DIY Facewash, sans Chemicals, Cost, and Conforming Encumbrance

Last year a few events correlated in my life that brought the flaws of the beauty industry to the forefront of my mind. I was taking an Ethnicity and Gender in the Media course at Colorado State University that taught me about sexism and racism in media advertising. While degrading ads exist across many industries, I was really shocked by the issues that are present in the beauty industry. One of the most disturbing issues for me is the beauty standard that is fabricated by these advertisements. With the use of photo editing software, images of women (and men) are manipulated to create an idea of beauty that is unnatural and simply unachievable. Below is an image from a wonderful article that discusses this issue,“Photoshop, Altering Images and Our Minds!” from the blog, Beauty Redefined, Taking Back Beauty for Females Everywhere.

The Beauty Redefined post discovered, [this is the] “same mode with differing degrees of Photoshopping on REAL printed ads, Oct. 2009. Ralph Lauren responded: ‘After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body. We have addressed the problem and are going forward to take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.'” While this example is from a clothing company, there are countless of similar examples from beauty products.

Learning about these issues frustrated me because I believe that women deserve to be confident in their skin, without the pressure to conform to an idealized standard. These advertising issues were the first step to my rebellion against purchasing beauty products.

Step number two stemmed from the fact that in the last decade I had never found a face wash or lotion that kept me from breaking out or made my skin feel healthy and natural. This is slightly disturbing, seeing as that is the purpose of the products and industry.

Step number three was the cost of the products I was purchasing. One example of a face wash that is supposedly top of the line, ProActive, costs between $19.95 and $29.95 for approximately a one-month supply (on the ProActive website). I can think of about 6 billion things I would rather spend a yearly $360 on (Feeding the hungry, helping students communicate through Coloring Countries, travel, helping someone else travel, eating well, purchasing an electric car, etc, etc, etc). Beyond cost, is the fact that while these products may work for some, they do not halt breakouts for the majority of consumers. reviewed ProActive saying, “Proactiv doesn’t entirely fail to deliver, and proves to work well for those with VERY oily skin.”

So I stopped the insane battle of trying to find the perfect face wash, and I started experimenting to find a DIY recipe that was simple, cheap, and effective. It took me ONE TRY, a grand total of 15 minutes, to create the most amazing face wash I have ever used.

Let me get my megaphone out really quick so I can tell the world to STOP USING THOSE RIDICULOUS CHEMICALS! Below I have included my face wash recipe for you to use, share with friends, post on your blogs, what ever you wish! I also included a cost break-down to show you how much you can save with this DIY recipe.

Annie’s Super Amazing Face Wash (~$5 for a three month supply, that’s about $0.05/ day).
2 Parts Ground Oats (~$3)
1 Part Baking Soda (~$2)

Tea Tree Oil (As Needed)


Grind oats in coffee grinder until very fine. Mix in Baking Soda until you are unable to see baking soda. Store dry in mason jar, or similar container. For more oily skin, add more Baking Soda. For dry skin add more oats.

To use:

Pour a small amount of dry mixture into the palm of your hand, add a small amount of warm water to make a wet paste. Massage the mixture onto your face to clean pores and remove all the dirt from playing the day away. Always wash face at the end of the day, only in the morning if you are feeling especially greasy or if your skin needs help clearing up.

For pimple spot treatment: Rub a small amount of Tea Tree Oil directly onto pimples. Rub in until dry. This works best if pimples have already risen to the skin, so the oil can penetrate the pore. Tea Tree Oil helps clear pimples by killing the bad bacteria that causes pores to become infected.

Tea Tree Oil can be used to help clear many infections beyond acne, and is completely natural. Here is WebMD‘s description of the oil-

“Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the tea tree. The tea tree was named by eighteenth century sailors, who made tea that smelled like nutmeg from the leaves of the tree growing on the swampy southeast Australian coast. Do not confuse the tea tree with the unrelated common tea plant that is used to make black and green teas.

Tea tree oil is applied to the skin (used topically) for infections such as acne, fungal infections of the nail (onychomycosis), lice, scabies, athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), and ringworm. It is also used topically as a local antiseptic for cuts and abrasions, for burns, insect bites and stings, boils, vaginal infections, recurrent herpes labialis, toothache, infections of the mouth and nose, sore throat, and for ear infections such as otitis media and otitis externa.

