I use honey for so many things and I am always learning new uses for it. I use honey in my face scrub, to treat pimples, dry skin, wounds, burns, upset stomach and much more. Honey has many healing properties and has been used medicinally by cultures around the world for centuries, though the science behind its healing abilities is only now being investigated. Hippocrates used a honey and water mixture to treat infections circa 430BC, not knowing then that a chemical reaction takes place when honey is mixed with water creating hydrogen peroxide. Eating raw local honey can alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies without the unpleasant side effects of over-the-counter medications. Honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that heal and soothe sore throats, cuts and burns. Medical journals have reported that use of honey to treat wounds has been shown to accelerate the rate of skin healing while decreasing the effects of scarring. This golden goo really is a liquid treasure. You will find honey in many of my recipes and recommendations because it is the most versatile and useful stuff I have found yet.
Olive oil is the ultimate thirst quencher for your hair and skin. Like honey, olive oil has been traditionally used for its beauty benefits for centuries but is often overshadowed today by expensive, synthetic products. Greek and Italian cultures have used olive oil to moisturize their skin, hair and nails for just about as long as they’ve been eating olives. I use olive oil to remove my waterproof mascara at night because it doubles as an all natural, gentle make-up remover and an excellent moisturizer for the delicate skin around my eyes, as well as an eyelash conditioner. Olive oil can be used as an after-shower oil, in hair and face packs, and used in bathwater with essential oils to give you a spa-like experience and super soft skin. I mix olive oil with my daily moisturizer in the winter, and turn to it when my recipes need some quenching power.
Eggs are another amazing beauty remedy you can find right in your kitchen nearly any time you need them. Eggs are packed full of proteins and amino acids that your skin and hair need to be strong and healthy. Egg yolks can be used alone or in packs to moisturize and nourish. Egg whites can be used to treat many things from dry hair and puffy eyes to blemishes. A whipped egg white mask will tighten and firm your skin like a mini face-lift and will help to clear up problem skin if used regularly. An egg yolk and olive oil hair mask will help to repair damage and add shine. All the good things you eat eggs for can also benefit you from the outside in.
Oats are best known for their soothing properties and their ability to heal dry, itchy skin. This absorptive little grain is hypoallergenic, calming and moisturizing, and is used in a wide variety of commercial skin products to treat dry and sensitive skin. Boasting the best balance of amino acids amongst all the grains, this healthy little breakfast food is also a highly nourishing skin food. Oat and milk baths can provide relief in the winter when skin has lost its moisture, and cool oatmeal baths are an effective treatment for sunburns that may help to avoid peeling and blistering. Doctors will recommend that you eat your oatmeal, but trust me, you should try bathing in it.
Cleopatra was famous for many things, but she made milk famous as a luxurious, nourishing moisturizer. The Egyptian queen was well-known to have taken milk baths regularly as part of her beauty regime and she is remembered in history for her beauty. Milk is another skin food that is as good for you on the outside as it is from the inside. Milk, buttermilk, and yogurt may all be used to soothe, heal, soften, nourish and moisturize skin and hair, providing essential vitamins and amino acids that cannot be replicated by synthetic cosmetic products. Try it in liquid or powdered form, coconut or plain, solo or with other ingredients to feed your skin and find yourself with a healthy, glowing complexion. I like to take milk and honey baths when I feel I need a little extra external nourishment.
This is yet another too often overlooked yet highly healthy food that has incredible benefits when used internally or externally. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is rich in alpha hydroxy acids that promote softer, smoother skin by dissolving fatty deposits beneath the surface. Used as a toner, ACV can help to regulate the pH balance of the skin, reducing excess oil and the frequency of breakouts. I use ACV mixed with water once a month as an after shampoo rinse to clarify my hair and remove residue buildup, leaving my hair soft and shiny. My all time favorite recipe is my All You’ll Ever Need Face Scrub, the basics of which are honey, brown sugar and ACV. (For all uses, I prefer Bragg’s ACV because it is raw, organic, unfiltered and contains “mother” strands.)
The spices you find in your kitchen can do more for you than just season the food you eat. Many spices have potent skin clarifying and anti-aging properties you probably never knew about. Cinnamon can be used to promote blood circulation and draw oxygen to the surface and has antibacterial properties. Use cinnamon and honey to treat pimples, or mix cinnamon oil with your lip palm for a natural limp plumper. Black pepper is used for its ability to heat and loosen tissues. Try mixing crushed black pepper with a tiny bit of yogurt for a black-head clearing face mask. Turmeric is possibly the most widely used spice for beauty purposes due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is used to fight acne, treat hyper-pigmentation, and fight free radical damage (reduce wrinkles). Turmeric is one of my favorites and a regular add-in in my face scrub recipe, but be sure not to use too much or it will stain your skin (I always mix it with honey, olive oil or milk to apply it directly). Ginger may also be used to treat hyper-pigmentation, lighten age spots, fight blemishes and improve skin tone. Rub fresh ginger slices on your skin and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off for a refreshing, clarifying skin treatment. There are many uses for the other herbs and spices in your cupboards as well, but these are the four I turn to the most.