ROSE – not Rosé
Now that half the readers have dropped off…
I have a skin/hair/life secret weapon to share with y’all. It’s cheap. It’s effective. And you can make it yourself.
Today, right now even, in your kitchen/bathroom you could whip up something up with no cooking, very little measuring and minimal effort that would smell good, moisturize your skin and hair (including scalp!), soothe inflammation and even prevent wrinkles?
A little backstory….
I went natural a little over 8 years ago. Back then, the products on the shelves were mostly duds filled with mineral oil and chemicals I couldn’t pronounce. Products geared towards making the hair look nourished and moisturized but not actually changing the condition of the hair. So, I did some research. I started learning about how natural oils like coconut, jojoba and castor oil could affect skin and hair. I learned how to read product labels (stuff at the top is in the highest concentration, stuff at the end is in the least) and how products could charge more by putting some exotic ingredient like MONOI OIL on a label in giant letters and then really only have a few drops of it in there. I read about how water is the only real, true moisturizer (conveniently available via yo faucet) and how sealing that moisture was the key to happy, healthy skin and hair.
Now, everyone’s hair and skin are different – and those differences can vary based on your diet and climate but I wanted something easy that would work for MY hair and MY skin without costing an arm and a leg. I wanted something that would address my biggest post-big chop issues:
- Hair was dry as a tumbleweed y’all.
- Getting 2nd (3rd, 4th & beyond) Day Hair & Cutting Down on Product Build Up
- I’m laz- *ahem* a low maintenance minimalist natural
When I was a little girl, my Mom would battle my hair with a brush, a cup of water and a tub of Blue Magic hair grease. The water was the actual magic part, the grease would just slick it down and seal it up. As an adult I can’t take a sopping wet brush to my sleep-deformed fro every AM – this led me to the fine mist spray bottle.
What’s with the Spray Bottle?
I LOVE a good fine mist spray bottle and I firmly believe that every woman should have 2 or more in her arsenal at any time. One for just plain water (pants too tight? Mist them with water and do some slow lunges.) and one for whatever mixture your little heart desires. They deliver the perfect amount of water, you can build up for areas that need more moisture without drowning the areas that don’t, and you totally avoid the ‘drippies’ or having to jump in the shower. I also like them for travel b/c you can take the spray top off, screw a regular top on, and throw it in a ziploc in your checked luggage.
- 4 parts Rosewater – I prefer food grade which can be purchased online or at International or Indian food stores
- 4 parts Aloe Vera Juice – Lily of the Desert is my fave. I buy 128oz at a time on Amazon.
- 1 part Vegetable Glycerin – can be found in drugstores like CVS because it’s used as a skin protectant, but I buy mine on Amazon.
- + a smidge of filtered or distilled water as needed
Pour into your spray bottle and shake before each use.
Glyercin is really the star of the show here. It’s a humectant, skin protectant and emollient. Humectants are substances that absorb and prevent the loss of moisture. As a natural humectant, glycerin can absorb moisture/water and pull it into the skin, as well as protect against the evaporation of moisture. Some naturals do not like to use them in less humid environments but living in Phoenix I’ve found the opposite to be true for two reasons. Number 1: synthetic humectants pull moisture from the deeper levels of skin and hair and bring it to the surface, which means they’ll appear moisturized temporarily, but that moisture will eventually evaporate, leaving them drier than before – glycerin, as a natural humectant, does not do this. Number 2: when the glycerin is mixed with rosewater and filtered water, it absorbs and binds the moisture needed directly from those ingredients instead of from the air (which would result in excess frizz otherwise) and helps keep it in place. Immediately after spritzing my hair with this combination it is soft to the touch and the added moisture means less shrinkage as well. Glycerin can also be used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis so it’s great for my dry scalp and it appears in anti-aging creams and serums for its ability to combat the dryness that encourages wrinkling – making it awesome on your face. As if that’s not enough, it’s anti-bacterial properties can help keep your face zit free too! Too much glycerin will result in a sticky or coated feel. This is easily fixed by cutting the mixture with more filtered water or splitting your batch between two bottles and watering it down from there.
If rosewater is good enough for Cleopatra – who am I to turn it down? This is an age-old remedy, passed down through history for one simple reason: it works. The scent of roses has been scientifically proven to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and blood pressure. It’s healing and anti-inflammatory powers make it fantastic for everything from bug bites and rosacea to hydration, and treatment of acne. It somehow manages to both moisturize AND balance the skin’s pH – making both dry skin and oily skin better versions of themselves – which is why you see it in so many skin products a la toners. Like glycerin, it boasts some serious anti-bacterial prowess, improving healing time for minor skin irritations and sunburn alike. In addition, rosewater is sick with antioxidants so it can help skin repair damage from sun exposure, and pollution resulting in brighter skin with fewer wrinkles.
Everyone knows that aloe vera is great for sunburn but did you know it’s also been proven to be just as effective at fighting cavities as some toothpastes? Use of the plant for medicinal purposes can also be traced back to ancient Egypt – another oldie but goodie! Its soothing coolness and ability to increase collagen and aid in elastin repair make it an effective treatment for burns ranging from too much time in the sun all the way up to 2nd-degree. Scientific evidence suggests that aloe is an effective treatment for psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis – the elimination of which can speed up hair growth. There is also evidence to suggest it gives moderate protection from UV rays – which I especially love for days when my hair is going to get a lot of sun exposure.
So….How Do I Use It?
As with any new product – even the all natural ones – it’s a good idea to test a patch before spraying yourself all willy nilly. I’ve yet to meet anyone that had a skin reaction but better safe than sorry.
After that – training wheels are off! Here are a few ways that I use it:
- On my Face ALL THE TIME
- I use it to refresh my skin when I wake up or in the middle of the day.
- I spritz it on before applying any facial serums or makeup – it leaves my skin balanced and glowy and helps with excess oil production by making sure I’m properly moisturized (it’ll also hold your brows in place if you brush them right afterward)
- Before applying body moisturizer I do a spritz – especially on those hard to hydrate areas like elbows, knees and heels. Gives me a super smooth, moisture “cushion” feel? Hard to explain but I love it.
- After sun – feels divine.
- And of course – in my fro. I even have a mini bottle I can keep in my purse for dryness or dented hair emergencies. First thing when I wake up in the AM and before I apply any additional product I start spritzing. It’s a great curl refresher and has enough water to revive previously applied products which means I save money by using less and get less product build up. It breaks the crunchy ‘gel cast’ you can get with some stylers and I love that it soothes my temperamental scalp without clogging any pores.
If your mixture is sticky – play with the ratios. Those in humid climates will probably find that they can cut the glycerin percentage to get the benefits sans the stickiness. It may even come to pass that you don’t need glycerin at all and just aloe and rosewater do the trick for ya.