Think of milk and honey, oatmeal and cream; young ears of corn, fat apricots, juicy figs; and purple grapes and strawberries ripened in the sun; sweet-sharp tangy herbs and cold cucumbers and watermelons and the natural oils that come from sesame.
Fresh, vitamin-packed foods essential in your diet are natural beauty aids.
Wise women have been experimenting with these secrets for generations. Cleopatra had her milky dips. Marie Antoinette tipped buttermilk over her body for that porcelain look of long ago.
Our grandmothers made fragrant and effective beauty aids in their kitchens and one of the most attractive women I know, an actress, uses no makeup whatsoever offstage except a thin mixture of olive oil and lemon juice!
Remember natural cosmetics prepared in your own kitchen come from foods that supply nutrients, not preservatives. Treat them as foods and never expect them to stay fresh any longer than unrefrigerated food.
The use of strawberries in beauty preparations is a long-standing practice. Ancient beauty recipes speak of crushing berries and oatmeal and cream. A really old practice: mash a cup of juicy, sun-ripened berries in an equal amount of water. This was applied before retiring to face, arms, shoulders, bosom and hands.
The softening and cleansing effect is supposed to take place while you sleep, and the dried mixture is washed away in the morning. According to the original recipe: “After rinsing away the dried strawberry juice, your shoulders and bosom will be as fair as any maiden’s.”
(1) Strawberry and cream facial mask: Wash and hull well-ripened whole strawberries. Shake dry and mash in a cup. Mix in an equal amount of fresh, rich cream and pat this on the face with tapping movements. Rest for 30 minutes. This is a luxurious facial and the combination of rest and skin nutrition does wonders for a tired skin.
(2) Would you have guessed that you can get a peaches and cream complexion from peaches and cream? Just blend some ripe peach with a dab of cream. Massage into a nondescript skin, it will tinge the cheeks with a blushing glow.
(3) There are dozens of different applications involving the cucumber. One of the all-time summer favorites is a cucumber-milk facial. Cool, tingly cucumber, rich in sulfur and silicon, joins up with the calcium in powdered milk and the tightening qualities of egg-white.
(4) Brewers’ yeast mask: A brewers’ yeast mask halts the formation of excess oil on the skin, if only by cleaning the skin deeper than soap and water can reach.
Try mixing a teaspoon or so of brewers’ yeast with enough plain yogurt to make a loose, thin mixture. Pat this thoroughly into all the oily areas of the face. Allow to dry and remain for 15 minutes. Rinse the dried covering away with warm, then cool water and blot dry.
(5) A skim milk makeup remover is ideal for people with oily skin. The drying quality of the milk seems to reduce the hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands, at least temporarily. In addition, it leaves a nourishing film on your face.
Keep a container of powdered milk in your bathroom. Pour a teaspoon or so into a cup and mix with warm water to make a milky consistency. Apply with cotton wool, rubbing gently over all areas, then remove with facial tissues and blot dry.
(6) Astringents are often used to reduce oiliness of the face, tone the skin, reduce large pores and give a lovely fresh tingling feeling. They are excellent, so long as they don’t contain alcohol, which can leave the skin dry and taut. However, you can prepare your own astringent lotion and be assured of benefits without side effects.
Many herbs can be used as astringents: witch hazel twigs, goldenrod and celandine are just a few. They can be obtained from a herbalist or a health food shop, unless you live in the country and have your own herb garden at your doorstep. Steep one flat teaspoon of herbs in one cup of boiling water. Let cool, strain and use as lotion.
An Arabian proverb declares that a man cannot die if he has sage in his garden. Even if you are not convinced of that promise, turn to the sacred sage and lemon tea to unwind, and a splash of lotion for refreshment.
(7) Sage astringent: During the summer, pinch off a few leaves of fresh sage and chop them for an excellent facial astringent lotion. Drop a handful of the leaves into a cup of water. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let them steep until the liquid is at room temperature.
Moisten your lace with the liquid and feel the invigorating action, in addition to its cleaning power. Rub it into your body in summer to soothe itching skin, and apply to aching feet that have been confined too long in shoes.
(8) Witch-hazel astringent: The antiseptic quality of witch-hazel adds to its value as a pore tightener. Here, we are getting a two-in-one beauty treatment for oily skin by temporarily reducing large pores.
