Fresh Mediterranean herbs such as oregano and thyme have been used for centuries because they are strong antioxidants and also contain antibacterial properties. Pure honey has been used as a natural energizer and is also a natural humectant, attracting and locking in moisture. Natural oils such as olive and grapeseed are used to cleanse and moisturize skin and hair. Grapeseed oil is easily absorbed by the skin and is also loaded with resveratrol, the same antioxidant found in red wine. Other popular ingredients that can be used to keep your skin and hair clean and healthy are pine nuts, chickpeas, Greek-style yogurt and fresh tomatoes.
The sunny region bordering the Mediterranean Sea has long been associated with health and beauty. In fact, many modern beauty treatments and products originated in ancient Greece and Rome. This region provides skin- and body-healthy ingredients, such as fresh herbs, oils and honey—all full of skin-beautifying and anti-aging nutrients.
GRAPESEED OIL: Found in the cooking oil section of your grocery store, grapeseed oil might seem an unlikely source for healthy skin. Unlike other heavy and greasy oils, this oil is light and easily absorbed by the skin. Grapeseed oil makes a wonderful after-bath or body oil to help seal in moisture.
PINE NUTS: Pine nuts are mostly known for making pesto, but they also are perfect for skin cleansing and make a mild scrub for sensitive skin types. Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid and pycnogenol, both powerful antioxidants. To use, simply grind fresh pine nuts in a food processor or blender and mix with a bit of Greek-style yogurt or water to create a skin scrub.
OREGANO: This popular herb is not just for pizza and Greek salads—it has powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ancient Greeks used oregano in their baths and in scented oils because they enjoyed the mood-altering, uplifting scent. Place a handful of fresh oregano inside a muslin tea bag and add to your bath, or add dried oregano leaves to bath salts and oils.
TOMATOES: These fresh red fruits make an excellent skin-cleansing mask perfect for oily skin types. They also help rid your complexion of blackheads and surface impurities because they are mildy acidic and cleansing. Tomato juice also is a well-known deodorizer and can be used as a hair rinse to rid your hair of strong smells, such as smoke.
Spiced Orange Body Scrub
Try this simple Spiced Orange Body Scrub recipe for a Turkish spa experience. This homemade body scrub lends itself to a perfect hour of relaxation. MAKES 10 OUNCES
• 1 cup raw sugar
• 1/4 cup walnut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground clove buds
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon dried orange peel
• 2 to 3 drops sweet orange essential oil
1. Stir together all ingredients until well-mixed. Spoon into a clean jar with tight-fitting lid.
2. To use: Before bathing and standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture all over your body to gently exfoliate and moisturize your skin. Shower or soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes, then pat your skin dry and follow with more natural oil or rich body lotion.
• 1/4 cup pure thyme honey or plain honey
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
1. Gently stir all ingredients together. Pour cleanser into a clean container.
2. To use: Pour a small amount in the palm of your hand, then massage it gently into your skin. You also can use as a simple shampoo for your hair. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then pat dry.
• 1/2 cup rosewater
• 1/2 cup distilled water
• 1 tablespoon witch hazel
1. Combine all ingredients and pour into a clean container or spray bottle.
2. To use: Splash or spray onto clean skin after bathing.