8 Common Foods for Surprising Beauty Shortcuts
Last Updated: Oct 06, 2015
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Lately it seems that we’re trending toward a more holistic and natural lifestyle. From non-GMO organic foods at local farmers markets to vegan clothing options made locally, we’re all trying to get back to being mindful of what we’re putting into and onto our bodies. Look no further than your own kitchen for some all-natural alternatives to your current skin care and makeup routines. Cosmetics companies cram their products full of harsh chemicals that can be more harmful than helpful. Check out these eight sure-to-be-in-your-kitchen items and the creative ways you can add them to your beauty routine!
The bright and zesty scent of lemon is one that we associate with cleanliness. Lemon is an ingredient in many home-cleaning supplies, and grinding it up in your disposal is an easy way to get rid of any funky kitchen smells. But you can also use lemons in your beauty regimen as a natural alternative to many chemical-laden products. With its high concentration of vitamin C, you can use it on your face to even skin tone and lighten dark spots. Lemon can also be used to naturally lighten hair. Last but not least, you can also add it to you home manicure kit: Mix lemon juice with warm water to remove stains from your nails.
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We all look forward to a cup of coffee in the morning to get that jolt of energy, but it turns out java is a great way to give your skin and hair a boost too. Coffee grounds are a fantastic exfoliator for your face and body. In addition to the turning over of dead skin cells, the caffeine constricts small blood vessels and can reduce inflammation and redness. Many expensive face creams contain caffeine for this very reason. Coffee is also chock-full of antioxidants that can attack and eliminate damaging free radicals. For all you brunettes out there: You can use grounds as a hair mask to strip the hair of toxins, leaving it shiny. Known for its deodorizing qualities, you can also use it to create homemade soaps.
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Look around your grocery store or on any food blog and it seems as though everyone is going loco for coconuts! With the trend in full swing, it’s no surprise that this stone fruit is being hailed for its health benefits, but I bet you didn’t know just how many uses coconut oil actually has. Known for its serious moisturizing qualities, you can apply this oil to just about every part of your body, from skin to hair and even nails. Mix coconut oil with your favorite essential oil and you’ve got an easy moisturizer and natural perfume. Use coconut oil on the ends of your hair to reduce split ends and frizziness and to keep them looking shiny. But be sure not to overdo it, and stay away from your roots or you’ll end up with super-greasy locks. Rub small dabs of the oil on your cuticles to keep them soft while strengthening your nails. Run out of makeup remover? Pour a bit of oil on a cloth to get rid off every trace of eyeliner and mascara. Tired of dropping that shaving-cream can in the shower? Slick on some coconut oil and shave those legs.
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Sugar tastes great in that morning cup of joe, but it’s also great for your skin. As a natural exfoliator for your body, lips and hands, it won’t clog pores. And because sugar is a humectant, it will help draw moisture to the top layer of skin. The glycolic acid found in sugar is an alpha hydroxy acid that aids in the turnover of skin cells, fighting the effects of aging and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Sugar is a natural way to utilize this acid that’s found in many of the chemical peels and injectable fillers that medical spas use. Adding chamomile or green tea to your sugar scrub will reduce puffiness, or you can try lavender for its antibacterial properties and its soothing aroma.
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Baking soda is a staple in most homes for baking and getting rid of odors, but there’s so much more it can do. Use baking soda as a clarifying shampoo to remove the buildup from your other hair products. Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with two cups of water and apply to your hair once a month to keep your hair light and free of toxins. (This can be drying, so don’t do this more than once a month). If you’re anything like me and go days between hair washings, baking soda can act as a dry shampoo, absorbing the naturally occurring oils from your scalp. You can also use it as a natural deodorant to absorb sweat. Because it’s a mild abrasive, mixing a few teaspoons with water to create a paste and brushing can remove surface stains from your teeth. However, don’t replace your toothpaste with baking soda, as it doesn’t contain fluoride, which you need to fight cavities.
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This super-pigmented root vegetable is not only nutritious and delicious, it can also be used as an all-natural makeup alternative. Heather Crosby of the blog Yumuniverse.com created a fantastic recipe for making blush and lip gloss. For blush, all it takes is dehydrating the beets and then using a coffee grinder to turn them into a fine powder. For a natural lip and cheek stain, she heats almond oil and lanolin and mixes that with beet powder. Beets can also be used as a temporary hair dye for a reddish tint.
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Cornstarch is a multifunctional flour that can be used for many more things than simply thickening sauces or soups. Believe it or not, it’s a perfect setting powder for your makeup. Once you’re done applying your makeup, dust a light layer of cornstarch on to set everything in place. This is a much cheaper alternative to the translucent powders that cosmetic companies sell for up to $30! You can use cornstarch mixed with cocoa powder and cinnamon to create homemade bronzing powders as well. I discovered a great recipe on the blog Freepeople.com: All you need is ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, cocoa powder and cornstarch — done. You can experiment with different amounts of each to get the perfect shade. I love to use cornstarch to create a matte lip: After applying lipstick, use your finger to dab on a layer of cornstarch.
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The incredible, edible, beautifying egg. Eggs are loaded with many nutrients and proteins that can help you look great from the inside out — like vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy skin, and antioxidant-rich vitamin E and folate, which produces and maintains new cells. Whisk an egg into a froth, apply it to the face and allow it to dry. (Your face will feel tight.) Rinse using warm water. The egg whites, which contain collagen, aid in elasticity and tightening of the skin, and the yolks contain the vitamins to maintain healthy skin.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you have any go-to food items that you use in an unconventional way? Have you swapped your store-bought lipstick for a homemade balm? Share your thoughts, ideas and questions with the LIVESTRONG.COM community in the comments below!
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