The Skin Skinny

☆ January 17, 2011


This post is so overdue.  Like three years overdue!  I get a lot of email from people wondering what I do for my skin and how I keep it moisturized in this dry clime. The answer is ridiculously simple and cheap.  I don’t use commercial face creams or lotions.  None at all.  I moisturize with cold-pressed oils in their raw and purest form.

My daily moisturizer is cold-pressed pure jojoba oil (pronounced ho-ho-bah).  Jojoba oil has a molecular structure that is extremely similar to the oils our bodies naturally produce.  Thus, jojoba assimilates into the body smoothly and is absorbed quickly.  My skin loves it.  So does my wallet ~ it’s extremely inexpensive.  And so does the planet, because I buy it in bulk and don’t go through all those little jars and plastic bottles like I did when I used regular face creams and body lotions.

I started using cold-pressed oils as my primary moisturizer when I was 24, so…. NINE years ago.  This has been my regimen for nine years.  Gah, that makes me feel old.  And yet I look young!

I have experimented with several different brands along with different oils and would suggest anyone do this to find the right match for their skin.  Jojoba oil from Mountain Rose Herbs is my main standby.  I have also used apricot kernel oil and currently use kukui nut oil on occasion ~ these are slightly heavier oils that I use when I need a deeper, richer moisturizer, usually at night in the wintertime.  Cold pressed olive oil is a great everyday moisturizer, too.  I promise, you won’t smell like food.

I also use cold-pressed shea butter on my face after a sunburn (rare) or windburn (sometimes it can’t be avoided).  Shea butter is a thick butter that melts as it hits the skin, and it is absorbed more slowly.  It’s not something I’d put on my face right before work or a date, but it’s a very nourishing treatment when you’re just sitting around watching a movie or something.  Sometimes I use it just around my eyes and on my lips for a deep moisturizing treatment.  It’s also great for hands and cuticles.  Though the best cuticle treatment, which I recently discovered, is Liquid Lanolin.  I put this stuff on Daisy’s teats to help keep them moisturized and conditioned in the wintertime, and found it has done wonders for my cuticles, too!

Cold-pressed oils have not been heated, and these are the only oils I will use on my skin.  They have not undergone heat treatment during the extraction process, nor been heated as a result of friction during the extraction process, nor heated after extraction during processing.  They are pure, raw oils.  We are pure, raw beings, and to me, it only makes sense to use a similar product on my skin.  Our skin is our largest organ, and the popularity of dermal patches proves that what we put on our skin goes into our body.  I don’t want synthetics, dyes, artificial fragrances, or petroleum products in my bod!  And, contrary to what the commercials will tell you, I know I don’t need any of that stuff to have great skin.

Because they are cold-pressed, these oils are not inert and “stable” ~ they will spoil if left in the heat or sunlight for long periods of time.  I keep the bulk bottles in my fridge (I usually buy the 16oz bottles which last a very long time), and have small amber and cobalt glass bottles out for daily use which I refill as necessary.

I often add a few drops of essential oil to these bottles to create natural, custom scents.  While I keep a bottle of jojoba oil unscented for my face, I have bottles with spray diffusers which I infuse with essential oil and use on my body (I don’t use commercial lotion on my body, either).  I love the scent of jasmine and bought a teeny tiny vial of jasmine essential oil ~ it’s crazy expensive! But it, too, lasts for ages. Three drops of jasmine in one of the larger glass bottles infuses the oil with a gorgeous, discreet fragrance.  NOTE: Before using essential oils on the skin, do read up on safety and dilution ratios.  Here’s a place to start.

See? So simple! So easy! Budget-friendly and luxurious all at once! So, go forth and moisturize. And don’t forget your neck.  Every time you moisturize your face, moisturize your neck as well!



116 Responses to “The Skin Skinny”

  1. Jerry Johnson
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    Whatever you do, my friend, it works. You look years younger. And I can imagine how the climate in Wyoming can damage exposed tissue. And I would expect nothing less from you than natural remedies; not store bought.
    You have never looked better, my dear.

  2. Carly
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

    Would you share which bottles are better for storing what?

  3. Abi
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    I love this. Many people are afraid of oils on their faces because they believe it will clog pores…yet our skin IS one giant lipid! I use almond oil if my face is dry, but I also like solid serums from Lush ( for traveling.

  4. shreve
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

    C ~ not sure I understand the Q… any smaller cobalt or amber bottle will protect the oils from sunlight ~ the ones pictured are 4″ tall x 1.75″ diameter and 3″ tall x 1.25″ diameter. re-ask me if I haven’t answered the Q you had in mind!

  5. Carly
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    I just wasn’t sure if the amber or cobalt would be better for any particular oil or if they were interchangeable. :)

  6. Caria
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    I have used Almond oil for a very long time – it is wonderful!

    Thanks for the info – definitely useful during the cold dry winter time.

  7. Sharon
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    I just discovered jojoba oil about a year ago, I LOVE IT! My skin says ahhhhh. Thanks for the tips on the other oils, I will give them a try. 57 and loving how my skin looks!

  8. Maggie
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    mmm… lovely. I’ve been using Kiss My Face Potent and Pure Clean for a Day face wash and Under Age moisturizer, and I LOVE them (100% chemical free and organic), but they’re SO expensive! One tiny tube of moisturizer is over $20. Ridiculous. I think I will switch.

  9. anita
    January 17th, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    Thank you for the generosity of all your ideas, from books to life to health.
    What do you use for sunscreen?

