There are a couple of things I've been on a quest for this summer: an affordable bow so that I can start making creepy musical noise with my new saw, a durable witch hat that will fit over my big hair, and, of course, the world's best natural skin toner — lemongrass, as it turns out. As August comes to an end, I'm very sad to see the quest will continue well into the fall months. There are about a hundred excuses I can give for not obtaining the first two items on my list, but I can sum it up in one sentence: I am my worst enemy.
Finding or making the world's best skin toner should have been a no brainer for me, but first I needed to understand exactly what a toner is. A toner can come in a cream, mask, or liquid form intended to be used after the initial face cleanse to restore pH levels and reduce the sight of pores left open from washing. Today, face soap has changed and a toner is no longer necessary to restore pH levels, the site Paula's Choice sites that it was concluded that our faces can restore pH levels on its own and thus changing our toning needs. Personally, my skin is in constant need of restoration and it can never get enough antioxidants, vitamin C, and free-radical fighting agents; as it turns out, this is what today's toners promise to achieve, yet until recently I wasn't pleased with the toning results I was seeing in the mirror.
During my toning adventures — it has certainly been an adventure for my face this summer — I stumbled upon lemongrass essential oil. I've used lemon juice as my skin brightening astringent for ages and can't get enough of that lemon-y smell. Lemongrass is a less potent, sweeter scent that grows in tropical climates; it's used in my favorite Vietnamese dishes and South Americans have been known to use this tall growing grass for a variety of medicinal needs, such as muscle spasms. In the Western world, this perennial grass has been introduced into skincare treatments like exfoliating body scrubs and anti-aging serums.
Lemongrass is unique because it has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Just like its distant cousin, lemons, it's a natural astringent with some serious antiseptic properties.
Only one week after my new lemongrass craze, I've already knocked one of my summer quests off my list: the world's best face toner has been achieved. Made for my own specific face toning needs, of course.
Skin Toning Cleanser
After I released everything I thought I knew about skin toners, I was able to concoct a cleanser that was moisturizing, toning, and anti-septic. This is my new AM mask, because although it will repair and replenish damaged, acne-prone skin, it will def not take off your evening make-up. I use raw honey for its antiseptic, moisturizing properties, and ability to zap those embarrassing blemishes. Then I add a few drops of tea tree oil, which cuts the cleanser perfectly and provides MORE cleaning benefits those clogged pores. Next, I add two drops of lemongrass to firm up my skin and minimize my pores.
This is great if you suffer from an overproduction of oil, although introducing raw honey into your routine should start to eliminate that. Since we're still in the hot months of the year, I desperately need to put on an astringent before my moisturizer. The best astringents remove oil buildup, tighten up saggy skin, and prevent breakouts — this is one of the best astringents that I've used. These ingredients are often paired together for OTC beauty regimens and can cost up to $20; do it yourself and you've saved your face from potentially unpure products AND your wallet from an additional expense
Take fresh aloe vera and extract the gel-like liquid, then add in a teaspoon of witch hazel and a couple of drops of lemongrass. Smooth over freshly washed skin and allow to set before applying a moisturizer or sunscreen.
My big sis has been begging me for a natural deodorant recipe that "doesn't smell like feet" all summer. Apparently, as much as mustard seed controls her sweat glands, the uncanny scent of sandwich under her arms is not good for business. Fair enough. This two ingredient formula will control the sweat factor under your arms without harmful chemicals. Baking soda is a great base for DIY deodorant, then the trick is choosing the right essential oil. Lemongrass is the jam at controlling odor, and it will also be a great benefit for the skin under your arms often left damaged from shaving. Add about five drops of lemongrass (dilute with a carrier oil) to your baking soda and apply on slightly damp skin.