Does your garden continue mocking you with an unfathomable volume of ripe-n-ready eats despite having but one mouth and stomach to your credit? When you’ve reached your limit of creative zucchini bread recipes and you’re positively sick and tired of noshing on one-ingredient tomato salads that weigh well over 2 ½ pounds per serving, donating your excess veggies to Ample Harvest so they can be distributed to those in need would certainly take the heat off of your culinary efforts… but just be sure to save a few salad bowl basics for your daily beauty ritual. Sure, boosting your consumption of fresh produce yields a glowing complexion, but applying specific varieties directly to your face might just put your current go-to cleansing and moisturizing collection completely out of business.
LETTUCE & CARROTS!
This soothing yet invigorating facial treatment, which contains natural acne-fighting ingredients, works double-duty thanks to the addition of two of summer’s top garden crops – lettuce and carrots. Leafy greens are well known for their ability to bestow the complexion with a radiance that is rarely if ever duplicated with conventional preparations, but did you know that lettuce leaves in particular are also highly regarded for their ability to tone the skin? As for Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack, carrots contain high levels of carotene which aid in skin cell regeneration while also forming a protective shield against ultraviolet light (the culprit which is responsible for certain types of skin cancer).
Mask Recipe: Prepare your base mask by mixing together 1 cup of fine clay powder along with 1/4 cup of corn flour, 1 tablespoon of rolled oats, 1 tablespoon of dried milk powder and 2 drops of your favorite essential oils. Then measure out just 1 tablespoon of the base mask into a bowl, mixing 1 tablespoon of finely shredded carrot or lettuce pulp (or both!) into the base – feel free to add more of each veggie if the mask is too difficult to stir or apply.
A famed member of the gourd family, vitamin C and silica packed cukes do wonders for the complexion not only by restoring proper hydration levels but also by making the epidermis visibly more elastic. We all know that cucumbers taste refreshing and are the perfect addition to summertime fare, but this veggie fave is also highly detoxifing and capable of reducing wrinkles when applied topically. Incorporating the cooling hydration of cucumbers into a homemade mask consisting of softening dairy foods, exfoliating grains and the naturally acidic yet remarkably toning properties of lemon is a sure-fire recipe for deep down cooling, cleansing delight!
Mask Recipe: While you might be tempted to dip your spoon into this mask out of sheer culinary curiosity, it’s your skin that really wants to be nourished. In a blender or food processor, grind 1 cup of oatmeal along with 1 tablespoon wheat bran until both grains are transformed into a fine powder. Then pour them into a bowl, adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the grated pulp of 1/2 medium cucumber and 1 teaspoon of fresh, finely chopped mint leaves. Mix the mask until the consistency is smooth, finally applying it to clean skin and allowing each ingredient to work its magic for at least 15 minutes
An iconic summertime crop that finds its way into countless condiments, sauces, salads and main courses, fresh tomatoes are praised for far more than their good looks, vibrant rainbow hues and easy-growing attributes. Lycopene elevates them to stellar nutritional status — that little ol’ carotenoid works vigilantly to protect white blood cell DNA plus it’s equally as effective at kicking a laundry list of the most common cancers straight to the curb by manufacturing phase II detoxification enzymes. As if that’s not enough, tomatoes also contain a hefty amount of chromium, the mineral responsible for keeping blood sugar levels on the straight and narrow.
Mask Recipe: For those who battle skin blemishes and clogged pores, you can enjoy the benefits of a tomato-based facial with none of the fuss simply by rubbing a fresh tomato half all over your skin, allowing the juice to remain for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. If, on the other hand, you enjoy puttering about in the kitchen, this creamy, hydrating and pleasantly energizing mask is for you: Mix 1/2 of a pureed fresh tomato into 2 teaspoons of ground oatmeal along with 2 teaspoons of plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon of grated fresh cucumber. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s a good chance that your skin will put up a fight if you dare to encroach on its dreamy mask territory.
Jokes abound about this summer squash which typically thrives to such a degree that even brown thumbs mistakenly think that they’ve been endowed with a golden garden touch. Able to morph into infinite side dishes and main courses, zucchini may seem like the iceberg lettuce of the vegetable set, but it happens to be hiding a great deal of nutritional goodness up its sleeve. Like its tomato brethren, zucchini also offers an impressive level of protection against type 2 diabetes in light of the excellent way that it facilitates blood sugar metabolism along with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory protection.
Mask Recipe: Puree 1/4 of an avocado along with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (the latter of which will prevent the avocado from oxidizing while also helping to tone your skin). Then, finely grate 1/4 of a small zucchini into the mask mixture, incorporating it with a spoon. You know what to do now – just slather it on and enjoy!
As soon as the weather gets warm, roses happily burst to life. And if you’re good about dead-heading faded blooms, they continue sharing their cheerful color with you all season long. Aside from enjoying them on the vine and occasionally showcasing a few exceptional blooms in a vase, you might want to make them a regular part of your beauty ritual. Why? Think of all those rich pigments. Many of Mother Nature’s greatest antioxidant-packed creations come in a deep, colorful spectrum and roses are no different. Your skin will joyfully drink up their purifying properties as well as their ability to tone, soothe, balance and combat noticeable irritations brought on by poor diet, stress or excessive sun exposure. How’s that for a rosier complexion!
Mask Recipe: In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of rose water or 5 drops of essential rose oil along with 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of almond oil and 3 drops of vitamin E oil. Apply the mask to your freshly washed face, massaging the mixture into your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin so the moisturizing oils can penetrate the epidermal layer. Leaving it on for a minimum of 15 minutes before washing it off with warm water will yield the very best effect. When was the last time you had cheeks as soft and velvety as rose petals?
For more juicy green goodness, follow Elizah via Twitter @elizahleigh