Here are some simple and effective recipes. There's only one rule: don't eat the beauty treatments!
Refreshing tub teas
A long herbal tea-infused saltwater soak is perfect if you've just spent hours working in the garden or going on a hike. Tie these ingredients in cheesecloth so they don't clog your drain (teabags tear easily).
• 5 herbal teabags, such as:
Lemon verbena (refreshing)
• 3 tablespoons rock salt
Add the sachet while the tub is filling. Soak for at least 15 minutes, and if you're planning to exfoliate rough skin on your elbows, feet and other rough-skin trouble spots, follow the soak with the body-scrub recipe below.
Heavy-duty body scrub
Slough dead skin cells off your alligator zones: heels, soles, elbows and knees. Salt and lemon exfoliate naturally; honey has antiseptic and moisturizing qualities.
• One handful kosher salt
• Juice of one-half lemon
Mix ingredients to a pastelike consistency in a bowl, adjusting quantities to attain desired texture, then apply to your trouble spots with gentle circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Moisturize afterwards. Warning: Don't use this on broken or recently shaved skin.
Milky herbal scrub
This scrub is more gentle than the first and suitable for the rest of your body, including face, and has been adapted from the Stash Tea website.
• Handful of powdered milk
• Cooled chamomile tea
Make a paste with the powdered milk and tea, leaving it on to dry as you cover your entire body. Rub off the dried mixture, then shower off with warm water.
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Cucumbers have long been admired for the normalizing effect they have on under-eye puffiness, and the acid in tomatoes can help exfoliate dead skin cells. Let this chutney gently tone your whole face. It'll slide around a bit so we suggest you lie down for this one, with your hair protected behind a cotton headband or in a shower cap. Protect your pillow with a bath towel.
• Half an English cucumber, finely diced
• Two cucumber slices
• One tomato, seeded and finely diced
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Wash your face, pat dry. Lie back and apply the mask to your face, avoiding eye area. Put the cucumber slices over your eyes. Rest for ten minutes then wipe off; rinse. (If you regularly extract blackheads in your T-zone, this mask will make them easier to remove, so you could do that step now. If this is not your habit, skip it.) Moisturize.
A classic look is the natural nail, nicely shaped and buffed to a soft glow but without added polish. Get your nails looking healthy and fade the yellowing caused by dark polishes with this mild buff 'n' bleach treatment
• Squeeze juice of half a lemon into a bowl
• Add enough baking soda to create a runny consistency (plus keep a little extra)
Dip nails into the paste. (Optional: sit outside in the sun to enhance the action of the lemon.) Let sit for 5 minutes, then add more baking soda to the mixture in the bowl to create a thick, crumbly paste. Rub gently into nail surface. Rinse thoroughly and follow-up with a hand lotion, rubbing it into nails and cuticles and pushing back cuticles with a cuticle tool if desired.
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Yuki Hayashi is a Hamilton-based freelance writer. Read her story, 5 Handbags under $50.