It’s 10 AM on a Saturday. You have a party to attend in the evening. You have been running around all week, with no time for a facial. You look in the mirror. Your eyes are tired. Your face is pale. You are wondering, “What do I do now?”. Well, look no further that your own pantry and refrigerator!
India is home to some of the best natural remedies. For centuries, people have used plants, vegetables, herbs and leaves to nourish their skin and bring out their beauty.
I remember a Sunday morning ritual growing up. My grand mom would heat up curry leaves, cooked in coconut oil, with fenugreek seeds. My mom would mix cream of milk, turmeric, lemon juice and chickpea flour. I would pick Hibiscus leaves from our backyard, crush it down for its juice, and mix it with shikakai (herbal powder).
I would wash my face with milk and a pinch of salt (cleanser). I would then apply a face pack with my mom’s special mix (cream of milk, turmeric, etc). My grand mom would then massage my hair with the hot curry leaves oil, for an hour. It was divine.
After the massage, it was time for a bath with chickpea flour, turmeric and hibiscus mix (no soap or shampoo at all). I always felt fabulous, with skin soft as butter, and hair that was black, silky and clean.
Here are some other natural facial recipes that I use. Remember, everyone’s skin is different. Please test it, and make sure your body does not react adversely to it.
Natural Cleansers (to clear your skin)
Cucumber and yogurt: Grate half a cucumber and squeeze out the juice. Add the pulp to a tablespoon of yogurt and mix. Apply this to your face, neck and forehead and leave it on for 10 minutes or so. Then wash it off.
Milk and salt: The most natural cleanser available. Mix ¼ cup of cold milk with a pinch of salt. Using a cotton ball, gently dab it all over your face and neck. Wash thoroughly.
Natural Exfoliate (to remove dead skin)
Apply a mixture of oatmeal (1/2 cup, coarsely ground), cold milk and a pinch of turmeric on the face. If you have sensitive skin, leave out the turmeric. Scrub as you go along in a circular motion. This removes dead skin and small facial hair. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then wash.
Astringents and Toners (to seal the pores, and tone the skin)
Here are some options:
a) After a good scrub, rub your face with ice cubes (toner), which will seal the pores.
b) Squeeze a lime and add it to cold water and rinse your face with the solution.
c) Cucumber and rose water: Grate the cucumber and squeeze out the juice and add a few drops of rose water. Use it to tone your skin.
The Grand Finale: My Face Pack Recipe
This will tighten and brighten your skin. Give it the glow that it deserves.
Avacado (1/2 the pulp, no skin) or Papaya (1/2 cup, no skin) or Banana (1/2)
Egg White: 1
Lime Juice: 1/2 of a Lime
Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. Apply to your face and neck. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off for a clean, fabulous face.
After a good shower or wash, you will feel crisp, clean and shiny like a fresh salad!!!
Some More Face and Hair Tips
Tired and Puffy Eyes
I keep a few cold used tea bags in the refrigerator. I place this over my eyes, to remove the tiredness. I also use ice cube, placed in a soft cloth, which I rub over my eyes.
As we get older, this area needs special attention. I apply henna once every fortnight. I make a big batch of my Henna recipe; keep it in the refrigerator for use twice.
A Simple Henna Recipe
It is important that you oil your hair a few hours prior to your application, as henna tends to make the hair dry and brittle.
Henna Powder - 1 cup
Black tea - Enough to make a paste
Lime Juice – 1 Tbsp
Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp
Blend together in a cast iron bowl. Leave it to soak for 2 – 4 hours. I let it soak over night, and then apply it early morning. After applying, leave it on for 2 – 3 hours and then wash it off. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner on your hair to remove the excess oil.
Grandma’s Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil with fenugreek seed and curry leaves: Heat ¼ cup coconut oil with 10-15 curry leaves, 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds and strain. You can make this ahead of time and just heat it up and massage it on your scalp. This helps hair growth and removes dandruff.
Mayonnaise: Yes, the one you spread on your sandwich is an absolutely fabulous conditioner. Apply ½ cup of mayonnaise to dry unwashed hair. Leave it on for ½ hour and rinse thoroughly.
Beer: Yes, beer is a great conditioner, but it does stink! Wash your hair with beer, and then rinse it off with limejuice and rosewater.
Finally, none of these will really be effective, unless you get enough rest and sleep, and drink plenty of water!
Are there natural recipes of yours that you would like to share with us?