As consumers become more concerned about minimising the use of chemicals in their lives, skincare and make-up ingredients are coming under the spotlight. Nowadays informed customers are not ready to take unnecessary health risks and are increasingly questioning if what they are putting on their skin poses any long-term risks. As a result, several niche cosmetic brands that have opted to go natural or organic are booming. Not only do they promise better overall health, but they also mean you are doing your bit for the environment because of their eco-friendly production practices. So if you’re thinking of going green here’s our definitive guide to becoming a natural beauty.

Why Go Green?

The growing consensus among experts is that what you put on your skin doesn’t merely go skin deep but enters your entire system too. Some ingredients soaked up by our skin from our cosmetics are carcinogenic. Although the body has a mechanism to flush out toxins from its system, traces of some tough-to-dislodge chemicals can accumulate over the years and gradually affect our overall health. Experts agree that top of the list to avoid are: parabens, mercury, lead, phthalates, petroleum-based products, xanthene and zinc chloride (a skin and eye irritant mainly found in shampoos, conditioners and cleansers). Natural skincare and make-up products are made with few, if any, synthetic chemicals and use a wide range of plant or fruit extracts, minerals and vitamins as their ingredients.

Organic cosmetics are more evolved and guarantee (through certification) that all the natural ingredients used haven’t been treated with chemicals. But if you’re looking for something 100 per cent organic, make sure that it says so specifically on the label. If the label says it is ‘100% Organic’ then you know these products are made entirely from certified organic ingredients. If it states that it’s ‘organic’ the products contain at least 95% organic ingredients, a figure that reduces to 75% if the label says ‘made with organic ingredients’.

Eat Up!

It isn’t just what jars you open that determine your skin and hair health. What you throw in your shopping trolley at the supermarket every week can also dramatically affect how you look. Here are the top skin and hair foods that you should stock up on:

Water

Beauty Benefit: Water is rightly referred to as a beauty tonic on tap. After all, one of the signs of a youthful complexion is supple, well-hydrated skin. Not having enough water in the day shows instantly in the form of dry and shrivelled skin.

Green Tip: Have a minimum of two to three litres of water a day and you’re guaranteed supple skin.

Green Tea

Beauty Benefit: For the same reason that you love water, you should love green tea too. It’s great for hydration when you’re looking for something other than water, plus it contains antioxidants that offer great anti-aging benefits.

Green Tip: Replace your cups of regular tea or coffee with green tea. This cuts down on caffeine and helps you stock up on antioxidants instead.

Blueberries

Beauty Benefit: Blueberries may be small in size but they are one of the richest natural sources of powerful antioxidants, and protect our skin from premature aging, especially if you have concerns about blotchy, dull or sun-damaged skin.

Green Tip: A good way to include it in your daily diet is to add half a cup of blueberries to your morning cereal or yogurt.

Spinach

Beauty Benefit: Dark leafy vegetables like spinach are loaded with Vitamin A and minerals. The Vitamin A in spinach boosts new cell production and reduces skin dryness.

Green Tip: Trade your lettuce for raw spinach in salads or sauté it with nuts for a healthy veggie dish.

Lemons

Beauty Benefit: A prime skincare ingredient in tons of anti-ageing creams, Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and helps flush out toxins from the skin. So go for that glass of fresh lemonade as often as you can. It’s a great way to raise your daily water intake.

Green Tip: Having lemonade with a teaspoon of honey early in the morning works as a great skin detox.

Nuts & Seeds

Beauty Benefit: When it comes to nuts and seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and flaxseeds pack a punch. The high selenium content of Brazil nuts is good for getting shiny hair and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are great for skin health. Among seeds, flaxseeds (also called linseeds) win hands down as their high fibre and healthy fat content is great for skin.

Green Tip: You can include nuts and seeds in your diet by tossing a few into your salad, pasta, or dessert.

Tomatoes

Beauty Benefit: The lycopene in tomatoes is great to boost your skin’s defences against environmental damage, especially against the ageing effects of the sun’s rays.

Green Tip: It’s easier for the body to absorb lycopene when the tomatoes are cooked, so load up on the tomato sauce with your pasta.

Salmon

Beauty Benefit: A fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats in salmon nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Green Tip: Have at least two servings of fish a week to reap its skincare benefits.

