If you are looking for seriously simple solutions to minor cosmetic problems, look no further than the kitchen cupboard. A number of basic kitchen ingredients offer nutrients and vitamins known to aid in the nourishment and care of our skin and hair. And, although all of these ingredients can be mixed into more complex beauty blends, they’re also powerful enough to use all by themselves. Forgo expensive hair or skin treatments and instead rely on the power of nature with these six basic kitchen ingredients that nourish skin, hair and nails.
We have many reasons to load up on this citrus fruit. Naturally energizing, lemon is rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for skin and hair. This aromatic fruit also contains skin-strengthening B vitamins and inositol, and has natural bleaching properties that make it a great tool for lightening hair or age spots.
Use lemon to:
Lighten hair color. Work just enough lemon juice into your tresses until well-saturated, then expose your hair to the sunlight for about 30 minutes. Thoroughly rinse and follow with a moisturizing conditioner.
Whiten fingernails. Rub a lemon wedge over the surface of your nails to reduce a grimy appearance, then follow up with your favorite lotion. Don’t try this if you have hangnails or cuts around your hands, as the fruit’s strong acidity will cause stinging.
Reduce the appearance of age spots. Take a clean cloth and dip it in a bowl of lemon juice. Dab the solution directly onto the spot you wish to tackle and let it sit for half an hour before rinsing. Don’t sit in the sun while letting the solution soak, as lemon juice makes skin more sensitive to sunlight. If your skin is sensitive, dilute the lemon juice in an equal part water.
A multitasking ingredient that’s useful in both the kitchen and bathroom, coconut oil is amazingly versatile. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, coconuts are incredibly nutritious—coconut oil possesses healing properties beyond most other dietary oils. Although coconut oil is a creamy solid at room temperature, it becomes more pliable when scooped up in our hands and warmed by our body heat.
Use coconut oil to:
Nourish skin. Coconut oil makes an amazingly light moisturizer. Simply massage a quarter-size amount into your skin after getting out of the shower. Pay special attention to rough patches of skin.
Hydrate chapped lips. You can also apply a small amount of coconut oil to your lips—a perfect solution for extra-dry days.
Moisturize hair. After regularly shampooing your hair, apply a generous amount of coconut oil to your wet locks, paying close attention to the ends rather than the scalp. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing it out with warm water. For a deep conditioning treatment, massage a spoonful of coconut oil through the ends of your dry hair and wrap it up in a towel. Let it sit for about an hour, then wash it out with a gentle shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Packed with numerous health benefits from the apples from which it’s derived, apple cider vinegar is an amazingly beneficial elixir. Rich in antioxidants, this raw, unprocessed vinegar is made up of enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria that promote overall wellness.
Use apple cider vinegar to:
Rinse hair. To remove build-up from styling products, strengthen hair follicles and promote soft, shiny strands, create a rinse made of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Pour the rinse over your hair after shampooing, leave it in for a few seconds, then rinse it out with cool water.
Prevent breakouts. With a cotton ball, massage a few drops of this vinegar into your T-zone and other dry areas to minimize the appearance of blemishes.
Moisturize skin. Pour a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath for toned, moisturized skin.
Neutralize body odor. Rub a bit of this vinegar under your arms to absorb and neutralize body odor.
Beyond being a delicious and healthful treat, avocados can make a great addition to your beauty-care regimen. In fact, avocado was a regular beauty treatment in ancient civilizations in Central America. Because it’s rich in fatty acids, ripe avocado can soften skin and retain moisture. It’s also a great source of vitamin E, which is especially helpful for dry skin.
Use avocados to:
Soothe skin. Mash half of a ripe avocado and, in a thin layer, spread it evenly onto your face and neck. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Reduce puffy eyes. Cut half of an avocado into quarter-inch crescents and place the slices under puffy eyes for about 20 minutes. Remove, then wash face with warm water.
This sweet nectar is more than just a healthful sweetener perfectly suited for tea and baked goods. Raw, unpasteurized honey can also help moisturize skin, fight acne, reduce inflammation and more.
Use honey to:
Hydrate skin. Because it’s a natural humectant, honey can draw moisture from the air into the skin. Massage about one teaspoon of raw honey into clean, dry skin and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.
Cleanse pores. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, honey is great for fighting acne. Banish blemishes by dabbing just a bit of honey onto the affected area. Place an adhesive bandage over it and let it sit overnight.
Farm-fresh eggs are rich in skin-strengthening proteins. On top of that, egg whites are abundant in skin-healing vitamin A and are wonderful for fighting wrinkles, tightening pores and reducing eye puffiness.
Use eggs to:
Reduce puffy eyes. Separate the egg white from the yolk and whisk the white well. Using the tip of your ring finger, dab a bit of the whisked egg white around the bottom crescent of your eyes, avoiding the eyes themselves. Let it dry for about 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Improve skin elasticity. Separate the egg white from the yolk and whisk the white well. With a washcloth, apply it to freshly cleansed skin and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Once your skin starts to feel tightened, remove the egg white with a clean washcloth soaked in warm water.
For more DIY beauty treatments made with natural ingredients likely already in your home, visit our Homemade Beauty Products collection page.