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?

Discovering Queen Elizabeth (and Duchess Kate’s) Britain, one beauty recipe at a time!

So, did Queen Elizabeth wake up on her 90th birthday and have a nice laugh at Prince Charles’ expense? Hoo boy, doesn’t seem you’re going to be the king anytime in the near future. After all, the world’s oldest monarch isn’t going anywhere soon, considering her sprightly step and reigns-well-in-hand disposition.

And thank God for that! Because Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (as she was christened after her birth at 2:40 am on April 21, 1926) is one of the most iconic and stylish monarchs of our times. She has many a sartorial success to her name, not the least of all being those super-perky block colours that make sure she immediately stands out in any crowd.

And her style is truly global, replete with a wedding ring made from a nugget of Welsh gold and a coronation dress that was embroidered with English roses, Scottish thistles, Welsh leeks, Irish shamrocks and the national flowers of the Dominions. Her wedding cake was made using ingredients gifted by the Australian Girl Guides.

Queen Elizabeth II also has an abiding love for Scottish country dancing and once wore a stunning gown hand-sewn with 2,091 shamrocks during a State visit to Ireland. Her favourite indulgence is a collection of pretty, sheer umbrellas with different coloured bands to match her outfits.

Besides umbrellas, the queen has an extensive (to put it mildly) collection of jewellery that includes the largest pink diamond in the world. Plus, she owns 88 cygnet swans and all the dolphins, whales, porpoises and sturgeons caught within three miles of UK’s coast.She has launched 23 ships and socially hosts more than 50,000 people at Buckingham Palace in an average year (that has to be exhausting!).

Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) dances with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander, 17th October 1951. The dance was one of the events arranged during their Canadian tour. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) dances with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander, 17th October 1951. The dance was one of the events arranged during their Canadian tour. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But Queen Elizabeth II’s prowess goes much deeper: She trained as a mechanic during the second world war, collected rationing coupons for her wedding dress, has a long association with racing pigeons (such a thing exists?), has seen 12 US presidents and 12 UK prime ministers come and go during her reign (yes, you read that correctly), sent her first email in 1976 (again, yup!), bred a corgi with a dachshund to create the dorgi, was the first titular head of the Church of England to receive a Pope at the Buckingham Palace in 450 years (Pope John Paul II in 1982), has been a working mother to four children (and trust me, with them being brats so very often and her having a brutal schedule, it couldn’t be easy!) and her thoroughbreds have won virtually every major race in Britain.

WHEW!

No wonder the world is celebrating 90 years of this magnificent woman. Which set me to thinking: How do we pretty ladies, sitting thousands of miles from jolly Britain, join in the festivities? And being beauty-obsessed as I am, what could be better than digging out vintage English skincare recipes, going back to the 17th and 18th century world of Britain’s erstwhile royals? After all, the British love their traditions and their peaches-and-cream complexions have always been the stuff of legend. Just see Queen Elizabeth II – there is no way she looks 90!

Thankfully, I am blessed with quite a hefty lineage of Brit-born relatives, so an extensive hunt through old family hideaways has revealed a treasure trove of traditional English skincare secrets that can still hold their own on milady’s makeup table. You are welcome, Duchess Catherine.

British beauty recipe #1: Face saving lemonade

Make a hole in a lemon and fill it with granulated sugar. Then roast the lemon in hot ashes (or on a grill). When you want to use the juice, squeeze out a little through the hole and dab it on with a napkin. Leave on for a couple of hours before rinsing off with cold water. This is perfect for deep cleansing the skin and brightening the complexion.

Why it works: Lemon juice has tons of citric acid, which is a great antimicrobial and exfoliator. Sugar granules make for a perfect natural scrub. The original recipe also called for an application of gold leaf over the lemon rind but that’s (thankfully for everyone who’s not Kate Middleton!) superfluous.

British beauty recipe #2: Virgin’s milk

Pound a few leeks with a mortar and pestle, squeeze out the juice and pass it through a strainer. Just before using, pour a few drops of rubbing alcohol on the juice – it will instantly turn milky. This is a terrific treatment for acne, plus it also keeps the skin soft and smooth.

Why it works: Leeks are anti-inflammatory and contain tons of quercetin, which is one of the beauty industry’s top antioxidants. They have also long been used to reduce scarring and figure in several drugstore treatments.

British beauty recipe #3: Apple-honey face pack

Add a teaspoon of honey to one mashed apple and mix well. Put this mixture on your face and neck. Leave it on for half an hour, then rinse with whey or cold milk.

