July 15, 2009

The Summer Harvest Series - Part II

Let's continue talking about the things you can do with your backyard harvest of fruits and veggies as previously mentioned in the blog post: An Overabundance of Produce . There are numerous choices for pickling, canning and fresh use, as well as fresh skin care you can DIY. Skin care? With fruit and vegetables? Absolutely! Strawberries are astringent and wonderful for facial masques when mixed with, what else, cream or honey. Cucumbers are soothing and cooling and help to reduce redness and irritation. Oh, and figs are not just for jams and Fig Newtons! You can even use tomato and garlic for oily skin care. No really - you can!

Host a Girls Spa Night or have fun with your kids whipping up a bevy of delicious recipes for your skin. Here are a few easy DIY formulas to get you started.
  • Strawberry Cucumber Smoothie Facial Masque:
    (makes 1-2 applications)
    You will need:
    Fresh ripe strawberries - 3-4 large
    2-4 Cucumber Slices
    Honey - 1/2 tsp
    Cream or Half & Half - 1/2 tsp
    Olive Oil or Sweet Almond Oil (Optional - skip if your skin is oily)
    Glass or Plastic bowl
    Small, clean paint brush with soft bristles (Optional)
    Wash and dry face or area to be treated prior to application.

    Cut off the stem and cut up the strawberries and place them in a bowl. Smash with a fork until smooth. Add the honey, cream and oil (if using) and blend together.

    Now for the fun part! It's easier, and more fun, if you have a partner for this procedure. Have them lie back and close their eyes. Place cool cuke slices on over their eyes to soothe and rejuvenate - it also helps to keep the masque out of their eyes especially when kids are doing this. Using your clean paint brush or clean fingers apply a thin layer of the strawberry mixture to the face avoiding the eye area. Relax for 5 - 15 minutes. Remove cucumber slices and wash face thoroughly, pat dry and use a moisturizer if desired. Discard any left over mixture.

  • Guacomole Hair Conditioner (makes 1 application)
    1 Ripe Avocado
    1/2 - 1 Cup Mayonnaise (depending on length of hair)
    Skin and remove the pit from the avocado. Place in a bowl with the mayonnaise mash and mix thoroughly until you have a creamy paste.
    Apply to scalp and hair and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap or a shower cap if you have one. Let the mixture sit on your hair for about 20-30 minutes. If you're doing this with youngsters you might have to cut that short but it will still help.

    When time is up remove covering from hair and wash as usual, making sure all of the product is rinsed out. Typically you don't need a conditioner as the treatment should suffice. Kids love this treatment because they get to put "Gak", as my kids called it, in each others' hair and they don't get yelled at for it! Discard any left over mixture.
More Quick Ideas:
  • Use the same method as the Guacamole conditioner and substitute ripe bananas or mango and plain yogurt for the avocado and mayo.
  • For a soothing moisture masque mix an envelope of plain Aveeno oatmeal and enough honey to make a paste. Pat onto clean face, very gently rub in a circular motion without tugging at your skin for about 5 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
  • For oily and blemish prone skin make a garlic and tomato masque. I know it sounds ridiculous, but trust me it works! If you can get deodorized garlic puree at a health food store that's best for obvious reasons. If not, well you'll keep the vampires at bay, but it might leave you craving lasagna. Mix into 1/2 cup of tomato puree or tomato juice - 1 tsp honey or glycerin, 1 tsp garlic puree. If using tomato puree you might want to add a little water to thin it just a bit. Smooth mixture over face and allow to set for 5-10 minutes, rinse clean with warm water.
Have fun being creative. Your kids and/or girlfriends will love you for it, and so will your skin!

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