The BEST skincare and hair products are not found in the bathroom...but the KITCHEN!
I'm a big advocate of natural beauty products, and believe there are better ways to nourish your skin and hair than spending a fortune on skincare products full of chemicals. Natural beauty products (foods to be exact) have become really become popular in the last few years years, with beauty bloggers, supermodels and celebrities raving about the likes of raw coconut oil, honey and other super foods to keep their skin glowing and their hair shiny and smooth.
Find out which foods - that you already have imn the kitchen - can get you looking your best...
Victoria Beckham swears by an avocado mask to keep her skin youthful.
Victoria Beckham once claimed she used mashed up avocado and apricots as a face mask for her skin, and she could be onto something.
Full of antioxidants, essential omega-3 fats and vitamin E, avocado is not just good for your insides, but outside too. They are full of good fats which can help inject a deep moisture boost into dry skin. Such is their powerful skin-soothing properties, avocados can also be used as a natural remedy for sunburn.
De-seed a ripe avocado, mash it up and apply direct onto your skin. Leave it for 15 minutes as a face mask and you skin will be feeling soft, smooth and supple. You can try the Victoria Beckham method by pulverising a fresh apricot into the mix. Testers have found that the fruit acid works a little like a skin peel, exfoliating the surface of the skin and removing any dead skin.
The vitamin E found in avocados are also a powerful antioxidant which neutralises free radicals – a common cause for skin ageing so it could help keep our skin younger for longer. Give it a go now!
2. Olive Oil
Emmy Rossum loves this natural face cleanser.
It’s important to use a gentle cleanser - especially around the delicate eye area - because vigorous scrubbing can cause fine lines and sagging of the skin. Olive oil is perfect for this as it has a thick consistency which can penetrate into the skin (only oil can do this) very quickly.
Olive oil has been used as a natural beauty product for centuries. With its high level of antioxidants and vitamins, it can be used as a top to toe moisturiser and skin cleanser.
American actress, Emmy Rossum applies olive oil directly to skin and hair to add shine, and describes it as her moisturising secret weapon. "After a bath, I slather it on my skin and put a little bit in my hair for a subtle sheen" she says.
Massage a few drops onto your face, run a wash cloth under hot water (or soak in boiling water then let it cool down) and place it on your skin. The heat will help the oil penetrate the first layer of your skin – known as the Stratum Corneum – and provide essential moisture needed to keep skin supple.
Using heat will help open pores so make sure you close them by rinsing your face with cool water to finish. Avoid vigorously rubbing your face with a towel, you just want to pat it dry to leave some oil on the surface of your skin.
You can also use olive oil for an intensive hair treatment, cuticle oil, bath soak and more. Check out these 5 fantastic beauty uses for olive oil.
Mother earth’s multi-tasking skin balm and a celebrity favourite.
Packed with antibacterial properties, honey has been used to treat infections for years. It can be a fantastic alternative to chemical treatments, soothing inflamed acne and even providing a home-made remedy to seborrheic dermatitis.
Containing hydrogen peroxide, it can be used as an anti fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial balm. Use it as a first-aid skin balm when you have any skin irritations like sore lips, dry skin or an itchy scalp.
You can try regular honey, but for a super skin and hair boost try Manuka. It has been used by the Maori community in New Zealand for centuries for it's healing properties. Check out Marie Claire's post on Manuka honey benefits.
4. Coconut Oil
Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan.
Everyone from A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow to beauty bloggers and supermodels swear by coconut oil to keep their hair and skin in tip top condition.
Paltrow told E!, "I use coconut oil a lot on my face, on my skin and in my cooking. You're better off applying coconut oil to your face than any expensive creams."
Coconut oil has extremely moisturising properties and are full of fatty acids to help nourish your hair deep down. Mainly comprised of small medium-chain fatty acids, it can penetrate more deeply and faster than most other conditioners so if left on for an hour your hair will benefit far more than any other treatment.
There are numerous benefit of using Coconut Oil on your hair, these include:
- Adding shine to hair
- Provides deep moisturisation for dry hair
- Reduces protein loss in your hair – the only oil to do this
- Contains anti-bacterial properties to soothe an itchy or flaky scalp
- Stimulates your hair growth by penetrating deep into the follicles
For more details on how Coconut Oil and other natural products can make your hair grow longer, check out my article on how to make your hair grow faster than ever.
You can also use coconut oil on your face and body as an alternative to body butter. I like to rub it in just before getting out of the shower so I don't need to apply a body lotion afterwards. For more tips like this read 21 clever uses for coconut oil that may surprise you.
