Back when my kids were still in diapers and I was a deliriously tired mom with too much on my plate, I left for a family vacation and forgot my toiletry bag. I also forgot my shoes, but that was easier to deal with than being without any of my usual beauty products for a week. Of course I remembered every toy, snack, blanket and baby product we could possibly need. It was summer in Australia and blisteringly hot, and out of desperation, I reached for what was at hand. That was when I made a surprising discovery and my love affair with cornstarch baby powder began.
Even though my my kids are past the baby stage, this product still has a place in my beauty routine. I prefer natural baby powder made from cornstarch (not talc) instead of plain cornstarch, as it has a few other nice ingredients and a lovely baby smell. Here's how I use it:
1. Dry shampoo
I'm busy and don't have time to wash my hair every day even though it tends to get oily at the roots. Cornstarch is the main ingredient in most "dry shampoos," but I find that baby powder works better than anything for absorbing the oil in my hair and giving it a little lift. Just sprinkle a light dusting on my hands and rub it lightly into my roots before bed. Don't worry if your hair turns white — the white color will be gone when you wake up in the morning (and so will the oily hair).
2. Face powder
When my face is shiny, a dab of cornstarch baby powder here and there takes care of the shine and evens out my complexion. Most days, my only makeup is tinted sunscreen and a dusting of cornstarch baby powder. When I do wear makeup, a light dusting with my is a great way to set it and make it last.
Cornstarch is amazing at absorbing moisture, which is why it's popular to throw a dash under diapers. However, it really works for moisture anywhere on the body: under arms, between toes, on thighs, etc. Move over aluminum-based compounds! I prefer to stay dry the natural way.
4. Redness remover
My skin is prone to a variety of red outbursts, and this stuff is truly miraculous. Put it on a baby's red bum at night and the redness is gone by morning. The same thing goes for pimples, bug bites, razor burn, sunburn, etc.
5. Facial cleanser
I've spent hundreds of dollars testing different face washes, trying to find one that doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. You know what finally worked? Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch baby powder with two tablespoons of glycerin and half a cup of water. Heat until it thickens. Let it cool a little before cleansing your face. This removes makeup effectively with a wash cloth and warm water and is much gentler than soap.
6. Eyelash plumper
This is a fun trick I learned recently: Just as cornstarch absorbs the oil in the hair on my head, making it fuller and bouncier, it can do the same for eyelashes. Just put a dab of baby powder on a Q-tip and spread it lightly on your lashes before applying mascara. The effect is definitely va-va-voom.