If you’re on a health kick, streamlining your diet is the first step to reaching your goals. Out goes the caffeine, sugar, salt and carbs, and in comes the fresh fruit and veg, healthy fats, lean meat and wholegrains. Hey, it’s a good plan – but don’t ditch the naughty stuff altogether. Move it to your beauty cabinet instead!
Who’s the expert? Janey Lee Grace is a BBC Radio 2 presenter and a passionate representative and media spokesperson for the Organic and Natural Health world, and has been voted No1 personality in the 2014 Natural Beauty Yearbook. She recommends natural products and services at imperfectlynatural.com and is the author of five best-selling books on Natural Health.
Those nasties that do your body damage when you eat them could be a godsend for your beauty routine. ‘It’s a great idea to use food in your skincare as the live enzymes contained in foods can be therapeutic,’ says natural beauty expert and author Janey Lee Grace. ‘Don’t clean out your cupboards just yet!’
So, get ready to indulge your cravings in a very different way this month. Stock up on your favourite guilty treats to give your skin a taste of their super-secret beautifying components.
MAYO: The hair mask
Mayonnaise, with its calorific combo of eggs, oil and sugar, is a fat bomb. But all those oils, plus tangy vinegar, do brilliant things for your hair, locking in shine and softness. Exposure to winter nasties can take its toll on hair health, so a weekly mask is a great way to nurture your locks. ‘Lather on some mayo and leave for 10 minutes before washing it through twice,’ tips Janey.
SALT: The foot smoother
On average, Brits eat about one and
a half teaspoons of salt a day – way above the recommended intake. Too much salt can raise blood pressure, leading to heart disease and strokes. Cut back on the shaker and leave those crunchy granules for your body. Put an end to foot odours by giving tootsies a daily salt bath. Sea salt is antibacterial and contains magnesium which helps improve nerve function, and potassium, which reduces water retention. ‘Add one to two cups of sea salt to a bowl of warm water and soak feet for 10 minutes,’ says Janey.
COFFEE: The cellulite blaster
Overdo the caffeine and you can throw your hormones out of kilter and send your stress levels soaring. Better redirect that espresso to your thighs instead! Coffee is often a key ingredient in cellulite-busting products because it has a tightening action on the skin. ‘Apply freshly cooled coffee grounds on a sponge and work around the affected areas in circular movements before rinsing,’ says Janey. This should instantly banish the appearance of those dreaded dimples.
SUGAR: The dry skin smoother
It’s no good if you’re battling stubborn pounds, but sugar can deliver some awesome results when applied topically. The sweet stuff’s small granules work as an excellent exfoliant, sloughing off dead skin and boosting cell turnover for healthy, smooth skin. ‘Mix a tablespoon of sugar with a little water and use to exfoliate all over your body,’ suggest Janey. For a more moisturising treat, add olive or coconut oil to your mix.
TEA: The skin soother
Too much builder’s brew can leave you wired, hookedon sugar and, annoyingly, with stained teeth. Give the cuppas a rest and use your tea bags to soothe your skin instead. Cut yourself shaving? Regular black tea contains tannins which help to slow down the bleeding while acting as a pain reliever. Steep a tea bag in warm water and once cooled, place on the affected area, leaving it for a few minutes to work its magic.
POTATOES: The eye brightener
Ah, spuds! We love deliciously salty,
crunchy crisps as much as the next girl, but nutritionally, they’re pretty lame. They’re often rich in trans fats and offer little but starch to keep you going. Raw potatoes, on the other hand, contain an enzyme called catecholase, which can help to banish eye bags. Your peepers are the first place to show the telltale signs of a hectic lifestyle as the area around the eye is really fragile.
‘A thin slice of peeled potato placed over
the eyes can really reduce puffiness,’ says Janey. ‘It feels cooling and soothing.’
CHOCOLATE: THE INDULGENT FACE MASK
Sugary, fatty chocolate won’t do your diet any favours, but it’s all good news for your skin. Dark chocolate, which is low in sugar and high on the cocoa scale, is an awesome source of anti-ageing antioxidants called flavonols. ‘Mix a large spoonful of raw chocolate powder with coconut oil and apply to your face for a really guilt-free, antioxidant facial treat,’ says Janey. Leave your mask on for 10 minutes to allow the nutrients to absorb then rinse and follow with moisturiser (or more coconut oil!).
Feed your face. Beautiful skin is only a few bites away with these complexion-loving munchies. Add them to your daily diet for an instant glow
BEETROOT This purple veg is a powerhouse of anti-ageing antioxidants that ward off free-radical damage.
MANGO Orange fruit like mangoes contains beta-carotene, which repairs skin cells.
SPINACH The green leafy veg helps to detoxify the liver – essential for a blemish-free complexion.
TOMATOES Cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene they contain, which can help to protect your skin against year-round sun damage. So cook up a tomatoey storm to protect skin.
NUTS Raw nuts are packed with essential fatty acids that keep skin looking radiant. Keep a bag in your desk drawer.