It is often said that the heart of a home is the kitchen. Food plays an integral part in our wellbeing and I always find the kitchen to be a place that is the soul of my family life. It is here that we lovingly and thoughtfully prepare the meals that keep us nourished, energised and healthy. We use the freshest, best quality ingredients we can buy and most kitchens these days are filled with wonderful staples including a variety of oils, herbs and spices. It turns out that the food and ingredients that are so important in nourishing us from the inside can also be used to strengthen our beauty arsenal. These are the clean beauty remedies we can all make and use.
In many cultures, traditional recipe ingredients such as oils and spices are used to create multi-tasking products that make your hair shine and your skin glow. Whilst skin oils and herbal tinctures are the new buzz in skincare, women in India have been using natural beauty treatments for centuries. They have been inspired by Ayurveda and family rituals passed down through generations. It should come as no surprise that there are a number of great uses for your pantry items that can be implemented in your daily beauty regime.
Even when buying off-the-shelf beauty products, there is always some trial and error involved. Natural remedies aren’t a once size fits all solution. But with the ingredients so close to hand, it’s really easy to try a few things out to find what suits your skin – and it won’t cost you anything either! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Apple cider vinegar (ACV):
Properties: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory
This can be used a cleanser but I prefer to dilute it and use as a toner. ACV has enough acidity in it to remove oil from the skin and balance out the pH level. It kills bacteria and as such is a great remedy to fight acne, pimples and blemishes. It removes excess dirt and oil from the skin and dissolves dead skin cells, visibly brightening the complexion. It is also widely reported to tighten up pores and make blackheads smaller and less visible.
On the downside, I personally find it to be quite drying on my skin. This can be rectified by diluting it further or decreasing the frequency of use. You can also try applying an intensive moisturiser after use.
Properties: Repels water, contains good fats which can soften hair and repair skin, hydrating, locks in moisture, anti-fungal, antibacterial
Undoubtedly a natural beauty staple, I’m not sure there’s much coconut oil can’t do! It can be used for your hair, skin, nails and teeth and just one google search will offer you plenty of options to get you started.
I love to use it as an intensive body moisturiser and also make up remover. For those times when you get home from a night out and are feeling too lazy to go through the whole bedtime ritual of cleansing, toning and moisturising – it’s a great quick fix which removes make up without leaving your skin feeling stripped of moisture. It can be used on lips and the eye area too so there’s no excuse to crawl into bed with your make up still on if you’ve got some coconut oil to hand!
Coconut oil is super hydrating and great at locking in moisture. It also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. My downside for this is that it can feel too rich or greasy sometimes but that may not be the case for everyone.
Properties: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, low PH (so it kills many bacteria), calming, moisturising
This is my ultimate favourite beauty multi-tasker and one of the oldest skin-care ingredients. As a starting point, you need to use raw honey or a good quality Manuka honey. Due to it’s natural antibacterial properties, honey not only clears breakouts but also hydrates the skin. I can honestly say this has been a game changer for me!
I apply a honey mask every morning for anything between two to ten minutes depending on how much time I have. This literally involves me keeping a jar of Manuka honey by the sink and slathering it all over my face before getting in the shower. That’s it – sticky but simple. 🙂 When I’m ready, I rinse off the honey and tone/moisturise as per normal. I’ve tried applying the honey directly on spots overnight as a mask and have noticed it significantly reduces redness and inflammation.
I have also researched some honey based masks which I use in the evening. These are made with a combination of essential oils, a carrier oil such as olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. I have noticed a considerable difference in my skin tone and how soft it is. I LOVE honey!
Properties: antibacterial, brightening (rich in vitamin C and citric acid), anti fungal
I put this in the same category as ACV, but it smells nicer! Lemon juice is acidic in nature so you should definitely dilute it before use or mix it with yoghurt to make a mask. It’s also rich in Vitamin C so it can help to brighten your skin when used consistently. As a toner, it’s great for lightening dark spots on the skin and evening out skin tone. It’s also good for balancing oily complexions. When using lemon juice on your skin, limit sun exposure and be diligent with your SPF since your skin can become more sensitive to UV rays. Once again, it can be drying so see how your skin responds to use and make sure you moisturise!
Properties: antiseptic, antibacterial, reduces oil secretion of the sebaceous glands, exfoliant, healing agent
Okay, so not everyone will have this in their kitchen cupboard, but it’s easy to get hold of and inexpensive. Most commonly, it’s used as a key ingredient in Indian cooking, but it has also been used as a beauty product for centuries and can treat a number of skin problems including acne, oily skin and even wrinkles! It is also renowned for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a blemish fighter for the face and can tackle hyper pigmentation too. The simplest way to use it is to make a mask and apply it to your skin. You could mix the turmeric powder with honey and yoghurt, for example, or even just water or lemon juice.
Properties: Soothing, high in water content, hydrating, moisturising, high in vitamin C, antioxidant, brightening
This one may sound like a bit of a cliché and I’m sure we’ve all tried the cucumber on our eyelids trick a few times! But I’m all for going back to basics and there is a list of benefits that make cucumbers worth buying in bulk to add to your beauty regime. Used alone, the pulp can clean skin and clogged pores. Combined with yoghurt, you get a hydrating face mask and when mixed with turmeric and lemon juice it can help with excess oil production, acne, and scarring. It’s an easy one!
My favourite mask recipe
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas about the endless beauty possibilities your kitchen can offer! I am sharing my current favourite mask with you below. It has been amazing at moisturising and brightening my skin. I apply it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. The best thing is that I had all but two of the ingredients in my kitchen cupboard so it was relatively easy to make once I’d ordered the final two essential oils. Enjoy!
Mask recipe taken from Dr Axe:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons almond or olive oil
- 6-8 drops tea tree essential oil
- 6-8 drops frankincense essential oil
- 4-6 drops helichrysum essential oil
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