Home-made products to save your skin this winter

Wintry weather, central heating and a lack of fresh air is a nightmare recipe for skin. But there are things we can do to stop drying out and maintain a healthy complexion and gorgeous glow. Better, still, most of what you’ll need will probably be in the kitchen cupboard!

Ingredients in a lot of off-the-shelf skincare products can be harsh and contain chemicals we don’t fully understand the impact of, which if nothing else can irritate the skin. Making things at home is purer, safer and usually cheaper too! Try these moisture-retaining ways to keep skin healthy and feeling good this winter.

Golden beeswax balm

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love bees already, honeybees’ wax creates a protective layer for our skin that seals in moisture. It contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which help to protect skin too. Beeswax balms can be used in a variety of ways, from a lip balm to a mask, or a moisturiser for drier or dehydrated skin. Some of the balms on the market have become costly cult products. But a beeswax balm is incredibly easy to make, and inexpensive! Thanks, bees! 🙂

Use a food-grade beeswax from a trusted UK beekeeper like The Hive Honey Shop, which we have tried, tested and love. Pure beeswax smells gorgeous and is golden in colour (rather than bright yellow). Half of one of The Hive Honey Shop’s 30g bars (£2.25/each) will make a 50g pot of balm, when mixed with around 100ml olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of runny honey.
Create a ‘bain marie’ by floating a Pyrex bowl (which can tolerate high temperatures) in a slightly larger saucepan of boiling water on the stove, as if you were melting chocolate. If you haven’t done this before, ask at home or watch a video.

Be careful – keep the heat low, and never leave the pan unattended.

The oil goes into the warm bowl first, then half the bar of beeswax, approx. 15g. (If you can cut it up smaller, safely, it will of course melt faster.) Keep stirring until it’s all melted together, then stir the honey in last. When that’s melted too, pour the mixture immediately (protecting your hands) into a sanitised glass jar. Leave until it turns hard, and there you have a moisturiser for weeks or months to come!

N.B. To stay popular at home (!), don’t get beeswax into the saucepan water, as it can be a horrible job to clean up, and don’t throw any beeswax down the sink.

Warm oil cleansing

Some beauty trends promote multiple stages of cleansing daily. If your skin is suffering from the effects of winter, don’t follow that advice. Instead, you want to only cleanse your face sufficiently to keep it clean, in order to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils (which isn’t good for any skin type!). Instead, rub olive oil (or avocado, coconut or almond oil) into dry skin to remove any make-up and unclog pores. Warm it in your hands, massage it, remove with warm water and a cloth.

A glittering exfoliation

Exfoliating makes skin smoother, getting rid of dull, dead skin, and helps moisturiser to absorb. It’s incredibly easy to make one at home. So easy, you’ll wonder why anyone buys them.

Our favourite recipe feels perfect for the winter months: a naturally glittering, dark mixture of cinnamon, olive oil and honey (which is delicious if you happen to swallow any, too!). Mix 1 tsp of cinnamon with 2 tsps of runny honey and approx 3-4 tsps of olive oil (test to get the consistency of paste you want), and with some water, gently rub into the face. Remove with a cloth and warm water.

Also, we’ll probably never know whether Cleopatra bathed daily in donkey milk, but we do know dairy milk contains an AHA, which means it exfoliates chemically. An exfoliant of milk and fine brown sugar works at a chemical and mechanical level and is an age-old way to keep skin bright. Use 2 tsps of sugar and just enough milk to make a paste. Try ground oatmeal with plain yoghurt for a softer scrub.

N.B. Never over-exfoliate by rubbing too hard or repeating too often, as it strips the skin of its oils, and can cause sensitivity and break-outs. Once or twice a week is enough.

A warming facial steam

An oldie but a goodie! A facial steam adds moisture back into your skin by increasing natural oil production. It also releases trapped oils and bacteria, decongesting pores and reducing blackheads. A facial steam soothes any dry patches, improves circulation for glowing skin, and leaves you feeling cosy and pampered. It’s good for congestion too if you’ve picked up a cold.

To do it, cleanse (or exfoliate) first, then drape a fluffy towel over your head, holding your face 15cm above boiling water, eyes closed. Adjust for comfort, allowing air in if and when needed. Steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Seal with a moisturiser or oil.

If you want to add essential oils to the water, try rose or rose geranium, which are soothing, antimicrobial and good for sleep, too.

A luscious mask for dry skin

This creamy mask is just what your dry or dehydrated skin needs. Mix half a banana with 2 tsps of honey and 1 tbsp of plain yoghurt. Add ¼ tsp of turmeric if you have it, which will act as an antioxidant. Leave on the face for around 20 mins and remove with a cloth and warm water. If you’re vegan, you can make this by adding a little more honey, and/or mixing in some aloe vera if you have any.

Love Ya, Honey!

Honey is one of nature’s most loved skin remedies! Using honey alone makes for a simple and super effective mask or cleanser. It moisturises deeply, gently exfoliates, and has antibacterial properties! It can be used as a daily cleanser, on its own, just mixed with a little water. And if you want to do a honey mask, leave a layer on for half an hour or so and see how bright and delicious your skin looks after!

Glowing Ghee

If you are happy to use dairy, ghee is a power ingredient for your skin. Rich in omega fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamins A, B12, D, E and K this golden butter is long-renowned in Indian medicine for giving deep and lasting hydration to and nourishing the skin. Mix 1 tsp of ghee to 1 tsp of honey and leave for around 20 mins before removing with a cloth and warm water.

These homemade ideas will get your skin through the wintry months, and see you healthy, glowing and gorgeous on the other side!

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