While all of our organs work hard to eliminate the toxins of daily living that come from foods and environment as well as beauty and household products, our largest organ—the skin—is our first line of defense. So, what we put on it matters greatly to our health and whether we support our body to detoxify or not.
After years of trialing toxic beauty products, I now have a very simple rule when it comes to what I’m willing to put on my skin: If I can eat it, I can wear it.
While mindful companies are coming to the eco beauty party, releasing products that have been consciously devised with consumers and the environment in mind, there’s also a way to maintain your beauty routine without spending big dollars.
Your kitchen pantry and fridge are actually the best beauty cabinets you could ever own. Many naturally grown, organic wholefoods make for nourishing cleansers, moisturisers and masks, leaving the skin feeling refreshed an soft.
A simple Google search will return hundreds of DIY beauty treatments that use wholefoods as their ingredients. However, if you’re keen to delve a little deeper into “food as beauty” territory, head to your local health store to pick up some more exotic foods that might not already be in your pantry, but have the ability to reap big beauty benefits.
Some of my favourite superfood beauty treatments include:
Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
This is a superb all-over face, body and hair moisturiser, and helps the skin eliminate fungus and bacteria. It also does double duty as an eye make-up remover.
Noni, or Morinda citrifolia if you prefer, is a tropical fruit found mostly in the South Pacific, where it has been used for centuries thanks to its many health benefits. Roughly the size of a potato, noni varies in color from white to yellow to green. While it has been marketed widely as a cure-all for just about every ailment known to man, it does have significant health benefits from bolstering the immune system to decreasing blood pressure and improving digestion.
Hawaiians crush down the ripened fruit and bathe in it. Why? Because it helps to repair and regenerate the cells, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you suffer from rashes or acne, noni does wonders to soothe the inflammation while warding off bacteria. It can also rid pain caused by sprains, stings and burns.
How to Take a Noni Bath
Depending on how much water you like to bathe in, you’ll need about three to six ounces of pure, raw organic noni juice. To get the most out of your noni bath, you’ll need to soak for at least 20 minutes, so be sure to light some candles and put some calming music on and make it a complete pamper session.
If you have a stash of dried and ground or fresh noni leaves on hand, turn your tub into a tea bath and again, soak for at least 20 minutes.
A great pre-preparation before your noni bath? Simply mash up the fruit to create a natural body mask. Then wash it off as you soak in the bath and continue to reap its benefits.
There’s little wonder this ancient plant is used in so many beauty products. Not only is it high in amino acids, which build great muscle tone, aloe vera is also an anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Its enzymes promote better digestion, and it’s also high in antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C and E.
Aloe has a pH balance that’s almost skin identical, making it the perfect gentle, yet powerful, addition to a regular beauty routine. Besides its healing properties that eases the likes of dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, blisters and ulcers, it’s also a great skin exfoliant, which in turn encourages blood to circulate to the skin and allowing to new skin regenerate more quickly.
How to Apply Aloe Vera
Cut back the inner leaf and scrape out the gel-like substance inside. Apply the gel directly to the skin and leave on the skin for 15 minutes or longer. No time for DIY? Buy your own aloe here.
A complete protein source, chia seeds also boast 60 percent omega-3 fatty acids, which isn’t only great for skin, but also brain health. Known widely as a superfood, chia seeds are a simple yet nourishing addition to smoothies, adding all-important fiber content. Used topically, chia’s fatty acid content directly benefits the cellular health of the skin.
A Simple Chia Beauty Fix
When soaked in water, chia seeds develop a gel-like coating. Simply soak, blend and apply as a facemask or dip your hands into a bowl of the mixture. Chia can also be mixed with avocado.
The products we choose to put on our hair can also support detox, or not. Products are absorbed through the scalp, into the bloodstream and eventually to the liver. Filled with toxins and you’re body has to work overtime to rid itself of the foreign chemicals—they’re also washed into the waterways adding to an already polluted ecosystem.
I recently wrote an article for WellBeing magazine about dry shampoo and shared some DIY recipes that you can literally make by spending a little more time in the kitchen.
Here are just a few:
Baking Soda & Oatmeal: Combine one part ground oatmeal to one part baking soda. Massage into your roots. Brush well from roots to tips to ensure mixture is removed.
Cornmeal, Orrisroot & Almonds: Combine one tablespoon of cornmeal with one tablespoon of orrisroot, and one tablespoon of very finely ground almonds. Be sure to brush hair well before massaging through, concentrating on the roots. This is a great mixture for especially oily hair. Brush out well.
Cheesecloth: Skip ingredients and get your hands on a decent size of cheesecloth. Wrap it around a natural bristled brush and work through your hair, focussing on the roots. Cheesecloth is very absorbent is great at removing dirt and oil.
• Brunettes can opt for a dark powder base, such as cocoa, to ensure any leftover dry shampoo residue isn’t visible.
• If you’re looking for a little extra volume, an at-home dry shampoo with flour as the base can help. Wheat and oat flour are good choices.