Simplified Skin Care

I change my hair products regularly, but I am devoted to my skin care products, forever and ever, amen.

My favorite cleanser is Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil soap. This is the best store-bought soap you can buy for the best price, hands down. I use it to wash my face, I use it in the shower, I use it on the kids, and I wash my hands with it at least a dozen times a day. This unattractive green bar has simplified my beauty routine completely.

I love having one single bar of soap in the bathtub instead of a bunch of little plastic bottles. It travels well for flights because it’s not a liquid. It has minimal packaging, and it lasts a long time. It’s an amazing value for a couple of bucks.

I used to make my own soap because I wanted it to be good quality, but then life got busy, I had to delegate, and it was time for someone else to make the soap. The Kiss My Face soap has a perfect score on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database since it is made from saponified olive oil. I order it from Vitacost which is where I get most of my skin and hair products.

If you grew up thinking that soap was bad, as I did, it’s because of the commercials you hear about cleansers and shower gels that “won’t dry your face like soap.” The usual soap that comes in an 8-pack for a few dollars at the drug store is not good, truthfully, but good soap–well-made, high quality, and with all the moisturizing ingredients still in tact–that kind of soap is good and gentle for your skin.

I don’t dry out my skin with shower gels, so I don’t use body lotion very often, but sometimes I use these ingredients if my skin feels like it needs something extra:

Baking soda makes a highly-effective exfoliating powder on damp skin.

Coconut oil moisturizes and soothes itchy skin.

Lanolin heals chapped lips. (I learned this from Simple Mom.) If you aren’t familiar with lanolin, you can find it in the baby and nursing mothers aisle at Target under the brand name Lansinoh. It works better than Aquaphor or other products.

Apricot kernel oil is a soothing, light (non-greasy) oil to use as a face serum or for dry hands and legs. You can even layer it over a lotion for more moisture care.

One time I was sitting at the Bobbi Brown makeup counter in a store, and the makeup artist suggested that I try the new Face Oil. “It’s got a blend of sesame, sweet almond, olive, and jojoba oils in it!” she exclaimed. I like having that healthy, dewy glow, but at $60 an ounce I knew I could run over to the health food store and make my own blend for a few bucks. I already had most of the ingredients at home.

My favorite face moisturizing cream is Jason Vitamin E Age Renewal Moisturizing Crème. It’s quite the beauty bargain.

I experienced the closest thing to a skin-care epiphany, if there is such a thing, one day while sitting in a makeup artist’s chair at the department store. I wanted to buy some new makeup; she asked me what skin type I had.

“Oily,” I said, thinking about my breakouts and what my skin was like as a teenager.

She tried some makeup on me, looked at me, and wrinkled her forehead. “I don’t think you have oily skin,” she replied.

Suddenly I knew it, too. I didn’t have oily skin, I had dry skin, and all the products I was using to dry out my so-called problem were only making it worse. My skin was overcompensating because what it needed most was more moisture.

I went home and ditched the cleansers and creams my dermatologist had recommended for oily skin that always made my skin red and irritated. My skin never gets oily now because I use a lot of moisturizer and gentle soap.

In all the search for beauty products and solutions, there is no substitute for water. All of the other products will help, but water is the most important. We know it already, but we don’t do what we know, and we look for a substitute instead.

I can always tell when I’m not drinking enough water because my skin is the first to show it. I get chapped lips and breakouts. When I get a pimple I reach for Neutrogena On-the-Spot Treatment, but drinking water is the true solution.

Now I’ve told you the products I rely on, and it’s your turn to dish: what skin care products do you love the most?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Mu current skin care is working for me, but I don’t believe it’s the healthiest. Two years ago I was using natural products like Burt’s bees ageless serum and their orange cleanser. Then I switched to healthier eating (complex carbs, berry smoothies, no sugar or coffee) and though I lost weight, my skin broke out badly. I tried many things (dermalogica, acne. Org regime, perricone acne diet) giving each 3 months to work but nothing helped. Finally my derm put me on a course of oral and topical antibiotics, and it healed my skin completely. Now I use the topical antibiotic, cetaphil bar soap and neutrogena oil free moisurizer. I feel the ingredients aren’t the cleanest or healthiest , but any time I switch any aspect of my routine I break out, so I’m sticking with this routine that at least gives me clear skin.

  2. I use a natural handmade soap (with coconut and olive oils) and Neutrogena On-The-Spot Treatment. As long as I use the Neutrogena I can almost always avoid breakouts. Every other natural acne treatment I’ve tried has failed for me. I hate using it though, as I don’t like putting chemicals on my skin.

    Recently I’ve been wondering about the Oil Cleansing Method. Has anyone else had success with this and acne-prone skin?
    Joy´s last post…The 7 Best Books I Read In 2011

    • I’ve tried the Oil Cleansing Method and it’s good, but soap is easier for me because it’s quicker.

      Megan from SortaCrunchy uses this method (sometimes called OCM) and has written about it, and so has Crunchy Betty. I’m not sure about acne-prone skin, but I do think it works to help dry skin.

