[By Julia Miles]
There’s no reason why you can’t indulge your beauty urges even when you are on a shoestring budget. With a bit of ingenuity and some simple home-derived ingredients, you can turn your kitchen into a beauty parlour to satiate all your beauty needs. No uncomprehendingly complex recipes here. Promise.
This is one simple recipe that has been handed down through the generations simply because it is so good and it works! Take 5 tablespoons of normal sugar (not icing sugar please) and mix with 5 tablespoons of your favourite oil. I use jojoba oil if possible. If you don’t have jojoba, you can also settle for olive oil if that is what’s available in your home. Sugar stays suspended in its crystal form in the oil. The great thing about this recipe is that sugar crystals make a great body scrub and is extremely effective on areas with dry, rough skin while jojoba oil (or olive oil) is known for its antioxidants and skin lubricating properties. Use this scrub on areas with dry rough skin such as your elbows, feet and knees for best effect. Best used in the shower.
If you have dry, dull skin and would like a home-made cleanser packed with goodness, try this yoghurt cleanser. Look for plain yoghurt (not low fat as normal yoghurt would be more moisturizing for your skin) and use it straight from the tub as soap substitute. If your skin feels like it needs a pick-me-up, chill the yoghurt in your refrigerator and apply it thickly to your skin as a face mask. Leave for 10 minutes before massaging it in circular motions across your face to loosen dirt and debris. Rinse off. Yoghurt is rich in lactobacillus and other probiotics which can restore your skin’s natural balance and help you fight acne and inflammation. The lactic acid found in yoghurt can also help dissolve dead cells and brighten a dull complexion.
Lemon Juice toner
Lemon juice is rich in citric acid which is a natural astringent. Squeeze a lemon into a bottle and top it up with half a cup of distilled water. Throw in a few slices of cucumber to soak overnight. Keep mixture in the refrigerator to settle and chill, and you end up with a citrusy and divine smelling concoction the next day. Use chilled as a toner on your face before your moisturizer and make up. This genius recipe is a godsend for oily, blemished skins; it can help regulate sebum production and exfoliate dead skin cells, aiding skin clarity and minimizing pores.
Strawberry & Avocado mask
If you feel like a summery treat for your skin, grab an avocado and four strawberries. Blend until you get a puree mixture. Chill in the refrigerator, then indulge your skin and your senses by applying this delicious recipe onto your face and neck. Strawberries have antioxidants to brighten your skin while avocadoes replenish your skin’s natural moisture levels. Don’t forget your neck and the back of your hands; apply any leftover on these areas for a whole body treat.
Papayas are bursting with natural enzymes that can exfoliate dead skin cells as well as some OTC products. Get 4 slices of papayas and place in blender. Blend until you get a nice, smooth puree. Chill and apply on your face for 10 minutes as a fruity face mask. Rinse off. For people with sensitive skins, you may want to rinse off earlier if you feel a tingling sensation. Do not use this over open wounds as it may sting a little. This home-made skin peel will give your skin an enviable glow, perfect before a big night out.
You may find many recipes on the web that are a lot more complex. That just simply makes no sense to me. For products to work on the skin, you only need a few key ingredients; remember, you are trying to create a simple yet effective beauty product not a gastronomic delight.
There are other recipes that may call for fragrance or essential oils to be used. I strongly disagree with this practice as essential oils do not have any benefits on the skin apart from giving you the fragrance you desire. Furthermore, some essential oils such as bergamot have been known to cause photosensitivity and hyperpigmentation on sun exposed skins and are best avoided.
If you keep your recipes simple, you receive the full goodness of the fresh ingredients you are using. By keeping your recipes fragrance free, you get to enjoy the natural freshness of your home made creations. Not only are you stretching your dollar by creating these home-made beauty recipes, you are also saving the earth by being a green beauty.