‘The garden is a woman’s best source of cosmetic treasures’…Aunt Lillian, Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine p75 – Norma Jean & Carole Darden .
Food stuffs have been used as cosmetic beauty treatments and products throughout time in our quest for good looks, youth and celestial beauty. With the rise of the ‘Foodie’ in the last ten years or so, and a heightened awareness of health and natural well-being, the emerging trend of food based cosmetics has found its niche.
With product ranges boasting the benefits of natural wellness, the harnessing of nature’s true beauty, as well as their moral and ethical credentials, cosmetic companies have found the perfect sales pitch for the Guardian reading, dinner party throwing vegetarian wannabe, – politically correct, self-righteous goody two shoes who think they know it all.
Lush, Original Source and Body Shop lead the way with food ingredient based cosmetics with a number of smaller bespoke, organic certified products, brands and companies hot on their heels; a number of food companies and cosmetic companies are even joining forces in the hunt for the next new innovative product to put on the market trying to keep abreast of the competition…but has it all gone too far?
Well, one can contemplate why a person would choose a product containing banana or aloe vera rather than some complicated sounding chemical ingredient based product. Familiarity is the chief reason for the popularity of natural products. Women have more money to spend, and are also becoming aware of the harm that applying industrial chemicals can do to your skin.
A few years ago Nestlé and L’Oreal teamed up to bring us the Innéov range which claims that they act at the heart of the metabolism to deliver global results on the whole face and body, weather this pseudo science holds any truth remains to be seen….in the mean time they’ll keep telling you ‘because your worth it!’.
Beer, a less likely food source for cosmetics, is currently being used by Czech Republic firm, Chodovar, who has opened the world’s first beer spa, which offers ‘beer baths, massages, wraps, and a take home cosmetics line’ claiming that beer is the solution to everything from high blood pressure to dry skin…probably the best beer in the world?…I’m not convinced.
And then, The Cheese Makers Association attempted to target the fragrance industry by creating ‘Eau de Stilton’ and approached Cat Deeley to be the face of the product…What were they thinking?…Not a sniff!
Sea buckthorn is the new darling of the food cosmetic world, this plant grows in the upper reaches of the Himalayas and is rich in vitamins A, B and C, flavonoids and carotenoids and has been used in traditional medicine for ages.
Here is a selection of eight tried and tested cosmetic foods that you may be familiar with which have been used in days gone by:
1) Cucumber – cucumbers are renowned for their beautifying abilities, so rub a slice over your face and neck. It will soften and smooth skin by refining pores.
2) Watermelon – watermelon rind has many of the same properties as cucumbers and is useful for beautifying skin. Rub the inside of the rind on face and neck. It is really refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
3) Tomato – tomato juice is great for oily skin! Try swishing a slice of raw tomato over you face from time to time. It’s good for oily and pimply skin.
4) Potato – peel and grate a little white potato and place it under the eyes. Good for relieving swollen bags and dark circles if you’ve been crying or are just tired.
5) Eggs – egg whites, beaten and applied to the face, work as a tightening mask to draw up wrinkles. Skin can use external sources of protein from the yolk too, as time marches on. Smear on either, white or yolk and rinse off with water after fifteen minutes.
6) Peaches cream & honey – whip up a little heavy cream (1/4 cup, mash in ½ peach, and mix with 1 Tablespoon of honey. Apply to face and leave for fifteen minutes. Enjoy licking your lips!
7) Lemon – to whiten nails, plunge them into the white part of a lemon rind for a minute or two. Also, to get an additional gloss on nails, buff with an old fashioned buffer.
8) Buttermilk – drink it and use it as a mask. It aids the digestive system and acts as a cleanser and astringment for the face.
Below is a formula for a tried and tested vanishing cream; Aunt Lillian’s and older sister Nell’s secret (wax-based) violet vanishing cream, which you can make yourself if you follow Lil’s formula. (Taken from Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine by Norma Jeanne & Carole Darden).
Violet Vanishing Cream
2 Tbsp White beeswax
2 Tbsp Lanolin
9 Tbsp Mineral oil
½ Tspn Borax (sodium borate)
3 Tbsp rose water, warmed
¼ Tspn essence of violet oil
Place the beeswax, lanolin and mineral oil in the top of a enamel or glass double boiler. Heat until thoroughly melted. Dissolve borax in warmed rose water and add this to the beeswax mixture. Remove from the heat. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon
while mixture cools and thickens. Then add essence of violet. Continue beating until well blended. Jar and store in refrigerator.