It might make sound mad to raid your kitchen cupboards for beauty essentials, but trust me — once you start experimenting with these wonderful concoctions and seeing what they can do, you'll be as obsessed with them as I am!
Three years ago, I drastically changed my diet to focus on healthy, plant-based food. I found that as I started to really pay attention to what went into my body, I also wanted to know what I was putting on my body. Since skin is the biggest organ we have, it's so important that we take care of it if we want to look and feel our best.
Remember: A healthy glow comes, first and foremost, from within and starts with foods that hydrate our skin. Cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, avocado (good fats!), nuts and coconut are all great and will help us glow from the inside out.
To up the ante, however, we can use these same ingredients from the outside, in. Here are some of my favorite ingredients to use in both your kitchen and your beauty routine!
I have to admit I'm an absolute fiend for coconut oil*. As well as stirring this absolute superfood into creamy coconut porridge or blending it into smoothies, I use it all the time in my beauty regime as the most fantastic all-round beauty product.
Coconut oil is packed with Vitamin E, which encourages growth and repair of skin cells, protects against aging and prevents your lips and skin from drying out and cracking. Being rich in certain proteins, it also speeds up healing time, making your skin look fresher and more radiant.
Try using a small amount every night on as a facial moisturizer. You'll wake up with fresh, dewy skin. Once a week, use it as a full body moisturizer before bed. A little goes a long way, so don't overdo it or you'll be slipping around in your pajamas all night!
You can also use it as a delicious-smelling makeup remover. For stubborn mascara, rub a pea-sized amount gently over your closed eyes and let it melt that makeup away while also moisturizing your lashes. An added bonus? You won't accidentally tug out any of your eyelashes with this gentle trick!
For your hair, try applying a tablespoon to your ends and brush through to spread the coconut oil out evenly. Leave it on for a few hours, preferably overnight to really let it soak in, and then wash it out with your normal shampoo. Let your hair dry and marvel at how soft, smooth and shiny it is!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar* is another miracle product that should make the journey from your kitchen to your bathroom cupboard.
Washing your face with harsh cleansers and makeup removers often interferes with the pH balance of your skin, making it more vulnerable to irritations. The natural acids found in apple cider vinegar helps to re-balance your pH levels while also softening and exfoliating, reducing redness, curing dry patches, spots and acne.
After you take off your makeup, apply the ACV to your skin with a cotton ball. If you're worried it might be too strong for your skin, try diluting it with a bit of water to make it gentler. It might smell funny for a minute or two, but I promise the scent doesn't linger!
Rinsing your hair in diluted ACV is also a great way to get rid of any leftover build up from other hair product you use, giving it more body and shine. Combine one part ACV with two parts water (experiment to find the combination that works best for your hair: if you have dry hair, use less vinegar. Oily hair might require more.) and massage it into your hair and scalp after shampooing. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse.
Even doing this rinse just once a month is enough to give your hair a total refresh, helping it stay beautiful and glossy!
Oatmeal & Brown Sugar
Homemade exfoliating scrubs using ingredients like brown sugar and oats are one of my favorite ways to keep my skin happy and smooth. I try to exfoliate at least once a week to keep dead skin away.
My favorite scrub is made of brown sugar, oats, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. To make it, simply use a 3-to-2 ratio of sugar to oats and then mix with a dollop of coconut oil and a splash of ACV.
The sugar granules are quite coarse and the perfect invigorating exfoliator for dead skin cells on both your face and body. The oats are soft, so they stop the sugar from being too harsh on your skin. They also contain a fantastic array of amino acids that help heal blemishes, repair damaged skin, moisturize and act as anti-inflammatories.
The ACV has great antibacterial properties that help combat tired skin, redness and spots, while the coconut oil leaves your skin feel soothed and deeply moisturized.
Get ready to glow!
*There are a few things that you should look for when buying your coconut oil. It really needs to be raw, unrefined "virgin" oil in order to get all these awesome health benefits. This kind can be more expensive, but each jar lasts a few months and trust me, it's really worth it! The same goes for apple cider vinegar: it should be raw, organic and with the "mother" for you to get all the benefits
Photo courtesy of Getty Images, the author
Ella Mills is the founder of Deliciously Ella, a popular wellness brand based in London. After she was diagnosed with a rare illness called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) in 2011, Mills changed her diet in an attempt to heal. She started her blog DeliciouslyElla.com to share her experiences with plant-based eating and provide resources and recipes for others. She has since launched an app, written multiple books, opened a deli and started a line of packaged goods, sold primarily in Europe.