Yep, you heard that right. Superfood facial. In short, the use of food directly on the skin to tackle any issues you’re wrangling with. It’s something beauty therapist and nutritionist Elizabeth Macauley (aka The Nutrition Beautician) specialises in.
“Superfood facials are a natural and effective way to address a variety of skin concerns,” she explains. “Different foods contain an array of potent antioxidants, enzymes, fruit acids, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, which work in synergy to improve skin texture and radiance.”
Imagine the indulgence of a regular facial, but using items you can find in the kitchen or farmer’s market. Intrigued, I settled in and relaxed for an hour, while Elizabeth used things like red grape pulp to cleanse my skin (“it contains tartaric acid, a naturally-occurring alpha hydroxyl acid,” she says), mashed kiwi as a natural enzyme peel (“the enzyme actinidin helped to remove dead skin cells”) and apple cider vinegar mixed with green tea to tone. Then there’s cacao butter, which she massaged into my face to soften and moisturise. (That one smelled so good, it took all my will power not to ask for the bowl and a spoon.) My sensitive skin felt clean, exfoliated and ridiculously soft, while I was totally blissed out.
I’m a total convert, but you don’t have to book in for a treatment to enjoy the benefits of food on your face. Here, Elizabeth shares the best DIY masks to try at home. Just try not to eat them beforehand.
For dry skin
Mix 1 tablespoon of mashed avocado, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of mashed banana, and apply to the face and neck. Remove after 15-20 minutes.
“The avocado is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The oil from the avo and olive oil absorb deeply to soothe and nourish the skin. Plus, they’re both rich in Vitamin E, which helps to reduce fine lines and protect against free radical damage. Finally, banana is moisturising and soothing.”
For oily skin
Blend or juice ¼ of a cucumber and paint the mixture onto your face and neck. Leave on for 15 minutes, before removing.
“Cucumber has astringent properties, which means it tightens the pores. It also absorbs excess oil and is a cooling mask that's high in antioxidants.”
Mix 1 teaspoon of manuka honey, 2 teaspoons of organic plain yoghurt and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, then apply to the face. Leave on for 15 minutes, before removing.
“Manuka honey has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to heal the skin and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Meanwhile, the yoghurt contains lactic acid, which gently softens and exfoliates the skin and helps to decongest the pores. The cinnamon has antibacterial properties that can help to combat breakouts.”
For sensitive skin
Combine 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of cool chamomile tea and 1 teaspoon of honey in a bowl. Apply to the skin and leave on for 15 minutes, then remove.
“Oatmeal is very soothing and helps to repair and calm the skin. It also contains saponins, which act as mild cleansing agents. Honey is very anti-inflammatory and helps to moisturise the skin. The chamomile tea is also anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and helps to reduce redness.”