You are what you eat—but also, what you put on your skin.
We’re here to tell you what to put in your face, did you know you could put stuff on it, too? (Hello, DIY face masks!) Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and what you put on it gets absorbed through your pores and into your body. Think about all the products you apply throughout the day—moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, and face wash—and that’s just the beginning! Not only are many cosmetic products filled with synthetic ingredients and potentially harmful chemicals, but they can also burn through your wallet. Lucky for you, you have a built-in-beauty store right at home that’s always fully stocked. We’re talking about your kitchen, of course!
Many of these foods help build beautiful skin from the inside out, but they can also give your skin an extra boost by applying them directly onto your pretty little face. You can even combine some of these nutritious foods to maximize the benefits. From scrubs and masks to cleansers and moisturizers, slather on these whole foods to enhance your complexion and slough off dull, dry skin—naturally.
Due to its sticky texture, honey may seem like the last thing you want to put on your face—but it’s actually one of the best natural moisture promoters. Honey is what’s called a humectant, which helps your skin absorb and lock in moisture. The functional food on its own can be used as a DIY face mask: simply spread on a cleansed face, let it sit until it starts dripping and wash off.
You’ll often find oatmeal in products meant to soothe irritated skin or even help reduce inflamed skin caused by skin conditions like eczema. It’s nourishing and the skin-settling properties come from its mix of flavonoids, phenols, and also a type of polyphenols called avenanthramides—all which act as natural anti-inflammatories. Oats are best used in masks when in a ground or flour form. Try combining with honey for an ultra-soothing mask. With your unused, leftover oats, think about making a batch of overnight oats to wake up to the next morning.
Everyone has jumped on the coconut oil train thanks to its long list of health benefits both internally and topically. Coconut oil has incredible moisturizing and restorative properties. It actually contains a fair amount of antioxidants and is also anti fungal. Coconut oil can be used as a super-hydrating and luscious moisturizer for dry or sensitive skin, which also makes it a wonderful ingredient for DIY face masks. Simply scoop from the jar and slather on.
This brightly-hued spice does more than make your curry dishes stand out. This root has awesome anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent properties; when applied topically, it helps smooth out the skin and fight wrinkles. Turmeric also may help fade acne scars, too. Just be sure to dilute it with other ingredients like oil, as turmeric by itself may stain the skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A healthy kitchen staple, apple cider vinegar contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids, which help remove dirt and grime that tend to build up on your skin over the course of the day, and also helps wash away dead skin cells. It can also be used as a natural toner because it helps shrink the appearance of pores when applied topically. Dilute a little apple cider vinegar with water, dip a cotton ball, and wipe over a cleansed face for a natural refresh.
While berries and teas may be more overt about their skin-boosting properties, carrots are actually right there with them when it comes to natural benefits. When topically applied, carrots work to fight against free radicals and delay premature aging. They also help to stimulate cellular renewal. Cut into pieces, steam and mash the carrot, then combine with other natural ingredients like coconut oil and your flour of choice for a hydrating, anti-aging mask.
Rather than tuck away that extra vino at the end of the night, save it for a DIY beauty moment. When it comes to this cocktail, it’s all about the high levels of antioxidants working to prevent signs of aging. Not to mention, the alcohol may simulate an astringent by tightening pores, too. Simply stir a little wine into your favorite mask combination and let the antioxidants do their job.
For a brighter, more luminous complexion, look no further than lemon. Citrus fruits as a group contain high levels of vitamin C, which supports the production of collagen and boosts skin elasticity when applied topically. Not to mention, the alpha-hydroxy acids help to even out skin toner and may also have a lightening effect on the skin. Mix in small amounts of lemon juice to face masks or scrubs to reap the brightening benefits.
Exfoliating weekly allows your skin to absorb more nutrition and really allows your skin to reap the full benefits of the products you’re using on it. Sugar is an excellent natural exfoliant due to its grittiness, but also thanks to its glycolic acid content. Glycolic acid works to clean out pores and slough off dead skin cells. Use sugar as the main ingredient in any body scrub. But in all other health areas, it’s best to stop eating so much sugar!
If you’ve only used cucumber slices for your undereye circles, then you’ve been missing out on some serious benefits. Cucumber is a super-hydrating food. It has anti-inflammatory properties and works to soothe the skin, and can provide relief particularly to dry, sensitive, or sun damaged skin. Blend cucumber with your favorite oil to make a refreshing, soothing face mask.