Good health encompasses so many factors: The foods you eat, the environment you live in, your lifestyle choice, your genetics… the list goes on and on. Add one major item to that rundown: The products you use on your skin. Indeed, some of the most pesky, common, and frustrating health problems – asthma, eczema, inflammation – can be directly linked back to skincare ingredients like fragrance, synthetics, and emulsifiers. While a flushed face may seem like no big deal, more serious concerns like endocrine disruption and hormonal imbalances can also come as a result from using products with these ingredients. Which, in our opinion, is a *very* big deal.
While we’re all about finding what’s right for you, we do think that integrating non-toxic products into your skincare routine is nothing but beneficial when it comes to your overall health. Although there are plenty of great brands out there – from Tata Harper to S.W. Basics –it’s also really easy to start using some ingredients you might already have on hand in your skin and body care routine. Ahead are our five essentials.
If we could go to the moon with one natural ingredient (or one skincare product), jojoba oil would be it. To begin, it is chemically very similar in composition to the skin’s own sebum. This has two consequences: One, it’ll help clear up clogged pores and, two, it will help skin find its optimal hydration level, thus balancing out oil production. Although jojoba oil is very light, it’s deeply nourishing: We like to use it as a moisturizer and an oil cleanser.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a hidden pantry gem that’s an amazing wellness tool – both when ingested and applied topically to your skin. When it comes to your skin, it’s a natural astringent, but not in the usual, super-harsh way: ACV is acidic – and your skin’s ideal pH is more acidic – so it helps maintain a healthy acid mantle. It also aids in regulating oil production, ensuring you’re not over- or under-producing oil (so you’re less oily and dry). It's a great ingredient if you're acne prone and makes a killer spot treatment or toner. However you choose to use ACV, be sure to dilute it with water beforehand -- we like one-third ACV to two-thirds H20.
Almond or Oat Flour
Are you a scrub fanatic? Then these are for you! Almond and oat flour -- created from ground nuts and oats, respectively -- are nature’s exfoliators. Filled with vitamins and nutrients, they also both help reduce inflammation (hello, oatmeal bath) and nourish the skin in the process. Use both as you would a normal exfoliant (we like to mix ours with jojoba oil) and select almond if you're going gluten-free.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is an eye-rolling cliché at this point, which is a total shame. Because, trust us, this is truly the do-it-all essential oil. Aside from possessing a myriad of therapeutic properties – it helps soothe nervous system, among many things – lavender is fantastic for the treatment of your skin. It’s antibacterial, meaning it can be used as a spot treatment or added into a cleanser or toner of your choice to enhance efficacy. But unlike a lot of harsher, antibacterial or antiseptic oils (looking at you, tea tree oil), lavender essential oil is hydrating and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, too. It's far from basic -- unless you call basic the whole package.
Shea butter is arguably nature’s most powerful hydrator; it’s rich in skin-nourishing vitamins A, C, and E, which together help moisturize the skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and even stimulate collagen production. It also works to combat inflammation and can be used to treat and eradicate ailments like dermatitis and eczema. We like to use ours diluted (it's very thick), ideally with another oil like coconut oil. Use on your body or face.