1. Almonds 

Almonds are an incredible nutritional source of vitamin E, dietary fiber, protein and magnesium. Eating almonds help lower cholesterol. It also increases energy levels, softens the skin, reduces food cravings and improves sleep patterns.

Skin care products that contain almonds are especially effective for treating dry and sensitive skin.

So if you have dry and sensitive skin, you can try the following homemade face mask:
1. Mix 2 tablespoons of crushed almonds with 1 tablespoon of honey.
2. Apply the mixture to your face for 5 minutes
3. Rinse it off with cool water.

Your skin will absorb the vitamins and nutrients in the almond. It will leave your face refreshed and revitalized. 

2. Oatmeal

When applied to the face, oatmeal works by cleaning and moisturizing the skin to soothe and relieve skin irritations. It also works effectively to reduce skin dryness and itching.

For smoother and softer skin, try mixing an oatmeal face mask:
1. Mix oatmeal with water or milk
2. Cover your entire face with the mixture and let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Rinse it off with warm water.

Oatmeal also helps remove dead skin cells, revealing fresher and clearer skin.

3. Avocado

Avocado is a rich source of vitamin A, B, D and E. Avocado contains more potassium than a banana, allowing skin care products infused with avocado to penetrate the skin more evenly and quickly. With their healthy fats and phytonutrients, avocado offers remarkable benefits to human, both when eaten and applied directly on your skin.

To moisturize your skin, simply mash one avocado into a bowl and apply it to your face. If you wish, you can even apply it on your back, hands and feet.

4. Egg Whites

Egg whites face mask can give you firmer looking skin and fewer breakouts. It also reduces redness and inflammation and helps ward off wrinkles and tighten sagging skin.

Follow the following steps for firmer and clearer skin.
1. Separate out the yoke from the egg white
2. Pat the egg white onto a clean face. (Make sure your hair is clear from your face)
3. Let the mask dry for about 10 minutes
4. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

This formula works wonders for oily or combination skin. You can use it every week for best results!

Beautiful skin doesn’t come just from topical skincare. It is equally important to heal our skin from within, i.e. through our diets! Ensuring we get all the necessary nutrients through a diversified diet is necessary for healthy skin… and certain nourishing skin food can help you get a more enviable complexion than others!

Spinach

5 Nourishing Skin Food: Spinach

Credit: Kaboompics

This leafy green is a great source of antioxidants, iron, Vitamins C, E and K and folate to help preserve skin elasticity. Besides, spinach also contains lutein, an important compound that protects your skin from damage.

It is recommended to pair spinach with lemon to better absorb iron and to best eat it cooked rather than raw in terms of nutrition.

Chia Seeds

5 Nourishing Skin Food: Chia Seeds

Credit: Toa Heftiba

Chia seeds contain 2 times more protein than any other seeds or grains, 5 times the calcium of milk, 2 times the amount of potassium of bananas, and 3 times more iron than spinach and significant amounts of omega-3 and omega-6. Chia seeds also retain skin moisture, so they are a great ally for your skin.

Seafood

5 Nourishing Skin Food: Seafood

Credit: Terje Sollie

Seafood has a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids and Zinc. Hence, it is useful for those suffering from acne. As Omega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation and Zinc helps metabolize testosterone production, influencing the production of sebum and encouraging the production of new skin cells.

Soy Milk

5 Nourishing Skin Food: Soy Milk

Credit: Rawpixel

Soy milk is rich in isoflavones, compounds that preserve one of the building blocks of what our skin tends to wear out with ageing — collagen. Also, this compound might help ward off wrinkles and help us get smoother skin overall.

Whole Grains

5 Nourishing Skin Food: Wholegrains

Credit: Wesual Click

One of the main nutrients in whole grains helps our skin stay radiant: Vitamins from the B-complex. For example, biotin boosts the production of fat cells, thus preventing dry skin. Furthermore, whole grains also contain rutin, an antioxidant that combats skin damage.

Honey is one of the oldest and most effective beauty ingredient as it has many different properties that is beneficial for our skin:

1. Honey has antibacterial, high potassium, antioxidant and antiseptic properties, enabling it to shrink your pores without drying the skin out.

