The trusty bulk aisle: It’s where you stock up on kids snacks and whole grains, right? Turns out the ingredients found there also have big beauty potential. Find the key players for these simple at-home masks, scrubs, and soaks in the bins; then look for the other ingredients throughout the store. And remember, you can always stock your kitchen with the leftovers.
Creamy Cocoa-Honey Facial Mask
This nourishing, cleansing facial mask combines antioxidant-rich cocoa powder and potent antimicrobial manuka honey (if you can’t find this New Zealand variety, regular honey offers many of the same benefits). Yogurt lends a creamy texture and probiotics—which may help fight skin irritation when applied topically.
1/3 cup organic cocoa powder
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon manuka (or regular) honey
Squeeze of lemon
Combine cocoa powder and yogurt, stirring until a thick paste forms. Add honey and continue to stir, blending thoroughly. For a thinner mask, add water (1/2 teaspoon at a time; no more than 2 teaspoons). Squeeze a small amount of lemon for additional antibacterial power and for a natural preservative (you can then store mask in the refrigerator for several days). Apply a thin layer to skin and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Wash thoroughly.
Oatmeal and milk are go-tos for body and mind relaxation (oatmeal baths are an old remedy for itchy skin, such as from poison ivy). But don’t forget the garnishes: Lavender and cinnamon help fight bacteria and stimulate blood circulation, bringing nutrients and oxygen to skin’s surface to help eliminate blemishes and relieve irritation.
1 cup oats
1 cup dried milk
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried lavender
Pulse oats in a blender or food processor until they form a slightly coarse powder. Add dried milk, cinnamon, and lavender, pulsing until all ingredients are thoroughly blended into a fine powder. Add desired amount to your bath and soak for at least 20 minutes.
Coarse sugar and mineral-rich sea salt form a dynamic exfoliant that removes dead skin cells and promotes circulation, while olive oil supplies skin-nourishing fatty acids. Add an essential oil of your choice for fragrance, if desired.
½ cup sea salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup olive oil
Combine sea salt and sugar in a container with a sealed lid and shake thoroughly to ensure ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add olive oil, mixing as you pour. If you’re using essential oils, add a few drops. For the most intense exfoliating, apply to dry skin in a circular motion and wash thoroughly.
Two ingredients are all you need to make an invigorating, complexion-clearing facial wash. Revive skin with rice—its hard outer layer, called the bran, has potent antioxidant activity—and this exotic type is one of nature’s most antioxidant-rich foods. Antibacterial tea tree oil helps fight blemishes.
1 1/2-2 cups water
½ cup forbidden rice
3 drops tea tree oil
Heat water on medium heat until it is very warm (not boiling). Add forbidden rice and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Turn heat off, drain, and add tea tree oil to water. Allow water to cool slightly (should feel warm but comfortable to the touch). Use before bed or in the morning three times per week. Store in fridge.
Trouble unwinding? Soothing sweet basil and chamomile will help lull you to sleep. For an extra dose of relaxation, brew a cup of tea with the remaining dried herbs (use about one teaspoon of dried herbs per cup of water).
½ cup flaxseeds
¼ cup dried chamomile
¼ cup sweet basil leaf
Stitch two 8x5-inch rectangles of organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo fabric together, leaving one end open. (You can also find small hemp bags in many bulk departments.) In a small bowl, blend flaxseeds with chamomile and sweet basil leaf. Add the herbal mixture to the fabric bag and sew closed.