Los Angeles is grimy as hell. Sometimes I come home from a long day on set outdoors and blow my nose, only to be greeted by black junk in my snot that is clearly dirt I've been breathing in all day long.
If there's that much junk in my nostrils, what the hell is on my skin at the end of the day? It feels like the only way to really get it clean is to put a little muscle behind my face washing -- but almost every commercially available exfoliating cleanser I've purchased irritates my skin and leaves it looking worse than when I started. (Plus, those plastic micro-beads in most drugstore exfoliators are totally mucking up the ocean!)
So I started thinking about this problem at the times I have designated "important thing thinking times" (in the shower, on my drive to work) and realized that I can actually make any cleanser I happen to have at home into a gentle exfoliating cleanser by adding in some stuff I have lying around in my kitchen.
Like, say, brown sugar? I laughed last year when our very own beauty babe Julie (now of Elle.com fame) wrote about making her own lip exfoliator with foodstuffs from the Chicago airport, but then I tried it myself.
To paraphrase Antoine Dodson, HELLO, I AM SO DUMB. Why wasn't I doing this already?
A pinch of raw brown sugar quite obviously makes ANY OLD FACE WASH into a gentle, exfoliating face wash. I mean, DUH. I see you all rolling your eyes over there, but this was sort of a revelation to me -- a revelation that cost me zero dollars.
However, anytime I've read about using foodstuffs to make an 'all-natural' beauty product, my first thought is "Ugh, how do you store it?" Like I'm going to have a bag of raw brown sugar just chillin' in my bathroom? No thanks. So I worked out a cheap, cute, functional way to keep food in your bathroom. Total cost per food item stored: under $2.00.
The little spork thing is AWESOME because raw brown sugar has a tendency to clump, so you can rake it up with the fork end before you scoop it into your palm with the spoon end. And if you aren't hip to these plastic screw-on lids that make mason jars 976% more useful, get with the program.
If you are far too fancy to use plain old brown sugar on your face, (or just need a little extra grit to your scrub) I've actually got a really great product recommendation for you -- Lather's delicious facial polishing powder.
It's an $11.00 vial of dry powder -- made from crushed nuts, beans and fruits that you sprinkle into your palmful of generic face cleanser to make it a heavy duty, pore scrubbing machine. (Also, if you spring for the Lather scrubbing powder, you won't have a mason jar and weird spork thing hogging up counter space in your bathroom.)
It's clever because one little vial lasts forever and allows you to control how abrasive you make the resulting scrub. It's also TSA friendly, so you can use whatever soap happens to be in the hotel when you travel! The whole Lather line is actually pretty impressive -- and everything they make is paraben and sulfate free. (They also have a good selection of fragrance free products that are perfect for really sensitive skin.)
You guys, sometimes I am so very smart.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.