Long before evidence-based skincare was a thing, timeless beauties like Cleopatra embraced the secrets hidden in nature to achieve the flawless perfection of their skin.
Legend has it that Cleopatra had a multi-step skincare routine, including various direct from nature products like sour milk, honey, dead sea salt, etc. In a world filled with complicated skincare products, it may sound pretty bland and mundane.
But as science evolved, much of it fits with the facts. So Cleopatra’s sour milk with its lactic acid for chemical exfoliation and anti-aging, dead sea salt for its physical exfoliation, honey for its moisturizing and anti-aging properties, really was a very well thought out routine.
Curious as to how you can include natural beauty tricks in your daily routine to get healthy and glowing skin like a modern-day god/goddess?
Well, you are in luck:
Because today, we will share with you scientifically approved natural skin care tips for the skin of your dreams.
1. Not all natural skincare should be sourced directly from the garden or kitchen
With so much data available at our fingertips, it is vital to understand how to use all these natural beauty tricks to achieve the best version of your skin.
As we know more about natural skincare, we also know that not all age old advice of “from kitchen to skin” made sense.
While some home beauty tips inherited from generations could work. Most effective natural skincare ingredients need refining, concentration (or dilution), buffering, and the right vehicle making it fit to be applied directly to skin with maximum benefits and minimum side effects.
For example, even though Vitamin C can be sourced from lime- applying lime slices directly on the skin may not be nearly as effective as applying a product with 10% Vitamin C. And while Vitamin C protects the skin from the sun, applying lime on the skin during the daytime could put you at risk of chemical sunburn.(1)
2. Choose products with natural ingredients that suit your skin type
It is obvious that not everything that suits your stomach will suit your skin too. While some natural ingredients are universal and may suit all skin types, many are not.
Like every skincare routine, a natural skincare routine also needs to be thought out, customized and tailored to according to the behavior and demands of your skin.
So it is vital to recognize the needs of your skin, and cater to them keeping safety and efficacy in mind.
If you are using two products at the same time, make sure that their effects do not interfere with each other. If you are under any kind of skin treatment or suffer from any skin disease, always consult your dermatologist before introducing new skincare to your routine.
3. Replace your moisturizer with natural oils
Natural oils are a few of the most effective moisturizers we know for healthy, as well as diseased skin.
Natural oils coat the skin to slow down the water loss from the skin to the environment (the trans-epidermal water loss), making it retain more moisture. They also ‘glue down’ the dry top layers of the skin, making it look luminous and healthy.
Plant oils like coconut oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil contain a significant amount of linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acids. The fatty acids, which are an integral part of the cell walls of our skin, strengthen the skin barrier thus improving the overall health of the skin.(2)
But be careful:
Do not apply the plant oils mixed with sunscreen: As good as the plant oils are for moisturizing, do not apply them directly with the sunscreen because it may interfere with the chemicals in the sunscreen and change its SPF.
4. Natural oils can do more – Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits
Suppose you have sensitive skin that burns and gets irritated with the application of most products with active ingredients. In that case, you may want to lean towards products, which calm that irritation down while working on strengthening the skin barrier.
Interestingly, another property of the fixed plant oils like sesame, argan, jojoba and grapeseed oil is that they also possess anti-inflammatory activity making them a safe choice for eczema-prone and sensitive skin.(2)
Argan oil, a well-known beauty secret of Moroccan women over the centuries, has also shown to improve the skin elasticity and would be a good choice for mature, sensitive skin.(3)
Argan oil, either directly applied or used as a soak in lukewarm water, is an effective remedy against brittle fingernails.
Olive oil has been a little controversial in the ‘moisturization’ department.(4) While some studies say it does not do much good to the skin barrier, many other good studies still stand by the use of olive oil because of its antioxidant properties.
However, for a dry and sensitive-skinned individual, olive oil may not be the best choice. But since you have such a wide variety of other plant oils to choose from, you are not missing out on much.
5. Integrate natural oils to your skin care routine in 4 easy ways
5-10 minutes after taking shower, when your skin is still a little damp, apply your plant oil all over the body to lock in moisture for hydrated, supple skin.
Add a few drops of your favorite plant oil in the bathtub. Bath foams and long hot baths strip the skin of moisture, let your plant oil sit there with you in the bath and fight that dryness.
For normal to dry skin, plant oils like Grapeseed or jojoba oil can be used as the last step in the nightly skincare routine to layer on the top of those active ingredients in serums. Plant oils can also be combined with other moisturizers for an add-on effect for very dry and dehydrated skin.
