Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Gentle Coffee/Oats Face Exfoliant

Why Hello There.

I hope you all had such a fabulous Yule and holiday season! Here in the EcoYogini house the past month has been a flutter with decorating, organic tree putting up and trimming, holiday party hosting and culminating with my brother's surprise wedding, organized in 8 days.

(Incidentally, I was also interviewed via skype for Accidental Yogist's "Yoga Chat" radio show on different winter holiday celebrations- my bit was on paganism and Yule :) I'm at the end, around the 1.5hr mark). 

This month has also been awful for my skin, particularly on my face. In recent years the skin on my face has become horrendously dry, I mean flaking off in embarrassingly large quantities with red spots of "not quite acne, but not quite rosacea" along my cheeks to finish it off. I mean really, is it even necessary?

I was so desperate that I started using my whipped body butter (with cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil) on my face every morning... to no avail. It was like the oils just sat on TOP of the flaky dry skin. Even the oil cleansing method, for which I only have time in the evenings to do, wasn't enough.

One morning I was so desperate that I used the body scrub made from coffee grinds, sugar and almond oil on my face (VERY gently). And whaddaya know? It worked!

Now, my face, being extremely sensitive (refer to rosacea comment), straight up coffee grinds (that I grind myself, so not uniform) with their jagged edges isn't truly the best approach to a face exfoliant. However, there is a lot to be said for using coffee on aging skin, as it is known to have a toning and antioxidant that can calm red skin effect. Plus a fresh supply will always be on hand.

I also have used with great success oats as part of my face routine. Oatmeal is filled with nutrients and vitamins that help nourish your skin, soothe dry itchy skin and helps to lock in moisture. However, due to my extremely sensitive skin, even using whole, slightly crushed oats, can be tricky as they still have sharp, jagged edges.

Finally, I wanted to choose my oils to add mindfully. Coconut oil has never been the be all and end all in moisturizers for my body. I always found lip balms, body butters and face moisturizers with coconut oils to be absorbed quickly and their benefits just as brief. It was like water on my skin. A quick search and I see I'm not alone in my (gasp!) sacrilegious views on coconut oil.

So... after much thought and research here is what I ended up with! It works beautifully, smells like a coffee-vanilla heaven and leaves my skin soft, moisturized and happy. Feel free to modify the recipe to best suit your skin, choosing oils that make sense for your skin type and NOT just because some blogger said it was the best oil ever. Facial skin is personal, yo.

Coffee Vanilla Gentle Face Scrub

1/4 cup of used coffee grinds
1/4 cup of ground oats
3 teaspoons of brown sugar
3 teaspoons of sweet almond oil
3 teaspoons of grapeseed oil
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

(Local Haligonians: North Mountain Coffee not only makes the BEST tasting, ethical, organic coffees but the resulting grinds are more like a lovely paste and make the BEST scrubs! You can purchase their coffee at Smiling Goat and Petes Frootique!)
(Coffee grinds all soft and ready!)

For coffee grinds and ground oats use a mesh strainer and massage the grinds through, essentially leaving out any larger, more sharp grinds and oats. It may take a few minutes and you may have to do this in batches, but it's worth it!

Use a fork to mix the dry ingredients together and then add oil. You can always use less oil (2 tsp each was just a tad under oily for my liking, but would probably work just fine!). You can also leave off the vanilla- it just adds a bit of extra yummy smell.

Store in a small glass container. Use a spoon to extract about a teaspoon's worth in the palm of your hand (be careful not to get any water in the jar- it will go bad much more quickly with water), massage in gentle circles on your face. Gently rinse/wipe away either under the shower (close eyes, hold breath!) or using a wash cloth. Only downside? Your tub has little brown coffee grind bits that you'll need to wipe away. Pat dry!

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