Part of this has been finding great natural skincare products to reduce the number of chemicals I use on my skin. While I've found some great products that have given good results, but they've all also caused some issues that mean they aren't worth me sticking to.
Instead, I've started looking at individual ingredients that can target my problem areas. As a result, I've found some great options for homemade skincare that yield amazing results.
You're probably bored of people extolling the benefits of coconut oil, but it really is great when it comes to skincare. I now use this instead of makeup remover after finding that some removers actually made my skin sore while others failed to remove all of my waterproof makeup.
Coconut oil cuts through makeup in seconds, removing even my Benefit They're Real mascara faster than anything else. I use it to remove all my makeup before washing my face, melting a small amount onto my skin and using a warm, damp cotton pad to take everything off.
I also use it as a night moisturiser because as well as being a great cleanser, it is really toning and moisturising. I just melt a little bit onto my skin and rub it in gently - avoiding the eye area - and let ot sink in.
Since using coconut oil for both of these things, I have had fewer breakouts, the texture of my skin is better, oil production is evened out and my pores have shrunk.
I'd been using Lush's Let the Good Times Roll cleanser as a scrub for a while but found that while it was good for exfoliation, it actually made my pores larger, meaning I needed to use it more often. When looking for alternatives, I found a lot of posts about using bicarbonate of soda as a facial scrub.
I experimented with this and found that it gave really good results without any downsides. It leaves my skin smooth and toned with very little effort as the grains of the bicarb are small so extra scrubby, meaning you don't really have to work to get good results.
To create an effective face scrub, I combine bicarb with coconut oil and a touch of honey. I mix this into a paste and apply to damp skin, scrubbing lightly in circles. The bicarb scrubs the skin while the coconut oil lifts dirt and is an anti-inflammatory so reduces redness. I add honey as it is moisturising but also acts as a powerful natural antibacterial to help avoid spots.
I've also added lemon juice when my skin is really oily, as this is astringent so will mattify skin and tone it even more.
You can also use this as a face mask by simply leaving it on your skin for 5-10 minutes before washing off.
The only downside is that because the bicarb of soda is so small, it can be difficult to wash off. I use a warm, damp flannel to take it off and sometimes still need to splash my face with water. It's totally worth it though as it leaves my skin looking and feeling fresh.
Another great exfoliating option that I like to use once a week as a face mask is coffee. I either make use of the used coffee grinds from espresso or the Costa pods from my Tassimo - one pod is all you need for a face mask.
Not only is the coffee nice and scrubby - you can add more or less depending on how exfoliating you want the face mask to be - but the caffeine in it also brightens the skin. Simply leaving the mask on your face for 10 minutes can leave your skin feeling amazing.
To make my mask, I combine the coffee with coconut oil, honey and lemon juice. Sometimes, I'll add a small amount - not even half a teaspoon - of ground turmeric as this is also really brightening and improves blood circulation in your skin. Just mix all of it together and apply to clean, dry skin. Wash it off on circular motions and make sure you moisturise after using it.
It is a good idea not to put loads of coconut oil in the mask as it will melt on your skin. This stops it from drying on your face, which can actually make your skin dry, but it can mean that it drips off your chin, which isn't a good look.
You can use the same mix of ingredients to create a body scrub too. For this, I like to add more melted coconut oil and pour the whole lot into an empty Lush black pot. I let it set and then tip it out so it is a solid block. You can scrub this in circular motions over your skin after using shower gel and then rinse off before patting your skin dry.