Use Oil To Treat Acne? An Interview With Crunchy Betty

When I started blogging about wellness and herbal healing, I began to search  the blogosphere for other folks who were writing about the same thing. I knew I could learn a lot from them and we could share ideas.

One of my first (and favorite) discoveries was Crunchy Betty. Wow. “Betty” shared a plethora of information on her blog, subtitled “you have food on your face.” After spending an hour or two clicking from post to post I was thoroughly hooked.

In fact I wondered if I should bother proceeding with my own blog. “Betty” seemed to already be doing everything I’d set out to do – especially in the make-your-own department. And every page had an appealing look and feel to it.

This Crunchy Betty has it down I thought.

But we all have something unique to share, right? So I carried on. In fact I contacted “Betty” (who is actually named Leslie) and ended up writing a guest post on her blog about cordials and herbal aphrodisiacs. You can read it here.

The Book

Anyway, back to the point of this post. After a couple of months of following Crunchy Betty, I was thrilled, thrilled to see she was launching an e-book crammed full of natural beauty recipes for acne and oily skin.

I mean you can find lots of recipes on the blog – but having so many all together in one easily readable format is more than awesome. It’s phenomenal. This cute little book has more than 35 recipes plus 18 simple pimple remedies to blast those zits fast. And all with ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.

Best of all? This book could be yours for the mere pittance of $7.99! And Crunchy Betty is giving back half of this for the next couple of months – read on for details.

I couldn’t wait to share this book with my daughter Rosie (who is also now an avid follower of the Crunchy Betty blog and a convert to the honey face wash routine for clearing the complexion.) As soon as the e-book was ready, I ordered it so I could give it to her. (And Rosie, I hope you’ve started whipping up some of these recipes – if not, do it now!)

Once I checked it out, I could see this little “book” is packed with more information than I even imagined. Is your interest piqued enough? Grab your own copy over at Crunchy Betty’s site.

I’m digging this book (and everything about Crunchy Betty) so much that I decided to interview the woman responsible for it all here on Wellness The Natural Way. So read on for Leslie Martin’s wisdom about her book, food on your face, and the crunchy way.


The Crunch – Right From The Source

Me:   Okay, so what does it mean to be “crunchy?”

CB:  Do you prefer to choose natural products over synthetic, and are you brave enough to try making your own skincare and household items? Do you choose natural means to solve health issues – first – before moving on to pharmaceutical options? Then you’re probably crunchy.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you’re making conscious choices about the foods and products you buy, you qualify as crunchy, too!

The entire Crunchy Community defined what crunchy means to us right here, and the answers are as varied and unique as we all are – but, man, I’ll tell you what, the consensus was that crunchy means that we choose natural means first in all things, we respect the nature that gives us beauty and health, and we aren’t afraid to get messy with our experiments.

(I’d like to point out that crunchy does NOT mean unattractively dirty or, ahem, stinky. We have solutions for those things.)

Me:   So, when did you start getting interested in all this crunchiness? What inspired you?

CB:   About 10 years ago, I discovered the joy that is alternative medicine (in all forms) and started to heal myself naturally – in different ways. After a while, I started thinking about prevention, and then about the things I was putting ON my body (and what their chemical makeup was).

One day, after going crazy with yet another facial mask recipe I read in a magazine, I started wondering just how far we – as women – could take this “natural beauty” idea. Is it possible to be attractive without synthetic chemicals? Could the ads on the television be wrong about our need to slather with expensive creams in order to retain our beauty?

(YES! It turns out, it is possible! And not just a little bit, but completely. Absolutely. 100 percent.)

So, with that yogurt and strawberry facial mask on, I made a pact with myself to start trying more beauty and household recipes to see just how well going completely natural would work for me. And what better way to document the successes (and occasional failures) than with a blog? Who knew that little idea would turn into such a thriving, vibrant community of women doing the exact same thing?

Me:  I’ve read bunches of herb books and herbal body care advice but I still learned lots from your book. Like the difference between a toner and an astringent, or between a facial cleanser and a mask. Can you say anything quick about these two things? And how the heck did you find out all this good stuff?

CB:   Well, last question first. For the last 10 years, I have absolutely devoured natural beauty books, books about nutrition, and books about alternative medicine. And, of course, in close to two years of blogging, I’ve had countless conversations with other women about natural beauty and the like. It’s all led to this magnanimous repository of natural beauty information all packed into my head. It gets crowded in here sometimes.

Add to that a history of working in the fashion business as a model, and I have experience on both sides of the coin – the unhealthy obsession with beauty and the natural celebration of humanity+nature.

Now. Briefly, the difference between a toner and astringent? Toners are more gentle, and astringents more drying. (Although a toner can include an astringent as an ingredient, and probably does.) Astringents are things like alcohol and witch hazel. Toners will have other soothing ingredients in them to balance out the harsh astringents.

The difference between a facial cleanser and a mask? A facial cleanser removes dirt and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin; a mask imparts natural goodness back into your face OR sucks out the imbedded, clogging oils. It all depends on the ingredients.

