I had a (short-lived) phase when, in a bid to lead a less processed food heavy diet, I made a real effort in the cooking department, trying out new vegan recipes, healthy Buddha bowls and even discovering cauliflower couscous: grated raw cauliflower, surprisingly good with lots of lemon and coriander. Unfortunately this cooking from scratch business wasn’t sustainable for someone who essentially doesn’t enjoy cooking, and now with a full time job, a beauty blog, writing magazine articles and entertaining a super active toddler, I’ve developed a close relationship with Pret and my local Italian deli. Not the home-cooked goodness I was aiming for, but maybe I can convince myself that some healthy food ingredients in my skincare routine can make up for it? Let’s find out.
Traumatised by boiled-to-death school canteen broccoli? Or your mother-in-law’s Sunday roast involving piles of watery greens? Whilst I’ve rediscovered the joys of tucking into cauliflower (no really – Lebanese-style with loads of spices) I’ve never really gelled with the green version. But putting it on my face, well I can definitely give that a go as long as it doesn’t leave a lingering cabbage smell. Broccoli turns out to be a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to useful skincare nutrients. Its main skincare benefit comes from its strong antioxidant properties. High in vitamin C, it helps to maintain healthy looking skin by boosting collagen production for a plumped and supple result – all in all a great natural anti-ager. Vitamin E and beta carotene concentrations encourage a glowing complexion whilst zinc is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular form of acne treatment. If you fancy giving broccoli a try on your face without resorting to a blender and smearing green paste on your face, Greenvines Antioxidant Serum could be just what you’re looking for. You’ll have to hunt this one down as this Taiwanese product isn’t currently available in the UK, but the light texture and natural ingredients make it worthwhile.
Another one from the cabbage family, kale has been enjoying its superfood status for a while now within the circle of health-conscious foodies, and it’s made its way from dinner table to bathroom cabinet. Similar to broccoli, kale is rich in antioxidants, fighting off free radicals that suck oxygen out of healthy skin cells and improving skin’s elasticity. Fashion and beauty title Marie-Claire hails the leafy green as the solution ‘to tighten pores, reduce dark circles, promote collagen production, increase cell turnover, prevent free radical damage and detoxify skin’ thanks to its vitamins A, B, C and K concoction. Wow. Even if kale delivers on just half of these claims that’s a pretty amazing vegetable. Nourish’s certified vegan Kale 3D Cleanse gives off a surprisingly pleasant veggie scent and gently washes off the day’s grime, the white formula turning into a light green when lathered up to add a little fun factor.
This bright orange spice has a place in every kitchen cupboard, and rightly so, adding flavour to curries, biryanis and even smoothies. But with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, this multi-tasking superfood can also have a place in your skincare routine. Hailed as a skin protector, it encourages cell renewal resulting in radiance thanks to the curcumin component as well as hydration. I can’t vouch for its protective qualities, but when it comes to intense hydration, Natura’s Turmeric Sheet Mask certainly achieves this. After 25 minutes of masking my skin was glowing and super hydrated.
I went through a phase of massaging olive oil into my face and limbs every evening. I’d originally bought it after a GP recommended it for my wax-blocked ear. It didn’t work, I actually had to see a French GP while on holiday in Provence who proceeded to just hook out one big lump of excess wax. When I explained I’d been recommended to put a few drops of olive oil in my ear daily to clear the blockage, the only response she could manage was a snort and ‘no oil was ever going to dissolve that’. So I was left with a near-full 100ml bottle of oil, and being a big fan of skincare oils I worked my way through it in no time. My skin was soft and supple, but I have to admit, a little too greasy for my liking – and for the sake of my pillow and clothes I now tend to apply a cream at night and keep the oils for daytime (except for Rosehip as it’s a dry oil). Aveda Shampure Body Lotion contains olive oil so offers skin softening benefits without the greasy residue. With high levels of squalane, an oil that mimics your skin’s natural sebum, olive oil results in soft skin, and the antioxidants fight environmental skin damage. Beware of potential breakouts though if using the pure oil version as it’s comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores and encourage acne.
In my twenties I barely drank coffee. Late nights were batted off with a sugar-heavy breakfast (hello almond croissant) and the promise of a lie in come Saturday. Fast forward a decade and one early rising toddler later, and a large cappuccino feels like the only thing that will get me through the working day. And with 95 million cups of coffee drunk every day in the UK I’m not the only one (source: British Coffee Association) It feels like coffee has suffered from many ups and downs in reputation, one day branded as a dangerous stimulant and the next promoted as a positive addition to your diet. Luckily it is now – or at least currently – believed that moderate coffee consumption (up to 3 cups a day) can bring health benefits such as a boost in energy, helping to burn fat and reducing your risk of liver cancer. So what does coffee do once added to skincare? Caffeine in skincare stimulates circulation (source: Get The Gloss) and can help calm inflammation which is why it’s a popular ingredient for eye products. The Ordinary offers a fantastic ultra-lightweight eye serum in the shape of their Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG which de-puffs those late night / early morning under eye bags.
Can food-enriched skincare replace a healthy diet? Sadly no, but it’s been fun trying! What are your favourite food-inspired skincare ingredients? Leave a comment below to let me know.
Features PR samples.