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February 2, 2012

6 All-Natural Beauty Fixes

Natural Beauty

It's no secret that beauty comes from within. But from within the refrigerator? You bet! Wipe out undereye circles, dry patches and other skin ailments with these inexpensive kitchen-staple remedies. 
Here are some ideas for do-it-yourself skin care and facials!

Baking Soda to Exfoliate Your Face
Fancy facial scrubs are a fun indulgence from time to time, but a much cheaper option that's just as effective: baking soda. "The tiny granules of sodium bicarbonate buff away pore-clogging dead skin cells and are gentle enough for all skin types," explains Janice Cox, coauthor of Eco Beauty. "Plus, like many other natural salts, baking soda also has slightly antiseptic properties that will ward off breakouts."
Cox's suggestion: Make a thin paste with 4 tsp baking soda and 1 Tbsp water, let it sit for 2 minutes, then apply it in small, circular motions to your moistened face (avoiding the eye area) and neck. After 3 minutes, rinse clean with warm water and then follow up with a splash of cold water to close your pores. Finish with a dollop of your regular daily moisturizer. "Dry or sensitive skin types should only use this mask every other week," says Cox. "Those with normal to oily skin can repeat the process weekly."

Lemons to Remove Dry Patches
When life gives you lemons, turn them into a remedy for rough, scaly skin. "The citric acid removes dead skin cells to expose softer skin below," says makeup artist Brett Freedman. Slice a lemon in half and rub the cut side over your elbows, heels or knees for a few seconds, then rinse. You'll notice a difference immediately. 

Coffee to Make Cellulite Fade Fast
Don't throw out those coffee grounds you used to brew your morning cup-apply them directly to your thighs! An exfoliating scrub made from the grounds will make your skin smoother and target cellulite. "Just as coffee acts as a mild diuretic when we drink it, the caffeine-rich grounds will draw water out of your fat cells, shrinking them so they're less noticeable," says Marta Wohrle, a site that explores natural alternatives to commercial cosmetics. Once or twice a week, when you're in the shower, try her scrub: 

Dimple-Fighting Scrub
2 Tbsp used coffee grounds (not decaffeinated)
4 tsp olive oil
Combine to make a paste, then spread generously, in upward strokes, over any cellulite-prone areas. Massage in for 2 minutes, then rinse. Note: Your skin will have a slight brownish tint while using this scrub but it will wash away. Also, you (and the shower floor) will be slightly slippery.

Mint to Shrink a Pimple
This herb can tackle blemishes without drying skin like harsh acne meds. "Peppermint contains menthol and menthone, compounds that reduce redness and inflammation," says Brian Bonanni, MD, a dermatologist at New York's Gotham LASIK & Skincare. Mint also acts as an astringent, clearing away pimple-causing oil. Dr. Bonanni recommends pulsing a small handful of leaves in a food processor with 1 tsp lemon juice. (The acidic juice temporarily changes the pH of your skin, preventing bacteria growth.) Cover the blemish for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat twice a day until the spot is gone. 

Ginger Ale to Cure Yellowed Nails
Drinking soda may not be good for you, but according to Dawn Gallagher, author of Nature's Beauty Secrets, soaking your nails in it is. Gallagher explains: "Most mass-produced ginger ales contain soluble salts-like monopotassium phosphate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate-that act as preservatives or emulsifiers. These will also naturally bleach your nails." Fill a small bowl with ginger ale and submerge your nails for 10 minutes twice a week.

Parsley to Brighten Dark Circles
Want to banish undereye circles in the blink of an eye? Pass the parsley. It's rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that, when applied topically, reduces blood flow to the eye area-a key factor in the formation of circles, says Kansas City, Missouri-based dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD, founder of DERMAdoctor. "Over time, the fatty layer of skin under your eyes thins out, which, in turn, makes underlying blood vessels more visible," she explains. "Their slightly bluish color is what creates the illusion of circles underneath the eyes." To fight back, try this recipe from Wohrle once a week: 

Brightening Eye Mask
1 small handful of fresh parsley
2 Tbsp plain yogurt

Place parsley and yogurt (which has a cooling and hydrating effect on skin) into a food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste is formed. Apply the mixture generously to your undereye area. Let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.


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