First off, there's a lot of different "homemade" or "natural" skin care styles out there. Obviously it's your prerogative to try any of those that you desire, I just want to warn you of the ones involving Baking Soda and Vinegar as a scrub and toner.
If you remember anything from your high school chemistry class, you'll remember that the pH scale works like this: 1 is acidic, 14 is alkaline. Things are either more acidic or more alkaline based on where they sit on the pH Scale. As a reference point, your skin is roughly a pH of 4.5-5, blood is 7, and effective AHA or BHA (I'll explain these later) is 3.5-4, baking soda is a 9 and the average white vinegar (5-10% acetic acid) is 2.4-3-4.
pH is so very important in skincare - too alkaline and the skin barrier is disrupted or damaged, too acidic and you risk burns.
Vinegar and baking soda are household chemicals and they are not safer just because they are not in a bottle in the skincare aisle. Baking soda can be used to scrub stains out of a toilet while vinegar can be used to break down lime build-up on your tub or sink. These are chemicals. They are not better than your cleanser just because they are only one or two ingredients.
Skin care problems are generally caused by genetics, diet, and mistreatment of the problem to begin with, such as scrubbing dehydrated, acne prone skin with baking soda, which damages the skincare barrier and makes your face a bacterial breeding ground. Think of your skin barrier as part of your immune system - it is essential for keeping the bad things out and the good things in, like moisture. Scrubbing it with a too-alkaline cleanser is increasing moisture loss and decreasing the ability to keep bacteria on your skin in check. Worse, by toning your skin with a product with a pH of 2.4-3.4, you're putting your skin at risk for chemical burns, which at best are uncomfortable and at worst will scar.
So now, AHAs and BHAs. It's best explained here. They are basically chemicals found in products we buy and you should purchase appropriately for your skin. The linked site will help you in figuring this out.
SO NOW, ON TO THE REASON YOU'RE HERE:
I've recently started what is called the "Oil Cleansing Method". Most people tend to put "oily" with "dirty", or that adding oil to already oily skin will just make everything worse. What some don't realize is that the reason your skin is oily to begin with (generally) is because you've tried so many things to make your skin better, that in doing so you've actually made it worse. Usually the oil is caused from you scrubbing your face to the point that you've stripped the natural oils and moisture barrier and your skin tries to compensate by over-producing oil. So, in essence, your skin isn't just being oily to be oily, it just isn't able to keep moisture present to make your face supple, soft, and wonderful.
Anyone can try it. If you find regular cleansers too harsh, this might be a good option. it will probably work best for dry, dehydrated skin, and skin that is oily from dehydration. I personally am oily and acne prone with extremely dehydrated skin.
This is where the oil regimen comes in to play.
Obviously when starting this you should spot test with whichever oils you're considering using. Certain oils can work perfect for one and break someone else out. It's all about trial and error.
Some of the more popular oils to try:
- Argan Oil (I personally think that this is a great choice)
- Sunflower Oil (This is what I use)
- Tea Tree Oil (I use this as well)
- Coconut Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Meadowfoam Oil (have heard great things about this)
- Mineral Oil
- Olive Oil
So, the routine. We'll start with night-time because it's a bit more detailed.
Keep in mind I'm wearing a full face of makeup, so for those of you who aren't, you can skip the first few steps.
- Wet my face with warm water (not hot water, no steam)
- Use Cetaphil gentle cleanser to remove my makeup (I don't use a washcloth and wouldn't recommend it. We're trying to help our skin, not grate it with rough material) ~Those of you without makeup come into play at this point~
- Apply your oil to your warm wet face. I use a mixture of Sunflower Oil and Tea Tree Oil and have it pre-mixed in an old 2.5 oz makeup bottle with a pump that has been thoroughly cleaned. I fill it with sunflower oil up to about an inch from the top and drop in about 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil.
- Dispense enough onto your fingers (please use something you don't have to actually put your fingers in to, preferably something with a pump. You don't want to be putting your oily hands into your bottle of clean oil) to have enough to cover your face and massage the oil into your face for a minute or two
- Wipe oil off with a warm washcloth (use a soft, somewhat plush one so you don't risk being too harsh with a textured one)
- If I feel that too much oil has been left on my skin, I use the Cetaphil cleanser again (just a very small amount) to wash off the excess oil that the water and towel didn't pick up
- One or two drops of oil may now be used to moisturize the skin. I use either Argan or Tea Tree oil, not mixed with anything.
My morning routine is much more simple. I have witch hazel which I use as a toner, so I basically put just a dab on a cotton ball and rub all over my face to remove anything that may have gotten on my face overnight and I repeat step 7 to moisturize for the day.
And that's it! If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment with them and I will answer as quick as I can!