It was more a matter of timing that anything else. At the end of June last year I decided that we would do plastic free July in our house for the first time. I also happened to run out of cleanser, moisturiser etc etc at the same time. Faced with the prospect of looking for new products in glass packaging, I decided instead to just go without and see what happened. I was never the type of person with a massive skin care routine. I also don’t wear make up so I don’t need products to remove that. I had also been lucky enough to never have suffered acne or have massive skin problems, so I guess that made my decision easier. I had always gotten pimples though, continuing on well into adulthood. I regularly asked myself, just how old does one have to get before they out grow pimples?
I did not have a bathroom full of products, but I did have a cleanser, an exfoliant, a day and a night moisturiser, and depending on my dedication at the time, a toner. 5 bottles at a time, and I have to say, it was something I hated spending money on! I never got the cheap brands, I always preferred to go with the organic, local and ethical companies but of course that comes with a price tag, and while it was worth every penny, it was often money I didn’t have.
So when plastic free July came round and I serendipitously ran out of products at the same time, I thought to myself, why are you using money you don’t have to buy products that perhaps you don’t need? Why not try going without. At the same time, I remembered a friend of mine who worked for a large natural beauty products company. She used to talk about a lady who was in her 50’s, had never used skin care products and had the skin of a 20 year old beach babe. Her secret? Using her fingers to massage her face for a few moments every night in the shower. Circulation, that was it!
So I ditched everything. All at once. I fully expected my skin to freak out for a while and take time to adjust to the lack of products, only it didn’t! It stayed exactly the same, minus the pimples! Don’t get me wrong, I still get the odd one, but far less than I did when using skin care!
My routine now - I use my fingers to massage my face in the shower. If I have had a particularly grotty day, or if I just feel the need, I grab a tablespoon full of castor sugar from the kitchen and pour a little bit of sweet almond oil in with it. I mix it in my hand then use it to scrub my face. When I hop out of the shower each evening, I put a couple of drops of sweet almond oil on my hands, rub them together and gently pat them on my face. The only time I don’t do that is when I have used a sugar/ oil scrub, and I feel like I have enough residual oil on my skin already.
So that is it. It was that simple. Apart from the sweet almond oil (always a staple in our house for the kids bath in winter), I now don’t use a single product on my skin. I have not broken out in pimples, my skin has not gotten dry and flaky or oily and greasy. I have not gotten dozens more wrinkles, spots or blemishes. To be honest, I have not seen a remarkable difference at all, but the differences I have seen have been for the better.
I guess skin care is our default. It is something we are told from a young age that we need. It is marketing like anything else. But when you remove that message and think, well what does my skin actually need, it can be as simple as clean water and hands to increase the circulation in my face.
Honestly I wish I had done it years ago. To think of the money and the packaging I would have saved! Perhaps in 20 years time I will regret my decision when I am older and wrinklier, but you know what? I hope that in 20 years time i'll be jet setting around the world using money I saved on skin care, having the time of my life and not giving a fig about my wrinkles!