What is Homemade Skincare?
Do you hop from one beauty product to another in search of the perfect skincare product? Do you have inexplicable break outs and skin conditions no matter what products you try? Are you obsessed with using make-up to cover your imperfections and try and imitate the flawless skin you see in advertisements? Or do you find yourself confused by unknown chemical ingredients in personal care products, and you just can’t find truly safe and natural products for yourself or your family? Homemade skincare can give you the solutions you deserve.
Many people do not realize how simple and joyful it can be to make your own skincare products. Making your own products requires few skills, and the skill you do need are much like those needed for cooking. Selecting the right materials, a subtle combination of scents and colors, and even controlling the heat and waiting for the right timing, all resemble something you’d get up to in your kitchen. The efficacy of homemade products goes beyond our expectations, too. When you choose all-natural ingredients, every ingredient works in one way or another to build long-term health. Skincare products no longer serve one purpose, such as to protect, conceal, or even enhance. Rather, they are versatile and every time you apply them, you can expect not only immediate results in one aspect, but also slow yet steady improvements to your skin on a deeper level. What is more, we can take great pleasure and pride in making skincare products as the process connects you to your beauty in a very special way.
Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons why homemade skincare maybe the only simple solution for holistic beauty.
1. Chemicals used in personal care products are really bad!
Part and parcel of modern life is keeping on top of our hygiene. And whether you’re a holistic, easy-going country girl, or living a fast-paced urban lifestyle, chances are you’re reluctant to give up on personal care products. Chances are you have a lot of them too: An average American woman is said to use 12 personal care products daily according to the Washington-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), and teens use even more. What is more, daily products are just the tip of the iceberg: a 2013 study of British households found an average of 65 beauty products in their bathrooms, costing around £2000. Now imagine that almost each and every product we use daily can contain up to 14 different chemicals, thus exposing us to more than 100 chemicals every single day. An investigation ran by the University of Illinois’s Cancer Center found these chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, sending your hormones wild. Penn State University notes that many moisturizers dry our skin in the long term. Now that’s counter-productive.
All these chemicals, all these side effects… but if you look closely at the ingredients list of a product, you may wonder why those chemicals are not listed on the back of the bottles. That’s because the manufacturers are not obliged to list any premixed ingredients in the raw materials. An example is perfume or fragrance; which most personal care products contain. The ingredient fragrance can be less than 1% of the components, but it can contain more than 100 chemicals. Another example is surfactant, which is the ingredient that helps with the penetration of other ingredients used in products, and this too is often made with preservatives and other chemicals. A lot of these chemicals hurt your skin, and can cause allergy, but the bottle just tells you to stop using the product if you have a reaction. They are even excused for not releasing ingredients lists, because often these are “company secrets”. Imagine an ice-cream sandwich having an ingredients list that said “ice-cream 60%, cookie 40%” and not warning you that it had three allergens: milk, gluten and eggs. It has a disclaimer saying if you feel ill after eating it, you have to stop eating it. When asked for the ingredients they say they won’t release them because it’s a “secret recipe”. Would you buy that ice-cream sandwich? Of course not! But for some reason we accept this in cosmetics.
Have you ever experienced an allergic reaction to a product that apparently contains no particular ingredient you are allergic to, or at least to what is listed on the label? This is one of the many challenges we face when it comes to choosing personal care products.
Many Chemicals Untested
‘Eighty-nine percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety,’ according to the EWG. And even if it is tested, often those assessments and test results are made by the very companies who manufacture the products. Would you take a company’s statement about its products at face value? The definition of a test then becomes subjective because the procedure and the results are governed by each company. As a result, many products are tested only on healthy skin as opposed to sensitive skin, and it is extremely rare that any company actually conducts tests on babies or young children. The suitable age for a product is therefore solely determined by the company. There is no regulatory board involved in this process, unlike with medicines or food. This means that a company can also cherry-pick results, running many tests and different studies, only releasing the ones that make their product look great. This is a practice generally accepted by the industry and it will not change anytime soon.
