Natural Skin Care: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The internet is a beacon of easy DIY face recipes, from scrubs to masks, cleansers to spot treatments. Even though we love creating these recipes, we don’t always think twice about the ingredients we use. Here, DIY Makeup breaks down the most popular skin care ingredients, while answering the age old question: “Should I be putting this on my face?” So, whether you’re creating an original recipe or doing research on a new or old favorite, here are the top miracles, hazards, and mysteries of DIY skin care.


The Best Ingredients



Honey is the hero of skin care. There is practically nothing it can’t do. Honey is a natural antiseptic, meaning it helps reduce the chances of infection and inflammation in wounds, which in this case works for pimples and aggravated skin. It is a natural moisturizer, and contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin C, which aids sundamanged and wrinkled skin.

Though normal honey will fare, the best types of honey to use are raw honey and manuka honey. Raw honey can most commonly be found in health food stores and farmers markets. Manuka honey can be most commonly found in health stores, but is more expensive than regular and raw honey.



Yogurt is one of the most common bases for DIY face masks, and for good reason. Due to it’s fat content, yogurt is a natural moisturizer, and is both safe to use and easy to apply. Yogurt also help prevents acne, aids discoloration, and even relieves sunburn.

Plain yogurt is the only yogurt that should be used. Never use any yogurt with added flavoring, including vanilla, fruit, or other mixed ingredients.   



There’s a reason why so many products boast about using oats in their cleansers and masks. Oats are a gentle exfoliator that do not aggravate or break the skin. Oats help balance the skin’s pH levels and relieve itchy and inflamed skin. They also work for every skin type, and are especially useful to those with sensitive skin.

Plain oats can be purchased at any supermarket. Avoid pre-packaged flavored oatmeals. If you are using it as an exfoliator use crushed oats. In order to get oats to a fine, almost sand-like consistency, either use a food processor or blender, or hand mash it with a pestle and mortar.     



Clay softens the skin while pulling out impurities, which is why it is such a popular mask ingredient. It is also rich in minerals. There are several different types of clays that can be used including:

Bentonite Clay– Bentonite is probably the most popular clay when it comes to skin care. It is extremely absorbent, doing wonders for oily skin, and helps at tightening the skin. This clay should be avoided by those with dry skin, since it will work against you.

Kaolin Clay– Also referred to as white clay, kaolin is more versatile and has a less drying effect than other types of clays. It shares the same properties as other clays, including its ability to cleanse and soften the skin.

Green Clay– Is known to tighten pores and exfoliate.

Red Clay– Is extremely rich in minerals, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. This clay also works like all the others, making it great for oily and acne-prone skin     

All clays can be drying to the skin. So, even if you have oily skin, be sure to always moisturize after using a clay mask or cleanser.


Non-Citrus Fruits

Non-citrus fruits high in vitamins and minerals are always great additions to DIY face masks and cleansers. Fruits such as bananas, avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries are great to use. Many fruits often have a variety of benefits, which includes moisturizing, brightening, and purifying the skin.

Always be cautious of a fruit’s pH level, since pH levels higher than the skin’s pH level (which is between 4.5 – 5) cause irritation and damage the skin.



Charcoal is usually the ingredient that makes people do a double take. While it does sound odd, it is actually an amazing ingredient. Like clay, charcoal draws out impurities from the skin. It is also non-toxic and is extremely gentle.

Now, before you go running to your grill, the only charcoal that should be used is activated charcoal powder. Charcoal used for cooking is filled with toxins and additives, and should never go anywhere near your face. Activated charcoal powder, on the other hand, can be bought online in loose powder form, or purchased in pill form at certain pharmacies.


Aloe Vera

Have you ever burned your skin and used aloe vera to cool it down? Aloe vera is a green plant that has been used for ages for both its beauty and health benefits. It has amazing properties that aid inflamed and irritated skin. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe is a moisturizer, lessens the appearance of wrinkles, and has anti-acne effects.