2. With antioxidant properties, it is able to fight any kind of skin damage and aids in anti-aging.

3. Honey also has great moisturizing properties. It is one of the best and most popular dry skin remedies you can find.

4. Having antimicrobial properties, honey is also able to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn, eczema or any other minor irritations.

5. It also has the ability to remove dead skin cells due to its keratolytic properties.

Being very mild, it is suitable for all skin types as it does not cause any irritation.

After talking about the amazing properties, I’m sure we all want to know how to use honey for its beauty benefits…

Honey is often mixed with natural ingredients like oatmeal, yoghurt, egg, cinnamon and other natural ingredients to be applied on your face as masks.

You can try some of the following beauty tips/recipes!

1. Honey Mask: 

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of pure honey
Directions:
Apply pure honey to your face allow it to dry for about 15 minutes. Once it has dried up, rinse your face with warm water. You will immediately experience smoother softer and more supple skin. It’s as simple as that!

2. Honey Scrub:

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of pure honey
2 tablespoons of dry oatmeal
1 tablespoon of lemon juice/yoghurt
Directions:
Massage mixture gently on your face for 1-2 mins, then rinse off with warm water. This scrub helps to cleanse your skin thoroughly and oats are very good softening exfoliants. It will be better if you can add 1 tablespoon of finely-ground almonds to the mixture.

3. Honey Bath:

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of honey
Directions:
Add 1/3 cup of honey to your hot bath water. You will find yourself having baby soft skin after that.

4. Honey cleanser:

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of powdered skim milk
1 tablespoon of honey
A few drops of apple vinegar
Directions:
Apply on your face and leave it on for around 2-3mins. Rinse it off with warm water. This helps in exfoliating and cleansing oily skin.

With the above beauty tips, you can have your very own spa at home. But be sure that the honey you use to create your own beauty products is all natural and 100% pure honey for the best results!

The state of your skin will reflect what you eat. Some foods are good for your skin, giving it the nutrients that it needs, making it look smooth, radiant and young. While some foods can cause you to have bad skin, leading to premature aging, tired looking skin or even break outs!

Let’s look at some of these foods that contribute to bad skin:

1. Caffeine – Caffeine is present in beverages like coffee, tea, hot chocolate and colas. It makes your skin look tired, dull and aged. Caffeine also reduces the moisture level of your skin. Our dermal layers need fluids to replenish cells and maintain healthy cell growth. Hence, you should try to cut down on caffinated beverages as much is you can to achieve a healthy, glowing skin.

2. Processed Foods – The consumption of processed foods does not just affect the appearance of your skin but is harmful to your body as a whole. Due to processing, foods lose most of their important nutrients and thus may not be able to provide our body with the vital nutrients it needs to function effectively. More importantly, preservatives, artificial food colors and other chemical additives, which are added during processing, may cause allergic reactions and other skin problems.

3. Oily and fatty foods – Foods that contain huge amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated oil are bad for the skin. When these bad fats are subjected to heat from cooking, it may release toxins or free radicals. Free radicals are one of the many causes of aging. Thus, consumption of foods packed with bad fats will increase the risks of skin break outs.

4. Alcohol – Alcohol is bad for your liver, which is like your filter system. By drinking alcohol, you will increase the chances of damaging your liver, and deprive your skin of receiving its necessary nutrients. Hence, regular consumption will result in tired looking skin. Not only that, alcohol dehydrates your skin, making it dry and irritated. It also dilates the capillaries, making fine blood vessels visible. This is why heavy drinkers tend to look red and if drinking is not controlled, the capillaries will remain dilated.


5. Salt – Salt causes tissues to swell, and the subsequent deflating results in reduced elasticity for your skin. This is why salt is known for causing water retention and you should avoid eating salty foods late at night to prevent getting your face all puffed up the following morning.

6. High Glycemic Index Foods – Foods that are high GI includes white rice, white bread, baked potato and most desserts. High GI foods are easily digested and readily converted into sugar or glucose. Such high levels of glucose in the blood can trigger several hormonal activities which may cause acne. Also, sugar molecules attach readily to collagen. This results in collagen depletion which will cause your skin to lose its elasticity eventually lead to premature aging.

After looking at what bad foods can do to your skin, you may want to start watching what you put into your mouth. You will feel healthier and see the positive changes in your skin!