  10. Maggie
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    I’m sure the oils are great, but your statement that you still look young after nine years of using the oils, well it’s not the oils, it’s because you ARE still young. You are only in your thirties, that’s young! I’m sure the oils will help maintain your youthful appearance and repair damage to your skin as you age though!!!!

  11. catherine
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    Just placed my order with Mountain Rose herbs. Very inexpensive, I may switch from now on from Miessence to them.
    Miessence has great products but expensive. I need all the oil I can get, I am 25 years older than you and here in the desert we start looking like rattle snakes fast.The natural oils are the best and all the dept stores creams are filled with chemical.I appreciate that the company is in Oregon USA, Miessence is Australian. I watched Mountain Rose on youtube. Very impressed. I mentioned to them on the order that YOU sent us there.

  12. ALYESKA2
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    What’s your take on pure 100% extra virgin (cold pressed) coconut oil? I even eat a Tblsp. a day, either straight (delicious)or in a fruit smoothy and make a mixture of the oil and pure aloe! It’s amazing! leaves my skin smooth, hydrated and beautiful. Thanks for sharing your secrets to a healthier more beautiful life!

  13. Stephanie
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

    Great information! Thanks so much for doing this post I have been wondering what it was that you did?! And I so hope that others give it a shot. I will. Like you said it’s better for your body and the world we live on, it’s cost effective so why not? What have we got lose? Love this stuff – i will no doubt spend hours researching it…….

  14. liz r.
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing, this is very useful information!

  15. Chris
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    I had to smile when I read “Every time you moisturize your face, moisturize your neck as well!” I have taught my daughter this rule of life a couple of years ago, she is now 6. Hoping this will help as she grows older, along with the sunhat she wears daily whenever she is outside.

    Thanks for tips, I will be visiting the herb place shortly!

  16. Sue Miller
    January 17th, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    Thanks so much! I too just placed my order with Mountain Rose Herbs (and told them where their call volume was coming from). I was wanting a reliable source for these products and appreciate your recommendation.

  17. Lauren
    January 17th, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    What (if anything) do you do for sunscreen? I use a face moisturizer with sunscreen in it and I would love to switch to an oil but I don’t want to lose the benefit of the sun protection.

  18. Karen
    January 17th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    I don’t have a problem with dry skin as mine forms much more oil than I need, but I use cold-pressed olive oil to cleasne it.

    I combine olive oil and a little castor oil and rub it into my face. I steam my face with a very hot, wet wash cloth and then wipe away the excess. It seems counter intuitive, but it keeps my own oil production under control and helps clear my pores. It seems utterly ridiculous that I have fewer break outs by using oil on my skin!

  19. Angela
    January 17th, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    I use black seed oil. It’s a little more expensive, but it has a lovely natural scent. A touch on my hair smooths flyaways too.

  20. Beth
    January 17th, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    oils rock! cant wait to try jojoba….for a wonderful hair oil try “oro fluido” not cheap but oh so fabulous

  21. pam
    January 17th, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

    A thought as I was reading your post and all the comments…you are like Oprah! You recommend something and then we all run out and buy it.
    LOL! & I must admit you have never steered us, me at least, wrong. Although that chlorella stuff IS nasty tasting and you really do need that lime ! :-) But I do seem to have more focus. Thanks for all your sharing…

  22. Joan
    January 17th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

    Where do you get these oils. Sounds very interesting. Wonder if they will help old skin?

  23. Heather G
    January 17th, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

    Thank you for the comments! I enjoy jojoba, almond, and grapeseed oil for my skin depending on the weight of the oil I’m looking for. I put shea butter on my feet after my shower but before my socks all winter long and they stay super happy and uncracked that way as well.

    I was wondering, knowing that you already enjoy the many health properties of honey, if you have ever tried using honey on your skin? I discovered last winter that if I wash my face with honey instead of soap during the dry months (put honey on my face, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse it off with water) then my skin stays heavenly soft and healthy with very minimal additional oil. I’m trying to figure out if this works for other people as well as it worked for me…

  24. Chair
    January 17th, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    “And, contrary to what the commercials will tell you, I know I don’t need any of that stuff to have great skin.”

    Have you ever noticed what words they use in the commercials? They say, “Healthy-looking skin, hair, nails, etc.” Healthy-looking is not necessarily anywhere near actual Healthy :)

    Do you us shampoo? It’s very easy to switch off that, as well (though it can take an adjustment period as your scalp adjusts to NOT being stripped of natural oils on a regular basis). I haven’t used it in 2.5 years and my hair has never been healthier. I’ve also stopped using anything to clean my face besides plain water and some natural scrubs and I haven’t had acne nearly as bad as I used to.

    Letting our bodies be simple and natural returns them to the balances that they are biologically designed for.

  25. Deb
    January 17th, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    I like the idea of using cold-pressed oils. This has saved me tons of experimentation and expense. Thank you so much. As someone on a very slim budget, this is a tremendous help.
    ALESKA2- I’ve been using coconut oil as a body moisturizer for years. It’s Also good for lovin’ with the bf. He loves it by the way – for both moisturizing and fun. It’s very cost effective when you find a good supply.
    Coconut oil to cook pancakes and popcorn is divine. It has a fresh taste rather than scorched like most oils or heavy like butter.
    It’s more stable for heating. I don’t think most oils stand up very well to frying, etc. Apparent in that scorched smell in the air afterward. I have a vegetarian roommate who swears by canola oil, but I’ll take coconut or unsalted butter any day.
    Using small amounts and with an eye to balancing it with Omega-3 fatty acids, it seems fine. Especially when combined with healthy, free-range eggs and meat/dairy from grass-fed animals, the fatty acid combination is much more balanced.
    Mindful eating and skin care – yeah!

