Raid the kitchen cupboards and rustle up some great skin recipes.
Our TV screens and magazines are crammed with the latest super-sophisticated 'here's the science bit' claims and unpronounceable ingredients. But your kitchen cupboard provides countless 'natural', not to mention thrifty, solutions to your beauty needs (that includes you, guys). Just check with the owner of the foods before you dive in.
Cool as a cucumber
Our eyes get a raw deal - whether it's daubing them with every colour under the sun, staying up until the wee hours or staring comatose at computer screens for hours on end. There's a reason why so many eye care products contain cucumber - it's proven to reduce puffiness and calm irritation; go one step better by placing slices, straight from the fridge, on your peepers. Lie back and relax for five to 10 minutes.
This simple concoction is great for oily complexions - and will make your skin feel quite tight and taut when you apply it. Simply mix one egg white with quarter of a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar - whisk together and apply to cleansed skin. Wash off after 10 minutes.
Is your skin feeling dry and irritated? Take a ripe banana and mash up with a fork with enough runny honey to make it into a pulp and apply liberally over you face, preferably after a warm bath and leave for 10 minutes.
Plain yogurt is commonly used in Indian beauty regimes - popular for its ability to cool and soothe the most irritated of skins. Try applying it direct to a clean complexion if it's feeling sensitive or you've over-indulged on the sunbathing. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash thoroughly.
They're not just great in salads. The fruit acids in the humble tomato are great for calming oily skin and boosting dull complexions. Mash up a ripe, very soft tomato with a fork, apply to clean skin and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm (not hot) water.
They can be expensive, especially if they're just going to end up on your face, but avocados are great for soothing sensitive types and hydrating dry skin. Mash or blend a quarter of an avocado (with 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil if you have it) until you have a smooth paste, apply liberally to the face and neck, then relax for 10 minutes. Remove with a soft, damp cloth.
Oat of this world
Our skin - both male and female - needs regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and combat dullness, but it can be harsh on sensitive complexions. Try this if you're allergic to shop-bought exfoliation products: mix two heaped tablespoons of oatmeal (finely ground oats) with 2 teaspoons of double cream and rub gently on to the skin using your fingertips.
Time for tea
Camomile tea is known for its calming properties on the inside of our bodies (calming digestion and aiding sleep) but if you don't drink it first you can also apply it directly to soothe irritated skin. Make it up as you would a regular cuppa - wait until it cools, douse some cotton wool and apply over the face.
This is another great natural solution to dehydrated or sensitive skin. Take two handfuls of ripe strawberries, which are packed with skin-friendly vitamin C - and mash together with a tablespoon of natural yogurt. Massage on to your face and leave for 10-15 minutes.
Vinegar has been used for centuries to deal with skin problems like bites, stings and oiliness. Apply apple cider vinegar diluted (eight parts water to one part vinegar) directly to your skin with a cotton ball and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
The ancient Greeks used to bathe in olive oil to boost their skin. We're not recommending you do that, but use in small amounts on problem dry areas. Leave for five to 10 minutes and then rinse. This can also be used on other areas prone to dry skin like elbows and knees.
The rough and the smooth
Is your skin looking a tad on the dull side? This is one to try when you've got some time on your hands. There's a bevvy of natural scrubbers hiding in the kitchen - like coarse brown sugar, oatmeal and rock salt. Mix a handful with a glug of olive or rapeseed oil and apply to warm damp skin in circular motions. Wash your skin (and the bath) thoroughly.
Oats so good
Oats are known to calm conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. They often appear as an ingredient in sensitive skin products as 'avena sativa'. Fill a clean sock or stocking with porridge oats, tie and place in your bath water for 20 minutes. And relax.
Warm a cup of milk in the microwave for 30 seconds (or until warm, but not boiling). Soak your hands for five minutes to strengthen nails and hydrate stressed skin.
Written by Antonia Kanczula
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