In 1991, the term ‘endocrine disruptors’ was first used to classify a group of chemicals that interfere with a mammal’s hormone system. Learning disabilities, impaired cognitive development, birth defects, cancers, and infertility are some of the diseases linked to the hormonal imbalances caused by these chemicals. While some of these substances, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and many phthalates, have been banned from baby bottles in some countries, other equally dangerous endocrine disruptors like p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters or parabens continue to be used in cosmetics worldwide. Further research by EWG calls for more regulation of these chemicals as ‘1 in 5 of all products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80% contain ingredients that commonly contain hazardous impurities, and 56% contain penetration enhancers [which make it easier for different substances, many of which harmful, to penetrate the outer layers of our skin].And there are still more problems. Firstly these chemicals may take a long time to leave our bodies, if they leave us at all. And secondly they could have a cocktail effect. You know how you’re not to mix different drinks, or take certain drugs together? Let’s say each chemical is tested and proven not to harm our health. That would be fine if we were using them one at a time. But each product has many chemicals, and we use many different products every day. Slowly, these chemicals build up and we don’t truly know how they might interact with each other. And that’s before we look into untested chemicals.
Skin Absorbs Chemicals
We know that much. After all, that is how birth control or nicotine patches work, how we use topical painkillers like ibuprofen gels, and how collagen-based anti-aging products are advertised. But can our skin really ‘digest’ what we apply to it? Of course it does, otherwise the products we just mentioned wouldn’t work. But we rarely ask ourselves this question. In the pursuit of health we watch what goes into our mouths, but ignore our skin, the biggest organ in our body. The particles of some chemicals are small enough to penetrate into our bloodstream. And generally in personal care products, up to 60% of a substance can be absorbed through the skin, according to the Herb Research Foundation. Chemicals that are fat soluble are more easily absorbed, and that is why women and girls are more susceptible to exposure, due to their bodies having a greater percentage of subcutaneous fat in comparison to those of men. Breast tissue is known to accumulate chemicals for this reason.
Build long-term health
With homemade products, we don’t aim for instant results, although these sometimes can occur – if you have the cravings for instant improvement in certain skin conditions, read Live Beauty Rather, our focus is on building long-term results. Nature sets its own pace, and the healthiest, most natural paths to beauty take their time. You can’t eat one salad and expect to lose weight, and you can’t use a homemade cream once and expect a problem to vanish. Throughout the process, your skin will eliminate the unnecessary chemicals you built up over the years and regain its natural ability to purify, heal and nurture. Once this happens, your homemade products will merely assist your skin to do their work naturally.
2. Bespoke skincare product to suit you right now
Many commercially available products stop working effectively after a while because they serve common concerns or targets rather than your very unique ones. At first they address one specific symptom, but over time we suffer what is called “diminishing returns”, where every day we improve less until we plateau. Your very unique concerns and targets change depending on various factors: your lifestyle, the weather, monthly cycle and emotional balance. Having the right product at the right time is the key to enhancing your natural beauty whilst minimizing or preventing common skin concerns. Homemade won’t give holistic long-term solutions if it is a generic formula for everyone which is simply safe and natural. Creating truly bespoke products makes homemade beauty an unrivaled solution to overall skincare. You are the best beauty therapist for yourself. To personalize products is about learning ingredients and recipes but also listening to how your skin reacts to what is happening inside and making positive changes to your lifestyle. Use that wisdom to create your very own products that are truly beneficial –then you are empowered.
That is where the true benefits of homemade products begin. The recipes provided on jojo-moka offer clear focus on the functionality of each product: purify, purify, combat, nurture and enhance, whilst giving a plenty of options to personalize each recipe to suit you.
3. Freedom from the beauty standards imposed by big businesses
The process of creating your own homemade products will work deeper than skin deep. As you learn to cater to your specific needs and experience the true connection between your emotional and physical being, you will enjoy a positive transformation of the way we see your own unique beauty. You will not be chasing the doll-like, identical perfection that big businesses promote, but learn how to embrace the “imperfections” that make you naturally beautiful. You will not be chasing outer beauty but a whole beauty.
4. Recycle to be a part of green earth efforts
The majority of the ingredients for homemade skincare is food source and the rest are natural from the earth. This saves our environment by reducing the food wastage and the amount of synthetic products going into the drain when we wash our faces. Our products are naturally biodegradable. It certainly saves money too. To go the extra mile, we also strongly recommend you recycle glass or ceramic containers and eliminate the use of plastic. Learn more about the impact beauty products have on our environment
Deforestation, Palm Oil, and ‘Natural’ Skincare Products
Many products that claim to be ‘natural’ use palm oils, but rarely do we see ‘palm oil’ on labels because it is listed often as glycerin, stearic acid, or vegetable oil. These oils are inexpensive and multitask as: emulsifiers, cleansing and foaming agents, or even moisturizers. This explains why palm oil is so commonly used in personal care products. According to research from the Union of Concerned Scientists, ‘most palm oil is produced on large industrial plantations, driving tropical deforestation particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. The harvested area of palm oil in Southeast Asia has tripled in just a decade. In Indonesia, palm oil area grew by 11.5% annually from 1997 to 2000, and by 15.8% annually from 2000 to 2007’. The WWF reported in 2014 that ‘forests now cover 31% of the planet’s land area, and while over half of the Earth’s forests have been destroyed in the last 10,000 years, the majority fell in the last 50.’Furthermore, collaborative work between the University of Maryland in the United States and Google Earth reveals that roughly 50,000 square miles of forest is erased every year—the equivalent of 36 football fields a minute. This is a shockingly painful truth, and each and every one of us is responsible so long as we consume these products.
