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Beauty in the kitchen

Photo by Sergio Savarese via Flickr

Look into the bathroom cabinets of your average 20-something woman (and probably a lot of 20-something men, too), and you’ll find piles of barely used skin care products collecting dust. Moisturizers, face masks, body scrubs, shower gel, spot treatments, hair masks—you name it. There’s probably at least three different types of each product in your bathroom.

If you added up the total cost of all of these products, you’d probably faint. They’re not cheap in the first place, and the cost is even harder to swallow when you consider the fact that a lot of those products never get used, as we find ourselves buying every new product that hits the shelves, only to default back to our old standby after using the new stuff twice.

Thankfully, there is a way to reclaim your cabinets and stop blowing half of every paycheque at Shoppers Drug Mart: you can make your own skin care products using basic ingredients from your kitchen! You can literally make just about every skin care product you can think of (except sunscreen) at home, but I’m just going to share recipes for the more basic options that use typical household ingredients.


Brown sugar body scrub

A brown sugar body scrub is ridiculously simple to make and works just as well as any store-bought scrub, without the chemicals and additives. It works wonders on the dry, flaky, itchy skin that plagues many people through the winter months.

To make it, simply mix equal parts brown sugar and olive oil, and rub over your skin to exfoliate. You’ll want to hop in the shower after this treatment to wash it off, and if you put any on your feet, make sure you don’t slip getting into the tub.


All natural acne spot treatment

Even if your teenage years are behind you, most young adults still have to deal with occasional breakouts. Store-bought remedies are expensive, and assuming you’re only dealing with an occasional spot here and there, a homemade antiseptic should be just as effective—and much cheaper.

To make your homemade spot treatment, just mix two tablespoons of organic honey with enough cinnamon powder to make a paste. Dab a bit of the paste onto your trouble spots, let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. Repeat daily until your skin clears.


Soothing DIY face mask

This face mask is perfect for soothing that dry, tight feeling your face tends to get during the winter months after too much exposure to dry air and cold winds.

To make it, mix together one cup of plain Greek yogurt, half a cup of uncooked oatmeal and one teaspoon of honey in a bowl until well-blended.

Use an old makeup brush or your fingers to smooth the mixture evenly over your freshly washed face and neck. Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes (until it feels dry), then wash it off with warm water. Apply a light moisturizer to soothe your skin even more.


Tricks for shiny hair

To get your hair looking shiny and healthy, you’ll first need to eliminate excess product buildup. The quickest way to do this is to rinse your hair with a cup of apple cider vinegar before shampooing in the shower. If your hair really needs help in the shine department, you can make a simple hair mask by mixing an egg with a mashed banana and applying it all over your hair. Leave it on for 10 to 30 minutes (10 for fine hair, 30 for thick/coarse hair). Wash it out and continue with your usual hair routine.


To sum up, I’ll also throw in a couple of bonus tips that don’t actually count as recipes, because they’re only one ingredient. First of all, organic honey is an excellent moisturizer. Try rubbing some on your lips before bed, or rubbing it into cracked heels to soften them (put an old pair of cotton socks over top while it absorbs). If you’re struggling with under-eye circles or puffiness, chill a couple of thin slices of potato in the fridge and then place them over your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes while you take a quick power nap.

And there you have it—a complete skin care regime using only your kitchen basics!

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