Beauty Starts At Home

Beauty Starts At Home

Can you really ditch expensive products for home made remedies? Charlie Bond raids the kitchen cupboards to find out…

How much do you spend on beauty products? From eye-wateringly expensive eye creams to shampoos promising to make your mane glossier than a unicorn’s, British women are estimated to spend £140,000 on hair and cosmetics over their lifetime.

Week after week we read about the latest lotions and potions claiming to zap wrinkles, banish fat and give us baby-soft skin, and more often than not we believe the hype only to be disappointed when the new product doesn’t leave us looking like Beyoncé.

Recently though, there’s been a rise in natural beauty – products containing fewer harsh chemicals, perfumes and skin irritants. When you break down what some of these expensive creams now contain, you can easily find the ingredients on the shelves of the local supermarket, or in your cupboards at home. Bloggers and beauty experts are now raving about coffee scrubs and coconut oil, so to see what all the fuss is about I raided my fridge and kitchen cupboards to see whether using everyday items are as good as the high-end products.

INGREDIENTS: One teaspoon olive oil

It may seem strange covering your face, rather than your potatoes in olive oil, but many makeup removers are actually oil-based. Olive oil contains no harsh chemicals and is close to the skin’s natural oils, so doesn’t clog pores or cause irritation.

Does it work?
It was a bit strange slathering this on my face, but it removed my makeup quickly and effectively and left my skin feeling really smooth, if a little greasy. For someone who suffers with dry skin though, this worked really well without drying my skin out like other cleansers tend to.

INGREDIENTS: Two parts beer, one part olive oil, one part cider vinegar

Beer contains minerals which help with nail strengthening, while apple cider vinegar contains nutrients and acids to combat brittleness and discolouration. Combining them with some warm olive oil creates a nourishing treatment for damaged nails.

Does it work?
While you probably wouldn’t do this with your pint in the pub, the treatment was easy to make and I was really impressed with the results after just one application – my nails felt stronger and the tips were whiter too.

INGREDIENTS: Three tablespoons coffee granules, one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon brown sugar

Coffee has a lot of health benefits for the skin – it contains antioxidants, can be used to combat cellulite and rejuvenates, so rather than pouring myself a cup to wake me up, I’m waking up my skin and removing dead cells with an exfoliator instead.

Does it work?
Yes, and it’s amazing. Aside from being a little messy to apply, the combination of coffee and sugar work really well to exfoliate and leave the skin glowing.

You have to wash off carefully or you’ll be left with a questionable brown stain, but rising with warm water removes it easily and my skin was incredibly soft afterwards.

INGREDIENTS: Two cold tea bags

Lots of eye products contain caffeine, as it’s an antioxidant and can help shrink the blood vessels around your eye, reducing puffiness. This method involves just two tea bags, chilled in the fridge then applied to the eyes for a few minutes.

Does it work?
My eyes felt really soothed after trying this out and the skin was defi nitely less puffy. Plus it was a great excuse to have a cup of tea while I sat and relaxed!

INGREDIENTS: Five tablespoons coconut oil, two teaspoons baking soda, a few drops of peppermint oil

Oil pulling has become all the rage with celebrities – it involves swishing coconut oil around your mouth for 20 minutes instead of using toothpaste, and is supposed to whiten teeth without the use of harsh chemicals. However, if you don’t have 20 minutes or that much jaw power, this mix is a little easier to stomach (although don’t swallow it!)

Does it work?
Yes. It tastes a little bit acidic, probably because I didn’t use enough peppermint oil to counteract the baking soda, but overall the result is good – my teeth feel like they’ve had a deep clean at the dentist, which isn’t bad for a two minute blast with a brush!

INGREDIENTS: Half an avocado, one tablespoon mayonnaise

To combat dry hair, this mask includes avocado, which contains essential oils and mayonnaise which contains protein to strengthen the hair.

The treatment should be applied to wet hair and left for 20 minutes, leaving hair soft and shiny.

Does it work?
Well, I did have soft and shiny hair at the end, so I suppose it does, but I didn’t leave it on for the full 20 minutes because I found the lumps of avocado sliding off my hair and down my back a bit disconcerting. I finally decided it was time to rise it out when my cat become overly interested in my head. Also, because it’s so thick, it’s hard to wash this mask off quickly, so if you don’t spend long enough rinsing you run the risk of discovering some green surprises mid- blow dry.

All of these homemade treatments were easy to make from very few ingredients, and I was really impressed with how effective they were. My favourite was probably the coffee face scrub, as even the next day my skin felt really smooth, and it left a nice scent behind after it was washed off! I’m keen to try other homemade remedies now, although I’m sceptical about an egg white shampoo- apparently if you rinse it off in hot water you end up with a scrambled mess…