I’ve got some fab news, spunky friends:  The secret to great skin care is as close as your kitchen and will likely be a huge relief to your wallet. Your pantry, in fact, is home to a bounty of very highly effective skincare ingredients.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Consider this: Before we apply anything to our skin, we should really ask ourselves, “Would I be willing to eat that?” Why, you ask? Well put simply, our skin is by far our largest organ.  It absorbs 60-80% of what we put on it. It is essential that we choose to nourish our skin with as much care as we nourish our bodies.

Lets look at a few facts:

  • The average woman can use up to 515 chemicals on her skin every day, from our shampoo, body soap, face cleansers, moisturizers, body lotions, shaving cream, lip balms, etc.
  • The last year any federal law was passed to ensure the safety of cosmetics and skin care was 1938! In fact cosmetic companies are allowed to use ingredients with known toxins without telling us.  These toxins have been shown to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and hormone disruption among other things.   The FDA actually allows  harmful chemicals like lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates to be used in these products we rub into our skin and our kids’ skin day after day. Think about the possible cumulative effect of those chemicals.
  • Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals used in personal care products have any safety data, which is ludicrous considering some of these chemicals, particularly parabens, have been found in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
  • The European Union has spent the past two decades banning over 1300 harmful ingredients, but the US has banned only 11 to date.

You, as a consumer, have the responsibility to educate yourselves so you can make the best choices for you and the people you care about.  Most of us, of course, wouldn’t knowingly use a facial cleanser that contains chemicals that are used to scour garage floors. As always, the Environmental Working Group has our backs.  Be sure to utilize their Skin Deep Database to determine the safety of what you are putting on your skin.

Here we share some of our favorite ways to rescue skin from harmful chemicals by using, instead, these simple (and mostly botanical) ingredients from your pantry. Tell us in the comments below what your favorite homemade skincare remedies are.  One note, it is always a good idea to splash cool water on your face after a warm rinse in order to close your pores and lock in the benefits of these treatments.

Without further chatter, here ya go…

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an all around skincare star. This antioxidant packed oil fights aging by preventing free radicals from harming your skin.  It’s also great as a natural protector from sun damage. It is simple, just apply organic virgin coconut oil to your skin as you would any lotion or body oil.  Bonus: it is also antibacterial and smells like endless summer.

Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub: Combine 3 parts organic brown sugar with one part melted coconut oil and a few drops of pure vanilla for a moisture rich exfoliant.

Body Balm/Shaving Cream: Whip solid coconut oil in your mixer for 5-7 minutes and add a few drop of your favorite essential oil.  The cream that results is incredibly luxurious and a little goes a long way for both moisturizing and shaving.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another antioxidant packed oil.  It has many of the same benefits as coconut oil but is never solid.

Try this face mask: Mix an egg yolk with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add lemon for brightening. The mask should be applied to a clean face for 5 -10 minutes followed by a rinse.

For a super gentle daily cleanser give this combo a try: 1 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt with 2 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. Mix it together and massage skin. Wipe off with a warm wet cloth.


Lemons smell wonderful (like sunshine) and can be uses to lighten age spots, heal acne, get rid of blackheads, as well as reduce oily skin. This article gives you the scoop.

Lift, firm, and tighten mask: Combine 2 Tablespoon yogurt and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Apply to a clean face. Leave it on for up to 60 minutes. Rinse with warm water.


Papaya is the best source of Papain and Vitamin A.  These nutrients help break inactive proteins, removing dead skin cells. This super fruit will hydrate, brighten, and exfoliate.  Papaya works as a natural source of Alpa-Hydroxy Acid when rubbing the inside of the skin on your skin.  Avoid the eyes and only use this naturally acidic method on occasion as this effective treatment can irritate the skin if used too often.

Raw Honey

Honey is rich in nutrients, is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, has wound-healing properties and amounts to the ultimate ingredient in facial detox and skin soothing.

It works great as a sunburn soother: Apply immediately when you notice sun damage. It will both soothe and help heal.

Got a zit? Try honey-cinnamon acne paste: Mix1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and about 1/ 4 teaspoon honey into a paste. Apply and leave the paste on for at least 15 minutes to overnight.

Bonus info: A mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax can help relieve symptoms associated with eczema. I have a commercial cream with similar ingredients and it has worked wonders on my son.


