Scattered in among my current thoughts about houses, summer sandals and particle physics (no, not really!) are a few things you can actually benefit from: my thoughts on healthy oils for your skin. I have two cost-conscious favorites: almond oil and coconut oil.  My splurge oil is jojoba.  I’m sure there are a multitude of other healthy oils, many of which I am learning about for cooking purposes. But these oils are the ones I have tried myself and can vouch for.  Here’s how they have helped me:

Almond oil as makeup remover

Whether you are sixteen or sixty, I hope you aren’t neglecting to take your makeup off at night.  And if you use mineral makeup, as I do, then you know that it doesn’t wash, rub or cry off with any ease.  But that’s okay, because we have oils that make the job ten times easier.  I use about a dime-sized drop of almond oil on a warm-water washcloth to remove my makeup.  It does a great job at a fraction of the cost of mainstream makeup removers AND is beneficial to your skin. Plus, being pure almond oil, it won’t clog your pores, threaten you with cancer or knock your hormone levels out of whack.  After the first rinse, I typically use Style Essential’s Pink Mineral Complexion Bar.  At least twice a week, I skip the Bar and use another dime sized drop of almond oil on my face, followed by draping a hot-water washcloth over my face for a couple of minutes.  Sadly, I cannot remember who I learned this from – either Lisa at Style Essentials or Robin at Toxic Beauty – but I know both ladies would agree that this is an excellent way to cleanse and moisturize.  If you double up on the almond oil, you don’t really even need another moisturizer, but I use one anyway because I absolutely lovvvvvve my moisturizer – it’s an olive oil crème from Style Essentials and it rocks!

One word of caution to contact lens wearers:  When I wash my face at night I still have my contacts in.  If you rub the almond-oil-washcloth too much into your eyes, as I sometimes do because I want to make sure I get all the eyeliner and mascara off, then you could get the oil onto your contacts and blur them up a bit.  Lens solution cleans them right up, and I probably don’t even need to mention this to any of you, except that I’d be the reader who squints into the mirror saying, “Well, crap!  She didn’t say anything about THIS!”  So there.  I said it.

Almond and Coconut oils as body lotion

I first used coconut oil as a moisturizer during my initial 365 days on this blog.  I loved it! The one I bought has no scent, so I ran no risk of smelling like an Almond Joy.  I would use it instead of lotion after a shower.  My heels LOVED it and coconut oil became an immediate fixture in my homespun pedicures.  After a while of using the coconut oil (especially during the winter) I got tired of having to warm up the solidified oil in order to use it, and I was afraid I was using too much and wasting.  So I switched to almond oil – bought the big bottle – and added my favorite essential oil to it.  Voila! Instant perfumed moisturizer.  Into the big bottle I pour about 20 drops of jasmine oil (you can pick any oil or combination of your favorites!) and shake it up a bit.  By the next morning, the essential oil is dispersed through the almond oil and smells sooooooo good.  (NOTE: Do not use the scented oil as makeup remover.  Keep a separate bottle of pure almond oil for your face.  Trust me.)  I have since also put jasmine oil into my coconut oil as well.  And now, I use either the coconut or the almond right before I dry off from the shower – this way, I use less and there’s no chance of being shiny when I leave for work.  J

The only thing I don’t like about the oils – and this may only relate to me and my personal weirdness – is that the oils react with the gold in one of my 14K rings and discolors my skin under the ring.  Coconut oil makes it worse, but it still does it a little with the almond oil.  If it’s the weekend and I have plenty of time between shower and jewelry, then it’s not an issue.  Since it doesn’t react with my wedding ring, I’ve considered asking a jeweler to examine the gold in the other ring.  But really…like I have time for that!

Coconut oil as tanning agent

OK, this is where it gets a little weird.  Even I can see it.  When I wrote the previous post about having to give up my sunless tanner, one of the commenters posted a link that has steered me in a completely new direction.  The Paleo lifestyle…which shall be a whole post unto itself.  I read this post on Sarah’s paleo blog and decided to give it a try.  I mean, I’m already vampire white and eating differently from everyone else.  What have I got to lose?

Sarah suggests that sun protection is more effective when addressed from the inside out.  As the sunburn is a symptom of inflammation, address and prevent the inflammation itself.  Makes sense to me.  While I won’t go all into the paleo benefits and backups in this post, I will say that Sarah listed a small supplement routine that, in addition to the paleo lifestyle, should help increase sun tolerance, i.e. the time you can be in the sun without burning.  Vitamin D (which gets cancelled out by sunscreen), cod liver oil (don’t gag…it’s tasteless in the gelcap form) and – you guessed it – coconut oil are all on the list.

Now, I’m still wrestling with this one, even though I totally see the reasoning behind it.  Sarah suggests downing ¼ cup of coconut oil in a mug of herbal tea each day.  I managed to do it for three days.  Perhaps if I find a coconut oil for cooking that does not have the coconut flavor, I’ll be better about that. (And if, in the last cup, the oil didn’t pool on top of the tea – a fact which led my mom to believe I was completely outside my mind.)  Instead, I have used coconut oil almost exclusively in my cooking.

My tiny paleo results, though skewed because of a week of complete dietary mishaps, are that I only got a tad pink on my neck during my four hours at the school’s Field Day last week, using no sunscreen (in the name of experimentation, people!) Also, my face was blemish-free for two weeks…until I went with Dom for pizza and beer.  Damn the pizza and beer!  I’m climbing back on the paleo wagon and will post more information when I’ve done proper experimentation.  😉

In the meantime, go get you some healthy oils, and be free of the cosmetic chemicals!