How to Make Your Own Beauty Aids

Beauty Tip
Because of concerns about the chemicals in public drinking water, in an effort to maintain and improve health, more and more people are drinking bottled water. That may not be enough precautionary measures. In his tape What Every Woman Needs to Know, Dr. John R. Lee says that "the skin absorbs 40 to 70 percent of a liquid substance into the bloodstream, whereas the stomach absorbs only about five percent of the same substance into the bloodstream." Therefore, what you rub onto your skin can be just as critical as what you consume.

The same is true for what you inhale. You've heard about the dangers of secondhand smoke. What few seem to appreciate is the significance of the impact of chemical and artificial perfume odors that linger in the air. (There's a reason many research scientists don spacesuits and inhalation equipment while they conduct their tests.)

There's enough bad news out there to last you a lifetime. You'll be glad to know that you can forego massaging harmful substances onto your body and you don't have to give up your efforts to keep youthful-looking skin in the process. Some are easy and effortless. Others take a bit of work and preparation. Read on to learn about some of the beauty aids you can make at home, many of them using products you probably already have in your house.


Cleansers and Makeup Removal    to top

You'll be amazed at the things you can use to clean your face—stuff that is much gentler on your skin than soap. For example, if you have normal or oily skin, take a few leftover strawberries out of the refrigerator, mash them into a pulp, and smooth them over your face. Rinse with cold water and follow with an astringent and moisturizer.

Keep in mind that the purists never use a microwave to prepare all-natural recipes. Feel free to use a pan or double broiler if you prefer.

This recipe makes enough for about fifteen applications. Apply it to your face with your fingertips and then gently wipe it (and your makeup) away with a soft tissue or a cotton ball. Follow with an astringent and moisturizer. It'll keep unrefrigerated for about 30 days.

Ingredients:

1 cup virgin olive oil

½ cup pure vegetable shortening

2 Vitamin E capsules, 400 iu each

  • Measure the olive oil and pure vegetable shortening into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Gently heat the mixture in the microwave, using the defrost setting. Check it every ten seconds, stirring the mixture and rotating the bowl until the shortening is melted.
  • Prick the Vitamin E capsules with a sterilized pin and squeeze the contents into the mixture. (The Vitamin E acts as a preservative.)
  • Whip the mixture until it's cooled.
  • Pour into a sterilized glass jar.

Beauty Tip Coconut oil is one of the most frequently used oils in soap, but it is also the leading cause of problems for those with sensitive skin. (It's even used in Ivory and castile soap two kinds that are usually gentle enough for most people.)

An easy way to tone and cleanse your skin and help eliminate blackheads at the same time is to wash your face with parsley water. Soak fresh parsley overnight in enough mineral or distilled water to cover it. Strain the mixture and discard the parsley. Pour the water into a sterilized bottle and store in the refrigerator. If you prefer to keep the mixture in the bathroom, add a tablespoon of vodka to the parsley water; vodka acts as a preservative. To use, pour some of the water onto a cotton ball or square and gently wipe over your face.

Beauty Tip
Get out your blender or food processor and grind up some oatmeal until it's the consistency of coarse flour. Keep in a covered container so that it's ready for you when you need to add a teaspoon or two to a recipe. This also works to make a coarse powder (meal) out of sunflower seeds or almonds.

You don't have to use fancy concoctions to clean your face. When you're in a hurry, you can wash away makeup by:

  • Using plain yogurt instead of soap or cleanser.
  • Using sweet almond oil applied with a cotton ball(this also works for eye makeup).


Scrub-a-Dub-Dub     to top

Scrubbing up can be fun, too especially when you use these out-of-the-ordinary methods to do it. The recipes in this section are gentle enough for your face, but can be used on other parts of your body, too.

Get the Ball Rolling Facial Cleanser

One warning: If you store these in the refrigerator, make sure the family knows they're not supposed to eat them!

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped raisins

1 cup ground almonds

1 cup ground oatmeal

1 tablespoon dry milk powder

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix together. You'll want a semi-dry mixture that you can roll between your hands to form into balls. Add more ground oatmeal or milk powder, if necessary.
  • Roll into balls, each containing about a tablespoon of the mixture.
  • Roll the formed balls in more ground oatmeal to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Use in place of soap.

You can premix these exfoliating scrubs to keep on hand. Store them in a plastic bag or a glass jar. When you're ready to use them, simply measure out a tablespoon and mix it with some water. They're especially good for use on your elbows and heels:

  • Almond meal
  • Equal parts of dry milk powder and ground oatmeal
  • Equal parts of cornmeal and ground oatmeal
  • Equal parts of brewer's yeast and ground oatmeal

Instead of making your "soap" paste with water, try these alternatives:

  • Honey
  • Plain yogurt
  • Papaya pulp and some sea salt (good for oily or normal skin)
  • Applesauce (A paste made from applesauce and ground sunflower seeds is especially good for dry skin.)
  • Lemon juice
  • Pineapple juice


Who Is That Masked Lady?    to top

All-natural facial masks are easy to make and fun to use.

