Tom watched with interest as his sister carefully cracked an egg into a small, round bowl, placing the yolk into another container. She was a good cook, and Tom was hoping she might be going to make a batch of brownies. But when Sara measured one tablespoon milk and a teaspoon of honey into the bowl with the egg white, he became concerned.
“Honey in brownies, Sar?” he inquired.
“No brownies this time, Tommy,” she said, mixing the three ingredients thoroughly. She gave her brother an indulgent smile as she picked up the bowl and headed toward the bathroom. Tom followed, his curiosity piqued. “Why are you taking—” he stopped short. “Yech!” Sara was spreading the mixture all over her face.
“What are you doing, Sara?” Tom demanded, afraid his normally sensible sister had been working too hard on the upcoming youth conference.
“This is my new beauty treatment, Tom,” she explained. “It’s less expensive than cosmetics, and it works!”
Sara was right. It is less expensive than most commercial cosmetics and it does work. But eggs with milk and honey aren’t the only natural foods that are good for the skin; liquified fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, vinegar, and even yogurt have some equally healthful qualities.
To help you understand why natural cosmetics work, let me explain something about the skin and its function:
1. Our skin is approximately 98 percent protein.
2. It is covered with an acid mantle that retards bacteria and that can be removed by soap or cosmetics.
3. The outer layer of the skin is constantly flaking off. Removing the useless skin cells keeps the pores free from debris.
The egg, milk, and honey treatment described above is an excellent mask for tightening and toning the skin. Mix the ingredients together, apply the mixture to your skin, and leave it on for 15 or 20 minutes before rinsing it off. In addition, olive oil added to a beaten egg yolk is a good way to remove dry skin lines, and egg and sweet cream left on the skin for half an hour can be used to erase fine lines.
Another good skin toner is that little carton of yogurt in your refrigerator. To put it to its best use, eat half and put half on your face! It contains protein, calcium, and acid that is beneficial to the skin. Fruits and vegetables can also be used as practical and effective skin masks: pears and melons have an astringent effect; tomatoes have a cleansing, stimulating effect (because of their acidity); and a strawberry facial softens. When using fruits, liquify them in a blender, apply for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse off.
A cucumber (peeled and chopped) with two teaspoons of powdered milk and one egg all put into the blender can whip into a very effective mask for stimulating sallow, dull skin.
But toning and tightening aren’t the only areas in which natural cosmetics and conditioners can be helpful. They also make excellent cleansers and softeners. In fact, a bottle of powdered milk in the bathroom can be of more value in removing makeup and cleansing the skin than creams and oils—and much less expensive. For oily skin use one teaspoon powdered milk with warm water. For dry skin use whole milk, add a few drops of oil, and shake well. To apply, dip cotton balls into either solution and cleanse your skin. In addition, milk added to bath water makes a nice skin softener.
Honey has long been known as a skin nutrient with excellent drawing power. Heated and gently tapped on the skin, it has a pulling power that draws the blood to the surface and helps purify the skin. Then gently wash off with warm water and rinse with cool water. Honey can also be mixed with warm wheat germ, ground oats, or brown sugar to make a good abrasive cleanser.
Meal made from almonds, oats, or corn is also a good abrasive and will aid in removing those dead cells that clog pores and cause blackheads. Grind some non-instant oatmeal into a powder and mix with milk to make a paste. Use as soap, and then rinse and blot dry. Oatmeal, almond meal, and cornmeal also can be used as dry shampoos. Sprinkle on hair and brush out to absorb dirt and excess oil.
One hair treatment you may already be familiar with is using lemon juice as a rinse after shampooing. A mixture of two cups water and the juice of one lemon has a slight lightening effect and removes all traces of shampoo.
Vinegar is also good as a rinse for both the hair and the skin, as it restores the acid mantle. You can make a vinegar and water mixture by using one part apple cider vinegar to eight parts water.
Now you know some of the natural cleansers, conditioners, and skin softeners that are available in your own kitchen. With that in mind, maybe the next time you head for the refrigerator, you’ll decide to whip up something for your face instead of your stomach!