Throughout history, people have relied on techniques and special formulas to enhance their attractiveness. Some were based on ingredients that were found in the home or in the barnyard (think boiled calves’ feet as an ingredient in facial cream).
Some extreme makeovers include:
- Women in ancient Rome rubbed the ashes of ground snails on their skin to get rid of dark spots, mixed soot with water and applied it to their eyebrows to darken them, and “shaved” off body hair by rubbing their skin with a pumice stone.
- Women of the 17th century cut small star or Moon shapes from velvet or silk fabric and pasted them on their faces to cover facial scars, which were often the result of smallpox.
- Women in the 18th and 19th centuries pasted strips of mouse fur on top of their eyebrows to enhance their allure, covered blemishes with mercury, dabbed white lead on their faces to attain a pale complexion, and ate small amounts of arsenic to brighten their skin and eyes.
Here’s an assortment of safe beauty treatments that you can make easily from items available in natural food stores or that perhaps you already have in your pantry.
HAIR CARE TREATMENTS
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
- 6 drops bay essential oil
- 6 drops sandalwood essential oil
- 6 ounces warm sesame oil
Mix the oils together in a bowl until blended. Part your hair in sections, put a few drops of the blended oil on your fingertips, and massage into your scalp. Cover your head with a towel for 15 minutes, then shampoo. You may need to shampoo twice.
- 1 teaspoon burdock root
- 1 teaspoon calendula flowers
- 1 teaspoon chamomile flowers
- 1 teaspoon lavender flowers
- 1 teaspoon rosemary flowers
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
Pour 1 pint boiling water over the herbs in a bowl and let them steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into a second bowl and add the vinegar. Shampoo, rinse, then pour the conditioner on your hair. Comb the conditioner through evenly. Do not rinse.
These ingredients shouldn’t be too hard to find, so for more of a challenge, try these old-fashioned hair care treatments.
FACIALS AND WRINKLE RELAXERS
Regular cleansing removes surface dirt and oils, but facial masks clean out the toxins that are found deep in pores.
This nutrient-rich cleansing facial mask contains many of the same age-defying ingredients—such as alpha hydroxy acid (in grapes), vitamin B (in cranberries), and vitamin C (in grapefruit)—that are found in store-bought products. Gelatin, which is often used in commercial facial peels, dries and stiffens. When it is peeled off, it helps to remove dead skin and unclog pores.
- 1 cup crushed seedless red grapes
- 1 cup crushed fresh cranberries
- 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until they form a paste. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to let the mixture thicken. Remove from the refrigerator and let warm to room temperature. Spread the mixture on washed, dry skin. Avoid the area around the eyes. Sit or lie down for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Use Kasturi turmeric because regular turmeric can temporarily stain the skin.
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup Kasturi turmeric powder
- yogurt, as needed
In a small bowl, mix the chickpea flour and turmeric. Store the mixture in an airtight bottle. When ready to use, place a teaspoon of the mixture in a small bowl and add enough yogurt to make a paste. Apply the paste evenly to the face and leave on until it dries, about 10 to 15 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
- 6 to 8 green seedless grapes
Wash the grapes, then cut them in half. Gently massage each half onto the face and neck. Let dry for 20 minutes, then rinse off and pat dry. Repeat every day, or as needed.
SCRUBS AND TONERS
Get rid of rough patches on your hands, feet, and elbows! The oil in the walnuts provides gentle exfoliation and the olive oil adds extra moisture. The honey helps to seal the moisture into the skin.
- ¼ cup shelled walnuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is reduced to fine particles. Gently rub on hands, feet, or elbows for several minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Coffee grounds work to help diminish cellulite and varicose veins, in addition to improving circulation and smoothing the skin’s texture.
- 2 cups used coffee grounds
- ½ cup sugar or sea salt
- ⅔ Tablespoon unscented massage oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Massage gently on the skin, then rinse with warm water.
Citrus Splash Toner
For oily skin.
- 1 cup water
- ⅔ cup witch hazel
- ½ cup lemon juice
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and apply to the face, using a cotton ball. Store the remaining mixture in a jar. Shake before using again.
Herbal Splash Toner
For normal or dry skin.
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup parsley
Chop the parsley and place in a small bowl. Pour the water over the parsley and let it cool. Strain the liquid into a jar. Apply to the face, using a cotton ball.
- 5 red seedless grapes
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
Wash the grapes, then slice them in half widthwise. Dip the cut side into the sugar. Using half a grape for each finger, massage the skin around each fingernail for about 30 seconds each. Wipe off the excess sugar with a soft towel, then rub hand cream onto hands and cuticles.
If your nails are extra brittle and need more help, or if you want to stop biting your nails, check out these remedies for better nail care.