While it is not so good for the body, it can be wonderful for your skin. Sugar scrubs are an effective way to exfoliate, unclog pores and brighten your skin. Brown sugar, in particular, is just right for a gentle scrub.

I mentioned my favorite sugar scrub above but here are some variations.

Also, this is one that another health coaching friend suggested:  Combine 1 cup milk to 1/2 cup brown sugar and add a few drops of honey. Rub this all over your bod towards the end of your shower.

Plain Yogurt (or Greek)

All the nutrients and probiotics in yogurt are incredibly nourishing for your skin. It lightens and brightens, can shrink pores, helps with acne and fights the effects of aging.

As a calming mask: Mix 1/4 cup full-fat yogurt with 1/8 cup honey, apply to face and neck. Relax for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Lastly, bask in the glow of your skin.

Weekly Brightening Mask: Combine 2 Tbsp yogurt with 2 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apply to your cleansed face and leave on for up to 20 minutes.  Results: even more glow.

This link has even more “yogurt love””for your skin. Eat it up. 🙂


Eggs can tighten skin, reduce pores, improve elasticity, reduce fine lines, help control acne among many other benefits.

This simple skin tightening mask might be just the edge you need for your next high school reunion:  Combine the white from one egg with a teaspoon of raw honey, apply it to clean skin and allow time to dry.  Rinse with warm water. Then head out to your reunion with fresh and tighter skin….and a big smile.


We would be remiss to leave out the all powerful avocado.  You just know when you are smearing this incredibly rich fruit on your face, that ALL is well. Avocados are nutrient rich and one of the best sources for healthy fats on earth. The inner layer of the avocado skin is loaded with those oils.

Try this: Instead of just tossing the peel, rub the inner layer against your face or any dry skin part of your body, leave on for 10-15 minutes, and rinse with warm water.

A moisturizing avocado face mask is this simple: Mix together one half of a really ripe avocado with 1/4 cup honey.

Sea Salt
Sea salt works as a exfoliator, stress reducer, and detoxifier. Choose a finer texture sea salt for body scrubs and more coarse texture for hand and foot scrubs.
Try this simple salt scrub: Combine 1 cup sea salt with 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil and add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Stress relief and skin soothing bath salts: Combine 3 cups of course sea salt with 1 1/2 cups Epson salt and 5-10 drops of essential oil.  I love lavender for an end of the day soak.
Oatmeal has skin soothing properties as well as 18 beneficial amino acids that can be absorbed directly into the skin to repair damage.
Exfoliating scrub: Mix 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cook 1/2 cup oatmeal to create a thick paste. Hint: You will need to use less water than if you planned to eat it.  Add the honey and olive oil to the oatmeal paste. Gently massage onto face and neck.  Rinse with warm water.
Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural exfoliant. Baking soda is coarse enough to remove that dead top layer but not enough to damage your skin (just don’t scrub).

Try adding: A little baking powder to your cleanser once a week and rub gently for a mini-microderm abrasion.You can also use it on your roughest patches of skin by making a paste of baking soda and water and massaging those areas.


The caffeine in coffee has been rumored to help decrease cellulite.  No promises there but it will help smooth and firm your skin. The scrub below is hands-down my favorite morning scrub and it smells divine!

Use this scrub to feel smooth, firm and invigorated head to toe: Combine 1 cup dry coffee grounds, one cup brown sugar, 1 cup coconut oil (melted), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and up to 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla and smear it all over your body.  You’ll be glad you did.  Be sure to rinse.

Now even though these are easy to find and inexpensive pantry staples, if it’s overwhelming to think about what gets used for what, there are some good companies out there who do the work for you.  The one company we recommend and carry on our website is Beautycounter.  All of their products are consistently rated 0-2 (which is good) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database…and that is really hard to find.


Resources and references:

Disclaimer: Amy and Niki are trained as holistic health coaches.  We are not medical professionals. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only and not meant to be medical advice. While Spunky Avocado endeavors to keep information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related content contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. Consult with a physician before starting any diet or exercise program.  Readers should perform their own research and make decisions in partnership with their own health care providers. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits obtained from any foods or supplements mentioned on this website have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We will in no way be held liable for any loss or other damages including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or any other damages in connection with this website.


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