Sparkly, twinkly skin? Using ingredients in your spice rack? A healthy, balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory herbs is key to maintaining lit-from-within skin, and applied topically, they can work absolute wonders too.
Healthy fresh skin has always been on our beauty agenda, but this year we're pushing the boundaries to see just how plant folklore and ancient skin care secrets can imbue us with radiance. As much as science has advanced over the years, passed along from generation to generation, herbal secrets that become homemade beauty products and don't contain an ounce of chemical preservative are where it's at. If you want clear, glowing skin, the message is loud and clear: Consider skipping the beauty aisle at the drugstore, head for your pantry, and play!
These four herbs and spices may surprise you. Why? Because they're your run-of-the-mill offerings that are most probably nestled in your kitchen cupboard and that you play with in some form most days. Oh, and they can be transformed into stellar beauty booty within a few minutes. What's not to love?
Fennel is a member of the parsley family and has been used in many cultures as a natural digestive aid. When it comes to skin care, fennel seed has a wealth of vitamins and nutrients to keep skin strong, which is apt, as the herb is symbolically tied to strength and longevity.
How-to: Fennel seeds make an epic toner—the kind that take on clogged pores and grease-slick skin. Add 2 tablespoons of the seeds into hot water, and let steep for 15 minutes before straining the seeds out into another bowl. After, discard the seeds and pour your "juice" into a container that you can seal up tightly in between uses. Add an optional teaspoon of lemon juice for brightening properties and apply with an organic cotton pad after cleansing.
Cilantro (yes, of guac fame) has a soothing, cooling effect on the skin, and its astringent effects can help balance oily and acne-prone complexions. Cilantro is also a brilliant astringent, the prerequisite for any self-respecting DIY body scrub.
How-to: Combine 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 1 lime juiced in a blender for a skin-sloughing, antioxidant body scrub that will leave all your limbs gleaming.
Cinnamon is not just an ingredient for your cashew chai latte; it's a powerful beauty ingredient with plenty of oxygenating and stimulating benefits for your skin (especially if you're acne-prone). Because it's highly antimicrobial, it can double-up to keep pimples at bay, and ward off future breakouts.
How-to: Make your own cinnamon spot treatment with 2 tablespoons of manuka honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Mix together until they are thoroughly blended and have formed a paste. Apply as a mask to your face (or spot treat) and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off completely, and mist a rose water hydrosol liberally all over skin.
Garlic is a species of the onion genus, and contains large amounts of allicin, known for its anti-fungal, anti-aging, and skin-smoothing properties. Allicin is also known to increase antioxidant levels in the skin, while sky-high amounts of sulphur help prevent infections and reduce skin-aggravating inflammation.
How-to: Garlic is brilliant at tackling blackheads. Take 2 to 3 cloves of garlic and crush them. Add 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix everything with a generous tablespoon of honey to form a thick paste. Spread a thin layer onto clean skin. After letting it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, rinse your face with warm water. Use this mask twice a week to see a visible reduction in blackheads.