Besides backyard barbeques and weekends at the beach, summertime is a great season for fruits that not only make for healthy, refreshing snacks but also have purifying and cleansing properties that make them ideal for skin and hair treatments. A simple web search will turn up a plethora of recipes for facial and hair solutions made with any imaginable fruit or vegetable, but what’s going on beneath the mask once you are fully slathered in these all-natural ingredients?
The oils and vitamins in ripe bananas naturally condition hair when mashed and applied as a mask, adding gloss and moisture to dry or chemically-treated hair. Bananas are also said to prevent wrinkles and help maintain a healthy skin tone when used in facial treatments. Many recipes combine bananas with avocado, which has similar nutritional qualities.
Like many tropical fruits, papaya is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants that reduce acne, fine lines and redness in the face. Papaya is particularly effective as an exfoliating treatment because of the enzymes naturally present in the fruit that have the capacity to eat away dead skin cells. The fruit also contains antioxidants and compounds called flavonoids, which are known to help reduce the formation of lines and wrinkles.
The citric acid in lemons acts as a mild bleach for blondes and light brunettes when lemon juice is applied to hair and exposed to sunlight. We can take advantage of the acidic properties of lemon juice for restorative purposes as well, namely the removal of product residue and swimming pool chemicals. Lemon juice can tone and control oily skin as well.
They may not be the prettiest fruit to look at, but the enzyme bromelian has the capacity to cleanse and beautify skin by exfoliating dead cells, healing sun damage and reducing swelling. The fruit can be used mashed and raw or combined with other fruit such as papaya for a deep purifying face mask.
Forget the hassle of a messy mask – rub fresh orange slices across your face and let the rich vitamins work their cleansing magic reducing blemishes and clearing your complexion.
As with oranges, there’s no need to mash and mix cucumbers in order to use them to soothe and cool your skin. Besides feeling great placed over our eyes, when rubbed on our skin cucumbers reduce swelling and restore facial tissue – a perfect solution to a bad sunburn after an afternoon under the summer sun.
7. Green tea
After cooling down with a refreshing glass of iced green tea, treat your dry scalp and hair with a green tea rinse. Green tea contains vitamin C and pathenol, which both condition hair and protect it from UV damage. Green tea has been used in homemade sunscreens as an alternative to heavy, oily lotions and helps clear pores and moisturize skin.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid and capric acid, which fight microbes that can cause hair loss, as well as an abundance of vitamin E, making it an ideal hair conditioner and anti-dandruff solution. In addition to acting as a powerful moisturizer, coconut oil can be used as a styling gel. The oil can be melted and applied to the hair, where it will cool and solidify to hold your “do.”
Strawberries naturally contain salicylic acid, an active ingredient in many facial washes and soaps, which cleanses and exfoliates skin to clear clogged pores and reduce redness and shine.
Mangoes possess many of the same vitamins as do papaya and therefore have the same capacity to alleviate dry, peeling skin. The fruit contains carotene, which replenishes skin and makes the tissue more elastic. Mango hair treatments also help with hair elasticity and strengthening root growth.