Winters bring about dry skin. Isn’t that an understatement! From chapped lips to itchy backs and cracked feet to peeling hands—the cold and dry winds of this freezing season becomes a sore point with the skin! Here are some natural and organic ways to keep the skin well-nourished minus synthetic and harmful chemicals.
If you have joined the anti-synthetic chemical bandwagon and are wary of buying lotions, moisturizers, or creams from the local store this winter, I say kudos to you. It’s not easy giving up on the comfort of a store-bought moisturizer that smells great, feels just right, and keeps your skin from drying out for a 12-24 hour window. It’s easier and hassle-free and these plastic-packed products have a comfort factor that comes with them. Your favorite moisture-in-a-bottle (or jar) is almost addictive and giving it up for the sake of your winter-dried skin as well as for the environment takes some gumption. So now that you have, what does it speak for your skin, that’s begging for some moisture? It’s all good news actually, for now, you can moisturize your skin with all the goodness of nature sans the harmful chemicals of preservatives and alcohol! So here’s how you can keep your skin soft and hydrated through the winters, minus that bottled product.
Step One: Gentle Soaps, Only
The reason we so often reach for that moisturizer could lie in our choice of soaps. The harsher the soaps, the more imbalanced the skin’s pH and thus the constant need to moisturize. Choose organic soaps that don’t squeaky clean you (i.e., that don’t strip your skin of its natural lipid barrier). Brands like Lush and Dr. Bronner seem to have it down pat. Or you can always make a beautifully scented and non-drying body wash or soap at home, using just a few ingredients. Here’s my favorite recipe, with enough tweaks to it to suit almost everyone.
You'll need: ½ cup of liquid castile soap (use an unscented version like Dr. Bronner’s); 2 tablespoons organic carrier oil such as virgin coconut, virgin olive, sweet almond, jojoba or avocado; 30-40 drops of your favorite essential oils—lavender, rosemary, rose, tea tree, myrrh or even coffee; 3 tablespoons honey; and 2 capsules of vitamin E.
Method: Pour out all these ingredients into a bowl and gently mix without making suds. Pour into a squirt or pump bottle and wash away when you want. Chances are, you would not need any moisturizer after this. But if you do, read on!
Step Two: Moisturize Right After Morning Showers
The best time to apply moisturizer to your skin is when it is still shower-damp and warm. The lotion you apply now will be absorbed into the skin the most and provide you with maximum benefit, particularly if the lotion itself is organic and free of harmful and synthetic chemicals. And as with the soap, you can make an all-natural lotion at home too! Here’s one recipe I recently tried and may just work with a few tweaks for you.
You’ll need: half a cup of raw, organic shea butter; 2 tablespoons organic carrier oil such as virgin coconut, virgin olive, sweet almond, jojoba or avocado; and 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oils—lavender, rosemary, rose, tea tree, myrrh or even coffee.
Method: In a double boiler, melt the shea butter to a thickened-syrup state. (An effective double boiler is to heat a pan of water to boil and lower it to a simmer, and then gently float a smaller heat-resistant bowl in it. You can now add the shea butter to the smaller pan, making sure no water gets in.) Once the butter has softened, turn off the heat. Now pour in your choice of oils in a deep bowl and then add in the shea butter. Use a hand blender to really whip things up and to get that creamy consistency. Transfer this to a distilled mason jar or a clean and dry container of your choice. That’s it—you are good to go, and it will keep for 30 days easy though it’s so awesome, you’ll be making fresh batches within a fortnight!
Step Three: Oil Up Before You Go To Bed
Your nighttime moisturizing routine should be more oil than lotion. In case you like to shower before bed, use this oil post the shower while the skin is still a little damp. Massage in all over and wear your trusty pajamas that won’t mind little oil stains.
Just add 5 drops of a favorite essential oil to ½ cup of your favorite organic carrier oil and mix well in a spill-free bottle.
Step Four: A Weekly Skin Scrub
Winters are also the time our skin tends to have more dead skin build-up and static damage from all those woolens. So the secret behind well-moisturized skin is a weekly scrub using all-natural ingredients. Here’s my little recipe that also works a little to target cellulite and water retention.
You’ll need: 3 tablespoons coffee grounds, 3 tablespoons fresh cream or full-cream yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons oil (coconut, olive, jojoba or sweet almond).
Method: Mix the ingredients well in a big bowl. Once you have showered, use this to scrub your body—face to heels. Rinse off with water.
So hope you try out these recipes and tips, and like them enough to send us a little holler in the comments section below. Wishing you and your skin happy winters!