A Minimalist’s Guide to Natural Skincare

When it comes to skincare I am what you would call a minimalist. My medicine cabinet is not overflowing with moisturizers, cleansers, exfoliating products and anti-aging creams. I prefer products that are as natural as possible and do not contain parabens. I thought I would share my skincare routine because not only do I strive to use only natural products with as few ingredients as possible, I also like to spend as little as possible in the process.

Soap – I don’t bother wasting my money on special facial cleansers or body wash. Most of them are made mostly of water and harsh chemicals. I started using Sappo Hill soap years ago and I’ve never looked back. They use an old-fashioned process that retains the glycerin, a natural skin-softener. My favorite scent is oatmeal but they have several other fragrances including jasmine, almond and lavender. They also have fragrance-free soap for those with sensitive skin. Sappo Hill soap is vegan, minimally packaged and is not tested on animals. You can order online or find a list of retailers in your area. Down To Earth at 532 Olive St. in Eugene, Oregon sells Sappo Hill soap ends, which you can buy in bulk for about $1.75/lb. The soap ends, while not as pretty as the packaged soap, are exactly the same product and let’s face it…it’s just soap.

Exfoliating products – Please do not waste your money on these! All you need is a little baking soda. It has a fine, crystalline texture that is perfect for scrubbing off dead skin cells. I use it on my face (keep your eyes closed) as well as elbows, knees, under arms or anywhere else I have dry or rough skin. Just a little bit goes a long way and you don’t need to scrub for more than a few seconds or so. Exfoliating once or twice a week is usually all I need. Best of all, you can find a 1lb box at just about any grocery store for about $1.

Witch Hazel – An all-natural astringent great for preventing and treating acne and shaving irritations. It’s also wonderful for reducing large pores. I discovered that some brands of witch hazel contain other ingredients (sometimes harsh chemicals) so check the label before purchasing. I prefer Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Astringent because it is all-natural, has no other ingredients and is relatively inexpensive.

Moisturizer – I have tried all kinds of moisturizers over the years and most of them, no matter how natural they claim to be, made my skin oily and/or caused me to have breakouts. However, there is one product that leaves me with soft, radiant skin and virtually no acne: coconut oil. That’s right, coconut oil. I know it seems contradictory to put oil on your face but coconut oil has so many benefits. It contains lauric, caprylic and capric acids as well as antimicrobial lipids which give it anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. I have found that it does not clog my pores, absorbs quickly and gives me very soft skin. I’ve also discovered that it helps to reduce the appearance of my stretch marks! Some people even use coconut oil to treat dermatological disorders like eczema and psoriasis. In addition, consuming coconut or coconut oil is thought to aid in the prevention of heart disease and certain types of cancer and (surprise!) help with weight loss.

So this is my minimalist skincare routine. It is what I have found works for me after years of trying (and disliking) many different types of skin products. It’s always wise to consult with your dermatologist before starting a new skincare routine.