Coriander: My skin’s new BFF (you may know it as cilantro!)

I have grown up with the sweet, spicy and herbaceous aroma of fresh coriander (also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley) wafting through the house at mealtimes. I know it’s great for lowering cholesterol and treating digestive issues, when taken internally.

However, it wasn’t till I was reading the label on Sunday Riley’s Juno Transformative Body Lipid Serum that it really struck me how this ancient spice is taking over the beauty world. Seriously, look around and you will see that it’s everywhere! Complexion perfecting masks, smoothing body oils, sleekifying shampoos, woody perfumes… coriander forms an integral part of all labels.

And there is a good reason behind it all. Plenty of good reasons.

Coriander, it turns out, is brimming with free radical destroying antioxidants, complexion-friendly minerals and skin boosting vitamin C. It’s also a potent anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal, disinfectant, detoxifier and anti-inflammatory. Plus, it soothes and cools the skin. Time then to figure out what wonders this super-herb can work when used in a beauty recipe right at home. Quite a lot, it seems.

CorianderSkin smoothing coriander face mask

  • Toss 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of chopped cucumber and 1 handful of fresh coriander into a food processor or blender
  • Blend for about a minute, till the mixture starts looking smooth; spoon it out into a glass bowl
  • Apply this mixture on your face and let it sit for 20 minutes or until hardened; then rinse

Good riddance to bad acne coriander treatment

  • Add 1 teaspoon each of lemongrass, coriander and chamomile to a pan
  • Add 1 cup boiling water and let it cool for an hour
  • Pour the herbs and water in a blender and blend on high till it seems like a paste
  • Apply this paste to cleansed skin for 20 minutes, then wash with warm water. End with a final splash of cold water

Refreshing rice & coriander face mask

  • Combine a handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stems), 2 tablespoons plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel in a blender or food processor
  • Pulse until fully blended
  • Combine the mixture with 1 tablespoon coconut milk powder, 1 tablespoon rice powder and 2 tablespoons white kaolin clay
  • Apply the mask to clean skin, and allow to dry for 20 minutes; rinse and follow with your moisturizer

Fresh cilantro in a wicker basket, vintage wooden background, seCoriander & egg white face lift

  • Toss a handful of fresh, rinsed coriander leaves, 2 egg whites and 1/2 cup uncooked oats into a food processor
  • Blend till everything is well mixed and reaches a thick, paste-like consistency
  • Apply this paste to freshly cleansed face; let is sit for 10-15 minutes or until it hardens, then rinse off

Blackhead-busting coriander spot treatment

  • Mix 1 teaspoon each of coriander juice and lime juice
  • Apply on affected areas; leave for at least an hour, then wash off with warm water

Banish those moles coriander salve

  • Grind coriander seeds into a pulp using a mortar & pestle or food processor
  • Apply the pulp to your mole; cover with a bandage and leave for approximately an hour
  • Wash off with a gentle cleanser and moisturize as usual. You should start to see the mole lighten after 10 days. This treatment is safe to use daily and leave longer than one hour, if desired

Getting lippy coriander balm

  • Prepare a mixture of 2 teaspoons of coriander juice and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Apply this all over the lips and leave overnight. Wash off next morning and repeat the same for a few days to reveal smooth pink lips

coriander beauty benefits 3Icky itches coriander paste

  • Make a paste of coriander seeds with a little bit of water and a teaspoon of honey
  • Apply this paste over the itchy skin for instant relief

Healing coriander body oil

  • Soak 1 tablespoon powdered coriander seeds in 1 cup of sunflower, almond or olive oil; let infuse for a week
  • Apply this oil all over your body at night, especially concentrating on areas that have been sunburnt, wounded or scarred; repeat daily

Stop the hair loss coriander oil

  • Add 1 tablespoon powdered coriander seeds to your hair oil and let them infuse for a week
  • Use this infused oil to massage your scalp at least twice a week. This will prevent further hair fall and help stimulate the roots for growth of new hair

Coriander detox remedy

  • Boil 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds in half a litre of water and add a teaspoon of sugar or honey
  • Drink the mixture when it is still warm; repeat thrice a day

My top 10: Coriander-based beauty products

If you prefer off-the-shelf beauty products to DIY home recipes, these are the ones that top the charts!

coriander-beauty-products

Fresh Coriander Lavender Petit Soap

Aesop Coriander Seed Body Cleanser

Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy

Sunday Riley Juno Body Transformative Body Lipid Serum

Jo Loves Green Orange & Coriander Perfume

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

C.O Bigelow Village Perfumer Hand Wash Lime & Coriander

Malin + Goetz Cilantro Conditioner

Coco By Chanel Perfume

Neal’s Yard Remedies Lemon & Coriander Deodorant 

Have you ever tried a coriander-based beauty product or treatment? What was your experience?