Me:  You’ve got 18 quick pimple remedies in this book. Have you tried them all? How can someone decide which pimple remedy to try? Does it depend on the type of pimple?

CB:    Ah! The way you can decide what remedy to try is to look in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. What do you have available to you right now? That, right there, is the best plan of action. Start with what you have, see if it works, and if it doesn’t, plan for success the next time by buying a new ingredient. With 18 remedies to choose from, you WILL find one that is effective for your skin.

Have I tried them all? Yep. Every last one. Some of them worked for me, and some of them didn’t – but I chose the ones that had the highest success rate reported from a large group of women. And that, I think, is the secret to all of this. Nature isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the excitement is getting to experiment and find that perfect balance that works JUST for you.

Me:    You’ve got so many great skincare recipes on the blog – and so many tips for “food on your face” facials. Do you have your personal skin care regime? Or do you vary according to mood and season?

CB:   I have to be honest. I try so many different things – all the time – just for the blog. It’s difficult to stay faithful to just one skincare regimen when you’re always trying out and finding new things that work. But, ultimately, I would say it absolutely does depend on the mood and the season. I wash my face with honey at least once a day, and oftentimes once more at night with the daily facial scrub in the book; I use a toner most days; I moisturize every day; and, lastly, I exfoliate once a week and use a mask and a steam once a week.

By no means does everyone need to follow such an intensive regimen, though. I just do it because I’m experimenting.

Me:   This whole thing about using oils on your face to clear up acne and oily skin seems so counter-intuitive to a lot of people. What do you have to say about that?

CB:   It seems crazy, right? Oil for an oily face. But, in fact, if you remember that “like dissolves like” – then the fresh, clean oil you put on your face to wash it will actually dissolve the stale oil on  your skin, leaving behind a face that’s soft and clean (but not stripped of natural oil, which would cause it to try to produce more).

Don’t believe me? Just read all the comments on the Oil Cleansing Post.

Me:   How do you come up with your recipes? Is it all trial and error? Or do you start with a basic recipe, try it out and then tweak and modify it to fit.

CB:   At this point, I know enough about almost all the potential natural ingredients we have at our disposal to just “whip something up” that works at least 95 percent of the time. But it’s a lot like cooking: You know your basic ingredients – and sometimes those work really well – but often you want to add a little “flavoring” in for extra goodness. Really, the more I think about it, the more it IS like cooking. (Up next: Vegetable stew facial mask … Just kidding. Sort of.)

Me:   How much money have you saved by being so crunchy?

CB:   Oh. My. Gosh. I couldn’t give you an exact dollar amount, but suffice it to say – A LOT. Once you buy a few “essential” natural ingredients (that aren’t food), you’re set for a really, really long time.

So an intitial cost of, say, $30 will last you six months to a year – if not longer. The biggest savings, though, have been in making my own household cleaners. Those are literally pennies on the dollar in cost compared to buying cleaners (of every kind) prepackaged in the store. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say in household cleaners alone, I save a good $30 a month.

Me:    You have this  great give-away going on with this book. I love that! How does that work?

CB:   Ah, the Community Share Plan. I wouldn’t even call it a giveaway, really. It’s more of a give back to all of the fantastic readers who’ve helped me, helped each other, and most of all helped themselves through natural living ideas and recipes from Crunchy Betty.

Here’s how it works: For the first 90 days after the book is released, I’ll be using 50 percent of the profits to purchase gorgeous handmade items from sellers at places like Etsy and Artfire, or ingredients from places like Mountain Rose Herbs (the first “give back” was water kefir grains from Cultures for Health, which is SUPER fun). And then I’ll give them to Crunchy Betty readers who’ve been particularly engaged and helpful throughout the week. Then THEY get to choose one other person to receive the item.

It’s giving back to handmade artisans and ethical natural companies; it’s giving back to the people who read and participate in Crunchy Betty; and most of all, it gives ME that incredible feeling of giving to people who mean so much to me. It’s like this big, giant circle of “give.” Magical!

Me:    I like how you made your book so specific for acne and oily skin. Folks don’t have to wade through dozens of irrelevant recipes. But what about other skin types? Any more books in the works? What about something for those of us with dry, sensitive skin?

CB:  Yes! I have an entire series planned: There will be one for normal/dry/aging skin, one for haircare, one for household cleaners … and who knows what’s next? I’m so excited to cover ALL the bases. One issue at a time.

Me:  By the way, who’s Betty anyway?

Betty is the ephemeral feminine. Or something like it.

Crunchy Betty, the name, was actually born out of trying to figure out a way to quickly convey the idea that using natural ingredients and making your own products was also beautiful. Crunchy = natural goodness. Betty = a cute girl.

Crunchy … Betty

There are hundreds upon hundreds of Crunchy Betties out there right now. (And, congratulations … you’re one of them!)

One Response to Use Oil To Treat Acne? An Interview With Crunchy Betty

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