Food is the new gateway to health prevention and treatment. Instead of pills, people are choosing natural tonics and elixirs. Instead of chemicals, people are choosing food regimens and natural supplements. This is not to say that modern medicinal treatments aren’t effective or necessary, but simply to highlight that combining natural elements into the medical conversation is an important part of the puzzle.
So, it’s a logical progression that we are looking to incorporate natural products for surface treatment plans as well.
With edible beauty products taking an upswing in popularity, I thought it would be a good time to get the down and dirty on the best products that I could use in my own kitchen. While the outcome provided a broad range of food items, I decided to highlight just a few of my favorites!
Skin and Hair 101
It’s difficult to change up a routine, especially one that is easy and has worked for you. Many of us have spent quality time picking out the right shampoo and conditioner, the lotions that don’t make us break out, and our favorite scents. Yet, all of these store-bought items contain harsh chemicals and toxins that leach into our body and eventually our blood streams. So, it may be time to make some changes!
In my experience, change stems from knowing. So, in order to make those difficult changes a little easier, let’s get to know our skin and our hair in a more intimate way.
Get to Know Your Skin
The epidermis, the medical term for the top layer of your skin, is the largest and fastest-growing organ of the body. Unless you suffer from skin ailments — such as psoriasis, acne, persistent dryness, or eczema — then you probably don’t give your skin too much thought. Yet, your skin is what keeps you cool or warms you up and it protects your tender innards — such as your heart, lungs, blood, and muscles — from pesky, unwanted germs.
On top of that, it’s incredibly porous, which means it’ll absorb anything and everything you put on it.
With that said, not all skin is created equal. Studies have found that overall, your body will absorb around 64 percent of what you put on it, yet, your face, underarms, and genitalia absorb a whopping 100 percent. Think about all those store-bought beauty products containing various chemicals and toxins — such as preservatives, synthetic fragrances, and even formaldehyde — that are then transferred into your body.
It’s scary! Yet, there are options.
This is where edible, all-natural, organic, chemical-free beauty products come into play!
Get to Know Your Hair
Hair is a lot more complex than you may think. On top of that, the myth that your hair is “dead”, isn’t quite true. The structure of hair is created by a durable protein called keratin. This fibrous protein is also found in your skin, as well as in the claws, horns, and hooves of animals. Then you’ve got the follicle, which keeps the hair attached to your scalp, and, at the base of the follicle, the bulb.
While all components of your hairs structure are important and require nourishment, the bulb is the heart of the workings. Within the hair bulb, “living cells divide and grow to build the hair shaft,” while blood vessels provide nourishment and hormones for health, structure composition, and growth speed.
This is why your hair may experience changes based on environmental, emotional, and dietary factors.
There are three stages of hair growth: anagen, the growth phase, catagen, when growth slows and the follicle shrinks, and lastly, telogen, old hair detaches and new hair begins to grow. Based upon your overall health and the quality of the product you use to clean and nourish your hair, these phases have varying time-frames and efficiency.
What are Edible Beauty Products?
Plant-based foods are not only nourishing, but many natural face masks, soaps, and skin rubs have been found to be incredibly effective for treating skin conditions. Home-made beauty products not only give you the power to avoid harmful toxins and chemicals, but they can also save you money. Plus, you can make many of these products right in your own kitchen.
With that said, if you decide to search for purchasable edible beauty products, make sure that the company you choose uses food-grade ingredients such as LOLI Beauty, RMS Beauty, 100% Pure, or Bite Beauty. Also, keep in mind that the products you purchase online may be all natural, but not necessarily edible. So, start a good practice of reading labels thoroughly!
5 Plant-Based Edible Beauty Products
It’s all about the right ingredients when it comes to DIY beauty products. Most importantly, make sure you’re using food-grade products that are okay for consumption. After that, it’s all about deciding what your skin and hair needs. Is your skin dry all the time or do you have dandruff? Stick to more moisturizing ingredients such as avocado. On the other hand, is your skin and hair constantly oily? Try more absorbent ingredients such as clay and baking soda. Here are five of my favorite edible beauty products that you will hopefully fall in love with too!
