Life in the jungle along the Guanacaste coast is filled with natural resources to keep our skin and hair healthy and youthful. Here are some tried and true recipes you can make at home with easy-to-find food-based products that are completely chemical free.
Coconut Oil Benefits Hair and Skin
Coconuts are truly a natural resource here in Costa Rica. The oil extracted from the coconut makes an excellent chemical-free product for all hair types, boosting shine, adding softness and remedying damage with essential proteins. And for your skin, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer that helps tame wrinkles and skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. The lauric acid in coconut oil has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which is great if you are dealing with any kind of mild skin conditions due to excess moisture or fungus. Coconut oil can be used as a skin moisturizer, rubbed on hair overnight and rinsed off in the morning or used as an internal supplement: 1 tablespoon per day.
Three Recipes for Shiny Hair:
1. Oil and Avocado Hair Mask: Mix one egg yolk, half a cup of honey, two tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil and two small ripe avocados. Apply the mixture to all of your hair and leave on for one to two hours until it hardens. Shampoo and condition as usual.
2. Beer Rinse: Believe it or not, the natural ingredients in beer nourish your strands and add shine. B vitamins in the malt and hops help repair damaged hair and boost overall body, while maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair's cuticles for enhanced shine. After shampooing your hair, pour the beer over your damp locks, massaging it into your scalp and ends with your fingers for a few minutes. Rinse and apply your conditioner as usual. Your hair will look soft, shiny, and full.
3. Mayonnaise Treatment: The egg in mayonnaise nourishes brittle hair with protein, while the vinegar gives it body and bounce. Rub some mayo on your hair like you would a conditioner. Wrap your hair in a shower cap to trap the heat inside. Leave the mayo on your hair for about 20 minutes and then wash it out with shampoo. It may take two or three rinses to get out completely.
Three Recipes for Soft Skin:
1. Facial Exfoliator: Mix two tablespoons of rolled oats into a small bowl and crush them with the edge of a spoon until a powder forms. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and add enough water to form a paste; then mix in one tablespoon of honey. Gently rub on your face using circular motions and rinse off with warm water. Your skin will glow! Because of the exfoliating effects, it's best to use this remedy once a week.
2. Body Scrub: Mix one cup ground coffee, one cup white sugar, half of a cup olive oil, one tablespoon ground cinnamon and one teaspoon ground nutmeg. Apply scrub over clean, damp skin. Rinse and pat dry.
3. Eye Remedy: Used teabags are great for your eyes. After making tea, drain the tea bags, place one over each closed eye and hold them there for a few minutes. This remedy works especially well after a late night out because it helps reduce swelling and irritation.
The Best Jungle Foods for Glowing Skin:
The vitamin A in mangoes and papaya nourishes skin from the inside out, while antioxidants in dark chocolate help reduce roughness and offer some protection against sun damage. A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa fortified with 326 milligrams of flavinoids a day had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who didn't get as much of the antioxidants. And think of flaxseeds as tiny wrinkle fighters packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help smooth fine lines. Integrate these foods into your diet for great skin.