I spoke in my 8 Simple Ways to Improve your Skincare Routine post about how physical exfoliation can harm your skin; causing microscopic tears and damage. I had talked about how exfoliating my own skin in the past has caused my pores to enlarge and my face to flare up in an irritated rash. One of the most popular DIY exfoliator ingredients is sugar, but lately there’s been controversy about it being too jagged and rough on skin. I can definitely vouch for that: I think sugar lip scrubs have left my lips drier and more wrinkled than before use. The use of these types of exfoliants (salt, sand and so on) is being encouraged less and less. Not to worry though – I’m here to help you with a list of 3 alternatives. These are my three go-to DIY exfoliators I can make at home, all of which are gentle and soothing. After trying them you’ll find your skin left fresh and glowing. Bonus: they’re all 100% vegan!
1. Oat Exfoliator
I remember I used to have a book called ‘Be Beautiful’ (I managed to find it here!) that I basically treated as the BIBLE when I was in my tweens. I made my very first face mask out of a recipe from that book using honey, bananas and cream. Not only did it feel lovely on my skin, but it tasted amazing, too. Enough with the nostalgia, though – there is a reason I brought it up.
Oats are considered a much, much softer exfoliant than sugar, due to not having jagged or sharp edges that can tear the skin on a microscopic level. They can absorb dirt and oil from your skin’s surface whilst also soothing the texture. I’m sure most of us have heard of oat baths being taken by those suffering from eczema, and this would be the main reason why.
Combining oats with water would technically be enough to exfoliate, but thanks to my superior beauty bible knowledge (sarcasm!), I know there are other lovely things to add to your skin alongside oats. Bananas are full of anti-oxidants and phytochemicals, and can nourish and moisturise the skin. Bananas are also known to reduce signs of ageing, combat acne and control oil production. Soya milk contains collagen, a protein that keeps skin elastic and firm. It works to soften the oats even further before they are applied to the skin. Combining oats, banana and soya milk produces a really gentle and hydrating DIY exfoliator that will work for all skin types.
Half a banana, mashed
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp soya milk
Combine all three ingredients, and mix. Leave refrigerated for at least 30 minutes to allow the oats to absorb some of the liquid. (If you’re planning on leaving your DIY exfoliator to thicken over night, add more milk; approximately 1 part oats and 2 parts milk.) Gently rub the exfoliator into your skin, moving in circular motions and focusing on dry areas, such as around the nose and outer cheeks, for a minute or so. Avoid your eye area at this point. Leave the exfoliator on for another 20 minutes – or however long you like, it’s not going to do any harm! – before rinsing off with warm water. If you like, you can add the mixture around your eye area in this 20 minutes, as you’re using it as more of a hydrating mask. Just be sure not to actually exfoliate or tug at that area with it.
2. Apple Exfoliator
Apple works as a great chemical exfoliator. In other terms, it lifts away dead skin cells rather than scrubbing them off. It contains malic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that loosens dead skin and allows it to fall away, revealing a fresh face underneath. Apples also contain many anti-ageing properties; they’re high in Vitamin A, or retinol, something I know people will spend a fortune on in terms of skin care. This DIY exfoliator is super easy to make, as it only requires one ingredient: apple!
One apple, preferably green
Peel and chop your apple up into small cubes, and place it into a saucepan with a small amount of water over a medium heat. Wait until the apple flesh is soft and mushy and allow to cool. Drain any excess liquid – for example, if the water hasn’t fully evaporated – and either mash with a fork or place into a blender to form a smooth, apple-sauce texture. Apply this to your skin, avoiding your eye area, and leave on for 20 minutes or so. Rinse off with warm water.
3. Almond Exfoliator
This exfoliator is essentially just homemade almond butter. Ground almonds produce a really fine and gentle exfoliant, and their oil is full of vitamins and fatty acids (read all about sweet almond oil in my The 5 Best Oils for Your Skin post). Almonds are high in protein, which helps to lift dead skin cells. This chemical exfoliation process combined with their ability to lightly scrub your skin means you’ll get all the exfoliation properties rolled into one, leaving you with smooth and soft skin in no time. As the almond exfoliates, it will also hydrate, soften, and reduce signs of ageing. Roasting the almonds at 180 degrees celsius for around 10 minutes will leave them extra soft for your skin.
3 tbsp roasted almonds
A few drops of sweet almond oil
Blend your almonds in a blender or food processor until the fine powder begins to become a paste. Once a thick-ish texture is formed, stop your blender and add the sweet almond oil. Leave the sweet almond oil to absorb, stirring the mixture occasionally. Eventually, a smooth butter will be formed. Gently rub the exfoliator into your skin with a little bit of water in circular motions for around a minute, and then leave the mixture on your skin for another 20 minutes or so. Rinse off with warm water.
I really hope you find that one of these recipes takes the fancy of both you and your skin. If you have any DIY exfoliator recipes, be sure to comment them! I’d love to try out some more.
Thanks for reading,