There are a variety of wonderfully effective, edible beauty products including coconut oil, coffee grounds, coarse sugar, agave syrup, essential oils, and many more! Below, I’ve listed my five favorites that aim to not only beautify, but also keep your skin and hair strong, balanced, and healthy.
This is something everyone should have in their kitchen, even if they don’t use it for edible beauty product recipes. Spirulina is a cyanobacteria algae collected from lakes in tropical climates. It is theorized that Spirulina is as one of the oldest life forms on Earth. On top of that, it’s a superfood. Spirulina is a complete protein — containing all essential amino acids — and it’s a source of “calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and K” and a powerful antioxidant. Some of its most powerful health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing blood pressure, improving muscle strength, and it has been shown to help control blood sugar levels.
Due to its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, spirulina is also a wonderful ingredient for skin care products, especially for those fighting inflammation caused skin irritation such as acne. There are a host of vegan ingredients that you can pare with spirulina for different effects.
For instance, this face mask from The Glowing Fridge combines the spirulina, such as this Super Spirulina Pure USDA Certified Organic powder, with Manuka honey — antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory — and aloe vera gel — great for healing and softening skin. In order to make it 100 percent edible make sure to use food-grade aloe vera. Some DIY face mask products use clay, such this DIY Spirulina Bentonite Clay Mask which combines spirulina with apple cider vinegar — tones, removes dead skin cells, and reduces irritation — and a clay called bentonite — an absorbent clay that has shown to help reduce acne and facial swelling, fight eczema and psoriasis, and can even rebuild damaged tissue.
2. Raw Cacao
We all know chocolate, but how well do you know the main component, raw cacao?
Raw cacao is the essential rudimentary ingredient in all forms of chocolate. It is produced from the cacao or cacoa bean. The bean is roasted and then ground to create raw cacao products, such as nibs and powder. Due to its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory characteristics, raw cacao has been shown as beneficial for immunity, nerve damage, and it protects the body from ultraviolet oxidative damage. On top of that, raw cacao has positive nutritional values including low levels of sugar and calories, and trace amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. Raw cacao also has trace amounts of vitamins B-6, E, and K.
While these are all wonderful health benefits, one of the best things that I like about raw cacao is that it is minimally processed meaning that it’s as close to the soil that it came from as possible.
Raw cacao is popularly used in face masks, lotions, and in shampoo due to its high levels of flavonoids which “increase blood flow to the skins surface.” When we think back to our hair 101, the health of your hair depends on blood flow stimulating the bulb. So, raw cacao might be the perfect thing!
This Healthy Hair RAW Cacao Hair Mask uses 100 percent raw ingredients including raw cacao, fresh banana, ripe avocado, and honey of your choosing (I’d recommend Manuka honey for its bomb health properties!). Fair-haired folks beware though! I’ve heard that raw cacao has the habit of staining the scalp. Instead, try out this edible DIY Raw Cacao Super Antioxidant Face Mask, which uses a mixture of raw cacao, clay, jojoba oil, maca root powder, and green tea, this Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Face Exfoliator purchasable online, or this Raw Cacao Face Mask, which uniquely combines agave, lemon juice, ground organic oats, and, of course, raw cacao powder.. You can also purchase raw cacao butter to use as body butter, such as this Madina RAW Cocoa Butter or this Plant Guru 100% Unrefined Food Grade Raw Cocoa Butter.
3. Manuka Honey
Since I’ve already mentioned Manuka honey multiple times, I decided to simply add it to the list.