Why it works: Honey is one of nature’s best moisturisers, while apples are chockfull of vitamins A and C. These make the fruit great at repairing damaged skin cells and exfoliating the dead ones. Milk and whey, in the meantime, are great for strengthening skin tissues.

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) driving an ambulance during her wartime service in the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service), 10th April 1945. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) driving an ambulance during her wartime service in the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service), 10th April 1945. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

British beauty recipe #5: Skin varnish

Taking equal parts of lemon juice and egg whites, beat them together in a glazed earthen pan till the mixture acquires the consistency of butter. Add a few drops of any essential oil (to mask the scent of egg whites). Then wash face with rice water and apply this face pack. Wash off after half an hour.

Why it works: The citric acid in lemon juice banishes dead skin cells, helping unclog pores and making skin look smooth and glow-y. Egg whites are loaded with protein and act as an astringent, while rice water is a great skin softener.

British beauty recipe #4: Feed your face some breakfast

Mix a handful of finely milled oatmeal with enough spring water (or bottled mineral water) to make a paste, then put this mixture on your face and neck. When it dries, rinse off with whey, then with water.

Why it works: Finely milled oatmeal sticks to skin’s surface irritants, which can then be gently rinsed away for thorough cleansing sans the dryness. Plus, it’s a great hydrator.

British beauty recipe #6: The wrinkle smoother

Apply barley water and a few drops of Balm of Gilead (plain ol’ balsam) on your face everyday.

Why it works: Barley water is an ancient remedy for wrinkles, since it nourishes the skin, boosts the growth of healthy tissues and keeps everything smooth, plumped up and unlined. Balsam is rich in vitamins E and C, which slow down skin ageing and protect against inflammation.

London, UNITED KINGDOM: Combo picture of various portraits of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wearing hat on different occasions and dates. Royal protocol decrees that Her Majesty always wears a hat in public, while her face must be visible at all times. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Royal protocol decrees that Her Majesty always wears a hat in public, while her face must be visible at all times. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

British beauty recipe #7: A beautiful bath

Take 2 pounds of barley, 8 pounds of bran and a few handfuls of borage leaves. Boil them in a sufficient quantity of spring water, then pour the decoction into your bath. Nothing cleanses and softens the skin better!

Why it works: Barley is a great hydrator and anti-inflammatory, while borage contains tons of fatty acids – the perfect formula for soothing and moisturizing the skin.

British beauty recipe #8: The royal hand cream

Add half cup of glycerin, half cup of rose water and a quarter cup of witch hazel to a glass jar; shake well. Apply this to your hands 2-3 times daily.

Why it works: Rose water and glycerin are the classic combination used in hand creams for years. Glycerin is a terrific humectant (draws moisture from the air to hydrate skin); while rosewater conditions skin and reduces sun damage.

British beauty recipe #9: Aromatic foot bath

Take four handfuls of pennyroyal, sage and rosemary, three handfuls of angelica and four ounces of juniper berries. Boil these in a sufficient quantity of water, and drain off the liquor for use.

Why it works: Besides the fact that this herb bath smells gorgeous, angelica is anti-fungal and antibacterial. Result? It not only keeps feet free of infections but also dispels stink-producing bacteria. Juniper berries are also astringent and make feet feel nice, cool and fresh.

British beauty recipe #10: The prettiest perfume

Fill a jar with pressed rose petals (or any sweet-scented flowers), add as much glycerin as the container will hold, and cover it tightly. After 3 weeks, you can decant the perfume into a bottle.

Are you as bowled over by Queen Elizabeth II as me? Or not? And what’s YOUR secret homeland recipe?

Beauty DIY: Rose recipes that pack a potent skincare punch

Today, my thoughts keep wandering back to roses… I have no idea why! Maybe it’s the Absolis by Patyka Damask Rose Toning Lotion that landed on my table in the morning. Or the fresh batch of rose water I made last evening… the lush fragrance is still wafting through my rooms. Or the Lancôme Absolue L’extract Regenerating Ultimate Elixir that I have been road testing.

Whatever the reason, roses are everywhere in the beauty world right now. And these fragrant flowers are doing far more than just charmingly perfuming our products: their delicate petals are also chockfull with antioxidants, which help heal skin and reduce inflammation. Plus, they have superb antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making them ideal for a number of skin problems.

