Dec 12

What About My Face? – 12 Simple Tips for Sensitive Skin

Since we have a large number of customers with sensitive skin, we get asked a lot of questions on the best way to care for sensitive skin, especially your face.

Alabu Baby Me Goat Milk Soap

Just like a fingerprint, everyone’s individual’s skin care needs are a little different, but here are a few simple tips for sensitive skin care.   This is mostly about your face but holds true with all areas of your skin.

If you have any specific questions, please contact us and we will be glad try to answer them.

  1. Avoid common irritants.  Take a look at the ingredient labels of your skin care products.  Here is a list of some of the more common irritants.
  2. Avoid washing with hot water, warm is better for your skin.  Hot water drys your skin out.
  3. Avoid microdermabrasion.  Instead, opt for mild exfoliates that are designed for sensitive skin.  Use no more than twice a week.  See my earlier post on exfoliants.  This homemade facial post also has some good ideas.
  4. Keep your skin care products cold.  In the summer or warm environments, the increase of blood flow naturally increases sensitivity in the skin.  Cleansing, toning and moisturizing with cool temperature products will constrict the capillaries and ease the redness and irritation.
  5. Use gentle skin cleansers.  Use a natural soap.  Soaps containing chemicals and a high content of glycerin are often irritating and drying.
  6. Use a high quality soap with few ingredients.  Soap made from simple, natural moisturizing oils and milk is best.
  7. Drink plenty of water each day.  Water has many benefits one of which is clearing and cleansing your skin naturally.  Capped lips can be a sign that you are not drinking enough water.
  8. Test before you use new products.  It is a good idea to test a new product on the skin under your arm and wait and see if you will react to it before applying to your face to be sure you will not react to it.
  9. If you use a toner, do not use one containing alcohol.  I did a post on homemade skin toner also. They are easy and fun to make. Alabu Replenish Facial Mositurizer
  10. Moisturize with chemical free skin moisturizing oil or lotion after you cleanse your face, morning and before bed in the evening.

 Alabu products that may interest you


Dec 12

Do Toners Really Tone?

Facial toners can be a confusing topic, especially if you have sensitive skin.  What does it do for your skin and how do I know if you should use one?

There are three different products that can all be called toners; astringents, fresheners and toners. Astringents are made with alcohol and used to tighten skin, remove excess oil and reduce the appearance of pores, they are very drying and irritating to sensitive skin.   Fresheners are are not usually made with alcohol but also have a tightening effect on skin and reduce the appearance of pores. They are made with ingredients like green tea. Toners are designed to constrict your pores and soothe your skin. They are usually made with water, botanicals and light moisturizers.   A good toner can also help reduce inflammation, add antioxidants, soothe skin.  The mildest toners are made with ingredients to draw water to your skin (humectant) and are alcohol free, and are perfect for sensitive skin. While toners may be slightly acidic, it is not necessary because your skin will naturally return to it’s pH balance on it’s own.

If you are looking for something to make your pores look less visible you can give toners a try. As part of your skin care routine toners are used after cleansing your face with a mild cleanser.

But before you buy one, we at Alabu always recommend, READ THE LABEL and think about how the ingredients might react to your skin. Always test first on the inside of your forearm before you use it on your face to see how your skin will react.

Toners can be inexpensive or expensive – but you want to be careful they don’t contain ingredients that are skin irritants.

You may want to try making your own toner, it is easy, economical and fun. And you will know exactly what ingredients you are putting on your face

An old fashioned and all time favorite and best smelling toner;

Rose Water Toner– great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

  • 1 cup rose petals, use home grown or organic
  • 2 cups boiling filtered water
  • 1 spray bottle
  • Put the rose petals in a glass bowl, boiling water and pour over rose petals. let steep for 3 to 4 hours. Cool, strain and pour into a spray bottle. Store in your fried for up to two weeks. Spray directly on your face, so refreshing!

 Aloe Vera Toner –

  • 1/2 c filtered water
  • 2 T Aloe Vera Gel
  • a  few drops of a favorite Essential oil, like rose, chamomile or lavender. (optional)
  • mix  aloe vera gel with water, until it is well mixed. This is very soothing as long as you are not allergic to aloe vera. It is very soothing and also very good as an after shaving.

These next few homemade toners for sensitive skin use herbal teas. Because they use just one ingredient, you’ll be able to see how your skin reacts. If you are salicylate sensitive or allergic to herbs or botanicals then you should avoid using herbal teas.

A side note on salicylate sensitivities and allergies in general; the Feingold Association is a great resource.  Alabu products have been reviewed and accepted by the Feingold Association as good products for sensitive skin care.  Here is a link to their salicylate sensitivity page as well.

  • Green Tea Toner – Steep a green tea bag in a cup of hot water for at least 5 minutes. Cool and apply to your face with a cotton ball or pour into a spray bottle. Cooling and soothing. Green tea is filled with antioxidant properties that are good for your skin.
  • Peppermint  Toner – Steep a peppermint tea bag in a cup of hot water for at least 5 minutes, Cool and apply to your face with a cotton ball or pour into a spray bottle. Very cooling, refreshing.
So while it is not necessary to use a toner, some people really like them and find them beneficial. And they can be uplifting and a nice de-stressor.

Alabu Trivia

  • My husband and I homeschooled our two children.
  • Alabu started out as a homeschool chemistry experiment in 1997.
  • The name Alabu came from a homschool homework assignment given to our daughter Nell.


