I am not the woman you think of when you think of the word "natural." I want as many chemicals as possible coursing through my veins all the time. I would rather eat a random pill I found on the floor than feel a feeling.
There are some dope chemicals in Celexa and Buspar that keep me from killing myself on a regular basis. Usually, I don't even want to use a skin serum if there's not a doctor's name and little picture of a molecule somewhere on the packaging. And let's not forget the pinnacle of modern achievement in the scientific engineering of delicious -- the perfect manufactured taste of a crunchy Dorito. I want all my food to taste as good as if it came from a lab. (I'm being glib, but do we need Claire to remind us that there's no such thing as "chemical-free"?)
I'm also not crafty, and I love to buy things. When I'm on a strict budget, even going to the grocery store can give me that thrill of the consumer purchase. I NEED TO BUY SOME KALE TO FEEL ALIVE OK.
All this is to say that I am not a likely candidate for DIY beauty. But the stars aligned last night to find me both bored and broke, AND I'd recently received a copy of "Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made From All-Natural Ingredients." I decided to see what I could make using only stuff I already had in my house. I love not leaving my house.
RECIPLE #1: Glowy Skin Using Oats, Honey, Chamomile Tea and Distilled Water
Before reading this book, I never would have thought to rub so many different kinds of food all over my face and hair! I flipped through the book several times trying to decide if I wanted to do an egg white tightening mask, a decongesting pineapple treatment, a banana and olive oil hair mask, or just dump a fruit salad on my head and call it a day.
I went with a Chamomile Oat Scrub, because it claimed to "soothe, exfoliate and hydrate." First I brewed 1 cup of chamomile tea and let it steep for 5 minutes. I slowly poured the tea into 1/2 a cup of oats and stirred into a thick paste. Then I stirred in a tablespoon of honey. I let it thicken for a few minutes, then took it into the bathroom and glopped it all over my face. I mean gently massaged it in an elegant circular motion. Then I let it sit for a minute or two before rinsing.
I would recommend using this mask in the shower. I didn't, and got oatmeal concoction all over my sink and floor. For that reason, and because of the effort involved, I was prepared to write this whole experiment off as a waste of time. After all, every minute I spent cooking up face food was a minute I could have been watching "The Voice" or masturbating.
But then I rinsed off the mask and I'll be goddamned if I wasn't glowy as fuck. Like, glowier than when I use masks I bought in the store from fancy beauty brands. And when it comes to skin, glowy is my ultimate goal. See also: tight, supple, slappable, plump, smooth. I think I might have a skin adjective fetish cause I'm getting kind of turned on.
Anyway, A ++, will actually use again. (I'm just not sure why this recipe had me make so much more than I could use at one time, since it doesn't seem like it would keep well.)
Recipe #2: Erase Blackheads With Lemon and Honey
I have been blessed with good skin pretty much my whole life. I didn't have acne even as a teenager. I was just fat and had braces and glasses and literally everyone hated me. But the only skin-related issue I've ever had is a persistent smattering of blachkeads across my nose.
Science break: Blackheads are formed when excess sebum in the pores is exposed to the air and oxidizes, turing black. How freaking disgusting is the word sebum, by the way?And the product sebum, for that matter. It's like an onamonapia of disgusting. I'm actually not sure I can think of a grosser word. Maybe pus.
Anyway, nothing seems to get rid of those little fuckers except getting extractions from a esthetician and even then the pores across my nose are clogged again within a month. I had actually gotten a facial just a few weeks ago, so my blackheads weren't that bad yet, but there were a few. I attempted to photograph them but couldn't really capture them and also ew.
You just squeeze some honey out onto a halved lemon and rub it on your face where you get blackheads. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse. Do not accidentally drip honey all over your sweater like I did. It stings a little, but that just made me feel like it was working. And it did work! The treatment sucked that nasty sebum right out. Finally, nature is doing something besides just being beautiful and inspiring and providing life-giving substances.
Recipe #3: Whiten Teeth with Strawberries and Baking Soda
I only happened to have baking soda because my kid and I made cookies over the weekend, which he loved. He didn't quite get the whole baking process, however -- he kept going "Where are the cookies? Where are the cookies?" while beating the dough.
Anyway, I have horrible teeth due to genetics and too much time spent vomming up my meals in my 20s. The enamel is worn thin, I've ground half of them down in my sleep to tiny nubs and they're yellow with big patches of discoloration. I've said it before, but I think our best bet of discouraging bulimia in young girls is showing them pictures of how nasty your teeth will look in the end. And maybe a photocopy of my dental bills.
They've been bad since I was a teenager but they're getting even worse with age and have been bothering me more than ever lately. I didn't really expect the strawberry-and-baking-soda combo to be a magic bullet, but I'll try pretty much whatever in the quest for a tolerable smile.
You just grab one small or two large strawberries and mash them in a bowl with a fork. Sprinkle in a half-teaspoon of baking soda to form a paste. Then dip your toothbrush in and brush, letting the whole mixture sit on your teeth for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse and brush your teeth as usual.
Unfortunately, I didn't notice any whitening effect that couldn't be chalked up to having just brushed my teeth. But my teeth are the worst, so maybe somebody who just needs a little boost would get better results. I guess I'll just have to keep putting money into my cosmetic-dentistry-or-possibly-a-baby-savings-account.
Recipe #4: Remove Product Buildup and Residue with Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon
I know all you hippie-type people are nuts about apple cider vinegar, but as previously stated, I am not a "natural" person. I mean, I haven't shot any poison into my face or anything yet, but if I could afford giant novelty circus boobs, I would purchase immediately. (Plus I'd get to take painkillers! FREElapse!)
Anyway, I have the stuff because my acupuncturist recommended a shot in the morning to cure constipation, a problem I struggle with because I am simply too elegant and ethereal to poop on a regular basis. (Oh, I guess I do get acupuncture! And meditate. That's some sort of crunchy stuff to be into. But it's surly recovering addict crunchy.)
My hair is pretty thin so it has a tendency to get flat and limp if I use too many moisturizing products. Coconut oil, for instance, turns my head into stringy spaghetti noodles. I selected the Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Hair Rinse because it was supposed to be clarifying, removing product buildup and dandruff and decreasing dullness.
You just combine 1 cup distilled water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and half a lemon's juice. Mix it up in a squeeze bottle or cup with a spout for easy application -- I used a toddler's sippy cup. Shampoo your hair, then dump this stuff on your head and massage into your scalp and hair. Then condition so your head doesn't smell like a salad.
It's hard to tell how much something like this really affects your hair, but it did seem slightly more voluminous. And later that day, Jane walked past me and said "Hi, pretty hair." COINCIDENCE OR GIFT OF NATURE'S BOUNTY?
Either way, the sense of smug self-satisfaction I derived from just whipping up my own beauty treatments at home made me feel prettier. I guess this is why people eat tofu?
OK. That was my evening of smearing food on myself in a nonsexual way. (Although maybe there's some kind of DIY Beauty/sloshing porn crossover appeal someone could monetize?) It was pretty fun in the end, and I didn't even have to put shoes on! Do you make any of your beauty products? Should I try more of these? Can you think of a more disgusting word than sebum? Let's hang out and glow in the comments section.