(9) Lemon refresher for oily skin: A tine skin refresher for oily skin is made by mixing lemon juice and water, according to the strength you prefer, and freezing it in an ice-cube tray. As you feel the need of a refresher, remove an ice-cube and run it lightly over your face. Remove both oil and moisture with cotton wool.
(10) Facial fruit masks are enormously practical. A few minutes of wearing a mask made of soft, pulpy fruit can help to correct a variety of complexion ills.
(11) Pears and melons: The astringent effect of a pear facial is lovely, especially for anybody with an oily skin. There is also a disinfecting action brought about by the use of a fresh, ripe pear. This would be a helpful mask for an acne condition.
The juice of watermelons as a refreshing facial has long been a favorite with beauties of America’s Deep South. Many claim it can remove fine line wrinkles. It certainly offers instant stimulation.
(12) Dry skin: a condition common among women, is not a problem that can be solved overnight. Start with diet. Be sure you have enough polyunsaturated oils in your daily diet. Just a couple of tablespoons or so a day of an unsaturated oil can give a dry, problem skin renewed life and resiliency.
(13) Milk cleanser: In addition to getting oil into your diet when you suffer from dry skin, cleaning your face with whole milk instead of soap and water will help, too. Slightly warm two tablespoons of milk, add a few drops of oil and shake to mix well.
Dip cotton wool into the solution and clean the skin. Apply a thin-film of oil to the skin afterward to seal in the moisture.
(14) Facials for dry skin: Apply a liberal amount of sesame seed oil to a clean, uncreamed face. Massage gently and apply with a small towel dipped in hot water and lightly wrung out, leaving the eyes and nostrils clear. Lie down for this one, preferably on a slant board to get the blood to your face more easily. Repeat several times, and then apply a cool, weak astringent lotion to remove any traces of oil.
(15) Puree of carrot mask: Vitamin A is more easily released in cooked carrots than in raw ones, so cook a few carrots then drain off the water. Mash the soft, warm carrots and place between gauze.
Apply the gauze to the face. Leave an open space around the nose and allow the mask to remain on until it is cold. Remove and rinse the face with warm, then cool water. Blot dry.
(16) Corn mask for dry skin: This offers a feast to the starved complexion. Pick a tender young ear of corn fresh from its stalk. Husk the ear, remove the silk. Run the sides of the corn down a grater. This cuts into the kernels and exposes their rich, milky fluid. Catch the grated kernels in a small bowl.
Next, gather the handful of kernels and strain them through a loose cheesecloth bag. Open the cheesecloth to allow all the pulp to get through. It is only the hulls we are trying to discard. Now, pat this milky mask on your face and neck. Leave on until it dries, for 15 to 20 minutes.
The high protein and fat content in corn soothes dry tissue, at the same time offering the building material needed for a healthy skin.
(17) For days when your skin is especially dry, clean with a split grape. Not only is this lubricating, it is nourishing and refreshing.
Many women notice vast improvement in hair and skin, after taking two or three tablespoons of unprocessed vegetable, seed or nut oil every day. Some women believe that oils should be eliminated from the diet in order to lose weight but many nutritionists will tell you that sufficient oils in the diet can help you to maintain a desired weight level. When the body lacks essential fatty acids found in oils, it must change sugar into fat at a faster rate.
(18) Lanolin shampoo for dry hair is a splendid shampoo you can make at home to bring new life to dry hair. Beat one half-teaspoon of lanolin, one teaspoon of vegetable oil and one tablespoon of water together over boiling water. When melted and blended together, beat in two tablespoons of an herbal shampoo. Rinse hair well and add a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to your final rinse.
(19) Avocado conditioner: The avocado is an excellent source of protein and can nourish dry, rebellious strands. Massage finely mashed avocado into hair and scalp for a full five minutes.
Cover with a plastic bag for an hour before shampooing out with a non-alkaline shampoo. Add two teaspoons of lemon juice (for blondes) or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (for brunettes) to a quart of water for the last rinse. Towel dry.
