Just because your oatmeal has outlived its edible shelf life doesn’t mean you have to toss it. Expired food items can have a second life as ingredients in your favorite DIY beauty regimen. “Making your own beauty products and treatments is fun, convenient and a great way to use up what you have left over in your cupboard or in your refrigerator,” says Janice Cox, author of “Natural Beauty at Home.” Here are eight foods you can transform into a beauty treatment. You’ll see leftovers in a whole new light.
Bruised fruits needn’t be tossed. Instead, use those berries to create a refreshing and cleansing facial mask. “The natural fruit acids and enzymes help rid your skin of surface debris and clean out blocked pores,” Cox says. “Simply puree them in your blender or food processor and apply to your face.”
2. Beer (flat, minus the bubbles)
Beer is a well-known beauty ingredient, and it creates an excellent setting lotion for your hair. “For extra body, simply spray it on your damp hair before drying and styling,” Cox says. “Don’t worry: You won’t smell like a brew house; the scent fades as the beer dries.”
While avocado toast has become a popular food item, it also leaves you with half of an avocado in the refrigerator, Cox says. “Use these buttery fruits as a moisture-rich facial mask or mix in a bit of cornmeal for an all over body scrub,” she says. Avocados also work well as a hydrating deep hair conditioner. Massage into damp hair and let the conditioner sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing.
4. Canned pumpkin
Long after Thanksgiving, Erica Gerald Mason, writer and lover of all things DIY beauty, usually finds a stray can of pumpkin in her pantry. Instead of tossing it, she uses it to create her signature pumpkin sugar scrub. Her recipe: Combine the contents of that can and add two to three cups of sugar. Mix it along with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. “Use it as an all-over body scrub,” she suggests. “It’s exfoliating and refreshing.”
5. Crystallized honey
If the honey in your bottle has become crystallized (you’ll know it’s crystallized if it looks solid), don’t toss it. Simply add it to your bath and pour it under the tap as the water runs. You can also use crystallized honey as a facial mask and hair conditioner. “Your skin will feel like silk,” Cox says.
6. Greek yogurt
Let’s say you miss the expiration date for your favorite Greek yogurt by a day or two. No problem, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist in New York City and author of “Skin Rules.” “Greek yogurt is a great source of lactic acid, an ingredient in many beauty products,” she says. “It helps with the exfoliation process, too.” Adding honey to the mix adds another skin-friendly punch as honey is very moisturizing. Jaliman’s recipe: Mix two tablespoons of Greek yogurt with one tablespoon of honey. Apply it to the face and leave it there for 15 minutes before washing it off with a warm washcloth.
That last bit of cooked oatmeal from breakfast or that leftover bit in a canister that has been in your pantry for far too long can be put to good use. “Use oats for this evening’s soothing facial mask,” Cox says. “Simply mix a little honey and some sour cream or plain yogurt and then apply.”
8. Wine and champagne
Leftover wine or flat champagne makes an effective hair rinse that will rid your hair of any styling product and leave your hair feeling super clean. “Just mix one cup of old wine with one cup of water and pour it through your hair after shampooing,” Cox says. “Then massage the wine or champagne into your scalp and rinse well with more warm to cool water.”