I wrote this post a few years ago, and since then I’ve been saving a ton of money by making a lot of my own skincare items. I just cleaned our linen closet out, where we keep all of our extra bathroom things, and I’ve found several glass jars of various creams, one of which may or may not have been made out of tallow because of some crazy blog post I read a few years ago. And in the same clean-out I threw out the remnants of a probably $10 container of some organic exfoliator I had bought at the health food co-op last year. It just didn’t work very well, and I wish I had saved the $10 and just gone back to making my own exfoliator (recipe below).
I’ve been re-inspired about this after recently reading a few lovely books (Skin Cleanse and The French Beauty Solution) that both contain a bounty of skincare recipes by women who know their stuff. There are obviously about 70 billion blog posts written by random people with random make-it-yourself skin care ideas (of which yes, this is one), and I’ve used a lot of them. (I’ve used this recipe for deodorant for over 3 years now I think. Costs pennies, and uses zero plastic.) But I do think it’s helpful to have a book or two written by a somewhat qualified person if you really want to learn more about making your own skincare products.
ANYWAY. Adina Grigore, the author of Skin Cleanse compellingly lays out how companies market skin care products to us by making us believe that our skin is too oily, too wrinkly, our pores are too large, that we are deficient and ugly and we need their product in order to be beautiful. I think it is deeply important and good for us to learn how to care for our whole selves, skin and all, with gentleness and grace, and that sometimes skin care products are part of that. But for some reason, reading Skin Cleanse made it click with me that I do not want to literally buy into that whole scheme. I will NOT be a cog on the wheel of the mass marketing of skincare products. Also, I can’t afford to buy all that crap. So I’ve been using some of the Skin Cleanse and French Beauty recipes. Buying 90% fewer skin care products in stores.
Which made me remember this exfoliator, some version of which I’ve used off and on for years now.
So. One of my favorite skin care products of all time (which I have bought exactly once in my life, now over 8 years ago) is Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant. It is a super fine powder that you mix with water and use wash your face. It isn’t abrasive at all, and it made my skin feel unbelievably lovely. It contained oatmeal, rice powder, and licorice root extract, among other things. When I ran out all those years ago, I decided to make my own version of it instead of buying a new (very expensive) bottle.
The first time I made this I used my coffee grinder to grind brown rice. Unfortunately, my grinder wasn’t able to get the rice fine enough, so I bought some rice flour at the grocery to use instead. I just kept the bag in the freezer and have used it for subsequent batches. (I also added goat’s milk powder, as it is part of the skin regimen recommended for oily skin in Absolute Beauty, a wonderful book on Ayurveda and health/beauty/skincare). This stuff is wonderful, and has such a calming effect on the skin. Here’s the recipe:
Rice flour and Licorice Cleansing Grains
Mix together 3 T brown rice flour, 3 T oat flour, 2 T milk powder* (doesn’t have to be goat’s milk), and about 1/2 t. licorice root powder (probably easiest to find in capsule form. I used 3-4 capsules, gently broken open (discard the capsules)). Mix together, and put through a sifter if the milk powder is clumpy. To use: Once or twice a week– Remove makeup first, if wearing makeup. Mix about 1/2 t. powder with lukewarm water and massage gently over damp skin. Rinse, and pat dry. (You can also mix into a thicker paste and leave on your skin for 10 minutes as a mask.)
Store in a clean salt/pepper shaker for easy dispensing!
*Some people may be sensitive to the milk powder. If you have a milk allergy, obviously don’t use this ingredient, and if you experience any irritation, discontinue use.
Licorice root is soothing to the skin, anti-inflammatory, helps with acne and eczema, and is often used in skin-brightening products.
Rice powder is also used to lighten skin and clear the complexion.
Milk powder contains lactic acid, which is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which works as a gentle exfoliator, promotes the production of collagen, and helps improve skin texture. It is also hydrating and has anti-bacterial qualities. Helps to even out skin tone and diminish scars.