Did you know that 30% of food produced is wasted during primary food production and all the way till the food preparation process? This inefficient is due to the scarcity of natural resources like water and land, and its silent contribution to climate change through rising greenhouse gas emissions. Beauty companies and researchers are innovating skin and hair care with these nutrient rich food wastes, and we can be a part of this change from our very own kitchen. Many brands already use common kitchen ingredients like coffee grounds, rice water, mint juice and tea in their products. The most budget friendly, organic, and effective hair and skincare can be made from our everyday kitchen waste. As we are in desperate need of a relaxing spa day during the pandemic, here are a few simple ways to create beauty out of your food waste.
The starchy water left after soaking rice is packed with minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and a range of Vitamins. This makes it the perfect conditioner for strong, smooth, and detangled hair. This is a tried and tested, ancient recipe from East Asia where it is believed that rice water also helps to maintain hair colour for longer.
After shampooing and rinsing your hair, pour the rice water into your hair and scalp. Massage your scalp gently and leave it on for around fifteen minutes before rinsing with water. For an even better result, let the soaked rice water sit out at room temperature for 2 days before rinsing your hair with it. Research has shown that fermented substances tend to have higher antioxidant content which is linked to effective reduction of hair damage.
(Garden tip: Plants like rice water too! All the proteins, iron, amino acids, and potassium make them a great organic fertilizer. They are also effective in keeping pests like fruit flies and plant lice away.)
We’ve all had an extra few mint leaves lying around that don’t get used fast enough before they go bad. If this is the case, add a few mint leaves to boiling water and make a mint toner in your kitchen. This is suited best for oily skin, and it cleanses pores and tightens the skin without dehydrating your skin further. The juice from mint leaves can also be a magic cure for cuts, mosquito bites and dry skin as it has soothing and hydrating properties.
Mint leaves are antioxidant rich and have a high concentration of flavonoids and carotenoids. These properties make mint anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic, and a great addition to your beauty routine and diet.
Pomegranate is a brilliant fruit does wonders for your skin and health when consumed but it can also be turned into various beauty products. Ensure that the peel has been washed and dried thoroughly before grinding it into a powder. This powder can be combined with your moisturizer or essential oils to form a natural sunscreen. To prepare a face pack, combine this powder with milk if you have dry skin and rose water if you have oily skin. Leave the mixture on your face and neck for ten minutes and wash with cold water. Pomegranates are known to have moisturizing and anti-ageing properties due to high levels of potassium, folate and vitamins E, K and C.
(Kitchen tip: Mix the peel powder into warm water to cure a sore throat, boost bone health and heart health)
Watermelon is a summer staple that leaves behind heaps of rinds. To utilize the rinds, all you have to do is leave them in the fridge for a few hours and apply them for instant freshness and cooling irritated spots. Watermelon has been shown to soothe inflamed acne spots as it is rich in Vitamin A which repairs and regenerates cells. It also contains Vitamin C which aids collagen production, leaving your skin more supple.
Grab your used tea bags- herbal, green, black- and reuse them to treat eye puffiness. Simply place them on closed eyes for up to fifteen minutes to reduce puffiness around the eyes and dark circles. They are a great remedy for everyone spending most of the day in front of a laptop screen, while working from home.
Tea bags can be used warm or cold, for a warm compress let the tea bag sit for several minutes after steeping and for a cold compress, place the tea bag in the fridge for a few hours before using. Please remember to let tea bags cool before using them as hot tea bags may harm your eyes.
Oranges are nutrient rich, its high in Vitamin C content has been linked to reduction in stress when the fruit is consumed regularly. Their peels are not only richer in Vitamin C than the fruit itself, but they are also better suited for dry skin treatments compared to other citrus fruits as they contain oils. Wash and dry the peels thoroughly before grinding them into a powder. A tablespoon of this powder can be combined with two tablespoons of milk for a gentle scrub that leaves your skin ultra-hydrated.
Milk is a highly perishable kitchen ingredient that ends up getting wasted if it isn’t used fast enough. If your milk starts to smell a little sour, consider using it for a quick hand soak before throwing it away. It is rich in lactic acid and can leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. A milk soak can also reverse all the dehydration from the constant hand washing and sanitizing during the pandemic.
Turn your overripe banana into an easy face moisturizing and brightening mask by adding yoghurt and honey. The fruit can also be mixed with a little bit of coconut oil and honey for an effective lip mask. Banana peels are effective in reducing puffiness around the eyes as the fruit and its peel contain zinc, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, B and E to name a few.
Apple peels are full of nutrients and contain a high levels of vitamins E, C and K. To get all its goodness, after peeling apples, wash them fully and place them in the fridge for a few hours before using them under your eyes. They contain all the nourishment of the fruit including vitamin C that can prevent premature ageing and polyphenols which protect your skin against harmful ultraviolet radiation. Hence, they are effective in reducing dark circles, signs of ageing and under eye puffiness, when used regularly.
(Kitchen tip: you can also use apple peels to get rid of stubborn stains on aluminium pots and pans).
Disclaimer: It is highly recommended that individuals with sensitive skin and hair conduct a patch test before applying beauty products as some ingredients may trigger allergic reactions. If any of the above ingredients cause irritation during application, remove the product immediately. In addition, certain natural ingredient recipes are better suited to specific skin and hair types, choose your skincare and haircare accordingly. Use these ingredients regularly to see long-term changes.
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Turning food waste into beauty products by Imogen Matthews
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