For oily skin, replace grapeseed oil with Argan oil. Argan oil reduces the severity of oiliness by reducing the sebum production.(15)
Take that waterproof sunscreen or makeup off with an oil massage. Oil cleansing works on a ‘like dissolves like principle’. They act as a solvent and will dissolve stubborn makeup and residues without harming your skin barrier. Remember to wash off that oil with a mild face wash after an oil cleanse, or your skin won’t absorb the active ingredients you apply later.
6. Use Aloe: Multitasker Natural Moisturizer for irritated, problematic skin
Aloe vera is perhaps one of the most commonly given natural skincare tips at home through the generations all across the world. And of course not without reason!
Its hydrating and soothing effects with good tolerance and mildness make aloe a widely loved ingredient all over. Aloe has calming and inflammation-fighting abilities that could be compared to a mild cortisone cream.(5)
When applied multiple times a day, Aloesin, derived from aloe vera, has also been shown to effectively reduce pigmentation in as less as 15 days.(6)
Aloe also promotes wound healing, so from open wounds or those scratches from the itchy skin when you have face eczema to open wounds from popped acne, aloe can go anywhere.
7. Use Honey: Multitasker Natural Moisturizer for all skin types, hair and lips
Honey is arguably the oldest natural skincare ingredient currently in use, traditionally used in many countries for different indications.
While Japanese women use honey as a hand cream, women in Arab countries use face masks consisting of honey mixed with egg yolk, avocado, lemon, and yogurt for anti-aging purposes.(7)
Honey, unlike the oils, is a ‘humectant’ type of moisturizer, which means it derives moisture from the water vapor in the atmosphere, making the uppermost layer of the skin hydrated and supple.
In addition to that, it is anti-irritant, antibacterial, and antifungal, which makes it suitable for all skin types and ages. Also, honey has a pH very close to skin’s own, thereby reducing the chances of irritation to minimum and allergy to honey is very rare.(8)
Darker kinds of honey are rich in flavonoids and tannins with powerful anti-aging properties. Thus, regular use of honey would keep the skin youthful by fighting the snarky free radicals.
Because of its mildness and multitasking abilities, honey is not only used on the skin, but also in hair care products. Honey can be used for a variety of natural beauty tricks, such as face masks, hair masks, and even lip masks.
A DIY lip mask that you can try immediately is applying a thick layer of honey on your lips and using a cellophane or aluminum wrap to cover it. Remove the wrap after 20 mins to unveil soft, hydrated lips.
8. Understanding aging and strategizing against it
Is anti-aging skincare for you?
Anti-aging is not just for people past a certain age. Daily environmental wear and tear make it necessary to include products containing anti-aging ingredients across all age groups as a preventive measure to delay the early signs of aging.
There are two types of aging processes happening simultaneously. First is internal aging where our skin does not replenish and repair with the same efficiency and speed as we age. Second is external aging due to sunlight, pollution, environmental stress etc.
Of them, the sun plays the most significant role, and we may say that it contributes to around 80% of the external aging factors. UV rays from the sun generate reactive free oxygen radicals, which degrade the collagen, causing wrinkles and loss of volume. Our body itself produces ‘antioxidants’ to fight them, but as we age and our sun and pollution exposure increases, this defense of our body becomes less efficient and powerful, and thus needs support from outside.
The most important part of an anti-aging plan is a sunscreen to shield those UV rays from reaching our skin to play its disaster, and the second is to use antioxidants in diet and skincare to eat up those nasty free radicals.
Luckily for us, many of the antioxidants, both in diet or for the skin, are abundantly found in natural resources, and natural beauty tips could really help to prevent the signs of aging.
Do you know:
Antioxidants can increase sun protection when used with sunscreens. Have you seen those SPF 70 or 100 products? Many of those use antioxidants with sunscreen ingredients making an SPF 50 sunscreen really soar in the sun protection factor department. So, antioxidants can be used during the day, under sunscreen or as a sunscreen ingredient, or during the night to do some damage control.
9. Green tea: for the soul, and for the skin
When you sip that green tea during a stressful day, you are not just calming your nerves but doing great favors to your heart and your skin.
Green tea both when taken orally or when applied on the skin performs little miracles for us.
Green tea extract is one of the most extensively studied antioxidants. The main active ingredient in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is a type of polyphenol that can prevent sun damage and reverse the DNA damage that has been done by UV rays.
