I am a BIG fan of Pinterest. When it comes to Pinterest + skincare the MOST searched for topics are all DIY skincare recipes. Really that’s no surprise… we all want to know what goes into our bodies, we are much more savvy about it all. We want to make ‘knowing’ decisions [hey, that’s probably why you’re here reading this blog!] and we want to feel good about them.
Here is the thing, some DIY skincare can actually be more harmful than good OR just completely ineffective. Here are 5 Pinterest DIY skincare hacks to steer clear of…
1. DIY SKINCARE – MAKE YOUR OWN ROSE WATER FACIAL MIST
… or any other kinda facial mist. Basically any DIY skincare you put water in, should send shivers down your spine! Water is one of the last things you think of as being dangerous [especially in the western world] but it can be super unkind to skin and pretty darn dangerous for our bodies. Why? Because water breeds harmful bacteria, yeasts and moulds.
You know this already, it’s just you don’t think of it when you’re used to drinking water straight from a tap in the western world. If we were taking a trip to India or Thailand, we’d definitely be living on the bottled water because we know that water in other countries isn’t as thoroughly ‘sanitised’ like it is in our home countries.
PLUS… if you’ve ever watched an episode of Bear Grylls Survival, the golden rule of water is always running, never from a stagnant pond! Water that just sits around and has nowhere else to go Is the PERFECT breeding ground for nasty’s.
Most DIY facial mists are not preserved. That means you can keep them only for a day or 2 and you’d be best to keep them in the fridge!
What would happen if I used a DIY skincare facial mist that wasn’t preserved? Thankfully our skin is pretty resilient at keeping stuff out, but with long tern use and more bacteria build up you’re likely to suffer from un-healthy, angry, irritated skin which could develop infections from that facial mist.
2. DIY SKINCARE VITAMIN C SERUM
A DIY vitamin C serum will be water based so that is alarm bell no.1 ringing. The thing with vitamin C serums and any kind of skincare is it needs to be the right pH to work. One of our skins in-built features is it’s pH balance, which is naturally between 4.2-5.5 [7 is neutral, like water]. That ‘sweet spot’ is where healthy skin will be, if you use skincare which isn’t in this range of ‘pH balance’ then skin will get upset with you.
…BUT here is the thing with vitamin C serum, it usually needs to be around pH 3.5 to work. That is the active spot for vitamin C. This is why vitamin C serums are not for everyone, especially not sensitive skin types.
If you are making this at home and you are not a chemist, you probably aren’t going to have a pH measuring meter to hand. You could get some pH test stripes, but be careful because a lot of these sold on eBay & Amazon are not very accurate.
What could happen if I used a DIY skincare vitamin C serum? If the pH is not right you could have something that either has no chance of working OR is going to be far too acidic for your skin to keep healthy [think red, irritated, flushed, raw skin]. Oh and remember that it’ll only be ‘safe’ to use on skin for a couple of days.
3. DIY SKINCARE – INEFFECTIVE OATMEAL MASK
I have BIG love for the wonders of Oatmeal in skincare. Oatmeal is a natural and proven skincare ingredient. Getting the benefits of oatmeal is all about how you use it, it’s a sliding scale from ‘just hanging around’ to ‘skin loving’.
Using HUGE oatmeal flakes on your skin is like going for a massage and asking the masseuse not to touch you. To get the goodness of oatmeal into your skin it needs to be ground up into tiny, tiny flakes that make the ‘active’ ingredients in oatmeal more available to your skin (more ‘bioavailable’ or ‘biologically active’).
You could try grinding down oatmeal flakes yourself, but you’re not likely to get the very small, uniform oat flakes of real ‘colloidal oatmeal flour’ that make it ‘ready’ for your skin to use.
What could happen if I used a DIY skincare oatmeal mask? Not too much really, if you want the full bodied skin loving powers of oatmeal, make sure to get a ‘colloidal oatmeal’ powder.
4. DIY SKINCARE THAT SMELLS AWESOME BUT HATES SKIN
Essential oils are a BIG feature of DIY skincare. They do smell awesome, but behind those yummy smells they have a lot of skin hating ingredients in ’em. Essential oils contain known allergens (causing allergic skin reactions) and known irritants (making skin flushed and stressed).
Even though we know these guys are not skin friends, they are still found in a lot of natural based skincare because people like the way they smell. When they are formulated to sell there are a ton of rules and regulations that help to limit the amount of these guys in your skincare, when you wander down the DIY skincare route, you can add as much as you want – that is where your skin can get super stressed!
If you buy a ‘neat’ essential oil you will usually see some kind of warning like ‘dilute before use’ or ‘do not apply undiluted to skin’. If you add too much essential oil to your DIY skincare conception then you are putting a lot of allergens and irritants onto your skin that will cause a lot of skin aging stress.
My advice – save the essential oils for the oil burner. Let your nose enjoy them while your skin relaxes free from allergens and irritants.
What could happen if I used DIY skincare with essential oils? Use too much of an essential oil and you could have anything from an allergic reaction to skin irritation. You might not get these reactions straight away, your skin tries to fight them at first. Using essential oils in the wrong quantities causes skin a lot of stress and that means your skin ages faster than it would have.
5. DIY SKINCARE THAT ‘GOES OFF’ QUICKLY
Before skincare gets given the stamp of approval to be sold to you lovelies it goes through a lot of testing and assessments to make sure it is stable, the oils aren’t going to go rancid and the watery stuff isn’t going to breed a micro-bacterial colony.
Half of the battle in making skincare that works is keeping the ingredients ‘fresh’ until you use them. This seems a little contradictory because how much fresher can you get than using it from your kitchen cupboard? You are right in one way, that is pretty darn fresh, thing is all ‘fresh’ stuff we have at home also goes off pretty quick too. That is the catch of DIY skincare, it will go off quickly.
It’s like that Vitamin C serum we chatted about before. Vitamin C tablets or powder, when you buy them, they’ll come in an opaque white container with an air tight seal on the top that you’ll break when you first use them. All of those things help to keep vitamin C from ‘going off’. When you make it up in water and leave it in a non-air tight container that ‘active’ Vitamin C can ‘go-off’, turning brown and doing nothing for your skin.
Make up a lovely blend of precious plant oils and without a proper stabiliser (antioxidant) all the goodness will run away like it just learned there was a sale on at Aldo!
What could happen if I used DIY skincare? Without proper stabilisers all the good for skin stuff goes off before your skin gets to soak it up!
Have you been tempted into any of these DIY skincare hacks?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.