natural remedies for beauty and health

Does your skin need a serious cold weather pick-me-up, yet you’re not up for splurging on professional facials and body scrubs, or skin care products that make inflated claims? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, here are some great alternatives that may be in your kitchen right now. If you’ve been spending too much time outdoors in the cold or indoors in the dry heat, these natural skin tonics and exfoliants will soothe and tone your skin.

What’s even better — these natural remedies for parched and tired skin are probably in your fridge and pantry right now. Take the first three — cucumber, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice — internally as well as externally to boost your glow!

cucumbers on the white wooden background with polkadot cloth

Cucumber is well-known for its hydration benefits, both inside and outside the body. You not make any fancy concoctions; just take a slice of juicy cucumber and run it all over your face. You can go right up to and around your eyes, because cuke is so non-irritating (it’s also known for reducing eye puffiness).

Leave it on for a while, either at night after you remove your makeup. Rinse off before going to bed, and apply skin cream. Silica and other minerals are what make cucumber so good for the skin; it also soothes sunburn.

Apple cider vinegar is already legendary for its benefits as a general health booster when taken internally. But did you know it’s also great for the skin? Use only raw, organic, and unfiltered organic ACV, like Bragg. Dilute it 50-50 with water. Dip a cotton ball or pad into it, and cleanse your face with it. Leave on for no more than 30 minutes.

ACV is rich in alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin, and leave it feeling brighter and refreshed. This kind of ACV treatment may also be helpful in the clearing acne and fading age spots if done regularly.

Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, so they’re a natural choice for exfoliating and brightening the skin — a gentler, kinder, and cheaper alternative to chemical peels. For even more benefits, combine an equal amount of lemon juice and coconut water and apply to your face (you’ll only need a teaspoon or so of each) with a cotton ball or pad. While the lemon exfoliates and brightens, the coconut water hydrates.

Or, keep it simple and just take a slice of fresh lemon and run it around your face (unlike cucumber, don’t get it too close to your eyes. Leave on for as long as you’d like, then rinse or follow with a homemade exfoliant (following).

Brown cane sugar in wooden spoon. Crystalline brown sugar.

Natural granulated sugar is much simpler to use than the much-touted oatmeal as a skin exfoliant. Oatmeal does work, but what a mess it makes! I like to use natural unbleached sugar like with slightly larger crystals than table sugar. Simply take a little into the shower with you so you can rinse it off as you go, without leaving a sugar trail. Simply rub gently around the body, paying special attention to rough skin areas like elbows, knees, and heels. Sugar is something we all need to eat less of, but your skin will love it! If you’d like to do a sugar scrub on your face, it’s nice to mix a teaspoon or so with an equal amount of olive oil, skin cream, coconut oil; rub gently around the face for a minute or so, then rinse.


Sea salt is another natural exfoliant, and perfect for the body. Use the same way suggested above for sugar, while you’re in the shower. Sea salt is rich in trace minerals that stimulate and rejuvenate skin cells. It’s also great to use mixed with a little bit of skin oil (almond oil is great for this). Rub gently around the body. It’s best to use natural sea salt rather than table salt. Take care not to rub too intensely with larger crystals, to avoid scratching your skin.

Baking soda is an ingredient in many exfoliating products, so why pay the extra bucks when you can use it more effectively and cheaply right from the box? It’s gentle enough to use daily. Mix with just enough water to make a medium thick paste. Rub gently around your face for a minute or so, then rinse. It’s a good body scrub, too, used very much in the same way as natural granulated sugar and sea salt, above. Here’s an idea for combining baking soda with essential oils for a body scrub that’s extra-special!

And while you’re at it, baking soda is also good for whitening the teeth. Sprinkle a little onto your toothpaste when you brush.

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