Before you hare off to buy expensive skin and hair care products from the shops, please step into your kitchen. Open the shelves and cabinets and you’ll be surprised at the number of regular food items you have that work beautifully and gently on your skin and hair.
You don’t need to spend a bag of money on expensive creams and lotions, scrubs, cleansers, conditioners. Wear the stuff in your kitchen cupboard. If it’s good enough to eat, it’s likely good enough to put on your person. (Just avoid chillies and pepper and other spicy stuff, please!)
You’ve surely heard or read this before:
Apple cider vinegar is a good toner. Flat beer or warm, unsweetened tea give your hair bounce and shine. Oranges, lemons and potatoes are skin lighteners and have astringent properties. Baking soda is a great cleanser, especially when you want to rid your hair of product build-up.
Let’s go beyond these. Here are some quick and easy recipes to pamper yourself with:
Mix 3 spoon each of grated potato and loose tea leaves with ⅓ spoon of oil. (Almost any oil will work, so try olive, sesame, sunflower, coconut or whatever you have on hand.) Apply this on your body and massage gently for 5 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Pat your skin dry.
Potato is rich in lanolin, a natural moisturiser. Mixed with tea and oil, it makes a great scrub that leaves your face looking soft and clean. Try this scrub on your face too.
Brown sugar scrub
Make your scrub with equal parts of fine brown sugar and olive oil. Add a few drops of your favourite aroma oil (lavender, sandalwood, rose, jasmine, …). Mix well. Massage this on your body from the feet up. Pay extra attention to your elbows and knees. Use a circular motion and be gentle when rubbing on soft skin like on the stomach. Wash off with warm water. Pat your body dry wit a towel.
The sugar leaves your skin soft and smooth, the oil helps lock in moisture in your skin and the aroma oil lets you relax and de-stress. You can also rub this scrub gently to slough off dead skin and plump up your lips.
Mix oatmeal, yogurt and honey in a 1:3:1 proportion. Rub this on your body and massage gently in using a circular motion using your fingertips. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
Oatmeal contains beta-glucans which soothes the skin and tightens it. The yoghurt provides the lactic acid makes it a good moisturiser and exfoliator. Honey is prized for its toning and healing properties.
This is a great recipe for a face pack too. Apply as thick paste on your face and neck. Wait for a few minutes and massage gently. Wash off and pat dry.
Don’t bin the coffee after you brew your cuppa. Instead, use it to make this refreshing scrub. Mix 3 parts of ground coffee with one part of salt. Add a little water and use as a scrub for your whole body including the your face. Wash off with warm water.
Coffee contains vitamin E and antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. This is a great exfoliator and, of course, the smell of coffee is known to be stimulating.
Condition with coconut
Try this natural hair conditioner that will leave your hair shiny, smooth and silky.
Blend half a cup of mayonnaise with one tablespoon of coconut oil and one tablespoon of coconut milk/powder. Apply to your scalp and hair and cover with a shower cap / plastic wrap. Leave on for up to an hour and rinse off completely. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Avocado and egg hair-healer
This is really great for dry hair.
Mash the pulp of a ripe avocado with a raw egg and apply to wet hair. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse well. Use this every week to care for treated or damaged hair. If you must, use a gentle shampoo.
Avocado is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty oils. The egg provides the protein to strengthen your hair.
Aloe vera conditioner
Take 2 ounces each of aloe vera gel and olive oil in a small jar. Add 6 drops each of sandalwood and rosemary essential oils. Mix to combine well. Apply to your hair instead of store-bought conditioner. Rinse well with lukewarm water.
The aloe hydrates your hair, olive oil is an emollient, rosemary makes your hair soft and bouncy, and the sandalwood – well, that gives it a great fragrance!
Honey cinnamon mask
Here’s an antibacterial mask that will help control acne. Mix 3 teaspoons honey with ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder. Apply evenly on your face, taking care to avoid the eyes. Leave on for up to 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and pat dry.
Please do a patch test on the back of your hand if you have sensitive skin.
Mash a ripe banana and mix with one egg yolk. Add a spoon of olive or coconut oil. Wash your face, tie your hair back and apply this mask. Leave on for 15 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Pat dry.
Some raw oatmeal mixed with milk and honey also make a healthy mask for your face.
Clean with oil
Here’s a way to cleanse your skin without drawing out natural oils from your skin.
Mix 3 teaspoons of almond oil with one teaspoon of castor oil. Apply (to dry skin) on your face and neck. Massage gently with your fingertips. Dip a washcloth in hot water and wring out the excess. Place the cloth on your face till it starts to cool. Repeat two more times. Use the washcloth to gently wipe the oil from your face.
And guess what the best part about these make-at-home recipes? You won’t gain an ounce of weight, no matter how rich the ingredients!
So, go ahead and binge!