Breakfast Facial

This mask smells so good you'll be tempted to eat it. Instead, use it to exfoliate your face.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 tablespoons ground oatmeal

3 large ripe strawberries

1 tablespoon cream, milk, or yogurt

  • Combine the ingredients.
  • Mix together to form a paste, adding more ground oatmeal if necessary.
  • Apply the mask to your face using your fingertips, being careful to avoid your eyes.
  • Leave the mask in place for ten minutes.
  • Wash your face with cool water and pat dry with a soft towel.

Nighttime Moisturizing Marvel

This is another facial that's good enough to eat! Instead, gain the benefits of all the rich, rejuvenating properties without any of the calories.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon of mashed, ripe avocado

  • Combine all ingredients in a cup.
  • Mix together (I use a fork) until the mixture forms a paste.
  • Apply the mask to your face using your fingertips, being careful to avoid your eyes.
  • Leave the mask in place for ten minutes.
  • Wash your face with cool water and pat dry with a soft towel.


Easy Astringents    to top

Astringents are used to remove any remaining traces of a cleanser from your skin. They also remove or reduce excess oils. People with dry skin should usually skip this step and apply a moisturizer after cleansing the face. Those with normal to oily skin types can try:

Strawberry Fields Forever

Here's the opportunity to use up those strawberries that are in your refrigerator that you never got around to serving up for dessert. You'll need to wash them, but you don't have to remove the stems to make this recipe.

Ingredients:

Overripe strawberries

Vodka

  • Place strawberries, loosely packed, into a sterilized glass jar.
  • Cover them with vodka.
  • Place the lid on the jar and set inside the refrigerator.
  • Once or twice a day, over the next three or four days, shake the jar to redistribute the alcohol.
  • On the fourth or fifth day, strain the vodka into a sterilized bottle. Apply the cap and a label to the bottle and refrigerate until it's needed. (How you use the strawberries is optional.)
  • Apply to face using a cotton ball.

Other astringents include

  • Aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with ½ cup of witch hazel (available in liquid form at your local drug store)
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar mixed with 2 cups distilled water


Bath Rituals    to top

Bran penetrates the pores and helps deep-clean away dirt and grime. Oatmeal is a gentle cleanser. Combine the two and you have a fantastic synergistic combination.

Sock It to Me!

This is a case where a purist would get out the sewing machine and stitch up some muslin or cheesecloth bags. I vote for grabbing an old cotton sock and using it.

Ingredients:

¼ cup bran

¼ cup oatmeal

  • Pour the ingredients into the sock.
  • Use some cord to tie the sock shut, leaving enough string to tie the sock so that it can be hung to dangle under the faucet as the tub fills.
  • Fill the tub with water that's flowed past the sock.
  • Untie the sock from the faucet and use it in place of a washcloth.

Beauty Tip

Take a tip from Cleopatra and don't let that milk go to waste. Add it to your bathwater instead.


Raid the Refrigerator and Moisturize Your Face    to top

Oh Honey, Your Face Feels Terrific

This mixture will feel a bit sticky when you first apply it, but it's quickly absorbed into your skin. This one is especially good for preventing wrinkles. Store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Ingredients:

¼ milk

¾ cup cream

2 teaspoons honey

1 egg yolk

  • Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl and add the honey.
  • Microwave on a low setting for 15 seconds. Stir until honey dissolves into the milk. (Repeat this step as often as is necessary for the honey to dissolve, but be careful not to overheat the milk; you do not want it to boil.)
  • Slowly pour the cream into the honey and milk mixture. Whip gently.
  • Add the egg yolk and continue to whip the mixture until all are combined, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour into a sterilized glass jar.
  • Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Don't Forget the Strawberries Lotion

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon castor oil

2 tablespoons mashed strawberries

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Pour into a sterilized glass jar. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Beauty Tip

My grandmother claimed that castor oil is a miracle oil. She lived well into her eighties and credited her use of that oil on her face and hands for the absence of any age spots on them. (It also provides almost instant relief from an itchy nose and reduces that ugly redness caused by using so many tissues when you have a cold.)


Safety Concerns     to top

Regardless of how you prepare your all-natural beauty aids, please keep these things in mind:

  • It's better to be safe than sorry: Always test any new product (even these homemade ones) on a patch of skin before you use it on your face or all over your body; you don't want to risk an allergic reaction.
  • Safely store your concoctions out of the reach of children: I joke about some of these mixtures being good enough to eat, but that doesn't mean that you want to or that you want your kids to do so.
  • Pay attention to the "shelf life": Unlike preservative-laden commercial products, most of these recipes become volatile and prone to spoilage or mold once you add a liquid to them. Vitamin E or vodka can act as a preservative; however, despite that, unless otherwise noted, it's best to store most mixtures in the refrigerator.
  • Protect your eyes: Most cleansers can irritate them. This is especially true for vinegar.

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