      • Hi Joy!
        I’ve been using the OCM for about a year with great success, but I have dry (not acne-prone) skin like Rachel’s or simply sensitive skin like my own. I can’t promise the results, but I’ve found it very good. I gave up on it for a while because it was too time-consuming (our water takes ages to heat up in the winter), but my skin broke out with horrible dermatitis from the Kiehl’s moisturizer I tried as a back-up. No more! Now, I simply use a simple soap (Dr. Bronner’s) if I can’t make the time for OCM. I’ve read good things about people with oily skin using the OCM, so I wish you luck if you try it!
        Jennifer´s last post…Merry Christmas!

  3. About the soap bar, I have some questions. I live in Greece and have access to pure olive oil soap, either green or white. I really feel that my skin dries out when I use it, so I use the usual gel cleansers off the counter. If I use the pure olive oil soap or any other brand, I feel my skin dry but really clean, and I can rinse it off easily. When I visited the US last summer, I realized that all commercial soap felt extremely bad on my skin. It felt like some kind of grease that I couldn’t rinse off my skin. Do you or anyone else know why is that and what do they put in the soap bars there? I even tried to handwash some underwear and I couldn’t completely rinse this stuff off…

    • Most commercial soap bars that are not good quality had the moisturizing glycerin removed and synthetic ingredients added for foaming and fillers. I don’t like the residue they leave behind on skin either.

      • Yikes! Next time I’ll bring my own soap with me! Thanks for your answer. Btw don’t you use any eye cream? I’m 31 and currently use one from Korres. I can’t go without eye cream because I have to use concealer under my eyes. I love your simple beauty regime, it seems so easy and quick!

        • Could the water be responsible?
          I am reading all this greedily and with interest – much as I prefer the simplest possible products/routines, we have really hard, scummy water (a lot of calcium in it, leaves limescale behind) and I am convinced it ruins whatever any product claims… when I am at my grandmother’s in England where there is soft water, I have fewer problems and my hair is softer and curlier, too.

          Any solutions, anyone??!!
          MelD´s last post…Old stamping grounds (literally!)

          • Miki Davis says:

            I had water problems, too. Bought a water filter for the shower – it screws on between the pipe and the shower head. Got it at Home Depot for about $20, and it contains some eco-friendly type of filtering material that can be replaced. The water is now much kinder to my skin. By the way, I’m 75 and have always had very sensitive skin with eczema/contact dermatitis, which had calmed down considerably since I got the filter. Also have started using shea butter and coconut oil creams and moisurizers (some of which I make myself) instead of the commercial stuff. Even Aveeno products weren’t this good for my skin.

  4. I really love The Body Shop’s aloe line for sensitive skin. I used to use Mary Kay but I love that the stuff I’m using now is all natural (I still use Mary Kay’s Timewise Age-Fighting Eye Cream, though–that stuff works wonders for my post-babies and now-over-35 under-eye area.)

  5. Years ago I picked up the tip to use baking soda mixed with Cetaphil cleanser for an easy facial exfoliator. And just a few weeks ago I realized I could use the same thing on my terribly dry and cracking knees (painful as well as ugly). The results have been fantastic.

  6. I started using Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant and never looked back. My stubborn dry patches are gone. LOVE it! I also pre-screen new beauty products on It cuts through the marketing hype!
    Joanna´s last post…My Christmas Wish: No More Diapers

  7. I’ve made my own skincare products for years, and it has evolved quite a bit. When I was a teenager I used handmade soap, and it was a miracle. Now that I’m in my thirties, I actually don’t use any cleanser, just gently exfoliate in the shower and then I moisturize afterwards with pumpkin seed oil.

    Truth be told, though, diet plays a huge part in my skin – I had rosacea and occasional breakouts along with my dry dry skin, but then I cut out grains, reduced my carbs way back, and started eating lots more saturated fat and protein. My skin has never looked better!
    Bethany´s last post…Use Your Dehydrator To Make Dried Tomato Skin Powder

  8. emmenence products are far the best 100% organic, cruelty, 100% natural products I have ever used. I love them! They are a bit more pricey but last a long time….you can actually eat all their products if you wanted to that’s how natural they are. They were created in Finland. I had lots of problems with my skin till I tried their products.

  9. I couldn’t live without my skin brush…and lots of water. Product wise I love Sukin Organics…and mineral make-up…i use a crystal. deodorant ( but it’s not as good as I need it to be ). Lovely photos and terrific timely topic x
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Peace Pledge 2012

    • I used to use the crystal with minimal outcome but now use Lush deodorants. After moving from the US to the UK and losing many of the health food store products I was used to, I was quite relieved to find that they work. A quick glance of your blog looks like you’re in Oz? The Lush australia site has the one I swear by- aromaco. If you haven’t shopped there before, you can usually get them to send you away with a free bit to try if you’re not sure about buying something before you know it works. Good luck!
      Riotflower´s last post…From Party Wine to Cooking Vinegar

  10. For years, one of my best friends swore by Dial soap – just your basic gold Dial bar soap. A few years ago, we went to a spa together and the esthetician confirmed my friend’s use of Dial soap. The esthetician said that she had learned about how well it worked at a skin care workshop and had been using it herself ever since. I’m a Dial soap girl myself. Love it! And, the smell of the soap is so nostalgic – reminds me of my childhood! Now, that’s simplified skin care.

