Beauty’s only skin deep, but it’s as close as your kitchen, according to these beauty hacks.
Homemade beauty concoctions have probably been around since the first cave women rubbed mastodon blubber on their skin to keep it from chapping. Nowadays there are so many different commercial cosmetics and treatments, but some common kitchen ingredients are also great for your skin.
One day at a women’s lunch, I happened to sit next to Heather Putman, owner of Splendid Beauty Day Spa in Clearfield. Since she’s a master esthetician and cosmetology instructor, we began talking about beauty hacks that come right from Mother Nature. Here are some of her tips:
Avocadoes. An anti-aging face mask of mashed avocado provides intense moisture for dry skin, and can help get rid of age spots while leaving the pores free and clear, according to Putman.
Coconut oil. “I use it as a makeup remover, and to hydrate eyelashes to get them to grow,” Putman said.
Also, it’s a powerful, anti-aging moisturizer. Putman says it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant known to protect skin cells from damage (and eventually, wrinkles). It also soothes eczema, sunburn and psoriasis, and its antiviral and antifungal benefits even help to treat bug bites.
More uses for coconut oil:
• Helps skin heal faster after injury or infection
• A natural chapstick
• A natural baby lotion.
• A salve for cracked heels and dry, flaky elbows.
• Use on cuticles to help fingernails grow.
• Naturally clears up cold sores..
• Helps prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
• For an exfoliating facial scrub, mix an equal part of coconut oil with baking soda and massage into face. Rinse with warm water to remove residue.
Chamomile or green tea bags. “Tea contains caffeine and tannins, which reduce those pesky puffy circles under your eyes, ” said Putman. “Steep your tea bags in boiling water for five minutes, pop them in the fridge to cool, and cover the eye area for about five minutes.”
Cucumbers are also known to relieve puffy eyes, especially when refrigerated before using.
Garlic for pimples. “Ayurvedic healers believe the antioxidant properties in garlic can help heal acne scars and prevent new blemishes from forming,” Putman said. “You can apply fresh garlic juice directly onto a newly formed pimple, or dilute it with water and cleanse with a washcloth. If the smell offends you, soak peeled cloves in milk for an hour.”
Aspirin. You can crush it into a powder and make it into a paste to spot-treat acne. It contains salicylic acid, an ingredient in most acne medicines.
Egg whites. An egg-white facial is good for temporarily firming sagging skin and cleaning out the pores, said Putman.
“Whip the egg whites in a bowl, and apply to the skin for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing off. When the egg white starts to dry on the skin, it will have a tightening effect,” she said. “The skin will be bright, and refreshed, as if you’ve just received a facial.”
Brown sugar. Healthy, radiant skin begins with exfoliation, said Putman, and brown sugar granules clear away dead skin just as well, if not better, than any drug store product.
“Combine a half of a cup with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some water. Pour the mixture in an empty jar, and you’re good to go,” said Putman.
Sour cream. Smooths and nourishes sensitive skin, said Putman. “It contains lactic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid found in many skin care products. It is a lightening agent, great for dark spots, and works to improve skin tone and texture. Apply a tablespoon of the full-fat variety and leave it on your face for 20 minutes, for a healthy, glowing complexion.”
Apple juice. Applied to the face with a cotton ball, it acts as a natural toner and astringent to tighten pores and restore your skin’s pH balance.
Apple cider vinegar. It’s a great astringent for oily skin and helps restore the pH balance.
Cornstarch. A few swipes will absorb facial oil. “Apply cornstarch just as you would your favorite setting power, and your complexion will stay matte and shine-free.”
Lemon and orange juice. Mix either of these at a 1:1 ration with baking soda for exfoliating the skin.
“They have a natural ‘chemical’ peel, clearing the pores, and helping to lighten dark age spots,” said Putman. “Lemon juice may dry skin slightly.”
To decrease redness and even out skin tone, apply lemon juice to the skin, let it sit 15 minutes and wash off with warm water.
Water. This is a simple, but often overlooked beauty hack.
“If people would drink more water their skin would be so much better,” said Putman. “It helps acne and other issues. It’s youthful and purifying. When you are dehydrated, your skin looks dry and older.”