Life in a pandemic has made us all more resourceful. We’re cooking from scratch more than ever, even if it means three-ingredient meals sourced from our pantry. Mending clothes no longer seems optional; it’s a useful skill now that tailors are shuttered, and also a sustainable way to curb our textile waste. Add to these DIY efforts the ability to make your own skincare.
Amy Galper had been doing it for years. The certified aromatherapist and clean beauty expert is the co-author of Plant-Powered Beauty, a compendium of the tools and recipes you’ll need to make everything from moisturizing cream to body scrubs.
“Many people don’t realize that what they have in their kitchen is not only good to eat, but great for your skin,” says Galper. Most of her personal beauty products are homemade, a more sustainable way of caring for your skin, and not just because you can avoid more plastic bottles and jars in your medicine cabinet. “You can re-use containers, use what you have, and not deal with shipping and packaging materials, etc. And you also know what is in the product exactly.” Just as in cooking, she emphasizes using the highest quality plant-based or whole plant ingredients.
Soon her New York Institute of Aromatic Studies in the East Village will be rebranded and re-open as The Glohaus. “Our classes will all be live streamed via Zoom and pre-recorded videos, and we will offer a wide range of plant-based cosmetic ingredients and kits that people can buy to make their own,” she said. Plans are also in the works for a podcast about clean beauty, ingredients, and education. Her book too, which was originally published in 2018, will be reprinted in the fall. It couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
“Now that we can’t really go out and shop freely, and we are at home more,” says Galper, “the book can really guide and support in how to care for ourselves and our skin in a simple and super accessible way. I think its message is even more resonant and powerful [now]. We are all realizing how important self-care is!”
On April 22, as part of our Earth Week Instagram Live Show and Tells, Galper showed us how to make a facial scrub/mask using easy-to-find ingredients.
She combined 1 tablespoon oat flour, which you can make by grinding oats, or substitute with any gluten-free flour like coconut flour, almond flour or chickpea flour, with 1/4 teaspoon matcha powder or ground chamomile tea from a tea bag, plus a TINY pinch of turmeric. You can add a drop each of lavender and evening primrose oil if you have these essential oils, mix, and then sprinkle a little into the palm of your hand, moisten with water and use as a scrub. Adding aloe vera gel or yogurt or olive oil would be a great way to turn this into a mask, which you can keep on for 10 minutes and then rinse.