Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? You are, my glamour-puss! And if that's not what your mirror says when you drag yourself to the bathroom each morning, don't risk seven years of bad luck by flinging the stupid thing out the window. Better to enchant that smart-alecky mirror, and everyone else, with some modernized beauty magic -- your very own bewitching charms and ancient potions -- concocted by you, and possessing all the power of the ages.
Beauty Magic helps the aspiring beauty goddess with an enchanted makeup bag of recipes from the ancient innovators, traditional healers and kitchen experiments, all mixed up with a modern twist. Each collection of recipes features a selection of irresistible top-to-toe treatments to suit your desires.
1. Blissful brown sugar scrub
With this recipe you'll look sparkling clean and radiant, and you'll smell just slightly of freshly baked cookies. Be prepared to be gobbled up!
12-ounce decorative glass jar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond oil
8 drops vanilla absolute (or your favourite essential oil)
Loosly fill the jar with the sugar. Pour the almond oil over the sugar and stir in the absolute. Scoop out a handful of scrub during your shower and rub it over your body, using a circular motion, to exfoliate. Delicious!
Note: Try making your own exfoliants for your scrubs. Oatmeal, rice, dried beans, nuts, rinsed and dried fruit seeds and cornmeal make great skin-polishing grains. Experiment by running one or two through a clean spice grinder until you find the right grit.
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2. Violet eye cream
Lacking that certain joie de vivre? Maybe it's just your tired peeps. Brighten your outlook on life with this light but highly effective cream. The flower oils depuff and smooth out any fine lines around the eyes. Brilliant blue German chamomile is an anti-inflammatory, and evening primrose is a skin regenerative. Look out! These oils are expensive, but the results are gorgeous, no?
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon each dried lavender, violet flowers, and violet leaves
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
1-1/2 teaspoons emulsifying wax (derived from vegetable fat)
1-1/2 teaspoons stearic acid (derived from vegetable fat)
1-1/2 teaspoons liquid vegetable glycerin
Immersion hand mixer (whisk, hand mixer or blender)
10 drops German chamomile essential oil
10 drops evening primrose essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil (a natural preservative)
Two 4-ounce containers
In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the lavender, violet flowers and violet leaves; cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a liquid measuring cup, removing the plant material and retaining the infused water. Set aside.
In a double boiler set over simmering water, stir together the jojoba oil, emulsifying wax, stearic acid and glycerin until melted. Pour a slow stream of the infused water into the oil mixture while stirring. When the mixture is smooth and thoroughly blended, remove it from the heat. Using the immersion mixer, blend in the essential oils and vitamin E oil until the mixture is fluffy and thickened. Decant the lotion into the containers and let cool slightly before capping. Stored in a cool spot, the cream should remain fresh for one month. Shake before each use, if necessary.
3. Strawberries and cream mask
Strawberries contain salicylic acid, a scary name for a helpful fruit acid that gently sloughs off dead skin cells, relieves itching and zaps blemishes before they can even think about crashing this party. Despite the powerful ingredients, the mask is cooling, soothing and feels great. Strawberries are meant to be shared, so buy a few extra pints for nibbling; they are known to bind romantic love and friendships. Apply this mask to all the partygoers for a real spa experience, and don't forget to take the necessary goofy photos.
1/2 cup strawberries
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 or 2 drops lavender essential oil
1 inch wide china brush (optional)
In a small bowl, mash the strawberries with a fork. Stir the yogurt, cornstarch and honey into the strawberry mash. Add the lavender oil to the mixture and blend well. Using a china brush or your fingertips, spread the mixture in an even layer over your face, avoiding the eye area. Relax for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, pat dry and moisturize as usual. Toss any leftovers.
From the book Beauty Magic, 101 Recipes, Spells and Secrets by Jennifer Knapp, 2004. Used with permission of Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, CA. www.ChronicleBooks.com
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