apply this to your face in the morning and occasionally at night. Splash with water and pat dry.


And, here’s my #1 favorite recipe from the book so far…

Honey, It’s Delicious Walnut Scrub

1 Tablespoon ground walnuts

1/2 Tablespoon plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)

1 Tablespoon honey

In a small bowl mix all three ingredients. Massage the mixture gently onto your skin (works best in the shower, when your pores are more open). Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then rinse off.

TIP: This face scrub is delicious. I make a double batch when I make it: one for my face, and one to eat! Yes, it’s that’s good. And your skin will glow when you’re done!

Final Word…

I really can’t say enough about this awesome book. I’ve been having so much fun every night making a new concoction for my face. And, I can really see a difference, just in the past week!

Most of the recipes use the same central ingredients such as avocado, oatmeal, milk, honey, walnuts, egg whites, lemon, plain yogurt, mango, olive oil, and more. Pretty much all of them you’ll already have on-hand in your kitchen. If you’d like to start making your own skin care more natural (and save money at the same time) then give Narine Nikogosian’s book, Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin a look. It’s awesome!

(photo credit: grongar)


Lia March 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Hi Heather,
I’m wondering if the book has any advice for super oily, acne prone skin types? I use a super strong “medicated” acne scrub on my face but I’m still prone to breakouts based on my stress level for any given month (I’m Mediterranean, facial oil seems to be our speciality). The book sounds like quite a find, and I’d love to get away from these smelly scrubs and cleansers.

heather March 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

@Lia, Yes, I’m sorry I should have mentioned that!

The book is divided into four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. And within each season, recipes are divided up by skin type: Dry, Normal to Dry, Normal to Oily, and Oily. So there are plenty of recipes specifically for oily skin.

There’s also an entire chapter on breakouts, pimples, and acne which was really awesome!

One recipe for oily skin that I liked was this one:

Milk and Baking Soda Cleanser (pg. 52)
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/4 cup milk

Mix the baking soda and milk together, then add 2 Tablespoons of water. Pour a small amount on a wet washcloth and gently wash. Rinse with warm water.

The book says this cleanser is rich in protein and lactic acid, and is great for detoxing your skin.

Fonda LaShay March 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The book sounds great, i’ll add it to my list :)\nThanks!
Fonda LaShay

Erin March 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Thanks for sharing! You can actually SEE a difference? You’ve convinced me then!

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s baby liquid soap, which is nice, but leaves my skin a little too greasy sometimes. I think I’m going to try the Milk and Baking Soda Cleanser, and the Walnut scrub sounds great too!

heather March 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm


I’ve also been using Infotone spray, which is a natural face mist that I’ll be reviewing on Monday. I think that this spray, and these new natural scrubs and cleansers, have really made a difference in my skin. It just looks brighter and healthier looking, like the color is better. And my acne (which isn’t bad, but occasionally flares up) has been better as well.

So, going more natural is definitely working for me! 🙂

Tammy C March 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

Heather…..what is the average shelf-life of these products? Many thanks!

Kim March 21, 2011 at 1:28 am

Hi! I’m so glad I get your newsletter but did have to mention the supreme irony of having a Philosophy skin care product ad on the bottom of the message you sent to your list. They are by no means healthy and do have toxic ingredients. I’m not sure you can do anything about this (if your ads are voluntary or not) but thought I’d bring it up so that people didn’t think you were advocating using toxic products.

Thanks again for that awesome book recommendation, though. I’ll be checking that out from the library 🙂

heather March 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

@Tammy, it says in the book the products, once made, could be stored in the fridge for a few days. But the author recommends making very small batches and using them for one day only; the nutrients start to break down as they age, which is why they’re best used fresh. That’s what I’ve been doing; I don’t mind the work of mixing up a very small batch every time because the preparation has become part of the ritual. It’s very soothing!

@Kim, thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately I can’t pick the ads on the site. 🙁 I hope your library has the book! It’s definitely worth a look. 🙂

Kelly March 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

The cleanser you recommended for acne using milk and baking soda, how good would that work for removing makeup?

Lia April 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Purchased this book through amazon. A complete gem, I must say. Also, for any vegans out there like myself, the book features quite a few recipes that don’t use milk, yogurt, eggs or other dairy based products. I’ve been using those and they have made a tremendous difference in my skin tone. Thanks for the recommendation, Heather!

Lily Morgan April 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

Hi, I would love for you to try my Lily Moisture Mist! We are the only skin care company in the world that consumers can buy directly from the USDA certified organic grower! We make all of our products up, fresh, on our farm. Let me know what you would like to review! Thanks, Lily

Lily Morgan April 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

Hi, would you like to review our products? Let me know what you would like to try! Thanks, Lily

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