As abused or formerly abused women, our self-esteem and our confidence in ourselves takes a dive. It’s important to remember that our beauty and our bodies are a reflection of the Divine. We are made in His image, and in His eyes, we are perfect. It’s not often I will talk from my more religious side, but I feel that it is important in this case. The bible mentions the beauty of women multiple times, yet there is no mention of physical attributes of beauty. God is very specific with other things, going into minute detail about measurements, appearance… Yet beauty remains more elusive. The beauty of biblical times was not the beauty of modern days, where women strive for boyishly slim figures. The biblical woman was more soft, more womanly, and her curves were celebrated. Oils and essential oils would be used to beautify the skin, and things like beetles would be crushed and ground to make eyeshadow and lipstick. The desire to look the way you feel, or use appearance to influence your self-esteem is thousands and thousands of years old.

So I have some easy to do beauty tips that are easily accessible, and take little time to do. I believe that self-care and pampering are crucial to the healing process, as the positive actions towards your body triggers the brain into thinking more positively about yourself (this, of course, takes time). Also, the very act of gently touching yourself, of pampering yourself, massaging your skin and hair and face, is very healthy, especially when one is used to rough handling. It’s a healthy method of self-soothing.

For the face:

1. Oils make fabulous moisturizers. It is a myth that skin needs oil-free moisture, or that oily skin does not need moisture… All skin needs moisture to look glow-y, radiant, youthful (by youthful I mean allowing your inner light to shine outward, after all, the bible praises age and gray hair, saying that is it a crown of glory, and a sign of wisdom :)), and beautiful. Oil actually balances the dehydrated, parched, or dry parts of the face, while balancing out the oily parts — the presence of oil sends a signal to the brain that is no longer has to over-produce oil as there is already oil there! The trick is to only use 2-4 drops, depending on your skin.

I find my own skin needs way more since my skin tends to be very dehydrated, and drinks up anything I put on my skin quickly. However, more oily gals may find that one drop of oil is more then enough for face and neck.

Some oils that are easy and cheap to buy, and are full of antioxidants that will keep skin youthful are oils you find in the kitchen! Olive oil and coconut oil make wonderful all-over moisturizers. You can use them in your hair as a pre-shampoo treatment to increase thickness and promote growth, and both oils are incredibly healthy to ingest (remember that beauty is more then skin deep!). Some other oils I love for the skin, that you can find in the grocery isle for a couple dollars are grapeseed oil and avocado oil.

Shea butter is a miracle worker on the face. True shea butter has a nutty, earthy smell, and is not yellow, but a beige or cream colour. I hate using the word anti-aging (I feel it has negative connotations), but truly, I feel that this makes the best anti-aging and age-prevention cream. It is full of everything the skin needs — vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It has been used for centuries in Africa for the skin (and to cook with), and if you look at pictures of women who work producing shea butter, their faces and bodies are without lines. Their age and wisdom shines from their eyes, not from the visible ravages of time.

Since I am still in my 20s, I cannot speak from that much experience with intrinsic aging (aging influenced by things like genes, as opposed to extrinsic aging, which is influenced by sun exposure, pollution, smoking, diet… thing you have control over). But since my skin became extremely dehydrated my skin began to show fine lines when I smiled, and I developed expression lines around my eyes. Shea butter cured that. The “bounce” has returned to my skin, and the fine lines and expression lines are gone. It took several weeks to work, but since skin takes about a month to turnover new cells, I am not that surprised.

2. Exfoliation: This is a very important step in facial care, and ideally should be done every 3 days or so, but again, it depends on what your skin is comfortable with. Exfoliation helps the skin turn over healthy, vibrant skin cells. Often skin that has a dull look to it is in need of exfoliation. The surface of the skin is made up of dead skin cells, and they will eventually shed on their own, but anyone who has ever had flakey skin knows that that can take forever, and can make you feel self-conscious about your face.

Clay makes a great, natural exfoliant. A good clay for any skin type that is nice and gentle is rose clay. It comes in powder form for a couple dollars, and you add liquid to about 2tsp of powder. I like to add apple cider vinegar for the added exfoliation, and also to make sure that my skin remains free of blemishes. You can add rosewater, honey, plain greek yogurt (this has lactic acid, and is very gentle, and makes a great mask on its own).

An easy toner that is very gently exfoliating is an apple cider vinegar (ACV) toner. The ACV has to have “mother” in it for it to work in an exfoliating fashion on the skin. Bragg’s makes AVC with mother, I bought a 500ml bottle of it for about $3.50, and it will last forever. In a spray bottle add 1-3 capfuls of ACV, and to the rest of the bottle add distilled, purified, or mineral water (you know, like, Evian). If you want to get a bit more fancy, you can boil some water and brew some green tea (or mixed berry tea, like pomegranate, goji, cherry, strawberry, peach…) and add that in place of the water. Shake and use! In between uses, it is better to keep it refrigerated. The toner is a bit smelly, but it is great for the skin. If you want to change the smell, you can add a couple drops of skin-friendly essential oil, like lavender or geranium or ylang ylang.

3. Body aches: This is a little more pricey (relatively speaking), but if you are like me, and live in pain, and your pain meds only help so much, this just may help! I find my pain levels drop significantly when using this body oil. It is very simple to make:

In total I made about a $15 investment, and the body oil will last me a couple months. For me, it works better then any commercially made pain rub you find in the drugstore, and since I used to go through 2 or 3 tubes of pain rub a month without much change in my pain levels, this is much more cost effective. It also eases my mind to know I am using something natural. The skin absorbs about 80% of what you put on it — skin is the body’s largest organ. Just something to think about 🙂

I buy a vial of spruce hemlock and/or black spruce essential oil. This is the most effective topical pain reliever I have come across ever. I add about 1/3 of the vial of whichever spruce essential oil I have on hand (the vial is 10ml — both spruce, black and hemlock, work the same with pain, they just smell different) to 4oz of olive oil. That’s it!

If you want a pain rub that smells a bit nicer, and will help relax tense muscles as well as relieve pain, add some lavender essential oil (I add about 20-30 drops).

{This is what works for me. I am not a professional. Patch test before trying new products!}

Hugs!

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Comments
  1. And oil combats oil….great tips!

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