Thus, green tea is not just useful against cosmetic aging; it may also have some role in preventing skin cancer.(9)Enjoying this article? Get similar skincare content direct to your inbox! Subscribe to our exclusive newsletter and we will help you master your routine. Receive regular tips and tricks, how-to's, special offers and more...
Enter your email below:
10. Grapeseed extracts against photoaging and pigmentation
Resveratol found naturally in the skin of red grapes and red wine, is increasingly being incorporated in skincare formulations. In fact, it has been found to be 17 times more potent than the body’s own antioxidants.(10)
Grapeseed is also rich in polyphenols (procyanidins) which are not only antioxidants but also effective against the pigmentation which comes handy against sun-induced aging or ‘photoaging’.(11)
11. Natural beauty tricks to aid the fight against acne
The treatment of acne doesn’t end in a few days, weeks, or months. It is an ongoing process. It involves using intensive treatment during bad phases and a maintenance regime on brighter days.
A lot of it involves the application of topical antibiotics, which entails the risk of resistance. And one who has long suffered from acne knows that the malady of acne doesn’t begin and end with that one zit. There is redness and pain that comes with a zit and then the dryness of all the anti-acne skincare.
Skincare for acne-prone skin has been long focused on ‘drying’ out – drying out the pimple, or drying out the skin’s natural oils.
Smart inclusion of natural beauty tricks could reduce the chances of antibiotic resistance and maintain your skin texture on your journey to acne-free skin.
12. Bakuchiol- a natural alternative to retinols?
Bakuchiol is touted to be a natural, and better-tolerated competitor of retinol in the skincare industry because of its multifaceted application.
Bakuchiol, on twice daily application, has been shown to bring similar changes in the skin like retinol- on a genetic as well as the superficial level to reduce the wrinkles, pigmentation as well as improve skin elasticity without the irritation which is usually seen with retinol.(12)
It also has strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties, especially against bacteria that cause acne- P.acnes.(13)
Use bakuchiol containing products if you are struggling with adult acne. It could be the all-rounder ingredient to answer all your skin woes- aging and acne-in one jar.
13. Use Tea Tree Oil to kill that zit
Tea tree oil has been found to be just as effective as topical prescription medicines like benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin in mild acne lesions.
However, since it did cause some irritation, it is not recommended to use tea tree oil directly on the entire face. Since Tea tree also exhibits antifungal activity, unlike other anti-acne treatments, it can be used against fungal acne too.(14)
14. Coffeeberry as a natural antioxidant for skin-rejuvenation
Coffeeberry, harvested from the fruit of the coffee plant Coffea arabica, is considered to be one of the richest sources of antioxidants and has skin-rejuvenation properties.
Coffeeberry contains potent polyphenols including ferulic acid and could improve the fine lines, wrinkles and, in some studies, has shown to be just as powerful an antioxidant as Vitamin C.(9)
15. Natural ingredients to get an even skin tone
Although soy may not be the most powerful depigmenting agents around, it brings a well-rounded improvement in the changes caused due to sun-induced aging like blotchiness, dullness, and an overall uneven skin tone.(21)
Studies have shown that even long term use of soy is safe, unlike the chemical depigmenting ingredients.
Mulberry extract is derived from the root bark of a mulberry plant. Mulberry extract inhibits the enzyme, which is needed in the production of melanin – our skin pigment. Mulberry can be used against post-acne pigmentation, sunspots, and also more challenging and stubborn conditions like melasma.
16. Use Jojoba Oil as a moisturizer for acne-prone skin
Traditionally the skincare of acne-prone skin has been laden with misconceptions. It was said that acne-prone skin does not need moisturizer, and then that natural oils block the pores and cause breakouts. Thankfully we know better now!
A moisturizer is necessary to maintain a healthy skin barrier, which becomes especially important when you are continually battling with redness, irritation, and aggressive anti-acne treatments. Also, not all-natural oils block the pores.
Jojoba oil has a wide range of fatty acids and its unique composition makes it very similar to our body’s very own sebum.(3) Because of this close resemblance, jojoba oil does not block the pores. It has a naturally light texture, has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties making it a safe choice for acne-prone skin.
17. Use Rosehip Oil against acne as well as scars
As mentioned in point number 3 – the cells in our skin have different kinds of fatty acids in their walls. The ratio of different fatty acids can play an instrumental role in how the skin behaves. Acne-prone skin is low in linoleic acid or omega 6 fatty acid and has a higher content on oleic acid or omega 9 fatty acid.(16)
This imbalance is effectively corrected by rosehip oil, which has a very favorable ratio of linoleic vs. oleic acid. Rosehip oil can also improve the scarring and redness of the skin.(17) The fact that rosehip oil is also rich in antioxidants is just a giant cherry on top.(18)
18. Follow these home beauty tips to add natural skincare to your anti-acne routine
Dab some Tea tree oil as a spot treatment overnight on that pesky zit popping up.
