Edible Elixirs: How My Pantry Became My Beauty Sanctuary

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I love being able to turn to the kitchen when I need something for my skin or hair. It’s inexpensive and convenient, and since the ingredients are natural and edible, they can be used without risk of damage or irritation. I was an actress for most of my adult life, and I never thought I would do anything else —until I began making self-care products. Each one is a story, and the ingredients are the characters. The magic is in how they come together to complement and contrast. There is no right or wrong way to combine natural skin and hair care ingredients. You can customize your mixtures according to your needs and preferences.

Following are the items you’ll always find in my pantry. A note on using animal ingredients: It is always important to thank the industrious bees that created the honey and the chikan ens that laid the eggs. I like to pour a little of their gift on the earth as a reminder to be grateful.

Aloe 

Most of us know aloe from using it to soothe a sunburn, and its cooling effects come from hormones that help heal wounds and calm inflammation. I drink aloe juice (see here) occasionally to deliver these same effects to my entire body. 

Amla Fruit 

This beautiful Indian fruit ripens on the tree and bursts open in autumn. It is full of antioxidants and provides us with so many of our nutrients. It can help skin, hair, and hormonal balance and will continue to give and give. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar has been used for beauty since ancient Roman times, and the empress of Hungary was said to have had beautiful skin from applying it to her face as toner. It is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, which makes it great for calming acne and helps to balance the skin’s pH. 

Avocados 

Avocados are full of good fats and moisture for your hair and skin; your body will rejoice in soaking them up, inside and out. The avocado is a dignified fruit with beautiful emerald-green flesh that gives your skin a big caress of lusciousness.

Bananas 

Bananas are full of potassium, which helps to strengthen hair, repair damage, and prevent breakage. They also contain potent antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E and zinc, which can prevent aging and nourish the skin. 

Bhringaraj 

Bhringaraj symbolizes reverence for the sacred masculine. It promotes hair growth, can create lustrous hair, and calms the nervous system.

Egg Yolks 

Egg yolks are rich in sulfur content, which helps relieve dandruff symptoms and maintain a healthy scalp. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and lecithin, which aid in moisturizing and strengthening hair. Lecithin acts as a natural emulsifier, which means that it binds together the ingredients of a homemade hair mask and converts them into a homogenous mixture. I get eggs from my own chickens, Frida and Maria.

Green Tea 

Green tea is abundant in potent antioxidants. When applied topically, it helps flush toxins from the skin, reducing inflammation. 

Honey 

In ancient Greek myths, honey was called ambrosia, the food of the gods. The humble bees who work so hard to create this elixir of life are constantly feeding us. Honey is sweet and dewy, a balm for our skin, soul, and the planet. It’s simply divine, antibacterial, and super moisturizing, so it can help calm acne and give your skin a glow. Use raw honey, as processed honey has been stripped of its beneficial probiotics and enzymes. 

Lemons 

I love to drive through Ojai and smell the fresh neroli and lemon blossoms scenting the air. Bright and energetic lemons remind me of the sun; just a whiff can create that happy energy in your mind. Lemons can also serve as an excellent toner for your skin.

Nutmeg 

Nutmeg is known in Ayurveda for its antiseptic and antiviral properties, which make it great for helping to heal acne and reduce scarring.

Papaya 

Papaya is known as the “fruit of the angels” due to its delicious taste and numerous health benefits. The fruit contains papain enzymes that work wonders in removing dead skin cells, exfoliating the skin, and nourishing it with essential vitamins like A, C, and E. Certain vitamins play a crucial role in keeping your skin healthy and youthful. They protect your skin against harmful environmental factors while reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This results in a complexion that is smooth, radiant, and glowing.

Pearl Powder 

Pearl powder reminds me of moon dust, yet it comes from seashells in the ocean. It feeds us with minerals that we are lacking so that we can shine like iridescent moon pearls.

Pineapple 

Kauai is my land of bliss. I love to walk upon its earth and pick its exotic fruits. I especially savor the nectar of pineapple on my tongue, mashing the pulp between my fingers and feeling the juices run across my skin. Pineapple is one of many tropical fruits full of antioxidants and exfoliating enzymes to make you glow.

Raw Milk 

Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk still contains many good bacteria and enzymes to feed your skin. Now, more and more dairy companies are producing raw milk, and some food companies sell it. Finding it might take a bit of research, but it will be well worth it! If you can’t find raw milk, make sure you use organic milk that has not been treated with hormones.

Rose 

Roses are the queen of all flowers, with a higher measure of chi than any other. Mother Mary is represented by the rose, the most divine flower. It is beautiful for the skin, the heart, the soul, and the spirit. Rose oil, crushed rose petals, and rose hip oil are all anti-aging, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory.

Royal Jelly 

As a beekeeper, I have such a reverence for the bees. Hair can become brittle from the water and the air. Rubbing just a little bit of royal jelly—a secretion of worker bees that feeds the larvae and is full of amino acids and protein—through the strands of your hair or the roots at the scalp and allowing those precious nutrients to soak in can give you luscious locks. Rich in protein, vitamins B₁, B₂, and B₆; biotin; and folic acid, royal jelly is excellent for rejuvenating the scalp and helping to prevent prematurely gray hair.  

Saffron 

O saffron, you represent the nights of Persia. You smell like summer, and you shine like the bright sun. Grains of white rice become a celebration when touched by your golden hue. You illuminate the face and open the heart to endless possibilities. Saffron is a natural ingredient known for its ability to clarify the skin and tone. Even the aroma of a few silky red strands can awaken you to the powers of this magical ingredient. It is a highly sought-after ingredient in the beauty industry. Various skincare products often use it to promote healthy, radiant skin.

Sandalwood Powder 

Not only does sandalwood have a beautiful, uplifting scent, but it also reduces pigmentation and scarring and helps to heal blemishes.

Shatavari 

Shatavari is a wonder herb from the ancient land of India that is especially good for women. It makes your hair shine and your skin glow and calms your hormones. 

Shikakai 

Shikakai is an Ayurvedic herb often used to cleanse the hair because of its astringent, anti-dandruff properties. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, which nourish the hair. 

Turmeric 

Turmeric is like powdered gold and sunshine. When used on the skin or taken internally, it can create optimal health and vibrancy and help heal and prevent inflammation. The wealth of the earth is available to us through turmeric.

Water 

Having access to clean water should be so simple. Sadly, it is not. For those of us fortunate enough to live where tap water is potable, we know it is still rarely healthy and has often been treated with chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride.

When bottled in plastic, chemicals can leach from the packaging into the water, leading to liver and kidney stagnation and toxic buildup.

It’s preferable to have a water filtration system installed in your home, buy water in glass bottles, or get water directly from a spring. Mountain Valley and Castle Rock are two brands that I like, and FindASpring.com can help you locate spring water in your area. 

Yogurt 

Creamy yogurt is like a sweet, cooling embrace on a hot summer day. It is alive, full of beneficial enzymes and probiotics, and is a superfood for your skin. Plain yogurt contains zinc, which is anti-inflammatory and promotes cell reproduction; lactic acid, which is mildly exfoliating and great for wrinkles; calcium, an antioxidant that facilitates skin renewal; and B vitamins, which help keep skin glowing. You can mix yogurt with other ingredients to make a mask or use it as a moisturizing treat for skin and hair.

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