The Housewife’s helpful post about the many unexpected uses of coconut oil got me thinking of my never-fail beauty remedy– one that also comes from the kitchen. Behold:
That’s right; olive oil. Olive oil provides numerous health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol levels, reducing your chance of a heart attack or stroke, and regulating your body’s insulin secretion. Additionally, it can help lower the risk of certain types of cancers and reduce your blood pressure. Older people who use olive oil regularly might also notice that they experience fewer symptoms that are associated with arthritis. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for me, olive oil can protect your skin from sun damage through its antioxidants, leaving you looking beautiful in any climate.
I first started incorporating it into my beauty routine back in the late 90s, when it was THE food ingredient of the moment. (Remember when you couldn’t go into any restaurant without getting that saucer of olive oil for dipping? You know, I really prefer butter with my bread. But talk about first world problems, so enough about that…)
At that particular point in history, I was living in NYC. I was very young, so my skin didn’t need much help. And since I had no money to spare, that was a lucky thing. Still, the vagaries of an urban, Northeastern climate (after a childhood spent in Southeastern humidity) left me grappling with a dried-out complexion. On advice (probably from some book called something like Live Like a Mediterranean Woman– I will forever and always be a sucker for such books), I began using olive oil as a moisturizer- even on my face!
Now, please remember that beauty routines are specific and idiosyncratic, so I’m not recommending mine to anyone or claiming that it will work for you. But speaking only about my personal experience, I will say that during the period that I was only moisturizing with olive oil, I got constant compliments on my skin. My aforementioned youth might have had something to do with it, and I can’t discount the lucky break I got from my still-glamorous-at-80 grandmother’s genes. Even so, I swear by the olive oil!
Over the next several years, I tried dozens of moisturizers in a variety of price ranges. Many of the “celebrity” skin care lines failed to deliver celebrity results (the one big exception being Creme de la Mer; if you are willing to drop the cash, I believe the original cream is worth it).
Now that I’m the mama to an active toddler, too many things are vying for my resources, and I rarely treat myself to expensive beauty products. Instead I depend on Cetaphil, lots of water, and as much exercise and healthy eating as I can manage. And when I need that extra boost, I exfoliate and then moisturize with a thin layer of olive oil.
I’d love to hear your “kitchen pantry” beauty tricks. How are you finessing Mother Nature’s finest to look your best?
Photo by Lucie Amberg.