There are three ways in which to use aloe vera. The most commonly used form of aloe vera is the gel. Pure aloe gel is available for purchase, but often contains added preservatives. Some people prefer to take the extra step and create their own aloe vera gel from scratch. Then there are those who like to apply it directly from the plant. What’s important is finding whichever variant is right for you.  


Ingredients To Never Use

As with everything else in the world, the good doesn’t come without the bad. There are many popular and widely loved DIY ingredients that are extremely harmful and should never be applied to the face. The ingredients on this list are dangerous for two reasons. One: they can cause mild, severe, or irreversible damage to the skin. Two: since these ingredients are usually highly praised by the DIY community, many people do not learn about the consequences until they have experienced them. What makes these ingredients so prevalent in the DIY community is their momentary effects on the skin. Many people assume that using these ingredients sparingly will not hurt them. But, skin care does not work that way. Only recipes and products that are used routinely will garner lasting results, and though your skin may seem brighter or clearer after a few uses of these ingredients, they are actually doing your skin more harm than good.


Baking Soda

Many people believe that baking soda is a good exfoliator because of its fine consistency. But,  the problem with baking soda is in its pH levels. PH is used to measure the level the acidity or alkalinity of water and anything containing water (like our skin), and is measured on a scale of one to fourteen. Our skin’s natural pH level is between 4 and 5.5. Baking soda’s pH level is 8.0. Because baking soda’s pH levels are so much higher than our’s, when it is used directly on the skin, it can erode the skin’s surface. Over continued use, baking soda can eventually lead to the damage of the skin’s lipid layer, which serves as the skin’s protective barrier. This layer aids the skin’s natural recovery while protecting against bacterias and infections. It also contains the skin’s moisture and protects against premature wrinkles. Once damaged, the face can become permanently dehydrated, and more prone to infection and wrinkles.



Putting a little bit of toothpaste on a pimple to make it go away is a so-called remedy that many of us have tried in the past. But, as anyone who has ever actually tried it will tell you, this is nothing more than a myth. The idea behind it is that because toothpaste is drying to the skin, it can dry out pimples. But, while it may dry out a pimple every once in awhile, it also leaves the skin red, irritated, and more prone to peeling. At the end of the day, toothpaste leaves your skin looking and feeling worse than how it originally started.    


Lemon/ Citrus Fruits

There is a really popular DIY recipe that floats around Pinterest, beauty videos, and beauty blogs that calls for half a lemon dipped in sugar. Allegedly, this recipe is supposed to brighten and exfoliate the skin. And while at first, the recipe seems like a lifesaver it is actually extremely harmful to your skin. Lemon, along with any other citrusy fruit (lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.) should never be applied directly to the skin. Citrus fruits have very high pH levels which, like baking soda, negatively affect our skin’s natural pH levels and lipid layer.


Ingredients To Use With Caution

While some DIY ingredients should be revered and others cast away, there are the few that when used correctly, can be very useful. Their effects depend on what skin type they’re used for and the amount that is used. These should always be used cautiously and in small amounts.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the more versatile skin care ingredients, since it has a great effect on both hair and skin. It’s a gentle exfoliator for both the skin and hair, fights acne, and can be used as a natural toner. And while the DIY and beauty community swear by it, there is the question of whether or not it is safe to use vinegar on the skin. The danger with vinegar is, once again, it’s high pH levels. But, because apple cider vinegar’s pH level are lower than baking soda’s and citrus fruit’s, it can be successfully used when diluted properly. While putting straight apple cider vinegar on your skin can ruin it, carefully diluting it can bring its pH level down to a safe level (below 5.5). When using apple cider vinegar, whether on the face or hair, it should be half apple cider vinegar and half water. If you have sensitive skin then use one part apple cider vinegar and three parts water


Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a major antiseptic, which makes it a great acne fighter. While tea tree oil can be highly irritating and drying when a lot is applied to the skin, it works best as a spot treatment. To use, simply place a small drop on the end of a Q-tip and dab once onto existing pimples. If you have sensitive skin, dilute it with water by wetting the Q-tip before adding the oil.



By: Nikkia Rivera

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