5. Epsom Salts
Exfoliates top to toe, beautifully.
Chemically known as magnesium sulphate, Epsom salts are a naturally-occurring mineral that boasts numerous health benefits and can be used in many different ways. Magnesium sulphate are easily absorbed, and play a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, as well as improving absorption of nutrients and flushing out of toxins - phew!
When Epsom salts dissolve in warm water, they can be easily absorbed into the skin which is why it can often be found in beauty products and spas. The magnesium ions break apart from the Epsom Salt molecules and as they penetrate your skin, not only do they help increase the happy chemical serotin, but they also increase the production of energy cells so you feel both relaxed and invigorated.
Use it for:
- A relaxing muscle soak
- Gentle exfoliator
- Blackhead remover
- Volumising hair
For details on how to use Epsom salts don't miss out on my article on why you need to keep Epsom salts at home.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Miranda Kerr uses post-catwalk to revive her skin and hair.
Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr believes in an all-natural approach to beauty maintenance. She recently told Into the Gloss, "I love using coconut oil as a treatment and apple cider vinegar for shine - you put on a little bit in the shower as a rinse, and then wash it out. It stinks a little, but then you condition and it goes away."
Containing beneficial enzymes, bacteria, pectin and trace minerals that are excellent for your hair and skin, apple cider vinegar has amazing health and beauty benefits. You can use it to deep clean your hair or treat minor skin problems such as mild acne, age spots and an uneven skintone. When buying apple cider vinegar you should look for a good quality kind that is raw, organic, unfiltered, unpasteurised and contains 'The Mother. A good quality bottle will be misty and smell very strongly, infact...the smellier the better.
For hair, take a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour it over your scalp after shampooing. Massage into your scalp using your fingertips and comb through with a wide tooth comb. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and condition as normal. This is an effective treatment if you have some product build-up in your scalp, you suffer from greasy hair or your hair just needs a good clean.
For skin, it is best to use this as a toner in the evenings as the smell is quite strong. Mix with water, 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water is enough but you can add more or less depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Apply directly to the face with a cotton wool pad after cleansing, it might smell a bit but it's worth it as by morning your face will look brighter than ever.
“Skin is naturally acidic but when vinegar is used as a toner, it helps skin find the ideal balance between dry and oily,” says Dr. Karen Hammerman, cosmetic dermatologist at Vanguard Dermatology in New York City. It's also packed full of B-vitamins and skin-loving enzymes that will brighten and boost even a sallow complexion. If you find it too strong or it stings your skin, simply dilute with more water or add either Aloe Vera gel or cucumber water.
My skin was looking extremely dull and no matter what I did, I just looked a terrible shade of grey. Maybe it's the weather change, but my skin was far from healthy looking. As well as fuelling my insides with healthy greens, I applied apple cider vinegar to my skin before bed and my skin is 100% better looking. I can't quite believe how well it's worked! The best bit? A good quality Bragg's Organic Apple Cider is only £4.99 for a 473ml bottle and available from online retailers like Amazon.
A natural skin brightener loved by Scarlett Johansson.
The A-List actress has recently filled her fans in on the secret to her beautiful skin: lemons. Cheap, multi-tasking lemons.
"If my skin is dull or I have red spots before a big event, I sweep raw lemon over it to make it brighter," she told Marie Claire. "It stings a bit, but it's not at all harming. It's my favourite thing."
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and citric acid so they can be very helpful in brightening and lightening your skin when used over time. Notably, Vitamin C is an excellent anti-oxidant that can neutralise free radicals in the skin and also boost collagen production - the secret to beautiful skin.
If you prefer not to rub lemon directly onto your skin, you can mix it with some matcha powder to perform a purifying hot steam and mask. Find out how to get your skin glowing with my article on how to do a facial using only items from your kitchen cupboard.
8. Ice Cold Water
The best skin toner and anti-aging secret around, says Kate Hudson.
Kate Hudson swears by an ice cold bath to regain her famous glow when she says her skin isn't feeling great. She submerges her face into cold water for as long as possible. Other celebrity fans include Geri Halliwell who claims you just need to dunk your face into cold water to look ten years younger!
Hot water has the tendency to dry out our skin and strip it of moisture whereas cold water actively does the opposite. It keeps the moisture in by tightening and closing pores which then gives the skin the appearance of smooth surface and prevents the pores from clogging up.
If an ice bath for your face sounds a bit extreme, you can also run an ice cube over your face to tighten.