The only beauty detox you will ever need

After a full week of back-to-back weddings, complete with shovelled-on makeup and ultra-late nights, every pore of my skin is crying out for mercy. Time for a hefty dose of Beauty Rx!

Step 1: Cleanse out the gunk

When an event runs from morning to night, it means multiple makeup touch-ups. Result? Skin that gets completely clogged over. And there can be no better way of scrubbing out the gunk from every pore than this simple-yet-potent natural exfoliator, which comes from a Greek buddy who has the most gorgeous skin ever!

Ingredients

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 drop vanilla extract (for a soothing fragrance; recommended but not essential)

Method

1.  Whisk together all the ingredients.

2.  Massage them into your face and neck for a couple of minutes, rubbing in circular motions.

3.  Rinse with warm water and a wash cloth (to remove the oil).

Step 2: Deep cleanse from the inside-out

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Truly beautiful skin needs to be nurtured from the inside out. And this old Russian recipe helps you do just that, upping your beauty quotient multifold.

Ingredients

3 cups water

1 bowl

3 tablespoons dried herb (chamomile soothes dry skin, peppermint controls excessive oiliness, while rosemary and parsley are great for congested, acne-prone skin)

1 tea infuser

1 towel

Method

1. Pour one tablespoon of the dried herb in a tea infuser. Place the infuser in a mug and add boiling water until the mug is full. Infuse for 10 minutes.

2. Boil the remaining water; place the remaining herb in a bowl and pour in the boiling water.

3. Lean over the bowl, draping your head with a towel so that you are inhaling the vapours from the herbs. Remain as long as you can stand the heat or until the water cools.

4. Pat face dry with a clean towel, sip the tea slowly and don’t go out into the cold for at least half an hour. You’ll have a glow that comes from the inside out!

Step 3: Lay on the beauty mask

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Exhausted skin is sluggish skin and you need to rev up the circulation. Besides its circulation boosting powers, this Russian recipe also simultaneously tones, hydrates and refreshes the skin.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon tomato juice

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1 tablespoon (unbleached) white flour

1/2 cup buttermilk (for later)

Method

1. Mix all the ingredients except the buttermilk to form a paste.

2. Apply the paste to your face and neck; leave it on for 5-10 minutes. It may tingle a little as the blood starts flowing. However, never leave anything on it if it begins feeling uncomfortable.

3. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.

4. Soak a cotton ball in buttermilk and apply it all over the skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

Step 4: Toner

Sweeping a slightly slightly astringent toner across newly clean skin preps the perfect canvas for applying moisturiser and completing the beauty detox. There are various type of skin fresheners but one of my favourites is still one that good old mom recommended years ago.

Ingredients

2 lemons

1 1/2 cups cold mineral water

Method

Squeeze the lemons and and strain the juice into a small bottle. Add the mineral water. Use an astringent toner after any of the facial masques. Follow with your favourite moisturiser.

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Bizarre celeb beauty secrets (that you can recreate at home!)

It’s no secret that international models and Hollywood A-listers go to great lengths to look their best on the red carpet. But unlike leech facials or umbilical cord injections, some of these beauty tricks are actually doable by your average non-celeb. Well, if it works for a super model… !

celeb-beauty-secretsEva’s kitchen

Desperate Housewife or not, one can’t deny that Eva Longoria has simply the most flawlessly glow-y complexion in Hollywood. Her secret? A homemade mask made of 4 parts coffee grounds, 4 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice. Piece of cake!

Emma Stone’s grapeseed fixation

The Help actress, who always seems to have flawless skin, reveals that her look doesn’t come courtesy expensive creams – it’s actually the work of grapeseed oil. In fact, the 24-year-old is allergic to many beauty products, so she uses the pure vegetable oil as a moisturiser all the time. Emma jokes that the oil, which costs around US$3 from most supermarkets, makes her smell like grapes “pretty much all the time.” Which, I think, just makes her even more appealing!

