DIY Cornmeal Face Scrub

Facial skin is very delicate, so no matter what your skin type is, it's best to use ingredients that are not going to cause any irritation, especially if your skin is sensitive. For this reason I don't prefer using sugar scrubs on my face. There are better options that you can choose from. Another thing to keep in mind is to not overdo it. It is recommended to exfoliate no more than twice a week.

Here is the recipe:

a) Cornmeal (Physical exfoliator)

  1. Cornmeal
  2. Yogurt
  3. Grapefruit juice
Mix cornmeal and yogurt into a paste and add a teaspoon of grapefruit juice. Massage your face gently for 30 sec- 1 min. You can rinse it off or leave it on for 2-3 minutes. I prefer to leave it on and then rinse with lukewarm water. Follow with a cool rinse, dry your face and put on a moisturizer of your choice.

-Cornmeal contains Vitamin C (helps build connective tissue and heal wounds rapidly with minimal scarring), Vitamin A
(enhances skin’s moisture optimally for desirable elasticity that reduces aged appearance), and phytochemicals like phytic acid (antioxidants for protection against environmental free radicals in the form of pollu
tants). Cornmeal acts as a sponge absorbing the oil from skin without drying it out– leaving skin soft and shine-free with radiant vitality. Promotes healthy epidermal cell growth.

Yogurt (Chemical exfoliator)
Plain yogurt
Plain Yogurt contains Zinc, Lactic acid, Calcium, B-Vitamins. Zinc contains anti-inflammatory properties, has mild anti-astringent properties that help tighten tissues and helps regulate oil production in the sebaceous glands thereby preventing oily skin and frequent acne breakouts. Lactic Acid helps smoothen rough skin, exfoliate and moisturize. Besides that, lactic acid is also very beneficial in helping steer away wrinkle. Calcium. Much of the epidermal layer of the skin consists of calcium, so it is necessary for skin regeneration.Has great anti-oxidant power. Vitamin B2(riboflavin) for hydration and glowing skin.

Grapefruit Juice (Chemical exfoliator)

Grapefruit juice has restorative properties that can help tone skin, even out skin color, and safely and gently cleanse skin. The anti-oxidants in grapefruit will fight free radicals in the skin that can cause lines, wrinkles, discolorations and other blemishes. Natural anti-bacterial properties.
Of the citrus fruits, grapefruit has the highest concentration of vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen production in the skin.


Get rid of redness - sensitive skin

Pumpkin makes an excellent face mask ingredient for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. It is packed with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover, to brighten and smooth the skin. It contains antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging. The molecular structure of pumpkin is small and therefore can penetrate deeper into the skin when used topically.

To get rid of the redness on your face you can just use pumpkin puree, but I like to combine it with other ingredients for added benefits.
I have sensitive/oily skin and here's the recipe of the mask that I use:

Pumpkin puree

  • Pumpkin puree
  • Milk
  • Egg white

Mix together. Put it in the fridge for 10 minutes and then leave it on face for 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Other ingredients you can use together with pumpkin for different skin types:

Blemished skin

-  1 Tbsp Pumpkin puree
  -  1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 
(Very healing to blemished skin. Helps to decrease redness, as well. Can be also combined with clays for an excellent healing mask.)

Dry skin:

  1. Pumpkin puree
  2. Honey
  3. Yogurt

(*For Combination skin use only pumpkin + yogurt 1:1 )

To fade dark spots:

  -  1 Tbsp Pumpkin puree
  -  1 tspLemon juice
  -  1 tspVitamin E oil

Mix ingredients. Apply on clean face.  Leave on 20-30 min and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Follow with a cold rinse.


Asian cosmetics - safety and testing

Asian cosmetics (especially Korean and Japanese) have become very popular in Europe and in the US recently. I'm not going to talk about if they're worth the hype or not, since that is not the purpose of this post. In few words : Asian brands tend to cater more for asian skin. For instance, asians are very prone to pigmentation, that's why whitening products are highly sought after, which is the focus of many asian brands. In terms of performance, I think you can find good/bad products whether they're Asian/Au/European or US products. It all depends on what the needs of your skin are. 

What I'm concerned about:  

If you take a look at the ingredients they are pretty much the same thing you find on european/american labels and the list of ingredients is one of the things I look into when I buy a product. I've already made a post on which ones you should look out for when you purchase a product so you can check it out here.
Now, to examine all the ingredients one by one isn't convenient at all, so luckily for us there are some websites that serve this purpose.

-After some research I found out a website similar to the Environmental Working Group's  Skin Deep Database and Good Guide for asian products.

Here's the link : http://www.cosdna.com/eng/

  • You can search products by name. (Product search)

  •  You can search by ingredients. (Ingredients)

  • If you can't find a product, you can write the ingredients. (Analyze Cosmetics)

It shows the ingredient, its function, if it can cause acne or irritation ( if the number is higher than 2 it is likely it causes acne/irritation) , and its safety.

Animal testing (Korean brands)

There is a list of cruelty free Korean brands on KARA (Korea Animal Rights Advocates) website. 

The list includes cosmetic and household products.

"I can't find the company I want to purchase from."
If the company you want to purchase from is not listed, what you can do is to
email them and ask very specific questions. Ask if the company tests final product, commissions testing of product or ingredients, and whether they have 100% clarity from their suppliers about whether they test or commission.- (animal testing)


Epilating - My tips

In this post I would like to share some tips on how to use an epilator (from my experience). Despite my skin being extremely sensitive, I use an epilator because I have a lot of leg hair.

I don't want to shave because:
When I shave, my hair starts to grow back out the very next day. Coarse in texture and very dark. Since I have sensitive skin when hair has just started to grow, my skin itches too much.

When I use the epilator:

1. Hair starts to grow after 7-10 days.
2. Initially only 40% grows back.(Hairs will not grow at the same pace)
3. Epilating won't make your hair darker or coarser.

Preparation and how to use it:

  • Exfoliate - Whether I shave or use the epilator, I always get ingrown hairs when I don't exfoliate my skin. You should do this regularly, but if you're too lazy exfoliate the day before. I use a loofah rather than scrubs. I find that it works better for this purpose (at least for me it does). Showering beforehand will make it just a little less painful, but make sure you're skin is completely dry before epilating. Do not put on any lotion/cream.
  • Epilate when the hair is short - 2-3mm is the ideal length. When I epilated for the first time I cried because my hair was long and it was extremely painful. I simply couldn't handle it so I stopped and shaved the rest. 
  • Hold the epilator 90 degrees against the skin. Hold the skin taut and move it slowly against the grain of the hair.
  • Epilate the day before going out since you might get a lot of redness. It takes my skin 1-2 days to go heal completely.
  • I use coconut oil to get rid of it. Apply it as soon as you're finished epilating. It is the only thing that has worked faster than any other product I've used to reduce the redness/irritation. When the skin absorbs it I reapply two more times. I don't need to use an ice pack, but if it is too painful for you go ahead and use it.
  • Avoid epilating right before or during your menstrual cycle.(Too Painful)

You will get used to the pain after you epilate a couple of times. You'll begin to get comfortable and relax the muscles hence it will hurt less.

 -Except the legs, I epilate my underarms so easily now. The area has been used to the epilator and it doesn't matter how long the hair is, it never gets irritated or red. I don't even apply anything afterwards. I just epilate them both for 30 sec and I'm good to go.
-On the contrary, my arms are beyond sensitive. Except redness, I get bumps as well. They don't go away for days no matter what I use. So I don't use an epilator on my arms anymore.

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