Jojoba oil masks in clay have shown to be effective in all kinds of acne lesions and can be used as a treatment addition in mild acne.(19) Mix a little jojoba oil in your favorite clay mask and keep it on for 10-15 minutes.
Use Jojoba oil or Rosehip oil or moisturizers containing these oils at night to hydrate the skin and restore skin vitality.
Aloe vera or green tea containing moisturizers can be used at any time of the day, to soothe the redness and irritation due to acne or anti-acne treatment.
19. Licorice as a replacement for Hydroquinone against pigmentation
When we talk about pigmentation, it doesn’t mean only post-acne, post wound pigmentation. Environment and sun, in addition to collagen damage, also cause pigmentary changes. It may not be very noticeable to begin with.
You might just feel like your face is looking ‘dull’ which eventually paves the way to patchy skin with uneven skin tone, which does not look healthy. As you age, sunspots appear on the skin to add to your pigmentation woes.
That is why a good and rounded depigmenting agent could help bring that missing evenness and health to your facial skin.
Hydroquinone is the gold standard in medically prescribed agents for pigmentation.
It is potent, efficient but comes with its baggage of controversy, which emerges time and again, questioning its safety aspect.
Glabridin, extracted from the root of perennial herb Glycyrrhiza glabra linneva, is the main compound in licorice that has been shown experimentally to have a lightening effect 16 times greater than hydroquinone.
Although this stellar performance could not be replicated in human studies, its effect against pigmentation can still be considered comparable to hydroquinone in lightening the dark spots and brightening the skin.(20)
20. Exfoliate the natural way
The superficial layer of our skin has a layer of dead cells that gets shed in cycles. These dead skin cells create an appearance of roughness, dryness, dullness, and when they build up in the pores, enlarged pores.
Exfoliation is a process to remove those dead cells to give way to more luminous and polished looking skin.
There are many natural skincare tips at home that can help in effective exfoliation.
You can go the Cleopatra way and use yogurt or sour milk to boost your skin with hydrating and exfoliating lactic acid.
Eat some papaya slices and slather some on your skin for some exfoliation with its enzyme papain. This breaks the bonds between the superficial dead cell layer and helps eliminate them for brighter-looking fresher skin.(22)
A fan of physical scrubs?- try the gel scrubs with jojoba beads. They are not only effective but also do not damage the skin like other abrasive physical scrubs like apricot. Also, they are biodegradable – your skin will thank you, and so would marine animals!
21. Be Cautious!!
While using these natural beauty tips, don’t forget to keep the following things in mind for a safer experience.
Pointer 1: Use products from reliable brands
A lot of how a natural skincare product performs depends on the way it is extracted, other ingredients, and vehicles, so make sure that you buy from reputed and reliable brands.
We at ZELEN Life have formulated a range of natural skincare products that contain the finest organic ingredients from trained professionals who extract and test them for purity.
Pointer 2: Use the products correctly
Always pay attention to the manufacturer’s advice about stability and storage. Do not apply night cream during the daytime since it may contain ingredients that make the skin sun-sensitive. Also, mix and match the products with complete information. Read about the ingredients, its compatibility with other ingredients, or ask your doctor.
Pointer 3: Patch test
Even though many natural ingredients are mild and widely well-tolerated, some ingredients like essential oils, just like their synthetic counterparts, are notorious for causing irritation, sensitivity, and allergies. It is important to patch test any new product with active ingredients on the arm or under the jawline before applying it over a larger area or face.
Pointer 4: Be mindful of natural fragrance
Even with no added perfumes, products with natural ingredients can still smell good because of their inherent fragrance. If you have a perfume allergy, you may want to tread carefully with ingredients with natural fragrance.
Pointer 5: Notice the additives
Many ingredients, for example, honey, which is sold for edible purposes, may contain additives that don’t always sit well with the skin. So if you are applying an edible product on the skin, always read the labels and use pure products.
A healthy skin care routine is the one built on your skin’s demands. With the right information and some caution, there is an answer to most of your skincare woes in nature. The aim of this article was not just to recommend but to educate you about the natural beauty tricks so that you can make an informed decision about the right choice of products for healthy and glowing skin.
Do you have questions about any of the natural skincare tips at home that you have been advised? Or curious about natural beauty tricks for any other concerns?
