I’ve been debating whether or not I’d start sharing my “beauty” experiments in this forum. I’ve been thinking long and hard about it, and have decided (I guess, quite obviously, considering the title of this entry) that I will share successes. As I work this year toward balance–in body, mind, and spirit–while also writing this giant paper/pre-book, I’ve also begun to pamper myself a bit more. The art, practice, and habit of self care, I shall call it.
I recently visited a wonderful East Nashville salon, Studio Green, for a Signature Facial, the gift of some of my dearest friends. The Skin Therapist, Christina, took her time, and explained many of the steps of my facial. Quite frankly, she talked to me until my body and brain sunk completely into the table, forgetting, mostly, where I was. The products she used were all food grade, absolutely delicious smelling, and left my skin feeling super soft and even. She even talked with me about my home made skincare products, and gave me some really great suggestions for tweaking them. It was a wonderful experience, and if you are in Nashville, try the salon out! I’ll be back, surely.
I did have a bit of a reaction a few days later, I think mostly from the repeated hot towels applied to my face. My experience with hot towels is that they draw out lots of impurities and, particularly, any burgeoning* eruptions below the skin surface. So, a couple of days later, and probably as a result of me not taking the best of care of my skin, my face did this eruption thing.
Now, 2 weeks later (and with a boost in my water consumption and skincare regimen), my skin is looking pretty amazing. The number one thing Christina helped me understand was that I needed to exfoliate more. I have a history of oily skin that is easily irritated and of acne breakouts due to hormone fluctuations and those pesky irritations. And, along with a lot of other slick women, I seemed to miss that my skin 1) has changed over time; and 2) still needs to be moisturized–and moisturized well. She and I talked about my particular needs, which included moisturizing (as she reminded me), occasional breakouts, uneven tone, and fine lines.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m happy to grow old… I’m not a filler, hard-core peel kinda lady. I no longer dye my hair, and there is quite a bit of salt in there, including some side streaks. I shake my silvery mane with pride. And while I embrace my age and work to love this body in all of its forms, I plan on treating my skin like the gift that it is, and step into the silver(er) light with grace! What? Ya, I hope to, anyway. The art, practice, and habit of self care.
Various forms of sugar, including beet and evaporated cane juice, are natural exfoliants. You know all the glycolic acid peels flying around? Well, that glycolic acid is often isolated from either sugar or any number of fruits, including pineapple, papaya, or pumpkin. I have not added fruit to my peel, at this point, because I am saving these more dramatic exfoliants for my occasional professional treatments at Studio Green (told ya, I’m going to budget and get back there every 6 weeks or so). The peel, below, is quite mild and uses cinnamon to boost blood flow to the face. It should feel a little warm, but does not have any of the sting of a fruit peel.
If you do not want to buy confectioner’s sugar, you can simply process evaporated cane juice or beet sugar in your food processor with a little tapioca starch or cornstarch until it becomes powder. For every cup of sugar, use 1 tablespoon of starch. Please do not use regular-sized grains of sugar, because they can cut your skin and cause more harm than good.
So, here is my newest and regular addition to my skin care regimen. I suggest this no more than twice a week. Once per week should do it.
- 1 1/2 t organic/vegan confectioner’s/powdered sugar
- 1 t powdered cinnamon (a mild variety)
- 3/4 t sandalwood powder
- 1 1/2 t coconut oil, room temperature
- 1 1/2 t coconut milk or cream
- Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together with a fork to incorporate.
- Add the coconut oil, and cream the ingredients. Adding the oil to the dry ingredients, first, will assure that the sugar doesn’t liquify too quickly.
- Add the coconut milk and stir until incorporated.
- Take small amounts and add to skin, scrubbing in gentle circles and avoiding eyes and lips. Massage on to face for at least 1 minute and up to 3 minutes. Remember to be gentle.
- Leave the solution on the face, like a mask, for another 10 minutes (no more than 15 minutes).
- Rinse and pat try. Tone and apply your regular moisturizer.
- You may have some of this left over which you can use as a hand, elbow, and foot scrub. I love doing all of this at night, which is great for the face as a “recharge.” It is also a nice hand treatment before bed. Also, because sandalwood helps relieve anxiety, this is really a great before-bed treatment, altogether.
- If you would like a stronger peel, you could also add one teaspoon or more of ripe pineapple, papaya, or pumpkin to this or add lemon juice in lieu of the coconut milk (but, please be careful). If you do use additional fruit, please (please) use fresh fruit that you have pureed in a food processor. You can store any additional fruit that you don’t use this time in the freezer (freeze in ice trays and then store in a plastic bag, so that you might have small “servings” for future peels). Of course, you can just eat the fruit, too!
- Also, if your skin is super oily and/or you still have 20-something year old skin, you can substitute the coconut oil with j0joba oil.
*I’m trying to take some of these words out of my dissertation, so forgive me as the traces make their ways into 4aux4oodie.