Treating yourself to some self-care is very important in living a gentle life. It is not just about your impact on others, or on the planet, but being gentle on yourself. However there is no need to spend thousands each year on skin and beauty care, nor any need to use chemicals on your skin. I choose to purchase non-toxic, palm oil free skin care from small local brands, as well as Australian larger natural product companies. I also usually treat myself to a facial at home, and to do this, you can make your own face masks and body scrubs from things you have in the fridge! These also make the perfect gifts. We are sharing a wonderful post with Blah Blah Blah Blah magazine about how to make a papaya peel face mask and a DIY coffee Body Scrub.
Papya Face Mask and DIY Coffee Body Scrub
Isn’t it a wonderful irony that some of the best beauty products available can be made out of rubbish, or things we would normally throw away. This discovery has been such a revelation for me. I worked on some very exclusive cosmetic counters after I studied beauty therapy, and used to pay a lot of money for various lotions and potions. But, there is one thing those little pots of promise will never have -freshness.
Fresh is best
I’d love to see the nutritional comparison between a fresh asparagus spear and a tinned one. Those tinned greyish spears have the structural integrity of… well, let’s not go there, you get my drift. It’s the same for a lot of beauty products. Many of the active ingredients promised on the pretty packaging are very volatile, and don’t survive the years it can take between production, and you using the products. Because of these big gaps in time, they also need to add a lot of preservatives.
But who has time to fuss about making all their own beauty products?
Trust me, this papaya peel mask is the only thing I could do for my skin after the birth of my second child, it’s all I had time for. Just remember, as with all beauty goodies, it’s best to test for allergic reactions in a discrete spot, before slapping on willy-nilly. If you have a food allergy to an ingredient, it’s best to avoid using it altogether and don’t worry there are so many alternatives. A watermelon rind mask for rehydration and restoration, for starters…
Papaya peel mask
A papaya mask is my favourite way to refresh the skin during summer, where you have faced off with sun, salt, sand, heat and dehydration. This papaya mask paves the way for smoother skin as the seasons change. Papaya is used in The Royal Victoria Hospital, Gambia, to treat burns, because it is cheap, widely available and effective at getting rid of dead skin cells and helping the healing process.
I’m not a health practitioner, I only use the example to show you what a powerful skin healer this cheerful fruit is. Basically, it has some lively proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain that do the hard yards dissolving unwanted tissue and freshening the skin. Those enzymes are most active when the fruit is fresh.
How to apply a papaya mask
1. Peel a papaya, keep the peel, cut up the fruit and give the cubes of orangey goodness to who ever you need to distract.
2. Rub the fleshy side of the peel onto any exposed skin: face, arms, legs and anywhere else you can reach (yes, it’s good to wash your skin first, but it’s not essential and sometimes you need to slap some on before the moment slips by).
3. Rinse off somewhere between twenty minutes and an hour. You’ll notice how soft and juicy your skin is because all those fresh enzymes have been super busy.
4. Tone and moisturise.
5. Ideally, repeat this once or twice a week for two months and you’ll really notice a big difference.
**Note: It is better if you can take the time to relax and lie down, because relaxing and lying down is a good thing to do, but it’s also fine if you wander around. My family doesn’t even seem to notice anymore if I have goop on my face, much to my disappointment. The delivery dude is used to it too, although I did catch a smirk on his face when I answered the door with the quince hydrating mask on, but that makes me look like a zombie.
Coffee body scrub
For this DIY coffee body scrub you could mix used-coffee grounds and water, and it would be free, but it’s a lot nicer with coconut oil and some vanilla essence for fragrance. One thing I refuse to let go of is my annoyance that a lot of cosmetic companies use plastic microspheres in face and body scrubs. It’s so unnecessary, and they just add these because it’s a cheap option. The spheres are so small they sail through the sewerage filters and head out and choke our sea life and end up in our food chain. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. And unnecessary. I think the best form of protest would be for us all to make our own (far superior body scrub) where we don’t have rub plastic all over ourselves and pay for the privilege. Rant. Over.
Caffeine and cellulite
People love to make lots of claims about caffeine, weight loss and cellulite. I don’t know, but I have managed to find out two very important things: Caffeine is absorbed by the skin in about five minutes, and it will stimulate blood flow in the area it’s applied to. This means it’s a good bet for shifting cellulite and assisting a detox if you’re already looking at your diet and exercise regiemes.
I think used-coffee grounds are even better than fresh coffee grounds. I have no evidence for this, but the boiling water seems to release the caffeine and makes an even more invigorating body treatment. Either way, it’s so good to be reusing something that makes the best scrub in the world to start the day with.
Coconut oil is wonderful, coconut oil is great (for the body, but not the face), but she’s a fickle thing in Australia and hot climates. The melting point of coconut oil is 36˚C and it starts to harden up again about 22˚C. This means your lovely body scrub can be runny one day and hard the next, which can be annoying if you’re pulling out a sledgehammer to use your body scrub.
1. Use macadamia or grape seed oil instead of coconut oil to form a paste and stick in a jar.
2. Or, freeze the coconut oil mix to make chunks, which is what I’ve done in this recipe.
I would love to tell you to use vanilla essential oil, because its scent is sublime, but it’s expensive and vanilla essence is a wonderful alternative. Good essences contain 10 percent alcohol, which is fine as the product is washed off and won’t dry your skin. If your skin has a history of being sensitive to alcohol leave out the vanilla.
How to make a coffee scrub
½ cup used coffee grounds
½ cup coconut oil in a 300 ml jar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1. Dry coffee grounds on a tray in the sun or in a cooling or low temperature oven
2. Melt coconut oil jar in a bowl of hot water
3. Mix in coffee grounds and vanilla essence
4. Pour into a container about 10 cm x 20 cm that is lined with baking paper
6. Smash or cut up the mixture
7. Store in a clean dry container in the freezer
1. Use the scrub 3-4 mornings a week.
2. Take a piece out of the freezer when needed.
3. Rub into damp skin in generous circles to massage the body as you go. Focus on lumpy bumpy areas.
4. This is messy, so best done in the shower, where it’s easily rinsed off.
5. A lot of skin types will not need to apply moisturiser after this.