Hit us up with your questions and comments, and fill me up with any other home beauty tips which have worked wonders for your skin – would love to hear from you.
And do you have a friend who loves finding solutions to their skin problems in nature – share this article with them.Did you find this article useful? Enter your email to receive subscriber-only skincare advice to help you perfect your routine and achieve radiant skin. Get tips and tricks, how to's and exclusive offers direct to your inbox...
Enter your email below:
- Hankinson A, Lloyd B, Alweis R. Lime-induced phytophotodermatitis. J Community Hosp Intern Med Perspect. 2014;4(4):10.3402/jchimp.v4.25090. Published 2014 Sep 29. https://doi.org/10.3402/jchimp.v4.25090
- Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010070
- Boucetta KQ, Charrouf Z, Aguenaou H, Derouiche A, Bensouda Y. The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity. Clin Interv Aging. 2015;10:339-349. Published 2015 Jan 30. https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S71684
- Danby, S.G., AlEnezi, T., Sultan, A., Lavender, T., Chittock, J., Brown, K. and Cork, M.J. (2013), Effect of Olive and Sunflower Seed Oil on the Adult Skin Barrier: Implications for Neonatal Skin Care. Pediatr Dermatol, 30: 42-50. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x
- Sánchez M, González-Burgos E, Iglesias I, Gómez-Serranillos MP. Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents. Molecules. 2020;25(6):1324. Published 2020 Mar 13. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061324
- Choi S, Lee SK, Kim JE, Chung MH, Park YI. Aloesin inhibits hyperpigmentation induced by UV radiation. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 2002 Sep;27(6):513-515. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2230.2002.01120.x
- Oumeish OY. Traditional Arabic medicine in dermatology. Clin Dermatol. 1999;17(1):13-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0738-081x(98)00068-6
- Burlando, B. and Cornara, L. (2013), honey in dermatology and skin care: a review. J Cosmet Dermatol, 12: 306-313. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12058
- Farris P. Idebenone, green tea, and Coffeeberry extract: new and innovative antioxidants. Dermatol Ther. 2007;20(5):322-329. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8019.2007.00146.x
- Farris P, Krutmann J, Li YH, McDaniel D, Krol Y. Resveratrol: a unique antioxidant offering a multi-mechanistic approach for treating aging skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2013 Dec;12(12):1389-1394
- Sarkar R, Arora P, Garg VK, Sonthalia S, Gokhale N. Melasma update. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2014;5(4):426-435. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.142484
- Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, et al. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019;180(2):289-296. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.16918
- Sinha P, Srivastava S, Mishra N, Yadav NP. New perspectives on anti-acne plant drugs: contribution to modern therapeutics. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:301304. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/301304
- Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006;19(1):50-62. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
- Vaughn, A. R., Clark, A. K., Sivamani, R. K., & Shi, V. Y. (2017). Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 19(1), 103–117. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1
- Downing, D. T., Stewart, M. E., Wertz, P. W., & Strauss, J. S. (1986). Essential fatty acids and acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 14(2), 221–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0190-9622(86)70025-x
- Valerón-Almazán, P., Gómez-Duaso, A.J., Santana-Molina, N., García-Bello, M.A. and Carretero, G. (2015) Evolution of Post-Surgical Scars Treated with Pure Rosehip Seed Oil. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 5, 161-167.
- Chrubasik C., Roufogalis B.D., Muller-Ladner U., Chrubasik S. A systematic review on the Rosa canina effect and efficacy profiles. Phytother. Res. 2008;22:725–733. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2400.
- Meier L, Stange R, Michalsen A, Uehleke B. Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne–results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Forsch Komplementmed. 2012;19(2):75-79. https://doi.org/10.1159/000338076
- Makino ET, Mehta RC, Banga A, et al. Evaluation of a hydroquinone-free skin brightening product using in-vitro inhibition of melanogenesis and clinical reduction of ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013;12(3):s16–s20.
- Efficacy of a soy moisturizer in photoaging: a double-blind, vehicle-controlled, 12-week study. Wallo W, Nebus J, Leyden JJ J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Sep; 6(9):917-22
- Stremnitzer C, Manzano-Szalai K, Willensdorfer A, et al. Papain Degrades Tight Junction Proteins of Human Keratinocytes In Vitro and Sensitizes C57BL/6 Mice via the skin Independent of its Enzymatic Activity or TLR4 Activation. J Invest Dermatol. 2015;135(7):1790-1800. https://doi.org/10.1038/jid.2015.58