"I've decided to devote my life to cultivating my natural
beauty!" (Lucy, in Clark Gesner's You're A Good Man,
By Lin Grensing
Now, I realize that some folks scoff at beauty aids and
cosmetics. That's just because they don't know how
rejuvenating playing with cosmetics can be. Taking a few
minutes a day-or a couple of hours one afternoon a week-to
attend to one's "natural beauty" can be very relaxing.
Besides, it's fun! And this luxury doesn't have to
be expensive or hazardous to your health ...not if you make
your own beauty aids out of all-natural ingredients found
in your kitchen or garden. [EDITOR'S NOTE In issue 87,
the mini-manual, "MOTHER's Guide to Hazardous Household
Substances,"pointed out some of the dangers of using
Of course, there are about as many different concoctions to
be made from such raw materials as there are ingredients to
make them from. But for starters, let me guide you through
a day's worth of some of my favorite easy-to-create home
Waking up in the morning can mean bad breath and furry
teeth, right? You can combat these foes easily by brushing
with "tooth soda," a teaspoon or so of baking soda mixed
with an equal part of salt and topped off with two drops of
oil of peppermint. Now doesn't your mouth feel
fresher? [EDITOR'S NOTE: One of our editors found that
this recipe also erased coffee and tea stains from tooth
Next on your agenda is livening up that old sleep-filled
face. If your skin is oily, wash it with uncooked oatmeal
(or bran plus a tad of baking soda) blended with just
enough water to make a paste. Massage this into your face
and neck . . rinse it off with warm water ...and, using a
cotton pad, rub on an astringent made of equal parts of
water and apple cider vinegar. If you have dry skin,
squeeze the juice from one lemon and one tomato into a dish
and add an equal amount of almond oil (or safflower,
apricot kernel, or any other pure vegetable oil you may
have on hand). Gently massage this rich formula into your
face and neck, then rinse it off with tepid water. For an
astringent that will get rid of all the excess oil, try
swabbing on plain old witch hazel.
OK, now that your face is awake, jump into the shower and
lather up the rest of your skin with pure and gentle
castile soap. Here's a recipe that will make your castile
go further: Mix 3/4 cup of almond meal with 1/2 cup of rice
powder and 1-1/4 cups of the shaved soap; store this in a
tightly sealed jar. When you want to use it, simply lather
it up in your hands with warm water.
While you're in the shower, what about a shampoo? Almond
meal adds nutrients and oil to your hair while cleansing
it, so wet your crowning glory and, applying small handfuls
of the meal at a time, rub the gritty stuff into your hair
and scalp while adding water to work up a good lather.
(This takes a little longer than with ordinary soap, but
it's worth it.) For a rinse, use a tablespoon of apple
cider vinegar or lemon juice diluted in one quart of water.
If your hair's oily, you may want to towel it dry and then
apply watered-down witch hazel with cotton pads.
Got a special event to go to this evening? But-what's
that?-you were up all last night with a sick child, and one
glance in the mirror tells you that today you don't just
feel frazzled, you look it? Don't worry: All you
need are a few extra beauty tricks to add to your normal
routine to pull you together and make you glow.
First, smooth a little milk under your weary eyes to remove
any puffiness. Let it dry, then repeat the treatment. While
your eyes are resting, soften and smooth your elbows by
letting each rest on the cut side of a halved lemon for
about ten minutes.
Next, relax in a nice warm bath that's lightly laced with
the juice of a fresh grapefruit. This will not only refresh
you but, because of the citrus's slight bleaching effect,
will do wonders for tired, sallow skin.
After your bath, put your feet up and read a book or listen
to Chopin while a stimulating natural mask feeds your skin
and really boosts your complexion with its astringent
Before you put on a mask, though, be sure your face is
ready for it. Gently massage your skin and splash on a
little warm water so your pores will be open and receptive.
Restive Here are a few mask recipes.
For normal skin, mix 1 tablespoon of wheat germ with 1
tablespoon of honey. Apply the creation liberally, leave it
on for about 20 minutes (or until your face feels tight and
tingly), then rinse the mask off with cold water. After
removing all traces of it, pat on ice-cold water to close
your pores again.
Delicate skin will practically purr with pleasure beneath a
mask made from a few dried apricot pieces blended with an
equal amount of honey. Let the mask stay on your face for
20 minutes, then wash it off ...first with warm, then with
cold, water. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Facial masks are slightly
drying, so you may want to smooth on an emollient or lotion
after using one. Almond oil mixed with a drop or two of
scented oil —such as sandalwood, rose, or whatever
you prefer feels pleasant.]
Create a complexion mask for oily skin by adding just
enough milk to a cup (or so) of uncooked oatmeal to make a
paste. After spreading this concoction on your face, wait
10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off.
Now, after you've had a luxurious shower or bath
and a facial, don't you feel battery You're rested and
relaxed, your skin's all aglow, and you're ready for that
night on the town! Later, when you' come home, unwind with
a cup of rose hip or chamomile tea. As you sit back and
sip, place the tea bags (or cotton pads soaked in the tea)
over your eyelids to ward off or ease redness and
Then, before going to bed, try dabbing on just a little
plain mayonnaise. The natural emollients in this creamy
dressing will soothe you right off to sleep.
And there you have a full day's quota of back-to-basics
cosmetics. Frivolous? Perhaps. But once you get started,
you'll find that at least occasionally devoting yourself to
the cultivation of your "natural beauty" can be
spirit-lifting and harmless fun!
EDITOR'S NOTE: With a "patch test, " check for allergies to
any ingredients you've never used before: Put a little of
the substance on the sensitive skin inside your elbow, and
cover it loosely with a Band-Aid for 24 hours. If your skin
shows no sign of irritation after that time, the ingredient
is probably safe for you to use.
For further reading on natural cosmetics, Jeanne Rose's
books can't be beat. Start with Herbs & Things and
Herbal Body Book, both of which can be ordered for 57.95
(plus f1.50 each to cover shipping and handling) front
Putnam Publishing Company, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY
10016. Please write "Alteration:: Sales" on the envelope.