In your kitchen, you’ll find some of the best and safest skin-nourishing ingredients that Mother Nature has to offer. We share a few of our favourite DIY skincare recipes that are good enough to eat.
Top skin-loving ingredients from your kitchen cupboards:
Olive oil has long been recognised for its health and beauty benefits. In fact, Cleopatra used it as part of her regular beauty regime.
Olive oil is a particularly rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which makes it very hydrating and nourishing when applied topically. It can help restore the skin’s natural pH and is recommended for people with dry skin.
Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil is rich in potent antioxidants and vitamin E, which helps protect the skin from oxidative damage and premature ageing. It also helps to improve the skin’s ability to repair and renew. Applying olive oil to the skin after UV exposure has been shown to help reduce the risk of skin cancers, due to its antioxidant effects in decreasing DNA damage by free radicals.
Coconut oil is a fabulous moisturiser for the face and body and is easily absorbed into the skin. It’s particularly nourishing for dry skin. Studies have shown that coconut oil applied topically can improve the moisture and lipid content of dry skin.
This nourishing oil also helps balance the skin’s delicate pH levels, helping to restore the skin’s protective acid layer, which is commonly removed through constant washing.
Coconut oil is abundant in vitamin E, which helps promote healthy skin by ensuring proper functioning of sebum glands. This soothing oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. Cold-pressed organic unrefined coconut oil is best.
Apple-cider vinegar (ACV) as a toner can help improve your overall complexion by balancing and restoring your skin’s natural pH.
ACV is rich in alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps to promote healthy skin by warding off bacterial infections and dissolving dead skin cells, which helps prevent clogged pores and minimises pore size.
ACV is great for any skin type, particularly oily and acne-prone skin due to its antibacterial properties.
Make sure you buy an organic, raw, unfiltered ACV, preferably with the “mother”, a cobweb-like formation made up of strands of enzymes, protein and friendly bacteria.
Raw honey has long been known for its healing and antimicrobial properties.
Raw honey is a natural and effective cleanser, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple. It’s much gentler than soap and won’t strip the skin of its beneficial oils. Honey has a natural acidic pH of 4.5, which is close to the skin’s own pH. Using honey topically will help maintain and restore the skin’s delicate pH balance.
Raw honey is very soothing and moisturising and is recommended for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Raw honey is good for acne-prone skin due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
This gorgeous creamy fruit benefits the health of your skin not only when you eat it, but also when you put it on your skin. The mashed pulp makes a quick and highly nourishing face mask, while avocado oil can be added to creams and body oils.
Avocados are jam-packed with skin-loving nutrients, including plenty of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats that are important for moisturising the skin and guarding against sun damage and inflammation. These beneficial fats penetrate the skin, leaving it soft and glowing. Avocado is beneficial for all skin types, however the oil is recommended for very dry and aged skin due to its super-moisturising properties.
Avocados provide high levels of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, which are all super antioxidants that help improve the skin’s health by protecting skin cells from damaging free radicals that cause wrinkles and skin ageing.
Coffee beans, particularly unroasted arabica coffee beans, have been shown to provide numerous benefits for the skin when applied topically. They can significantly boost collagen and elastin production and guard against moisture loss, improving the skin’s moisture levels, strength and elasticity.
Coffee beans have an anti-ageing effect due to their high antioxidant levels and anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, sterols and vitamin E.
Researchers have discovered that the compounds found in coffee beans can help rejuvenate aged skin, helping to improve the appearance of wrinkles, skin tone and redness.
The caffeine in coffee beans also helps alleviate puffiness and redness and can improve capillary tone.
Ground coffee beans make an ideal exfoliator to buff and polish the skin’s surface with to remove dead skin cells, leaving your skin smooth and radiant.
Cacao is chocolate in its raw, unprocessed form. Applying raw cacao topically can help deliver antioxidants, namely flavonoids, into your skin cells. Raw cacao contains potent flavonoids that help reduce skin reddening and inflammation and protect against damaging UV rays.
Raw cacao contains caffeine that can improve dermal blood circulation, reduce redness and fine lines and rejuvenate the skin.
Choose a good-quality raw cacao powder, not cocoa that’s made from roasted cacao, which contains less antioxidants and nutrients.
Oats are a fabulous natural beauty enhancer. Whether you’re enjoying oats in your porridge or using them topically, this super skin food provides many health benefits for your complexion.
Oats have the ability to soothe and relieve a number of skin irritations when applied topically. Oatmeal baths can be highly beneficial for easing irritated, itchy and inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, sunburn, chickenpox and mosquito bites.
Oats also make a fabulous gentle exfoliator, helping to remove excess oil and dirt from the pores as well as prevent clogged skin and breakouts. When oats are applied topically, they can help improve skin hydration due to their high beta-glucan concentration.
