Monday, June 21, 2010

Do you wash your face?

In my ongoing quest to simplify our lives, and to reduce our dependence on commercial products, I've been assessing our need for various bathroom items.  We've already made great strides in this area; our bathroom actually contains very few products.  In the shower you will only find a bar of natural soap, and one bottle each of natural shampoo and conditioner.  (As an aside, it's SO much easier to clean the tub when I only have to take 3 things out of there to do it!).  My bathroom drawer is very nearly empty.  Just a brush, a comb, some facial moisturizer, dental floss, and a small zippered pouch for Norah's barrettes and elastics.  On the counter lives a mason jar containing toothbrushes, and another small jar with our homemade toothpaste. I also keep my deodorant and my natural hair mousse on the counter because they tend to leak if laying on their side in my drawer (I actually prefer to keep the counters as clear as possible; makes cleaning SO much easier!).  Oh, and a bottle of body lotion.  Another topic I'd like to discuss!  Although we've made great progress in terms of how many products we're using, I still feel like I can challenge myself to go further.  What I normally do is, as I run out of something (whether it's a food item, a toiletry, a cleaning product, etc.), is ask myself if I really need to replace it.  Instead of immediately adding it to the grocery list, I try to assess whether it is truly a need.  Can I make it myself?  Do I need it at all?

Recently I noticed that my facial moisturizer (all natural) was getting low, and I was going to add it to my list.  But then I was wondering if there was an alternative that was even more natural.  I had read about using olive oil as a facial moisturizer, and thought that sounded interesting.  But then I thought, what's even more natural than olive oil?  Doesn't it seem strange that we have to put oil on our face, when our face already produces oil of its own??  Doesn't it seem silly to spend money on a product to wash our face, and then spend more money on moisturizer to replace the oils we just stripped off?  Awhile ago I decided not to replace my Burt's Bees face wash when it ran out.  Although I loved it (it smelled wonderful, and made my face feel tingly and fresh), we have decided to stop supporting Burt's Bees since they were bought out by Clorox.  I didn't feel like going on another hunt for a face wash that I would like just as much, so I decided to just start using the same natural soap that I use on the rest of my body.  Every morning when I get out of the shower, I apply moisturizer to my dry, freshly washed face.  Until this morning.  This morning I decided I would see what happened if I didn't wash my face.  I just rinsed it in warm water while I was in the shower, and didn't moisturize when I got out.  It still feels a little on the dry side, but I'm wondering if it will take a little while for my face to figure out what I'm doing, and to start regulating its oil production.

It always feels a little uncomfortable when we first make a change.  Some habits are just so ingrained that it causes discomfort when we try to break those habits.  A couple of years ago I stopped wearing make-up altogether.  The organic stuff was so expensive, and it just seemed like such a frivolous thing to spend so much money on.  I wasn't about to keep using the chemical-laden stuff.  So I just stopped using it.  And not one person has noticed (that I know of!).  My husband even confessed to me that he hated make-up, and he always thought it was stupid that girls wore it.  My face feels clean and fresh, like it can breathe!  No more goop around my eyes.  No clogged pores from cover-up.  And when I made that change, I also realized that I no longer had to wash my face twice a day.  My evening face washing was really just because I had make-up on.  So it was another small step toward simplifying.  Using less face wash, because I was only using it once a day instead of twice.  It took time to adjust to that, but over time it didn't bother me to not wash my face at night.  I'm sure this transition will be similar; it's such a habit to wash my face while I'm in the shower that it will take a little time to resist the urge!  That's why I'm such a huge advocate of babysteps.  One small change at a time.  When you get used to that change, and you no longer have to think about it, you can make one more small change.

Now back to the body lotion I mentioned above!  I shave my legs daily (yes, something else I need to work on...  but babysteps, remember???), so after I shave I find my legs are really dry.  So part of my morning routine is to apply moisturizer to my legs.  I've read on several blogs that coconut oil makes a great moisturizer.  So I tried it yesterday, and it was wonderful!  It wasn't greasy like I thought it would be, just nice and soft.  So until I can kick the shaving habit (help!!!), I think I'll make the switch to coconut oil.  One less thing to have to buy, since I buy coconut oil anyway for cooking.  And I'm all about buying less.  :)

I also have plans to try no-'pooing so that we can eventually give up our shampoo.  I tried it briefly before, but didn't do it long enough to give it a fair chance.

How about you?  Do you wash your face every day?  Wear make-up because it's what you've always done?  What things do you do out of habit, without thinking about them, that you could possibly change or do without?  I challenge you to give it some thought.  :)  Can you make one small change today?