  26. shreve
    January 17th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    To answer additional Q’s ~

    Coconut oil/butter sounds awesome, I just haven’t tried it yet!

    I rarely use sunscreen. I hate it. I wear a hat and long sleeves if I’m out in the sun for a long time (and with my lifestyle I’m almost always wearing jeans). I do use it every now and then. I’m not advocating sun exposure, I just prefer a physical shield (hat, clothes) to sunscreen when possible.

    I never use soap on my face – just hot water and washcloth. I will try the honey!!!

    I have done the no-poo thing (no shampoo – google “no poo” for tons of info) and LOVE my hair when I’m off shampoo. But it’s really hard for me to keep up in the wintertime because I’ve found I need to wash my hair with baking soda every day or every two days, and in the winter, I just can’t get my hair wet that often (because I’m outdoors so much and it’s so cold and since I have SO much hair it takes forever for it to dry and I hate hairdryers). When I use shampoo I can go four days without washing my hair versus one or two days with no poo. So, I go the no-poo route in spring and summer but always end up switching back to shampoo for the colder months. Wish it were different….

    Mountain Rose Herbs is such an awesome company! or just click the link in the post or in my sidebar!

  27. Dee
    January 17th, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    I’m not sure where the first comment is coming from, since we never ever see your full face in the photos, and at 34 you are still quite young. But only you would know how your skin is aging, so I really appreciated hearing your first-hand experience with natural oils.

    Shea butter can be a bit sticky on the skin. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to describe it, but it’s not as comfortable as other oils, and yet it does a fabulous job on my hands and cuticles. For years I used to buy a massage oil that included almond oil, jojoba, grapeseed and lovely essential oils. I’m going to experiment with making my own again. I used it as a daily body moisturizer after after my showers.

    About not using any synthetics in your body, don’t you use a plastic insert for pregnancy prevention? Plastics all contain chemicals that have been linked to cancers and other health problems. I haven’t used any kind of synthetic or chemical birth control in years because I refuse to compromise my health in any way.


  28. shreve
    January 17th, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Dee – no, it’s copper and it’s hormone-free

  29. Jennifer
    January 17th, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    This is really interesting/great advice–I was wondering a few things: do you know if cold-pressed oils are good for someone with sensitive skin? And, how exactly, do you apply it? Just a few drops gently rubbed into clean skin twice a day, or?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts on these questions :)

  30. Nora Fialko
    January 17th, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    Here comes a dumb question:

    How do you use the oil on your skin? I’m a total newby at this…

  31. shreve
    January 17th, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    Ah! J & N ~ your Q’s are so similar! OK, for my face, I wash it with hot(ish) water and dry it (which simultaneously washes my hands), then just put my pointer and middle fingers over the opening of the bottle and invert the bottle, thus dribbling a bit of oil onto my fingers which I then rub into my face. Repeat as necessary to cover whole face and neck. I just rub it over my face like you would lotion; it sinks in within a minute or two. For body, I spritz it down my arm and then rub in. Does this help explain?

    Re/ sensitive skin, I imagine it would be wonderful since it’s super pure with nothing added. Test on a small patch under your jaw, first, just in case, but logic leads me to believe you would not have issues!

  32. Kyla
    January 17th, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

    Thanks Shreve, this was so informative! Oddly enough I’ve been wondering what you did in this dept ever since I read your book. I’m a total moisturizer junkie, and unfortunately the more “natural” and “healthy” moisturizers are always the absolutely most expensive. It’s ridiculous. I finally found one that my face loves and it’s $35 for like, less than 2 oz… I just can’t.

    My question is, have you heard of or tried Argan oil? I use it at night every few days for heavier moisturization, but it never occured to me to try an oil as my only daily moisturizer.

  33. Kyla
    January 17th, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    Oh yeah one more thing – do you use it around your eyes too?

  34. ANGELA
    January 18th, 2011 @ 3:09 am

    I order practically everything online and Mountain Rose Herbs is bar the best when it comes to quickness of shipping, quality of product, and the human touch which is often lacking in most online transactions. The quality of the goods I received is unrivaled, and I appreciate the fact that they operate their own herb farms and they have a firm commitment to sustainability, zero-waste, and supporting environmental groups. The only small problem (if that’s what you want to call it) was that there was a slight delay in getting my order but only because they are in the middle of moving.

  35. Dana P
    January 18th, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    Thanks for the great post. I will be trying oils for sure. I hate lotions because they always seem to leave my skin feeling so greasy. One quick question, do you have any organic recipes for fleas? In summer they seem unavoidable and I hate to use frontline and other chemical drugs on my dogs.

  36. Kristi
    January 18th, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    I have very sensitive skin, and allergies to scents and parabens (ingredients in most beauty products) and started using olive oil on my face when I was a kid; thanks to my Greek nanny. I still use it at 25, and have also started using coconut butter and love it!!
    I don’t have to deal with all the cleansers/scrubs/acnes remedies (and their costs!) alot of my friends do. Cheap, easy, natural, and it works! Thanks for some more great ideas Shreve!

  37. Marg
    January 18th, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Lanolin used to be popular when I was young but then information came out that it clogged pores so I quit using it and apparently most others did too because it dropped out of sight.

