Welcome to our guest writer Tara Nerheim Leck, a Californian who chose Scotland as her home a long time ago. Based near Loch Lomond, she is something of a guru when it comes to natural beauty. Eschewing chemicals and processed beauty, Tara is a beauty apothecarist, and carefully blends the most amazing beauty products. Planet friendly and cruelty-free, she conjures up products that have sumptuous textures, and smell absolutely divine. Using natural oils and an array of good-for-the-skin additions, she concocts products to alleviate a host of skin problems, and will even make bespoke blends.

Tara has plans for her business, The Beauty Apothecarist, to have a shop in the near future, so we will watch with interest. Meanwhile, all her lovely products can be ordered online.


The Beauty Apothecarist – FOOD FACE: DIY Face masks from your kitchen

So I hope you’re all doing okay out there, and that you and your families are safe and healthy. We’re doing okay on this end so far, despite experiencing some occasional stir-crazy vibes. We’ve also adopted a couple of self-isolation bellies (and chins), that we’re gonna have to start minimising. Tasty food and beverages have been a comfort, and we’ve been happily comforting ourselves. Anyhow, one positive thing I’ve been noticing in lockdown mode is finding more time to focus on self-care rituals like face masks and luxury baths. Self-care is so important anyway, but right now it’s especially nice to pamper yourself.
With natural face masks found in your kitchen, each different one will have its own unique benefits, which I’ve listed along with the ingredients below. I love that with these DIY masks, you’ve got a perfectly fresh, active, and totally natural mask on your face. There are not any unknown ingredients that you wouldn’t even know how to pronounce. I also find that painting on a mask puts you in this more relaxed state of mind. It puts you right into pamper mode. We could all use this feeling a bit more in this surreal moment in time.
So I took a walk around our kitchen and here’s all the ingredients that you potentially have in yours, or that you can come by pretty easily. Everything I’ve listed below we’ve been able to pick up at our local village Co-op. Any of these items can instantly be turned into a mask or a beauty treatment.
Now after reading this, I highly recommend checking out the contents of your own kitchen, and then mashing, whipping, slicing, or blending any of these ingredients. Put them on your face, and truly embrace being a food face. Your skin will thank you. Okay, onto the masks.
NOTE: If you don’t have a mask brush, have a look at your older makeup brushes, I’m sure you’ve got one that can be used for this purpose. Just make sure it’s clean, and then you’re ready to mask.

FULL-FAT YOGURT & NATURAL HONEY: These are hands-down my favourite mask base ingredients, as together they provide this creamy perfect consistency to paint on, but they make a gorgeous mask all on their own. Here are some of their basic benefits:
Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great for acne treatment and prevention. It’s also full of antioxidants, and it’s great for slowing down the aging process. Furthermore, it’s extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a lovely glow.
Yogurt moisturises your skin, amongst other lovelybenefits. It also helps fade blemishes & pigmentation, reduces dark circles, and it soothes sunburns. The lactic acid found in full-fat yogurt is also a mild exfoliant.
OATS: Pure, natural oats are soothing, and calming, so blended with simple spring water, they make a lovely mask all on their own. I do however recommend adding them together with the above yogurt and honey. But first, here’s a bit more info:
Oats can help soak up the excess oil on your skin, and help treat acne. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help treat dry skin and remove dead skin cells. Oats also contain compounds called saponins, which are natural cleansers. They remove the dirt and oil that clog the pores and they’re another gentle exfoliant for the skin.
Throw a couple of tablespoons in your (clean) coffee grinder or your mortar and pestle and grind or mash them up to a fine powder.

BERRIES: The berry trio often found in our kitchen consists of blueberries, raspberries & strawberries. I love them with cereal and yogurt for breakfast, but since they’re all super-rich in vitamin c, they’re perfect for turning into a mask. They’ll give your skin such a boost.
This berry trio is also packed with antioxidants, which means they can protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and environmental pollutants. In addition, for those with sensitive skin, blueberries are vascular constrictors, which means they help decrease redness.
Mash any or all of these with your mortar and pestle, a fork, or throw them into your blender. These are also nice with the yogurt and honey mixture I mentioned above, but I have also used a dash of aloe vera gel with them with great success.

