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Beauty Tricks to Steal From Your Kitchen

Forget spending money on fancy facials and pricey products. Some of the best natural beauty secrets for glowing skin and shiny hair are hiding right in your kitchen.

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Lemons: A potent anti-ager

This citrus fruit does more than you realize. Lemon can help lighten age spots or freckles effectively and safely. Comb lemon juice through your hair to get salon-worthy highlights. Can’t make time for a manicure? Lemons can whiten and clean your nails. To soften scaly elbows, rough hands, and sore feet, you can mix lemon juice and sugar into an affordable and effective scrub, says DIY beauty expert Alexis Wolfer, founder of The Beauty Bean and author of The Recipe for Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best-Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen. Read more here on how to maximize the beauty benefits of lemons.

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Olive oil: Revitalize dry hair

Your favorite heart-healthy cooking oil boasts some great beauty powers. One of our favorites: Apply as a conditioning mask to make your mane shine. Joelle Noll, a stylist at B. Salon & Spa in Wayne, New Jersey, suggests this recipe: In a small bowl, microwave six tablespoons of olive oil until warm. At the same time, throw a towel in the dryer. Work the oil into your hair with your fingertips, starting at the scalp and working toward the tips. Wrap the warm towel around your head for 30 minutes, then shampoo as normal. You can also relieve dry, itchy skin by applying olive oil after bathing to get a moisturizing effect, says Laurel Morton, MD, a dermatologist with SkinCare Physicians in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Read about more ways olive oil can enhance your looks here.

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Bananas: Soothe as a facial mask

Skip the facialist! Turn to bananas for an all-natural, moisture-rich face mask. Bonus: Making your own mask is cheaper than buying one at the drugstore, says Wolfer, who has loads of DIY facial recipes in her book. One classic mask you can make with ingredients you’re likely to have on hand: Mix/mash together ¼ cup plain yogurt, two tablespoons of honey, and one medium banana; apply to skin for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse off with cool water.

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Avocado: Deep condition hair

Think beyond the guacamole: If you’re suffering from dry hair, whip up a homemade deep-conditioning treatment with an overripe avocado. Take one banana, one ripe avocado, and two teaspoons olive oil. Blend together and massage into your hair from roots to ends, covering well. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with apple cider vinegar and cool water.

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Apple cider vinegar: Treat breakouts and other skin problems

Using apple cider vinegar as a toner can help heal breakouts, says Wolfer. If you have razor bumps, run a cotton ball moistened with undiluted apple cider vinegar over the area to soothe it. To combat oil and shine, Maya Crothers, founder of the skincare collection Circ-Cell, suggests applying a bit of the cider onto a cotton pad after you cleanse (just don’t wash it off your face). One heads-up: Patch test apple cider vinegar on your skin to make sure it doesn’t irritate it.

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Raw honey: Treat blemishes and irritations

Got acne? Dab some raw honey on blemishes, recommends Women’s Health. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse. Honey’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help quell acne-causing bacteria. Honey may also help treat skin irritated by sunburn. Mix one part raw honey with two parts pure aloe gel and apply to the sunburned area, the magazine suggests. Raw honey can hydrate and soothe your hair, according to Noll. “With moisturizing and softening properties, it makes for a wonderful hair conditioner and gives dull hair back its shine,” she says. Take one tablespoon raw honey and two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Use your hands to evenly disperse it into your hair. Rinse after 20 to 30 minutes.

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Baking soda: Swipe on for a natural deodorant

You stash a box in your fridge to help absorb odors, but baking soda can also help you smell better. Dust some powder under your arm to feel fresh, or add a few tablespoons to a warm-water basin for a soothing soak to perk up fatigued, stinky feet. Arm & Hammer says baking soda, a gentle exfoliator, can also help your complexion glow. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Massage lightly onto skin and rinse clean. Noll also recommends using baking soda in your hair by adding a teaspoon to your shampoo and rubbing it into your mane. “This is a great way to remove dirt and oil or residue from product buildup,” she says.

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Turmeric: Keep dandruff at bay

This Indian spice can has been used for centuries as a beauty product; it may be especially helpful in treating fungal infections like dandruff and athlete’s foot. “Turmeric is a natural weapon against fungal infections,” says Bryce Gruber, editor of The Luxury Spot. She suggests mixing a tablespoon of high-quality, fresh turmeric powder with equal parts coconut oil or olive oil and lemon juice. Apply it to the affected areas once a day for an hour for a week. “The repeated attack on the tiny fungi will leave you smooth, soft, and free of skin drama,” says Gruber. (She warns that turmeric can stain so use it in an area of your home that you can clean easily). Turmeric also can help treat acne since it boasts antiseptic and antibacterial properties, says Annie Tevelin, founder of the skincare company SkinOwl. She suggests mixing one part turmeric with one part water or argan oil for an all-over skin mask to purify skin.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Stacey Feintuch
Stacey Feintuch is a seasoned print and digital writer who has worked at numerous health and parenting websites and magazines. She is the mother of two energetic boys and resides in northern New Jersey.