Make like Moss

Kate Moss preps for a big night out by dipping her face into a bowl of ice cubes and cucumber slices to tauten up her skin and create a fabulous glow.

celeb beauty secrets 2Kerr goes coco

Australian beauty Miranda Kerr believes that beauty comes from within. So, she has a daily shake made from natural juice and a supplement of chlorophyll and spirulina to help maintain her clear skin. Besides this, she “doesn’t go a day” without four tablespoons of coconut oil – spreading it over her salads, cooking or cups of green tea. Now it might seem like coconut oil is fattening (and it is when taken excessively) but the composition actually makes for more energy and leaner bodies. That’s because it’s composed of lauric acid rather than saturated fat, which has unbelievable health benefits like fighting off bacterial infections, cleansing our bodies, and boosting metabolism, besides warding off breast and colon cancer.

Ramp up the runway quotient

Backstage, models and make-up artists have been known to concoct a powerful face pack consisting of aspirin and honey. The salicylic acid within the aspirin sloughs away dead skin cells and unblocks pores while the honey soothes and softens. Dreamy!

Glow like a Kardashian

A spoonful of sugar helps your skin glow, according to Kim Kardashian, who adds the sweet stuff to her body wash “for a gentle exfoliating experience”.

Gaga over spinach

Lady Gaga claims that drinking spinach juice works wonders on her skin. Dermatologists and nutritionists concur: The phytonutrients in green leafy vegetables such as spinach help the detoxification and biotransformation systems in the body, which is a crucial element in clear and glowing skin.

Gisele’s bed head

This Brazilian beauty often has a sexy, come-hither “bed hair” look in public… and she doesn’t need an army of stylists to achieve the same. Gisele washes her hair at night, ties it up while it’s still damp, then goes to bed. When she wakes up in the morning it looks nice and wavy, so all she needs to do is add a bit of hair serum for a shine.

celeb beauty secrets 3Laundry locks

A celebrity cannot afford to have one hair out of place on the red carpet. So, stylists sometimes use spray-on laundry starch on their tresses, which helps control fly-aways and prevents frizziness even in the steamiest of situations.

Jennifer Lopez’s appetite killer

J-Lo is known for her slender frame and legendary curves but she has an unusual method for maintaining the same. The singer-dancer-actress sniffs grapefruit oil for 15 minutes (there is always a vial on her person somewhere) to reduce cravings and stop her reaching for the chocolates.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the pursuit to beauty? Would you be tempted to follow any celeb fads? Tell me below!

What is your acne telling you?

I always knew that the once-monthly spots that overtook my chin were the result of not-so-stable hormones. However, when my dermatologist took one look at the sudden outcrop of angry zits on my nose and asked me to get my blood pressure checked, it introduced me to a whole new (actually old) science of face mapping, which is pretty much the key to unlocking the mysteries behind problem skin.

Face mapping, which is fast taking centre stage at most clinics nowadays, combines Ayurveda and ancient Chinese medicine with cutting edge dermatologists’ prescriptions to explain how certain parts of your face are connected to other areas of your body. Put simply, think of your face as a map and blemishes as X’s on that landscape. Spots in different zones correspond to different problems. So, with this “map” as your guide, you can address the underlying causes of blemishes and not only make the unsightly zits vanish but also treat the underlying health problem in time.

Pretty awesome, right? Try it out: Here is how to decode breakouts in the basic areas.

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1 & 2: Digestive System — Eat less processed or junk food, reduce the amount of fat in your diet, step up water intake and opt for cooling things like cucumbers.

3: Liver — Cut out the alcohol, greasy food and dairy. This is the zone where food allergies also show up first, so take a look at your ingredients. Besides all this, do 30 minutes of light exercise every day and get adequate sleep so your liver can rest.

4 & 5: Kidneys — Anything around the eyes (including dark circles) point to dehydration. Drink up!

6: Heart — Check your blood pressure (mine was slightly high) and Vitamin B levels. Decrease the intake of spicy or pungent food, cut down on meat and get more fresh air. Besides this, look into ways to lower cholesterol, like replacing “bad fats” with “good fats” such as Omegas 3 and 6 found in nuts, avocados, fish and flax seed. Also, since this area is chock-full of dilated pores, check that your makeup is not past its expiry date or is skin-clogging.