  11. this post totally reminded me how i need to rediscover an old love for kiss my face olive oil soap. i remember first discovering the green soap that got all messy and goopy but was the best soap ever in my early twenties. kiss my face was still a small small company and i knew that soap was wonderful. why i haven’t had it in years is a mystery to me. i need to go another bar of that wonderful green goodness SOON!!
    andrea gutierrez´s last post…Small scenes from Christmas

  12. I also love Jason Vitamin E cream! I use it all all year long. My favorite is to use it on my feet at night with cotton socks. When I wake up my feet are so soft! I also use it on my face though. I do love Kiss My Face and haven’t used it for a while, I’m currently using Nature’s Gate for both hair and body but think i will switch back to Kiss My Face for the body and face soap.
    Love all your tips and I’ve been hoping you would do a beauty post! Thanks!

  13. I like Cetaphil’s gentle skin cleanser, but since it scores a 3 on the skin deep database I’m looking for something else (that won’t break me out). For my moisturizer I like Origins. I agree that once I quit using the harsh products meant for oily skin that my skin became less oily and that I rarely have to use body lotion because my lovely bar of castile soap does the work for me. :)

  14. Ive been using Goat Milk Stuff’s soap on my face, in the shower and on the kids. They are a local family company right here in my little town. I started using their stuff years ago. They just showed up in O magazine this december, which i think is really neat. Their lotion is like a salve which is great on my cracked hands during the winter. What is also cool is they are a family with 8 kids and they keep and milk their own goats. Wow!

  15. Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to check these products out.
    Jen @ a place 2 call home´s last post…Home Tour

  16. My husband and I both use Proactiv on our faces. We are both prone to breakouts (both of us are in our 30’s) and it is the only thing that works. We use basic witch hazel as a toner. For bar soap, I’m partial to Dove, I like the one with the citrus scent and micro beads.

    • Denise,

      I also use Proactiv and find it’s the only thing that helps my acne-prone skin. However, lately it’s been irritating my skin and gets in my eyes causing them to be very painful. Just today I bought the Kiss My Face soap bar in hopes that it’ll do just as good a job. I find when I don’t touch my face (and now when I don’t wear foundation) the breakouts are minimum to nothing at all. The thing I’m trying to get away from is spending a lot of money on beauty products. :)


  17. I love Kiss My Face products, although I haven’t used any of them on my face. I have oily skin that has been prone to breakouts all my life and nothing – absolutely nothing – could solve that problem until I discovered Acne,org. That regimen totally changed my life – a real miracle for me (who had tried absolutely everything under the sun). So I won’t risk changing that at all. But I do find using a good bar soap to bathe does indeed take care of the need for a body lotion. If I do need something extra for winter itchy dry skin, I love using coconut oil too, Rachel. Thanks so much does sharing! By the way, any tips or recommendations for keeping bar soap “neat” by your sinks and tub? They tend to be messy and I was curious if you have found a perfect container.

    • No special tray, but I do try to put it where it can dry out between use so it stays nicer and lasts longer.

    • I keep my bar soap sitting on a juice cap (e.g. Langer’s Cranberry Juice or something) up high and out of reach of the water. The cap and the area underneath can still get messy with dried soapy water, but the bar dries out faster and makes less mess than otherwise. My dad always did this. Every once in a while he would rinse the cap out while he was in the shower so his always looked nice and clean.
      Ryann´s last post…So much to say that is slipping away…

  18. I love the Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil soap as well. Do you find it leaves a slight residue marking on your shower floor?

    • I notice that it leaves some soap ring on the bathtub especially in cities with hard water, but it cleans off fine.

  19. For my extremely sensitive face I use Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple – at first it seems expensive, but it’s a bargain when you buy what I call the “Big Honkin’ Bottle” because you only need a tiny bit and it lasts forever! It is gentle and dissolves all my eye makeup. For the shower we use St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter Body Wash. (Note: I have to be careful with skin care because, while I have sensitive skin, I am also allergic to aloe, which MANY more natural products contain!)
    Lisa´s last post…The Gift That Gives Forever

    • I use the Purity made simple as well and added a new clarisonic as my christmas gift to me and I love it!! Makes a huge difference in my skin which is sensitive and acne prone!

  20. My skin care habits have changed a lot over the years, and recently have gotten a lot simpiler. Like you, I realized a few years ago that it wasn’t that I had oily skin, it’s that I was stripping the oil from my skin, not replacing it properly, and my skin was flipping out because of it. The biggest switch for me then was switching to making my own oil/butter based moisturizer. About a year ago, I stopped washing my face all the damn time and starting just rinsing. It was a revelation. My skin didn’t get any worse! And a few months ago I realized that even rinsing was overkill. I now only wash my face if I’m taking a shower, and I’ll only rinse off sections that need it for whatever reason. While my skin still has a few pimples in choice spots, doing this hasn’t made it any worse. In fact, I’ve come to realize that what I use on my HAIR has more impact on how my face looks than what I use on my face. Something about traditional shampoo, conditioner, and hair products give me tons of tiny pimples anywhere my hair touches my face regularly. Not sure if it’s the fragrance, but using fragrance free products has almost completely cleared that up. But as your hair post suggested, it isn’t easy to find fragrance free hair products for curly/wavy hair! And the last thing that I’ve found really makes a difference: I change my pillow case every night. I shower at night too. Something about sleeping on a clean pillow case really does wonders for my skin.
    Alissa´s last post…Bailey’s Irish Cream – an update

  21. I am loving this beauty week! I’ve seen Kiss My Face products at Target before, so I’ll have to see if they carry this there. Thanks for the tip!

