Beauty from the Kitchen

The trusty kitchen pantry. In our grandmother’s day (or perhaps great grandmother’s), shelves were stocked full of non-processed goodies – food that was not only good for our health, but also our skin.

Some were also perfect for keeping a clean home. Chemical cleaners certainly weren’t relied on like they are today, which resulted in a healthier family and cleaner environment. So how do we get back to basics and to what grandma knew best?

In Green Tea Living: A Japan-inspired guide to eco-friendly habits, health, and happiness, author Toshimi A. Kayaki shares timeless wisdom from her native Japanese culture through useful tips and anecdotes. Not only are they oh-so handy, but also cruelty-free.

I chatted to Toshimi and asked her to share some earth-loving beauty, health and household basics with me, straight from the pages of her popular book…

Create smoother, younger-looking skin with a green tea face pack. Grind up used green tea leaves into a powder, then mix with water and flour until it forms a paste. Wash your face, and then apply the pack for 10 minutes. Rinse off with water and follow up with your favourite lotion.

Drink green tea to lose weight. Drinking five cups of green tea a day can burn up to 80 extra calories!

Use wet green tea leaves to clean your house. Green tea is not only an eco-friendly cleaning option, but will leave your rooms sparkling and smelling fresh! Squeeze most of the water out of wet tea leaves, and then place on dirty floors or dusty surfaces. Brush the leaves back and forth in small strokes, allowing the tea leaves to pick up dust and dirt. Sweep everything into a dustpan when finished.

Use vinegar for even the most heavy-duty cleaning! Vinegar will shine up sinks and counters, as well as kill bacteria. Scrub the slime out of your bathtub, disinfect cutting boards; even combine 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar to wash your floors. Simple, cheap and most importantly, not harmful to the environment.

Mix your own vinegar conditioner for soft, shiny hair. In an empty plastic bottle combine 16 oz water, 4 tbsps white or rice vinegar, and 3 or 4 pieces of fresh rosemary or sage. Just as effective as expensive conditioner, but far more economical.

Make your sweaters look like new. Rub a sweater with the rough edge of a dry sponge to easily get rid of pilling fabric.

Repair dry or damaged skin with a soothing green tea bath. Steep one green tea bag in boiling water for 15 minutes, then pour the tea water into your bathwater. The vitamins and catechins in green tea will kill bacteria on your skin and smooth away imperfections, not to mention contribute to a relaxing bath!

Mix homemade sake lotion. This simple lotion and moisturiser only requires two ingredients and some time in the fridge. Mix 7 oz cold sake and 1-½ pints water, then allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a few days. Dab onto skin with a cotton ball. (Make sure to test this out on your hands before applying it elsewhere!)

Drink vinegar and water for better health. Just sipping a little vinegar every day can improve your digestion and skin complexion. Combine 1 part rice or apple cider vinegar with 7 parts water.

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Written By

Shannon has been a journalist, beauty editor and photographer for two decades, working with some of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. After falling ill in 2010, Shannon immersed herself in holistic healing therapies, natural beauty and plant-based nutrition, while focusing her media work specifically in these areas to help spread awareness.

Today she writes about wellness, self-empowerment and holistic beauty, with her work regularly appearing in Australia’s leading health and lifestyle magazine, WellBeing, holistically-minded food magazine Nourish, wellness magazine Australian Natural Health and various websites. She is also Director at public relations agency, Communeco and a holistic healer, specialising in Reiki, EFT and Psych-K.