7 & 8: Kidneys — Again, drink up! And cut down on aerated drinks, coffee and alcohol as these will cause further dehydration.

Zone 9 & 10: Respiratory system — Do you smoke? Have allergies? This is your problem area for both. If neither of these is the issue, don’t let your body overheat, eat more cooling foods, cut down on sugar and get more fresh air. Also keep the body more alkaline by avoiding foods that make the body acidic (meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar) and adding more alkalizing foods like green veggies and wheatgrass juice. Another thing that most of forget – dirty cell phones and pillow cases are two of the top acne culprits and this area is what they affect the most!

Zone 11 & 12: Hormones — This is the signature zone for stress and hormonal changes. And while both are sometimes unavoidable, you can decrease their effect by getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating leafy veggies and keeping skin scrupulously clean. Another interesting point: breakouts in this area indicate when you are ovulating (and on which side).

Zone 13: Stomach — Step up the fibre intake, reduce the toxin overload and drink herbal teas to help with digestion.

14: Illness — Zits here can be a sign that your body is fighting bacteria to avoid illness. Give it a break, take a yoga class, take a nap, take time to breathe deeply, drink plenty of water and know that everything always works out!

So, the next time you break out or notice dark under-eye circles, look to your face map: your skin is probably trying to communicate on behalf of the internal organs. However, do remember that, as with all medical issues, it is always best to see your doctor or dermotologist for a proper prognosis. This is just a general guide to head you off in the right investigative direction – just becuase you break out between the brows doesn’t always mean you have a bad liver!

Also read: What is your body acne telling you?

6 super-weird beauty tricks that work wonders

When you have been backstage at enough red carpet affairs and fashion shows, nothing surprises any longer. Putting cellulite cream on the face? But naturally! Getting into a bubble bath after making up your face for a party? Of course! Using Pepto-Bismol as a face mask? Duh! Here are some of the staple beauty shortcuts that I have personally seen in operation over and over again. And each one of them delivers fab results!

bathGet steamy to set your makeup

It sounds counterintuitive but almost every celeb I have met swears by the ritual of applying makeup and then stepping into a hot bath for 10 minutes (no bathtub? Stand near a hot shower!). The steam sets makeup, while the mega-dose of moisture makes skin look plump, fresh and dewy.

Dodge a double chin

Want to get rid of a pudgy chin in a jiffy? Rub a caffeine-rich cellulite cream along the entire jawline. How does it work? Caffeine, being a diuretic, will suck out all excess fluids and reduce puffiness. The effect will only be noticeable for three or four hours but that’s long enough to parade around a party or get through a hot date. Just make sure this stuff goes nowhere near your eyes!

pepto-facialA Pepto-Bismol facial

A tablespoon of the anti-acid Pepto-Bismol (or Gelusil or Digene) not only takes care of your insides before an anxiety-provoking event, it can also save skin. That’s because it contains bismuth subsalicylate – an antibacterial active agent that’s very similar to salicylic acid. So, smooth on some Pepto-Bismol onto your face, let it dry for 20 minutes, then rinse with plain water to help tighten skin, shrink pores and dry out zits. However, it  dries out the skin so use occasionally and not a substitute for a daily acne regimen!

Erase the acne

Have you noticed that celebs never look cakey on the red carpet? That’s not because they always have perfect skin – it’s just that they know how to banish even the reddest zit instantly. Instead of piling on concealer, they dab the spots with nasal spray and Visine (Clear Eyes and All Clear work just as well) eye drops. These contain vasoconstrictors, which shrink blood vessels, thereby taking away the redness and bringing down inflammation – the effect is akin to that of a topical steroid.

De-bloat with apple cider vinegar

Feeling like a bloated mess and nothing fits? Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with half a glass of water and drink up! Within 30 minutes, the vinegar’s enzymes will slow down your gastric juice production and start flushing away the bloat.

Lash booster

Forget all those controversy-laden lash boosting concoctions – simply dab a bit of flax seed oil on your lash line every night. Flax seeds contain Omega-3, -6, and -9, along with B vitamins and lecithin to repair lash damage and stimulate their growth.