Beauty recipe: A super-easy DIY treatment for smooth and glow-y feet

It’s the last leg of strappy sandal season, so why not make your feet feel a whole lot happier – and more glow-y – right about now? It’s super-easy with this great DIY treatment that’s much favoured by celebrity pedicurists!

DIY pedicureIt’s simple enough: Puree together 2 cucumbers, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a blender. Divide this mixture into 2 plastic bags; slide one leg into each bag and massage the cucumber mask all over the foot. Leave your feet in the bags for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Why does this work to make feet all soft and smooth? The lemon helps exfoliate dry and dead skin; the olive oil deep moisturises; and the cucumber is super-refreshing. I want to go try this right now, don’t you?

Could chocolate replace sunscreen? Possibly, yes!

Need another excuse to gorge on chocolate? German researchers at the University of Düsseldorf have demonstrated that eating chocolate rich in cocoa solids and flavonoids (aka dark chocolate) can protect you from sun damage. And this is not about slathering the good stuff all over your body. It works only when you eat the chocolate since this releases antioxidants epicatechin and catechin that shield skin from the sun… yipppeeee!

chocolate sunscreenUnder the German study, women who consumed 326 milligrams of high-flavanol cocoa per day for 12 weeks had decreased sensitivity to UV light versus the participants who had just 27 milligrams per day. Another bonus for chocolate lovers? The women who ate more chocolate had smoother, more hydrated skin at the end of the experiment (16 percent denser, 11 percent thicker, 13 percent moister, 30 percent less rough, and 42 percent less scaly).

But here is the key question: Can you realistically add enough chocolate to your diet to reproduce these benefits? According to the researchers, it’s not that difficult: flavonoid quantities in the cocoa used for the experiment were “similar to those found in 100 grams (a little over 3 ounces) of dark chocolate”.

A word of caution, though: The study doesn’t claim that chocolate will provide adequate sun protection all on it’s own, so be sure slather on your broad-spectrum SPF while munching the sweet stuff on the side. That said, I declare this a good enough excuse to label my bittersweet indulgence as a therapeutic measure! So, tell me: what’s your favourite brand of dark chocolate? I need the suggestions to stock up for my skin!

Still smoking? Here’s 6 ways quitting will make you prettier (your skin and hair will thank you!)

This one is a shout-out to one of my very, very best friends who cannot give up on smoking. She will try but go back. Again. And again. Yes, sweetie, you know who you are! As does everyone else who is hanging on for dear life to the cancer stick. I’m not telling you anything new when I say it’s horrible for your health – deadly, in fact. But if that isn’t enough to convince you, then how about the fact that smoking is making you ugly? Don’t believe me? Take a look here.

smoking-beauty-effectsYour skin will be much (much) smoother

Cigarettes do absolutely nothing to make you look cooler. Or younger. In fact, smoking ranks right on top of all beauty sins. Researchers estimate that after 20 years of smoking, skin ages an additional 20 years. Plus, smokers have 3 times more wrinkles, crow’s feet and furrows around the mouth compared to nonsmokers. And their skin is 40% thinner. According to Dr. Jim Nethercott from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, “One puff releases countless free radicals into your lungs, which cause tissue damage and ageing.” Add to that the 4,000 toxins contained in the smoke that damage your elastic fibres and collagen, which keep the skin strong and flexible. End result? An “old before its time” complexion.

Smokers have 3 times more wrinkles, crow’s feet and furrows around the mouth compared to nonsmokers. And their skin is 40% thinner.

Your skin will glow

Smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels throughout your body, including those that supply the skin with oxygen and nutrients. And it depletes your body of vitamin C, which is a key ingredient for keeping skin plump and moist. And it makes the skin more vulnerable to sun and other environmental damage. And the smoke itself discolors the skin – causing an ashen, washed-out appearance. Do I need to say more?

quit smokingYou’ll have lesser dark circles

The toxins in cigarette smoke damage the delicate tissue around your eyes, thereby making dark circles much, much more horrible. Thankfully, the skin is a very forgiving tissue and quitting can reverse the smoking damage – if you do it in time.

You’ll have whiter teeth and nails

We all know smoking yellows your teeth, causes bad breath, and, if you smoke enough, stains your nails as well. All of this can be reversed… if you stop, that is.

Your hair will improve radically

Hairdressers say they can immediately spot a smoker by the state of their hair. The chemicals can starve your hair of oxygen and make it dull, lifeless and brittle.

You’ll be thinner

Yes, you read that right. While it’s commonly believed that cigarettes make you thinner, actually smoking creates an imbalance in hormone levels, which alters your waist-to-hip ratio. Result? You end up with a pot-belly and spindly legs. You may weigh the same, but you’ll look more podgy.

Do you smoke? Do you know anybody who smokes? Will you be doing some careful thinking after reading this?

How to cleanse all the gunk out of your skin (it’s the fastest way to a glowing complexion!)

I admit to being a bit of a freak about cleansing my face, especially after a horrid scare with adult acne. Now, my bedtime face washing ritual is more luxe than lax – I love to pamper myself in the way (I imagine) Marie Antoinette would have done after a glistening ball at Versailles. After all, cleansing is what sets the stage for all your skincare, so it’s essential to get it right. Over-cleansing or harsh products can cause irritation, dry patches and redness. Not cleaning well enough can leave pores clogged with grime or greasy residue that clogs pores and reduces the efficiency of serums and moisturizers. So, here’s how to suds up correctly to get your best, most beautiful, healthy and princess-y complexion ever.

wash face

  • Use different products for your face and body. Since body skin is thicker, those cleansers are tougher and contain detergents and chemicals that strip oils – a strict no-no for facial skin.
  • Take your time. Gently massage in the cleanser for 30 seconds, and then let it sit there for another 30 seconds, before rinsing thoroughly. The cleanser binds to the skin’s oil and debris, removing it while rinsing, and it needs more than a couple of seconds to achieve that.
  • For the most effective deep cleansing, cop this tip from Clarins therapists: start by slathering liquid cleanser over your face, then lay both palms flat against the skin. Keep lifting hands away from the skin in brisk motions, repeating for half a minute. This technique creates suction and flushes out toxins effectively.
  • Avoid cleansing more than twice a day. Too-frequent washing can dry and irritate your skin or stimulate oil production, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts. If you need a midday pick-me-up, just rinse with water.
  • If your skin still seems dull, try twice-weekly exfoliation and a deep cleansing mask. These remove trapped debris and dead cells, rejuvenating skin and allowing products to penetrate better. Stick to gentle scrubs, with micro-beads for fragile facial skin, and chunkier crystals for the body.
  • Remember that it’s more important to wash at night, than in the morning – because of the dirt, oil, and makeup that your skin is subjected to all day long. There is no greater skin sin than going to bed with gunk on your face!

Now tell me, what’s your nightly face cleansing routine like? I promise not to judge.