Beauty uses of Cu­cum­bers

Better Health - - LIFESTYLE - WELL­NESS BY ROSE by Rose­marie Layne

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:

Cool­ing bath

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!

Puffy Eyes

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.

Toner

(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)

1/2 cu­cum­ber

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.

Skin Tonic

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.)

Cu­cum­ber-honey Toner

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.

Hair Con­di­tioner

This is re­puted to work won­ders on chlo­rine dam­aged hair.

1 egg

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.

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