Tag: honey

Papaya, honey, yogurt, and oatmeal all over your face

April 14th, 2012 — 12:02am

I love easing open a jar of my favorite pre-made face mask as much as the next spare-time-starved woman. However, when I have an extra half an hour on a Saturday morning and a beautiful papaya sitting on my counter, I become little miss where’s-my-apron? and find myself poking through the cupboards and the refrigerator to see what ingredients I have on hand that I can mix into a treat for my skin.

The papaya I used that’s pictured here sat for a day or two too long, based on the fact that a just underripe papaya has stronger alpha-hydroxy acids and higher levels of papain – which is an enzyme that can dissolve dead skin cells – than a ripe one. I let this one go a little longer because I knew I wanted to eat it just as much as I wanted to turn it into a beauty product. I added greek yogurt (although you can use any type) because I like how it makes the whole concoction a little more thick, which allows it adhere to your skin a little better. The honey acts as a humectant and helps the skin retain moisture. Despite my papaya being a bit too ripe, I still felt the slight tingle when I put it on my face which told me it was working! it was working! I have super sensitive skin, as my friends know – because I’m constantly having a reaction to some new product I’m testing – but this mask never leaves me splotchy or itchy.  If you suspect that you have an allergy to any one of the ingredients DO NOT USE THEM!

I use organic rolled oats (same ones I eat for breakfast most mornings) and put them in a little food processor for a few seconds to make them into a fine powder.  Oats are a long time  favorite soothing remedy for sensitive, irritated skin, and work in this mask to gently exfoliate as well, lifting off the dead cells the papaya enzymes loosened. Please note: it’s important to never actually scrub your face with anything. No amount of scrubbing will get your skin deep down clean, and will instead potentially damage skins cells and create raw, irritated skin which may kick oil production into overdrive (skin’s natural defense to soothe and heal). Nothing more intense than a gentle circular motion should ever happen to the skin on your face.

There are many variations within this recipe, as well as so many great kitchen basics you could add to it including fresh (but not hot) unflavored coffee grinds to exfoliate as well as tighten and brighten (caffeine is in so many anti-aging creams these days), and apple cider vinegar, which acts as an astringent and has been shown to bust its way into clogged pores.

For this of you who like to work from a recipe, this is the one I threw together  last Saturday morning (which made enough for at least two faces):

  1. 2 Tbsp of rolled oats, finely ground
  2. A little more than 1 quarter of the meat from 1 papaya, seeds scraped away, cut into cubes and either mashed with a fork (much easier when it’s more ripe) or pulsed into a chunky mess in the cuisinart.
  3. 3 heaping Tbsp of greek yogurt
  4. 2 tbsp of honey (mine included a bit of honey cappings which I wrote about here)
  5. I mixed it all in a mini food processor, added in this order, for a few seconds and then put a delicious, cool, thick layer on my face.
  6. Thirty minutes later I washed it off and marveled at my glowing, fresh skin.

There are so many more do-it-yourself face masks that I love. I’ll post more soon.

Enjoy your Saturday morning!




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Honey Cappings? Yes Please!

February 21st, 2012 — 9:00pm

Why am I including a post about honey in a beauty blog? I can remember my mom always serving challah bread and honey on the Jewish New Year, to symbolically sweeten the 12 months ahead, and she shared with me one of her favorite house warming gifts: bringing a pretty jar of honey to suggest the idea of ‘sweet things to come’ to a friends’ new home.

This being my fourth post on my brand new blog, I thought it was only fitting that I share something honey related with you to sweeten all that’s to come.

On a trip to a really cool store called Live Live in the East Village here in NYC, my friend Liz and I discovered a whole line of jarred honey-infused products called Bee Yummy. In addition to a number of incredible skin treatment products from the line, I left the store with a container of some really weird looking waxy stuff sitting atop of some really beautiful golden honey.

The very knowledgeable  guy working there told me that the weird looking waxy stuff was called honey cappings, and that it’s the part of the honey harvest that bee keepers usually keep for themselves, given its’ amazing health benefits and many uses. Luckily, he told me, they were able to find a bee keeper who was willing to sell it once a year during the months of May and June.

So what are honey cappings? I think most of us know that bees build honeycomb with beeswax, and then fill the cells of the comb with honey. Once they’ve reduced the moisture content to around 18%, (really? how do they know?) they cover the cells with wax (the cappings) in order to prevent atmospheric moisture from diluting the honey. AMAZING. I read on line that essentially honey cappings could be used to mummify a body, keeping skin in tact for centuries, which is why using skin treatments made with honey is such a good idea.

Liz and I excitedly went back to my apartment to taste the honey cappings and feel the magical effects for ourselves. We’d been told that some people spread it on hot toast, whereby the wax melts just like butter along with the honey. We decided to forego the bread and just scrape the cappings onto our spoons.

We learned that by themselves, we didn’t much like the taste or texture of the cappings. It’s a little like chewing gum, but with the texture of wax, and with next to no taste when eaten alone.

After Liz left I decided to try a spoonful of honey mixed with some of the cappings and found it to be a world better, and in fact, I’ve eaten some every day since.

Here’s why:

  1. Some people say it’s good for hay fever since it contains pollen, essentially building up your immune system by feeding you little doses of what you may be allergic to.
  2. It contains small amounts of numerous vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants including: niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. (Just as the color of honey varies, so does the content of the of the benefits listed above.)
  3. It has antimicrobial properties and speeds healing.

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