There’s no question that cleaning your face everyday is as important as brushing and flossing. For most of us, it’s a habit. But unlike tooth brushing, where are options are slim—gel or paste, mint or licorice, etc.,–face washing brings up a whole host of questions.
Whether you prefer a cleansing oil or foam, or are a basic bar soap fan for washing your face, cleansing grains may just be the secret to better looking skin.
Soaps (including foams) can strip away the skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation, and all the skin conditions that come with it. But cleansing grains, while they may sound more harsh, can actually be gentler to the skin’s balance of oils.
What are Cleansing Grains?
Cleansing grains precede those (awful!) plastic microbeads—they’re tiny abrasive exfoliators that work to clean skin by slightly irritating it, rather than lathering it up with foaming agents and other synthetic chemicals that may not be the best for your skin.
Clay, ground nuts and nut shells, oats, herbs—even coffee!—can be used as cleansing grains.
The benefit to using a cleansing grain is in the gentle exfoliating power they offer. A build-up of dead skin cells is often the culprit in breakouts and blocked pores (and dust around your house, too, FYI).
“Daily gentle exfoliation helps to gently remove this layer of dead skin cells, helping to clear your pores without destroying the balance of your skin’s oils,” notes the Hippy Homemaker website. “Daily gentle exfoliation helps to reduce and minimize wrinkles and fine lines, while the soap-free skin-nourishing herbal ingredients provide your face with a healthy dose of the vitamins and minerals it’s craving.”
How to Use Cleansing Grains
While most skin types can tolerate a gentle exfoliant like cleansing grains, it’s best not to use on overly sensitive or broken skin. If you’re dealing with a breakout, best to wait until it’s healed up, too, before using cleansing grains.
To use, simply scoop a small amount of grains into your damp hand and rub in a gently circular motion on the face and neck. Rinse with cool water and repeat as necessary. Follow up with a repairing serum and moisturizer. Also, be sure to remove makeup before using cleansing grains.
Want to give them a try?
Cleansing Grains Normal to Oily
Cleansing Grains Dry/Sensitive
No matter what the season, it can seem like dry skin always finds a way to your face and hands.
Flaking, cracking, redness, and itchiness are hallmarks of dry skin, but there are lots of other symptoms to be on the look out for that you may not be aware of including tightness, rough feeling or looking skin, fine lines or deep cracks, greyness or ashy tones (particularly noticeable on dark skin).
What Causes Dry Skin?
Weather often plays a role in dry skin—cold winter air combined with forced indoor heating can lead to dryness, or hot summers under too much sun, for example. But if you seem to constantly be battling dry skin, it’s likely there are other factors at play, such as using water on your skin that’s too hot (guilty!), washing your face or body with harsh soaps or scrubs, irritating skin care ingredients, like alcohol, and even your overall health.
How to Reverse and Prevent Dry Skin
In most cases, it doesn’t really matter how you got dry skin—you just want to get rid of it. But not all skin lotions or moisturizers are created equal—nor are they all necessary! Here’s what you need to know to take care of your dry skin naturally.
- Cool Water: As noted above, those hot showers may not be doing your skin any favors, especially when other factors are to blame too, like the weather. Try cooling your shower temps off or washing your face with cool water instead of hot.
- Oil Treatments: Just like hair loves a good oil sesh, skin can benefit from it greatly, too. Pure olive oil is a great hydrating and moisturizing treatment for dry skin. Slather oil on the face, hands, or body, and let soak in for a good ten minutes before rinsing off. (Pro tip: lay on an old towel you don’t mind getting greasy.)
- Sugar Scrubs: Exfoliating that dead, dry skin off is key to delivering moisture, and oily sugar scrubs are a great way to slough off the dead skin and deliver moisture.
- Eat (More) Healthy Fats: Dry skin can be related to not eating enough healthy fats such as omega-fatty acids found in oils, nuts, and flax seeds. Try adding a few teaspoons of hemp seeds or flax seeds to your diet a day.
- Hydrate: A thirsty body is a dry one—and that means your skin, too! Make sure you’re drinking lots of water every day. Need a reminder? Set an alarm on your phone. Really.
Image: Katie Tegetmeyer