Natural beauty tips
From the basics (plenty of water and sleep) to the more unusual (banana facials, anyone?), naturopath Pamela Stone has 15 of the best tips to keep you looking and feeling beautiful.
1 Kick-start with citrus Start each day with the juice of ½ lemon in a glass of warm water. This stimulates liver and kidney function, helping to detoxify skin.
2 Take extra C According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition women with high dietary vitamin C levels had less wrinkles and dry skin, and better resistance to sun damage. It strengthens capillaries and cell walls and forms collagen (a protein found in connective tissue), which prevents bruising and promotes healing.
3 Add grapeseed extract It contains proanthocyanadins, antioxidants that protect skin against the ageing effects of free radicals, such as sagging skin and spider veins.
4 The mighty minerals Zinc is needed for tissue regeneration, wound healing and hormone balance; silica, the original ‘beauty mineral’, is essential for the structure and strength of skin, hair and nails.
5 Boost with biotin This B-group vitamin helps form the protein keratin, which is critical for the growth of hair and nails. Find it in egg yolks, carrots and almonds.
6 Get the flax Flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, which all moisturise the skin from within and reduce dryness and irritation.
7 Sleep deep No beauty product can make up for a lack of shut-eye. Your body needs to rest so that skin cells can repair themselves and eliminate toxins. Remember: every hour before midnight is worth two after.
8 Scrub up Regular exfoliation removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and stimulates circulation, giving you a healthy glow. Use a moisturising cream-based facial product followed by a warm water rinse.
9 Shop your pantry You’ll find incredibly effective (and inexpensive!) beauty treatments in your kitchen. For example, chamomile tea (place wet, cool teabags over eyes to reduce puffiness, or use a strong infusion as a lightening hair rinse); cucumber (wash and juice a whole one, skin and all, and use as a cleanser, with a noticeable tautening and brightening effect); apple cider vinegar (combine ½ cup with 1 litre of water and use as a hair rinse to restore natural pH and add a wonderful gloss); olive oil (an excellent cleanser for dry skin, as well as a fabulous hot oil treatment for dry, flyaway hair – comb through 2 tablespoons, wrap your head in a hot towel, leave for 30 minutes, and then shampoo out); and eggs (use the whisked white to tighten skin and reduce redness, and the yolks in a nourishing face or hair mask). Avocadoes are a rich source of skin-nutritive vitamins A and E. Simply mash a ripe one and smooth the paste over your face and neck; leave for 15 minutes, then rinse off. This is also a helpful remedy for eczema, and sensitive or reddened skin. Bananas are another super skin treat. Packed with protein, potassium and vitamins, they have amazing moisturising and soothing effects. Mash one until creamy and massage into your face and neck to bring blood to the surface, clear puffiness and reduce skin fatigue.
10 Make it milk and honey Honey has superlative regenerative and moisturising properties. Use it in a mask, or whisk 1 teaspoonful with 150 ml rosewater and 100 ml witch hazel and apply as a softening skin toner. Buttermilk is an old-fashioned and very effective cosmetic treatment, and is terrific for sloughing off dead skin cells and lightening and evening out skin tone. Use it as a mask or facial cleanser.
11 Wake up and smell the coffee For a get-up-and-go body scrub, combine ¼ cup each of fresh coffee grounds, raw sugar and olive oil. Massage all over your body, applying small pinches of the mixture in brisk circles, and always moving towards the heart. Rinse off in the shower.
12 Go fish – oil, that is A study in the Journal of Lipid Research has found it blocks UV-induced enzymes that destroy collagen, causing wrinkles and sagging skin.
13 Turn up the volume Try this easy cheat for full, fabulous hair. Have a black-and-tan: build body by ‘shampooing’ with 100ml of stout ale; leave for 15 minutes before washing out. The hops in the beer have a plumping effect.
14 Raise a glass Wine’s antioxidant polyphenols have a mildly exfoliating effect on the skin. Add a splash of white wine to a warm bath, or steep bruised fresh mint in 1 cup of leftover wine for 1 week, strain, store in a bottle, and add 1-2 tablespoons to a bath.
15 Mash it up Squish together equal quantities of sour cream and strawberries, then massage into face and neck. Leave for 15 minutes, then rinse - the fruit acids give skin an instant lift. (P.S. Korean researchers have found that topical application of ellagic acid – found in strawberries – prevents the breakdown of collagen in UV-damaged skin.)