Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oil and Vinegar: The Internet Beauty Underground

Beyond the endless product reviews, beauty shopping sites and ads on the web, there is a whole different world. Old-fashioned folk remedies and beauty treatments are gaining momentum. I've written before about the modesty movement. Frugality has also become a culture unto itself. I like to read blogs about these things because they are full of strange little beauty hacks and also because they describe lives different than mine (the modest and frugal do not tend to live in New York City, get paid to review spas, or receive beauty swag.) Often the people who write about simple and alternative grooming methods are members of fundamentalist religions and/or homeschool their children.

Oil Dissolves Oil

One of the most popular trends that has swept internet message boards is the Oil Cleansing Method (often abbreviated as OCM) of washing one's face. Proponents recommend throwing away all soap and over the counter face products. Castor oil is touted as the most cleansing of oils, but is often mixed with a bit of olive because it's said to be too drying on its own. After massaging the cleansing oil into your skin, you then wipe it off with several rounds of steaming hot washcloths, and finish with a few drops of the same oil, or another such as apricot, to moisturize. Many believe that the modern tendency toward increased skin problems is in part a result of stripping our faces with detergents and oil-free moisturizers.

For centuries, pure oil was the go-to facial cleanser. A lady often performed her bedtime routine right at the vanity table in her bedroom, no water required. She used pure oil, or an oil-based cold cream she had prepared herself, and wiped it away with a muslin cloth.

Cleansing oil are still preferred in France, and a lot of my friends love the olive oil cleanser by DHC. Or:

"Crisco Cleansing Cream:
1 can Crisco
That's all. People in the theater have been using it for years to remove their stage makeup. It's natural hydrogenated cottonseed oil (hydrogenated oils are those which through a special treatment have been hardened). It works beautifully and is inexpensive. And it won't take you long to make either."
--Alexandra York, Back to Basics Natural Beauty Handbook (1977)

I've heard that Crisco is known and labeled as "Cream C" in the world of dermatology. It is sometimes prescribed to patients who need a heavy and neutral protectant after a procedure but who probably wouldn't take well to being referred to the baking aisle.

How to Save on Expensive Shampoo? Just Stop Washing Your Hair

One common aspect of the modest beauty lifestyle is growing hair out long and natural. An often cited quote is,
"Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is glory to her?"
--Corinthians 11:14-15

Growing hair out also pleases the frugal by saving on haircuts. To both save on hair products and keep even superlong hair from drying, a surprising number of people have stopped washing their hair. I sometimes read about it as the No Poo method, but I have to credit Lorraine Massey of Devachan for coining that term for her method of cleaning curly hair by rinsing with diluted conditioner.

The method I'm talking about here refers to either completely ceasing to cleanse the hair at all, simply rinsing it in plan water, or rinsing it in baking soda and water, sometimes followed up with diluted apple cider vinegar. Followers swear that after a few weeks the hair begins to "cleanse itself."

Apple cider vinegar is touted all over web as a cure all. People dilute it in water to use as a miracle-cure facial cleanser and toner, claiming it treats acne, dry skin, and uneven tone. It is even one of the top reviewed products on Makeup Alley, a huge beauty product review site.

I think the internet has gotten a lot of people more interested in DIY projects, be that cooking, home repair, crafts, gadget hacks, or beauty. And I haven't even told you yet about the beauty hack with the most passionate fans...