10 Cosmetic Uses for Everyday Foods
Getting egg on your face can be a good thing
By Aida Mollenkamp
1. Egg White Mask. You can either save your leftover egg whites for an omelet or angel food cake, or use them for your next facial. Just one white, beaten until smooth, is enough to cover your face. As with other masks, let it dry completely, then rinse off. It will leave you feeling refreshed, and your skin will be noticeably more taut.
2. Oatmeal Face Wash. Oatmeal has calming properties that soothe the skin and help reduce redness. It can be used in a variety of ways, from a body wash to a mask, but the most basic is this simple face wash: Mix together equal parts warm honey and lemon juice, then stir in three parts instant oatmeal until it turns into a paste. Apply to your face, then wash off with warm water.
3. Vinegar Hair Cleaner. Swap your conditioner for vinegar twice a month and you’ll get rid of any nasty buildup, as well as improve your hair’s silkiness and shine. Seriously. Don’t use dark or expensive vinegars; stick to cider or white wine vinegar for less strain on the wallet and better results. But don’t do this more than a few times a month or you’ll risk drying out your hair.
4. Honey and Brown Sugar Scrub. Fill a jar about two-thirds full with honey, add a scoop of brown sugar and one halved vanilla bean, and mix. Keep this in the shower and use it as a body scrub that will leave you smelling nice and feeling smooth.
5. Lemon Juice Lightener. Beach-goers have been doing this for years to lighten their locks. Just combine the juice of half a lemon with a handful of leave-in conditioner (which is less goopy than regular conditioner), spread on your hair, and comb through, then wash out. (Note: Highlighted or color-treated hair should be spared this homemade remedy, which could make your hair look brassy.) Many people also apply lemon juice directly to age spots to bleach them out, though this should be avoided on sensitive skin because lemon juice is highly acidic.
6. Coffee: Scrub and Shine-Maker. Your leftover coffee grounds can clog your drain or, if you’re feeling adventurous, be used as an invigorating scrub. For more details, check out this CHOW Tip. Needless to say, avoid doing this if you have sensitive skin. Leftover brewed coffee can also be mixed with some coffee grounds and conditioner to help increase shine in dark hair.
7. Tea Bag Eye Rejuvenator. The quintessential home cosmetic remedy is using cucumber slices on the eyes to reduce puffiness. While that certainly works, brewed black tea bags are even more effective. Place them on your eyes (which should be closed, of course) and let the tannins work their magic—about five minutes should do the trick.
8. Baking Soda Teeth Cleaner. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a quarter teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for one of the most basic forms of tooth care that exists. It’ll clean your teeth (some would argue better than store-bought toothpaste), but you’ll be missing out on the minty freshness. Of course, you could just go totally au naturel and gnaw a bit of spearmint for that.
9. Oil Moisturizer. Take a page from many a Mediterranean grandmother: Olive oil works fabulously as a lotion. Use too much and you’ll smell like pasta, but in small doses it works wonders as a daily lotion or massage oil. If olive oil isn’t your thing, sesame oil (regular not toasted), peanut oil, almond oil, and argan oil work too.
10. Cornstarch Bath Powder. Superabsorbent and extremely fine, cornstarch is the kitchen equivalent of baby powder and can be used in the same way. Combine it with a few leaves of a nice-smelling dried herb (rosemary, lavender, or sage, for instance) and pulse it in the food processor until evenly mixed. Sift out any large stray leaf bits, transfer to a container with a shake top (like an old baby powder bottle), and use to freshen up anything from your body to your sneakers.