The War of the Pores: Salvaged Beauty

“It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before.” ~Jane Austen

How appropriate. Excitingly, my 29th birthday is this week! Yay me! It just so happens that I decided (thanks to a curious friend) to write a bit on my evolution from store-bought cleansers and make-up, to my own homemade beauty products. It's proved to be an amazing change. I, like so many others, struggled continuously battling acne, popping those blackheads, only to be bombarded by twenty more in its place. It was embarrassing. At work I would, on occasion, be forced to linger in the bathroom to stop the bleeding abomination on my face. Self-conscious and frightened of judgment, I desperately panned the internet for gold. Any information I uncovered on battling acne, I researched. I left no stone unturned. Eventually, after a multitude of useless products, I decided to go "natural".

It has nearly been a year since I took up the hobby of creating my own cleanser/make-up, a relentless pursuit of pore happiness; and let me inform you, it was NOT an easy first several months. From everything I read and researched, the store-bought cleansers and make-ups strip your skin of their natural oils. This leads to chemically induced blemishes and a puddle of toxic waste seeping into your pores. I was fed up with spending hundreds of dollars to have futile results. I became desperate to rid my skin of its toxins and to bring back the "natural" appearance.

First, I started out slow. I began with the cleansing. Now, I'm all about saving bees, but if their not being treated cruelly and mass poisoned, I am fine with buying natural, raw honey locally or organically. Honey has been used throughout history as a source of health beneficiaries. Therefore, I trusted my instinct and commenced to cleansing my face night and day with raw, organic honey. I used a washcloth to scrub lightly and then wash off with water...you have to make sure you wash away all remnants, or you'll have a few sticky spots, and that's never a pleasant surprise.

Simple. Right? Aye. Honey, how I love thee...

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Well, you have the beginning of my secret. To this day, I maybe buy a jar of honey every 2-3 months. Normally, it costs me around $9. However, that is such a small price to "dish out" compared to the amount of times (within 2-3 months) I was buying $6-8 acne cleanser, and they didn't even make my skin clear!!! I would swear on honey to cleanse anyone's face, regardless of their skin type.

A wonderful lead in to my next issue. Unlike some of my reader(s), I have always had extremely oily skin. I could wipe my face on the back of a receipt, and the receipt would disappear. I could accidentally wipe my eyes after touching my face, and the oil from my face would burn my eyes, causing them to turn red and watery. Disgusting, is it not? Certainly, but what can you do? Well, ask for a better hand. While I'm smiling at my insignificantly droll joke, you may be wondering, and how the bloody Hades do you accomplish that?

Excellent question...Release the ooze!! Okay, it's certainly not "oozy", per say. However, for my oily face, it definitely seemed that way. After mountains of research, you know how you rid your face of oil?!?!

...put oil back on your face. *sigh*

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At this point, I undoubtedly was wondering, "What the bloody Hades...?!" Pardon my Greek. But I was befuddled. I could not believe that placing oil...let alone OLIVE OIL, was going to not only provide me with a delicious simmer for my zucchini AND clear my face of the dreaded acne and oil. My, my, I was in for an awakening.

You may, or may not, know that oil was used heavily by the Egyptians to cleanse their bodies. Throughout history, various oils were used to cleanse and revive ones...aroma. How convenient, eh? A substance that already exists in its primordial state is effective? Of course!! It's a breakthrough!! Why does not every one see that mass production of toxins and chemicals only benefit the person(s) at the top? Well, we are an age of manipulation and desperation. We want to look, act, and feel as though our lives are bellowing, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!! I USE THIS PRODUCT, OR I WEAR THIS BRAND, OR I TWERK THIS WAY AGAINST THE WALL...AND I LOOK LIKE THIS CELEBRITY...THIS ENTERTAINER...THIS POPULAR KID DOWN THE STREET!" Society has created, in reality, androgynous generations of consumers willing to try and BE someone else, rather than realizing the benefits of exploring of individualism and historical significance. "Buy this product, and you'll look like..." heaven forbid "...Lady Gaga!" Did I get that reference correct? Or is it Miley Cyrus who everyone freaks about presently?

Anyway. Just because a celebrities name or face is on the product, DOES NOT mean you are going to benefit from the product and appear like the Photoshopped model.

I digress. OIL.

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Different types of oil help in different ways. My experience has been with Jojoba, Olive, Castor, and Avocado. On the spectrum, it seems that dry - olive, combination - jojoba, and avocado - oily. Castor oil is a mixture for each. Before I was able to buy jojoba oil at the Renaissance Festival, I used the olive oil/caster oil combo. This certainly began my oozy trail to the most glorious solution I could ever embrace for my face. The first two weeks or so were the roughest. I constantly had oil draining down my face, and the oh-so-present acne paraded like wildfire. Fortunately, I was persistent, diligent, and dedicated. I had read many warnings of terrorizing overproduction of oils. However, that was how it must be. In order to cease the overproducing oils that were brought on by the chemical warfare and toxic wasteland of the store bought cleansers, I had to create the War of the Pores on my face.

It was a delightful feeling to know I was taking the first step to a less chemically induced lifestyle. Finally, I bought jojoba oil (which you can also purchase on AMAZON) at the Renaissance Festival and swapped the mixtures out. I combined the castor oil and jojoba as both a intermittent cleanser and spot treatment. Yippie! The affect was glorious! ...but my most dangerous weapons during the first 2-3 months, my oil absorbing pads...or receipts...*pleasing grin*, and cornstarch. I used those pads like they were going out of style. The overproduction of oils were no match for my little blue squares, and I carried them like a badge of honour. I was defeating the War of Pores, and I was confident that, in the end, my disgust for my own complexion would cease to exist.

The amount of little packs of oil absorbing pads I bought decreased significantly within 3 months. I know that may sound like a bit of time, but trust me, well worth the results. You also may inquire, cornstarch? Yes, a beautiful oil-regulating powder that I still use to this day, even in my make-up.

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For my oil concoctions, I bought small bottles from Walmart's travel section (one you can twist open the top and pour substance into). I mixed an equal mixture of pure extra virgin olive oil (not made in the US) and jojoba oil. Depending on your skin type, I recommend using the most effective oil. Even to this day, I measure 1 tbsp Castor - to 1 tbsp oil of my choice. I also recommended mixing a few drops of essential oil (lavender, ylang ylang, tea tree) in it, this helps the acne, along with the smell, but it doesn't linger. I have read that tea tree works delightfully paired with oily skin, but I just go with my desired smell...and I love LAVENDER! As I specified, this is the every other day nightly cleanser and spot treatment.

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Of course, experimentation was a HUGE deal when deciding what was, and was not, best for my skin. Many articles/blogs I have read use coconut oil as a moisturizer. And let me specify, I love coconut oil. However, after my experience of using it as a moisturizer, unfortunately, it created too much oiliness on my face. I do hear it does wonders for those with dry skin!

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Another substance that benefited my skin in the beginning was organic Apple Cider Vinegar. This helped to keep away the minions of toxins that seeped through my night's of restful sleep. I would apply it as an astringent after cleansing my face with honey. I have since stopped using it because the oil on my face has regulated itself, and I am happily using less and less on my face! It's another glorious feeling! When you can go nights only washing your face water and waking up to a morning of oil-free skin, a burden the size of Jupiter lifts itself off your shoulders! Proudly, I wear my newly found freedom on my face with a smile.

Ah, well, all this reading has paid off. You have made it to my cleansing regimen. I will now inform you the steps I have taken to defy my acne prone skin! Granted, this is a STICK TO IT FOR 3-4 weeks until you feel comfortable that your natural oils have made their lasting impression on your face to the point of nestling themselves comfortably in for a life-long stay.

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Day One:

1. In the morning, with a wash cloth, scrub face with raw honey

2. Wipe off face and, with a q-tip, use the oil mixture as a spot treatment

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3. With a cotton ball, dab cornstarch all over your face, making sure to rub in enough so you don't see any white. (For this step, I eventually found some actual cotton rounds that I use and then wash every couple weeks or so. This is, of course, after washing them with warm water before setting aside).

Night One:

1. At night, use honey as a face wash again with washcloth.

2. Spray the Apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe well over face.

Day Two:

1. Repeat steps 1-3 of previous day

Night Two:

1. At night, with a wash cloth, scrub oil mixture all over face (it needs warm water) and will need to be cleansed with the washcloth.

2. Spray the Apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe well over face.

Continue to alternate the days!

At last, you may be inquiring about the homemade make-up I eventually prompted me to research once I regulated my army of pores. I stand true to my cornstarch when making this wonderful creation. Granted, you can make foundation, this can be completed through the process of combing almond oil with your powder make-up. Therefore, if you would like to try, I say, "Good for you!" Me, I stick with my powder right now. 

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In a bowl, I place the desired amount of cornstarch, let's say about 1/3 - 1/2 way full. Then, using pure, organic cinnamon (which I still have plenty of after buying at the Farmer's Market half a year ago) place about a 1/2 tsp at a time, mixing it with the cornstarch completely before adding more. You do this until it's desired color. You can always test on your skin each time. Unfortunately, my skin doesn't get much darker than it's normal light coloring, therefore, my days as a beach goddess are nonexistent...I tend to gear toward a smaller amount of cinnamon. You can use any type of powder container, or buy one on AMAZON, but I reused an old Mary Kay powder container because, otherwise, it would have been thrown away!

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Of course, the make-up goes on after my face regimen. And once applying my face powder, I used Hibiscus Powder for a beautifully pink blush, or my container of cinnamon for a brown tinted blush. I apply this with a brush directly onto my cheeks. There is nothing secret about these powders, use the powders in their natural form.

Naturally, you may wear more make-up than that, and I do too, on my eyes. However, I have foregone wearing eye shadow right now, and only buy the most natural mascara I can find. I attempted to create my own masterpiece of mascara magnificence, however, to my chagrin, my attempt horribly failed me. I still have yet to create a perfect mascara. Every time I try, it separates the aloe gel from the charcoal, and I stomp my feet like a spoiled child. Curse the homemade mascara! And unfortunately, if it weren't for the concern of salmonella in uncooked eggs, I would attempt the concoction of eggs and charcoal. That, my dear friends, will have to be experimented when I have x-ray vision and can see bacteria floating in my eggs.

If you have made it this far, congratulations! You really were interested in my eye-opening journey on being victorious in the War of Pores! Bravo! I will honour you with a thumbs up. I do hope this has helped and encouraged you to take the first steps in helping rid your skin of the toxin and chemical induced products you may be currently rubbing on your face religiously.

Adieu.

In beauty, as in all things, there is a double edge. One may keep you balanced, and the other over the ledge. Keep in mind your strengths, and eventually you will find, that combining the internal and external for good, will make you one of a kind.