KOKORO – Kitchen Beauty: natural ingredients from Asia

If you are interested in NutriCosmetics, the Japanese trend taking over the world, you will know this is not a “new” thing. Food and health are intrinsically linked, something people have known for centuries.

Superfoods might be trendy, but there is more to them than a nice Instagram post. Goya, a staple in the Okinawan diet, might be an acquired taste, however, this bitter melon contains a ton of minerals and vitamins, can help lower your blood sugar levels and is used for purifying and detoxifying in traditional medicine.

Okra packs fiber, protein, vitamin C and magnesium into a low calorie, low fat little package that would be too good to pass up. Whilst you can get all the benefits from eating it, it is also used in skincare products thanks to its high moisturising properties.

Somewhat less advertised are Japanese potatoes (root and sweet). Full of Hyaluronic acid, they help with the elasticity of your skin and with muscle flexibility.

From health to beauty, there’s only a skip and a hop. Foodstuff has been used as beauty ingredients forever, this is what people did before the big pharma and cosmetic companies got in on the game. What do you have in your pantry that could double as your new favourite beauty product?

You can eat Azuki Beans, sure, but you might also want to grind it to a fine powder and use it to exfoliate. High in antioxidants, they also contain saponin, a foaming agent that will cleanse and tighten pores.

You should probably use Tsubaki (camellia) oil on your salads and on your hair. It contains a lot of omega-9 (oleic acids), as well as glycerides and will help your hair be shiny and silky. You can also put it on your dry skin for a moisturising effect.

The health benefits of green tea are touted far and wide, so there are no needs to list them again. Some DIY ways to add green tea to your beauty routine is to make a pot, cool it and then use the tea as a face wash, a toner or a hydrating mask. If you want to make it even simpler, you can also use loose leaves to exfoliate! Green tea is also good for your hair and is said to fight dandruffs, as well as being a great mouthwash. Is there anything green tea isn’t good for?

One thing we all have in our kitchens is rice. However, you might want to move a bag or two to your bathroom as rice water has beauty applications you will soon be fans of. Rice water is used as a face wash, toner, acne treatment and to help soothe sunburnt skin. It is said to bring moisturising and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as smoothing out texture and brightening your complexion. You can also rinse your hair with rice water for shine and strength. The Guinness Book of World Records’ “world’s longest hair village” is found in China, where grandmothers have long, black, shiny hair, which they attribute to their use of fermented rice water as shampoo.

From eating superfoods to rubbing tea leaves on your face, moisturising with camellia oil and toning with rice water, beauty most definitely starts in your kitchen. To get all the health benefits of natural ingredients, be hands-on with your beauty routine and save some money, DIY kitchen beauty hacks are the way to go.

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