Have fun with homemade beauty treatments

By fourth grade, I was a scientist and the kitchen was my laboratory. Hours were spent perfecting homemeade sugar scrubs and face masks. By the end of my so-called testing period, every surface in the kitchen would be coated with oatmeal, maple syrup, eggs, olive oil, orange juice, and any other ingredient I deemed worthy of one of my concoctions. I would try to clean up my experiments before my dad (who, I might mention, is obsessive-compulsive) came home, but he never failed to spot some gooey glob on a cabinet door almost instantly. “If you waste food and make a mess like this again,” he would begin ominously, “I will end you.” But I couldn’t be stopped. In the middle of the night I would sneak to the kitchen, grab as many tools and ingredients as I could, and rush off to the bathroom to continue my experiments.

New York Times reporter Natasha Singer is apparently a woman after my own heart. She has collected and posted some at-home beauty recipes for everyone to try after testing them on various subjects. Funnily enough, she created some of my own fourth-grade classics. Coffee grounds mixed with sugar (she used turbinado sugar, while I opted for the simple stuff) make an awesome body scrub. But be warned: Your skin will become temporarily stained, and the grounds are impossible to clean from the shower without a bit of resolve. Like Kim Tisdale, I was displeased with the aspirin face mask. I had used crushed aspirin mixed with water as a spot treatment for blemishes, reasoning that the aspirin would at least reduce infalmmation. It did not.

Following are a few of my own recipes: To create a hydrating face mask, mix a handful of uncooked oatmeal with two egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Add a dollop of plain yogurt or avocado for extra hydration. For dry heels or elbows, rub a lemon over the skin. The fruit acids will slough off the dead skin cells without abrasive scrubbing. For a homemeade sugar scrub, combine table sugar, olive oil and a splash of juice from any citrus until the mixture feels about the same as wet sand. Depending on your mood, you can add cinnamon or peppermint extract for a nice scent. Rub the mixture onto skin when it is still dry, and when you rinse off you’ll have silky smooth skin.

Not all at-home beauty treatments are good. I find that homemade hair treatments are the most difficult to pull off. Putting olive oil in my hair left it greasy, despite washing it out several times. Ditto for mayonnaise. One time I attempted to slather my hair in mayo because a magazine, I believe it was Cosmopolitan, insisted that full-fat mayo leaves your hair glossy. Not only would a cheap deep conditioner like Aussie’s Three-Minute Miracle have worked better, I wouldn’t have gagged while applying it.

If you decide to make your own at-home beauty recipes, always make sure to test your creation on a small area of skin to see how your body will react. Invite a few friends over for a fun night of beauty and exchange recipes. Who needs upperware parties when you can slather yourself in goo that smells akin to cake batter? And if you especially love any of your recipes, make sure to post them here for everyone to enjoy.

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~ by Stephanie Dunn on November 13, 2008.

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