The quest for a healthy glowing skin need not cost an arm and a leg. Tried and tested remedies for the most common beauty problems can be found in your kitchen. 10 Budget beauty secrets.
1. Milk & Honey
Milk and honey sounds like a bedtime drink you give a child and indeed it is a delightful drink. For more than 2,000 years milk and honey have been used for skin care. Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, is said to have taken regular milk baths, and we all know what effect she had on men!
- Honey, when applied directly to the skin acts as a humectant, meaning it attracts and holds moisture within the skin. Honey helps reduce wrinkles, keep up the skin’s elasticity, heal wounds, reduce inflammation and prevent scarring. Milk when applied to the skin, acts as a moisturizer and also has soothing properties. Together, they can reduce the effects of ageing and keep the skin looking fresh and beautiful.
TRY THIS: Combine equal parts of milk and honey to make a nutrient-rich mask for your face, neck and chest.
Avocados are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin E, good fatty acids and antioxidants.
- The vitamin E in avocado is a potent antioxidant which mops up free radicals and slows down the signs of ageing, while the high fat content makes it an excellent moisturizer. Avocado also has soothing properties – ideal for skin that is easily irritated.
TRY THIS: Make a simple avocado face mask by applying the pulp of half an avocado directly to your skin. Leave on for five minutes (a bit longer for more mature skins), then rinse off with lukewarm water. To fight dry skin, apply an avocado mask once a week.
Natural white yogurt is a milk product rich in protein, zinc, healthy bacteria and lactic acid.
- Helps clear up blemishes, treat fungal infections, tighten pores, and exfoliate and moisturize skin.
TRY THIS: Apply yogurt evenly on your face and neck and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. For a super zesty facial, combine yogurt with honey or fruits such as strawberries. Avoid sweetened and flavored varieties of yogurt as they contain ingredients that can irritate the skin.
Eggs are rich in protein, choline and lutein, for centuries used to moisture both hair and skin. It might seem a bit strange to have eggs on your hair or face, especially if it is your first time and you find the smell repulsive but the benefits you derive might just convince you to do it again.
Eating an egg a day will help your heart, brain, eyes, skin, nails and hair. What’s more, if you replace your starchy breakfast with a protein rich egg, you will feel full for longer – and you will lose weight. Applied topically, the white of an egg helps tighten and tone your skin, while the egg yolk makes a great hair conditioner.
TRY THIS: Make an egg mask by separating the egg white from the yolk. Beat up the egg white a little until it gets foamy, then apply it directly to your skin, avoiding the sensitive eye area. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. For drier skin, mix egg white with equal parts honey and olive oil.
TIP# Use egg yolk to make a rich conditioner for your hair; either use it as is or add a few drops of olive oil to the yolk if your hair is really dry. Leave it on for five minutes and rinse.
Oatmeal is not only a great breakfast cereal, it has a long history of being valued for skin care. Egyptians used oats to beautify their skins as early as 2000 BC.
- Oatmeal is a cheap, natural and effective exfoliant which is gentle enough even for sensitive skin. Oats contain polysaccharides, which become gelatinous in water and leave a fine protective film on the skin, preventing dull flaky dryness. Oats are also full of healthy lubricating fats which moisturize your skin and, also, have natural cleansers called saponins that gently remove dirt and oil from the pores.
TRY THIS: To make an oatmeal exfoliating face mask, mix a tablespoon of oat flour with two tablespoons of hot water. Avoiding the eyes, apply to the skin, leave for five minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water. For more benefits add a few drops of honey to the mask.
Bananas are a healthy addition to your diet and your skin care regimen. The pulp is good for topical application, but if you really want to get the full benefits of this yummy tropical fruit, eat the banana and use the peel for your skin.
- Banana peels are chock-full of antioxidants, lutein, fatty acids, vitamin C, potassium and anti-bacterial properties. The inside of the banana skins used to treat skin blemishes, the effects of sun damage, eczema – even psoriasis. Other skin benefits include reducing inflammation, increasing circulation, boosting collagen production, reducing appearance of wrinkles, preventing new ones from forming.
TRY THIS: Gently rub your clean skin with banana peel. Leave on as long as you can before rinsing your face with lukewarm water.
The use of vinegar – usually combined with variety of plants or essential oils – for cosmetic purposes traced back to the Romans and was fashionable during to 19th Century as vinegar de toilette.
- Vinegar is mildly antiseptic, so can prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi on the skin. It helps restore the natural acidity of the skin, which causes problems such as dryness, itching, flaking and acne. Mixed with onion juice, vinegar may help reduce age spots. For best results, use only top quality cider vinegar.
TRY THIS: Oily skin? Try this easy apple cider toner. Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider with 2 tablespoons of distilled water. Avoiding the eye area, apply the toner to your face with cotton pad. Rinse with lukewarm.
Mayonnaise is perfect in a potato salad but did you know that it has three wonderfully beneficial beauty ingredients? YES: vegetable oil, eggs and vinegar.
- With oil and eggs to moisturize, and vinegar to lift off dead skin cells, a mayonnaise mask is a great way to give dry skin a beautiful boost.
TRY THIS: Take half a cup of mayonnaise and place it in a bowl. Allow it to rest for half an hour so it can reach room temperature. Then apply it to your face. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
The flesh and zest (skin) of lemons for centuries used to flavour food and drinks – even to bleach and clean household objects. Women who diet swear that drinking lemon water helps them lose weight.
- Rich in vitamin C, lemons have powerful grease-cutting and antibacterial properties that make them a perfect acne fighter. The citric acid works as a mild skin peel by removing the outermost layer of the skin and reducing shine, while the bleaching properties help to lighten dark spots on the face and hands.
TRY THIS: Want a toner that will gently remove dead skin cells and show a brighter, smoother complexion? Then try my lemon toner. For ultra-oily skin, cut a lemon in half and gently rub over the oily parts of your face, avoiding the eyes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. For gentler treatment, mix lemon juice with equal parts of distilled water, apply to a cotton pad and dab on your face.
TIP#For an instant straight-from-nature perfume, crush a few freshly picked lemon leaves and place the crushed leaves inside your bra. Wonderful!enzyme
When explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the papaya on his travels, he described it as “the fruit of the angels.” Papayas or paw paws are filled with vitamins, moisturizer and antioxidants, as well as a very special enzyme called papain. Papain has a variety of uses, such as a meat tenderizer, a home remedy for insect bites and a whitener in toothpaste. But it also has amazing skin rejuvenating properties.
- Internally, eating papaya will help boost your immune system, protect your eyes from forming cataracts and regulate your digestive system, freeing you from belching and heartburn. Externally, papaya can help reduce wrinkles, protect skin cells from free-radical damage, repair minor wounds and make skin more elastic. Fans of the papaya say even the pips and the back of the tree are beneficial.
TRY THIS: Make a papaya face mask by making a smoothie of papaya pulp and skin (the greener the papaya, the more papain it contains). Gentry smooth it on your face and leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
Elizabeth M. Mugo-Akuku is a thirty Something yummy mummy of a wonderful 21 months son and wife; living authentically, transparently and loving life.