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Updated: February 14, 2014 18:01 IST
Inside View

Appeal of vegetable peels

Khyrunnisa A.
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ILLUSTRATION: SREEJITH R KUMAR
The HIndu ILLUSTRATION: SREEJITH R KUMAR

When a face pack made of vegetable peels did not result in a facelift

The other day I woke up with puffy eyes. Nothing new, this swollen condition of the eyes; it happens whenever I stay up late the night before, gazing into the computer screen. On that day they looked worse than usual, as if some ants had joined in the fun and aided the swelling by injecting formic acid there.

The voice of cosmetic education told me, ‘put some potato peels under your eyes and on your upper lids too’. I had just packed a healthy lunch for my husband, with a variety of fresh vegetables, and seen him off. Now all those vegetable peels lay in a vibrant heap on the kitchen counter, looking invitingly at me as if to say, ‘Use us.’

Why not, I thought, especially since I had got my puffy eyes reading the previous night about the benefits of using vegetable peels on your face. It was only poetic justice that I should put to use my newly acquired knowledge of organic ways to get rid of facial blemishes.

The buzz words these days are organic, pure and natural. Everyone’s talking healthy and trying to eat healthy. Awareness has spread about the dangerous levels of chemicals in the environment, water, food, medicine and cosmetics. Quick to cash in on people’s desire to go green and eat ‘real’ food as distinguished from processed, junk stuff, multinational companies have initiated an organic rush.

Now people flaunt mineral water, never mind that sometimes it is local tap water that gets bottled. Not a bad thing after all, for the micro organisms they imbibe might improve their resistance. The labels ‘organic’, ‘farm fresh’ or ‘pure’ for products ensure quick sales of everything, from grains to eggs and even chyawanaprash. Who reads the fine print anyway?

As for cosmetics, they are almost always labelled ‘herbal’ and made from fruit or vegetable extracts and sometimes tea. Ayurveda soaps vie with soaps bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for the customer’s attention while hair oil and shampoos made from natural ingredients are touted to take hair to the proverbial strength of Samson’s.

I decided to experiment. As I gently placed the potato peels over my eyes, I remembered that cucumber slices would do the trick too, and they had the added advantage of having the right shape to stay on eyes. Undeterred by the fact that I had only peels, not slices, I carefully arranged long scrapings over the potato peels.

Tea bags too are good to remove the bags from under your eyes, so why not that too, for good measure? The article hadn't said anything about using a fresh or a used tea bag, but I wasn't going to waste a new one. No way. Since there was only one used tea bag, my husband preferring a cup of coffee in the morning, I let it hang by the thread over my right eye to cover it, pirate-like, and rest lightly on the lower lid.

I looked at the orange carrot peels. Aha, a dash of colour would be great. I recollected that carrot peels are best for the perfect skin, so I piled them on. Ooh na, na, no banana? The long banana skin looked tempting and its benefits are supposedly many. I balanced the stem on the bridge of my nose, allowing the sections of the skin to flow longitudinally down. And how could I have forgotten the citrus benefits of the lemon peel, left behind after the squeeze of lemon on the salad? The only free part of my face was the tip of my nose and I capped it with the peeled lemon.

Satisfied with the way I had temporarily transferred onto my face all the biodegradable vegetable waste, I decided to drink a few glasses of water, also believed to aid in reducing puffiness. I was downing the third while delicately balancing the scraps on my face when the door bell rang. I peered cautiously through the grill to see who it was. I saw my husband who had returned, as he explained later, for a book. What he saw, though, was a weird, inhuman face that seemed to have walked straight out of a C grade horror film. What monster had strayed into his peaceful, quiet house? He paled. ‘Eek! Help!’ he yelped, but as he turned on his heels to escape, I found my voice. ‘Hey, it’s me,’ I said ungrammatically.

My pathi looks askance at my cosmetology. He asked, ‘why don’t you try soap and water?’ Now all the vegetable peels go straight into the garbage bin.

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