Our roots are an inch long, our manicures are hanging on for dear life, and all that time indoors has left us looking more than a little washed out. Fear not, I'm on hand with some at-home tips and tricks to help you all feel a little more human - it’s time to raid those kitchens cupboards (yes, you read that right…).
As a make-up artist, I love using products to sculpt facial contours—but I’m also a firm believer in using my hands to massage and lift the muscles (a ritual I carry out on all of my clients prior to make-up application). Whether you’ve got two minutes or 20, little and often will help you see a real difference in your facial structure (I actually notice an immediate effect on myself and my clients). It’s best done using a product with a bit of “slip”, so dig out that balmy cleanser or a facial oil, or make your own emollient using some coconut oil (you’ll find this in most supermarkets). Knuckles are great for easing out jaw muscles: press and sweep “up and out” around the forehead, cheeks and neck. Don’t be afraid to press quite hard on your pressure points (like temples and upper eye sockets), before following your lymph nodes—towards the ear then down the side of the neck—to aid drainage. Be consistent: this is a workout for the face, after all.
Scrub up your circulation Lack of movement—and perhaps not eating all that healthily—can contribute to sluggish circulation and dreaded cellulite. A vigorous scrub (and I mean vigorous), ideally twice a week, is a sure fire way to wake up your receptors. Boost the effects by making use of a household essential: coffee. Caffeine is known to help battle lumps and bumps, so caffeinated coffee granules will work three-fold as they’re naturally abrasive and rich in antioxidants too. Mix half a cup (as freshly ground as possible) together with two tablespoons of hydrating coconut oil and 20 to 30 drops of energising juniper oil (substitute for another essential oil, or leave out). Allow to soak together while you strip down in the bathroom. Then, release all that pent-up energy rub-a-dub-scrubbing until your skin turns pink—the sign that your circulation is waking up. Note: this is a bit of a messy process but everything should easily wash down the drain once you’re finished. The delicious scent is a treat, as is the baby-soft and hydrated skin you’ll be left with.
Multi-masking Clay, sheet, cream, acid, exfoliating; there are so many different face masks available now, but how about making your own from what’s in your kitchen? Mash up a banana, mix it with 1/4 cup plain yoghurt and two tablespoons of honey and you have a hydrating and acne fighting mask. Lemons have natural brightening properties—combine their juices with olive or sweet almond oil for glowy skin in a flash. Oatmeal is a fab natural exfoliator, so mix it with warm water, two tablespoons of plain yoghurt, two tablespoons of honey, one egg white and slather on. Then why not combine the lot with some avocado; rich in vitamins A, B, E and K, along with unsaturated fats. Slice up some cucumber and keep them in the freezer to place on your eyes for some instant de-puffing power. Get creative in your new beauty larder!
Apple of your eye Many of our store cupboard ingredients are multi-use. Take the humble apple cider vinegar: both anti-inflammatory and alkalising it can be drunk (an ounce diluted in 10 ounces of water—it’s potent!) or applied to the body using a soaked muslin cloth to help ease pain and swelling. Alternatively, pour two cups into your bath, light a candle, put on some classical music and soak your tension away.
Remove your gels or acrylics for a nail “holiday”, letting them grow naturally for a while to help build up their resilience (and save some mani-money in the process—why not put it towards a real holiday?). Take a supplement like biotin which is fantastic at improving the condition of your nails and hair. To aid recovery further, add a teaspoon of honey to two teaspoons of lemon juice in a bowl of warm water, and soak your fingers for 10 minutes—notice how your cuticles soften and the whites of your nails brighten.
What with being indoors more, our skin—even on our lips—is suffering. It’s time to buff those flaky smackers with an exfoliant that’s good enough to eat. Combine the natural humectant of manuka honey with our trusty coconut oil (one tablespoon of each) and a teaspoon of organic raw brown sugar. Dab onto your lips with your finger and using small, circular motions, slough off the dead skin.
Head in the game
Ah baking soda, that magic ingredient that can be used just about anywhere around the home. Well it can also work miracles on our bodies, fizzing away all sorts of impurities. How about the scalp? Not the sexiest of areas, but much-neglected. Product build-up, dead skin, dandruff, excess oils, itching and even hair loss are all going on up there. Enter, baking soda, to clarify the follicles and restore your crowning glory. Spoon out equal parts baking soda to coconut oil, bind together to make a paste. Then, for added exfoliation, scatter in some chunky sea salt. When hair is greasy and due a wash, section off as you go, working the mixture into your scalp and scrubbing away. For an added treat, leave it on for several minutes like you would a mask. Follow with your usual shampoo and conditioner. You’ll notice the detoxifying, smoothing benefits after the first use.
Let me know if you have any fab home-made beauty recipes and tips I need to know about!
Taken from an article I wrote for Vanity Fair, click here to read