Today’s guest post for Fit Bottomed Brides’ Week is all about being more beautiful by using what Mother Nature gave you! Read on for how you can get looking beautiful for your big day with tips, recipes and information from Randi Ragan, founder and owner of GreenBliss Eco Spa.
Plants are healing gifts that the Earth has given us—not only for nourishment but also to cure health problems and provide ingredients for a bounty of natural-beauty recipes. Modern science has learned how to synthesize those properties artificially in a lab for medical and economic benefits, but in the process we’ve come to believe that unless we buy our beauty products in a box that’s been made commercially, then it isn’t going to be effective. Some people even believe that the more expensive the product and exotic the ingredients, the better the results will be. By following this line of thinking, we’ve bought ourselves a boatload of chemicals components we’ve discovered are unnecessary and are, in fact, doing more harm than good.
Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, chronic allergies and a host of other problems. For example, there are common beauty products that contain the same ingredients as those found in car wash degreasers and oven cleaners, a large percentage of which are extracted from petroleum (mineral oil, paraffin waxes). The average American woman who wears conventional lipstick on a regular basis will swallow about 10 pounds of petroleum byproduct in her lifetime! All personal care products (defined by anything we put on our face, hair, body) are absorbed by our skin into our blood stream, and end up in the same places as the food we eat. Additionally, the majority of what we pay for in a beauty product is advertising, marketing, packaging and shelf-display positioning of that product, rather than the actual ingredients that are in it.
Most importantly, for the same reasons why it’s nourishing and wonderful to learn how to cook for ourselves and our loved ones, homemade beauty products become part of a nourishing self-care ritual that can’t be purchased in a box. The beauty products we “cook up” have the power to not only address whatever issues we’re needing them for, but also they can also feed the spirit in ways that mass-produced drugstore or department store products can never do.
Here are a few of my favorite “skin food” recipes (use organic ingredients whenever possible):
Herbal Face Cleanser and Tonic
Fennel has been used throughout history as an aid to digestion and as a slight diuretic. As an infusion, fennel seeds can be gently cleansing and toning for the skin, and they can help reduce puffiness and superficial irritation. Thyme has astringent and antiseptic qualities. Because this cleanser is gentle, it can be used each morning and evening. Dab it on your face and neck with a cotton ball, and rinse with warm water.
2 sprigs fresh thyme, crumbled (or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 c boiling water
Juice of half a lemon
1. Mix the thyme and fennel seeds in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Add lemon juice and steep for 15 minutes.
2. Strain the infusion and store the liquid in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Cucumber Face Mask
Cucumber and egg whites are excellent for tightening pores; the cucumber also reduces puffiness and the egg whites draw out impurities. Mint has a soothing, cooling and cleansing effect on the skin.
4-5 leaves of fresh mint
1 egg white
1. Peel and de-seed the cucumber. Puree in a blender with the fresh mint.
2. Beat one egg white and keep it separate. Then add the egg white to the cucumber mixture.
3. Blend again for 10 or 15 seconds.
4. Apply this evenly on your face. Let it set for 20 minutes, and then rinse it with warm water and pat dry.
Avocado Carrot Mask
This mask combines avocados, which are rich in vitamin E, with carrots, which are high in beta-carotene and antioxidants, and cream, which is high in calcium and protein. These ingredients rebuild skin collagen, improve tone and texture and fade age spots. Plus, the honey is anti-microbial.
1 avocado, mashed
1 carrot, cooked and mashed
1/2 c heavy cream (vegans substitute coconut milk)
1 egg (vegans omit)
3 tablespoons honey (vegans substitute another sticky syrup product such as agave or rice)
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Spread gently over your face and neck, and leave in place up to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water and follow with your favorite toner.
A big thanks to Randi for the natural beauty tips! Talk about deliciously beautiful! —Jenn