By Diane Small
One of many things my grandmother taught me was you needn’t buy anything from a shop to keep your complexion and hair beautiful. Whilst busily cooking in the kitchen, with me sitting at the kitchen table, watching in awe, she shared many beauty tips with me that been handed down through generations. Most involve food, but all involve items that are easily found in most households. Here are the Top Ten Natural Beauty Tips passed on from my gran, to me, to you.
1. Sour Grapes, Sweet Skin
Slice a few grapes in half and rub the cut sides over clean skin. Apparently, the fruit acids are natural exfoliators, and act to help break up and remove dead cells.
2. Wake up!
It’s well known that tired, puffy eyes get revived with cucumber slices, which are mildly diuretic and drain fluid built up overnight, but tea bags, stored in the fridge for a few minutes, will do just as well. Neither on hand? Place chilled spoons over your eyelids.
3. Kill Spots Dead
How? by dabbing tea tree oil over them. Not available? Cut open a chamomile tea bag and make a paste with some warm water. Put on the spot for 30 mins. It should reduce its size. Still not working? Try a dab of mouthwash on the sucker. Should be gone by now!
4. Get Steamy!
Facial masks and treatments are more effective in the bath or shower–your pores will more open to receiving the benefits of the mask’s ingredients. Use a natural clay mask for normal to oily skin, or mush up an avocado or papaya for dry skin. Alternatively, honey, plain yogurt alone or mixed with oatmeal for oily skin, mushed bananas or whipped egg whites can all be used by themselves or in combination for a great toning facial mask. Apply whatever you find mentioned above in your kitchen to your visage, then soak in a tub before rinsing off.
5. Be a Bronze Babe
No need to sunbathe: you can get a nice, bronzed look by blending 1 tsp. cocoa powder with a dollop of sunblock or skin cream until you’ve obtained the shade of glow that’s right for your skin. (This tip comes not from gran, but from Zero Waste Home’s Bea Johnson). Bonus: it smells great!
6. Firm up skin
It’s easy, with facial exercises. Every morning, my grandma would ‘kiss the heavens’–she’d tilt her head back, pucker up and try hard to kiss the sky a few dozen times. It looks a bit mad, but I swear, my gran had a pretty firm jawline into her 70s.
7. Shine up your hair
All you need is a few drops of Argan Oil on the ends. Gran used to use olive oil–this also works, but may smell a bit weird! If you’re not sure where to get supermarket grade Argan, try Moroccan Natural – unlike the more famous brand Moroccan Oil, which contains very little actual Argan oil, Moroccan Natural is actually 100% pure Argan oil.
8. Scrub up well
Dry skin? Just make your own natural facial and body exfoliator: take equal parts brown sugar and olive oil and mix coarsely. Rub into face, elbows, knees or any other area you’d like to exfoliate. Rinse off with warm water. Alternatively, coffee grounds work instead of sugar.
9. Whiten up your teeth
How? By rubbing the inside of a banana peel over your teeth for two minutes a night for 2-3 weeks. I have no idea why, but this does work! I’ve also heard that strawberries and baking soda are highly effective and natural teeth whiteners, and oil pulling (swishing oil in the mouth and then spitting) is also apparently an effective way to remove stains from teeth. Personally, I’d go for the oil: fruit has sugar, which doesn’t seem to me to be a great idea to rub onto your teeth, but it did seem to work for gran.
10. Cleanse with oil
Bet your granny never used soap on her face, but took off her makeup with a small amount of almond oil. It’s gentle and easy: apply onto dry face and massage into skin for several minutes, then remove with a warm, steamy washcloth until no oil remains. Should leave your skin soft and clean!
11. Ice those fingers
Don’t bother with those chemically loaded nail polish drying sprays or lacquers–when you’re finished painting your nails with your favourite chem-free nail polish brand, just stick your fingers in a bowl of iced water, et voila! Dry!
12. Give your hair a shampoo cocktail
Got dandruff? Product build up in your hair? Oily scalp? Add 4 Tablespoons of vodka to your shampoo bottle. Shake a bit. Now every time you shampoo, you’ll be strengthening your scalp and hair.
13. Smooth it out
Ankles as rough as a dinosaur elbow? No worries. Slough off dead skin with a foot file. Apply coconut oil or an all natural balm, like Niki’s Organic Balms, or just slather in coconut oil. Put on a pair of socks before you go to bed. Wake up with baby-soft feet!
14. Get Better Blusher
Want your lippy to last all day? Find a powder blusher in a similar shade and dab it over your lipstick. Blot. You’re good to go! In fact, my own gran told me she often used blusher as lipstick, too (by adding a dab of oil).
15. Whiten and lighten your fingertips
Nails gone all yellow, thanks to your favourite dark hues? No problem: brush the yellow bits with some natural whitening toothpaste. Dab a bit on each nail, straight from the tube, and leave on for 10 mins and then brush off. What works on teeth also works on nails!
There are plenty of ways to stay beautiful using basics in your kitchen. Here’s a handy guide by Health Perch for what to keep and why:
Do you have a natural skin care tip passed down in your family? We’d love to hear about it! Tweet us at @eluxemagazine
Oil, chamomile and vodka images: Wikicommons