I’ve always enjoyed the ritual of washing my face at night. First of all, it’s time alone. I go into the bathroom and close the door, and since no one wants to follow me in there to watch this process, I can be assured of some quiet time. Secondly, it’s a signal to mind and body that the day is over and it’s time to relax. And thirdly, it’s a ritual of self-care — a sign that I’m taking the time to do something nurturing for myself.
Since this is a ritual, I like to make it special, and I like to use natural make-up removers that are really good for my skin. The skin absorbs much of whatever we put on it, so the less harmful chemicals we use, the better. Here are some of my favorite things:
Water: I have a special clay bowl on my sink that one of my students, Masami, made for me. I fill it with tap water and sometimes add a drop of essential oil or my home-made rose water toner to the water.
Wash cloths and make-up remover pads: I love the organic bamboo products made by Chris at Sew the Love In. The washcloths are much more soft and silky than normal cotton terry, and bamboo is naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and hypo-allergenic. They are perfect for babies, people with sensitive skin, or people who just like soft stuff. You can get 10 bamboo velour cloths for $19, and there are also options in bamboo fleece and bamboo terry. The double-layer bamboo velour and terry make-up remover pads are a great green alternative to cotton balls or disposable wipes because you can use them again and again, and they are much softer than cotton. You can either wash them by hand with soap or put them in a lingerie bag and throw them in the washing machine. At this time, they are 14 for $14, and I have to mention that her customer service is excellent.
Soap: I like the home-made complexion bars at Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, and I’m particularly fond of the carrot & honey and avocado, oats & shea bars for my dry skin. I first wash my face with soap and water (watch the eyes — the soap will sting if it gets in there), then I use a make-up remover for any remaining eye makeup .
Make-Up Remover: Organic olive oil or coconut oil. I use the extra virgin brands that I have in my kitchen, and I save a lot of money and save myself from a lot of chemicals. Not to mention, I’m using fewer containers that would end up in a landfill or recycling center.
Toner/Freshener: I make my own with rosewater and glycerin. I buy Cortas Rose Water — I prefer the food-safe kind to the cosmetic kind because it’s just water with the light scent of pure rose oil. (They also have orange blossom water if you prefer it.) If you have a Turkish or Mediterranean market near you, you might be able to get it there. I pour it into a spray bottle and add a little vegetable glycerin to add moisture. (You can skip the glycerin if you have oily skin.) I don’t measure; I just add a little bit at a time until the consistency feels right — just a little moisture. I love bringing a small bottle of this on flights to combat the dry air.
Moisturizer: I use a drop of organic olive oil on dry spots (or all over in the winter), followed by organic cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is solid but melts on contact with the skin. (I slice off a piece and keep the rest in the fridge until I need another.) If I still need more moisture around eyes or cheeks, I pat on a tiny bit of glycerin. Glycerin will moisturize and protect, and it helps pull moisture from the air into your skin.
My skin reacts so much better to this combination of natural ingredients than it does to commercial products with chemicals. I have less dryness and no rashes or itchiness and I’m saving a fortune. And it smells really good! My bottle of glycerin has lasted over a year, and I’ve been using the cocoa butter for several months and still have more left. I always have olive and coconut oil for cooking, so I just go to the kitchen to refill my containers.
If you think of washing your face at night as a chore, maybe you can look at it in a new light. It’s an act of self-care and a transition from the busy day to settling down before bed time. If you have any rituals or favorite products that you’d like to share, please leave comment!