Remove surface grime and dirt with a gentle milk-based cleanser. The lactic acid in cow’s milk helps dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together, setting the stage for new, fresh skin to emerge. The oatmeal in this recipe acts as a humectant, which means it helps the skin retain moisture, and the olive oil is a great makeup remover.
- ½ cup slow-cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
Grind oatmeal to a fine dust in a blender. Mix in the milk and oil, if using, and apply to your damp face with clean hands, rubbing in a circular motion for 2 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Pure & True Blossom Flower Milk Cleanser adds the gentle power of chamomile to cleanse without stripping away the skin’s natural protective oils ($32 for 3.7 ounces, pureandtrue.com). Or try Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk Lavender & Fo-Ti, which cleans the skin with a combination of milk, lavender, and Chinese herbs ($55 for 6.7 ounces, store.tammyfender.com).
Venture down deep into the pores with some gentle scrubbing. The rice sloughs off the dead skin cells that can clog pores and dull skin. The fatty acids in coconut oil make the scrub creamy; the green tea is loaded with antioxidants to unclog pores and fight wrinkles.
- 1 tablespoon long-grain brown rice, raw
- 1 tablespoon green tea (about the contents of one tea bag)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1-2 drops essential oil of your choice for scent (like rosemary or rose)
Grind rice and tealeaves in a coffee grinder until smooth. Place in a small bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Wet face, and apply the scrub with your hands in a circular motion for about 30 seconds, avoiding the eye area. Rinse.
The raw sugar, organic whole milk, and essential oils in Creekside Creations Renewal Facial Scrub whisk away dead skin cells to reveal fresher, healthier-looking skin ($12 for 4 ounces, thecreeksidecreations.com). Another option: Sugared Beauty Sugar Pie Unscented Moisturizing Sugar Scrub, which is about as fresh as it gets—each scrub is made to order with organic raw sugar, coconut and grapeseed oils ($10 for 4 ounces, sugaredbeauty.com).
With most of the dirt and dead skin cells having been scoured away, you’re all set to fully unclog pores with steam and prepare your skin for the final two steps. Scent the water with your favorite essential oil for a little bonus aromatherapy.
- 2 cups water
- 4-5 drops essential oil (optional)
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add essential oil if desired, then pour into a large bowl. Put a towel over your head and hold your face about 14 inches above the water, leaving a place for the steam to escape around the edges of the towel. Steam for 5 to 8 minutes, then gently pat your face dry.
Find all kinds of 100 percent pure essential oils from Aura Cacia to set the right spa-inspired mood. Our picks: Wild chamomile for a soothing, herbal scent; lavender for a relaxing, floral aroma; and clary sage for an earthy, centering smell (starting at $12.30 for .25 ounces, auracacia.com).
The first three steps were all about unclogging pores; now it’s time to focus on refining and moisturizing, starting with a honey mask. The natural antibacterial properties of honey fight acne and stimulate the skin to help firm and tighten it; the egg yolk hydrates; and the almond oil nourishes and conditions your skin.
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 drops almond oil
Whisk ingredients together until creamy. Apply to your face and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The enzymes from papaya and pineapple in Lily Organics Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask dissolve dead skin cells, while the mint stimulates your skin to draw healthy blood to the area ($29 for 1.66 ounces, lilyorganics.com). Or try 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Scrub and Mask, its natural fruit acids brighten skin, and the fruit oils soften and moisturize ($21 for 4 ounces, qvc.com).
This final step will keep your skin looking—and feeling—smooth and soft. In this recipe, the aloe vera gel draws water to the skin, while the cocoa butter helps prevent the water from evaporating away. The jojoba and almond oils lock in moisture.
- 1 tablespoon cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 1 tablespoon almond oil
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
In a double boiler over low heat, melt cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and almond oil. Allow the mixture to cool, then stir in the aloe vera gel. Apply to your face in gentle, upward strokes.
Clairvoyant Light & Refreshing Cucumber Cream uses antioxidants to soothe and protect delicate skin ($38 for 2 ounces, clairvoyantbeauty.com). Another option: Ojaván Pamea Poan Facial Moisturizer, which helps rejuvenate tired skin with organic aloe and jojoba oil. ($37 for 1 ounce, ojavanproducts.com).