Making Beauty Products From Food

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In line with our reducing food waste post is this post on making your own homemade beauty products. We all love a good deal when it comes to beauty products and it does not get any better than paying nothing for something that supports the health of our skin. While many skin issues are an “inside-out” process, we can still support our skin and get some nutrients into it by topical application of product on the outside.

Now I will only be posting here what I have personally tried and seen to work on myself so this is an opinion piece. I’d like to give a few tips first:

  • Allergies: in general, anything you already eat is unlikely to cause skin irritation if used for a short duration, however, please always test these on your skin by placing a dot on your inner wrist or lower cheek/jawline a day before using the peel to see if any irritation happens (let the dot sit for 5-10 minutes before removal since this is how long most masks should be applied for). This is going to be way better than putting a full face mask on and then having red, irritated, and damaged skin for a week should you find out you are indeed allergic to something used.
  • Vinegars: ALWAYS dilute any vinegar before use or consumption. They are very acidic and can burn delicate tissues (including your esophagus when consumed which is why we often combine them in recipes).
  • Scrubs: when using any homemade scrub, use gentle pressure and move in small circular patterns over your skin. Rubbing the grounds of whatever scrub you use harshly into your skin will damage, not exfoliate it. Your skin needs tender TLC!

Face and Body Masks

The following are face masks I have made and tried. When I used the banana peel face masks daily (sometimes twice, morning and evening) I did notice a big decrease in my pore clarity (which made them appear smaller), the number of acne lesions I got, and the overall tightness and tone of my skin improved! It was really nice to experience.

  • Banana peel masks: after removing the flesh of a banana, you can take a butter knife and scrap the inside of the peel to remove the white tissue inside. Take this and place it in a mortar and pestle bowl (I like this one because it has a grip so it does not slip) and add any of the following: honey, apple cider vinegar (only a small splash), a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of papaya flesh, and/or coconut oil. You then apply the mask in a thin layer (more is not better) and let it sit for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before washing off with warm water. Sometimes in hot weather these masks will run, so if you need to, gently rub them around your skin to avoid them dripping and running off your face.
    • For a quick version, just simply take the banana peel and rub the white inside fleshy part in small circular patterns all over your face and neck and chest for 5 minutes. Remove in your shower by rinsing with warm water.
  • Apple cider vinegar masks: you can mix apple cider vinegar with many oils and many clays (these can cause allergies, so test first! They are also drying, which may be a plus for your skin type; here is another clay option), and apply the mask to your face, neck, chest, and/or underarms and let sit for 5-20 minutes, or until they dry. Then gently wash off with warm water.
  • Turmeric masks: these are all the rage now! Turmeric is one of the spices I recommend eating on a daily basis if you can, due to its many health benefits. I see really expensive turmeric masks for sale online all the time, but you can easily make your own at home. You can make full body masks or just face masks, just increase the amount of your ingredients accordingly remembering that more is not necessarily better, and that it can be thin and runny so can be messy. Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric with some face mask clay powder and honey for an easy mask. Just turmeric and honey works well, too, and can be used daily.
  • Activated charcoal can be added to any face mask as well, but be careful because this stuff can get everywhere! It is great at cleaning out blackheads.

Face and Body Scrubs

Remember my recommendation above, and BE GENTLE when using these. Homemade scrubs have particles that are not uniform or round in shape, and when used too enthusiastically can cause skin damage. Two of the easiest ingredients to use that I know you have in your pantry are salt and sugar, but you can also grind up your morning used coffee grounds in a mortar and pestle and/or use almond flour as the base of your scrub.

  • Salt Scrubs: place salt in a bowl and pour over it just enough oil (olive, coconut, avocado, sweet almond, and jojoba are good options) to cover the salt. Take the bowl into the shower and using a small amount, rub in circular motions all over your skin, from your shoulders down to your toes and soles of your feet. Wash off with warm water within a few minutes and do not let this sit on your skin too long since salt can be drying. Salt scrubs work particularly well on rough feet so they can be great for sandal season.
    • Caution: do NOT use this on freshly shaven skin or broken skin. It will BURN. Also, do not put it on your face or near the eyes.
  • Sugar Scrubs: follow the same advice as above for mixing. Sugar scrubs can be used on your face and also make a wonderful lip scrub! Both salt and sugar scrubs are great for exfoliating the skin on your hands as well, but sugar contains alpha hydroxy acids which are pretty gentle chemical exfoliators.
  • Coffee Ground Scrubs: coffee, even your leftover grounds, contains caffeine which can help reduce puffiness by constricting local blood vessels. The grounds can also act like a gentle exfoliate when used in small circular motions with gentle pressure. You can make a very finely ground paste with your morning leftover grounds, and mix with a small amount of coconut oil to place under your puffy morning eyes as well, just be very careful not to get this into your eyes! I’d recommend using something else around your eyes, and that is tea bags. I save my tea bags each day and put them in the refrigerator. When I can take 3-5 minutes to lay down, I place the cold bags on my closed eyes and lay down for 5 minutes to let the tea soothe the skin and decrease puffiness.

Toner

Cucumber is a wonderful toner and can be used by simply cutting slices each day and rubbing gently on the skin then rinsing with warm water. You can do this step on clean dry skin. Once rinsed off, you can apply your products as usual. Cucumbers are also wonderful for eyes, and you can place a cold slice over your eyelids while you rest for 5-10 minutes. The cold from a refrigerated cucumber will also decrease inflammation and minimize puffiness.

I hope you have fun experimenting with these beauty recipes while also reducing your food waste!

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