Try these fresh and gentle do-it-yourself beauty treatments to pretty up your skin, hair and body – without breaking the bank.
Fruity facial Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are found in the most expensive anti-ageing cosmetics, come from ordinary fruit. This home-made mask contains vitamin A, to heal skin, and fruit enzymes to remove dead skin cells.
Mash together a peeled, ripe peach, 1 teaspoon brandy and enough cornflour to make a workable paste. Smooth over face, avoiding lips and eyes. Rinse off after 10 minutes.
Get steamy The facial steams offered at beauty salons can be created at home for a fraction of the cost. They are fantastic for improving micro-circulation to the skin’s surface, opening pores for deep cleansing, and giving you a naturally healthy glow.
Bring 3 cups of water to the boil and pour into a bowl. Add 4 drops of an essential oil appropriate to your skin type (dry: ylang ylang or rose; oily: peppermint or lemon; normal: calendula or chamomile). Lean over the steam and tent your head with a towel, keeping your face at least 25 cm from the water’s surface, to avoid burns. After 10 minutes, splash face with cool, fresh water.
Salt glow Try this inexpensive treatment to remove dull, dry skin and leave you tingling all over.
Mix together 1 cup of coarse sea salt and enough olive oil to form a workable paste. Stand in the shower, scoop up small amounts with your fingers, and use to massage arms, legs and stomach with small, circular movements, always moving in towards the heart. Avoid breasts and genitals. Shower off mixture, finishing with a cool rinse.
Bathing bliss Try a Japanese nuka bath: tie a handful of rice bran in a face flannel and drop it into warm bathwater to release vitamin-rich oils that soften skin.
Ease dry or itchy skin with an old-fashioned soda bath; just pour ½ cup of bicarbonate of soda into the water and swish to disperse it thoroughly. Or, add 1 cup Epsom salts and 5 drops each of pine, juniper and grapefruit essential oils to warm bath water. Soak for 20 minutes. This spa-style treatment helps to eliminate toxins from the body – the hot water encourages you to sweat, while the oils and salts stimulate circulation.
Another great all-natural idea is to add a pot of strained green tea to your bathwater – it contains antioxidant polyphenols that help prevent skin cell damage.
Dry skin? Try this recipe:
½ cup plain yoghurt
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon almond oil
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Massage into dry skin while standing in the shower, until sugar dissolves. Turn on shower and rinse off mixture.
Beat lumps, bumps and wrinkles Spread sour cream over rough skin on the backs of arms and legs. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse off. The lactic acid in the cream exfoliates the skin via a natural chemical action. A tried-and-tested tip for uneven skin tone is to soak cotton pads in lemon juice, and use them to massage the affected areas. The citric acid in the juice softens and bleaches discoloured, leathery skin. Fight the ageing process with this all-natural wrinkle remedy:
Mix together 1 teaspoon each of brewer’s yeast and avocado oil, lightly pat into skin and allow it to dry before rinsing off. Brewer’s yeast is thought to boost collagen production in the skin, while avocado oil is a rich source of anti-ageing vitamin E.
Red, irritated skin Dermatologist Dr Doris Day offers this remedy:
Add 1 cup of ground oatmeal, 1 cup of whole milk, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel to a warm bath. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory, honey is a natural antiseptic, milk’s fats calm irritation, and aloe moisturises. Soak for 15 minutes, and then pat dry.
Dry hair Open a can of coconut milk and massage the contents into your hair. Wrap in a warm towel and leave for 15 minutes, before shampooing. Your hair will be soft, shiny and manageable.
Acne Essential oils can help to balance over-active sebaceous glands and counter bacterial infection. The most helpful are lavender (soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial), geranium (balancing and stimulating to the lymphatic system, which helps to speed the removal of toxins from the body), and tea tree (astringent, antiseptic, and germicidal). In fact, research shows that tea-tree oil is as effective as benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in many conventional anti-acne treatments.
Try this recipe for an antiseptic toner:
100ml distilled water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons witch hazel
3 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops tea tree essential oil
2 drops geranium essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle. Label, cap securely, and store in a cool, dark place. To use, shake thoroughly and apply to skin using a cottonwool ball. Avoid eye area.