Herbal cosmetics

Fed up of shelling out for expensive lotions and potions? We unearth some cheap, easy and natural concoctions for boosting looks

Organic and all-natural beauty treatments made with real fruits and vegetables are sprouting up like weeds. But most serums, lotions and potions still contain extra ingredients (preservatives and dyes) that we could live without. We consulted Whole Foods’ Whole Body senior global co-ordinator Jeremiah McElwee to find out how to whip up our own beauty remedies, using food products from the supermarket.

Face cleansers

These DIY concoctions are designed for dry, oily or normal skin types. The apple cider vinegar acts as a natural astringent; the olive oil helps remove dirt; the lactic acid in the yogurt helps remove dead skin cells; and the lemon juice tightens pores.

Dry Skin
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 mashed banana or avocado
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil

Oily Skin
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Normal Skin
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients (ideally with a pessel and mortar. Scoop out 1/4 cup and gently rub all over your face using a circular motion, for at least one minute. Rinse with cool (not cold) water. Pat skin dry with a soft cloth. Store unused cleanser in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Skin scrubs and polishes

Scrubs exfoliate the skin, removing dull, dead cells. Sloughing off layers helps stimulate blood circulation, remove toxins, clean pores and reveal softer, glowing skin. It can also help prevent ingrown hairs.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1/2 cup apricot oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops vanilla essential oil

Mix dry ingredients together and blend well. Add oils to the mixture and blend thoroughly. To use, stand in the shower or tub and gently rub a handful of the scrub into your skin in a circular motion. Start with your feet and work toward the heart. Do not use on face or delicate areas. Be careful since the oils can make your shower or tub slippery. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and use within four to six weeks. You may safely exfoliate once or twice weekly.

Sweet Body Polish

3/4 cup sea salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 drops rose geranium essential oil
10 drops vanilla essential oil
1 drop neroli essential oil

In a glass or stainless steel bowl, mix the sea salt and brown sugar, breaking apart any lumps. In a glass measuring cup, combine all four oils. Slowly add the oil to the dry mixture and combine well. Use more or less oil to achieve desired consistency. When ready to use, briskly rub onto skin, especially calves, knees, hands and elbows. Rinse off with warm water.

A note about scrubs

Cooling mint is a great addition to any scrub, as it increases blood flow and reduces muscle tension. Mint-infused vapours can also soothe the nasal passages and help alleviate allergies.

Salt versus sugar

Sea salt is coarser with more exfoliating power, while sugar is gentle and a better choice for more sensitive skin. Modify proportions to avoid irritating your skin.

How to use a scrub
Using gentle pressure, rub in a circular motion upward, toward the heart. This will help stimulate lymphatic flow.

When to use a scrub:

For a more even colour application use before applying self-tanner, and before shaving or waxing to help prevent ingrown hairs.
Online extra: Information on natural salves
For each condition listed below, read about the natural ingredients that may help alleviate it.

Oily skin and visible pores
Look for: Astringent ingredients to penetrate skin quickly and accelerate the healing of skin blemishes. Active ingredients: Witch hazel, jojoba oil, rosemary

Results: Skin looks refreshed without adding extra oils. Great under make-up

Recommended ingredients: Rose petals, witch hazel, citrus fruits, rosemary

Sun damage and signs of aging
Look for: Natural antioxidants, which help protect and nourish, skin cells

Active ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E

Results: Helps protect skin cells from the drying effects of the sun. Perfect for the UAE’s hot climate

Recommended ingredients: Lavender, acai and goji berries, blueberries, cucumber

Dry, stressed skin
Look for: Natural plant oils containing nutrients such as vitamins A and E, and are readily absorbed

Active ingredients: Olive, almond, avocado, borage oils

Results: Improvement in moisture retention of the skin. Expect skin to look more glowing

Recommended ingredients: Olive oil, avocado, banana

Lack of radiance, uneven tone
Look for: Exfoliate with natural source alpha-hydroxy acids that work to smooth skin

Active ingredients: Sugar cane (glycolic), citrus (citric), red grape (tartaric)

Results: Enhanced creation of new skin cells and sloughing off of old. Expect a whole new lease on your skins life

Recommended ingredients: Papaya, mango, pumpkin, red grape

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