Q & A with Peppermint Magazine’s Beauty Editor
Published 2011 | By Ellen-Maree Elliot
There are some amazing make-at-home beauty treatments using all sorts of yummy (yes, really!) ingredients just waiting for you in this year’s print edition of Frock Paper Scissors. But for those who can’t wait we’ve decided to whet your appetite a little (see what we did there?). Melanie Tongmar, Peppermint Magazine’s “wildly experimental” natural beauty writer and founder of Bare Naked Beauty chats with Ellen-Maree Elliot about how to turn your spice draw, fruit and vegetable crisper and pantry into your at-home department store.
Why are people moving towards do-it-yourself beauty?
I believe people are looking to simplify their lives, and are realizing that many “commercial” products are about 10 percent active ingredient and 90 percent bulking agent or fillers. We are not stupid, we know most of the money we spend on a product goes towards marketing, not the actual ingredients. The trend to a more creative, DIY and eco-friendly lifestyle has also encouraged this change.
What ‘products’ can people make at home?
You can make anything at home! Your kitchen cupboard is a wonderful place to look. Yoghurt, oils, oats, paw paw…these are all fantastic ingredients for cleansers, masks, exfoliants and moisturizers.What you make is only limited by your imagination, but it does pay to do a bit of research because there are some ingredients that will neutralize each other and some, like lemon, that should only be used sparingly as they can irritate the skin.
Do home-made products make a difference, or is it more of an affordable pamper?
I have seen people’s skin really wake up when using natural ingredients (they can eat)! What you are getting are pure ingredients that work well together and support each other to work at an optimal level. There is no substitute for that.
Are there staples for each kind of DIY Beauty Treatment?
Honey is an amazing humectant (draws moisture to the skin) and there really is nothing else like it. Fruit, especially ones like strawberries, paw paw and apple – are loaded with enzymes and fruit acids that chemically exfoliate. Tumeric is wonderful in masks, it is one of the ancient Ayurvedic herbs that really makes your skin glow. Milk is another gentle exfoliant (lactic acid), but it is also very soothing at the same time. Finely ground oats are my own exfoliant of choice.
Are there ingredients that will treat specific skin concerns?
Everyone is different but dry skin can benefit immensely from a honey or avocado mask twice a week. Yoghurt is wonderfully soothing for itchy skin, and it can also be used as a gentle cleanser for dry, sensitive skin. Spots respond very well to antibacterial masks (which can include honey and tumeric), and cooled parsley tea as a toner is also very beneficial for problem skin. If you use the correct ingredients for your skin type you will find that over time your skin will respond and begin to balance out naturally.
Are there any ingredients people with certain skin concerns should not use?
People with eczema skin conditions should avoid lemon or citrus, as should all people who have sensitive skin. Lemon is a potent ingredient that can exfoliate, bleach or lighten the skin, but it is very harsh and can also sensitize skin.
What is your favourite do-it-yourself beauty treatment?
Mine is very simple. I mix turmeric powder or paste with honey and use it on my face. It is a fantastic pre-party mask that really peps up your skin. Tumeric is well-known for its ability to boost cellular health.
Finally, what’s the most important thing Frocksters should know about DIY beauty?
Many recipes have been handed down for generations because they work! It can take a bit of experimenting to make your own and it always helps to get some ideas from the hundreds of books on the subject. And finally, the best, most radiant glow that can’t be replicated starts from the inside. Eat healthfully and eat well!