Beauty in the Kitchen

Slightly off topic, but since we’re in the kitchen anyway, let’s talk beauty products.

I have sensitive skin.  If I look at a product the wrong way, my skin will become irritated and develop a rash or worse.  My skin laughs at hypoallergenic products and ‘natural’ makeups…and then gets red and irritated.

So I spend a lot of time looking for things that won’t irritate it.  I’m down to about 2 brands of makeup, given up totally on eye shadows of any kind, tint my moisturizer instead of wearing foundation…and it goes on.

This is what has driven me to find alternatives to common products.  And where I have found my most successful solutions is in the kitchen.

It started in my early 20s when, after hugging a very rambunctious Golden Retriever, I found myself with a face and neck full of poison ivy.  That is when I discovered oat flour.  Made into a little paste and applied to my face and neck, it helped the poison ivy to disappear quickly.  It also soothed my ravaged skin until the infection was gone.  The surprising side effect was how nice my skin looked when I was done.  Smooth, soft and better than it had before the poison ivy.

I’ve done twice weekly oat flour masks ever since.  Great stuff.  A decade ago I added ground ginger (about 1 tsp to 1/4 cup oat flour) to give an extra boost to the effects of the mask.  Unlike commercial facial products this all natural solution contained no unknown elements to irritate.

After that came olive oil (extra virgin is the recommended type).  This started because living in an arid mountain state makes it difficult to keep skin moisturized.  And while I can tolerate Oil of Olay brand lotions, I cannot use them to excess, so an alternative had to be found.  I had some hit or miss (mostly miss) with other products – shea butter, baby oil, jojoba oil, other ‘natural’ oils. But consistently the olive oil has given me the softest, most problem free skin.  It goes on easily and absorbs quickly, so there is no lotion effect when you’re done.  (You know the one, where you can’t open the door because your hands are so slippery.)  I use this as an all over body oil and add some to bathwater when I want extra moisturizing.  Olive oil has the extra benefit of containing linoleic acid and antioxidants which can be helpful to skin health.

The last few months I added honey to my routine.  I’d been hearing it had good properties for skin and thought, since I had some unpasteurized local honey, it would be a good time to try it.  I add a bit of olive oil to a bit of honey and spread it over my face, let it sit 5 to 15 minutes and then wipe off the residual.  It’s a sticky application, but the results are shiny, bright, smooth skin (weren’t there wrinkles there?).  I do it a few times a week.

All of these things have helped me keep my skin from becoming inflamed and irritated, while managing to keep it moisturized, soft and bright.  So I thought I would share these kitchen helpers in case anyone else has extra sensitive skin like I do.

Added bonus:  about the same time I discovered oat flour, I had a hairdresser who recommended a finishing rinse of apple cider vinegar for my dark, curly and sometimes frizzy locks.  She said it ph balanced the scalp while making hair shiny.  I rarely miss a day of using it and love how shiny it makes my hair.  Now that it is winter, I’ve also taken to adding a couple of drops of olive oil to my conditioner to keep my hair moisturized in the dry, cold weather.

Extra added bonus:  all of these treatments cost pennies per application and considering I saw a honey moisturizer at $50 a 1/2 oz, I’d say my savings over the years have been considerable.

Do you have any must-have all natural, straight from the kitchen beauty tips?  I’d love to hear them.

6 thoughts on “Beauty in the Kitchen

  1. hi nice post, i would like to add few .I am from a place called kerala in india know for its beautiful youth full women. you would find a 70year old with long thick hair and nearly wrinkle free skin(hard to belive??), reading with out glasses(my granma is one of them). The secret COCONUT OIL( the place has coconut as the basic crop),which is used for cooking, hair and body massage. women their take bath every day after massaging oil both in the hair and body, washing the oil off by using hibiscus leaves which is just crushed and used.The raw coconut milk( from squeezing the grated coconut) is used as lotion for irritated skin .i try this twice a week and am told i have a baby soft blemish free skin and beautiful hair.

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  2. lekha, first thanks for stopping by and second, coconut oil sounds great. I actually used to cook in it all the time. Never even thought of it for skin care, but makes perfect sense. And loving the idea of coconut milk. I’m going to give both a try.

    I’m sure this is what kept Ginger so beautiful (and yes, I’ve just dated myself completely with this classic american tv reference!)

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  3. Being a not so attractive older male, beauty products aren’t particularly my thing. However, I use baking powder for brushing my teeth. Put it in a small shaker and shake it onto a damp toothbrush for the least waste, or put a bit in a container and dab the toothbrush into it.

    And while I rarely go the extra mile for a mouthwash, the times I do I’ve found hydrogen peroxide to clear the odor as well as any sugarwater and alcohol mix I’ve tried.

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