This article was posted on Beliefnet today. While unfortunately my garden doesn't contain avacadoes or pineapples, I think that I might try to create some of these recipies and look up some more that use things that are currently growing in my garden...
Sure, creating cosmetics au naturale has the virtue of being inexpensive—but it's also just plain fun, and a great way to use up fruits and veggies that lurk in your refrigerator's produce drawer at the end of the week.
Tone skin with apples…
"Apples are well-suited for rough, dry skin," says natural-beauty expert Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt, 2002). Cox explains that the fruits contain malic acid and amylase, an exfoliating enzyme, both of which soften and deep-clean skin without over-drying. Whip up a toner by mixing 1/4 cup no-sugar-added fresh apple juice (fresh pear juice works equally well) and 4 tablespoons witch hazel. Refrigerate in an air-tight container, and apply with a cotton ball.
…then deep-cleanse with a carrot mask.
"Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which is often referred to as the 'beauty' vitamin because of its importance in maintaining healthy skin," says Cox, who adds that this mask helps skin retain moisture. Mix 2 tablespoons each of fresh carrot juice and white clay (sold at natural-food stores or the health-food section of some supermarkets). Then spread the smooth paste on your face; let rest for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, followed by a splash of cold.
Use avocadoes to moisturize hair.
If you're suffering from dry, frizzy hair, reach for an avocado. Day-spa owner Laura du Priest, author of Natural Beauty: Pamper Yourself with Salon Secrets at Home (Henry Holt, 2002), recommends a simple, oil-rich blend of one avocado and two tablespoons mayonnaise (or some mashed ripe banana). Massage this concoction through clean, dry hair, and don a shower cap. Let sit for 10 to 20 minutes, and then wash out with warm water and a light shampoo.
Whiten teeth with strawberries.
Rich in salicylic acid, these pretty red berries are a great astringent on their own. If you have oily skin, cut a strawberry in half, rub it gently on your face and rinse; if your skin is more sensitive, mash with a fork, apply for a minute or so and rinse. Strawberries are also incredibly easy-to-use tooth-whiteners. "Just eating a few helps brighten a dull smile," says Cox.
Get beach-ready with pineapples.
These tropical fruits contain bromelain, which cleanses and freshens the skin. Cox's pineapple body seltzer is great for vacationers with oily skin or acne. Mix 1 cup of fresh pineapple juice (or purée a pineapple in a food processor until smooth) with 2 cups seltzer or sparkling mineral water. Place in a spray bottle and spritz on post-shower.