    Dana we had friends that gave their animals a garlic oil capsule, one for a cat and more according to size. Their vet recommended this for fleas and ticks. Not sure if it worked but worth a try.

  38. Lynn L.
    January 18th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Jojoba oil is great for your hair also. Just
    rub several small drops in your hands and run
    it through the ends of your wet hair.

  39. Kathleen
    January 18th, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    just wondering, do you use an SPF? Are any of these essentail oils natural SPFs?


  40. Ihermit
    January 18th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    Great post!!
    I have been using Olive Oil with a bit of fresh squeezed Lemon juice (strained) on my legs for years now. I used to get a horrible case of the itchies on my legs as the hair would dry out in the winter months and break off, it drove me crazy! Got to the point I could not sleep.
    This is not a commercial endorsement, but a place about 8 miles from me has wonderful products. They grow their own Herbs and make their own Oils, lotions, and potions. Try the web site They also have wonderful gardens!

  41. Ailsa
    January 18th, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    With all the talk of sunscreen, this is a product I’m poised to try. I’ve tried other products from this company and although they’re not cheap, they’re very good. I’m out gardening everyday (for a living) in the summer and need something that is sweat-resistant (hats and I don’t seem to mix!)

    Thanks for your info Shreve; I’m always looking for great, natural products (and on-line sources!)

  42. Colleen G
    January 18th, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    I am sooooo excited to read this post and the comments! I love, love, love natural products and I will probably be trying each and every suggestion on this post, including the commenters’ suggestions. I currently use olive oil on my skin, but am anxious to try other oils. Thanks everyone!

  43. Theresa Szpila
    January 18th, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    “…which I recently discovered, is Liquid Lanolin. I put this stuff on Daisy’s teats to help keep them moisturized and conditioned in the wintertime, and found it has done wonders for my cuticles, too!”

    I’ve used something called Bag Balm for years on my hands, which tend to dry/chap really badly. I’ve found this is the BEST stuff in the world for bringing my hands back to life. Bag Balm was originally developed to keep cows’ teats protected during bitter New England winters, and is largely lanolin. I slather it on at night and let it do its magic while I sleep. Wonderful stuff!!!

  44. Pat D.
    January 18th, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    Fascinating information. Thank you.

  45. Penny in Co
    January 18th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    I use emu oil products fro Laid in Montana. I love them! Heavy but all natural and very emulsifying (is that a word?) Anyway I also diffuse lavendar etc all through the house and love the scents. Will have to look into the jojoba. Also I have posted before the site that will tell you how hazardous anything you use is…on a scale of 1-10. That is how I found the emu oil products.

    Skin Deep is the website that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the products you use. I am trying to get away from shampoo and cream rinse products…but with my curly thick hair I am challenged. Thanks for the info.

  46. Christina
    January 18th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    Very good stuff! I read in one of your comments that you do shampoo in the winter months, and I’m wondering if you use any oils on your hair? I ‘do poo’, not gonna change that, but my hair does get very dry especially in the winter and I’d love to find a natural oil to add to it, something that works with or mimics it’s own natural oils.

  47. kym
    January 18th, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    I have a question- In the summer i live on a glacier at high altitude. My face gets wrecked from the 20 hour Alaskan sun and sooo dry that it cracks. Do you think oils would be okay to use at night while the sun is less intense? Would the oil sink into my skin before the next day Or would they just make a sunburn worse? I really like these moisturizing ideas.

  48. Michele at A House Called Nut
    January 18th, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    Thank you, Shreve! I’ve been unhappy juggling commercial skin treatments for a while now and will definitely try this.

    And I love the new blog! It took me a while to find my way over here, but now that I’ve made it, I’m sticking around. Take care.

  49. mlaiuppa
    January 18th, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    I’ve got a few bottles that would be good for this, but I think I’ll stick to olive oil as I expect the other would spoil before I’d used much of it. I’m not very diligent when it comes to using anything on my skin. I’ve always had fairly oily skin so dry is not usually a problem.

    Can we have a pick of the snowman?

  50. Leslie
    January 18th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    Thank you! This post was most auspiciously timed–I, too, have been reviewing the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database ( and totally horrified at the harmful ingredients in the “natural” products I’ve been using. Even more urgent now that I’m with child. Have placed my order with Mountain Rose, and thrilled that they’re just down the way in Eugene. Thanks for the post!

  51. Anita
    January 18th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Thanks for the great info Shreve!!

  52. Mary
    January 18th, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

    woowww that is a lot of useful info! also has a lot of natural, raw products for those that like to start from scratch :)

    and if you are into makeup, has some awesome foundation (though I haven’t tried their other stuff)

  53. Michele at A House Called Nut
    January 19th, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    I’m sorry if this is a question you’ve answered before, but do you use sunblock of any kind? Or just cover up? I keep hearing horrible things about the chemicals sunblocks contain and wish there were an easy way to avoid them and not get burnt. Thank you!

  54. RIDivergirl
    January 19th, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    Great info, Shreve – thanks! Just a note for anyone who might be allergic to wool – if you get eczema from wearing wool, you’ll probably want to avoid using anything with lanolin. Lanolin is the oil from wool and is a common allergen.

