Inspired living

6 ways coffee can boost your beauty


One of the world’s favourite brews has many more benefits than just a mid-morning caffeine kick. Coffee is actually a potent, multi-purpose beauty ingredient that can add lustre to your hair, all while diminishing the appearance of cellulite and under-eye shadows.

While the health benefits, or lack thereof, of drinking coffee may always be a hot topic for debate, the topical uses of this caffeine-fuelled brew, and the aromatic beans from which it’s derived, offer big beauty pluses that can’t be denied.

From giving gloss to over-stressed locks to minimising dark circles from lack of sleep, naturally grown, organic coffee offers antioxidant properties that have been loved and utilised by many cultures, from England to India, for centuries.

While it’s not clear when the beauty benefits of the herb were discovered, the bean itself has been revered and consumed at least since the 13th century. It originated in Ethiopia and was later adopted in Egypt and Yemen. The rest of the world soon began its love affair with the popular drink, which some researchers warn raises blood pressure and heart rate by 11 per cent, all the while making the drinker more alert and reducing the body’s ability to absorb iron.

Today, commercial Beauty companies are adding coffee to creams, scrubs and lotions, with the promise of better skin, less cellulite and shinier hair. However, it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars to give your skin a coffee boost or to make use of its powerful deodorising properties. Simply buying Fairtrade, organic beans or grounds is all you need to do to begin experimenting with coffee facemasks, body scrubs and toners. In fact, adding grounds to other foods, such as olive oil and flax, is not only better for your skin but also your health, as many commercially made products contain harmful preservatives and additives that should be avoided.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attributes her dewy glow from top to toe to regular application of coffee grounds, olive oil and honey, which she removes with a warm towel and follows up with aloe vera gel, straight from the plant, to hydrate. Meanwhile, Jennifer Love Hewitt also sings the praises of a strongly brewed cuppa and says her shiny brunette mane is the result of religiously applying a coffee rinse each time she washes her hair.

While external use of coffee is gaining in popularity, the liquid form has also become known for its use in enemas. This type of colonic irrigation is said to help detoxify the body by stimulating the liver to increase bile production, enabling the organ to eliminate toxins faster. When the body’s organs, in particular the liver and gut, are working efficiently, the skin benefits, creating even skin tone and a glow that can’t be bought in a jar, tube or bottle. However, it’s important to seek well-informed practitioner advice before doing the procedure at home.

When taking it internally, there are considerable contraindications to be aware of with coffee, from negative effects of mixing with over-the-counter prescription drugs to increased risk of hypertension. There is little research, however, to determine possible risks by using coffee externally. As with all topical treatments, use sparingly in the first instance to determine whether you have any aversion or allergy to the ingredient.

At-home coffee treatments

Body deodorant
Fill a muslin bag with a fistful of coffee grounds, tying the end into a knot. Knead and rub over your body during a bath or shower to deodorise naturally.

Face tonic
To lighten and brighten skin, brew a strong pot of coffee. Pour into ice trays and freeze. Wipe over your forehead, cheeks and chin, being gentle around the eyes.

Tone up pores and wipe away makeup residue. After cleansing, soak a cotton pad with freshly brewed Fairtrade organic coffee and wipe over the entire face as you would with a commercially bought toner.

Anti-ageing face mask
Tightens pores and hydrates with omega-3 fatty acids. Brew strong coffee and allow to cool. Add this to one tablespoon of rye flour and one heaped tablespoon of ground flax seeds to make a thick paste. Apply evenly over the face and wash off in 15 minutes.

No-cellulite body wrap
Caffeine stimulates circulation and removes excess fluid. Heat coffee grounds until very warm. Mix with olive oil and spread over cellulite-prone areas, and make a body wrap by winding plastic wrap around the treatment area. Relax for about 20 minutes, then wash off. Alternatively, use the mixture as an invigorating body scrub once or twice a week. 

Hair helper
Add a glossy lustre to your dark locks by brewing strong coffee, allowing it to cool and then combing it through from roots to ends. Style as usual.


Shannon Dunn is a wellness writer and eco beauty editor. Visit her website www.ecobeautyeditor.com or email her at shannon@ecobeautyeditor.com.


Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn is a journalist, author and writer who specialises in holistic wellness, self-empowerment and natural beauty — from the inside out. The mum-of-one is founder of the popular holistic beauty blog Eco Beauty Editor and a conscious public relations company, Communeco. When she’s not writing and spending time with her family, Shannon can be found sweating it up at her local hot yoga studio.