Dec 12

Facial Exfoliants – Do I really need to buy them?

So, there you are….. Looking at an overwhelming array of facial exfoliants.  All of them promise to brighten, microfoliate, peal, enhance, scrub, and the list goes on. In today’s tough economic times, you think about your credit card bill and bank balance and wonder…… “Do I really need to pay $57.98 for 2.6 oz of a microfoliant?”  I suspect not.

Yes, part of a good skin care routine is to exfoliate.  However, with just a few minutes in the kitchen and many dollars less than the $57.98 needed for a commercial product, you can make your own and tune it over time to meet your specific skin needs.  There is a lot of information out there on exfoliation.  Here is an easy read article on exfoliation.

Oat and Honey

Often, if you choose a mild exfoliating soap, you do not need a separate exfoliating product.  Or, if you do, you can use a less aggressive exfoliant and exfoliate less often.

So, the next time you are looking for an exfoliant, try to make your own.  You will be pleasantly surprised how well it works.  This will be both fun and economical to “do it yourself”.

Here are a few simple exfoliants that you can make your self:

  • Yogurt – this seems to be the gentlest of all the natural skin recipes. Simply apply a tablespoon of, full fat plain yogurt to your face. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse off. The lactic acid provides gentle exfoliation leaving your skin radiant and refreshed.
  • Ground oatmeal – grind up some rolled oats in your blender or coffee grinder, mix with a little water or Replenish Facial Moisturizer and apply and gently rub on your face. Very nice and gentle.
  • Combine the two – blend your ground oatmeal with yogurt or milk.  That will add a gentle, soothing cleansing action to the exfoliation process.

For a more aggressive exfoliant, give these a try.  Please note though that these give a much more “mechanical” abrasion so you will want to go slowly.  Also, be sure to test first on your inner arm or behind your ear.

  • Ground almonds – good for dry skin, but be careful and go slowly and be sure they are ground up really fine. Simple to make by grinding almonds in your blender or coffee grinder. The almond oil provides moisture for dry skin.
  • Ground Sunflower seeds – very similar to almonds.  This produces a really nice, soft, buttery scrub.
  • Ground barley – grind and mix with avocado oil.  Go slowly and test before applying to your face.
  • Sugar Scrub – simply add a little granulated sugar to cold pressed oil (olive oil is good). Has a nice brightening effect. Some people like using brown sugar because they like the smell.
  • Sea salt body scrub – Not recommended for your face.  Use on your body.  Apply with some olive oil or a good moisturizer –Alabu Body Lotion is good :).  Go very slowly and gently, use for 30 seconds to one minute at the most. Use a finely ground salt. Salt can be irritating if you scrub too hard or leave on too long, however, it feels refreshing and energizing.
  • Coconut oil and cornmeal – A good body scrub. Mix together and rub slowly and gently on the skin.

Alabu Exfoliating Soaps

  • Oat &  Honey goat milk soap – A very gentle exfoliating soap made with our own ground oat flour.  We know that the flour provides the exfoliation action, but what about the honey?  Honey moisturizes, and protects your skin along with many other benefits.  Here is a great article on the benefits of honey.
  • Lemon Scrub goat milk soap – This is NOT a face soap.  This is an exfoliant that you would use on your body.  It has corn meal.  So rub gently.  The lemon essential oil acts as an exfoliant as well.  For some information this, take a look at the benefits of lemon on your skin.

Dec 12

5 Winter Skin Care Tips

Winter is so drying to your skin. Although the climate around the country varies, the problems our skin experiences are similar. In the winter your skin is exposed to many harsh environments like dry indoor air, cold and wind outside, not to mention the lack of sunshine. All this can cause very dry, flaky irritated skin in the winter months. But there is relief!

What you need to do is moisturize, exfoliate, and moisturize again. Your skin reacts differently in the winter so you need to adjust accordingly.

Cleansing: In the Winter one of the most important things to keep in mind is hot water dries your skin. As good as it feels to take a steaming hot shower your skin will suffer the consequences. If your skin is very dry try washing with water that is warm but not hot. You want your cleansing routine to be as moisturizing as possible, so you might want to change to one of our more moisturizing soaps such as Baby Me or Olive soap if you are not already using it.

Moisturize: Replenish Facial Moisturizer is great but if you need something more in the winter try the Shea Body Butter, even though it is a heavier moisturizer, the ingredients are all non-comedogenic, so it can be used on your face without fear of clogging pores.
It is a good idea to use a heavier moisturizer in the winter since your skin has more extreme conditions to deal with. Itchy skin often happens because the dry air of winter is causing the moisture in the top layer of your skin to evaporate.

Exfoliate: This is done to remove dead skin cells and allow your skin to absorb the extra moisturizer you are applying. But don’t exfoliate more than twice per week.

Hydrotherapy: This stimulates your circulatory system for better blood flow to your skin. You can do this at home by using your shower. Start out with a warm shower, before you finish switch the water to cold for about fifteen seconds then back to warm. Repeat the process for two minutes. Try it and see if you don’t feel better.

Moisturize: The best time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower. The bath helps to hydrate your skin and our moisturizers help to form a protective barrier to keep the moisture from evaporating.

And remember healthy skin starts from the inside, so eat healthy whole foods and drink plenty of water.