Monday, June 27, 2011

Been Through the Desert...

I have dry skin.
You'll probably hear me mention this repeatedly, but I do. Not dry, like a bit flaky and patchy, but dry, like, is that a lizard on your face or are you just happy to see me? Even as a teen I only had mildly oily skin (my hair, though - that was another story).

As adulthood and (gasp) middle age set in, so began the Great Drought. It's been a struggle to find cleansers that didn't dry me out, or aggravate my extremely sensitive, rosacea-prone skin. I've used a variety of things, with particular partiality to Aveeno and the Yes To! line.

And then I heard about oil cleansing. To most people, it sounds crazy - smear oil on my face? But as someone who routinely steam-hydrated my skin then slathered on Vaseline to hold the moisture in, it sounded great. I came across a little shop on Etsy, Caravan Herbals, that offered this:
photo courtesy Caravan Herbals
 Caravan Herbal Beauty's Nourishing Cleansing Oils
This blend of oils is specifically formulated for those of us with dry or mature skin.

Jojoba Oil - aids in cleansing by mimicking our skin's own oils
Apricot Kernel Oil - for sensitive and prematurely aged skin
Hemp Seed Oil - amazing healing properties with many important vitamins for our skin
Rosehip Seed Oil - extremely high in fatty acids to moisturize and for treating wrinkles and premature aging
Castor Oil - anti-inflammatory and very healing

An amazing blend of ingredients, and most importantly for me - no lavender. It's very hard to find things for sensitive skin that don't have lavender. It's a wonderful herb - I just happen to be allergic to it. The oil comes in an amber PET bottle, 3.6 oz. for 21 dollars. I bought mine last summer, and I'm just now starting to run out. She also offers a formulation for oily/combination skin, and one for sensitive or problem skin.

This stuff has been a godsend to my skin. I don't use it every day, more like 3-5 times a week. I need to vary what I put on my skin, or it will get cranky. I alternate this with Yes To! Cucumbers or Blueberries and OHWTO's Black Magic soap.  Some nights I also mix a little Aromaleigh Nocturne into the oil and use it as a moisturizer.

Why is it so great? Thanks to this stuff, my skin is now producing its own oil again. To most of you this may not seem like a big deal - but to me it's a huge step towards healing and maintaining my skin. It hasn't made my skin oily, it's redressed the imbalance in my skin that caused it to resemble cracked earth, and healed to the point where it is starting to function properly, hydrate itself and generally behave like skin rather than living taxidermy.
only a slight exaggeration

 Plus, its a wonderful, relaxing bed-time ritual. I use a Yes To! wipe to get any mascara off, then pour a little oil (very little - about a quarter sized puddle) into my (clean) hands and massage it into my face. It feels heavenly, and I get to spend a few minutes just relaxing and rubbing the stress out of my head. Then I put a hot, wet cloth over my face and let that sit for a minute or two, soaking the nourishing oils into my skin and easing away tension. Then a quick splash of cold water to close my pores and I'm done. Very often I don't need any additional moisturizer, as the oils have cleaned and moisturized my skin in one go. 

The whole procedure turns facial cleansing from an automatic chore into an enjoyable, stress- relieving experience. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine myself at a luxurious spa. At least until the dogs start barking, the phone rings, or some other intrusion presents itself. I did say almost. 
Dawn, the owner behind Caravan Herbals, has a nice little offering of goods, including lip balms that I plan to try when I order some more cleanser. Plus, she's super sweet. One of my dogs, Bismark, has terrible allergic dermatitis, (much like me) and if he gets a hot spot, he'll end up tearing it raw. I asked her last year if she could whip something up for him - and she did - Herbal Skin Healing Salve, which did wonders to calm poor Biz's skin, and mine, when I get hives as well. It's fantastic, and I highly recommend it if you (or your dog) have skin issues that need to be calmed and healed.

Bismark says "two paws up!"

I cannot recommend Caravan Herbals highly enough - a wonderful seller with wonderful products. For me, this is the sort of thing that makes indie shopping so great - fabulous, natural products made with time, attention and love. A welcome change from the generic, mass-produced mainstream. 

All products were purchased by me for my own use. My opinions are my own and always will be. Your mileage may vary.  


  1. This is so good to know!!
    I've noticed my face is starting to change a little and it's a little drier... But... I can't complain too much!

    It sounds like you've got a nightly spa ritual going on, and I love it!

  2. I do - it's really great for helping me relax and get in the mindset for letting go of the day so I can get to sleep.

  3. I'm more surprised she was able to create something for the dog and you. That's a good surprise though! I'll have to look at her shop now. My Mother has skin that is very dry and sensitive. Everything we try doesn't help "cure" the problem.

    Thanks for recommending this!

  4. @Candace - hope it works for her!