  22. thank you for the timely post here! I was literally pulling my hair out, trying to figure out what to do for my skin care. I’ve been bouncing around from product to product, I have very dry skin that is also sensitive. I have used Zia in the past but it is so dang pricey and I don’t really feel it’s miraculous enough for the cost. I just ordered some Jason creme off vitacost, which has the best prices for sure and inexpensive shipping! I really really cannot tell you how timely this was :) thanks!

  23. Several years ago I bought a product called Diamond Herpanacine for my husband’s psoriasis and read the testimonials of how well it worked for acne. I began taking this supplement and after about 3 weeks, my husband and my kids began commenting on how clear my skin looked. I have never looked back. It is wonderful and boosts the immune system as well. It can be ordered through online health food sites and found in some health food stores as well. I RARELY have gotten more than the sniffles for several years after taking this too, so that is an added bonus!

  24. I use an apricot facial scrub on Mondays and Thursdays, and a blackhead clearing scrub on other days, though I have to say my blackheads are as bad as ever! I use Simple Age-resisting face and eye creams every day without fail (I’m 28 with no wrinkles yet, but a new baby = eye bags, and my father is quite wrinkly so I’m fighting genetics here!).

    Rachel, I’m interested how you found out you had dry skin rather than oily…I think I have oily skin, especially in my T-zone, so I don’t moisturize in the morning. How would I go about testing if my skin is actually dry? I don’t get a huge amount of breakouts, but my lips are constantly peeling despite using Nivea on them multiple times a day.

    (I live in the UK in case you haven’t heard of these products!)

    • Observation mostly, my forehead felt tight and my cheeks were flaky. It looked like combination skin, but when I started treating my entire face as dry and moisturized it all, it all evened out.

      Really, try lanolin for chapped lips. It’s better than Nivea. I had chapped, peeling lips for 18 months straight and then lanolin cured it in a few days. Now I only get chapped lips occasionally when I’m not drinking enough water, so I put lanolin on overnight and it goes away again.

    • Jo,
      I worked corporately for a skincare company and learned a lot! There has been a lot of research on using actual exfoliants with grains or beads (the plastic ones aren’t good for the environment) vs using products with fruits acids, also known as AHA or alpha-hydroxy acids. A product with AHA naturally resurfaces the skin without harsh scrubbing with the grains. Even if it doesn’t seem harsh to you, it could be microscopically damaging your skin. Look for a product that has AHA or glycolic acid is another one in it. Even though it is called an acid, it comes from fruits and gently resurfaces over time.
      FYI, AHAs are good for all ages of adult skin, good for acne and scarring as well as for ahem, aging, skin!
      Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s last post…3 reasons why moms are so tired

  25. What sunscreen do you use? I would love to hear please : )

    • I too am interested in sunscreen. I will be trying the OCM because I have gone shampoo-free and love it (My hairdresser is impressed as well!) and I’m willing to give up the moisturizer I use every morning — except I am convinced I need the 15 SPF that it contains even in winter — and 30 SPF in the other seasons. I know I have better skin than my mother or grandmother had at my age (65!) and I’m pretty sure the improvement of sunscreen products is the reason.

      • Yup. I third the sunscreen/sunblock request.

        Once upon a time, I had horrible skin, so I used some Olay cleanser for a long time. That worked for years, then one day I started drying up miserably. A few months of that and I took a friend’s suggestion and switch to just rinsing my face with water. That worked well for years, but I started breaking out again, eventually.

        I now use a simple tea tree oil was from Trader Joe’s, but the bottle only – the disposable pads are extremely tough on my skin. I moisturize with the olay spf 15 sensitive skin.

    • I have some Kiss My Face and Neutrogena sunscreens in my bathroom, but truthfully I don’t use them religiously. I tend to wear hats and find shade.

    • I use shea butter on my kids and myself. It is only 5-7 SPF, but will prevent a burn. Added benefit that it is practically waterproof. Unfortunately, it is impractical if you intend to ware make-up over it.

      • I would love a sunblock post. I have been doing some research and have read a a lot about how bad it is to use synthetic suncreen ingredients & that zinc oxide is the best option. I’ve also read to avoid screens with nanoparticles. It’s my goal to choose a healthier sunscreen option for myself and my family this year- while increasing the amount of healthy sun exposure we are getting for vitamin D. This is an interesting topic if you have time to post on it!

  26. Good tips. Thank you.

  27. Some time ago I read that soap has to be water, lye and fat; if it’s not those three base ingredients, it’s detergent. Most of what’s sold in stores is detergent and designed to damage skin, imo. I use hand made soap in the shower and at the sink. To add moisture, I use the butter wrapper every time I unwrap a stick of butter. It was good enough for M. F. K. Fisher so it’s good enough for me. In between times, I use Aveeno.
    I never use sunscreen preferring to wear a hat and, sometimes, long sleeves. I’m not crazy about pouring on unknown /to me at least/ chemicals on my largest organ, my skin.
    When I’m drinking enough water, I find my skin isn’t as dry and constipation and headaches aren’t a problem either.
    Water is liquid gold!