Oats are very gentle on the skin and are ideal for all skin types including those that are sensitive, irritated and acne prone.
Scientists are discovering the various benefits of using green tea topically on the skin. Green tea is rich in skin-protective antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, polyphenols and carotenoids.
Studies have shown that when applied topically, green tea can help promote a youthful, healthy complexion. It has been found that its high levels of the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) possess anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous effects, which, when applied topically, can reduce inflammation and the risk of premature ageing and skin cancer.
DIY skincare recipes
Strawberry, Honey & Yoghurt Face Mask
You will want to eat this delicious face mask. It’s ideal for all skin types and will help brighten and tone your complexion.
3 ripe strawberries, mashed
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp raw honey
In a small mixing bowl, blend ingredients together. Apply to clean face and neck. Leave for 15–20 mins until dry. Rinse off with warm water followed by a warm facecloth. Splash your face in cold water to close up your pores.
Green Tea Toner
This antioxidant-rich toner is beneficial for all skin types, particularly mature skin, to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
1 organic green tea bag
1 cup boiling water
2 drops essential oil: lavender (relaxing), tea tree (for oily skin), peppermint or rosemary
Steep the tea for 5 mins and then place in the fridge to cool. Add essential oils and pour the mixture into a glass jar or bottle. Apply to freshly cleansed face with a cotton pad. Then apply moisturiser.
Banana & Oatmeal Face Mask
This nourishing face mask gently helps remove dead skin cells to promote fresh, glowing skin. It’s ideal for all skin types.
½ ripe banana
1 tsp full-fat organic milk
1 tbsp ground oatmeal
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to clean face and neck and leave for 15 mins. Remove with warm water and follow with a warm facecloth. Splash your face in cold water to close up your pores.
Chocolate & Avocado Mask
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 small avocado,
2 tsp raw honey
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Apply to clean face and neck and leave for 20 mins. Rinse with warm water and follow with a warm facecloth. Splash your face in cold water to close up your pores.
Coconut Body Scrub
This beautiful scrub helps remove dead skin cells, leaving you with smooth, healthy, more youthful-looking skin. Using a body scrub regularly will allow your body moisturiser to be better absorbed. It’s suitable for most skin types.
2 cups sugar
1 cup coconut oil
6 drops essential oil
Place sugar in a jar and pour in half of the coconut oil, mixing well. Add the remaining oil as well as the essential oil. Sugar will naturally settle on the bottom.
This scrub work best on dry skin, so get into an empty bath or shower to apply. Exfoliating gloves are easy to work with and give great results, helping to scrub off the top layer of dead skin cells. Don’t worry if you don’t have gloves — your hands will also work well.
Using your gloves, grab a handful of your scrub and apply it to your skin, working in a circular motion from head to toe. Concentrate more on the areas with thicker skin such as the knees, soles of the feet and elbows. When finished, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Your skin should feel super soft and beautifully cleansed and moisturised. You can then apply a body moisturiser for extra nourishment.
Rose Hydrating Body Oil
This super-hydrating body oil is excellent for preventing and treating dry skin.
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup olive oil
8 drops rose essential oil
Combine the ingredients together, then apply to your body after a bath or shower. Scrub dry areas to remove dead skin before applying so the oil can penetrate your skin well.
Olive-Oil Makeup Remover
Regular makeup removers are full of harsh chemicals that can irritate the delicate skin around your eyes. The best thing to remove mascara (even waterproof) and other makeup with is olive oil.
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup alcohol-free witch hazel
¼ cup filtered water
Pour the ingredients into a bottle or jar and shake well. Apply some to a cotton ball and wipe away makeup. Follow with a natural cleanser.
This refreshing and balancing toner is suitable for all skin types, especially oily and acne-prone skin.
3 tbsp organic raw apple-cider vinegar
6 tbsp filtered water
Pour the ingredients into a glass jar or bottle and shake. Using a cotton ball or pad, apply toner to a freshly cleansed face, avoiding the eye area. When dried, apply moisturiser. If you don’t like the smell, you can add 4–6 drops of essential oil of your choice (eg lavender or orange oil). Store the toner in the bathroom cabinet; you don’t need to refrigerate it.
Coffee & Coconut Body Scrub
½ cup ground arabica coffee
½ cup sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a jar until well combined. If your coconut oil is solid, gently heat it until it melts. Wait until it reaches room temperature, though, to add in with the other ingredients or they may dissolve if the oil is too warm.
To apply, follow the guidance in the Coconut Body Scrub method.
Words by Lisa Guy
Lisa Guy is a highly qualified Sydney-based naturopath, author and passionate foodie, and the founder of Art of Healing and Bodhi Organic Tea.