Beauty uses of Cucumbers
They may be bland, but the ubiquitous cucumber has featured in salads for eons at many a meal shared among family and friends. In more recent times, it has also become a staple in green juices, and a desired ingredient in dips and chilled soups, with valuable health benefits.
Cucumbers are quite remarkable. Impressive diuretics, these cool, firm vegetables are well known for performing myriad beauty tasks. They contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling, hence their use for topical application for tired and puffy eyes and also burns and dermatitis.
Cucumbers are an excellent treatment for the skin since they share the same ph. They help restore the protective acid layer and they also have hydrating, nourishing and astringent properties.
The skin is rich in fibre and contains various minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium. Silica, found abundantly in cucumber, is a crucial component of healthy connective tissue - encompassing muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone.
Due to its silica content, cucumber juice is often recommended to improve complexion and skin health. Besides, its high water content makes it naturally hydrating – a go-to for radiant skin!
Try these simple home-made cucumber-based remedies to enhance your beauty routine:
An Epsom salts bath brings the perfect relief after a hot day. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that peppermint has a soothing and cooling effect on skin irritations caused by heat rash, hives, poison ivy and other allergies, reduces headache, and it can be used to treat depression.
Add two cups of Epsom salts, a sliced cucumber, a handful of peppermint leaves, and (optional) 3 drops of ylang ylang pure essential oil to a tub of tepid water. Soak, relax and be happy!
This is a well-known beauty fix. The high water content helps hydrate the delicate skin in the eye area, while the chill of a refrigerated cucumber helps contract blood vessels – both of which reduce swelling.
For an effective eye treatment, cut two thick slices of a cold cucumber. Find a comfortable place to relax and place over eyes for ten to 15 minutes. You can also grate the cucumber and make a pack.
(for all skin types)
If you wake up with your face a bit puffy, this mild toner will calm and tighten your skin.
1/2 cucumber with peel, chopped
3 tbsps Witch Hazel
2 tbsps distilled water
Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine sieve to remove solids. Pour toner into a clean bottle with an air-tight lid. Apply toner to face with a clean cotton ball. Store in refrigerator for longer shelf life (lasts several weeks).
Cucumber Avocado Facial Mask
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped avocado
1 egg white
2 tsps powdered milk
Blend ingredients to a smooth paste. (The mask can be used immediately or chilled first for half hour.)
Massage 2 tbsps of mask on face and neck with upward circular motions. Relax for 30 mins or until mask dries. Rinse with warm water, then cold water. Pat dry.
Cucumber & Yoghurt Mask
(for combination skin)
1 tbsp plain/natural yoghurt
Purée cucumber in blender, then mix in yoghurt. Apply all over face and neck. Relax for 15-20 mins. Rinse with warm water, then follow with a splash of cold water.
Anti-blemish Face Mask
1-inch chunk of cucumber
1 drop rosemary essential oil
1 egg white
Blend cucumber until completely liquid, then add rosemary essential oil. Whisk egg white until stiff, and fold in the cucumber mixture. Smooth over face, avoiding eye and mouth area. Relax for 15 mins, then wipe off with a clean, damp washcloth.
Chop 1 cucumber and purée in a blender with 4 tbsps mint. Strain juice and refrigerate. (Will keep for 24 hours. To increase shelf life add 1 tsp vodka.)
1 med. cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tsps honey
Purée cucumber in a blender. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place sieve over a glass bowl or measuring cup. Pour cucumber purée through sieve and let stand for 15 mins for juices to collect in bowl. Pour clear juice into a clean bottle and add honey.
To apply, shake bottle and soak a cotton pad with lotion. Sweep over face, neck and chest with upward motions morning and night, and air dry (about 3 - 4 mins). Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week. Makes approx. 1/2 cup.
This is reputed to work wonders on chlorine damaged hair.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 peeled cucumber
Blend ingredients and spread evenly through hair. Leave on for 10 mins, then rinse thoroughly. For optimal year-round results, do this treatment once a month.
*Rosemarie Layne, who is certified in 2nd Degree Reiki, is a holistic health advocate and the owner of Rose’s Wellness Hub.