For centuries, people have been using fruits, vegetables and other natural products to nourish their skin and hair. Here are four easy DIY recipes: for a cucumber face mask, honey yogurt face mask, banana hair mask, and lip color. All use products straight from your kitchen! Have fun!
History of Natural Beauty
Avocado, cornmeal, cabbage, honey, milk, eggs, potatoes, cucumbers, apple cider, yogurt, lemons, cottage cheese, wine, oils, lard, ground spices, herbs, salt, bananas, tomato pulp, flowers, clay, pigmented minerals, seawater, fish scales, ground insects, and yes, mule’s urine, placenta, and bird poop.Once you start looking into the history of self-adornment, you’ll soon find that as far back as the Stone Age, people have tried just about every natural substance at hand—animal, vegetable, and mineral—to improve or alter their appearance.
The anthropological and historical records show that since the emergence of Homo sapiens, people (not only women) have used all sorts of natural materials to primp and preen, defy the aging process, cover scars, remove blemishes, lighten or darken skin, create unique identities, decorate their bodies for ritual purposes, or mark their social status.
Many of the ancient natural products are still in vogue. For example, nightingale poop (marketed euphemistically as the “geisha facial”) is reportedly favored by Tom Cruise, Victoria Beckham, and other celebrities.
Concerned about the high price and potential toxicity of modern skin care and cosmetic products—and looking for a little creative fun—many Americans have taken to making their own body care products and cosmetics.
Use Fruits and Vegetables as Beauty Products
Unless you’re allergic to it, you probably can’t go wrong using just about any in-season fruit or vegetable, mashed up and applied as a therapeutic and cleansing face mask, hand softener, or hair-conditioning treatment. (Cook and purée firm vegetables such as potatoes, beets,carrots and squash first.) Many pigmented fruits and vegetables even lend themselves to making blushers and lip stains.
Each fruit or vegetable contains a unique blend of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial compounds that may help to prevent damage and heal damaged tissues, just as they do in the plants from which they came.
You could apply it plain or blend your fruit/vegetable pulp with a little yogurt and honey. Add a tablespoon or two of cider vinegar or lemon juice for oily skin and hair or a dribble of olive oil to treat dry skin or hair.
You could also try one of these recipes:
Natural Beauty Treatment Recipes
Honey Yogurt Face Mask
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 or 3 strawberries, or 5 or 6 raspberries
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (for oiy skin)
1 tablespoon raw honey
Mash ingredients together. Apply evenly over your face, taking care to avoid your eyes and the sensitive under-eye area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock. This face mask is surprisingly easy—and tasty!
Refreshing Cucumber Face Mask
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon raw honey
Blend ingredients on high speed and spread evenly over your face. Lie back and relax for 15 minutes, then rinse well with warm water.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock. This cucumber facial is perfect for bright, healthy skin in 15 minutes!
Banana Hair Mask
1 ripe or overripe banana
Simply mash a ripe or overripe banana, leaving no lumps. Using your hands, work the gooey banana purée into your hair. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse well and wash/condition as usual.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock. This simplest-possible hair treatment works well for tired, lackluster hair.
Cheek and Lip Color
2 tablespoons beeswax
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin or raw coconut oil
1 large beet, peeled
Grate a couple of tablespoons of beeswax into a small stainless-steel pot. Add glycerin or raw coconut oil. Set the pot in a larger pan with water, then melt wax over boiling water. Grate beet and add to the waxy oil mixture. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a small glass or stainless-steel container to remove beet bits. Allow the now-pigmented liquid to cool. Store in a tightly capped glass container; apply with your fingers.
If you want a more liquid product, reheat and add a bit more oil. If you’d prefer a firmer product, reheat and add a pinch more of grated beeswax. For your second batch, try altering the color by adding a little grated carrot or a few fresh berries along with the beets.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock. For those times when you want a bit of color to your face and lips, think beets!