If your skin is still reeling from the effects of winter’s cold breath and the thought of exposing it even in a salon setting is scary, there are many things you can do at home, away from prying eyes, to feel as good as you want to.
Your skin naturally renews itself regularly (in teens, this happens every two weeks or so and for adults, it’s around once a month), which means that dead skin cells are shed and new ones are produced. But, unlike snakes, humans don’t simply step out of the old skin and sometimes it needs a little help. Gentle exfoliation is an important part of a beauty regimen, and its recommended you exfoliate 1-2 times weekly, depending on your skin type (for dry skin, exfoliate less). Always remember to cleanse your skin before exfoliating.
Towel dry your skin, creating a little bit of friction to remove superficial dead skin layers. Then mix half a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with half a tablespoon of a gentle cleanser. Apply using light pressure in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes. If your skin is particularly dry, create a mixture of one part raw coconut oil with one part bicarb. For oily skin, leave the bicarb and cleanser solution on for 10-15 minutes for deeper oil absorption. Rinse off with warm water, pat dry and moisturise with a cream suited to your skin type.
did you know?
Lemons contain alpha hydroxyl acid, an ingredient found in numerous skin creams and treatments. But, often the amount contained in skin creams can make your skin more sun-sensitive. To tap in to lemon’s power without the danger, make the following mask: mix a quarter cup each of lemon, apple and grape juice. Dissolve a quarter of a cup of sugar in the juice mix and apply to your face with a cotton ball. Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Make your own scrub cleanser by mixing one part sugar with one part coconut, olive or jojoba oil. Use a cloth to apply to your rinsed skin using mild pressure and circular motions. Spend about 1 minute on each limb. For body parts that need a little more attention, like elbows, substitute the sugar for salt and use a loofah instead of a cloth. Dry brushing also works wonders before a shower or bath. Use a dry, natural bristle brush and use gentle upward strokes – brushing for around four minutes for your entire body.
Both yoghurt and honey offer gentle exfoliation and moisturising effects. Honey is also an ant-inflammatory, so it’s great for soothing puffy eyes as well. It speeds up your body’s natural exfoliation process and hydrates. The light concentration of lactic acid in yoghurt encourages skin smoothing, so it may just have a positive impact on wrinkles or stretch masks. Cover yourself in natural yoghurt and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
These days, you’re warned not to go into the sun, nor use a sun bed and self tanning sprays are also becoming definite health no-nos. But a lightly tanned body is just so sexy. To get a beautifully subtle tan anywhere, use an old 50s housewife remedy: infuse 10 black tea-bags in a litre of boiling water until the water cools. Using a cotton swab or cotton wool ball, gently rub the mixture over your freshly exfoliated skin. Three or four layers will give you a great tanned look, but be careful to keep your palms covered as these will stain too.
TIP - BETA-CAROTENE GIVES YOUR SKIN A NATURAL SUMMERY GLOW. YELLOW AND GREEN VEGETABLES ARE RICH IN BETA-CAROTENE SO BE SURE TO ADD THEM TO YOUR DAILY MENU. FOOD RICH IN VITAMIN A WILL HELP YOUR BODY PRODUCE MELANIN, WHICH AFFECTS YOUR SKIN PIGMENT, SO STOCK UP ON ITEMS LIKE BEETROOT, BROCCOLI, PEAS, TOMATO JUICE, APRICOTS, PEACHES, LEMONS AND APPLES.
THE TOES KNOW
Keep your toes and heels looking freshly groomed with this foot mask:
Crush 10 ripe strawberries and mix in two tablespoons of olive oil and three tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Rub all over your feet for five minutes and rinse off.
SLEEK AND SMOOTH
If you’re going to expose your legs and bikini line, it’s not a good idea to let things get too hairy. But, if you’re tired of shaving and don’t like the smell of depilatory creams, here’s a tried and tested home waxing remedy that won’t leave you screaming, red and itchy.
Mix together 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Place in a pot over a relatively high heat and stir while the mixture thickens. Don’t let it get too thick, though.
There are two methods to use for the waxing itself. The first is the paste method: scoop a handful of wax into your hand and roll it into a ball. Once the wax is slightly opaque, roll it over the area you want to wax, in the direction of your hair growth. The other method, slightly painful, is to spread a thin layer of wax over the area primed for hair removal and using a cotton cloth, pull the wax off, pulling the hairs along with it.
Another good home recipe is using plain yoghurt and chickpea flour. Mix equal proportions of the ingredients to create a paste and apply to the area where you want hair removed. Leave the paste to dry, for around 15-20 minutes. Using your hand, rub your skin in the opposite direction to your hair’s growth pattern and rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a good moisturiser. This isn’t a quick fix, you’ll need to do repeat this three times a week for around 12 weeks, but thereafter, hair growth will be inhibited and you’ll need to do it less often.
A LITTLE TOO MUCH
Although you know to cover up with clothing or a CANSA approved sunscreen when you’re outside, it’s not easy to avoid the sun completely. So, if you’ve had a little too much sun, use the following to ease the burn:
Lavender oil relieves the burn and can promote healing – mix with a base oil
Yoghurt seems to be the ultimate summer ingredient. It helps to cool sunburn and hydrate your skin – smear it over the burn and leave until it warms.
Apple cider vinegar cools and soothes burnt skin – keep some in your fridge in a spray bottle, fragrance it with a little lavender oil.
Aloe Vera is a naturally healing and cooling plant, and easy to grow inside. Use an aloe vera cream, or just snap off a leaf and rub over the affected area.
Tea soothes burns and heals the skin – drop a few tea bags in a luke-warm bath for a cooling soak.
As your skin can become damaged by the sun, so can your hair. If you’ve spent a lot of time in the water and outside, use the following for a great hydrating hair mask:
Massage about half a cup of honey into clean, damp hair and leave it for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. To loosen the sticky honey, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil before rinsing. If your hair is extremely sun-damaged, mix crushed avocado or egg yolk to the honey, this will help replenish the keratin protein bonds.
Its summer time, so do what you can to get your body ready for exposure and whip out that skimpy little number that’s been peeking out of your cupboard all winter long. Remember, too, that a healthy body is a sexy body and that being comfortable in your own skin is the best beauty treatment you can offer yourself. As you primp and prime your body physically, take the time to appreciate, enjoy and love your best bits, while also accepting the parts of you you’re not that keen on. Every part of you is what makes you unique, and uniquely you.