Generally speaking, the better your health the less frequently a shampoo is needed but for hygienic reasons, and for the removal of air pollutants, once a week is advisable. A quick soaping and rinsing is never adequate for healthy hair and in time short-cut methods can lead to heavy dandruff, scalp odor and clogged pores.
Especially for blondes: Good, old-fashioned Chamomile is a blonde’s best friend.
(20) Chamomile rinse: Drop a handful of dried chamomile flowers into two cups of water and simmer for half an hour. Steep until warm, and strain. After shampooing and rinsing the hair in clear water, towel dry and begin pouring the chamomile solution over the hair. Catch brew in a basin and pour through hair several times.
(21) Sage tint: This versatile plant provides a harmless and effective method of darkening grey hair. Toss two tablespoons dried sage together with two tablespoons of black tea into a pint of boiling water.
Cover. Simmer for 25 minutes. Then steep for several hours and strain. Rub a little of this liquid into the hair and scalp every day. When the right shade is reached, reduce the daily application.
(22) Reconditioning over-bleached hair: Even the strongest hair eventually rebels against brutal stripping and bleaching processes. We would suggest allowing your hair to return to its normal color but for some immediate results we recommend a thorough reconditioning. Try a warm castor oil pack.
Heat enough castor oil to rub generously into the entire hair and scalp area. To ensure proper coating, gently comb through the strands. Place a plastic bag over the scalp and tuck in the sides to create as much heat as possible and help saturation. Leave the scalp pack on for an hour before shampooing.
Women who have had a beautiful complexion for years find, when they reach their 40s, that their skin begins to feel dry. If you are experiencing sudden complexion problems, consider the following questions: Are you receiving the proper nutrients? Do you get enough sleep?
A sufficient amount of polyunsaturated fat added to your diet will help you overcome a dry skin/dry hair problem. In the meantime, apply a thin coating of fresh cream to your skin, a beauty potion all its own.
(23) Suntan/sunshield lotion: The trend toward deeply tanned skin in the summer can result in dried-out skin for even young, healthy people. Premature aging is obvious in many outdoor workers who do not shield themselves well enough from the sun’s rays. In addition, overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun makes one a candidate for skin cancer.
You might like to try a sesame seed milk lotion that is pleasant to apply and seems to modify the sun’s rays.
Grind a handful of sesame seeds in the blender. Add water to cover and whizz until you have a milky lotion. Strain through gauze and rub the lotion into your skin before going out. This liquid will wash off in water, so re-apply after every dip in the pool. Sesame lotion will also help you to tan evenly and it leaves the body silky smooth without dryness after swimming.
(24) Facial for a sallow skin: Women with sallow skin often find the sallowness deepens with the years and their complexions lose their alive look. The stimulating effect of a soy powder and yogurt facial twice a week helps activate circulation, hastens the flow of blood to your face and brings new life to a weary complexion.
Mix a teaspoon of soy powder with a tablespoon of plain yogurt and blend. Gently rub this mixture on face and neck. Allow to dry for 30 to 40 minutes before rinsing with warm and then cool water. If any dryness occurs, pat in a thin-film of oil and blot with tissue.
(25) Apricot mask for dull skin: Apricots are a valuable food. Try mashing to a pulpy consistency a few raw apricots and pat on the skin. If fresh apricots aren’t available, soak sun-dried apricots in water overnight. Cook them gently the next day, using no sweetening. Mash warm stewed fruit to a pulp and apply a thin layer to face and throat. Wear for 10 minutes. Remove and rinse.
Another shield lotion that’s simple to make, equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and a good vegetable oil. Olive oil is good but you can use sesame or corn oil.
(26) Elegant eyes: Eye beauty is basically eye health. Look after your eyes, protect them. If you need glasses, wear them. Sight is a precious possession. Witch-hazel pads placed over the eyes help to reduce temporary fatigue lines if you can lie down patiently for half an hour while they soak away the exhaustion marks. Keep your witch-hazel in the refrigerator during the summer. Douse the pads, squeeze out the excess, lie down, apply and enjoy!
(27) Your eyebrows: we know women whose personal grooming is impressive in all areas except the eyebrows. To cut down the discomfort of plucking, apply an ice-cube to the area (not near the eye but on the eyebrow line, or curve) then use your tweezers. Afterwards, pat raw honey on the plucked area and leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour.
