Oil Cleansing Method: All-Natural Face Wash

Since I’ve gone Primal, many aspects of my life have changed for the better. The most notable being my digestion, my body composition, and my overall mental well-being. One aspect I have continued to struggle with, however, is my skin.

Prior to going Primal I was on antibiotic acne medication. For the year or so that I took this medication, I had near-perfect skin. Yet, things that seem too good to be true often are. While researching Primal nutrition I started to understand how much damage antibiotics can do to your body, especially when taking them daily.

Specifically, antibiotics:

  • Kill off your good bacteria in the process of killing the bad. Now I know why I used to be so infection-prone…
  • Cause antibiotic resistance. So in the future if I needed to take antibiotics for a life-threatening illness, they would be less effective since I had taken them so long for acne.

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Natural Homemade Toner

I first heard about this recipe from Food Renegade.  At the time I was spending over $25 on my Dermatologica toner… and wasn’t noticing any significant benefits.

Food Renegade’s recipe consisted of apple cider vinegar, mint, and water.  I happened to have a bottle of apple cider vinegar ($3) in my pantry and a package of fresh mint ($2) in my fridge.  This toner was going to be super simple and super affordable to make.

After looking into it I found out that apple cider vinegar is very beneficial for your skin.  It promotes blood circulation, is a natural antiseptic, can reduce peeling, and regulates pH.  Mint has many beneficial qualities as well including that it contains Vitamin A and is an anti-pruritic, meaning it can strengthen tissue and soothe infections.

I have been using this toner consistently for the past 3 months.  It feels very refreshing, without that creepy tingly feeling you get from alcohol-based toners, and has visibly calming effects when used on breakouts.

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Egg Yolk Face Mask

Yesterday when I went home to visit the family we tried out a new Sunday afternoon cocktail: Pisco Sours.  They are a Peruvian drink made from Pisco, egg whites, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters.

While the simple syrup in the recipe definitely wasn’t Primal, the process did leave us with several delicious cocktails… and a few extra egg yolks.  My mom ended up using the yolks in a homemade hollandaise sauce, but believe it or not: egg yolks are good for a lot more than just creamy condiments!  They also happen to make great face masks.

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Seriously All-Natural Deodorant

I have a confession to make: I have not worn traditional “deodorant” for the past six months.  And believe it or not, people haven’t run away from me in disgust, my friends still want to hang-out with me, and I’ve even gotten asked on a couple of dates.  Turns out despite what the commercials on television tell you, people don’t have to be dependent on Dove and Old Spice for social acceptance.

Instead I’ve been using the Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone, which is made from 100% Mineral Salt… basically meaning it’s as “all-natural” as you can get.

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Baking-Soda Exfoliant

I first heard about using baking-soda as an exfoliant from Fran Kerr, writer of HighonHealth.org

She recommended gently massaging it into your skin, once a day, by mixing it in with a creamy facial cleanser.  The process seemed simple enough… so I decided to give it a try.  For the past several months I have been washing my face with a calming facial cleanser, then exfoliating with baking soda (without washing off the facial cleanser), and then using a little more calming facial cleanser to wash everything off.  Since starting this routine I have noticed a significant improvement in my skin.  I highly recommend that you try it! 😀

Here are five reasons why baking-soda makes a great exfoliant:

  • It’s All-Natural.  Most commercial brands of exfoliants list over 20 different ingredients including chemicals, dye, and fragrance.  Baking-soda lists one: Sodium Bicarbonate, which is found naturally in nature.
  • It’s Affordable.  Go onto drugstore.com and search “exfoliator.” Over 11 pages of products will come up, all of them ranging within $4 and $75.  Now go to your local Trader Joe’s and find the baking soda… it costs 99 cents.  That’s 25% of the cost of the cheapest commercial brand available… let alone the more expensive ones.  Baking-soda is by far the most affordable option.
  • It’s Gentle.  Baking-soda can be used every day without irritating your skin.  That’s because it’s a powdery substance, unlike many commercial brands which contain sharp, abrasive grains that can actually cause more harm to your skin than good.
  • It has Healing Properties.  Baking-soda is an anti-inflammatory substance, which means it can help prevent acne by calming your skin and also help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

 And most importantly…

  • It Works.  I personally have noticed a significant improvement in my skin from using baking-soda as an exfoliant including: fewer breakouts, faster healing time, and less noticeable acne scars.