    I’ve been allergic to wool since I was a baby and never made the connection to lanolin until I was in college and was using Nivea lotion(which is heavy on lanolin) on a rash that just kept getting worse. My college doctor was the one who pointed out “Um – aren’t you allergic to wool? Well, lanolin is the oil from wool! Stop using lanolin!” A “duh” moment for me. Stopped using it and the rash cleared right up! Lanolin’s fantastic for those of you who can use it, but for those of us who have a wool allergy, it’s definitely on the “avoid” list.

  55. shreve
    January 19th, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    Dana ~ I haven’t had to deal with fleas, so I don’t have any suggestions… sorry!

    Kyla ~ definitely!

    Christina ~ While it doesn’t work for me (it weighs it down) I do know lots of people benefit from a spritz a bit of olive oil or jojoba oil (or other oils, some are mentioned by others in the comments) on the ends or applying it with the fingers.

    Kym ~ living on a glacier – wow!! This is not like the Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil or anything remotely similar. It doesn’t sit ON your face or bod, it gets almost immediately assimilated INTO the skin itself, so I really don’t think you’ll have an issue with heightened sunburn risk. If you want, try it out now, when the sun isn’t so harsh and constant and you’ll get a feel for how it interacts with your skin – I think this will alleviate any worries!

    M & K ~ my take on sunscreen is earlier in the comment section ~ scroll up a ways!

    thanks for all the other links!

  56. Jen
    January 19th, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    I love this post–thanks Shreve!

    I got into using oils as moisturizers several years ago after learning about the Ayurvedic practice of sesame oil massage ( — no more chemical-ly lotion! i’ve found the sesame oil (I use store-bought cold-pressed oil by spectrum or another quality brand) works amazingly well to keep my whole body moisturized, all day.

    after the above, i branched out into using oils to moisturize my face. i’ve found that apricot kernel oil is perfect for my skin, though sometimes i use others depending on temperature, humidity, seasons, etc. A great ayurvedic book that gives very simple home recipes and an overview of oils-as-moisturizers, essences etc. is “Effortless Beauty” by Helen Thomas. Oh, and a note: I used jojoba oil for a week or so and developed a really bad break-out from it. i did a little research, and it seems a small segment of people react badly to it — which is a bummer since i hear such great things!

    i’m constantly confounded by the sunscreen question, as it’s really really hard to find no- or low-chemical options that work (or don’t leave your face white)… so i like your hat + long-sleeve solution :)

  57. Fox
    January 19th, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

    This was a great post, thanks for sharing the Mountain Rose website! They are really affordable but the shipping -phew- almost as much as I wanted to spend!

    I live here in Wyoming too (Laramie) and coconut oil works wonders! Went and got some Jojoba for my face, much more natural.

  58. Ailsa
    January 19th, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    I know this is a bit off-topic, but as I was browsing through the Mountain Rose website, I saw a herbal tincture to treat joint inflammation in cats and dogs. My 8 1/2 year old border collie is already on glucosamine (Flexadin) for her joints (too much frisbee :c( but Shreve, have you had any experience with the herbal supplement they sell? I’d love to hear your feedback or anyone else’s, for that matter!

  59. luis
    January 19th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    my girlfriend uses also geranium essential oil..and i think it smells gorgeous!

  60. Fox
    January 19th, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    @Ailsa- stick with the glucosamine.

    You can get cheaper supplements at the pet store rather than through your vet. They work the same way- replenishing the synovial fluid found lubricating joints. This is by far the best alternative to other medications like Rimadyl which can cause kidney and liver failure.

    (In case you’re wondering about my source I have a degree in Veterinary Technology.)

  61. Angie
    January 19th, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    I love that you can use them in your HAIR too!
    My aloe vera plant is essential for me as well.
    I get really dark circles so I try to use the face massage/tapping and a freezer cloth to improve that.

  62. Angie
    January 19th, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

    To Jen: eating an abundance of tomatoes can help your body produce sun protection. Vitamin E oil is often used for spf abilities as well.
    You can research the least harmful sunscreens on the “environmental working group” site.

  63. Ailsa
    January 19th, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

    @Fox – thank you for that. You have reminded me to check the holistic pet store (as opposed to the vet) when I need to replenish my supply and not break my bank account!

    Specifically, it was the alfalfa/yucca extract that I was wondering about, as opposed to any drug like Rimadyl (which I’ve only heard scare stories about!)

  64. Heidi
    January 19th, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing your skin care routine!

    For anyone looking for natural sunblock–I often use cold pressed Red Raspberry Seed Oil on my face which has great, natural sun protection (possibly SPF between 28-50) and I love it! It is very light, absorbs quickly and makes my skin feel great!

  65. shreve
    January 20th, 2011 @ 1:04 am

    Ooh! Thanks for the tip Heidi!

  66. frenda
    January 20th, 2011 @ 8:09 am

    Shreve, thanks so much for sharing! I have gotten away from commercial skincare in the last few months, but haven’t found a good moisturizer. I can’t wait to try the oils!

    For anyone who has problems with large pores & break outs, I would like to recommend witch hazel. I started using it a few months ago after cleansing & before moisturizing & was blown away by the difference it made in my skin in just a week!

  67. Kathie
    January 20th, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    Great tip about the jojoba oil. I’ve been using the virgin olive oil products from DHC cosmetics, which I love. But, they are pricey. This is an excellent alternative.

  68. melissa
    January 20th, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    I believe Sea Buckthorn Oil also protects against UV (and supposedly is used by Russian Cosmonauts to prevent Radiation Burns), and it has some great medicinal properties as well (antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, regeneration promoting properties), and is a great emollient too.

