Our weekly food shops can do so much more for our bodies than we give them credit for. Many of the ingredients hanging around in our kitchen cupboards are very versatile and can be used to nourish our bodies from the outside as well as from within. Read on for the best, most versatile natural beauty ingredients that could be making their way from your kitchen to your bathroom.
Natural Beauty Ingredients From Your Kitchen Cupboard
For the Love of Oil
Oils are a firm favourite in many a kitchen. Growing up we had an entire draw dedicated to different varieties! A staple in many dishes – from salads to stir fries – oils are also a great beauty-boosting ingredient to add to your toolkit.
Nails and cuticles need oil regularly to keep them healthy and hydrated. It also ensures that they stay flexible, helping to prevent brittle, flaky nails or painfully dry, splitting cuticles. As it is solid at room temperature, a small jar of coconut oil makes the perfect addition to your bedside table. Massage a small amount of the oil into each nail and surrounding cuticle to replenish and restore. If you accidentally use too much, run your fingers through the ends of your hair to share the goodness.
Just like nails, lips need to be kept hydrated to preventing painful chapping and cracking. If you’re lips have suffered recently apply a small amount of oil and use a soft tooth brush to gently buff the lips. This will leave them feeling rejuvenated, soft and exfoliated. Again, because if its balm-like texture, coconut oil is perfect for this (or use any light plant oil from the larder).
Oils also make wonderfully nourishing treatments as they condition the hair. They can help to revive damaged ends and sooth itchy, flaky scalps. To take advantage of their healing properties take a light olive or avocado oil and work it through your hair and massage into your scalp, tie long hair up in a bun, and wrap cling film around your head. This makes the most of your body heat to gently warm up the hair, so that the oil is more readily absorbed into the hair cuticles and penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. Leave on for half an hour and the wash your hair as normal. I’ve learnt from experience that it is much easier to get the oil out of your hair if you apply shampoo, mixed with a little water in your hand, to dry hair before getting into the shower.
Sickly Sweet Sugar
Everyday there seems to be yet another news story about how our sugar-laden diets are causing chaos to our health as it becomes increasingly clear that refined sugar really has no place in our kitchen cupboards… Unless you put it on your body rather than in it.
Try making a body scrub by mixing equal parts granulated sugar and melted coconut oil (make sure it isn’t too hot!) and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. This makes a wonderful skin-softening scrub and buffs away dead, dingy skin cells, leaving freshly hydrated, and radiant skin. Focus on areas that may have taken a bit of a beating during the recent cold weather, such as your hands, or other dry areas like feet, knees and elbows. Or for a luscious face exfoliator, swap the granulated for finer caster sugar. (But if you have very sensitive skin on your face give the essential oil a miss). Massage over the face is circular motions – focussing on the chin, lips and around the nostrils.
Other fantastic beauty-busting ingredients from your kitchen is honey. It makes an excellent, gentle cleanser, which is perfect for sensitive skin and very hydrating. Simply massage honey (locally produced and organic if possible) over the face and rinse off with warm water.
Live Natural Yogurt
This natural beauty remedy is easy to make at home and excellent for the health of our gut. It contains lactic acid that dissolves dead skin cells to gently exfoliate skin, helping to give you a natural glow. Simply massage live natural yoghurt into skin, put your feet up and relax for around 10 minutes. Then rinse off with warm water and follow with your favourite light moisturiser.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of my favourite natural beauty ingredients. It helps to smooth the outer cuticles of hair shafts, leaving hair looking more shiny and healthy. Simply mix together equal parts water and apple cider vinegar along with 10 drops of your favourite essential oil to combat the smell. Use as a rinse over your hair following your normal shampooing and conditioning routine.