When living on a budget, luxurious spa treatments aren’t really your first priority. But what if I told you that you can get your whole skin care regime for free just by using food that you would otherwise throw away?
Today, a lot of good food is going to waste. The specific numbers in studies can vary greatly, but one thing is clear: we throw away way too much food. By utilizing leftovers and buying consciously, a family can save up to $1,000 every year. But eating food scraps isn’t the only way to use leftovers – a lot of food is also great for using in skin and hair care. In addition to this, there are a lot of non-edible food scraps, such as peels and seeds, that can be put to use in your beauty regime.
Many food ingredients such as fruits and vegetables contain the same components as store-bought skin care products, for instance vitamins, minerals and AHA-acids. So why not use the natural source of the vitamins, instead of buying products that cost a lot of money, and where the vitamins are produced synthetically? By using natural ingredients that you have at home, you’re saving a ton money and doing the environment a favour, and at the same time you don’t have to worry about using products with ingredients linked to cancer, skin irritation and hormonal imbalance.
Here are 6 of my favorite beauty treatments that will literally cost you nothing, as they utilize ingredients you would normally throw away.
Homemade Beauty Recipes Made From Scraps …
1. Tea Toner
Take a used tea bag and let it cool for a few minutes so it’s not scolding, and rub it all over your face and neck instead of your regular face toner. Alternatively, dip a cotton ball into your leftover tea and apply. This toner works with any kind of tea – black, green, rooibos and herbal infusions. If you want to store your tea for later use, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. Just take one cube out and let it melt before applying, or carefully rub the ice cube all over your face – the cold will also close your pores and help treat puffy eyes.
2. Lemon Juice Nail Brightener
Lemon juice brightens and strengthens your nails. After you’ve squeezed the juice out of a lemon, dip your fingernails into the lemon and rub for a few minutes. Massage your cuticles and nails to spread out the lemon juice and then rinse with warm water. For an extra nourishing treatment, pour a few drops of olive oil or un-roasted sesame seed oil into the lemon peel before applying.
3. Porridge/Oatmeal Face Wash
Okay, this one might be a bit of a turnoff for some people. But hear me out! Oatmeal is a fantastic ingredient in skin care – it contains saponins, a cleansing agent that makes oatmeal a mild soap. Oatmeal is also very soothing for skin, and can help calm irritation caused by acne, psoriasis or rosacea. So instead of using your regular store-bought face wash, use the leftovers from your morning porridge as a face wash. Just apply generously over face and neck, leave on for a couple of minutes if you like, and rinse with lukewarm water. If you’ve made the porridge with milk and salt, all the better. Milk adds protein which helps generate new, healthy skin cells, and the lactic acid from the milk also gives a light AHA exfoliation. Salt is antiseptic and will help treat irritated skin and acne.
4. Yogurt Face Mask
You know how you sometimes find a dairy product in your fridge a few days past it’s best before, look at it and wonder if it’s still good to eat, and decide to throw it out, just in case? Don’t! As long as it hasn’t developed any mould or gone clumpy, it’s still fine for use in skin or hair care. You can use plain yogurt as a face mask, or combine it with a mushy banana or avocado for an extra nourishing treatment: Mash the avocado or banana with a fork or run in a blender until smooth. Add about 2 tbs of plain unsweetened yogurt, preferably of the thick greek variety. Apply to face and neck and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Depending on how old your yogurt was to begin with, the face mask can be stored in the fridge for a few days up to one week.
And don’t throw your banana peel or avocado kernel away! Check out these tips:
5. Banana Peel for Shiny Teeth – and Shoes!
Among other minerals and vitamins, bananas are loaded with potassium, a key ingredient in many commercial shoe shine products, and will provide your leather shoes with the shine and protection they’d get from regular shoe polish. Rub the inside of the banana peel all over your shoes, buff with a soft cloth and your shoes are shiny and new! Another great tip for banana peel is to use it as a teeth whitener. Rub the inside of a banana peel (preferably not the same peel that you just used on your shoes) against your teeth for a few minutes. This works best if you use it regularly for a few weeks – if you don’t eat banana daily, you can even freeze the banana peel and take it out when needed.
6. Avocado Kernel Scrub
The heart of an avocado contains one of the most well-hidden skin care secrets out there: a kernel loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can be used as a mild scrub for face as well as body. To use the avocado seed, start by rinsing it well so that it’s not so slippery. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernel into a few pieces and leave it to dry for a few days. When the kernel has dried, run it in a blender or electric coffee grinder until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight container in your bathroom and gently scrub your face and body as needed. You can also mix it with yogurt, tea, or honey and store in the fridge.
Hilda Forss is a freelance graphic designer currently based in Sweden. In her spare time, she runs the website Hildablue, a blog on natural homemade skin and hair care products with simple tips on how to lead a more eco-conscious beauty life.
Have you made homemade beauty treatments before? What is your favorite recipe that utilizes something you might have otherwise tossed?