    It seems a little pricey, but it really is not as you don’t have to use a lot (spreads extremely easy), and can dilute with oil or lotion.

  69. Fiona
    January 20th, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    Thank you for all the great tips. I was wondering what shampoo do you use Shreve in the winter. I have very sensitive skin and any shampoo even Organic from Whole Foods make my scalp itch and causes rosacea. And also is there anything that can calm down my rosacea irritated red face.

  70. melissa
    January 20th, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Fiona – Not sure this will help, but it is worth a try. I take the supplement Quercetin (with or without either Vitamin C or Bromelain, currently on the latter combo). I tend to get hives/rashes from allergies (or whatever is effecting me at the time), and this has done wonders. It actually has helped with my sinuses, my allergies, my skin – I just love it. It has an amazing amount of benefits, and thus far, I have not had any or found any ill effects.


    One place that has good prices:

  71. melissa b
    January 20th, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    Thanks for your tips! I’m trying to go chemical free myself, but find lots of products that don’t work for me.
    So, two more questions… what kind of shampoo/conditioner do you use when you use it (because you actually have hair!)
    Also… your take on deodorant?
    I’m looking forward to finding some jojoba oil. I hate lotion and my skin is so dry it burns!
    Thanks Shreve!

  72. Karin
    January 20th, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    Here is a great article on the science behind cleansing with oil — if the idea seems counter-intuitive I would recommend reading this :

    via :

  73. Trina
    January 21st, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    one plus on shea butter is it is a bit of a natural sunscreen, around SPF 6, not a lot but any helps

  74. Allison S
    January 21st, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    I SWEAR by Jojoba oil: every commercial moisturizer out there made me break out like crazy, even Cetaphil.

    Jojoba makes my skin sing :) Thanks for this post!!!


  75. Felyne
    January 21st, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    Erk Lanolin is my worst nightmare, my skin doesn’t want to know about it.

    I’ve been using jojoba for years, it’s the only really effective solution for dry hands and cuticles. It’s wonderful stuff. I have a ten inch scarification piece and the jojoba oil is the only thing I put on that when it needs a little moisture.

    Thanks for the post, you’ve inspired me to try other things and now I have Grapeseed oil (good for sensitive skin apparently).

    I do have to find a better solution than the plastic bottle I have my jojoba in though, the spout flows too freely (and it’s plastic).

  76. Holly
    January 22nd, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    wondering what you think of glycerin? I’ve used it for years too but what you said about cold pressed has me wondering if it is the best choice.

  77. Trudy
    January 24th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    Do you dilute the jojoba oil for your face? If so what do you dilute it with? Olive Oil?

  78. Fiona
    January 24th, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for the tip. I’m going to try it.

  79. jennifer
    January 24th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    i have been using jojoba since i was 22 and am now 36 but no one can tell! Hmmm… jasmine is my favorite but i can afford it at the time. I do splurge on sandalwood though. LOVE IT!

  80. Penny in Co
    January 24th, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    Got my big ole bottle of jojoba today from Mountain Rose….thanks Shreve!

  81. Penny in Co
    January 25th, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    Do you think it is ok to put a few drops of essential oil in the jojoba? I only bought the one kind and I am going to use it for face and body……

  82. shreve
    January 25th, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Trudy ~ nope! just straight!
    Penny ~ most def! that’s what I do. just check out the link in the post re/ dilution ratios – you don’t want to ever put concentrated essential oils directly on the skin.

  83. melissa b
    January 25th, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    So, two more questions… what kind of shampoo/conditioner do you use when you use it (because you actually have hair!)
    Also… your take on deodorant?

  84. kate
    January 25th, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    Do you have a regimen for sunscreen?

  85. shreve
    January 26th, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    Melissa (and others) ~
    I hate to say it but for shampoo & conditioner I just use the crap from the grocery store. I’ve been curious about the shampoo bars found on Etsy:
    I love the idea of bypassing plastic bottles. And am also curious about the dry shampoo that seems to be the rage these days. But haven’t tested either yet.

    For deodorant, I’ve tried several natural versions and been disappointed. When I lived in SF I went raw for a year (only ate raw food) and during that time I didn’t even need deodorant. It was amazing. No BO ~ and I was hoofing it around the city and doing Bikram yoga every day. But, until I get back to that, Angry Chicken’s homemade version DOES work:

    Kate ~ I left a comment way up re/ sunscreen and other commentors have left great tips too!

  86. Nathalie
    January 26th, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    Regarding shampoo bars- these bars from Basin White are amazing! They last forever, and do not have any of preservatives in them that liquid shampoo requires. And they are pretty cheap too.

  87. Felyne
    January 26th, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    You could try Karen’s Body Beautiful in NYC for natural hair care:

    I’ve used her bar soap (I know right, bar soap for hair!) and love it. It’s restored my hairs natural curl, it’s quite amazing.

  88. Chair
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    I’d taken several herbalism courses years ago (wow, 10 years already) and I was particularly interested in ethnobotany: traditional uses of herbs and plants found around us by First Nations peoples.
    Regarding plants that naturally contain SPF properties, I’d read that the bark of trembling aspen (sometimes called white poplar, botanically Populus tremuloides) creates its own sunblock. It’s not IN the bark itself, but in the dusty white powerdyness that you can feel if you brush your fingers on the bark. I’ve always wanted to try taking a soft brush and some sort of container to try to ‘harvest’ some dust from a stand of trees to give it a try but it hasn’t happened (yet?).
    If any adventurous person, with a lot of free time and access to a stand of aspen: have at it! (I would suggest mixing it in some sort of base & testing a small area of skin first.) Note: if you’re allergic to seasonal poplar pollen, don’t try it, pls. :)

  89. Alyssa
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    Thanks so much for all the info, Shreve! I’ve been looking for new skincare methods for awhile but have been frustrated because I can’t find anything to help my acne/combo skin. Can’t wait to try the oil!

