BY ALYSON YOUNG GREGORY
With spring in the air and sultry summer temps just around the corner, it’s high time to coax dull, lifeless skin out of hibernation and get back your glow! Of course, we all know by now that staying hydrated to help flush out toxins, getting adequate sleep and eating clean are essential to beautiful skin—but what about that glow? Actually, there’s an ancient word for this radiance. In Sanskrit, ojas (pronounced oh-jas) means vitality, and can be obtained in part by food and lifestyle. What does this have to do with your skin? Nurturing your body’s largest organ means careful consideration to what you apply over your face and body before it gets absorbed. Did you know skin is the largest digestive organ after the digestive tract? So before you reach for that funky smelling bottle of self-tanner with a long list of chemicals that could seep into your bloodstream, check out these healthy ingredient recipes you can add to your grocery list that will guarantee your head to toe glow… naturally!
Moisten 1 tsp. almond powder (purchase or grind a handful of almonds) with 1/2 tsp. buttermilk to form a paste. Apply a thin layer to face and gently massage using small circular motions. Rinse clean before mixture begins to dry.
Moisten with avocado oil for dry skin, or grapeseed oil for oily skin.
Schedule yourself at an-home all natural fruit peel to remove those dead skin cells with these food items that contain natural alpha-hydroxy acids and gentle exfoliating enzymes.
Green Papaya or Pineapple Peel: Puree in a blender with honey or rub a cut slice over face and neck avoiding the eye area. Leave on for 5 minutes then rinse with warm water and moisturize.
*Natural still means effective so tingling and itching will occur. Remove if sensations become uncomfortable.
Mix 1 tsp. almond oil, 1 drop of chamomile essential oil, and 5 drops rosewater. Massage gently onto face and neck.
For sensitive or reddish complexions, use jojoba oil and geranium essential oil. Oily complexions should use sesame oil and lemongrass essential oil.
Lunchtime Moisture Mask
Don’t let your next leftover half an avocado go brown! Mash it up instead with 1 tbsp. coconut milk, 1 tsp. honey and coconut oil each dissolved together, and puree. Apply this rich paste like paint with a brush onto skin and remove when dry, after about 15 minutes.
Ubtan Face Masks
Make this traditional Indian beauty ritual used by brides-to-be in India for glowing skin on their wedding day part of your go-to beauty routine!
Basic Ubtan The basic ubtan recipe combines a flour, oil, and liquid. Modify legume flours for skin type. Mix a paste from ingredients as follows: 2 tbsp. chickpea flour, milk, fenugreek powder, and rosewater. Apply until dried, and then remove with warm water.
Use red lentil flour for oily skin, and mung flour for dry skin.
Mix dry ingredients as follows: 2 tbsp. gram (chickpea) flour, 1 tbsp. sandalwood powder, 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. turmeric and honey to make a paste. Apply for 20 minutes then remove with warm cloth and rinsing.
*Lemon juice reacts to sunlight so don’t forget the SPF when going out after application.
*Turmeric will stain so take care to protect clothing and towels. To remove any excess from face, swab with a cotton ball dipped in coconut or castor oil.
Shiny tresses have long been associated with vitality and health, and while you may not be ready to ditch your favorite shampoo in favor of something au natural, oiling the hair and scalp will bring on the shine no matter your mane concerns! The added benefit of a head and scalp massage will increase circulation to hair follicles and leave your neck muscles deeply relaxed, promoting a good night’s sleep.
Warm some sesame oil (dry hair), coconut oil (thin hair), sesame or olive oil (thick hair) over a bowl of hot water and use your fingertips to slowly massage different areas of the scalp and work through the length of your hair from the root. Leave in for at least 30 minutes, can stay in overnight if you wish—don’t forget to protect your pillow with a towel. Apply shampoo directly to dry hair before wetting for more effective oil removal when washing.
For a lighter, daily treatment, take a coin-size amount of oil and work through the length of damp hair, focusing just on the ends. Style as usual.
Ancient Beauty Secrets
Ghee: For a chemical-free makeup remover, just add a couple of drops of Vitamin E oil to 2 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter available at your grocery or health store). On its own, apply ghee as a nighttime eye cream before sleeping!
Castor Oil: Rich in triglycerides, this is the perfect grooming cream to replace your pomade with for eyebrows and lashes. It’s rich sheen will give a dewy glow to your eye makeup!