If you’re like most women, you’ve read a magazine or two. It probably had beauty tips in it. They probably made you feel like you were too fat/too frumpy/too lazy/too uninspired … I can keep going here, but you don’t want me to. I feel like that every time I read most women’s magazines, so yeah. I know how much they make you think you suck.
Wildly backtracking a minute, when I was 5, I took a lot of baths. Lining the bathtub edge were rows of shampoos and conditioners. In my exuberant, curious youth, I would combine these things into magical concoctions that I honestly, really and truly, with all my heart believed would change the color of my hair. We’re talking Pert here. Generic Pert and Suave and Breck. This was before the advent of shampoos and conditioners that really could change the color of your hair. This was … the ’80s.
After I’d mixed and matched and checked with cunning preciseness that the color of my magical-hair-color-changing goop was just the right shade of gray, I’d apply and rinse and dry and examine every strand of hair for evidence of blondness. And even though I never noticed a difference, I didn’t give up, at least until the Smurfs were on.
So this is where it started, this curiosity with taking things and mixing them and turning them into something new and different and, hopefully, effective.
Back to where we began – magazines.
While flipping through magazines, you might have noticed “do it yourself” recipes for beauty. They’re typically hidden between the ads for shoes that tell you not to give up because spending $150 on a pair will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and articles about women who have overcome breast cancer while singlehandedly parenting ten children who raise money to build wells in Africa.
These recipes, to me, are the small nuggets of empowerment. These are the reasons I read magazines. These take me back to my childhood, where I could get messy and putz around with stuff with the wild belief that somehow it would do something magical.
This might be the only time I ever say this, so read it and retain it: I think the critical focus on physical beauty is frivolous and oppressive. And, goodness, I know that making your own beauty products is occasionally time-consuming and oftentimes fruitless (haha … fruitless).
But there are some real and fantastic reasons why you might WANT to do it .
So if you’ve ever seen a “do it yourself” beauty recipe and thought to yourself, “Hm. I have a banana and some yogurt. Maybe I should put it on my face and see what happens,” here are the top 5 reasons why you should:
FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD PUT FOOD ON YOUR FACE
It’s inexplicably enjoyable, and it makes you feel like a kid. Yes, this is the number one reason, and it boils down to this: It’s fun! Sometimes it’s a little gross, or weird, or smelly – but it’s ALWAYS fun. In no other way is harnessing the power of childhood easier than by putting food on your face. The feel of the slime, the smell of the fruit, the look of your face in the mirror (and the looks on your family’s faces) … it lightens you up, Frances. It’s. Just. So. Much. Fun. For reals.
It’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good for your skin. Y’know, as hard as this is to say, I’m not perfect. Sometimes I’ll use a commercial face wash, or shampoo, or chemically-laden cosmetics. Sometimes I’m lazy. And that’s okay. But if you even occasionally substitute real, natural, organic goodness that comes straight from the earth for something that comes straight from a lab, you’re doing something good for your body that you haven’t ever done before. Personally, my move to use (at least the majority of the time) homemade beauty products began when I started reading about the dangerous chemicals in commercial beauty products – even the ones marked “organic” or “100% natural.” Knowing exactly what’s going on the largest organ of your body (your skin, of course) puts you ahead of the game. And the rule I try and mostly succeed at sticking to: Never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. Not that I’d put a lot of my homemade beauty recipes in my mouth, in the combination they’re in, but every single one of them I’d put in my mouth in other settings.
Think organically, buy locally, and above all else, be conscious of your purchases. Once I crossed the hump of curiously reading homemade beauty recipes into actually making them, I became much more aware of my grocery and online purchases. Buying organic products, as locally grown as possible, became more of a priority. I stopped wanting chemicals on my skin, so food grown without the use of chemicals was a necessity. I got to know local farms, frequented farmer’s markets much more often, and the quality of my purchases (not to mention my diet) improved dramatically as a result.
You start stretching your creativity muscle. At first, you’ll follow recipes precisely. You’ll measure and mix and scrub letter by letter. And then, one day, you’ll have an idea: “What if I mixed strawberries with ground almonds and egg whites? What IF?” And you’ll try it and it will be awesome and you’ll have created something all by yourself – something that WORKS! And all will be right in the world.
Leftovers! Not only will you have amazing, natural gifts to give to your friends and family, but you’ll have all kinds of leftover fruits and veggies and other yummy things to inspire you to cook with … or just to snack on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought an odd fruit for a recipe and ended up with an amazing snack later, because I didn’t use the whole fruit. Sometimes I’ll still sit and watch a banana go bad, but that’s after using two for a recipe and snacking on another two that week. And, honestly, those are two bananas that I wouldn’t have eaten otherwise. But let me mention again – you’ll have fun stuff to share! And that’s the best part.