    I also might have to go no poo. My scalp gets very dry and flaky, and it’s frustrating not being able to find anything that works. I’ll give it a shot.

    Deodorant is a whole other issue. I’m a sweaty person, plus I live in Austin, TX where it stays above 100 degrees for at least two months out of the year. I challenge any deodorant-maker to make me not stink. And I know sweating is a very healthy thing (I do Bikram yoga 4-5 days/week), pit stains in the office are gross! Any suggestions from anyone are much appreciated.

  90. Emily
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    Re: Deodorant

    I have been using salt block deodorant for 4 years now (as do both of my parents) and it is the best I have ever found. No harmful additives, salt is the only ingredient. Just wet a bit and rub. Other “natural” deodorants give me rashes, but I have never had a problem with this (you just might want to wait a half hour or so after shaving…) It holds up for stink control better than most store ones I have tried, even through most exercise. Doesn’t stain shirts and the block itself can last for several years.

    Costs about $6-8 (I think, been so long since I got it that I can’t remember).

  91. Sarah
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    I love Tom’s Tea Tree Oil deodorant. It’s natural, aluminum free and smells nice too. Ever tried?

  92. Sarah
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Actually sorry – It’s JASON, tea tree oil deodorant! But I do really like both brands.

  93. eni
    January 26th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

    Most people I know swear by bar shampoo. They say it works better than the liquid kind. I haven’t tried it myself but I have a feeling it would work great for you.

  94. Peggy Arness
    January 26th, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Why haen’t I seen this subject before??
    I am 85—outdoors all my life, do not use anything but zinc oxide on my face, but will try jojoba.
    two more suggestions, use Bag Balm, for feet and hands, great stuff!! Also two tablespoons of vinegar (with the mother lode) before retiring with a glass of water will keep you up to Charlie for another 50 years!

  95. Jody Cox
    January 26th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    I apologize if the information is staring me right in the face, but I can’t seem to find it. Per your recommendation I have just ordered and received: Jojoba; Kukui Nut; Shea Butter; Liquid Lanolin.

    It sounds like I need to dilute ALL of these, but I don’t see them on the list here:

    I’d love some more help.

  96. shreve
    January 26th, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Jody ~ OH! The dilutions are just for essential oils, which are distillations and generally come in tiny 1/2 oz bottles. They have a very strong, concentrated scent (according to the “flavor”, ie, jasmine, sandalwood, lavender, etc.)

    The jojoba oil, kukui nut, shea butter, etc are classified as carrier oils, and do not need to be diluted. In fact, they are what you use to dilute the essential oils for safe use on the body or in the bath. Does this make sense?

  97. Jody Cox
    January 26th, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    Shreve, thanks for the info and yes it makes sense. I was just doing some research and was starting to figure that out. Thanks so much for the advice – VERY timely for me!

  98. Patr
    January 26th, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Shreve, I don’t know much about the shampoo bars but look up soap addict on etsy. I picked up some soap this fall and now I am having a love affair with it. And I have severe dry skin.

  99. Patr
    January 26th, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

    Link for The Soap Addict.

  100. melissa b
    January 26th, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the reply!
    I’m still using pantene for shampoo, after trying at least 6 different kinds of organic/low chemical stuff. Left me with raggedy, frizzy, impossible to brush, ugly hair. Blech.
    I use Jason’s Tea Tree deodorant as well as some of the other commenters, and it’s ok. I’m currently nursing and that turns up the underarm activity. Boo. I Look forward to making my own! I’m eliminating chemicals where I can.

    Excited to say I got jojoba oil at my local Trader Joe’s and some pure Shea Butter at Whole Foods. Bought some tiny lipgloss tubes here to apply to lips, face, fingers, without wasting oil.

    Also… I put some shea butter in a separate container and added jojoba oil to it, and stirred. It is now this wonderful decadent cream lotion. It’s like frosting. Ooooh so nice!
    Thanks again!

  101. melissa b
    January 26th, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    one more note! (I’ve read your blog for years – starting with Charlie – and honestly have not commented until this one!)

    I just bought two sample shampoo bars here:

    Never heard of shampoo bars, but am curious enough to try something else. Not expensive either. Will let you know how it works, I’ve got medium/long thin, fine, tangly hair so… we shall see. …

  102. Rosemarie
    January 27th, 2011 @ 1:05 am

    Shea Butter saved my lips from cracking a few winters ago, and I’ve used it ever since. I’ve only used it in lip balm, like Hugo Naturals and Alaffia, but now I’m inspired to try it by itself (along with the oil moisturizers – after I finally use up all my lotions). Thanks, Shreve!

  103. MissPickles
    January 27th, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Ok, so I’ve read most of the comments (There are a lot!)and I didn’t see anything about this, so I’m going to ask anyway. Does anyone have a natural remedy for shaving (all bits)?

    And since we’re on the topic of cleansing I thought I’d share something I’ve been looking into which is making the most basic forms of soap for pretty much anything we wash. I have discovered that making a basic castile soap, even making your own lye from scratch, is sooo simple.