POTATO: Who would have thought that potatoes would be good for your skin? But they really are. This is a great ingredient for evening and brightening your skin tone. Potatoes contain an enzyme called ‘catecholase’ which helps to brighten skin and get rid of dark spots. You can even use potato juice to lessen the appearance of dark circles.
Cut a potato into pieces and blend it with acidic ingredients like yogurt and lemon juice to create a lightening face mask. You can also simply rub the pieces directly on your skin and leave on for as long as you desire.

AVOCADO: Avocado contains vitamin E, potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish and moisturize your skin. It’s most definitely a skin superfood.
Make sure to wait till your avocado is ripe. It should give a bit when you gently push on the skin. Once ready, cut it in half and spoon the contents out into a bowl. Mash it up with a fork, add a dash of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice, and anything else your skin needs. Basically, make some guacamole for your face.

CUCUMBERS: This is such a calming, soothing, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory mask ingredient. You’ve likely seen images of ladies at the spa with cucumber slices on their eyes. Yes, it’s a great tip for depuffing eyes, but I like to recommend taking it a step further.
Peel it, and puree in the blender, along with oat powder for extra calmness and a hint of exfoliation, The oats also hold the blended cucumber together nicely. Or depending on what your skin is needing, and what you have around, you can try blending it up with avocado and/or yogurt.

EGGS: Yes, I’m telling you to put egg on your face. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of this one a million times, but it deserves its place on the list. It’s one of those old wives remedies that you can picture a retro housewife doing in the 1950’s.
Eggs can be used to help improve your skin’s texture, whether your skin is dry or oily.
Egg yolks are rich in fatty acids which help with your skin’s moisture balance.
Egg whites contain albumin, a simple form of protein that tightens pores and also removes excessive oil.
I see many different mask recommendations with solely the egg white, or the egg yolk. With the skin benefits of both parts, I prefer to use the white AND the yolk together. But depending what your skin needs at masking time, feel free to try separating the egg and using the part you want, or blend it up with other ingredients.

LEMONS: These sunshine coloured beauties provide a dose of the free- radical-fighting antioxidant vitamin C, which helps keep skin even-toned. Lemon can be used as a skin astringent as it helps your pores to close. and your face to tighten, resulting in smoother skin.
I recommend doing a little patch test before using lemon juice. Because I’ve got sensitive skin I use them sparingly in my DIY skin recipes, just a splash of juice in a mask. A little splash goes a long way, trust me.

TEA: Yes, tea bags are a perfect skincare treat for your face. The anti-oxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties present in tea helps keep your skin healthy and glowing.
Green tea and black tea contain caffeine and are super-rich in catechins and polyphenols, two antioxidants that are known to fight acne and ageing.
White tea contains high amounts of anti-bacterial and anti-ageing properties which help prevent wrinkles and sagging skin. It also revitalises your skin and prevents premature ageing.
My fave way to use the tea is to simply take a used tea bag, and apply it like a compress under and around my eyes, and I’ll often rub it on my entire face and leave it. It’s just highly refreshing. No mask required.

CONCENTRATED MASK POWDERS: A bit of shameless self promotion for you. If you want to give your DIY home face masks an extra boost, I have a variety of concentrated mask powders here on the website. Each sachet will make a minimum of 5 masks. They have all been blended with a different purpose, so check them out should you have an inkling 🙂
SPA WATER: I wanted to include a note about staying hydrated. Masking is great for taking care of the outside, but taking care of the inside is just as important. Stay hydrated with regular water, or, remember those lemons and cucumbers? They also make fabulous “spa water.” Here are some benefits besides tasting lovely:
Besides all the topical skincare benefits, lemons and cucumbers are alkaline-forming foods that will help your body to function at its optimal level. Their alkaline properties mean that they help with, clear skin, muscular health, digestion, and boosting your energy levels.
I like to use about 1/3 of a whole cucumber. I peel most of the skin and put the slices in a big water jug. You can leave the peels if you want.
I like to use about 1/2 of a lemon and put that in the jug too. Then fill up the water jug and cover it. I like to fill it up and refresh the lemons throughout the day, depending on how many lemons we have kicking about.
Okay everyone, happy masking! Thanks for reading, take good care of yourselves, and stay safe.
Tara xx

The Beauty Apothecarist

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