When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But what do you do when life hands you an overripe avocado? I say, make a facial mask!
It’s such a pity to have to compost too-long-in-the-tooth fruits and veggies, so in my ongoing quest to be frugal *and* fetching I’ve been making myself wonderful home facials.
Today, it’s sunny and beautiful, but the air has a chill to it, like Winter is tugging at Spring’s petticoats with icy teeth. My hair is alive with static like I have been playing with a Van der Graaf device. As fun as all of this is, the end result is that the air is very dry and so is my skin.
To combat this winter dessication of the tissues, I used my minichop and whizzed up about a cup of almost dead pineapple, which was rather too brown for visual appeal but technically not spoiled. A dear friend mixed her elderly pineapple with coconut ice cream for a lunchtime smoothie. Alas, my pantry doesn’t contain the exotic luxury of coconut ice cream (note to self: remedy this quickly) but the cupful of my fragrant purée is a perfect exfoliant for the skin. Pineapple contains a natural enzyme which is helpful for tenderizing meat for a delectable kabob, and most unhelpful for the proper gelling action of Jello, which is why one never uses fresh piña in the family favorite molded salad. However, the fresh pineapple, when applied to the skin, helps prompt the formation of collegen and gently exfoliates the skin. Its mild acidic juices and enzymes *challenge* the skin and help brighten up your complexion, and remove old scaly winter cells.
I pulled back my recently rouged locks away from my face and gently spread a thin layer of pineapple purée to my face, neck and decollatage area. Always avoid the eye area and test the mixture on the gentle skin on your inner wrist to make sure it won’t irritate your skin. I have extremely sensitive skin and many, if not most, commercial preparations are too strong for me. The pineapple, however, is just fine for me. I let the purée rest on my skin for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
Now that my face has been exfoliated it is ready for a good dose of moisture. Always moisurize heavily after an exfoliation treatment, the moisture penetrates better into the skin and helps protect it after a *challenging* treatment.
In today’s fruit basket was a tragically overripe avocado. I’m not sure what happened that prevented me from eating said avocado in a timely manner, but things happen, and instead of chucking it I popped the flesh into the minichop and whizzed it up. It came out the same texture as a light mayonnaise. I spread this cream on my face and let all the wondeful oils penetrate and soften my skin. You can also use this avocado cream for a moisturizing mask for your hair. Draw a bubble bath, dunk under the water, squeeze your hair of excess water, apply the avocado and massage it in. Enjoy the tub for 15 – 20 minutes with a glass of Pinot Blanc, rinse off under the shower, and shampoo as usual. You will have lovely shiny hair. Also, you can mix half avocado, half banana for the purée, it’s a nice combination.
I alarmed the cat by walking around with a green visage for 15 minutes, but fortunately he can’t tell anyone. The UPS man is another story, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy talking about me all day, if not all week. Sigh. It’s a big city, maybe I’ll never see him again.
After another lukewarm rinse, my skin glowed like a fresh Georgia peach and I enjoyed my 30 minute aromatherapy experience as well. To finish my treatment, I put on my regular moisturizer, a little cucumber eye gel and a dusting of honey apple facial powder with SPF 30. The latter two products are from Eminence of Hungary. I love their products and they are organic and use fruits and vegetables from their own farm. Someday I hope to find a local vendor for Eminence, but until then I purchase them when I visit Canada or from a online shop.
Even in the winter I wear sunscreen on my face, neck, arms, hands, ears and chest. Skin cancer and skin damage from the sun are serious issues, even if you don’t have fair skin like me. I get regular dermatologist exams and highly recommend everyone schedule what I call a “mole patrol”.
Another home spa treatment I employ regularly is a sugar scrub. I purchase natural, regular grained sugar from the local co-op market. After washing my face, while still wet, I pour a palmful of sugar into one hand and with the other hand tap damp fingers into the sugar and apply it to my face. I rub the sugar gently into my skin in small circles, avoiding the eye area, for a few minutes. Then, I sit on the edge of the tub for a few more minutes to let the sugar melt onto my skin, then splash it off with warm water. This is a great once a week treatment, and my face looks and feels fantastic, smooth and clear.
I also like to fill a clean jam jar with kosher salt and a few drops of oil, such as rosemary, lavender or lemon, and shake well. When I’m in the shower I regularly scrub down with handfuls of the scented salts to polish the rest of my skin. A dear friend brought me a bottle of pure coconut oil from Hawaii with a sprig of frangipani blossoms inside. A few drops of this rubbed into the corpo majoris before drying off really keep the winter nasties away.
Finally, we all know about the healing power of aloe vera. But did you know that it is also an excellent protective layer for your skin in the winter? A wonderful esthetician gave me this tip after I expressed how much I enjoyed a sample of a well-known company’s protective skin gel. Here’s what she advised me to do instead of spending $25 for a .5 oz tube of their product. Before moisturizing in the morning, spread a thin layer of pure aloe vera gel on your face. Check the ingredients list of the aloe vera bottle and don’t buy it if it has anything other than aloe on the label. When it’s dry(ish), put on your moisturizer and sunscreen and your skin will be protected all day. This is a most helpful treatment when you are skiing for the day, or if you live in a very dry area, like my parents home in the arid foothills or L___’s place in the high desert of New Mexico.
So next time you are rummaging through the produce bin and fruit bowl, don’t throw away your geriatic produce. You might be able to craft them into a rejuvinating spa moment for yourself. All we need now is a masseur. Hmmm, maybe the UPS guy?
(Note: These are treatments I use on myself and do not bother my very sensitive skin. Everone is different and what doesn’t bother me may bother you so proceed at your own risk. Always consult with your dermatologist or medical professional before trying anything on your skin if you have allergies, sensitivites or medical conditions.)