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Homemade beauty: Home skin care recipes

Karen Leland is the bestselling author of Time Management in an Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. She is featured columnist for The Huffington Post Living section. Read her blog and contact her at karenleland.com.

Skin treatments from your kitchen

Bananas, tea, honey and lemons. The average kitchen is chock-full of everyday ingredients that can be combined to make healthy homemade skincare recipes guaranteed to put a glow on your face and a shine in your hair. Here are a few easy-to-make recipes our beauty experts cooked up.

Woman with Homeade Facial Mask

Banana and lemon mask

Kimara Ahnert, one of New York's most prominent makeup artists, says bananas make a great base for a soothing and moisturizing mask.

Take one small, ripe banana, a teaspoon of honey and approximately 8 drops of lemon juice. Mix together and apply to a clean face. Leave the mixture on for five to ten minutes, then cleanse with warm water and apply toner and moisturizer. Due to the acidic and antibacterial qualities of the lemon, this is a great mask to use on acne-prone skin.

"One caution," says Ahnert. "Lemons, as well as other citrus fruits, cause skin photosensitivity, which means that your skin is more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, take precautions for sun exposure when using products that contain lemon or lemon oil, due to irritation."

Epsom salt scrubs

While most people think of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) as something their grandparents keep on hand for soaking sprains, the folks at epsomsaltcouncil.org say Epsom salts are a well-kept secret weapon in women's beauty arsenals. Easily found at your local supermarket or pharmacy, for the cost of a cup of coffee, you can make several simple scrubs.

 

Foot scrub

Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt with 1/4 cup of petroleum jelly or cleaning cream and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or rose. Use the mixture to gently scrub the heels free of dry, rough patches on the feet.

 

Gentle facial scrub

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt into cleansing cream for a deep-pore cleansing. Massage on skin. Rinse with cool water. Pat dry.

Chamomile eye and skin calmer

Joyce Carboni, founder of Skinsational Skin and Body Spa in San Diego, has been a licensed esthetician for over 20 years and says chamomile tea isn't just for drinking.

"Chamomile tea is great for easing irritated, red and/or puffy skin and eyes," says Carboni. For the eyes, take chamomile tea bags soaked in cold water, blot with a paper towel and apply to eyes. For skin, boil water and pour it into a spray bottle. Add a bag of chamomile tea, brew and place in fridge until cool. Then, mist on your face for easy relief.

Coconut oil hair mask

Kristin Fraser Cotte, who writes for GreenSkincareBlog.com, is a fan of natural hair masks that have what she calls the BCC (brighten, clarify and condition) effect.

To make a simple hair mask, take 1 tablespoon coconut oil and place it in a Pyrex bowl, then microwave it until the oil melts. Remove and add 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil to the mix. Next, depending on your hair color, add the following:

For lighter tones add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or 10 drops lemon or grapefruit essential oil.

For darker tones add 10 drops rosemary essential oil.

Apply the mixture to damp hair while the oils are still warm, and place a shower cap or wrap saran wrap over you hair with a warm towel turban on top. You can create the warm turban by heating a towel in the dryer for a few minutes while you are making the conditioning mask. Kick back and relax for 10-20 minutes, then wash and condition hair.

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