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7 Natural Beauty Essentials

Multitasking must-haves for DIY skin care

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7 Natural Beauty Essentials

Discover these natural beauty essentials for healthy, glowing skin. Although witch hazel and apple cider vinegar may sound old-fashioned, these basic skin care products are not only good for you, they're easy on your pocketbook too.

Usually, different products suit different skin types, ages, and concerns. But there are some simple products that have stood the test of time and work for just about everyone. Plus, they can be used in myriad ways. These truly amazing natural beauty essentials will not let you down.

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Sweet almond oil

Made by pressing almond kernels, sweet almond oil is used widely as an ingredient in cosmetics, but can also be used topically on its own. Note that sweet almond oil is not the same as the almond oil used in cooking.

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Benefits

Sweet almond oil is a light skin moisturizer that absorbs easily and promotes skin health. It’s also suitable for blemish-prone skin because it will not clog pores.

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How to use it

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Use as a light moisturizer

Massage into facial skin or body any time you’d like a light, nourishing boost of moisture.

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Give your nails some shine

Doing an at-home manicure or pedicure? Skip the polish, and instead give your nails some natural shine by working sweet almond oil into your nails and cuticles after filing and buffing.

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Make DIY hair oil

To restore desperately needed wintertime moisture to hair, work a few drops between your hands and gently smooth over your hair.

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Coconut oil

Unlike sweet almond oil, coconut oil used for skin is the same oil that’s used for cooking. It’s made from the fruit of coconut trees—coconuts, of course.

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Benefits

Coconut oil is a world-class moisturizing agent that helps nourish dry skin.

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How to use it

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Use as a body moisturizer

While some people find coconut oil too rich for the face, it is an ideal body moisturizer. Massage it into parched winter skin, such as legs after shaving or dry elbows.

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Give feet some overnight love

Massage coconut oil into your feet before bed, and then cover with socks. Wake up to soft, smooth feet.

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Remove makeup

Use coconut oil as a natural, inexpensive makeup remover.

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Lavender oil

Lavender oil is extracted from the lavender flower. Like any essential oil, it is potent and not for everyone. Essential oils should always be diluted with water or a carrier oil—check the bottle’s specific instructions to determine exact dosages. Furthermore, pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children, should check with a health care practitioner before using essential oils.

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Benefits

Many of us know lavender as the dried, fragrant purple flower used in sachets and potpourri. It’s time to give this hardworking flower more credit! Lavender essential oil has antiseptic properties that may help fight acne, and its scent is thought to promote relaxation.

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How to use it

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Have a bath

Make a calming bath by mixing a few drops with your favourite carrier oil and adding to warm bathwater. For a foot bath, reduce the amount of each.

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Make a moisturizer

Mix a few drops into sweet almond oil for a subtly scented moisturizer or massage oil.

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Try a DIY steam treatment

For a relaxing at-home facial, add 2 to 4 drops to 3 cups (750 mL) hot water and inhale (but be careful not to burn yourself).

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Create a soothing skin spray

Mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and mist on your face. Feel free to add other essential oils as well.

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Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is apple juice that has been fermented. Not only is it delicious and healthy in recipes, but this vinegar is also being recognized for its potential beauty benefits.

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Benefits

Many people swear by using apple cider vinegar in their hair. It’s said that its acidity helps balance hair’s pH after shampooing and leaves each strand shiny and smooth. It also has antifungal properties.

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How to use it

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Use as a daily conditioner

Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and rinse into hair after shampooing.

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Use as an occasional “shine rinse”

Mix 1/4 cup (60 mL) vinegar with 16 cups (4 L) water. Every two weeks, apply to hair after washing, and then rinse with cool water. (This recipe has a shelf life of six months.)

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Try as a foot bath

Dilute 1 cup (250 mL) vinegar with 4 cups (1 L) water. Apple cider vinegar is thought to help neutralize bacteria on feet, deodorizing them, and it might also help combat fungal infections.

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Witch hazel

This strange-sounding product is really just a shrublike plant. Boiling the plant in water results in what we call witch hazel. It should be used topically.

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Benefits

Witch hazel has anti-acne and astringent properties but is also soothing on the skin—a rarity for blemish-fighting products. It also has antioxidant properties and is thought to help protect skin from photoaging—meaning it’s not just for the blemish prone.

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How to use it

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Use as a toner

Between cleansing and moisturizing, apply witch hazel on a cotton pad to remove traces of makeup and refresh the skin.

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Apply to skin as a spot treatment

Apply it to minor skin irritation or injury.

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Help soothe diaper rash

Witch hazel has been shown to help with skin irritations and diaper rashes.

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Clay powder

Clay powders for the skin are extracted from all over the world—from volcanic ash in North America to ancient sea floors in Europe. There are many types, and each is said to be beneficial for a particular skin type or concern, such as green clay for oily skin or white clay for dry and sensitive skin.

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Benefits

Clay proponents claim that the minerals and trace elements in clay benefit our complexions, while drawing out impurities. Although human studies are lacking, it has been suggested that clay, applied topically, might increase skin’s collagen synthesis—meaning that it could improve the health and appearance of skin.

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How to use it

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Make a face mask

Following the directions on the package, mix clay powder with a small amount of water to form a paste that can be applied as a facial mask.

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Make a wrap or poultice

Clay can also be used in a similar way to create body wraps or poultices on specific areas. Every product is slightly different, so follow the specific directions on the package.

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Deodorize feet

White clay powder can be used as a natural foot deodorant.

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Castile soap

Simply put, castile soap is a type of soap made from olive oil (or other plant oils) and an alkali, such as sodium hydroxide. This means that it’s free from harsh detergents, foaming agents, and chemical antibacterials (such as triclosan).

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Benefits

Many people use castile soap for cleaning around the house but don’t realize that it can also be used cosmetically. It’s so gentle that it works for even the most delicate complexions, and the vegetable oils it contains can help soften and replenish skin.

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How to use it

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Use as an all-purpose cleanser

Castile soap is ideal as a hand soap, facial wash, body wash (even for babies!), or soap for a foot bath.

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Wash hair

It can be used as shampoo, when paired with a conditioner or rinse.

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Create a shaving cream

Simply lather it into skin before shaving.

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Amazing accessories

Why should your healthy, natural skin care routine stop at the beauty products themselves? Stop by your local natural health retailer to discover eco-friendly skin care and beauty accessories. Here are a few favourites to look for.

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Organic cotton balls and swabs

Grown without chemical pesticides and made without chlorine bleach, these products offer a healthier, more eco-friendly disposable option.

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Hemp exfoliating cloths

Hemp’s durability makes it the ideal choice for exfoliating face cloths. Use them to help slough off dry skin cells in the winter.

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Reusable cotton rounds

The most eco-friendly option available, these machine-washable rounds can be used again and again.

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