Have a Spa Day—In Your Kitchen!
Did you know that the $2 yogurt in your fridge is as effective at exfoliating your skin as a $20 mask? Or that the oatmeal you munch on every morning can clear your pores better than most store-bought treatments?
For your next beauty night in, consider this: If it’s good enough to eat, it’s more than good enough to put on your skin. In fact, beauty junkies and the budget-conscious alike love homemade beauty recipes—not only do they cost less than packaged products, they’re as green as you can get, and they're not tested on anyone other than you.
I asked Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home, and celeb dermatologist Jessica Wu, who wrote Feed Your Face (and whose clients include Maria Bello and Katherine Heigl), how to whip up skin-smoothing potions using the ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Here are the best things to happen to leftovers since turkey sandwiches.
Oatmeal Cookie Scrub
This yummy scrub is particularly effective if you have oily skin, since oats contain saponins, a protein that helps dissolve oil and loosen dirt and makeup. The lactic acid in the yogurt exfoliates and unclogs pores, while cinnamon boosts circulation for a rosy glow. (Skip this spice if your skin is on the sensitive side, though—it can be irritating.)
¼ cup rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Mix everything together, adding more honey and yogurt if the oatmeal seems too dry, until the mixture is moist and easy to spread. Apply to your face for 15 minutes, then rinse off.
Guacamole Body Scrub
Avocado and olive oil both contain fatty acids that replenish the skin’s natural protective barrier without aggravating irritated or sensitive areas. In fact, olive oil is so gentle and nourishing that it’s great for treating eczema and itchiness. However, skip this scrub if you’re prone to pimples on your chest or back—the oils can clog your pores.
1 cup sugar (granulated white for a fine scrub, or brown for a coarser texture)
¼ cup mashed avocado
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Combine all ingredients until smooth. Apply to damp skin using a circular motion, and rinse. Refrigerate any leftovers, and bring to room temperature before using again.
Pumpkin Pie Mask
Pumpkin contains powerful antioxidants, as well as alpha hydroxy acids that slough off dead skin while still protecting the underlying layers and helping to retain moisture. Add in honey, a natural humectant, and yogurt, which has lactic acid, and you have the perfect blend of gentle exfoliants and skin-smoothers for your face.
¼ cup mashed pumpkin pulp (can be canned)
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
Mix together all ingredients, and spread onto clean skin. Let sit 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry.
Green Tea Toner
Green tea is making a big appearance in beauty products right now, but you don’t have to pay a fortune to reap its soothing antioxidant benefits. This three-ingredient toner costs less than a dollar to make, and it’s great at tightening pores and reducing puffiness.
2 tea bags of green tea
1 cup mineral water
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
Boil the water, and steep tea bags for 10-15 minutes to make a highly concentrated tea. After allowing it to cool, pour the concentrate into a small bottle and refrigerate. (If your skin is oily, add two teaspoons of lemon juice to the mixture.) Apply to clean skin with a cotton ball before applying moisturizer, sunscreen, or makeup.
Minty Fresh Foot Rub
If dancing in your cocktail party stilettos has taken its toll on your toes, pick up some peppermint. The energizing oil refreshes tired feet—and also has antibacterial properties that help stave away infections.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
½ teaspoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon peppermint oil
Mix together all ingredients, and stir well. Store in a clean container. To use, pour a small amount into your palm, and slowly massage into feet. Put your feet up and relax for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy soft, energized, and happy feet.
Tell us! Have you ever tried DIY skin care products? What are your favorite homemade beauty recipes?
Photo courtesy of africa.
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