Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fruits of Summer

Summer has set in with its usual severity.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge~

Summer, I've mentioned before , is not my best time of year.  It plays havoc with day-to-day cycles of work, sleep, cooking, and cleaning.  As further assault, summer’s low humidity, dusty winds, and harsh sun, are especially brutal to dry skin and hair.  Maybe it’s an act of contrition, but summer also provides fruits, herbs, and flowers, with which one can create amazingly-effective and soothing natural treatments to mitigate the damage.

My favourite concoctions are facial masks and hair conditioners. They’re easy to make, their effect is immediate, remarkable, and surprisingly long-lasting, and the ingredients are available in most grocery stores.  Best of all, these therapeutic applications cost very little if choosing produce on sale.
Cucumber Sensitive-Skin Mask

It's messy work
Feels SO good, though!
Just a few words of caution.  First, since many of these skin and hair care products are made with fresh produce, their shelf-life will be much shorter than commercial products.  And, storing homemade products will probably require refrigeration and non-reactive containers. Also, be prepared:  homemade blends, without the stabilizers and binders found in commercial products, have a messier application.  Although, the refreshing results make any preparation well worth it.
Grocery stores needn’t be the only source of natural ingredients.  Gardens, meadows and orchards are rich sources.  If your garden produces an over-abundance of tomatoes or cucumbers, instead of more canning you might try some nourishing skin care, rejuvenating facial masks, and cooling treatments.  Or, if you grow certain flowers and/or herbs, or have the ability to forage for them,  their astringent, anti-microbial, and/or soothing properties are excellent additives in products such as body washes, and provide gentler solutions for specific skin care issues.

In fact, an individual’s skin type often determines the most effective produce.  Dry hair and or sensitive skin types will likely enjoy the benefits of avocados and cucumbers, while oilier hair and skin types often prefer the toning effects of lemon or tomato.  These aren’t hard and fast rules, however, as lemon also moisturizes and avocado’s natural fats easily cut through oily build-up.

While produce remains seasonably available, it’s simple and relatively inexpensive to experiment with a variety of applications.  As a bonus, leftover produce can be eaten and it’s nutrients will nourish skin and hair from the inside out.  Summer may ravage the body but, in a conciliatory gesture, offers us many remedial goodies which allow us to clean, soothe, and nourish weathered skin and hair.