Tara’s homemade, natural, cruelty-free skincare regime

The very first thing that made me start researching how to live a cruelty-free lifestyle was seeing something about how cosmetics are tested on animals. I couldn’t believe what was involved just so we could put cream on our faces.  I vowed never to purchase any products that have been tested on animals, have had any of their ingredients tested on animals, or are owned by parent companies that conduct or outsource animal testing (ie. the profits will go back to the parent company).

I did alot of research, and used to carry around a big list of products that I knew were ‘safe’ and those I knew were not.  Now, all I do is carry around an awesome smart phone app – search for “Choose Cruelty Free” on Android, iPhone or iPad – it’s free, and makes things so much easier to check our products while you’re actually in the store.  You can also access the accredited cruelty-free companies list on your computer.  The best part is that it’s an Aussie organisation, so you’ll find Aussie brands on the list.  You can also check out Peta’s Caring Consumer list, although they are US-based and apparently their requirements are not quite as strict as the CCF list (but don’t quote me on that).

Of course, as well as the animal-testing perspective, why on earth would I want to be putting chemicals on my skin, even if they *were* cruelty-free?  Doesn’t make sense.  So, I checked out a few natural alternatives, and came up with my own skin care regime that is totally natural, totally cruelty-free, and CHEAP!  (That’s the winner for me haha!)

When changing to a completely different skincare regime, it will take a bit of time to get used to it.  This routine doesn’t take alot of time, is cheap, and is chemical-free as well as cruelty-free (assuming you choose brands of oils that are not tested on animals – I get mine from New Directions Australia).  My skin feels so much better having used this routine for about two years now, definitely less ‘clogged’, and I don’t need to use as much make-up anymore (I no longer wear foundation or powder).

If your coconut oil is solid (it changes from liquid to solid at a certain temperature), just scrape a bit out with the back of your fingernail, and it melts in your palms when you rub your hands together.

So without further ado, here’s my routine, which of course can be changed as needed to suit you.


Because I have removed my make-up the night before, and haven’t really done anything since then except sleep, my face isn’t really dirty in the morning – so I don’t think it needs a great big detox scrub or anything like that.  This is a really simple, really gentle way to kick-start your face in the morning.


  • In a small-medium glass bowl, put 3 drops of an essential oil.  The ones I usually choose between are lavender, geranium, ylang ylang, tea tree, eucalyptus, orange, bergamot (because I’m not a qualified Aromatherapist, I must advise you to please be careful when using any essential oil).
  • Almost-fill the bowl with hot water, grab a clean dry face cloth, and immerse it in the water.  Wring it out so it’s not dripping (be careful, the water is hot!) and use the cloth like a compress on your face.  The heat helps to soften your skin and helps the essential oils to be absorbed.
  • Repeat three times, then for the fourth time, wring out the face cloth and quickly rub all over your face as a kind of ‘wake me up’ and as a gentle exfoliant.


I use virgin coconut oil to moisturise my skin.  It felt a bit strange at first to use oil all over my face, and it does take your skin a few days to get used to it.  Honestly though, my skin is less oily now than it was before I started using oil.  I don’t know how that works, maybe because your skin isn’t being dried out your body doesn’t need to compensate by producing more oil, who knows.

  • Put a few drops (around 4-5 drops) of virgin coconut oil into the palm of your hand, then add 1 drop of an essential oil.  The ones I usually choose between are lavender, ylang ylang, sandalwood, rose (again, be careful when using essential oils).
  • Rub the palms of your hands together to mix the oils, then apply to your face.
  • Done!  Oh you’d better wait 5-10 mins before applying make-up, to let the coconut oil absorb.


After wearing make-up all day, and general accumulated daily grime, you want to get that crap off your skin before you go to sleep.  Did you know that most make-up removers are oil-based?  So why not skip all the additives and just use oil?  Olive oil dissolves make-up, and it’s so gentle you can use it to remove eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick too, as well as foundation.


  • Raid your kitchen cupboard for some olive oil.  You can use any oil, but I find that olive works the best as a make-up remover.
  • Apply a semi-generous amount of oil to a cotton pad, and swipe over your face once, where you’re wearing make-up.  Look at the cotton pad.  Ewww!  See, it really works!
  • You may need to go over your whole face twice if you wear alot of make-up, but trust me, this will work.  Don’t forget to change cotton pads as they become dirty.
  • When you’re finished, your face will be all oily and shiny.  Don’t worry!  Just grab a clean face cloth, run it under hot water, wring it out, and wipe your face over.  This will get rid of the excess oil that’s still left on your skin.


I make my own toner, by filling a small bottle with:

  • 90 mL water
  • 1 drop tea tree essential oil
  • 1 drop thyme essential oil
  • 1 drop ylang ylang essential oil (see my messages above re being careful etc etc…)

To use, just shake the bottle, squirt some onto a cotton pad, and swipe over your face.  Let dry.  Easy!

Moisturise (optional):

Because I just used the olive oil to cleanse, my face is not dry in the least and never feels like it needs moisturising afterwards – so I don’t moisturise at night, but of course you could use the same formula as in the morning, if you like.

Categories: Personal Care | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Tara’s homemade, natural, cruelty-free skincare regime

  1. I take my make up off with good old vegetable oil from the supermarket, works a treat. Does the toner close up your pores too? I just do a cold water rinse after to do that.
    Portia xx

    • Any oil will dissolve make-up, cool hey!

      To be honest I don’t think much of the ‘close your pores’ thing, as it’s never been an issue for me. But you could just keep the bottle in the fridge, then the cold water-oil infusion would do the same thing as your cold water rinse.

      I do find though that moisturiser absorbs into my skin better immediately after a hot compress, as the heat helps to draw it in.

      • I am afraid I don’t use moisturiser. Don’t need to. Good idea about the fridge. I will try it, even going so far as to buy a squirter tomorrow!
        XX P

  2. Karise

    Yes Tara! I know! Amazing isn’t it!!! I had only ever used Dermalogica for something like 15 years because I had reactions to everything else. Then about 2 months ago I cut out my $89 tube of Dermalogica moisturizer and just started using 1 drop of rose hip oil mixed with Sukin moisturizer which has no SLS or paraben in it and is vegan AND only costs $10! My skin actually feels more moisturized and softer now than ever. I can’t use essential oils on my skin in as high a concentrate as you but I will def give your coconut oil method a try too!!! Maybe just as a night ‘cream’ at first… I”m not sure if I’m ready to give up my lathering makeup remover a go yet but I have been researching some homemade gentle alternatives lately so we will see what my experiments result in!

    • Definitely let me know what you try and how it goes! I’ve heard lots of good things about rosehip oil too, maybe I might mix some in with the coconut and get a double-whammy of chemical-free goodness on my skin!

  3. Tara, have you tried Emu oil? I have been using this for decades as a moisturizer, make-up remover. Anti-inflammatory, so it is good for those with eczema and rosacea, and does not feel greasy – absorbed quicker than coconut/olive oil. For a great “scrub”, mix a small amount of baking soda with enough honey to form a paste. Gently rub into your face/neck/hands and rinse. Gloriously smooth skin.

    • Hi Dagmar, no I haven’t tried emu oil, as it’s not cruelty-free (it’s made from the fat of emus). Bicarb is great as a gentle scrub, I use that quite often!

  4. melinna

    What type of coconut oil do you use?
    Is the company cruelty-free? Thanks in advance. (:

  5. Pingback: Multi-Post: Cruelty-Free: Earth-Loving Toiletries - VIBRANT HEALTH NEWS

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