Indulgent goodies abound this time of year, and many of these sweets feature ingredients that can be used topically to get you looking celebration-season stunning. Here, spa-inspired ways to harness the anti-aging benefits of holiday staples that are already in your kitchen!
Erase wrinkles with cocoa.
A sweet technique to smooth fine lines, from aesthetician Joanna Vargas, who’s worked with Naomi Watts and Debra Messing: Apply a chocolate mask. “Antioxidant flavonoids in cocoa restore skin elasticity,” she says, “while cocoa’s fatty acids aid in cell renewal.”
TO DO: Mix 2 Tbs. of cocoa powder, 1 Tbs. of honey (it deeply moisturizes), and 2 Tbs. of plain yogurt (its lactic acid dissolves dead skin cells). Apply to dry skin, then rinse after 15 minutes. Use three times a week for smoother, radiant skin in two weeks.
Reverse hair thinning with cinnamon & mint.
A unique compound in cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde) increases blood flow to hair follicles, encouraging new growth. And adding the spice to mint tea delivers an even bigger volumizing boost — the tea helps dissolve the buildup of dead cells and product residue that clogs hair follicles and leads to fallout.
TO DO: Steep 3 bags of mint tea in 2 cups of boiling water; stir in 2 Tbs. of ground cinnamon and let cool. Pour over wet hair and brush through from scalp to ends. Let sit 15 minutes; rinse. Use twice a week for results in 30 days.
Hydrate dull, dry skin with brown sugar.
For a pampering way to soothe the parched, irritated and flaky skin that comes with the frigid season, Vargas suggests a brown-sugar body polish. “Brown sugar is a natural humectant that actually absorbs water and delivers it directly into skin for added moisture. And the sugar’s glycolic acid is a gentle chemical exfoliant that removes the outermost layer of dry skin,” she explains. Plus, the sugar granules buff away rough patches and clean out pores so moisturizing ingredients can better penetrate skin. For best results, whip up a skin “soufflé” by mixing the sugar with coconut oil (its fats deeply hydrate) and vanilla extract (its niacin helps repair damaged skin).
TO DO: In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of liquefied coconut oil, and 3 drops of vanilla extract. Scrub a handful onto damp skin; rinse. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to seven days. Use as needed.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine