Good Enough To Eat Beauty (Literally)
Trust us: despite everything the billion-dollar cosmetics giants like to tell us, making skincare and haircare couldn’t be easier. We aren’t exactly Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver. (Let alone a three-star Michelin chef – although Sarah’s a way better cook than Jo!) But there’s a simple truth: if you can make a salad dressing or brew a cup of tea – or melt chocolate in a double-boiler into a puddle of scrumptiousness – then the world of truly, totally, 100% natural cosmetics is wide open to you.
Making your own cosmetics is fun. It’s a way to know, 100% guaranteed, what you’re putting on your skin. It’s great when you’re broke, or you’ve run out of something and all you’ve got is a fridgeful of food. (Yes, honestly.) So this month, as summer finally seems to be arriving, we thought we’d share some recipes – several of which appear in our most recent book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible – which mostly require nothing more than an Ocado drop or a visit to your nearest greengrocer.
MILK, CUCUMBER AND MINT CLEANSER
5 cm. (4 inch) piece of cucumber
50 ml. (2 fl. oz.) milk
5 mint leaves
2 drops grapefruit seed extract (or 4 drops of tincture of benzoin)
Peel the cucumber and chop it roughly. Remove the stalks and chop the mint leaves roughly. Place the cucumber and mint in a blender or food processor with the milk, and whizz until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat until simmering on a medium heat. Simmer for two more minutes, and allow to cool. Strain through muslin (or a piece of kitchen paper). Pour the liquid into a sterilised bottle and add the grapefruit seed extract. Store the cleanser in the fridge and use within a week. (This is wonderfully cooling on the skin. The milk is lightly hydrating, meanwhile, delivering a light veil of moisture that even oily skins need.)
MINT AND PAPAYA FACIAL
A handful of fresh peppermint leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried peppermint)
2 drops peppermint essential oil
This is amazing for helping unclog blocked pores, because of all the enzymes in the papaya – and the nicest thing about this treatment is that it starts with eating the papaya! Then pour boiling water over the peppermint in a large heat-proof bowl, drape a towel over your head and steam your face above the bowl for a few minutes. Gently scrub skin with the inside of the fresh leftover papaya, which will slough away dead skin cells while conditioning skin with vitamins A and C.
CUCUMBER BODY LOTION
5 cm. (2 inch) piece of cucumber, peeled
15 ml. (1/2 fl. oz.) witch hazel extract
5 ml. (1 teaspoon) glycerine
5 ml. (1 teaspoon) rosewater
2 drops grapefruit seed extract
5 drops rose or lavender essential oil (optional)
Chop and mash the cucumber in a pestle and mortar and add the witch hazel, glycerine and rosewater. (Or whizz the whole lot in an electric blender, NutriBullet or food processor for 1 minute). At the last moment drop in the grapefruit seed extract and essential oils – if you’re using them – and whizz again, for a beautifully light, pale green lotion that rubs in easily. (This is super-refreshing in hot weather.) It’s light rather than nourishing, so on areas of dry skin you might want to se a body butter instead, but it also works well as a sinks-in-fast hand lotion, so keep you can also keep it near the taps, and massage into hands after washing them. (It should keep for a couple of weeks; make fresh after that.)
NB Because cucumber juice is gives a boost to all skin types, never discard cucumber peel without rubbing it over your skin, inner side down – it’s great for necks, arms, the back of hands, if you don’t want to disturb your make-up.
30 ml. (2 fl. oz.) plain yoghurt
75 g. (3 oz.) raspberries
3 drops orange essential oil
Pulp the raspberries in a food processor; sieve the pulp and keep the flesh and seeds. (Drink the juice, if you like – it’s yummy!) Alternatively, zoosh in a NutriBullet (what do you mean, you don’t have one yet?), and there’s no need to sieve. Add the raspberry pulp to the yoghurt and blend well; drop in the essential oil and stir again to mix. Apply to a cleansed face; leave on for 15 minutes and remove with a muslin cloth dunked in water. The raspberry will exfoliate gently, and the lactic acid in the yoghurt has a brightening action.
PS Another mask option: whip an egg white, a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon or two of oats, until you’ve a paste thick enough to spread on the face. This cleanses skin and also helps loosen blackheads.