Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mercredi: The Art of Beauty

It's strawberry time in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a wonderful time of year for everyone from bakers of pies to makers of preserves.  It also happens to be a wonderful time for those who make their own beauty products.

Strawberries are not only healthy snack but, when prepared correctly, they are wonderful for your skin.  They are full of alpha-hydroxy acids, a buzz word you’ve doubtless seen more than once in advertisements for skin care products when the issue of exfoliation comes up.  The difference is that the strawberries natural acids are much gentler than the replications made in labs.  This makes their use ideal for people with sensitive and/or aging skin.

This mask will wash away dead cells and even coax gunk out of your pores (blackheads, beware) without the irritation that can be caused by retinol or glycol.  The recipe calls for a decoction of dried meadowsweet leaves but don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on this ingredient.  You can substitute a tablet of white bark, crushed into a powder.  White bark tablets are usually available at health food stores.  Either way, you’re skin is getting a mild dose of salicin which is both anti-bacterial and mildly exfoliating.

4 to 6 fresh strawberries
2 tbsps decoction of meadowsweet leaves
1 egg yolk
1 tsp honey
2 drops jasmine or rose essential oil
Corn flour

Break up five to seven dried meadowsweet leaves and place in a saucepan.  Cover with approximately 2 cups of cold water.  Stir and then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and, without removing the lid, let simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Stir and strain through cheesecloth into a jar with a tight lid.  This will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

While your decoction is cooling, mash the strawberries to a pulp in a bowl.  You can put them in a blender but be careful not to liquefy them; you want a few small chunks. 

Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Slowly add as much corn flour as you need to achieve a paste-like consistency.

Smooth the mask on to clean, damp skin and relax for about 10 minuets.  Rinse with tepid water and follow with moisturizer.

For mature skin, consider making a little more of this mask and applying it to the neck and décolleté as well.  A votre santé ~

Header: Mary Pickford by Christian von Schneidau


Timmy! said...

And they make you smell nice too, Pauline!

Pauline said...

They also taste wonderful and are full of anti-oxidents. I hope our plants give us a few berries this year :)