SLIDESHOW: Foods for beauty
If you ever encountered poison ivy, oak, or sumac as a kid, chances are you also came in contact with the infamous oatmeal bath. Wild oats have been used to heal and beautify the skin since as early as 2000 BC, and for good reason. They contain beta-glucan, which forms a thin film over the skin while also penetrating and moisturizing your pores.
The enzymes contained in pumpkin make the wonder food a natural exfoliant, while promoting cellular rejuvenation and strengthening aging skin. Pumpkin also contains fatty acids that promote proper sebum production, thus counteracting both dryness and acne.
Our experience: We added oats to canned pumpkin and stirred in some honey for an adhesive, which made it hard to resist eating the mixture before application. Unfortunately, the honey wasn't strong enough, and chunks of the mask splattered to the ground within seconds, as did our hopes for fresh-as-a-baby's skin.
Most Americans are well aware that they can't get out of bed without a cup of joe, but do they know that coffee also has potent beautifying benefits? The topical application of coffee is said to contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, the power to fight cellulite (we're going to go ahead and call bullshit on this one), and properties that prevent premature skin aging, exfoliate, and reduce inflammation.
Our experience: The coffee-grounds mask made us feel like we'd covered ourselves in bath salts and flooded our skin with caffeine, though that may have been a product of the 48 ounces of actual caffeine consumed during the shoot. We'll still take our coffee in a cup, thank you.
Sugar waxing, otherwise known as Persian waxing, has been practiced since 1900 BC and serves as a safe and cheap alternative to the drugstore variety. The wax is made by boiling sugar, lemon, and water, then cooking the mixture over low heat until it thickens. It smells and tastes amazing -- like hot, concentrated lemonade -- but one word of caution: Allow the mixture to cool before applying it to skin or risk turning yourself into a scalded monster.
Our experience: Maybe it was because the wax wasn't hot enough or because we used an American flag bandana instead of a light cotton strip for hair removal (USA!), but our sugar wax didn't provide the intended results. To compensate, we ripped a chunk of our model's hairs out by hand.
7. Sour cream
Sour cream masks, like yogurt masks, contain lactic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture and promotes collagen production. Since lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid, it removes dead skin cells and evens out skin tones, but increases facial sensitivity to sunlight.
Our experience: We used an entire container of sour cream on our model's face for optimum results and comedic effect. His skin was softer, but his clothing was ruined.
Honey is another pantry staple used in beauty routines for centuries. The sweet bee-byproduct is an antibacterial, meaning it can prevent acne by ridding the face of impurities. Like most the foods on our list, it's chock full of antioxidants, lending it anti-aging capabilities. Honey's moisturizing abilities help soothe and soften both the hair and face.
Our experience: We quickly learned that honey isn't exactly easy to work with. Your best bet is to apply the sticky substance to your hair and face in the nude or while wearing one of those hideous oversized t-shirts your dad refuses to throw away.5. Milk
According to legend, Cleopatra took daily milk and honey baths to maintain her beauty and youthful glow. In the 16th century, milk baths were considered a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Milk baths have made a comeback in recent years, and ready-made varieties are now sold at most beauty stores. To save yourself some cash, make your own milk bath using powdered or whole milk. You can even add some lavender if you're feeling hella fancy.
Our experience, from the model's mouth: "My pores opened up. My skin felt softer. All that shit you would expect a hippie to talk about," he says. "My throat felt weird because it was coated in milk."4. Beets and corn starch
Anyone who's cooked with beets knows their potential to stain anything and everything they come in contact with, which makes them a safe alternative to conventional, chemical-laden makeup. Beets can be used as powdered blushes, cheek and lip stains, and lip glosses. Some methods work better than others. For a lasting blast of color, be sure to use fresh, as opposed to canned beets.
Our experience: It was difficult to get the color to stick on our model's lips, but the stain worked well on his cheeks. We used cornstarch for eyeshadow, which can also be used as a primer for actual eyeshadow. [page]
Eggs have shown up in beauty routines since as early as 3000 BC, when they were used to create nail polish. The albumin in egg whites contains 15 percent protein and 85 percent water. When applied to your face, the water evaporates, leaving the protein to form a tightening film over the skin. The proteins in egg yolks strengthen and condition hair.
Our experience: We decided to combine both treatments by cracking eggs over our heads and letting the yolk and whites drip from our hair to our faces. Peeling off dried egg whites was nothing short of delightful, especially for those prone to picking at sunburns, and it left our skin smooth. For the past three days, our hair has been noticeably softer.
Avocado was supposedly first used in skin care routines by the ancient Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas for revitalization purposes. The fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals in the fruits make avocado a skin and hair care powerhouse, stimulating collagen, moisturizing, and reducing the effects of aging.
Our experience: In the process of applying avocado to our model's face and hair, we learned that it makes a mean hair gel.1. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is touted for its ability to rid the face of impurities. To make your own peanut butter face mask, apply smooth peanut butter to the entire face, wait for it to harden and crack, then peel it off with your fingers. But be wary -- peanut butter sometimes has the adverse effect of causing breakouts, so test a patch of skin first. And if you're allergic to nuts, it goes without saying that you probably shouldn't rub peanut butter all over your mug.
Our experience: We got a little bored and turned our model's mask into a peanut butter and banana sandwich. The peanut butter was a pain to remove, but the softening effects were apparent immediately and the model has yet to break out. And yes, the peanut butter and banana sandwich was, in fact, eaten.
Got any weird food-based remedies or skin regimens you swear by? Share them in the comments section below.