The recent record-setting temperatures and strong rays in Connecticut have left even the most sun-conscious individuals’ skin tight, pink and sensitive. The good news is you don’t need to run to the spa for a facial or series of skin repair treatments. Achieving soft, healthy skin requires a mere trip to the local grocery store, natural food shop or farm stand.
In her recently-released book, Return to Beauty: Old World Wisdom and Recipes for Great Skin (Atria; $25), renowned skin care expert Narine Nikogosian (clients include Jessica Alba, Charlize Theron and Kirk Douglas) shares easy recipes for skincare that tap into the cleansing, moisturizing, rejuvenating and healing properties of fresh, seasonal, Connecticut-grown produce, oils and plants.
Bubbly Strawberry Cleanser
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C and salicylic acid, which removes dead skin cells. To refresh skin, combine three large strawberries, half a cup of mineral water and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in a blender. Pour a small amount onto a wet washcloth and wash your face with it every morning and evening.
Terrific Tomato Mask
Tomatoes have a natural exfoliating acid that removes the first layer of dead skin. They are also high in vitamin C and lycopene – both of which help reduce sun damage. If you have normal or dry skin, puree a tomato in the blender. In a small bowl, combine the tomato, one teaspoon of sunflower oil and one teaspoon of cornstarch. Cover your face with a thin layer and relax for 15 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water and apply a moisturizer.
Juicy Tomato Mask
If your skin is more on the oily side, replace the sunflower oil with one egg yolk. Combine a tomato and egg yolk in a blender. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add one teaspoon of cornstarch. Keep the mask on for 20 minutes, then rinse and moisturize.
Tangerine Dream Moisturizer
This moisturizer’s tangerines – rich in vitamin C and antioxidants – and rose oil, which provides natural care for sunburns, will help refresh dry skin. In a blender, combine one quarter of a tangerine, one tablespoon of sour cream, half a teaspoon of flour and one teaspoon of rose oil. Apply the mixture to your face every morning and evening after cleansing.
Healing Chamomile Moisturizer
Calm red and irritated skin with this soothing and restoring moisturizer. Chamomile contains an essential oil, bisabolol, which has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties, and olive oil helps skin retain moisture and repairs sun damage.
In a small saucepan, add one tablespoon of dried chamomile to one cup of water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it steep for two hours. In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon of unsalted butter, one teaspoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of corn syrup, half an egg yolk and one teaspoon of vodka. Strain out the chamomile leaves and add the extract to the mixture. Mix well. Cover your face with the moisturizer in the morning and evening after cleansing. Splash with warm water and pat dry.
For more information on Narine Nikogosian or to purchase Return to Beauty: Old World Wisdom and Recipes for Great Skin, click here.