Citrus fruits have been enjoyed for centuries for their delicious flavor and impressive health benefits. Ancient Romans wrote of their health benefits; British soldiers used them to combat scurvy; and pioneer women treated insect bites with their juices. Citrus is a rich natural source of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy bodies, skin and hair.
Pink Grapefruit Styling Gel
The protein from the gelatin in this Pink Grapefruit Styling Gel recipe gives hair extra body. You can find glycerin at most drugstores in the skin-care section.
MAKES 8 OUNCES
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 1 packet unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
• 1/2 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice
• 1 teaspoon glycerin
1. Combine warm water and gelatin. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add grapefruit juice and glycerin. Stir mixture until well combined. Refrigerate until solid; this could take a couple of hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow gel to return to room temperature before using.
2. To use: Apply a small amount to your hair before or after drying to add body and hold.
Whenever you use a citrus fruit, make sure to save the peel. It can be easily dried and ground in a food processor or coffee grinder. Dried citrus peels make wonderful face and body scrubs. You may also purchase dried orange and lemon peel in the spice section of your grocery store.
MAKES 1 OUNCE
• 1 tablespoon dried citrus peel
• 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
• 1 teaspoon honey
1. Mix together all ingredients and stir until smooth.
2. To use: Massage into damp skin and rinse well with warm water. Pat skin dry. Store any leftover Citrus Scrub in the refrigerator.
Mint Orange Toner
Fresh oranges are naturally rich in vitamin C, which helps protect and freshen your complexion. Mint leaves are rich in iron and the menthol helps tighten your pores after cleansing. This Mint Orange Toner will deep-cleanse your skin and help rid it of surface dirt, oil and dead skin cells.
MAKES 12 OUNCES
1. Place mint leaves and orange peels in a ceramic bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow mixture to steep and cool completely. Strain out mint leaves and peels and stir in the witch hazel. Pour into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid.
2. To use: Apply Mint Orange Toner to your skin after cleansing with a clean cotton pad. You can also use in a spray bottle after bathing or as a skin freshener throughout the day.
Sometimes nails can become discolored from nail polish, paint or other substances. This is a simple treatment for safely bleaching your nails back to their natural color. Orange flower water can be found in most gourmet food shops and is used for making fragrant drinks and desserts.
MAKES 1 OUNCE
• 2 tablespoons orange flower water
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. Mix ingredients together and pour into a clean container.
2. To use: With a clean cotton swab or cloth, apply to clean, dry nails and allow to dry. Repeat two or three times. This can be done every couple of days until your nails are back to their natural color. Make sure you moisturize your hands and cuticles, as lemon juice can be drying.
Lemon Hair Spray
This is an extremely simple Lemon Hair Spray that can be used as either a setting lotion before styling your hair or to hold hair in place after styling. The oil from the lemon peel may lighten some hair types, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun. This recipe works equally well with any citrus peel.
MAKES 8 OUNCES
• Zest from 1 lemon
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 tablespoon witch hazel extract
1. Place lemon zest in a ceramic container and pour boiling water over it. Let sit for several hours, or even overnight. Remove zest with a slotted spoon and stir liquid into witch hazel. Pour the solution into a clean spray bottle.
2. To use: Before or after styling your hair, spray a small amount onto your hair to add body and hold the style.
Citrus Dry Perfume
Dry perfumes are similar to sachets. Nefertiti, queen of Egypt during the 18th dynasty, always carried her personal scent with her in a small pouch. Dry perfumes are more intense in scent than body powders, and are used in place of perfume to scent skin and hair. Essential oil of bergamot can be found in many natural food stores.
MAKES 1 OUNCE
1. Mix together all ingredients. Place mixture in a food processor, blender or coffee grinder and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. Place the perfume in a clean container with a tight-fitting lid.
2. To use Citrus Dry Perfume: Rub a small amount of this scented powder on your skin where you would apply perfume or cologne.
Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home(Henry Holt, 2002).