  28. I haven’t used soap or a washcloth on my face since I started taking my own bath! My skin is SO dry and sensitive.

    Kiss my Face peaches and creme w/8% alpha-hydroxy was The Best product I ever used on my 58 y/o face and they quit making it!?!?!!? SOB. My 38 y/o daughter loved it also. She said her skin said “AHHhhhh” the first time she used it. And it was quite inexpensive. I would love to find a replacement for this. KMF makes a 4% lotion but it’s not the same at all.

    I started using the OCM method with straight olive oil and I like it quite a lot

  29. Skin is so absorbent, it really is irresponsible to put toxic material on it. What you wouldn’t eat, you shouldn’t put on your skin or your kids’ skin either. Here are a few of my sure fire, go tos:
    – Shea butter for seriously chapped lips or cracked heels.
    – Almond oil for stretchmarks. You can even use it during nursing which is a great big plus.
    – Coconut oil to remove make-up. It even works on stage make-up, which is totally poisonous.
    – Baking soda, Epsom salt or apple cider vinegar in the bathtub – provides nutrients and cleans filthy kids too
    – Any essential oil bath can be amplified if you add 4 cups of plain, cheap salt to the water
    Just talking about a good hot bath makes me want to get one… off I go. Have a fantastic New Year!

  30. I have been looking for beauty products that are good for my skin and also for the environment. I don’t have the time (or know-how) to make my own beauty products, so I try to buy brands that a) do not test on animals; b) do not use harsh chemicals; c) do not use ingredients that may cause cancer. Here in Portugal it is difficult, because “organic” does not always mean “safe”. Right now I am using the Pure and Natural Nivea moisturizer and I clean my skin using a cleaning foam (non-biologic, but I’m finishing it). I read your article on olive oil soap and there’s a store that makes them by hand here in Portugal, where our olive oil is so good (, so I have just ordered a bar (a bit pricey, but I believe it to be trustworthy and good). For the body, I confess I also use Nivea products, because I haven’t found other products which are good and organic. Can anyone help me out? I live in Portugal, so I don’t buy from the US because of the shipping taxes, but I can buy from the UK because it’s European Union and the shipping is cheaper (and no extra taxes). Thank you and have a great 2012!
    Filomena´s last post…Nano-desistente, ou reflexões na vida de uma mulher em vias de se tornar minimalista

  31. I really enjoyed this post. I’ll definitely try out the bar. I am also wondering what you use for your kids. I want to switch to organic for both shampoo and body wash (from Johnson’s). I’ve heard that California Baby is really good and also results in soft, untangled hair, but it’s really pricey. Any recommendations? Thanks!

    • For my kids’ soap I use the Kiss My Face bar, and for the kids’ shampoo I use Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo which is gentle and has these ingredients:

      Floral Water of Rosemary (Certified Organic), Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile), Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) Extract, Water, Infusion of Organic Herbs of Nettle, Olive Leaf, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower, Sage (Salvia Officinalis), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Sea Salt, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Glycine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Green Tea Extract, Wheat Protein, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Lime (Citrus Aurantifolia) Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid

      I buy them at for good prices.

  32. I’ve seen the “Kiss”… product in TJ’s before, but kept forgetting to try the big chunky bar. You’ve given me the impetus to try it out, Rachel. Plus I haven’t run into Vitacost before. Thanks for the suggestion.

  33. I love the oil cleaning method (as written up by Simple Mom) for my face.
    I love the Kiss My Face bar soap you mentioned for my body; however, this year I switched to Eucerin Calming Body Wash Daily Shower Oil per my dermatologist’s instructions b/c of pregnancy related itchy skin issues I was having. It’s more like an oil than a true body wash – doesn’t really lather but leaves you clean but not dried out.

  34. For many years, I’ve only used two products every day. I cleanse morning and night with Cetaphyl cleansing lotion (not the foaming one) – massage in then rinse off with warm water in the morning and wipe off with a warm washcloth at night. Then I moisturize with olive oil. A couple of times a week I will exfoliate with something that has “grains” of some sort (I’m not partial to any brand, I’ve used several different ones). I’m 54 years old, and my skin rarely feels dry. My skin absorbs the olive oil very quickly, as I use it immediately after washing when it is still damp. I have family members who spend hundreds of dollars a year on Chanel products, but their skin looks no better than mine!

  35. I have loved reading this post and all the comments! I am 59 years old, live in the USA, and think I have dry, sensitive skin.
    I did not have many pimples growing up, but after I became older, have NEVER had clear skin. Just tiny red blotches and pimples, preventing going without makeup. I think I have tried practically every soap out there, paying as much as $20. a bar, and nothing ever really helped. One day, I was in a discount store and saw a soap we had had when I was a child, called Cashmere Bouquet. I love soaps and I bought it for nostalgia.
    The cost was a mere $1.00 for 2 bars!!!!!! I put a bar in the shower and one at the lavatory, and within 3 days my face looked the best it had in 30 years!!!!! Although I am sure it is not a natural soap, it sure worked for me. The box says “mild beauty soap since 1872″ and it is made by Colgate-Palmolive. I usually DO have to use a moisturizer in the winter, and I mostly use pure Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil. (not the fruit oil) It is neat, because it has a natural tint of orange and if you have on no makeup, it makes you look like you’ve had a little sun on your face. ; )

    Also having dry lips, I have tried every lip balm out there. Far and away the best is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Balm (not the pure cocoa butter). No unpleasant taste, always creamy, stays on a long time.