Honey Mask

Grace & I

One of my best friends, Grace, happens to be studying entomology and more specifically: bee-keeping.  She spent the summer tending to their hives and getting stung multiple times, which would be enough to make me hate the damn things forever, but somehow still managed to smile through it and introduce me to the wonders of the honeybee.  As the pollinators of over 90 different types of fruits and vegetables, if the honeybee ever disappeared off the face of the Earth… well I think Albert Einstein said it best… “man would have no more than four years to live.”

And honeybees are not only great pollinators, but also great producers of the sweet substance many of us know and love: honey.  While many people like to eat it, the 16g of sugar and 17g of carbohydrates per tablespoon make me wary of ever consuming an excess of it. Besides sugar, however, honey contains antioxidants while also being a natural antibiotic and antiseptic.  These characteristics make it great as a cleansing and healing agent.  And thanks to mybeautyrecipes.com, I now know that when used topically honey is particularly good at reducing blackheads and acne blemishes.  So thanks for the honeybee clue-in Grace; this mask is dedicated to you!

Honey Mask: 

  • ½ Tablespoon of Honey (try to go for the real stuff, not the super-commercialized kinds that are sold in most major grocery stores)

Heat the honey slightly (5-10 seconds in the microwave should do it).  Using your fingers apply it to your face.  Since it is sticky, it will help to gently tap your face as you do so.  Leave on for a few minutes and then rinse off with a warm, wet face cloth.  Splash your face with cold water when you are done. 🙂

Garlic Hummus Face Mask

me in the hummus mask!

When my sister Sarah went Primal one of the first things she said to me was “You’re telling me I can’t eat chick peas anymore… but I love hummus!”  Well Sarah, looks like you don’t have to say goodbye to your hummus after all. 🙂  Turns out that the chickpeas in hummus are a good source of Zinc, which is an essential mineral known to help heal wounds such as acne scars. And when made into a hummus mixed with Garlic (which is a naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral food) happens to make a great face mask.

I used to use ProActiv’s “Renewing Mask” which had a list of ingredients including: water, kaolin, glycereth-26, omega-6 linoleic acid, cetearyl alcohol, magnesium aluminum silicate, zinc oxide, ceteareth-20, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, omega-3 linolenic acid, cymbopogon schoenauthus extract, geranium maculatum extract, melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil, tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, butylenes glycol, hydrated silica, ethoxydiglycol, ethylparaben, methylparaben, fragrance, and titanium dioxide.

You may be wondering why I choose to start using garlic-hummus as a face mask instead of this popular commercial brand.  Frankly that list of ingredients scares me; I don’t know what the majority of those things are.  After adopting Primal nutrition I started to think about how the concept of using only REAL ingredients could be applied to more than my person’s diet.  It wasn’t long before I began asking myself: If I’m no longer consuming chemically processed ingredients then why am I still using chemically processed ingredients on my skin?  If I’m not going to put chemicals into my body, then why would I put chemicals ON my body?

Eventually I stumbled upon a website created by Fran Kerr called High on Health.  Once I started reading Fran’s articles I was finally motivated to actually put the concept of natural skincare into application.  Since then I began using a completely natural skincare routine, part of which includes this hummus mask.

Garlic Hummus Face Mask:

  • Garlic Hummus (Mine made by Sunneen Health Foods, INC. and purchased at MOM’s.  Its list of ingredients include: Chick Peas, Tahini, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Sea Salt, and spices… 6 real ingredients compared to Proactiv’s 26 scary ones)

Apply a generous coating of the hummus to your entire face avoiding the mouth and eyes.  Leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Your skin will immediately feel and look more refreshed.

Product Review: Sleep Mask

Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint lists “Get Lots of Sleep” as its #5 guideline to living a primal life.  Our lives are busy and stressful and our bodies need time to rest and recover.

Light is something that negatively affects our sleep more than most of us realize.  But it can be hard to avoid… even when you turn your lights off at night chances are you still have some type of light sneaking in; that could be your cell phone charging, a street lamp, etc.  This is why I purchased the Rx3 Soft and Smooth Eye Sleep Mask by Earth Therapeutics to see if sleeping in total darkness could improve my sleep.

Price: Very Affordable.  I purchased the mask from Ulta for about $10.
Quality:  The mask is made of silk; so it’s very comfortable and I quickly forget I have it on.  However it’s not incredibly substantial, it often slides off by the time I wake up in the morning.
Recommend?: Definitely, it has noticeably improved my sleep.  I fall asleep faster, wake up less, and sleep much more deeply since I started using it.

The Earth Therapeutics mask has treated me well, especially considering its price.  But whether you purchase this brand or not, I highly recommend trying out some type of sleep mask!