I’m the first to be seduced by ludicrously expensive night creams that promise to be a ‘facelift in a bottle’ but when it comes to beauty, could the answer be found in our kitchen cabinets? Is it worth taking beauty back to basics? I investigate…
The myth: Coffee granules as a great cellulite treatment.
The science: Cellulite is simply excess fat that has pushed through the fibrous tissue layer and clumped together, due to a build up of toxins such as alcohol and (ironically) coffee. Boosting circulation helps to break up these fatty cells.
The method: Vigorously rub a handful of damp coffee granules over upper thighs.
The reality: Anything that boosts circulation will aid in minimising the appearance of cellulite, although I noticed firmly massaging irregularly shaped coffee granules in upward, circular motions to be effective. Truth be told, this was no more or less effective than my usual body exfoliants; it has the added convenience of always being in the house… But the coffee stained my shower floor a rather unsightly brown tinge.
Will I be doing it again? Unlikely – it’s cost effective and convenient, but the results weren’t worth the mess.
The myth: Baking soda can be used as a tooth whitener.
The science: Baking soda is abrasive and brightens the teeth by helping to remove plaque.
The method: Mix a little baking soda with toothpaste to help neutralise the acidic taste and brush as normal, twice a day.
The reality: I did notice results quickly, but I also developed an unpleasant (and rather concerning) tingling in my gums.
Will I be doing it again? Turns out the above is not recommended by dentists and persist use can actually erode the enamel, resulting in brown teeth and heightened sensitivity… So no!
The myth: Raw egg can make hair super shiny.
The science: Egg yolk is rich in fats and proteins, which are naturally moisturising, while the white contains enzymes to remove excess oils.
The method: Apply a whole whisked raw egg to damp, but unwashed, hair and leave as a 20 minute treatment. Ensure hair is not warm – otherwise be prepared to pick out scrambled egg from your barnet!
The reality: My hair was visibly softer and silkier; this was a 100% chemical-free intensive hair conditioner that made a difference immediately.
Will I be doing it again? Definitely, I was really impressed with the results and as long as you ensure your hair is completely cool before you apply, this is relatively mess-free.
The myth: Applying toothpaste to spots can help to bust the blemishes.
The science: Toothpaste contains ‘triclosan’ which effectively kills bacteria and is often found in acne treatments as a preservative.
The method: Dab a very sparse amount on each blemish and leave overnight – try to avoid the surrounding delicate skin.
The reality: This really irritated my skin and only caused my pimples to become red and inflamed; my skin felt sore for days after, rather than the blemishes being reduced in size.
Would I do it again? No – this was totally ineffective and only made my blemishes worse.
The myth: Honey as a face mask
The science: Organic, minimally processed honey (aka the expensive kind) helps to reduce redness and inflammation, plus it acts as a natural cleanser.
The method: Generously apply honey straight from the container to your face, avoiding lips and eyes, and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and a flannel.
The reality: Once all the sticky residue had been removed from my face (it took a while) I noticed my skin felt hydrated and very soft to the touch.
Would I do it again? This sort of honey is expensive, so I want to experiment with cheaper varieties, but all in all my skin felt moisturised and oddly refreshed after this face mask. Next time I’ll apply a little natural yoghurt and some essential oils to really maximise the hydration.
I hope you enjoyed my mini kitchen investigation. Do you use any at-home treatments to make yourself look beautiful, while watching the pennies?
Written by Alex Thompson