    Thanks again for this great post and all the suggestions.

  36. Thank you for the great post. The aspect of skincare I want to comment on is exfoliation. I don’t use commercial exfoliating products because I think it’s too easy to over-exfoliate our skin. Once a week, I massage some oil into my face (such as jojoba, olive, or coconut), then I hold a warm washer to my face to draw out any gunk, and then I rinse. I use a little more oil to moisturise. My skin feels really fresh and looks dewy afterward. The idea came from
    Kim @ Extra Organized´s last post…A fresh start

  37. I’m in love with this post.

    Just today as I was driving back from Christmas festivities, I was thinking about how my beauty products need some umph. I have been using the same products (none of them great by the way!) for years, and I always justify it as good products are “too expensive”. But baking soda? I may just try that one tonight.
    Amy Sullivan´s last post…On Climbing Without a Rope and Risk

  38. I’ve recently fallen in love with Origins products. They are pricy but you only use a bit so I’m sure they’ll last a long while. i’m pregnant and this baby is drying me out so badly. I bought a couple different brands of moisturizer from Target but nothing worked. I turned to Origins and they gave me a tester to be sure it would help me and it did. Since then I’ve indulged in a lot of different skin care products and I love each one. They smell fresh and clean and work really well.
    Mel@MySunshine´s last post…Sunday Scoop- Christmas Edition

  39. My skin is dry and what works for me is washing my face with a warm washcloth (no cleanser) and then using Cetaphil moisturizer, the only skin product I use for my face. I also have very dry lips and after being a lifelong Chapstick addict, I recently switched to Vaseline Lip Therapy & love it. For my hands, I use Curel Ultra Healing lotion.

  40. I just came from a trip to Whole Foods and was very tempted by those delicious soap bars they sell! But for the time being (and for the last 4 years) I use and love Mary Kay Cosmetics!
    Karisa Rivera´s last post…My word for 2012

    • vermontmommy says:

      Oooh, I love the lavender goat’s milk ones they sell on the end caps. They come in sleeves of 3 or 6. I feel they are the best deal out there for a great bar of soap. Honestly, I have not tried them on my face but I 5 of us use them in shower.

  41. I have used Neutrogena Gentle Cleansing Lotion to wash my face for YEARS. It is all I use. I then apply a thin coat of Vaseline all over my face and throat. Massage it in for about 3 minutes. Lightly remove the excess with a soft tissue. I am told I look 15 years younger than my 67 years. Hardly any wrinkles. Knock on wood!!

    Great post. We all like beauty tips. Thanks.
    Donna´s last post…New Look For My Quilting Table

  42. vermontmommy says:

    For a while I was using the Origins line of skin care. I LOVED it. My skin was so very soft that I had to stop myself from touching my face. People would compliment my skin all the time. It was at it peak when I was pregnant with my third child but shortly after I had her my skin changed and has not been the same.

    For the past 3 years I feel I have been in limbo with products. I have tried Bobbi Brown- Mary Kay, some drugstore brands that I used to use like Neutrogena, Oil Olay and items like that. A month ago I started to use Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Face Wash that I found at Whole Foods. I feel it is priced well. You can buy a small bottle to start with and then purchase a large refill bottle for an even better price. So far I like how my skin feels and looks. You are right drinking water is a key to clean skin.

    I purchased their blemish stick for my son. He was using a product similar to the Neutrogena one you mentioned. The problem was it was bleaching every towel and floor mat in his bathroom. He would apply it and then wipe his hands on the towels, hand towel and wash cloths and it ruined 6 before I caught on. The floor mat was from it dripping out. Ack! So far he has loved the blemish stick when he has needed it and my linens are safe. :)

    After you advice I just ordered the Jason’s Vitamin E Age Renewal. I used your Amazon link and bought it via Amazon. I am excited to give it a try. I like that it is “green” and inexpensive. Presently, I am using an Oil Olay product that I bought at Costco. It is just okay. I don’t feel it is anything great and it is full of chemicals and pricier than I would like.

    Great post. I love the comments too.

  43. I love Dr. Hauschka products, especially the rose day cream. Any ideas for eye makeup removers? I love to wear mascara, but hate the tugging and pulling to remove it.

    • Try a micellar solution, I swear you’ll never get back to traditional makeup removers. My top choice is Bioderma Sensibio H2O, or Planete System micellar solution. Equally good micellar solutions can be bought from Vichy, Avene or La Roche Posay. These are European brands but I’m sure you can order it online. A great tutorial on milcallar solutions can found on youtube by a wonderful and classy makeup artist called Lisa Eldridge (she reminds me of Rachel). s

    • Sometimes I’ll use Aquaphor to remove mascara with a tissue, but I’d also like to try something more natural like coconut oil.

