While we love to flaunt our jackets, cardigans and stoles during winter, the season doesn’t show much kindness to our skin — the face becomes dry, hair turns brittle and our hands and feet lack sheen. But if you think you need to buy
expensive bath and body products to combat this problem, you are mistaken. All you have to do is peek into your kitchen to scour some products and make some easy-to-use oils.

When you apply oil or body butter on your skin, it will first absorb nutrients for itself and only then pass it on to the internal organs
When you apply oil or body butter on your skin, it will first absorb nutrients for itself and only then pass it on to the internal organs

What’s your skin type?
But before you mix your own homemade oil, scrub and body butter, first take a short lesson on how to recognise your
skin type.

Wash your face and observe the skin after 15 minutes. If there is an oily residue, then you have an oily complexion. If there is no change, and your complexion remains fresh and supple, you have normal skin. But if it gets flaky, and stretches when you frown, then you have dry skin. Also, if only your nose and forehead (this makes up the T-zone) get oily, and the cheeks and rest of the face is dry, you have c ombination skin.

DIY tips
Shreya Sharan Pawar, an entrepreneur who launched Burst of Happyness, a company that sells natural body products in 2012, says, “While making a home remedy, the first thing one should keep in mind is to ensure that you maintain good hygiene to prevent contamination. Quite often people complain that their skin reacts to home remedies.

If someone tells you to apply a paste of turmeric powder and milk on your face and you take a pinch of the condiment from your kitchen spice box, your skin will definitely break out. Disinfect your hands, and use fresh ingredients for anything that you intend to apply on your body, face and hair. It’s best to use surgical spirit to clean your hands,” says the 26-year-old resident of Bhiwadi, Rajasthan.

Know your oil
The next step, according to Pawar, is to understand the oils. “Every oil has a special benefit. If you have acne, you
should not use heavy or sticky oils such as coconut that are bound to block your pores. But if you have dry skin, this oil is ideal for moisturising it. Jojoba goes well with every skin type as its texture is similar to human sebum,” she explains.

Essential oils
Essential or aroma oils such as lavender, geranium and ylang ylang are flower extracts that are concentrated and volatile in nature. Check the contents before buying aroma oils, as most commercial ones are mixed with alcohol, which defeats the purpose of its benefits. All you need is around two drops in summer and double the amount in winter in your base/ carrier oil when your skin needs more moisturising.

Base or carrier oils
Dr Ravi Ratan, aromatherapist and co-founder of Aroma Tantra, a set-up that offers aroma therapy and products, says, “Essential oils cannot be used alone, and they should be clubbed with a base or carrier oil such as almond, olive, sesame, coconut, jojoba or avocado oil. Base oils are basically vegetable oils and fatty acids that similar to the sebum our body creates,” says the author of Handbook of Aromatherapy, which was published in 1996.

While olive and almond oils are heavy and greasy, avocado and jojoba work with most skin types and are best moisturisers as they penetrate the skin very easily. “It’s best to mix base oils to make the perfect combination for your skin,” recommends Dr Ratan, and shares a mixture.

Take 15 ml of avocado oil, 15 ml of jojoba oil, 15-30 mil of olive/almond oil and add 40 to 50 ml of grapeseed oil. This will ensure the oil is not too sticky on your skin. One can add three to four drops each of sandalwood, vertiver and rose essential oils to this mixture.

“During summer, do not use avocado and olive oil. Jojoba and grapeseed oil with a little Vitamin-E oil is all you need. One can add geranium, lavender, chamomile, frankincense essential oils to this mixture,” adds Ratan.

Hassle-free hair
How can we forget the tresses that go dry and coarse in the cold weather? Argan oil and jojoba are great for the hair
during the dry weather. Take 20 ml argan oil, 10 ml jojoba and 15 ml sesame seed oil. To this, add rosemary herb, Ylang Ylang and clarisage essential oils. It will soften your tresses and release all the hypertension in your body,” says Ratan.

Skin is the most ignored part of the body. “We never really pay much attention to it. When a person is healthy, it
shows on the skin and hair. When we consume food, nutrients first go to vital organs, and the skin is always the last priority.

The skin, however, is selfish. When you apply anything on it, it will first absorb nutrients for itself and only then pass it on to the internal organs. Thus, external application of oils and body butters is extremely beneficial. The ingredients should change according to the season,” he concludes.