Imagine your tired limbs sinking into a delicious vat of steamy hot chocolate. Or your hair sending off tiny little wisps of aromatic wonderfulness every time you shake your head. Or your fingers being caressed by smooth slabs of creamy chocolate as the magic takes over all the senses. Or… tempted yet? I thought so.
Thankfully, this weekend, which comes close on the heels of International Chocolate Day, is all about chocolate-based skin and haircare. After all, this ‘elixir of the Gods’ has a zillion beauty benefits. To start with, chocolate has thrice the oxidants found in green tea, making it a potent weapon against premature ageing. It also hydrates and softens the skin, while acting as a potent detoxifier. Plus, its oils are excellent at getting rid of stretch marks and cellulite. No wonder cosmetic-makers have been using cocoa butter as a moisturizer since the mid-19th century.
And that’s not all. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine and serotonin – ‘feel-good’ substances that are naturally released when we’re happy or in love. So, when life gets stressful, turn off the phone, turn down the lights and mix up your favourite chocolate-based beauty recipe. Taking care of one’s skin never felt or smelled so good.
Why it works: This scrub increases circulation, detoxifies the complexion, boosts hydration and fights skin-damaging free radicals. The result is soft, smooth and supple skin.½ cup cocoa powder 1/3 cup Demerara sugar ½ oz sweet almond oil Honey
Combine all the ingredients using enough honey to form a paste. Gently apply this paste to freshly washed skin; lightly massage with your fingertips and then rinse off with warm water.
Beauty recipe #2: Clarifying chocolate mask
Why it works: The oatmeal soaks up excess oils while doubling as an exfoliant. The honey helps refine pores, kills surface bacteria and reduces inflammation. Chocolate’s polyphenols banish fine lines and wrinkles… while lifting your mood.3/4 cup lukewarm water 1 cup instant oatmeal 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
Stir all the ingredients until well-blended and apply the mixture to your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then lightly scrub it off with lukewarm water.
Beauty recipe #3: Hot chocolate bath
Why it works: This milk-and-chocolate combo soothes and softens your skin. The comforting, super-indulgent feel-good factor is an added bonus.2 tablespoons cocoa 2 cups warm milk 3 drops vanilla essence
In a bowl add cocoa powder, pour in the warm milk and stir until completely combined. Add the vanilla essence. Pour the mixture into your bath while it is running. Hop in and enjoy.
Coarsely grind the almonds in a blender or coffee grinder. In a bowl, combine oatmeal, cocoa butter, honey and ground nuts. Rub into your hands and feet, cover with cotton gloves and socks, and leave on overnight. The next morning, remove the gloves and socks and rinse.
Beauty recipe #5: Chocolate hair conditioner
Why it works: The 1-2 punch of smoothing coconut cream and shine-boosting cocoa tame even the frizziest and most indisciplined strands.
Mix both ingredients in plastic bowl. Shampoo and use in place of regular conditioner. Use once a month or as often as necessary.