Some people add it to bath water to treat cough, bronchial congestion, and pulmonary inflammation.

How does it work?

The chemicals in tea tree oil may kill bacteria and fungus, and reduce allergic skin reactions.”

So there you go. Natural, simple, cheap, effective, and I don’t have to worry about supporting companies that do not have my best interest in mind. Thanks Mother Nature- you’ve always got my back.



Two Hands Loves the Earth

I am all about this glorious world where we live. I believe that my two hands can not only create change on a person-to-person level, but also on a global, environmental level. I believe that as earthlings, we have a duty to take care of mother earth. Earth Day is 7 days from today… have you started making your plans for changing the world? I have. To make your life a bit easier this year, I am going to provide a few options, in the event that you share my same passion for saving the world. Here are 7 options… maybe you can do one activity every day for the next week (that would make me very happy).

Ideas for Saving Mother Earth on Her Special Day

1. Plant a tree! This is a classic activity to do on Earth Day. New trees help clean the air as they mature by removing carbon dioxide from the air. You will directly receive some good Karma from this act, as they will help you breathe in the future by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. If you can’t plant a tree, check out Treenex, where every greeting card you purchase will plant a tree in a forest.

2. Say Bye-bye to the Autos for the day. Use those gorgeous feet you were blessed with or ride that bike that is collecting cobwebs in the back of the garage! Live, work, or study super far away?? Check out Vride, where you can sign up for ride-sharing in your area instead of taking your car everyday. I love this company because they use vans (similar to gua-guas in the Dominican Republic) so there are always new faces to meet and friendly people to talk to!

3. Participate in a local Earth Day event. Find your fellow earthlings who are passionate about this wonderful day, and either plan an event for your community or sign up for an already existing event. Check out the Earth Day Network to find your event or group!

4. Pledge to stop drinking bottled water. Check out the video- The Story of Stuff, The Story of Bottled Water. Did you know that “San Fransisco’s tap water comes from the Yosemite National Park and is so pure that the EPA does not require it to be filtered? A bottle of Evian water that is $1.35 could be refilled with San Fransisco tap water once a day for over ten years before the cost would total $1.35” ( Besides, metal water bottles are so much better looking.

5. Inspire your children! Teachers, babysitters, nannys, mothers/fathers, this is a perfect activity for you! Grab a sheet of paper and use all the colors in the world to spark some inspiration. Pick a few random pieces of garbage that you consistently see around your neighborhood and write them in a checklist on your colorful sheet of paper. Hand it to your kiddos and go! Who ever collects the most garbage (in a recycled plastic bag- we have to put them to use SOMEHOW, right?) gets to pick out their own flower or vegetable to plant this spring! I love hatching two birds with one egg.

A list from my scavenger hunt

My Earth Day Scavenger Hunt!

6. Rid the earth (and your family) of chemicals. Ecos Earth Friendly Products are sold in stores like King Soopers, Target, Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, and Albertsons. This company has made a commitment to creating products that do not use harsh toxins or chemicals like; petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, and phosphate. This “clean guarantee” allows you to feel sure that you are not negatively impacting your family or the environment, and you are also supporting a sustainable company!

7. Clean out your closet! Yesterday I did a little spring cleaning and discovered that I owned 214 pieces of clothing. I was disgusted with myself because I had recently heard a story of a woman in Nigeria who owned two outfits; her work outfit and her church outfit, but sold her church outfit so her son could go to school. I cleaned out my closet, and now I own 80 pieces of clothing, including shoes. Still extreme compared to that incredible woman in Nigeria, but better than before. Next, shop at thrift stores for your next clothing purchase; who wouldn’t want to save 70% on a pair of shorts, and reduce the environmental impact of the clothing industry. For an interesting article about clothing waste and it’s impact on the environment, check out Environmental Health Perspectives, Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry by Liz Cloudio. In the article, Cloudio quotes, “The [cotton] crop accounts for a quarter of all the pesticides used in the United States, the largest exporter of cotton in the world, according to the USDA.”

Here’s my experience cleaning out my closet (more about this in a later post)-

before cleaning out my closet

Before my Earth Day Spring Cleaning- 217 pieces of clothing

After cleaning out my closet

After my Earth Day Spring Cleaning- 80 pieces of clothing

A box of my donations

My donations!