  1. I do wash my face, but just with the same soap (Dr. Bronner's) that I use for my body. In the summer, I don't use a moisturizer because I have naturally oily skin and it is pretty humid here. In the winter, I do moisturize. I do wear make up occasionally, and more so in the winter, but definitely not every day. And when I do wear make up, it is only mascara and some mineral foundation, maybe some plush and eye shadow, but not even usually those. Therefore, the products I do have last a very long time.
    I don't shave my legs every day! And in the winter, it don't usually shave them more than once a week.

  2. I started the oil cleansing method and love it. You can alter the amt of castor oil depending on your skin type. A small bottle of castor oil and olive oil will last forever. a nice transition from commercial products.

  3. Kelly,
    Oh cool, I have some Dr. Bronner's, but haven't used it much yet. So you use it on your body in the shower? How is it? Do you use it for anything else?

    Minimalist Mommy,
    I have read some about the oil cleansing method. I'd be interested in hearing more about your experience with that.


  4. I can relate to this whole post! I recently did a huge purge of stuff from our bathroom, and the only thing allowed on the counter now is our toothbrushes. Everything else is either gone or in a drawer. SO much easier to clean!
    I also stopped wearing makeup a few years ago. I threw out all my chemical-filled gunk, and can't bring myself to spend the money for high quality organic stuff.
    I tried using baking soda/vinegar on my hair in the past, and really liked it at our old house. But the water here is much harder, and I noticed that my hair felt awful after a few months here. So I shelled out the money for some organic shampoo and conditioner, and I'm really happy with them. We use Dr. Bronners soap for our faces (and at the sinks as a hand soap). it's awesome, and our co-op will refill the bottles for us at wholesale cost.
    I shave my legs about twice a week in the summer and about once every couple weeks in the winter. I'm a big fan of coconut oil and cocoa butter as lotion.
    Plucking my eyebrows and shaving are the only remnants of my prior life as a way-too-concerned-about-image gal, and I'm ok with that. I figure that exercise, eating well, and smiling a lot will make me look better than any commercial product!

  5. Okay, that's two votes for Dr. Bronner's now. That settles it, I'm taking my bottle out from under the kitchen sink and putting it in the bathroom. :). Even more simplification: no more separate shower soap and hand soap. I love it. :). Frugal Babe, I think you and I would get along great in real life, we share very similar views. :).

    With all your decluttering, are you following Flylady, or just doing it on your own? Flylady was in the master bedroom this week and I went through my closets and drawers and probably got rid of a good 75% of my clothes (to be dropped off at a consignment shop this week). It feels so good to have an almost-empty closet. :). Most of my clothes were way too big for me (for some reason I get smaller after each baby I have), so it feels good to just let go of the stuff. If I ever do put weight back on I can always just buy more clothes! No need to hang onto things indefinitely "just in case", right? :)

  6. This is the one area where I don't know how I'll ever reduce my plastic consumption, because I have terrible skin. I had moderate acne in my teens, but it continued to get worse until it exploded into the kind of awful that prompted strangers to pull me aside in stores and offer suggestions :( Long story short, after trying everything under the sun from super natural to very chemical from the age of 15 to 26, I finally found something last year that works- a specific cleanser and retin-a. Thankfully both each last about 6 months, so my yearly tally is two small tubes and two small bottles a year. I can't even express how happy I am to finally have skin that doesn't prompt pity, but I hate how "high maintenance" I feel, and I wish I could use all natural products.

  7. I don't remember the last time I washed my face, and I very rarely put moisturizer on it, and it looks better than it ever did when I had a whole "routine" with 5 different products. I also stopped using shaving cream and body lotion and just use coconut oil to shave with, and apply various oils if my skin is very dry. I stopped using shampoo for the most part too, and my hair is much happier. Just baking soda to cleanse it, and some baby conditioner occasionally.

    It's really amazing how few products anyone actually needs! I do miss some of them though. I used to use Aveda hair products, and I miss the smells, but it's expensive and always made my hair frizzy and/or oily.

  8. Generally I just rinse my face in the shower and go natural, but sometimes I wash it with normal bar soap. When it comes to lotions (for any part of my body), it really depends on the weather. If the weather is dry, I need lotion. Period. Especially for my hands--otherwise, they crack and bleed and I can't sleep for the discomfort and cry whenever I have to wash them. It's not nearly as severe for my face, although I do have a few areas that are prone to dryness.

    When I'm in more humid weather, I don't need anything, although I still use a little lotion to combat dishwater hands.