    Your ingredients in its most simple form include only three things:
    -Olive oil (or any other vegetable oil you may want such as coconut, almond, sunflower seed, etc.)
    -Lye, which you can make from your left over fire coals and ash by simply using a sort of straining container and another container to strain into. And use some collected rain-water if you can for it’s softness poor over and let it do it’s straining and voilà! (Note: These are the “my” paraphrased directions for lye making, so I highly recommend doing your own research since lye is a highly corrosive substance and shouldn’t be handled lightly. It can also react badly to certain elements. So PLEASE be smart if you do this!)

    -Lastly you will need distilled water

    With that you can simply just use it as is or add some essential oils and minimal other “natural” ingredients for your shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, dish soap even for a pet wash, so I’ve read. So for all you who are trying to live life simply, but naturally you should totally look into this, besides it could be fun!

    Ok I’m done now … I will post some links later!

  104. MissPickles
    January 27th, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

    Here are some of the links I found to help out with this type of soap making.

    I hope someone finds this as entertaining as I did.
    Thanks, Shreve and the rest of you, for your suggestions they totally give me a motivational boost to learn and try new things.
    Merci Beaucoup!

  105. MissPickles
    January 28th, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    Here are some of the links I found to help out with this type of soap making.

    I hope someone finds this as entertaining as I did.
    Thanks, Shreve and the rest of you, for your suggestions they totally give me a motivational boost to learn and try new things.
    Merci Beaucoup!

  106. CC
    January 28th, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Oh my god!! I bought and started using the Jojoba right when you posted this article, and have since started using Kukui nut oil as well – they work so, SO well! My face is soft as a baby’s bottom! I was so happy to read that Kukui nut also calms eczema-ed out skin and it really does work. A few drops of lavender and it’s so luxurious too. Can’t thank you enough for the article, Shreve! Love your blog.

  107. The Blank Page » Blog Archive » Medicine of the Earth
    January 28th, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    […] to this post on Honey Rock Dawn, I’ve started to take an interest in herbal medicine. It’s really quite fascinating […]

  108. Liz
    January 29th, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this detailed post Shreve! I am definitely going to get into this soon…I’ve been intrigued about using oils on my face and body but just haven’t had the guts to make the switch.

    For those who have asked about natural deodorant, I have recently started making my own and it is the way to go! Just mix baking soda, corn starch and coconut oil together. You will sweat but won’t smell! I love it. Here’s where I first read about it:

    The consistency is paste-like so you can use an old deodorant dispenser and roll it on like normal. As the weather warms up, though, you might need to keep it in the fridge so it won’t melt.

  109. MissPickles
    January 31st, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    Sorry for the double post I thought I hadn’t actually posted already.

  110. Gwen
    February 1st, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    On the shampoo thing – I just started using this person’s product:
    She has all natural shampoo products that don’t have the nasties in them, and I LOVE them, and so does my hair. I use her Smile conditioner after using the shampoo bar, and my hair is all fluffy and happy and shiny, super easy to style (it’s a very short pixie cut, and can be a little unforgiving) and is much, MUCH happier than it was with normal shampoo (which usually needed to be followed by leave in conditioner and wax to give it body after getting flattened by the very expensive salon shampoo and conditioner).

    She also had a natural soap that I started using (and I used Dove before, the gentlest I could find), and within two days an excema patch I had on my arm was gone. I had been putting the jojoba on it for about a week at that point, and it wasn’t quite doing the trick, but switching soap seemed to do it.

    Also, thanks for the jojoba tip, I’ve started doing that, and my skin loves it!

  111. Heather
    February 9th, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    Shreve: Thank you for posting this… I’m loving the jojoba oil for skin/face moisturizer! My new puppy also loves it… I have to keep her out of the bathroom when I’m applying it because she wants to lick it all off me!

  112. Jenny
    February 24th, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    I am going to have to try this! Goodbye expensive moisturizer!
    But what’s a natural, cheap way to clean the face? (Sorry if someone already mentioned it, I am in a hurry and just skimmed through the comments!)

  113. Pat D.
    August 16th, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    My roomie and I have started using soaps from here:

    They have olive oil and other natural oils in them and are very kind to the skin, even doing better at clearing breakouts than facial soaps. They ship fast, too!

  114. grace
    December 8th, 2012 @ 12:01 am

    I have that small glass bottle of jojoba cold pressed oil from Europe for about 6 or 7 years. Is it still good to use,It s always been mainly stored in the dark.Thanks

  115. Chafik
    April 3rd, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    For centuries people have used natural essential oils on their skins for multiple purposes: Moisturizing, calming inflammations, erasing scars and stretch marks, acne… There are all kinds of essential oils out there that you should use instead of using products that include chemicals. The only reason the big cosmetic companies include chemicals in their products is to get that quick short term intended look and feeling that you are seeking, it provides the users with quick satisfaction. On the long run, those same chemicals that provide you short term satisfaction, start drying your skin, make it difficult for the skin and hair to breath, etc… I personally founded a company that sells all natural organic Argan oil products online, check out our website: PrettyArgan. Also, look up other essential oils that can be just as good for your skin and hair. The good old olive oil that you can get at the super market will do all kinds of marvels on your skin and hair. I grew up in north africa, and I remember when I was young, we would put olive oil on our skin before going to the beach, and my mom used to put Argan oil or olive oil on her hair regularly.

  116. Tablets Blog
    July 4th, 2017 @ 10:16 pm

    Common Sense Farm 100 Lanolin

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