By Rae Hadley

Global warming and climate change is not something that we can ignore. It exists and it affects our daily life. It has also come to a point when we, as informed residents of this planet, need to stop living in denial and start doing what we can, to cause less harm.

Within the realm of beauty habits, tricks, and hacks, there are scores of ways in which you can look after your skin, feel your best, and play your part without adding to the problem.  

The following beauty recipes are all vegan and use natural ingredients, the majority of which you will probably already have in your home to ensure that your skin feels at its very best, thus creating a win-win for ourselves, and our environment. Brilliant!

Exfoliating Face Mask

Taking the time to look after ourselves and our skin is essential. We should consider what we put on the outside just as carefully as what we put on the inside. A face mask may seem like a luxurious treat, but it is actually important, especially if you reside as I do in a smog filled city.

A lovely, gentle, freshly made and natural face mask can be whipped up from a few ingredients that you are likely to already have in your home. A favourite for PETA Asia (the largest animal rights organisation in the world) is to use ground up oats.

1/2 cup any type of uncooked, dry oats, 

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (almond milk will work equally as well), 

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar.  

  • Blend the oats in a food processor until fine. 
  • Add in the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and mix well. 
  • Apply to your face and neck. 
  • Relax for between 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

The process of smoothing this mixture into your skin will gently exfoliate, and the time on your skin will draw out impurities leaving it more radiant.

Body Exfoliation

This might sound bizarre and not to everyone’s taste, but if you are a coffee fanatic, try using the left-over grounds from your favourite cup of joe as a body exfoliator. It is a fantastic way to repurpose a material which most of us throw out without a thought.

The action of massaging the coarse coffee grounds into your skin will slough off dead skin cells exposing the bright, new, underneath layer. The left-over caffeine is great for tightening sagging skin, and, over time, may reduce the appearance of cellulite. Wellness Mama has a wonderful recipe using:

1/4 cup of used coffee grounds, 

1/4 cup sea salt, and 

2 tablespoons coconut oil. 

  • Grind the grounds and salt together. 
  • Take a small handful of the mix and massage it into your skin. 

You can even experiment by adding different essential oils like peppermint, rose, or frankincense. See which scent suits your different moods. 

Depending on the type of coffee you favour, the grounds span a wide spectrum, from very coarse to quite soft or fine. The coarser grounds are still entirely useable, but you will need to exercise care, and restraint as you rub them into your skin. Buffing off the old cells is a delicate process and you don’t want your bright, clear, new skin to become reddened.

Deodorant 

Coconut oil! Can you believe it? Coconut oil can be used as a wholly natural, skin smoothing, and pore friendly deodorant. All this in addition to being an amazing food, hair defrizzer, and skin moisturiser.

The antibacterial properties in this wonder oil make it an all-round hit for this purpose, as well as tasting and smelling glorious for the other uses.

Make pongy pits a thing of the past: 

  • Thoroughly wash and dry under your arms.
  • Smooth a small amount of coconut oil into your armpits.
  • Let the oil soak into your skin before dressing. 

Wash and reapply as necessary for a safe–no aluminium, parabens, or alcohol–and hygienic deodorant. 

Facial Mist

When life gives you lemons, make… well, a face mist. As we age our skin can lose its elasticity and become dulled under the daily debris of city pollution, and a fast-paced, stressful life with too much fast food, and too little exercise and self-care.

Thankfully a cucumber, lemon, and mint face spritz can alleviate a certain amount of these maladies. 

1 cucumber, finely chopped

1/2 lemon

1 bunch of mint leaves or an organic mint tea bag

1/2 cup of water

  • Make a cup of tea, with the mint leaves or tea bag, and set aside to cool,
  • Grate and squeeze the cucumber to extract all of the ‘juice’.
  • Combine the cucumber juice, cooled tea, and lemon in a repurposed spray bottle.

Spritz it onto your face for a refreshing boost of Vitamin A (cucumber), Vitamin C (lemon) and anti-inflammatory mint.

No ‘Poo Hair Rinse 

If you are really getting into minimising, then removing the previous build-up of product from your hair is a must. Apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse might sound awful and might give concerns of smelling like an old-fashioned, British fish-n-chip shop, but don’t be discouraged.

Your hair will look, feel, and smell fabulous with this easy-to-create remedy.

  • Choose a container large enough to provide a good rinse to whatever length hair you have.
  • Combine a ratio of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 9 parts water. (Experiment to find a ratio which suits your hair type–less apple cider vinegar for dry hair and more for oily hair).
  • Wet your hair.
  • Pour over wet hair.

Use as an after shampoo conditioning rinse that you wash out, or as an acid rinse and leave-in conditioner. 

You will have more of a cider smell to your hair if you leave it in, so adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil, such as gentle lavender or rose, will mitigate that. If you have dry hair the benefits of making this rinse a weekly part of your beauty regime are immense, and your hair will feel increasingly moisturised the longer you continue to use it.

Start Your Journey

Once you have road tested these natural, zero-waste ideas and realise the benefit to your beauty regime, there will be other ideas upon which you will stumble, and then switch up those nasty chemicals for fragrant nature. The key is to keep experimenting and looking for new ways to integrate ‘zero waste’ into your life in meaningful ways.

Continuously repurposing old glass bottles and jars is more effective environmentally than recycling as it uses much less energy. So indulge your creativity and make your creations glow in glass bottles decked with ribbon details and recycled coloured labels.

Ultimately, converting to minimal or, ideally, zero waste and maintaining control over the ingredients you put on your body will leave you with a clear conscience and smelling of roses,  or lavender, or lemons!

Note – Before using any beauty hack, ensure that you consider the impact of each ingredient on your skin, in terms of both concentration and texture. Those of us with very sensitive skin are still more than able to use these natural processes and often with less fear than with using harsher, chemically based products. However, the more concentrated or astringent ingredients, such as lemon or apple cider vinegar, may cause an adverse reaction. So, patch test your new creation on the sensitive, inside-crook of your elbow, for 24 hours prior to going full force and smothering yourself in your delicious, natural goodies. Have fun creating!

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