  44. Oh, I forgot to mention that I love my Nutrasonic (knock off of the Clarisonic at half the price) face brush. My face feels super soft and clean since I started using it almost a year ago. I just use the Neutragena face bar with it and do it every morning in the shower. It also comes with a body brush that I’ve used a couple times. It’s pretty small, so it takes forever.

  45. This post struck a chord with me! I also think that I have oily skin, but perhaps not! I’m turning 40 in January and still have oily skin and small breakouts. I bought a couple bars of KMF Olive Oil soap to try as an experiement. Perhaps I am causing the oiliness by using drying products.

    Funny thing though, my cat keeps trying to eat this soap! She has fished the wrapper out of the trash, jumped in my tub to smell it, and started licking my fingers after they were in contact with the soap. Strange, but perhaps a good indicator of the soap’s purity. Thank you for sharing.
    Kim´s last post…Top 11 of 2011

  46. I tried Jason’s lotion on my face and it felt kind of greasy. Does it take some time for your skin to adjust?

    • I think it feels rich, but I don’t think there would be an adjustment period, so it might be heavier than you prefer.

  47. I adore Terressentials. The Flower Therapy Daily Renewal Facial Lotion especially. I have used it exclusively for over ten years. I have been asked many time what I use on my skin.

    My routine is so simple. I have dry skin. I rub my face in the shower with my wet hands, then I take a dry washcloth and dry off my face, rubbing from my outer face to my nose. That’s it. I almost never have any blemishes or anything. I apply the Flower Therapy lotion (a bottle lasts me almost a year) so a little goes a long way. Some winters if it is really dry I have used the replenishing facial cream…but usually the lotion is enough. Natural organic ingredients, and made 40 minutes from where we live!

  48. Was just wondering if the soaps and shampoos you mentioned were tear free? You mentioned using them on your kiddos.

  49. I use Rosehip Seed Oil from Mountain Rose Herbs. I also use a French Green Clay (also from MRH) twice a week. I cleanse my face with straight honey – it really works!

  50. I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for about 2 months now. i tend to break out, but as I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten much drier. I particularly love jojoba oil; before I used it, the skin around my mouth would often become irritated, red and flaky during winter. So far, I’ve had no problems with that this winter. I use jojoba oil and a mixture of castor oil, olive oil and tee tree oil.
    I have had only a couple superficial breakouts, but I’ve had numerous comments that my skin looks great!

  51. Thanks so much for the ideas and tips. I just placed my order for the soap, moisturizer and apricot oil. I swear by Virgin Coconut Oil. Best winter moisturizer for the body.

  52. Hi I had oily skin as a teenager, tried the different brands of cleansers and beauty products over those years then in my mid 20s I just began using only water on my face. Plain water, now in mid 50s and my skin is soft and no problems.

  53. Thanks for this post- I remember Kiss My Face soap in my mom’s beauty arsenal. I always used (and still do) clear glycerine soap or Bronner’s but will look into olive oil as a base when I experiment with soap making.

    For zits/pimples/spots, I use tea tree oil dabbed on and I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I have yet to try the oil cleaning method (I may keep it as a special ‘spa day’ treat) but regularly use the following: cocoa butter for lips and body; sugar as an exfoliator; or, honey mask for moisture treatment with oatmeal to exfoliate it off. I also use a loofah regularly.

    Thanks again for the water affirmation- it’s always in the winter when it seems too cold to drink water that I notice problems.

    The one chemical treatment that I still use- like many others it seems- is sunblock. I’d like to think that I could just slather up with zinc oxide but the mess (and social convention!) mean that idea is out. I’d love to hear any other ideas about skin protection for when covering enough isn’t enough!

  54. Thanks for the information. I’m always on the lookout for natural beauty products that are effective and affordable. I found the Kiss my face soap at our local health food store (8oz for 3.49) and I’m on the lookout for the Jason age renewal.
    I thought I would mention that Recyclebank has a coupon on their website for $1 of a kiss my face product. Right now it costs 40 points. They are running a promotion called “green my seasons” where you can earn up to 90 points by taking short quizzes and some pledges. You could purchase two of the coupons for those points and print each one twice in order to stock up on the soap.
    Thanks again. I always look forward to reading your blog.
    Happy New Year

  55. FYI. I cut the 8 oz Kiss My Face soap bar in half with a bread knife so my daughter could handle it better in the shower. One half was fine the other broke up a bit but I’ll use those pieces for my face.

    • I do the same thing! And I think it helps the soap last longer because the other half can stay dry until I need it.

  56. I have a few commercial products that I use, but I am trying more and more to go with naturals. I use coconut butter on my legs after shaving. A little heavy for a minute, but quickly absorbs. I use an anti-aging cleanser, but frequently add baking soda as an exfoliant.
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s last post…50 tips for busy moms

  57. I struggled with acne and bad skin for the longest time, trying different products, and then a friend recommended using soap made of goat’s milk. That $2 bar of soap did wonders for my skin. I also discovered Johnson & Johnson’s Purpose Gentle Cleansing wash is great for me when I want to switch it up. Thanks for these great posts about beauty products and skin care! I’m on the look-out for a good going moisturizing cream and I’m going to try out your recommendation. (I’ll give Kiss My Face a try too!)

