Guys, I get it. Committing completely to a DIY/natural beauty routine can be hard. It can be expensive and yield few results leading you right back to purchasing that drugstore beauty item that you just can't seem to master in your own home. Many sources, like Live Science, claim that natural remedies don't really work. In reality, that's because most natural ingredients cannot be patented and therefore big companies don't want to spend the dough on research to prove, for example, that you can cure your eczema with an at home remedy. Beauty lies aside, there are many at home remedies for skincare and haircare that I've tried and failed at miserably. I still have nightmares about The Banana Crisis of 2013 which left a banana stuck in my fragile curls for about three days. Don't even get me started on the time I put argan oil on my face and erupted in painful hives because I was unaware that my nut allergy would flare up. Yup, I've definitely had my share of DIY Don'ts.
The internet is a world of information, opinions... AND recipes! It's so easy to jump right into a DIY recipe without having all the facts or methods down, but that means you could end up tangled in a beauty crisis. However, that doesn't mean you should ditch DIY beauty and home remedies all together. The more you experiment the more you'll learn about your own body and the products you are using.
If you're just getting started in the natural beauty world, check out these eight tips to get you going on the right track.
1. Ingredients May Separate
Typically, when you make an exfoliator, you are starting with a base such as sea salt, raw sugar, or baking soda and then adding oils. You'll notice your concoction will start to separate: All the oil is resting on top of the damp sugar for instance. This is totally normal, however, your new acne exfoliator is not going to work if you just take from the top layer. In fact, it may cause irritation since the essential oils can be incredibly potent. Mix your DIY products every single time you use them with clean hands to get the full benefits of all the ingredients.
2. Always Mix Your Oils
I've seen so many sites that push essential oils for acne or dry skin — and they are correct! Essential oils have incredibly high healing powers, but one thing that not everyone remembers to add is that you MUST add a carrier oil as well to avoid rashes or skin irritations like dryness. You should never put an essential oil directly on your skin without diluting it first with a carrier oil (tea tree oil is one of the only exceptions). When you purchase an essential oil, check to see if it's already diluted with additional ingredients.
3. Make Small Batches
Since DIY beauty can be time consuming, it's tempting to make a very large batch of your favorite home remedy to last you a month. In most cases, this is just going to bite you in the bum. Since many of the ingredients in DIY recipes tend to be perishable, you run the risk of your concoction spoiling before you get the chance to use it all up. I made a huge batch of a deep conditioner which had avocado AND eggs in it... and quickly realized my mistake. Fortunately, my roommie and I ended up with soft tresses because we had to seriously deep condition as often as possible to use up all that product! To keep my natural remedies lasting longer, I add witch hazel or vodka and store the more perishable items in my refrigerator.
4. No, Seriously, This Stuff Goes Bad Quick
Speaking of going bad, let me tell you about my cucumber, ginger, rosemary hair spritz that I made with all fresh, organic ingredients during the summer. It smelled AWFUL. The first day was instant bliss for my locks, the second day things went great, but then after a few days it started to smell really foul. Of course, I became afraid of the stench which was masked in a spray bottle, and let it sit for an extra three days and when I finally pitched it? I ended up throwing the spray bottle out as well. Carrier and essential oils can go bad, be sure to store your essentials in dark colored containers and store them in a place without changes in temperature. Most importantly? Check expiration dates!
5. The Consistency of Ingredients May Change
Changes in appearance are mostly fine when it comes to natural ingredients. For example, aloe vera turns pink when it experiences a change in temperature, but it's not caused by bacteria and totally safe to use. When it goes brown, however? Then you have a problem. Shea butter can liquefy in heat and become hard when in cold temperature, you don't need to ever ditch your shea butter because if you're buying unrefined shea butter, it will never spoil. Oils like coconut oil will also change with the temperature around it, if it becomes slightly liquefied, it's no big deal, just keep sniffing your products to make sure they haven't spoiled.
6. Patience Is Key
The truth is that natural remedies for skin and hair care take time to see major results. In some cases, depending on how dire the situation OR the remedy, it takes a long time. It will take even longer if you aren't keeping up with the treatment. For example, if you are using castor oil for hair growth, make sure you are applying it daily or else you won't get the best results. Hair growth and scar treatments are two examples of why diligence is key for maximum results.
7. Don't Try Everything at Once
When a problem reaches its head you're going to want to solve it immediately, whether it's especially dry hair, a big pimple, or a giant scar. When you find a treatment that works for any beauty woe, stick with it and wait for the results instead of starting and stopping different DIY recipes. If you change things up every other day, you may irritate the problem even more, which just wastes ingredients. I recommend waiting a few weeks to see improvement in hair and face.
8. Avoid Heating Products As Much As Possible
This is a common reason why DIY recipes or homemade skincare doesn't yield the same results as OTC products. Fruits, oils, and herbs lose most of their nutrients when heated, so you should never zap your goods in the microwave because it will take even longer to work. I try to avoid heating all-together and invested in a blender to get a smooth consistency instead. If you have to heat things, like shea butter or coconut oil, do it over a stovetop.