In fact, roses were a prominent element of traditional Indian, Chinese, Persian, Arabian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman medicine before making their way to European apothecaries. Which set me thinking: wouldn’t it be amazing if we could harness the therapeutic properties of this precious plant right at the source? Make its beauty benefits even more potent by adding fresh roses to the mix?

So, to help you enjoy a little petal power, here is a bouquet of rose-based lotions, potions and scents. And since roses are said to banish melancholy, I hope these beauty recipes also help to chase away the mid-week blues for you!

First, some tips

  • Use the freshest flowers you can find – ideally, they should be picked on the same day.
  • Where the recipe calls for rose water, you can buy it from the market (look for organic versions) or make it yourself with these easy recipes.
  • Look for organic or pesticide-free blooms since these will be applied to your skin.

Rose petal body polish

How-to: Gently rinse 1 cup rose petals to remove dust. Grind the petals as finely as possible, using mortar and pestle. Mix the ground rose petals with 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup 1/4 cup buttermilk powder1 teaspoon cornmeal and 3-5 drops of rose absolute oil. Pour everything into a food processor and process until you have a fine mixture. Add just enough olive oil to create a paste when you want to use the scrub. Store remaining mixture in a lidded container.

The science: Roses boost the body’s circulation, while simultaneously purifying the blood by flushing out wastes and toxins.

Floral bath soak

How-to: Mix together 3 cups Himalayan pink salt3 cups Epsom salts, 1 cup baking soda, 2 cups rose petals, a few drops of glycerin and 1/2 teaspoon rose absolute oil. Add the blend to a warm bath, then slip into the tub and relax for 10-15 minutes in fragrant bliss.

The science: Rose petals are a staple in Ayurvedic medicine to calm, clear and soothe both mind and body.

Rose & almond body oil

How-to: You’ll need 1 cup of rose petals (2-3 roses) and 1 cup of almond oil (rich in vitamins E and D, yay!). Put the petals in a jar, crush them up a bit with a wooden spoon and pour in the oil. Let the mixture sit for 1 week, then strain and use. This feels so good right out of the shower and smells delish!

The science: Rose oils help reduce swollen spots or redness on your skin. Its calming properties can also help sooth rosecea and eczema.

Refreshing rose toner

How-to: Mix together 1 cup rose water, 6 drops of glycerin and 3/4 cup witch hazel. Pour into a sterilized bottle. To use, moisten a cotton pad with the rose toner and swipe all over your face after cleansing.

The science: As a natural astringent, roses help tighten pores and restore suppleness for a glowy complexion. Unlike conventional alcohol-based toners, this leaves skin feeling smooth, not dried out. Plus, the addition of glycerin and witch hazel make this recipe astringent and hydrating.

Fresh rose face mask

How-to: Mix together one teaspoon of honey, 6-8 rose petals, two teaspoons rose water and one teaspoon plain yogurt; stir till you have a smooth paste. Apply this on your face and neck and wait for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Skin will feel super-hydrated and shall recover its lost nutrients.

The science: The natural oils found in roses help lock moisture into the skin, keeping it silky smooth. They are especially good for sensitive skin because the sugars in rose petals soothe the complexion.

Deep cleansing rose face mask

How-to: Mix 3 tablespoons of rose water with 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons of oat flour. Apply this paste for about 20 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Your skin will be deep cleansed and feel super-supple.

The science: The naturally antibacterial rose water is great for treating acne and acne-prone skin. Plus, the sugars found in rose petals add to their soothing effect, helping calm down troubled complexions.

Rose renewing moisturizer

How-to: Pour 2 cups of rose water in a small mixing bowl. Then break 2 vitamin E capsules and squeeze their contents into the bowl. Add 4 teaspoons each of olive oil, honey, coconut oil and rose water. Mix well and transfer to a container that has a lid. Refrigerate when not in use.

The science: Roses contain high amounts of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen skin cells and regenerate skin tissue. It also helps protect skin cells from sun damage other environmental toxins, thereby preventing premature ageing.

Rose petals hand cream

How-to: Mix 1/3 cup glycerin and 2/3 cup rose water. Store in cool dry place.

The science: Rose oils are not only incredibly moisturizing, they also help stimulate circulation in the skin while simultaneously tackling thread veins and broken capillaries.

Smoothing & plumping rose lip balm

How-to: Well rinsed and lightly blotted rose petals ground with beeswax can heal dry lips. Keep in a small covered tin to apply easily throughout the day. The darker the color of the rose, the darker your lips will become.

