Beauty from the Cupboard

DIY skin care made from ingredients you already have

Finding all-natural skin care products became an all-consuming quest when my daughters were young teens. They spent hours watching DIY YouTube videos and researching the properties and health perks of various ingredients, many of which I already had in my kitchen. Now in college, these recipes have stood the test of time as the girls’ go-to skin care treatments. The inexpensive price tag is an especially nice bonus.

1.? ?Lip? ?plumper

A cheap, safe and all-natural way to plump lips only requires three ingredients: cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Cinnamon serves as a beneficial irritant in this case because it increases blood circulation wherever it is applied. The nutmeg’s coarseness helps exfoliate dead skin from the lips while honey adds moisture.


Mix equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. A teaspoon of each is about enough for a generous single application. Leave the paste on your lips for about 10 minutes and then wipe it off (or just lick off because it’s tasty).

Note:? On the first application, your lips will tingle. Possibly a lot. If it becomes too much, just wipe it off. The next time you make the recipe, simply use less cinnamon.

2.? ?Skin-glowing? ?body? ?scrub

In this body scrub, the sugar, nutmeg and oatmeal remove dead skin cells while the cinnamon gets your blood moving under your skin. Any kind of sugar can be used—coarse or refined—depending on how much exfoliation you want. Brown sugar is gentler and better for sensitive skin types. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer and base for this recipe. Your skin’s moisture changes according to the air temperature and humidity so experiment with different sugars as the seasons change.

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar (brown sugar for sensitive skin, coarse for deeper exfoliation)
1 tablespoon oatmeal
2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form)

Mix ingredients in a plastic bowl (glass isn’t ideal to take into the bathroom) and apply generously to your body (double the recipe as needed). Leftover scrub can be stored for up to a month.

Note:? Grinding the oatmeal to a fine texture with a coffee grinder will ensure this body scrub won’t clog up your bathtub drain. Coarse sea salt can also be used, but it may cause more redness and possibly dryness depending on your skin type.

3.? ?Puffy? ?eyes treatment

Turmeric is a commonly used beauty treatment by Indian women for its skin benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. As a paste, it helps lessen the puffiness under the eyes.

1 teaspoon turmeric

Mix turmeric with just enough honey to make a thick paste. Apply to skin around the eye, being careful not to get paste into your eye (although simply rinse with warm water if you do).

Note:? ?This paste will stain lighter skin tones temporarily. The lighter your skin, the more pronounced the orange stain will be, although it only lasts for a short time. For women with browner skin, the staining is minimal and can actually create a nice glow.

4.? ?Moisturizing? ?eyelashes

Castor oil has vitamins that promote hair growth and, thanks to its rich fatty acids, it works to moisturize and thicken eyelashes. Apply the oil at night so it soaks into lashes and doesn’t interfere with your daytime makeup. Caster oil also does a great job of makeup removal as well. It will take a couple of weeks to see a notable difference in the lushness of your eyelashes.

Castor oil

Put a drop on fingertip and rub gently over eyelashes. If you have a clean mascara brush, dip into oil and apply for fuller coverage between lashes.

Note:? ?Castor oil isn’t always easy to find in local grocery stores but it is fairly inexpensive online.

5.? ?Colorful? ?lead-free? ?lipstick

Many name-brand lipsticks contain lead or other undesirable metals, so on a quest for an alternative, my daughters discovered a video on how to make lipstick out of crayons. The color combinations offer endless creativity.

1-2 lead-free crayons
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Drop of castor oil
Pan of water (to use as a makeshift double-boiler)
Small, stout mason jar
Small round container (travel-size plastic containers)

Cut the crayon(s) into a small pieces, removing the wrapper as you cut. Put the crayon along with the coconut and castor oil in the glass jar and then place in the pan of water like a double-boiler. On medium heat, warm the mixture, stirring occasionally (using a chopstick to stir works well). When the mixture is melted, pour immediately into a small container. While it is still warm, dip your finger into mixture and apply.

Note:? ?This recipe doesn’t make the perfect lipstick to store and reuse. It needs to be warmed up before each use (a hair dryer works just fine, so does a microwave).

Also? ?Note:? ?Rubbing a drop of castor oil or lip balm on your lips before applying this lipstick ensures a smoother application.

Wendy Almeida is a freelance writer who has been exploring the Maine outdoors with her kids for more than 18 years, and they’re nowhere near done yet.

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