April 14, 2024

DIYClearSkin

Define Beauty Yourself

ROSIE GREEN: The home beauty hacks using store-cupboard ingredients that can calm spots and strengthen nails

DIY beauty has previously brought me out in a rash (literally). My teen self loved creating homemade products but such projects (perfume, body scrub!) were generally bad news for my dermis.

On one particular occasion, I ended up with welts – actual welts – when I tried to concoct a tea-tree oil bath bomb.

So the popularity of DIY beauty formulas on social media makes me apprehensive. Sunscreen made by mixing zinc oxide and coconut oil? Yucky and, quite possibly, not very protective.

Deodorant whipped up from baking soda, shea butter and essential oils? Sticky! I sanctimoniously tell my teenage daughter there’s a reason highly trained chemists spend years formulating the perfect product.

But, this being the craft issue, my editor suggested I investigate homemade beauty. And once I put my cynicism aside, I realised that I was already using store-cupboard ingredients and deploying DIY hacks without being conscious of it.

Store-cupboard hacks have also been a success at the University of Warwick, where recently researchers used a gloopy combination of honey and vinegar, known as oxymel, to kill bacteria successfully. Stock image used

I’ll admit, on reflection, there is something satisfying about saving money and packaging, and there’s also that feeling of achievement when what you create works.

My grandmother was a big advocate of homemade fixes – always on a budget, she used to soothe my mother’s childhood eczema by filling muslin bags with oatmeal and putting them in the bath. It worked (oatmeal is both anti-inflammatory and acts as a natural emollient).

Store-cupboard hacks have also been a success at the University of Warwick, where recently researchers used a gloopy combination of honey and vinegar, known as oxymel, to kill bacteria successfully.

Fancy trying out some DIY products? Here are the home hacks that, I can personally attest, 100 per cent deliver.

Rub almond oil into nails

Ever since make-up artist Ruby Hammer told me how brilliant super-cheap almond oil is for softening cuticles and making nails stronger, I’ve been a convert.

Spread honey on your face

This is another hack loved by Ruby, who regularly uses honey as a skin-softening mask. Meanwhile, fellow make-up artist Aimee Adams – and now I – dot it on spots and blemishes to reduce redness and boost healing (just remember to remove with cleanser before being seen in public).

Keep Vaseline handy

Forget chapped lips – my grandmother used this classic product to give her lashes and brows lustre and definition, and I’ve adopted the same trick, as has my daughter.

Spritz on an essential oil

After asking some of the most chic people I know what perfume they wear, to be told, ‘Oh, I mix up essential oils’, I’ve started doing likewise. To create a unique-to-me scent, I simply add one drop each of a few of my favourite essential oils in my palm, blend with my fingers and apply to my pulse points. Essential oils, from £8, nealsyardremedies.com.

Try an avocado face mask

Not just for salads but a shot of super hydration for sunkissed skin, too. Making an avocado face mask is an occasional trick of mine while I’m on holiday. Also avocados abroad tend to be the perfect level of ripeness to mash easily and spread.

Pass the salt water

When I worked as a stylist and was on beach shoots I noticed that hairdressers would fill a spray bottle (from £3.95, muji.eu) with seawater and spritz through the model’s hair for a simple and effective way to create soft waves.

Boost moisturisers with socks

…or gloves. Doing this supercharges results, which is why, when my hands/feet are particularly parched, I’ll massage on a hand or foot cream before bed then don gloves or socks overnight. Meanwhile, to up the power of my hair mask, I’ll put on a shower cap for half an hour – by trapping in heat and moisture it helps the product penetrate.

Heat up your lash curlers

Hold the falsies – this pro trick is brilliant for lifting the lashes and opening up the eyes. Health and safety warning: do not let the curlers get too hot as you’ll end up with burns. Instead just do a very quick blast on a low heat setting then touch them on the back of your hand to check their temperature first.

GLOBAL DIY TRICKS 

JAMAICA

Blitzed pineapple with sugar, coconut oil and lemongrass not only smells delicious but has serious skin benefits too, making it a popular Jamaican body scrub. The coconut oil moisturises, the enzymes in the pineapple chemically exfoliate, the lemongrass detoxifies and the sugar scrubs away dead cells, leaving skin brighter (and piña colada-scented).

JAPAN

For healthy-looking hair, rice water has been a Japanese beauty staple for centuries. Research suggests the amino acids in the water may indeed aid growth, while the starch helps give a noticeable shine.

SOUTH KOREA

Said to be anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, super hydrating, antimicrobial and wound-healing, snail mucin – AKA snail slime – is very popular in South Korean skincare. It can be obtained by placing snails over a mesh in a dark room and collecteing the mucin from their trails. Sound a bit messy? Then check out COSRX, the global leader of snail skincare.

MYANMAR

A paste made from the ground bark of the thanaka tree has been used in Myanmar since the 11th century. Usually applied to the nose and cheeks to act as a sun block, it also has anti- inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-fungal properties.

INDIA

The social-media trend of hair oiling for glossier locks stems from Ayurvedic practices and millions of Indian women massage coconut oil into their scalps daily. Use as a pre-wash or overnight treatment.

‘Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair any more is the secret upside of death’

– Nora Ephron

3 Natural Remedies

Weleda Revitalising Hair Tonic, £13.95, weleda.co.uk

Anti-microbial, with circulation-boosting properties, rosemary is having a moment for its ability to help hair loss and flaky scalps. Stock image used

Anti-microbial, with circulation-boosting properties, rosemary is having a moment for its ability to help hair loss and flaky scalps. Stock image used

Anti-microbial, with circulation-boosting properties, rosemary is having a moment for its ability to help hair loss and flaky scalps. No wonder this 100-year-old classic based on the herb is having a revival.

Dirtea The Beauty Mushroom Tremella Powder, £49.99, victoriahealth.com

Dirtea The Beauty Mushroom Tremella Powder, £49.99, victoriahealth.com

Dirtea The Beauty Mushroom Tremella Powder, £49.99, victoriahealth.com

With high levels of beta-glucans, polysaccharides and antioxidants, this add-to-your-drink powder loved by beauty insiders promises skin benefits including increased hydration and reduced inflammation.

Olverum Bath Salts, £32, uk.olverum.com

Created in the 1930s, Olverum's plant-powered, mineral-rich formulas calm the mind and boost the body. This is a favourite of Rosie's (and British royalty). Stock image used

Created in the 1930s, Olverum’s plant-powered, mineral-rich formulas calm the mind and boost the body. This is a favourite of Rosie’s (and British royalty). Stock image used

Created in the 1930s, Olverum’s plant-powered, mineral-rich formulas calm the mind and boost the body. This is a favourite of mine (and British royalty).