The science: Roses contain high levels of vitamin C, oils and proteins, which help keep skin soft and moisturized. Plus, it has retinol (vitamin A), which treats lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

No-sweat rose tea

How-to: Combine 4 cups boiling water, 1 teaspoon dried hops1 teaspoon stinging nettle, 1 teaspoon fresh rose petals, 1 teaspoon dried strawberry leaves1 teaspoon walnut leaves and 3 tablespoons dried sage leaves. Cover and steep for an hour. Strain and sweeten with honey if desired. Besides being aromatic and calming, this tea can also reduce excessive perspiration.

The science: Rose oils inhibit water loss from the skin and lower the concentration of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body.

What are your secret recipes – or product picks – for these pretty petals?

How to look expensive (without robbing the bank!)

Want to look fabulously high-end even when basic necessities (a tank of gas) often trump little luxuries (expensive eye cream)? It’s entirely possible with a little help from Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s book – How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank, in which the beauty industry’s top insider (she’s a Contributing Editor at Glamour, was Editor-in-Chief of Sephora.com and Beauty & Fitness Director at Cosmopolitan) reveals secrets gleaned from the world’s most famed hair stylists, makeup artists and skin specialists for looking your best for less. Here are my top 10 how-to’s from the book.

look expensive1. Los Angeles celebrity facialist Stacy Cox’s DIY kitchen peel recipe mimics dermatologist-office results: Mix 3 tablespoons apple juice (contains malic acid, which is a gentle exfoliator) with 3 tablespoons milk (lactic acid, a more intense exfoliator) and 1 egg white (to firm the skin). Apply for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

2. Mammoth pores? Dr. Bobby Buka, the New York “skin star”, suggests soaking gauze in soy milk and applying it as a mask an hour before bed.

3. Dr. Buka also has a solution for puffy, baggy eyes: Make ice cubes out of green tea and massage one under each eye till it melts. No ice? This solution from Ole Henriksen will work just as well: Grate a cucumber, divide the flesh and juice evenly, then roll it up into two seperate strips of gauze to make a mask for each eye. This optimises the cucumber juice, allowing it to seep through for the greatest depuffing action.

4. Lustig’s own favourite trick is to use coconut milk as a body moisturiser. Open a can and let it solidify in the fridge. It will turn into a solid butter you can use on your skin to make it silky soft: “…you’ll be able to get just as much moisturiser out of that one can as a tube of expensive body cream… but it’s natural and smells beyond!”

5. Swap dry shampoo for corn starch baby powder, says hair supremo Creighton Bowman. Makes sense, since this ingredient makes up the base of many dry shampoos anyway. AND it comes in an easy-to-use sprinkle container. To apply, pour a little in your hands, clap palms and rub them together, then run through strands. Voila!

6. For eyes that look dramatic without the faux-lash effect (which is just tacky), makeup pro Vanessa Scali often applies a volumising mascara from the root to the centre of the lash and a lengthening formula from the centre to the tips. The result is “gorgeously lush and seductively lengthy” lashes.

look expensive 27. Sometimes, especially when you are wearing a strong lipstick, it’s best to leave eyes bare with nothing but a touch of mascara. Makeup artist Talia Shobrook likes to dip an eyeliner brush into a thin mascara and use it at the very base of the lids – like liner – to invisibly emphasise the eyes (not glossy or matte like eyeliner, it just looks like you are wearing mascara).

8. Looking for an air brushed effect? Makeup pro Bobby Wells suggests spritzing your foundation brush with Evian Facial spray or a moisturising mist before using it. This will thin out your makeup, make it blend in easier and look more diffused.

9. And that’s not all: celebrity makeup artist Paul Podlucky spritzes finished makeup with a hydrating mineral or vitamin-infused water spray (or even just tap water in a spray bottle!) like MAC Fix+, holding it about 10 inches from the face and then letting skin air-dry to give it a fresh, dewy radiance. It will also take away any chalkiness, smooth out foundation that’s crept into fine lines and thin down a too-heavy application.

10. Finally, who can resist perfume? Beauty heiress (and now creator of her own makeup range) Aerin Lauder, spills the secret she learnt from her grandmother, Estee Lauder: Spray the scent onto your hairbrush. It will cling to natural oils in your hair and make you smell delicious without becoming overpowering.

What are some of YOUR favourite tricks for looking expensive?