Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise
The motto of “cleanse, tone and moisturise” is one that has been repeated by all women who have shown the slightest interest in looking after their skin. The big-name cosmetic companies are going to hate this news getting out there, but it’s possible to make some luscious products for cleansing, toning and moisturising that work well for a fraction of the cost – and using ingredients, such as essential oils, that would put the price of their stuff through the roof (if it’s not through the roof already!). Some of the recipes for making basic cosmetic creams and lotions have been around since Ancient Roman times and the reason why they’ve been around for so long is because they work.
Cleansing is just a fancy word for “washing”. The aim here is to remove old makeup (for women), dead skin,
dust and general dirt. You can do this using cold cream (see the recipe below), soap-and-water or just plain oil like the Romans did. You can use the same cream as a cleanser as you do for a moisturiser if you make your own creams, but if you like a bit of a grooming ritual or if you like the idea of having two products, then make your cleansing cream with, say, lavender water, and your moisturiser with rose water.
Soap and Water
Soap and water is a basic way of washing the skin that gets the grime off, but it does disrupt the natural pH of the skin, so if you like soap and water for washing your skin, follow it with a toner that has a high proportion of vinegar in it. Real enthusiasts for home-made cosmetics might like to have a go at making their own soaps using essential oils. If you like doing this, remember that coconut oil is the best oil for getting a rich lather.
The aim of toning is to freshen up the skin after whatever you’ve used to wash the skin. One of the easiest toners you can make uses a 50/50 mixture of vinegar (apple cider vinegar is the best, but any vinegar will do) and water. You can use plain water, rose water or lavender water here. Then add about 10 drops of essential oil to 250 mL of the water/vinegar mix. Choose your essential oils according to your skin type, or just stick with good old rose oil
or lavender oil
, which are good essential oils for all skin types.
Moisturising prevents the skin from losing its natural moisture. Any vegetable oil will do this job, but most people find this far too greasy on the face (however, plain coconut oil or olive oil, with or without essential oils, are great for legs, feet and arms). Cold cream was originally invented by the Roman doctor Galen, and it is just as good today as it was back then.
To make cold cream, take about a teaspoon of beeswax and melt it in a cup of a carrier oil – coconut oil, olive oil or some other vegetable oil, using a double boiler. When the wax has melted, remove the mixture from the heat and add rose water (lavender water, herbal tea, etc.), a little bit at a time, stirring vigorously until the cream begins to go smooth and, well, creamy-looking. Lastly, stir in about 5 drops of your favourite essential oils (rose oil is traditional). This cream doesn’t keep well, so store it in the fridge and use it lavishly!