5 things I bet you didn’t know about mascara

  • Kohl – history’s first mascara – evolved as an ancient Egyptian solution to ward off the evil eye. It was to be used on eye lashes, brows and the lash line by both sexes.
  • mascara-triviaModern mascara was created in 1913 by a chemist named TL Williams for his sister, Mabel. It was made from coal dust mixed with Vaseline petroleum jelly. Mabel loved it, prompting him to sell it through mail order under the name ‘Maybelline’ – a combination of ‘Mabel’ and ‘Vaseline’.
  • The first waterproof mascara was patented in 1938 by an Austrian dancer – unfortunately, it was 50 per cent turpentine and stank terribly!
  • The first mascaras came in a cake form (pigments mixed with wax in a pot), applied with a wet a brush. In 1957, Helena Rubinstein introduced the first tube mascara with a wand applicator, the model we follow to date.
  • Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara (one of the most iconic mascaras) was introduced in 1971. Even today, one tube is sold approximately every 1.6 seconds.

Want your boobs to look drop-dead gorgeous? Start the pampering. NOW.

Bigger, rounder, firmer, fuller, higher… when it comes to our breasts, almost of us want more of something. Yet, when it comes to looking after these fragile parts, we are almost criminal in our negligence. In fact, we often go out of our way to be hard on them – sleeping on them, stuffing them into ill fitting bras, bouncing them while going bra-less, putting mouths and hands on them…  yes, boobs go through A LOT!

Which is really not a good idea as this is one of the first areas of our body to show signs of premature ageing. That’s because the skin around our boobs is thinner and more prone to stretching than anywhere else, thereby losing elasticity more quickly. Add to this, problems like chest acne, sun damage, abrasive clothing etc etc etc… and you can see why you need to treat your breasts better than your face. Most of us only get one pair (unless we are rich enough to afford surgery), so start being good to them!

breast beautyBreast commandment #1: Deep cleanse & exfoliate

Ever thought of exfoliating your boobs? Why not? This is actually the first step towards a super-smooth décolletage. A scrub-up will remove impurities, help prevent blemishes and speed up cellular renewal, resulting in glowing, more youthful looking skin. BUT stay away from the harsher body scrubs, which can leave tiny tears in this extremely thin skin. Instead, opt for a gentle facial formula with finely ground particles. Dior’s Instant Gentle Exfoliant and Garnier’s Pure Active Exfo-Brusher Wash are superb for the fragile skin on your chest. Or simply add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 tablespoon sugar, mix well and use as a gorgeously natural exfoliator.

As for cleansing, skip the soap and go for a hydrating or clarifying body wash. Bliss Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds is perfect for a deep cleanse sans the dehydration; while Ole Henriksen’s Clarifying Body Wash is great at keeping cleavage calm and clear.

Breast commandment #2: Moisturise & protect

Since the skin on our chest is extremely thin, it’s very prone to dehydration and sun damage. Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor highly recommended smearing a rotten banana in an old bra to firm the bust. She would allow the fruit to turn black (which ups the potassium), then wear it for an hour. Fortunately, there are easier (and less messy) solutions in the form of a zillion skin creams, gels, tonics and lotions specifically meant for the breast area. No, they won’t increase your cup size but they will definitely firm and tighten the skin, creating a smoother, plumped up effect.

A dermatologist suggested Clarins Bust Beauty Lotion to combat concerns about elasticity and collagen when I hit my 30s. It has been a staple on the bathroom shelf ever since. Occasionally, I follow it up with Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Gel or Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray, when hyperpigmentation or acne creeps up.

Follow up with your favorite body sunscreen, with minimum SPF 30. Put it on BEFORE your bra – otherwise you could end up with sunburnt (or worse – permanently sun damaged) boobs.

Need more incentive to become breast-aware? Daily massage makes women more familiar with the way their breasts look and feel, enabling them to detect any changes immediately.

make boobs look good2Breast commandment #3: Pamper

Once a week, use a firming mask all over your boobs. First Aid Beauty’s 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask and Peter Thomas Roth’s 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask are both perfect for tightening and nourishing collagen-hungry skin.

As is this home recipe: blend 4 tablespoons of papaya with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Apply this mixture on your breasts and leave for 15-20 minutes. Then wash off with lukewarm water and watch your skin glow!

For the ultimate in pre-party pampering, book yourself a professional salon bust treatment. Clarins’ Paris Method Bust Treatment uses specific massage movements, while Decleor’s Bust Firming Treatment includes a new sculptural mask for the bust.

