Toxin-free, natural homemade skincare is often overlooked yet produces fantastic results. By Sarah Bladen.
Toxic products exist almost everywhere – from supermarkets to department stores – and in bright, shiny packaging, looks can be deceiving. Despite seductive advertising, some of these well-known brands contain harmful chemicals (like parabens and petrochemicals) proven to be carcinogenic. But as consumers we have a choice as to what we put on our skin (so by default into our bloodstream and through our organs) and many safer alternatives without the hefty price tag, are overlooked. What you may not know is that you can find some of the best beauty products in your kitchen. That’s right, you don’t need to look further than your pantry to find an effective tried and tested remedy that has worked well for centuries. Not only do you save money with these eco-friendly options, they are also good for you. After all, they are edible. As well as doubling up as skincare, the natural wonders below can also be used for medicinal purposes. I’m a big fan of the following:
WhAT: LemON JuIce
Truly a beauty wonder, lemon juice can fade age spots, freckles, and combat acne. It’s also a natural facial ‘peel’ and a super cheap way to get hair highlights.
Skincare: using lemon juice on your face helps to tighten and shrink pores, fight acne and fade freckles and pigmentation. Got a pimple? Dab a drop of lemon juice on it when you go to bed at night – the L-ascorbic acid in lemons is the active ingredient in many commercial acne products. If you’re after a lighter complexion or want to fade pigmentation, the citric acid in lemons can whiten, brighten and lighten your skin. Squeeze the juice of a lemon or two into a little bowl then, with a cotton ball, apply to your pigmented areas and leave it on for up to 10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing with cool water. For best results, exfoliate first. mix a pinch of sugar or sea salt with the lemon juice. Some people do this daily; for other people that’s too often. Initially, try every second day to gauge how your skin reacts. Like any bleaching or fading cream, lemon juice only works with regular use and results are gradual.
If you’re after some subtle highlights in your hair, lemon juice is also the way to go. One method is to combine lemon juice and hair conditioner, comb through your hair and sit in the sun before washing out. Repeat at least once a week for significantly lighter hair.
w Like any depigmentation treatment, lemon juice will make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays so be extra vigilant with sunscreen.
w If you’ve got dry skin, undiluted lemon juice can exacerbate the condition so mix equal quantities of water and lemon juice in a little spray bottle. Just watch out for cuts, lemon juice can sting.
w Be careful if you’re already using other topical medical treatments, the lemon juice may not be a good combination.
Medicinal Benefits: First thing in the morning, one of the best ways to detox your body is by drinking a tall glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon. Once in the body, lemon juice acts as an alkaliser, restoring your Ph levels and boosting your immune system.
For more tips and natural lemon juice beauty recipes, check out www.newhealthguide.org and www.livestrong.com.
WHAT: APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
This has been used as folk medicine for eons and with good reason. This magical liquid has fabulous healing properties and helps ease problematic skin – from blemishes to sunburn and eczema – it greatly reduces inflammation. It also acts as a toner and skin brightener.
Skincare: To make your apple cider vinegar (AcV) face wash, pour a tablespoon of AcV into a small bowl with three tablespoons of warm water and apply to your face with a cotton ball. If you have sensitive skin, use five tablespoons of water to a tablespoon of AcV. As your skin gets comfortable with it, you can go down to two or even one tablespoon of water. either leave on for 10 minutes and rinse or apply face oil over the top.
If you’re concerned about how your skin will react, first apply the diluted AcV to your wrist and leave it an hour to check for any redness or irritation.
For an all over body treatment, add a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of epsom salts to a hot bath to draw toxins out through the skin and help jumpstart the cleansing process. This can also help relieve joint pain as well as skin conditions like eczema and acne.
Medicinal Benefits: It is a brilliant natural remedy for sore throats and it can also double up as a natural mouth freshener. many have raved about Apple cider Vinegar for its detoxifying effects since it decreases glucose levels and fights a myriad of infections.
For more tips and ACV beauty recipes, check out www.organicauthority.com.
WhAT: cOcONuT OIL
Coconut oil has been shown to protect you from viruses, bacteria, infection, cancer, brain and heart problems… plus it beautifies your skin, burns fat and boosts your thyroid.
For thousands of years coconut oil has been one of the most loved hair conditioners and for good reason. It has an amazingly repairing effect on your hair cuticle and is good for scalp health since it contains antibacterial properties and nutrients. Besides being a fabulous hair serum, it’s the perfect skin enhancer – a thin layer is highly moisturising for your complexion. You can make various recipes using coconut oil or just use it by itself. To make your own moisturiser, scoop about two cups of coconut oil into a mixing bowl – break up into chunks if necessary and whiz it on high to whip the oil until it’s soft and fluffy. If you like, add a few drops of essential oil for the scent. Then transfer into a storage container and use in place of lotion and body butter. Great for an overnight super hydration treatment.
Medicinal Benefits: many rave about the nutritional value of drinking coconut oil. You can either add it to protein shakes or as an extra topping on a salad; otherwise you can drink it on an empty stomach. Classed as a super food, coconut oil is a low carb drink and is said to fight viruses, improve your brain function as well as burn fat.
For more tips and coconut beauty recipes, check out www.wellnessmama.com, www.goodgirlgonegreen.com and www.thecoconutmama.com.
For those who like the convenience of store-bought beauty products, these brands get the green thumbs up for less harm to you and the planet.
1. The Organic Pharmacy’s Self Tan and Tan Accelerator
Developed using a unique DHA, Ecocert approved and derived from beetroot; this light cream of Self Tan delivers a fast, natural and uniform tan. A gentle formula so tender and chemical free, makes it suitable for even the most sensitive skin. Or, acquire a natural deep golden tan with less sun exposure with The Organic Pharmacy’s Tan Accelerator. Its plant extracts stimulate melanin for long lasting glow while light aloe brings an instant sun kissed glow. Tan Accelerator means less sun-time for that deep golden tan.
Buy it: Organic Pharmacy Self-Tan, AED 225 and Tan Accelerator, AED 225. The range is available at The Organic Pharmacy, Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai at Sister’s beauty lounge in Village Mall and Dubai Mall.
2. Kielhl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
This amazing night oil contains a powerful blend of essential and botanical oils. Evening Primrose Oil helps to repair and boost radiance while Lavender Essential Oil soothes inflamed or irritated skin by reducing blotchiness. When inhaled, the aroma of lavender oil has a calming, anti-depressive effect and promotes an extra restful sleep. Expect to look younger and more radiant!
Buy it: AED 217 for 30ml and AED 321 for 50ml, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is stocked at the Kiehl’s store in Dubai Mall and Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates.
3. Herbline Essentials Premium Essentials AHA Cream
I am loving this new anti-ageing cream since it is packed with essential oils and vitamins. Inspired by the ancient philosophy
of Ayurveda, it is made from 100 per cent natural ingredients sourced in the Himalayas. It is paraben, paraffin and animal cruelty free, plus it has an incredibly anti-ageing effect. Herbline Essentials is a certified member of PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies programme, the only company in the Middle East to do so to date.
Buy it: The AHA Cream costs AED 342 and is available at all leading pharmacies in the UAE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dubai-based Sarah Bladen is a qualified Zen Meditation teacher and founder of On Cloud Zen. To book a meditation session, email email@example.com. To read her blog,
go to www.oncloudzen.com