Not many activities feel better or, dare I say it, more productive than binge-watching a dramatic series as half my grocery budget seeps into my hair and the other half waits to be made into a face mask. It feels like an ultimate act of self-love, but are DIY beauty treatments worth the hype? My explore page would suggest so.
The validity of DIY beauty always raises debates from opposing sides — especially when it comes to skincare. One perspective believes that you can enjoy glowing skin with a few at-home staples, while the other side begs the masses to leave it to the professionals. So I had to ask: Is it time to give DIY beauty a break? Does your tea tree oil better serve you in your oil diffuser or on your most recent zit? I interviewed beauty experts from various licenses to decide if our kitchen cabinets have better ingredients than a lab. Here’s what they said to consider:
Before we can understand the difference between the ingredients in our fridge versus the ingredients we see listed on our skincare and hair care labels, we must recognize that many products need lab technology to become effective. Licensed Esthetician Bianca Edwards says that DIY skincare treatments are, “fun for people who don’t understand what makes products efficient. In general, I find that many kitchen essentials are best reserved for making food.”
While skincare professionals like Bianca would likely have more affinity for professional products, scientific evidence suggests she’s right. “My preference for professional products is due to understanding ingredient decks and the 500 Dalton rule,” Edwards continues. “[This rule-of-thumb states that] products need to be properly formulated and have a certain molecular size and weight to be truly effective.” This detail means that though many at-home combinations can have beneficial topical results (for example, manuka honey can reduce inflammation), don’t expect significant transformation.
All About That pH
If you intend to make treatments at home, consider another factor: pH. Our skin has a delicate pH balance of about 5.5 — that’s weakly acidic, like rainwater or bananas. This balance keeps moisture in and harmful bacteria out, and when we throw off this balance, we see irritation, inflammation, and acne. The best skincare products on store shelves are tested to ensure this balance is intact. However, it can be challenging to create a mixture at home that won’t disturb your skin’s pH without the proper knowledge.
Celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar says, “I love the idea of DIY beauty. However, making skincare in the kitchen can easily go wrong when unfamiliar with how certain ingredients can alter your skin's natural pH.” Natalie recommends steering clear of baking soda or lime juice, stating, “they can alter your pH and throw it out of sync, creating inflammation, dryness, and even burns.”
Keep it Simple
Less is more when it comes to at-home beauty treatments. Esthetician Autumn Johnson says that, “DIY masks and facial mists are pretty easy to make. Do your research to figure out how long they will last so that you can avoid them getting old or growing mold.”
On the contrary, Autumn warns against doing more serious treatments at home. “Leave the serums, chemical peels, and other products that treat the skin on a deeper level to the professionals.” And even though you might see your favorite influencer dermaplaning at home, she says it’s a big NO. “When done incorrectly, it can cause more trauma to the skin than treatment. Dermaplaning uses a professional surgical blade to remove dead skin and vellus hair, and it is different than simply shaving. A lot of prep goes into the procedure, and it should only be performed by a professional, especially on deeper skin tones.”
Another simple solution for at-home skincare only has one ingredient: ice. Celebrity Makeup Artist Renée Loiz interacts with different skin types regularly, and ice can be a great way to get your skin camera-ready. “For puffy eyes, use ice cubes on the swollen area to depuff,” Loiz recommends. “Put cubes in a face cloth and gently press. You can also do the same thing on a puffy face by putting your face in a bowl of ice-cold water — it not only depuffs, but it’s also very calming and helps to destress. “
Professional-Approved DIY Beauty
Does this mean DIY beauty is out for good? According to our experts, not entirely. Understand that most at-home treatments are best for soothing or adding hydration rather than treating severe issues. Take their expert advice and avoid formulating products that are meant to penetrate deep into your skin.
When keeping it topical, here are some of our experts’ favorite DIY beauty methods:
Whether or not you have deep melanin to protect you, irritation from sun exposure is the worst. Bianca Edwards, licensed esthetician, has a solution. “When I’ve forgotten to use sunscreen, I break fresh aloe from my yard, throw it in my Nutriblend to make a gel paste, and chill it in the fridge.”
“My favorite DIY treatment happens to be a mask. The two-ingredient mask I make is pH balanced and is beneficial for all skin types. It contains oatmeal and chamomile. It's so simple to make and apply, and it’s super clean and soothing! To make this mask, I blend organic oats into a fine powder and add steeped organic chamomile tea to make a paste. It's important to note that both ingredients should be plain with no additives. I apply the mask to my face, neck, and chest and leave for 10-15 minutes to relieve redness, hydrate, and soothe." - Natalie Aguilar, celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse.
Skin treatments aren't the only way to enhance your beauty at home. “Laminated brows are really big right now, but they can be pretty costly. As an alternative, I like to do a DIY trick using glycerin soap, water, and a mascara spoolie. Glycerin soap bars are typically clear and won’t leave a white residue like other soap bars. Wet the top of the soap, get a generous amount on the spoolie, then brush upwards through the brows. Use your finger to set them into place. My fave soap to use is Jones and Rose Honey Glycerin Face Soap. If you don’t have a spoolie, try using an old mascara and cleaning off the wand until there isn’t any mascara left.” - Renee Loiz, celebrity makeup artist.
So what’s the verdict? Feel free to enjoy the process of DIY beauty hacks for temporary boosts, but leave the intensive treatments to the professionals.
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