Manuka honey is derived from the Manuka bush native to Australia and New Zealand. You may ask, why not buy regular raw honey, which happens to be a lot less expensive. There are a few reasons for this. Personally, I always keep a jar of Manuka honey in the kitchen because it is eco-friendlier, plus Manuka honey is way more potent than regular raw honey. It has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, yet this wonderful ingredient is able to seek out unwanted bacteria and leave the healthy bacteria. If you’re looking to pick out your own jar of Manuka honey, make sure to select the rawest form such as Wedderspoon’s 100% Raw Manuka Honey or Kiva Certified UMF 20+ Raw Manuka Honey.
Due to its thick and granular consistency, Manuka honey makes a wonderful edible beauty product ingredient, in particular in scrubs and exfoliating products. This DIY Scrub with Manuka Honey created by Beauty Munsta combines the powerful benefits of Manuka honey with soft brown sugar, vitamin E oil, and your choice of essential oil. You can also use Manuka honey as a face exfoliate. This is especially useful for acne sufferers as Manuka honey has been shown to fight acne symptoms. For instance, The Kitchen McCabe offers a DIY Brown Sugar Honey Facial Scrub uses only two simple ingredients, raw honey, and brown sugar!
Avocado is one of my favorite foods in the whole world. Not only do avocados contain a lengthy list of healthy fats, protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, but they offer that creamy and rich treat at any point in the day. On top of that, they are one of the most popular raw food products used in DIY beauty products. Avocados are naturally nourishing and moisturizing, making it a great ingredient for hair masks. Plus, due to high levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids, avocados have been shown to help heal or prevent acne by reducing inflammation and aiding in healing broken skin, so they’re also perfect for face masks.
Wellness Mamma has a great total body homemade natural lotion recipe that uses almond or jojoba oil, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil, shea or coconut butter, and your choice of essential oils. Simply had in a few tablespoons of a ripe avocado! In this One Green Planet article by writer Heather McClees, you’ll find three incredibly simple avocado face mask recipes including an Avocado Anti-Aging Mask featuring coconut oil, Anti-Acne Youthful Avocado Mask featuring lemon and oats, and the luxurious Spa-Worthy Avocado Mask to Fight Aging featuring coffee grounds, sugar, and cacao grounds.
For me, avocado has been a lifesaver in the hair department. Moving from the sea level of the Bay Area to the mile high city of Colorado, I found that my hair and skin were (and still are) incredibly dry. This Whipped Avocado, Honey, and Olive Oil Deep Condition Hair Mask by Wholefully has been a savior! You can also purchase organic raw avocado butter, such as this Dr. Adorable Pure Organic Refined Avocado Butter or this H&B Oils Center Unrefined Organic Extra Virgin Avocado Butter in order to save time in the DIY process!
5. Matcha Powder
Last, but definitely not least, is matcha powder! Matcha powder is made from ground and pulverized green tea leaves. Basically, it’s the powdered form of green tea. Yet, it’s a lot more powerful. When you make green tea using leaves, the hot water absorbs some of the wonderful agents of the tea. When you use matcha powder, you are actually consuming those wonderful agents. Matcha has been shown to have many health benefits including “protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging” properties. This is mostly due to the high levels of antioxidants called EGCG and polyphenols, as well as vitamins, and minerals contained in Matcha powder.
Matcha powder is a popular superfood used in many plant-based recipes, yet it is also a great ingredient to use in your homemade edible beauty products. For instance, this Green Tea Matcha Face Mask uses matcha powder, cold pressed virgin coconut oil, and a little water. Due to its staying power, you can also use matcha powder in lotions, such as this Green Tea Facial cream that uses bee wax, almond oil, coconut oil, rosehip seed oil, and matcha powder. On top of that, mix some matcha with an exfoliant and you’ve got a powerful body scrub, such as this Green Tea Sugar Scrub, which uses green tea powder, tea bags, coconut oil, and coarse sugar. Matcha powder can be found on your local grocery store shelf, as well as in a variety of sizes online such as this organic 30-gram tin of Jade Leaf Matcha Green Tea Powder or this 100-gram container of 100% Organic Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Tea Powder.
To begin your DIY beauty product exploration, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, including edible DIY beauty product recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!