Can your kitchen make you beautiful?

I’m the first to be seduced by ludicrously expensive night creams that promise to be a ‘facelift in a bottle’ but when it comes to beauty, could the answer be found in our kitchen cabinets? Is it worth taking beauty back to basics? I investigate...

The myth: Coffee granules as a great cellulite treatment.
The science: Cellulite is simply excess fat that has pushed through the fibrous tissue layer and clumped together, due to a build up of toxins such as alcohol and (ironically) coffee. Boosting circulation helps to break up these fatty cells.
The method: Vigorously rub a handful of damp coffee granules over upper thighs.
The reality: Anything that boosts circulation will aid in minimising the appearance of cellulite, although I noticed firmly massaging irregularly shaped coffee granules in upward, circular motions to be effective. Truth be told, this was no more or less effective than my usual body exfoliants; it has the added convenience of always being in the house... But the coffee stained my shower floor a rather unsightly brown tinge.
Will I be doing it again? Unlikely - it’s cost effective and convenient, but the results weren’t worth the mess.

The myth: Baking soda can be used as a tooth whitener.
The science: Baking soda is abrasive and brightens the teeth by helping to remove plaque.
The method: Mix a little baking soda with toothpaste to help neutralise the acidic taste and brush as normal, twice a day.
The reality: I did notice results quickly, but I also developed an unpleasant (and rather concerning) tingling in my gums.
Will I be doing it again? Turns out the above is not recommended by dentists and persist use can actually erode the enamel, resulting in brown teeth and heightened sensitivity... So no!

The myth: Raw egg can make hair super shiny.
The science: Egg yolk is rich in fats and proteins, which are naturally moisturising, while the white contains enzymes to remove excess oils.
The method: Apply a whole whisked raw egg to damp, but unwashed, hair and leave as a 20 minute treatment.  Ensure hair is not warm – otherwise be prepared to pick out scrambled egg from your barnet!
The reality: My hair was visibly softer and silkier; this was a 100% chemical-free intensive hair conditioner that made a difference immediately.
Will I be doing it again? Definitely, I was really impressed with the results and as long as you ensure your hair is completely cool before you apply, this is relatively mess-free.

The myth: Applying toothpaste to spots can help to bust the blemishes.
The science: Toothpaste contains ‘triclosan’ which effectively kills bacteria and is often found in acne treatments as a preservative.
The method: Dab a very sparse amount on each blemish and leave overnight - try to avoid the surrounding delicate skin.
The reality: This really irritated my skin and only caused my pimples to become red and inflamed; my skin felt sore for days after, rather than the blemishes being reduced in size.
Would I do it again? No – this was totally ineffective and only made my blemishes worse.

The myth: Honey as a face mask
The science: Organic, minimally processed honey (aka the expensive kind) helps to reduce redness and inflammation, plus it acts as a natural cleanser.
The method: Generously apply honey straight from the container to your face, avoiding lips and eyes, and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and a flannel.
The reality: Once all the sticky residue had been removed from my face (it took a while) I noticed my skin felt hydrated and very soft to the touch.
Would I do it again? This sort of honey is expensive, so I want to experiment with cheaper varieties, but all in all my skin felt moisturised and oddly refreshed after this face mask. Next time I’ll apply a little natural yoghurt and some essential oils to really maximise the hydration.

I hope you enjoyed my mini kitchen investigation. Do you use any at-home treatments to make yourself look beautiful, while watching the pennies?

Written by Alex Thompson


  1. Raw Egg I have done a few times xx


  2. I'd give Aloe Vera a try! You can buy it fresh or in a variety of products. If you are looking to to have a bottle around skip the sun isle and go straight to medical!

    If you look at the ingredients of aloe products in the sun or even makeup isles the aloe barbadensis (what you'll usually see it listed as) tends to be far down the list with water and alcohol high. They also have added fragrances which can irritate the skin. Seriously don't use these for *anything*, especially your sunburns! There horrible and it’s a crime they’re even sold.

    If you look in the medical isle you find options with aloe high in the list (look for first and avoid anything that says it was powdered). All the ingredients typically serve a purpose other than diluting the product with cheap skin irritating crap. Many contain lidocaine which is a local anesthetic that can be great for those sore pimples. Lidocaine allergies are rare but can be serious so read up and test (as you should with all products and ingredients) first.

    I like Solarcaine, a medicated aloe gel, for healing and moisturizing my skin. I use it for spot treatments on pimples, putting on a small dollop and letting it sit. I don't use it on my whole face because it isn't typically dry enough to warrant that. (Though I did use it for its intended purpose recently on my poor, pink, sun bit nose with great success.)

    Instead I actually use Band-Aid Hurt-Free Antiseptic Wash on my face *every day* via a cotton ball (a little goes a long way). I originally bought it to clean my ears after I got my second piercings. I tried using it on my acne and it was amazing. It has both temporary and long term benefits to fighting and preventing your acne. This alone cut my acne in-half without changing any other products. It also reduces swelling and redness so they are less noticeable and easier to cover. This is actually what introduced me to aloe vera – it is the number one inactive ingredient! I STRONGLY recommend trying it. It is a liquid that will not clog your pores. I follow up with my moisturizer after it has dried as it does not add moisture. I also like to swirl my makeup brushes over a wet cotton ball with this stuff before using them to make sure they are clean.

    I seriously love aloe. I also use Huggies brand Natural Care Baby Wipes which have Aloe & Vitamin E with the added benefit of being fragrance and alcohol free. It is great for cleaning makeup off brushes or hands between uses (switching shadows etc.) or spills. I also use it to clean the gunk around my eyes after washing my face as I can get it right up to the eye. I will also wipe my whole face with it, like with the other aloe products redness and swelling goes down and leaves my skin feeling refreshed.

  3. and don't forget baking soda and lemon as an amazing microdermabrasion! i do this once every week (maybe every two weeks in the winter, when my skin is drier and a bit more sensitive). here goes:

    simply rub a lemon all over your face, get it nice and wet (avoid eyes!) with the lemon juice, then sprinkle some baking soda into your hand, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice to make a paste and rub all over your face in light circular motions. be very gentle, as the baking soda is highly abrasive and while it may not feel very granular, it is absolutely working! you'll notice a tingle or heat sensation as it touches your skin, and this is normal, as the two chemicals have that reaction. scrub scrub scrub for a minute or two, then rinse off. warning: it will burn a bit! but as long as you are gentle, it's ok. then moisturise and call it a night. any redness or tingling you have will go down in a few minutes. enjoy! ;-)

  4. i like to apply tomato lemon cucmber juices on my face it's so refreshing..!:)

  5. I'm allergic to so many products as I suffer from sensitive skin so a few years ago I decided to use old school natural masks they still use in India on Brides before their wedding day - mix a teaspoon of gramflour, some milk and lemon juice to make it a paste (also the lemon juice is essential because it stops the mask from becoming too dry) and some honey (for a nice glow) - apply it on your face (once/twice a week or everyday if you can) and leave for 5-10 minutes then wash with warm water.


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