I have a very minimal hair and skin care routine. While I've never been much for primping, when I was younger I definitely fell prey to the idea that I needed cleansers,toners, body lotions, day and night moisturizers, and shampoo and conditioners. Makeup is something I've avoided, preferring to go with tinted lip gloss, and an emergency trial size of mineral powder for those occasional gag inducing blemishes, or when I think I need to look older than 12 and not bloodless.
I am the first to admit that almost everything about my lifestyle, hair and skin, and preferences allows for simplicity. I am not employed outside my home, so there is no pressure to use cosmetics and our social life travels more along the lines of hiking and drinking tea cross legged on people's floors, so no need for it there either. I am also casual and extremely low maintenance, so my need for various products is small - for salon services it is nil. That is not to say I look like a model and wouldn't benefit from services, more that I don't care. Finally, my skin is cantankerous and looks its best when left alone and I have straight hair. I gather from all the curly headed peeps out there that having curly hair is significantly more labour and product intensive than straight hair. In fact, when two curly heads get together and talk about their hair, they enter a realm no straight haired person can follow; it is sacred, the path is hard, and they discuss putting oil on their hair. Baffling, I know, but we lank haired people must count our blessings, we are not at war with our combs.
Here are my core essentials, used daily or several times a week:
- Aritha powder for washing my hair. I've been using this for a few months now and am very impressed by how clean my hair is after washing. You may know it by its other name: soap nuts. Can be used to wash clothes and hair. Multifunctional and very inexpensive at the local Indian store.
- A peach wood comb. I had heard that wood combs were an excellent way of distributing natural hair oils evenly and they do not scratch the scalp. I used this as an excuse to buy this comb because...well, look at it, 'tis beautiful and simple. And not plastic. Then I used it and loved it.
- A dry brush for skin. Dry brushing has a number of benefits, including encouraging your body to release toxins, stimulating your immune and lymphatic systems, and exfoliating your skin.
- Vitamin E oil. I use this on my face. It's vitamin E oil mixed with some quality carrier oils since vit. E alone is quite sticky. It's done more for me than any high priced cruelty free moisturizer ever has. I've also used coconut oil, but it made my face break out occasionally.
- Soap. I have and will always use vegetable based soap - tallow can clog pores, plus I make it a point to only use skincare products that have no animal (flesh - sustainable bee and dairy products I'm fine with) by-products in them. Two reasons for this: I eat a plant based diet and want to keep my skincare plant based too, and the animals that have been converted for use in skin care are quite often the meat industry's leftovers: sick, diseased, downer animals, euthanized animals from shelters, and roadkill. Yes, roadkill. Even if you aren't eating a plant based diet, you might want to avoid putting this on your skin. Nothing like a good slathering of asphalt baked opossum to make those wrinkles just vanish.
- Homemade deodorant. Works as well as anything I've used from a natural foods store (never used a drugstore variety, so I can't comment on its efficacy compared to that). It is not an antiperspirant, but I'm not looking to stop sweating. Here is my recipe for deodorant:
- Body Lotion. I get very dry and itchy in the winter, so while I do sometimes use vitamin E oil as an allover moisturizer, I often alternate it with a lotion for hand and body. This brand, SheaMoisture, is my new favorite because several "natural" brands include ingredients that are potentially harmful and this doesn't. Smelling divine doesn't hurt either.
I do occasionally use other products or items throughout the month, but these are what I use daily or frequently and I wouldn't want to get more minimal than this. I might write another post on my expanded and not as necessary "essentials."
This is just a peek into part of my daily/weekly routine, and not a judgement on, or a gloat over those who use more than me. I'm just sharing for the sake of doing so, and I hope you feel free to comment about what your essentials are, whether you're into natural, sustainable, homemade, frugal, and minimalist or a total product fiend!