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9 Foods That Double As Beauty Products

Usually we like to keep our food stash very separate from the bathroom, especially if you’re dorm-livin’, but it seems there’s much more we can do with our goodies than just eat them. Yes, it’s true: some of the most effective beauty treatments can be made ever so simply in the kitchen with everyday food items. Such kitchen staples offer natural fixes to the most common beauty needs in the book: shinier hair for those of us who go slap-happy with hot tools, smoother complexions for the girls whose skin has been abused by winter weather and de-puffed eyes for when we stay out partying up studying all night. There’s no need to panic if you’re getting ready to go out one night and realize mid-shower that that bottle of shaving cream sitting there has been empty for days. The solution lies no further than your kitchen counter…



If you thought the only use for overripe bananas was to bake banana bread, think again. The creamy consistency mimics shaving cream if you mash it up and add a bit of water. The result? A sweet-smelling shower and the smoothest legs ever (but maybe a clogged-up razor). Add a bit of water to a whole mashed-up banana to get a creamy consistency that will spread over your legs. The vitamin A and potassium content in bananas will leave your skin super-moisturized. And the best part is that this use for bananas is calorie free!


It’s no secret that the grainy sweet stuff is great for exfoliating skin. Sugar (both brown and white varieties) is found in tons of beauty products that you can find in drugstores and department stores, but this household item works wonders even without the fancy packaging and complex formulas that some of these products boast. Combine it with your own normal facial cleanser for a face exfoliator that has a familiar formula, or call on a few other ingredients (anything from honey to olive oil) to slough off the dead stuff with a nice body scrub. Combine one part oil to two parts sugar, and add in an essential oil of your choice for a spa-like experience.


Apple Cider Vinegar

When your hair demands constant and heavy product, chances are that at some point, you’ll start to see it build up. To prevent this from happening and prevent your hair from looking like grease-central, rinse with apple cider vinegar every once in a while. Use a 50/50 combination of apple cider vinegar and water to wash through your hair. This miracle treatment will leave your hair super shiny and build-up-free!


Greek Yogurt

Not only is this a delicious and filling breakfast (especially when mixed with fresh fruit!), it can also work magic on the driest of skin. Greek yogurt is one of the finest ingredients you can use if you’re looking for a moisturizing face mask. Add a teaspoon of raw, organic honey to Greek yogurt and slather it on your face. Apply the mixture to your face for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off and applying your favorite moisturizer. As it turns out, the lactic acid in Greek yogurt is a natural cleanser and gentle scrub. The vitamins, probiotics and live bacteria make this super-food one of the most valuable beauty items in your refrigerator, as they all repair and reinvigorate your complexion.


Us health nuts rely on avocados to contribute “good fats” to our daily diets – but if we forget the amazingness that is guacamole for, like, a second, we can learn that avocados can provide awesome external beauty benefits, as well. Mash ‘em up to combine with other ingredients to make a mask that’ll enrich and hydrate. Whisk together one ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and generously slather it on damp hair, from scalp to ends. Cover your hair with a shower cap for 20 minutes, and then rinse and shampoo as usual. For a face mask, combine a whole ripe avocado with ¼ cup of honey and apply and leave on your skin for 10 minutes. Your skin and/or hair will soak up all of the avocado’s rich, oily goodness – probably putting it to better use than all that guacamole, anyway.

Coconut Oil

Use this stuff for virtually anything that needs a little extra oomph – healing dry skin on your face or body, repairing split ends or taming fly-aways. Coconut oil is dense enough to penetrate skin deeper than normal moisturizers, so it can help strengthen skin beneath the surface. Replace it with your usual lotion for deeper moisture, or run it through your hair for a silky smooth look. This ingredient won’t clog your pores, so it’s a safe bet if you’re looking for a product that can be effective, yet gentle.



We know that blueberries are packed with antioxidants that are good for our skin, but we didn’t know we could slather them straight on our faces. Try using blueberries as part of a facial mask, eye mask or yogurt skin treatment for a brighter and refreshed complexion. In a blender, mix a small handful of blueberries with two tablespoons plain yogurt, three tablespoons ground almonds and one tablespoon lemon juice for a refreshing berry mask. The antioxidants from the blueberries will help keep your skin wrinkle-free.

Lemon Juice

No, we’re not suggesting you use lemons the way you used them as a kid – you know, at the beach for “natural” sunny highlights? We’re onto bigger and better things now, and acne-prevention is one of them. One of the acids found in lemon juice kills bacteria that clog up the pores that lead to pimples. Lemons have toning and cleansing properties, and when combined with other ingredients like sugar or yogurt, they can make for some serious skin-clearing stuff. Mix lemon juice with a teaspoon of sugar and scrub it into acne-prone areas on your face. Lemons can also help rid your nails of that yucky yellow tone that comes about with too much dorm-room polish changes.


Tea Bags

When party nights get the best of us, it’s hard to get out of bed, but even harder to walk out the door without addressing those red, puffy eyes that scream “I went way too hard last night!” The caffeine in a black tea will reduce puffiness, while anti-inflammatories in green tea will soothe redness and eliminate inflammation. Roll out of bed, get some hot water going and wait for the bags to cool before pressing them over your eyes. And then get your butt to the nearest coffee stop.

Give your skin some stripped-down fruity love with a few of these ingredients in place of the drugstore products you usually turn to. Not only are these foodie-beauty methods effective and natural, they’re cheap, too – as long as you have a well-stocked kitchen…or a college food hall that’s easy to sneak food out of.

Lauren Kaplan is a senior majoring in English and Dance at Emory University. She is originally from New Jersey, and has loved living in Atlanta for the past three years. Lauren thinks most fondly of her two favorite places - her childhood camp, Camp Wayne for Girls, and Margate on the Jersey shore - from which she has derived a love of friends, family, and the beach.
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