Breast commandment #4: Support

It’s also crucial to wear the right size bra (bonus boob points if it’s underwired), since a bad fit can permanently damage breast tissue, leading to unsightly marks and sagging. You’d be surprised at the damage inflicted by something as simple as running up a flight of stairs: When your breasts bounce up and down, they pull and stretch the skin and supporting ligaments, thereby leading to drooping. So, you can imagine how important it is to always wear a good sports bra when doing bosom-jostling activities like aerobics or jogging no matter what your size (even smaller sets are sag-prone). Also important: Replace bras every six months, as they lose a lot of support.

And keep in mind that maintaining a stable body weight is your next best defense against gravity-induced drag: cycles of weight gain and loss (of 10 pounds or more) can pump up, then deflate breast skin.

make boobs look goodBreast commandment #5: Inside out

While spot toning exercises can’t turn an A cup into a C cup, they can help improve the look of your bustline. Working out helps build up the underlying pectoral muscles, creating a foundation that lifts the breasts up and out. So, commit to daily press-ups. An easy way is to grip a horizontal support (window sill, horizontal bar or the arms of a large solid chair) that allows you to exercise from an angle of roughly 45 degrees instead of flat on the floor.

Breast commandment #6: Show them off

You don’t have to “put ’em on the glass”, but showcase your beautiful breasts with a push-up bra and a v-neck shirt: the greatest pairing of products since toast and jam. If that’s too much for you, just enhance them with a touch of bronzer or body tint. I am totally in love with Lush’s Shimmy Shimmy – a solid body lotion that leaves a very subtle, but ever so effective shimmer that lights up the skin.

Or borrow a tip from make-up artists and red carpet celebs on how to use make-up to fake a deeper cleavage: Take two shades of bronzing powder, one in a neutral tone and the other slightly darker. Using a large blusher brush, sparingly dust the lighter shade over your neck, shoulders and chest to create an overall glow. Next, dust the darker shade into the cleavage itself, blending carefully to avoid any obvious lines. The same effect can be achieved by using two tones of tinted moisturiser and blending with the fingertips. Sexy, much?

Do you pay proper attention to your breasts? What’s your secret boob pampering ritual?

All photos courtesy Victoria’s Secret

Beauty DIY: How to remove turmeric stains from your skin

Turmeric is pretty much skincare’s magic elixir, tackling everything from acne and hyper-pigmentation to wrinkles and eczema. But many of us are super-wary of putting this bright yellow spice on our faces, since the Lisa Simpson look is not really too attractive on normal mortals.

So, how to reap this super-spice’s super complexion-saving benefits, sans the yellow after-effects?

It’s actually not that difficult, if you stick to a simple three-pronged approach that begins with using the right kind of turmeric.

Read on.

remove turmeric stainsStep 1: Choose the right kind of turmeric

Always try to opt for organic turmeric. While all turmeric contains curcumin – a natural dye – in small quantities (around 5%), the more generic ones will usually have a hefty dose of artificial colorants as well. Largely, it is these artificial dyes that are near-impossible to get off the skin, rather than natural curcumin, which is oil dissolvable and won’t be anywhere as tough to take off.

If you want to be extra careful, look for kasturi turmeric (curcuma aromatica), which is intrinsically almost non-staining and is superb at clearing acne, inhibiting facial hair growth and brightening the complexion. However, it is not edible and should only be used externally.

Bonus points if you find a whole turmeric root and grate it at home to get the juice for your face masks.

Step 2: Choose the right mixers

It’s easy to simply dunk some water in a couple of spoons of turmeric and apply it on your face. But it’s the worse thing you can do: Turmeric will leave a seriously heavy duty stain if you mix it with plain water.

Instead, try raw honey or milk to cancel out the staining. Make a thick paste with either of these and apply it to your face, then rinse off with some more milk. Finally, wash the face with a foaming cleanser.

Step 3: The finishing touches

Still look like you could walk on to the set of The Simpsons without rousing a trespasser alert? Scientists have discovered that curcumin is 2000 times more soluble in vegetable oil than it is in water. So, gently warm a bit of olive or coconut oil and massage it into your face for about a minute, then wipe away with a cotton pad.

Or you can try my favourite trick: mix some lemon with sugar and scrub your skin with the solution. Since lemon-and-sugar also make for a great exfoliator, this will leave your skin super-clean!

PS: As with everything that touches you skin, I would strongly suggest doing a patch test before embarking on a new ritual!

What’s been your experience with turmeric? Good? Bad? Yellow? And how do you deal with this super spice?