The holidays can be a time of excess and many of us find ourselves with a fridge full of leftover ingredients that get thrown away. Julie Banderas recently sat down with beauty expert, Nina Sutton, to find out how many of your holiday staples can actually be used in your beauty regimen.
Honey is a humectant, which means it has a moisturizing effect on the skin, according to Sutton. It also has antibacterial properties, so if you have acne, you can slather it on as a mask and then rinse it off after 10 minutes.
Pumpkin contains vitamin A which helps increase collagen production, giving skin a youthful look. It also contains enzymes that help lift out dirt and dead skin cells, said Sutton. Using pumpkin puree on your face for about 10 minutes at home will help you get all the benefits without the irritating side effects of pumpkin enzyme peels used in spa treatments.
Sutton suggested mixing unwhipped cream with mashed cranberries for a mini facelift. Cranberries are full of vitamin C and help increase the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. They also contain antioxidants which help prevent and repair damage to the skin. Throw in some pumpkin puree and honey for an extra boost of skin rejuvenation.
Brown sugar is used in a variety of holiday favorites, from sweet potatoes to pies. Mix it with grape seed oil or coconut oil to use in the shower as a scrub, said Sutton. The brown sugar crystals exfoliate the skin, removing dead cells, while the oil adds moisture. Grape seed oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties and linoleic acid, which helps promote skin health and clear acne.
Sweet potatoes are full vitamins A and C, which both help smooth out skin by stimulating the production of collagen. They also contain a compound called anthocyanin, which helps reduce pigmentation associated with aging and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.
If you happen to have leftover Champagne after you ring in the New Year, pour it into your bubble bath before you climb in. According to Sutton, the carbon dioxide and bubbles will help exfoliate your skin, and the alcohol and antioxidants – similar to those found in red wine – make a great toner for your face. Blondes can even use it as an invigorating rinse for their hair.
Sutton suggested doing a small test of these at-home spa treatments before slathering them on to make sure you are not allergic to any ingredients. And always check with your doctor before starting any natural therapies.