  58. I love a liquid body wash and have very dry skin on my body. I use a Dove product right now, but have seen a recipe for homemade body wash that I would like to give a try when I start to run low.
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s last post…3 reasons why moms are so tired

  59. I just used Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil soap as a handsoap. For the first time this winter they don’t feel like they are going to crack after washing them. I can’t wait to use it in the shower. I purchased the 8oz bar. Do you purchase a smaller one or do you divide it up? Just seems a bit large to handle. Thank you for this post.

  60. I was treating my skin as oily, too, until last year, when the lady who waxes my lip (I finally gave up on doing it myself – it took me forEVER, and I could never get them all) told me my skin was WAY too dry. It was like a giant light bulb went off over my head. I use LUSH products now, and my skin has NEVER felt so soft or looked so good. It took a couple of tries to get the right combination, but they’re really great about letting you return the ones that don’t work for you.
    Aimee´s last post…Gaming Thru’ the Holidays

  61. So grateful for this post! I have had “oily” and acne prone skins for years and have tried everything from dermatologists, neutrogena, clinique acne and nothing has seemed to work. I started using Kiss my Face this week after reading your post and I can already see a difference. Do you use a toner or moisturizer? I guess I am trained to use both as part of my skin care routine.

    Also do you find the products are less expensive if you buy them from vitacost?

    • I don’t use a toner, but I do moisturize, and I find that the products are usually cheaper on Vitacost.

  62. I just started the Oil Cleansing Method and am experimenting with homemade soaps. I’ll have to remember to revisit this post when this phase of life fades (I clipped it into my Evernote).

    In the past I have been devoted to Olay bar soap, Biolage detangler, and Proactive face wash. But I’m experimenting with Apple Cider Vinegar (much cheaper than Biolage! which isn’t a very green company anyway) and OCM (much cheaper than Proactive!).

    I’m interested in your oily vs. dry skin epiphany… I’m going to have to think on that (and experiment).
    Ryann´s last post…So much to say that is slipping away…

  63. I bought the Kiss My Face soap after reading this and all I can say is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I am 39 years old and have always had large pores and occasional bad breakouts. Since using this soap on my face twice a day for over a week now, my pores have shrunk (shrank?) to almost invisible. My skin has never looked better! So again, THANK YOU!
    Holly F´s last post…Asthma – Reflux connection?

  64. Great post! I’m thankful for this information as I don’t have much time to do any research myself. I will try the soap and olive oil and all the wonderful suggestions posted here. I’m excited to no longer depend on nasty store products for my skin.

    I have melasma that I acquired when I was on birth control 5 years ago. It’s devastating to look at the dark blotches on my cheeks. If anyone has had good experience with getting rid of theirs, I’d be forever grateful for your tips.

  65. I was wondering where you you all buy your oil products or EO for you Beauty Products. I love the site Rose Mountain Herbs, but I was just wondering if there was anywhere else to get things from that would also be good?

    Thanks so Much! I love all your posts!

    • Rose Mountain Herbs is good, but I buy such small quantities that I can easily find them at Whole Foods.

  66. After reading your post Rachel I remembered some pure olive oil soap I’d grated months ago with the intention of using it to make washing powder…I didn’t like the first batch I made, so have sat with a tub of grated soap. After reading this, and not being happy with my current skin care, I thought I’d dig it out. I put a few spoons of it into an old spice bottle (with a screw on lid and big holes in the top) and then did another bottle where I mixed the soap with some salt as a scrub. I’m really enjoying both of them, and thought I’d put the idea in as a comment for those who are concerned re the green ‘gloop’ which comes with a bar of soap. I’m sure my one grated bar will last me a LOOONG time as I just use a few shakes from my spice bottle each night. Thanks for the inspiration!

  67. Have you ever tried dabbing some toothpaste on your pimple and sleeping that way overnight then washing it off 1st thing upon waking? It works pretty well at clearing up blemishes, I learned that tip as a teenager it was in like Seventeen magazine or one of those… I don’t use any of the natural toothpastes but crest/colgate works well for the blemish tip. It’d save you the cost of buying Neutrogena On-the-Spot Treatment. Thanks for your suggestions I can’t wait to try them.

  68. Does the KMF oil soap work on oily skin? – I really do have oily skin, even at 56. By lunchtime I can tissue off my face and the tissue will be covered in oil, yuck.

  69. Thanks for the suggestion for the soap. I bought some recently and I love the way it makes my face feel. I’ve only been using it for a few days so I can’t testify to any difference in the look of my skin, only the feeling. Funny, I’ve been buying it for my husband for years to use as a body bar. I never thought about using it on my own face. :-)

  70. I too swear by KMF Olive Oil bar. And LOVE virgin coconut oil for every part of my body. Especially effective when used immediately after bathing. Be careful with the Jason face cream. The ingredients list dimethicone, which I never use on my skin!

  71. Thanks for this post! I’ve been looking for something to use as a cleanser (other than store bought soap), so after I read this I ordered the Kiss My Face bar online from a Canadian store that has free shipping. Working great so far. I never would have tried it if I hadn’t heard about it here.