Chemicals Drained into the Sea
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that there are 70,000 chemicals in everyday use across the world. Researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain note that, ‘in recent years, an increasing concern about the presence of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment and the unknown long-term effects on aquatic organisms and human health has arisen. Mass balance calculations indicate where efforts must be made in order to reduce the amounts of PPCPs being discharged into the environment. Due to the large amount consumed in developed societies, significant concentrations of these compounds can be found in waste waters. However, conventional sewage treatment plants have been reported not to be an effective barrier to these substances because of their low concentrations and specific metabolic properties. Therefore, those compounds which resist the treatment processes commonly used in sewage treatment plants (STPs) or other transformations which can naturally occur in the environment, can end up in surface and groundwater, as well as in sediments and soils,’ to the detriment of the food chain. We should avoid some of these ingredients not only for health reasons but also for ethical reasons. Once you learn that many food ingredients such as tea bags and rice water can be used to create skincare products, you not only save money but also reduce chemical consumption and food wastage in general. Homemade beauty products made with ingredients that are truly naturally derived are 100% biodegradable and nontoxic.
Plastics, Labels and Packaging
A study on plastics, the environment, and human health published by the Royal Society demonstrates some of the effects plastic bottles have on the environment: ‘Product containers contribute to the environmental pollution of plastic. Over 260 species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds, and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers, and death.’ Additionally, the ink used for labeling also negatively affects the environment. According to research published in Surface Coatings International, ‘legislative measures intended to protect the environment have led to changes for ink manufacturers, both in the way that ink is produced, and more significantly, in the products that are available or being developed for printers’. It is not a common practice for big companies to consider using biodegradable or renewable packaging. But if you make your own products using recycled containers which you can refill, you will reduce the consumption of plastics and packaging.
5. Healthier family and children
If you are in a position to influence young adults who have little experience with beauty products, going homemade will become even more meaningful. Just imagine how many synthetic chemicals you could have avoided had you started at an earlier stage of your life, and how much strength your skin may have built over the years. Youths are particularly vulnerable to aggressive marketing campaigns on a mental level, and on a physical level to synthetic chemicals that we know very little about.
Download my e-Book Safe and Chemical-Free Skincare for Children to get started. The book will give you a specific guidance with the most suitable ingredients for young people and customized recipes as well as great ideas to get children to embrace and engage in making their own products as fun activities.
6. Other benefits
The benefits of homemade skincare products go much deeper than skin-deep: they impact our emotional and physical well-being as well as being gentle to nature.
So, How much effort and investment will I need to put into this?
So just how much time and initial investment is required to keep this new habit going? 3 hours every 3 months. Yes, only that! While there are recipes like ‘mash your strawberry and apply as mask’, I understand that this is not sustainable to many of us. We can’t use natural beauty if we need to cook every time we use the product. Products for daily and weekly use will mostly be in dry foam or in oil forms, which can last up to three or even six months. If you spare three hours every two months, then you will have continued stock of natural and freshly made products. If you chose to make cream then that is pretty much the only product that needs to be ‘whipped up’ just about every month. Be sure to label each batch with an expiry date and look out for signs of expiration.
A mini refrigerator is the biggest investment you’ll need to make most of the equipment required to make skincare products is already in your kitchen. A mini refrigerator is all you need besides ingredients. You may be tempted to use your food refrigerator to store the finished products and some raw materials, but that is not sustainable in a long-term. Non-food ingredients such as essential oils, clay, butter and wax are best not stored with food, and food often carries bacteria which could take hold in your beauty products. After all, we don’t keep a tomato for four months, so why would we let our beauty products possibly receive bacteria from a tomato and then preserve them that long? While it is very possible to make good effective homemade products with only food ingredients, ingredients like essential oils, clay or butter & wax will improve usability and efficacy greatly. Start with fewer ingredients and add on as you learn more about each ingredient and your skin’s concerns.