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7 Spices Worth Adding to Your Beauty Routine

These spices do more than make your food taste good—they give you glowing skin and healthy hair. Read on to learn more.

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Ginger

Rich with antioxidants that help fight free radicals, ginger can combat signs of aging like dull complexion, fine lines, and wrinkles when used topically, says Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. For healthy hair and scalp, Dr. Green says ginger also has antiseptic properties that reduce the risk of scalp infections and dandruff.  (Here are more natural treatments for dandruff.) Look for the ingredient in face and body moisturizers, like Origins Ginger Soufflé Whipped Body Cream and hair serums like Shea Moisture African Water Mint and Ginger Detox and Refresh Scalp Elxir.

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Turmeric

Touted as one of earth’s most powerful natural remedies, turmeric provides a host of health and beauty benefits, but it’s especially helpful for reducing pigmentation on your face and evening out skin tone, says Dr. Green. That why you’ll find it in products including Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque. Want to DIY a turmeric facial? Mix a pinch of turmeric with cucumber or lemon juice and apply to your face. Leave it on for around 15 minutes, then wash off. For a body scrub, mix turmeric with flour and water and use it to scrub all over your body before you shower. “A one-time application will be of little help,” Dr. Green says. “But regular use will give your skin a soft glow.” Add these other foods to your diet for beautiful skin.

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Cinnamon

As pleasantly aromatic as it is good for you, cinnamon makes for a magical beauty ingredient. According to Dr. Green, the spice is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin. “Using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin,” she says. Make your own at-home elixir by mixing three drops essential oil of cinnamon with two tablespoons olive oil or petroleum jelly and apply to your face. Check out these other surprising uses for cinnamon.

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Licorice

Forget harsh chemical peels and treatments. If you have hyperpigmentation (skin darkening due to increased melanin production from sun exposure), look to licorice for a lightening agent. Dilute licorice root with water and apply topically for a skin brightening effect, says Dr. Green. And be sure to look for licorice as a key ingredient in skin-lightening facial serums as well. You’ll find it in Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster Serum and others.

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Paprika

This fiery red spice can actually give your skin a touch of warmth, too. “Paprika is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C,” dermatologist Arisa Ortiz, MD, told Allure. “They help absorb free radicals that break down collagen in the skin, so antioxidants help your skin look supple and plump.” Paprika is also known as a vasodilator, meaning it contains properties that cause blood vessels to expand and boost circulation, which is especially helpful in late fall and winter when your skin could use some natural flush. Try this simple DIY remedy from biochemist and nutritionist Paula Simpson for Allure: “Mix one slice of avocado with one teaspoon of raw honey and half a teaspoon of paprika in a bowl, and apply the mixture to clean, dry skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing.”

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Nutmeg

This potent seasonal spice is a superfood for your face, with astringent qualities that boast acne- and eczema-reducing benefits. (Not sure where your breakout is coming from? Here’s what your acne is trying to tell you.) Check out bustle.com‘s recipes for make-it-yourself nutmeg facial treatments, including an exfoliating cleanser for acne, spot treatment, and toning cleanser.

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Garlic powder

Next time you sprinkle this powder on top of your pizza, you might want to sprinkle some on your…scalp? Believe it or not, garlic powder—which is rich in amino acids—could be your secret weapon for a beautiful, healthy mane. According to Women’s Health, a study from the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology shows that garlic applied topically to the scalp and hair is shown to prevent hair loss and stimulate growth. Make “garlic oil” by stirring garlic powder into coconut or olive oil and apply the solution to your scalp and ends. Leave on for a half hour, then rinse out.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest