We Tried It: Super-Duper-Natural Beauty

When it comes to beauty products, we usually feel that there's no such thing as too natural. Organic, cruelty-free, vegan, smells like the forest after it rains? We want it. But, where do we draw the line? With the DIY beauty scene becoming increasingly visible on the Internet, it feels like we can't go a day without someone trying to convince us to ditch our favorite products for produce — yes, the kind from the kitchen. It's not that we're necessarily afraid to go down that road, it's that we're skeptical. After all, if a single avocado can fix all of our skin woes, why is the beauty industry even a thing at all?
We've heard claims of miraculous results from people who have ditched their multi-ingredient, store-bought beauty treatments in favor of a single, often edible product applied topically. We're definitely not ones to miss out on the latest ways to get gorgeous (beauty FOMO is real!), so we rounded up our bravest staff members and had them try out some of the super all-natural treatments that we've been hearing about. Read on for their journeys into the depths of crunchy skin care.
The Lemon Juice As Deodorant
Tested by Leeann Duggan, Staff Writer
When it comes to beauty, I'm in the 'if you wouldn't eat it, don't wear it' camp — which is why my jar of coconut oil spends as much time in my bathroom as it does my kitchen. But, for deodorant, I make an exception. I'm terrified to trust my pits to the all-natural rock deodorants that look more like a crystal ball than a hygiene product. So I use a vaguely organic deodorant from Whole Foods — a compromise to my crunchy ideals, to be sure.
So, it was with some trepidation that I signed on to try the buzzed-about lemon deodorant — after making my coworkers solemnly swear to tell me if I stunk up the joint. We learned about it from Osea founder Jenefer Palmer, who swears by it. Here's how it works: You slice a lemon in half, and apply the cut side directly to your pits. Let's get this out of the way: It feels just plain weird to do this. And, it feels just plain crazy to do it in the middle of a 95-degree heatwave, but I persevered in the interest of SCIENCE. Here's what I learned:
Observation #1: Don't, for the love of god, don't use your lemon-deodorant after you shave your pits! Ever gotten vinegar on a papercut? Yeah, it feels exactly like that.
Observation #2: This stuff works... pretty well, actually. I survived my morning trudge through 100-degree subway platforms, a 15-block walk to get dinner, and a stroll in the park, all completely un-smelly. Like, I was literally shocked every time one of my surreptitious pit-sniffs came up clean. Not bad, little lemon!
Observation #3: ...But, your pits will be wet. There's just no getting around this. If dampness is the bane of your existence, stick to your trusty anti-perspirant.
Observation #4: No, you don't smell like Country Time all day. In fact, I couldn't smell the lemon at all once it dried. Which is good, because I was terrified that people would notice and dub me Juicy Pits.
Observation #5: No, it won't discolor your clothes. I used the lemon deodorant while wearing a brand new white tee, and a black silk blouse, and neither shirt suffered.
Bottom line: Lemon juice kept me funk-free on a blistering-hot day when the New York sidewalks shimmered like the Sahara. I liked it so much I used it the next day, too — sans shower. Same, no-smell results on day two. I'd definitely hit up the produce aisle for my underarm-maintenance needs again. Nature is the best, you guys.
Avocado Face Mask
Tested by Gabrielle Korn, Beauty Production Assistant
So, I've heard that avocado is supposed to be some sort of moisturizing miracle for your face. While avocado is one of my favorite things to eat (actually, does anyone not like avocado?), my personal history of cystic acne and a delightful combo of greasy and dry skin means I don't feel the need to put oily anything on my face — no matter how natural and no matter how good it tastes on a chip.
But, after I ended up with some sensitive dry patches from aggressively treating a series of heat wave-related breakouts, I finally felt emotionally ready to go the super-all-natural route and try out the avocado face mask. I mashed it with a fork until it was completely smooth and creamy, and then I smeared it on my face like a face mask. Honestly, it felt super slimy and pretty gross. I smelled like a taco.
I left it on for 10 minutes as per various instructions from the all-natural Internet. It actually burned a little bit on my driest parts, but not enough for me to wash it off. Parts of it had dried by the time I was ready to take it off, but the thickest parts remained wet and chunky; I had some fun times trying to wipe it off with a tissue before washing my face as to not have a plumbing disaster. It was hard to wash off, as it left a film avocado oil on my skin. Once I got the residue all off, my skin definitely felt moisturized, but it wasn't very drastic.
However! About an hour later, I took a shower and used my regular exfoliator. I was amazed at the amount of crap that sloughed off my skin in the process. It was as if the avocado had brought the impurities to the surface and I just needed to scrub 'em out, hard, rather than just rinsing. My skin afterward was smooth, hydrated, and glowing — all of the remains of my breakout disaster (dry patches, red spots, clogged pores, and other joys) were essentially gone. My skin did look a little shinier than usual, but other than that, I was thrilled with the results. Nothing a little matte mineral powder couldn't take care of.
So, while I don't think I'll have the patience for this completely natural skin treatment on the regular, it's going to be nice to have it in my back pocket for when winter hits. Heavy moisturizing is not usually my summertime skincare need, so I'll be tabling this for now. But I feel great knowing that my impending chapped January cheeks might have found their savior.
Olive Oil As Face Lotion
Tested by Hayden Manders, News Editorial Assistant
"For years, random acquaintances, stylists, and even my former roommate have urged me to put olive oil on more than just a salad. They’d say it’s better than any lotion, and left your skin feeling like silk. As a natural-beauty skeptic (I usually put all my trust in salon professionals), I brushed it off — until now. I caved, and, well, I get it. Olive oil is the earth’s be-all, end-all when it comes to your beauty routine.
For a week, I substituted my daily face lotion and weekly hair mask with extra-virgin olive oil. The first two days or so were more experimentation than anything. On my first try, after toning, I applied too much to my face; there was no way to avoid smelling like an Italian restaurant for the rest of the day. So, I wised up come mid-week. I began to dab on a little bit of olive oil on a cotton pad, which kept my hands from getting super-oily, and then I evenly spread the oil across my face. It takes some time for it to soak into your pores, but it’s well worth the wait. I found my complexion evened out, and my trouble spots that tend to dry out first never did. My hands have never felt softer. It’s incredible what one tiny drop of oil can do in a matter of seconds.
Because of the success I started seeing in just three days, I wanted to see if an olive oil hair mask would nourish my precious coiff, too. I filled my palm with oil, and after shampooing, massaged the oil through my hair beginning at the scalp, twisting through to the end. After about five minutes, I washed it out and was pleasantly surprised at how conditioned my hair was. Was it as soft as it usually is after a Moroccanoil mask? No, not entirely, but it definitely worked and gave my hair the right amount of shine.
So, the bottom line is: I think you should totally use olive oil on your skin. It’s free of chemicals, and definitely wallet friendly."
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