We’re all putting a lot less effort into our beauty routines these days, but while we’re enjoying a simpler way of life, bothers like red skin, thinning hair, and wrinkles are still front and center.
To ensure we don’t have to cover them up with heavy makeup and high-maintenance hairdos, celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas, author of Glow from Within (Buy on Amazon, $15.89), suggests using nutrient-rich, anti-aging foods that work to reverse skin and hair agers both internally and externally. Here, her top food picks and the effortless recipes to younger:
Firm saggy skin with acai berries.
These beautifying berries work better than pricey anti-aging lotions and creams to turn back the clock!
Acai berries’ antioxidants mend damaged cells and improve skin’s elasticity, says Vargas. And their magnesium keeps skin hydrated, giving saggy spots a tauter appearance.
For a delicious smoothie, blend 1 packet of frozen acai puree, half of a banana, 1/4 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of milk. ″A rich source of vitamin C, the berries encourage skin-firming collagen and elastin production to reduce sagging,″ says Vargas.
Take 1 Tbs. of the acai from the recipe above and apply to areas with droopy skin. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse. Use two to three times a week for more supple skin in one month.
Thicken hair with chia seeds.
The tasty whole grain improves hair health by reducing excessive shedding while increasing hair growth.
Minerals like magnesium and calcium in the seeds hydrate and strengthen strands. Plus, their omega-3 fatty acids stimulate hair follicles to promote growth.
Make a tasty chia seed pudding by combining 3 Tbs. of chia seeds, 1 cup of milk, and 1/2 Tbs. of maple syrup. Let set in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight, then top with fresh berries before enjoying.
The high content of protein in chia seeds can also repair damaged follicles and fortify strands when applied topically at the root to prevent fallout.
In a bowl, mix 1 Tbs. of chia seeds and 1/2 cup of coconut milk (its lauric acid hydrates) and let soak for 5 minutes. Next, massage the mixture onto clean, dry scalp for 1 minute. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing. Use twice a week for a mane that looks two times thicker within three weeks.
Slim a double chin with celery.
Dubbed the ‘detox veggie,’ celery will help you put your best face forward by flushing out trapped toxins and excess fluids that can create or exacerbate a double chin!
Mineral salts in celery stimulate the lymphatic system to flush toxins and fluids that can accumulate under the jaw.
To reap the most benefits, according to Anthony William, who originated the celery juice craze, juice one bunch of celery in a juicer and drink it first thing on an empty stomach.
Anti-inflammatory compounds in these anti-aging foods alleviate puffiness when applied to your skin, too. ″Plus, celery’s silica boosts moisture and elasticity to keep skin looking youthful and supple,″ says Vargas.
After juicing, rub the discarded celery pulp on your neck and chin. Let sit for 10 minutes; rinse. Use twice a week to prolong results.
Erase dark circles with kale.
The leafy green rids eyes of pesky shadows so you’ll look well-rested even if you didn’t get your full 8 hours of sleep.
Kale’s vitamin K promotes healthy blood circulation so the fluid won’t pool beneath the eyes and create shadows, says Vargas.
Make a salad with 2 cups of chopped kale, half of a diced apple, and 1 Tbs. of dried cranberries, then toss with a dressing made from 1/2 Tbs. each of lemon juice and olive oil.
Vitamins A and C in kale can thicken skin under eyes so shadows are less apparent.
Juice 1 cup of kale, then saturate 2 cotton pads in the liquid. Place on top of closed eyelids for 10 minutes; remove and rinse. Use three times a week for results within two weeks.
Smooth wrinkles with avocado.
The fruit is not only a delicious addition to any healthy diet, it will also shave years off your skin in no time!
Avocados’ antioxidant lutein repairs damaged cells and protects skin from wrinklecausing UV rays, helping to smooth out skin and ensure a crease-free complexion in the future too!
Mash up half of an avocado and enjoy on a slice of toast or whip up into guacamole.
″Packed with fatty acids, avocados keep skin’s lipid layer moist and plump, helping reduce the appearance of fine lines,″ says Vargas.
Combine half of an avocado and 1/4 cup of cooked oatmeal (its beta-glucans moisturize and plump skin). Apply to wrinkly skin, let sit 15 minutes; rinse. Repeat two to three times a week to see a noticeable difference within three weeks.
Fade age spots with turmeric.
A potent spice, turmeric lightens the discoloration on the hands, face, and chest while also preventing new spots from forming.
Rich in vitamin C, turmeric works from the inside to promote skin cell turnover to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin on the outside.
Add 1/2 tsp. of powdered turmeric into go-to dishes like soups, pasta sauces and rice for added flavor.
The spice’s curcumin inhibits the output of melanin (skin’s pigment) to fade and prevent spots when applied to skin.
Mix 1 tsp. of turmeric and 2 tsp. of honey (it gently exfoliates skin) into a paste. Dab on spots; rinse after 15 minutes. Repeat three times a week for results within three weeks.
Calm rosacea with cucumbers.
There’s a reason why spas add cucumbers into both drinking water and pampering treatments — they instantly soothe inflamed and irritated skin.
Antioxidants in the anti-aging foods like manganese and betacarotene reinforce skin’s outermost layer to prevent rosacea flare-ups, while its anti-inflammatory flavonoids reduce the inflammation in the body that can result in facial redness.
Add 4 slices of cucumber into an 8 oz. glass of water. Or enjoy them in a salad or on a sandwich.
Cucumber’s caffeic acid also calms redness on contact while absorbing into skin to help heal from within.
Grate half of a cucumber, then combine with 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt (its creamy fats hydrate and soothe skin). Apply to irritated skin and let sit for 15 minutes; rinse. Use three times a week for more even-toned skin within two weeks.
Restore strand shine with bananas.
Bananas have the unique ability to take hair from dull to dazzling while also ensuring tresses remain lustrous for weeks to come!
The fruit’s high amounts of potassium and magnesium, along with its natural oils, help keep hair hydrated and shiny from roots to ends.
Cut up 1 banana and add to a yogurt parfait, or eat mixed with 1 1/2Tbs. of peanut butter.
Amino acids in the fruit also deeply penetrate when applied to the strands, moisturizing follicles from within. Plus, they seal hair’s cuticle so more light reflects onto locks for added luster.
In a blender, combine 1 peeled banana, 2 Tbs. of olive oil (its squalane locks in moisture) and 1 Tbs. of honey (it adds shine). Apply the mixture to damp hair from roots to ends and cover with a shower cap. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. Use once every other week to maintain results.
Restore radiance with papaya.
Last on our list of anti-aging foods, this tropical fruit gets a winter-worn complexion glowing fast.
Papaya’s vitamin C encourages skin’s cell turnover rate within the body. This helps remove the buildup of dry cells on skin’s surface that result in a lackluster complexion.
Add 1/2 cup of frozen papaya to your favorite smoothie recipe.
″Enzymes in the fruit slough off dead, dry skin cells to reveal luminous skin,″ says Vargas.
Combine 1/2 cup of frozen papaya (thawed and mashed), 1/4 cup of plain yogurt (it exfoliates), and 1 tsp. of honey (it hydrates). Apply to a clean face, then let sit 15 minutes before rinsing. Use twice a week to see results within two weeks.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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