A remedy for bags under the eyes is to use one fresh fig, cut in half and placed directly on the area. For best results apply while lying down. Allow to remain for 15 minutes. Pat in a film of oil after rinsing away the fig juice.
(28) Keep your hands young: Many of us, if we think hard, can remember our grandmothers wearing gloves to bed once a week. It may have seemed silly but remember how lovely their hands were? Try this formula for beautiful hands.
(29) Grandmother’s hand cream: Beat one teaspoon of rice flour into two egg-yolks until you have a smooth paste. Blend in four teaspoons sweet almond oil and 30g (1oz) rosewater, or plain mineral water will do. Beat in very slowly ½ teaspoon tincture of benzoin, drop by drop. Pat this into your hands before you go to bed and have ready a pair of old white gloves several sizes too large. (Kid gloves are best, if you can find any.) Leave on all night and rinse the hands, without using soap, in the morning.
(30) Keep your nails healthy: Protein is one of the most important nutrients needed for healthy fingernails. For beneficial external treatment try mixing equal parts of egg-yolk, almond or linseed oil and raw unheated honey. Massage into the nails last thing at night and rinse away in the morning. If your nails are soft, try soaking your fingers each night in warm olive oil. Iodine applied to the nails is another effective strengthener.
(31) Elbows and hands: Here’s a super cream for hard, crusty elbows that don’t seem to respond to creams or oils. Blend together a few drops each of salad oil, lemon juice and honey. Rub into the elbows several times a day and in a week’s time your problem should be greatly diminished.
(32) The luxury moment: Beauty baths have been part of daily life long before Cleopatra took her famous milk dips. We are all aware that nourishing masks are great for the face, but we mustn’t forget that the rest of the body needs nourishment, too. A bath is one of the nicest ways to do this.
A milk bath is a great treat for your body. Rub yourself all over with a sponge dipped in milk and thirsty pores will be saturated with this calcium covering and the results will be a firmer but beautifully soft skin. Another delightful body treatment is a vigorous oil rub with a nourishing salad oil. Remove excess oil before stepping into the bath and do be careful while in the tub: this is a luxurious but slippery bath! Your skin, afterwards, will be as soft and luscious as a baby’s.
(33) Put some herbs in your bath water: If you like a smooth, silky feeling and want to experiment with homemade oils, try mixing a cup of any vegetable or nut oil with one tablespoon of herbal. Add several drops of rose oil for a pleasant, scented mixture.
If you have a blender, set it at the highest speed, then whip the mixture to a froth to emulsify the solution. Or, beat with an egg-beater. Bottle the oil and use four tablespoons to a tub of water. Massage your body under water to derive fullest benefits.
Treat yourself to herbal baths. There are many, many refreshing herbal and floral baths. Prepare herbs in a dish of hot water before straining into the bath.
Make small gauze bags filled with a handful of any crushed mixture you choose of dried flowers or herbs and pungent grasses. Hang the bags over the tap. As the water pours down it will carry the fragrance of the bag into your tub.
(34) Scents of all seasons: You can experiment and put together enchanting fragrances in your own home. Make lavender sachets to put among your clothes for a clean, lasting scent.
Make spicy sachets from 30g (1oz ) of each of the following items: cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, lavender flowers, rose leaves and orris root. Grind the ingredients and mix them well. Ladle into small bags and tie.
Make a rose bowl. Collect petals from any and all varieties of roses. Gather them as soon as the sun has dried the dew on the leaves. Strip the petals from the calyx, disposing of any blemished petals.
When you have collected a bucketful (about five liters), take a porcelain bowl and alternate layers of petals and sea salt, so that the last layer is salt. Press down with a plate that can be left in the bowl. Turn the mixture after 12 hours. Very carefully stir the petals every day for a week. After the mass becomes moistened, add 100g (3oz) of ground allspice and ground cinnamon.
Put the mixture in the lidded jar or bowl you have chosen and add the following, all coarsely powered: 30g (1oz) each of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, orange and lemon peel, anise seed and 8g black pepper. Finally, add half a teaspoon rose geranium oil, or use lavender or rosemary oil if you prefer.
Throughout the summer add any of your favorite petals, but dry them in the open air before adding.