Visiting the beauty counter at the department store with my mom…
I remember the bright lights and colors, the pretty ladies in their black suits behind the counter, the promises of anti-aging, wrinkle coverage, and fine line disappearance…
And the price tags…
How could something in such a small bottle cost so much?!
My little girl mind didn't comprehend it. I only knew the lotions and potions inside those bottles must've been really precious to be that expensive.
One day, I promised myself, I'll shop at the department store beauty counter, too.
It seemed like a lofty goal at the time, except…
I haven't shopped at a department store beauty counter (or even makeup at the drug store) in nearly a decade! Ha!
Whatever I thought I'd achieve by buying and using those “miracle” products quickly dissipated as soon as I couldn't understand what was on the label.
My humble opinion now?
If it requires a chemistry degree to decipher, it probably shouldn't go in or on my body.
Furthermore, my family and I are very aware of the practice of animal testing and cruelty. Sourcing products that are not only good for our bodies and the environment, but also supporting companies that do not practice animal testing and cruelty is extremely important to us.
What's In Those Beauty Counter Potions?
I went hunting for some conventional face serums to compare. Now, I'm not trying to bash any certain brands; this is for facts only.
Here's what I found in the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database, a service which rates skin care products on a scale of 1 to 8 for toxicity.
Olay's Age Defying 2-in-1 Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream & Serum rates moderately high (6) as an overall hazard. Red flags include allergenic ingredients, contamination, organ system toxicity, and immunotoxicity. As a company, Olay has also been identified by PETA as one which conducts animal testing (source).
Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex has EWG's highest rating for toxicity — 8. The biggest concern is developmental and reproductive toxicity (i.e., don't use while pregnant or trying to become pregnant). Other red flags include biochemical and cellular level changes, endocrine disruption, skin or eye irritation, cancer, and bioaccumulation. Estée Lauder products are also tested on animals (source).
Interestingly, Estée Lauder also owns Clinique, M.A.C., Origins, Michael Kors, and several more cosmetic brands — all of which practice animal testing.
Next, Dove Fresh Radiance Anti-Aging Moisturizer rates moderately high (6) as an overall hazard. Developmental and reproductive toxicity is the main concern, with allergies, immunotoxicity, cancer, and endocrine disruption trailing not too far behind. Dove products are tested on animals (source).
Finally, my last example is Neutrogena's Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Serum. It ranks the lowest of my examples, at a 3. Cancer, bio-accumulation, and organ toxicity are moderately low concerns. Neutrogena's products are tested on animals, however (source).
There are many wonderful, precious substances found in nature that are even more effective for our skin than anything we can't pronounce on a $60 bottle of “miracle, wrinkle-erasing, fountain of youth” serum from the department store.
5 Reasons To Go Homemade With Your Skin Care
- Easily source these ingredients online — or even grow your own at home!
- You control all the ingredients. If you know you're allergic to something, simply leave it out or find a substitute!
- It's wayyyyyyy cheaper!
- You have peace of mind knowing they aren't going to cause cancer, organ toxicity, infertility, endocrine disruption, or “biochemical or cellular level changes”… whatever that means!
- You won't be testing your homemade skin care products on your pets.
Now, I'm not promising the Fountain of Youth here. 😉
Nor am I claiming the disappearance of wrinkles or fine lines or age spots.
But I can say that I regularly have people tell me I look younger than my actual age. (I'm almost 34.) And, I go without makeup most of the time.
Of course, a nourishing diet and healthy lifestyle play key roles in our skin's health; however, I haven't put a toxic chemical on my skin in years. Does that have something to do with my skin looking young and vibrant? I think yes!
Sea Buckthorn Benefits For The Skin
What is sea buckthorn, and why is it so great for your face?
First of all, despite its name, sea buckthorn does not come from the sea. Rather, it is a shrub dotted with nutrient-rich, bright orange berries and originates from the mountainous and coastal areas of Asia and Europe. With references to sea buckthorn dating back to Greek mythology and ancient Tibetan texts, its benefits have been known for a very long time. The seed oil — extracted from the seeds — is bright orange in color. (Source.)
Extremely high in superoxide dismutase, Vitamins C and E, and phytonutrients, sea buckthorn seed oil is ideal for fighting free radical damage on the skin. Amazingly, this oil is the only plant source to contain all Omega fatty acids (3, 6, 7, and 9)!
It is able to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin to hydrate and soften the tissue. Sea buckthorn seed oil is well-known for its abilities to help relieve inflammation and heal rosacea, acne, free radical damage, and inflammation on the skin. (Source.)
Frankincense Benefits For The Skin
Now, onto frankincense — my most favorite essential oil of all!
Frankincense essential oil comes from the Boswellia tree, found primarily in the Middle East in Oman, Yemen, and Northwest Africa. The essential oil is produced by steam-distilling the droplets of dried resin that come out of the bark of the tree and has a woodsy, earthy, balsam-like fragrance.
One of the most precious and effective essential oils, frankincense is a superstar in skin care. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling on the face. Furthermore, it assists in wound healing and may reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and lighten age spots. (Source.)
Frankincense actually helps in cell regeneration and in keeping existing cells healthy (source)!
Combining these 2 precious oils, with light jojoba oil, results in a wonderfully moisturizing, healing, and rejuvenating face serum that's safe, non-toxic, and completely natural!
Sea Buckthorn and Frankincense Face Serum
My minimalistic skin care routine includes this Sea Buckthorn and Frankincense Face Serum. (I say “minimalistic” because I actually do little else!)
I apply it after washing my face with warm water in the morning and evening. It is light and absorbs into my skin so quickly!
If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have 1 skin care item with me, THIS would be IT!
- 0.50 ounce organic jojoba oil
- 0.50 ounce organic sea buckthorn seed oil
- 25 to 35 drops frankincense essential oil
Makes 1 ounce.
Place a 3-ounce amber or cobalt glass bottle with a dropper on a kitchen scale and zero out the scale. Add jojoba oil and sea buckthorn seed oil to the bottle. Then add desired amount of frankincense oil. Return the lid to the bottle. Shake well to combine.
Use a dime-size amount (about 10 drops) on the face once or twice daily. Store in a dark location.
Do you use homemade bath and beauty products? Have you ever used sea buckthorn seed oil or frankincense on your face?
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