Spice up your looks with easy-to-make masks and cleansers

Indian spices are world famous and a quintessential part of our cuisine. But did you know that they are good for the skin too?

Spices combined together in the form of a wrap or a scrub can help the skin look brighter and softer. They also firm up the skin by draining excessive fluids and toxins from the body.

Cinnamon and clove Powder helps to dry out pimples and plump the skin. It reduces the signs of aging by increasing the collagen level.

Ginger Helps in blood perfusion of the skin surface and can accelerate cell metabolism.

Turmeric Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodelling of damaged skin.

Rice powder Is a good natural exfoliate. 

Indian Spice Scrub

Ingredients:

Four tablespoons rice powder (used as a scrubbing agent)

2/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon of ground clove powder.

For oily skin

1/4 cup plain yoghurt and a few drops of lemon juice

For dry skin

Two tablespoons olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil.

Preparation:

Mix the rice, cardamom, clove and turmeric powders. If you have oily skin, add lemon juice and stir. Slowly mix in the yoghurt until a creamy paste is formed. Use more or less yoghurt to your liking.

If you have dry skin, add the oil slowly and stir until a paste is formed. Add more for creaminess.

Apply to wet face, massage thoroughly in circular motions and rinse off with water.

Using a warm, wet washcloth rinse off the mask.

Note: Turmeric powder can stain skin. However, it will fade away after a few hours.

Shamana Spa, Grand Hyatt, Goa

Green Tea

Many of us have used green tea only as a healthy drink and did not know that it also serves as a beauty enhancer with many detoxifying properties. Green tea may be bitter to taste but it is sweet to the skin.

Green tea has a natural astringent that makes it both soothing and healing. Studies in green tea have proven that it is linked to great-looking skin and can help alleviate allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the release of histamine from cells, and lessening the release of other allergy-mediated chemicals in the body. There are many hidden beauty benefits in green tea; you can now take advantage of them at home.

Green tea cleanser

Ingredients:

Two bags of green tea

Half-boiled water

Process: Dip the two bags of tea into the water. Wait for 15 minutes. The water’s colour will change. Let it cool down. Keep it in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then wash your face with it. A better way to use this cleaner is to use the tea when it is slightly hot. It works as steam for the face and fills the skin pores.

Green tea toner

Ingredients:

2 Green tea bags (left over)

Process: When you make the green tea cleanser, save the green tea bags and use them as a toner for the face. Rub the mix on the face and leave it for 10 minutes before washing it off.

Honey green tea mask

Ingredients:

2 tbsp of honey

2 tbsp of green tea cleanser

Process: Mix honey with the green tea cleanser. Apply this mix on the face and wash when it is dry. Honey is filled with antioxidants and makes your face glow.

Curd green tea mask

Ingredients

Curd 1 cup

2 tbsp green tea cleanser

1 tbsp lemon juice

Process: Take fresh curd and add green tea and lemon juice to it. Apply this paste on the face. Curd is good for sensitive skin and lemon works as a deep cleanser. This mask helps brighten the face.

Innisfree, a South Korean cosmetic brand, has a dedicated range of green tea-based products

Oatmeal

A hot steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is becoming increasingly popular. But oats can also be very effective in skin and hair care when used as baths, face packs or as hair packs.

 Oats have high amounts of polysaccharides which when dissolved in water make it gelatinous. This oat milk can then be used for cleansing, toning and moisturising. Oats also have saponins which function as natural and effective skin cleansers. Oats are rich in zinc, iron and other minor nutrients and can be absorbed directly by the skin when used on the face or other body parts.

Cleansing, toning and moisturising: Oatmilk can be applied on the face with a cotton pad. It effectively cleanses and tones the skin. Colloidal oats (oats blended into a powder) can be mixed in a tub of water. This cleanses the entire body without irritating the skin and is often used by people with dry skin conditions and eczemas.

Face pack: A teaspoon of ground oatmeal can be dissolved in milk to get a paste. This paste then can be applied as a face pack. It cleanses, tones and moisturises the skin. Oats also have skin-lightening property. Incorporating this face pack into your skin regime 2-3 times a week can, over a period of time, soothe the skin and reduce pigmentation.

Treatment of dandruff, itchy scalp conditions: Oatmeal blended into a powder and mixed with lukewarm water can be applied directly on the scalp and left for a few hours. It relieves itching of the scalp and can also help heal the scalp of dandruff.

Promote hair growth: Oats are rich in zinc, iron, magnesium and other minor nutrients. Very often marginal deficiency of these nutrients can cause significant hair fall. Deficiency of some of these minor nutrients is very difficult to diagnose. A regular consumption of oatmeal breakfast can combat this deficiency and promote hair growth.

Dr. Sirisha Singh, The Skin Center, Delhi