While we're all guilty of looking in the mirror and wondering when on earth those frown lines got so deep, the majority of us can't afford the time - or the money - to go for regular detoxifying-exfoliating-anti-ageing-revitalising facials. (As much as we'd love to.)
I am no exception: dripping in vanity, but completely and utterly skint.
So short of using the Carrot Dating app, what's the solution?
Skin therapist Nataliya Robinson says that your beauty regime doesn't need to be full of expensive beauty products.
Everything you need to keep your skin at its best can be found in the kitchen cupboard. Or - if you're not the type of household that stocks raw honey - at the local market or supermarket.
The DIY raw organic facial she recommends is cheap, easy and fits easily into your busy schedule.
When I meet Nataliya to get tips on how to bring her salon expertise home, she is sweet but honest.
As a 25-year-old London-based gal, who likes the sun, cycles to work and drinks too much on the weekend (and during the week), I'm told my skin isn't at its best.
"You've got some light skin damage," she tells me as she gently takes my make-up off. "And cycling everyday exposes your face to a lot pollution."
When my face crumples with disappointment she reassures me that luckily the damage is not too serious, but that I should take better care. I agree, deciding not to reveal that I regularly sleep in my make-up.
I learn that olive oil is a perfect make-up remover my oily/combination skin tone and exfoliating with manuka honey will unblock my large pores.
When I tell her about my own beauty regime - a mix of potions from bottles of varying sizes - she warns me against chemicals regularly found in beauty products.
"Using plant-based ingredients doesn't mean that glowing radiant skin needs to be compromised," she says. "Also, we can create our own natural skin care regime based around our own ethical beliefs: for example, vegan, fair trade, or organic."
Turmeric -- the herb that gives a curry its distinctive yellow color -- is also an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties. In India, it's common tradition for brides and grooms to apply a paste of turmeric and chickpea flour before their big day. In addition to turmeric's bacteria-killing powers, chickpea flour is an exfoliant and a moisture-absorber. The herb is also used by brides in Indonesia. "(The traditional ceremony) begins with a <em>lular</em> scrub combining all the benefits of turmeric, rice, jasmine flowers, ginger and other herbs to energize the body," writes beauty expert Shalini Vadhera in her book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Beauty-Secrets-Becoming-Goddess/dp/0312349629" target="_hplink">"Passport To Beauty."</a>
Pawpaw ointment, made from pawpaw or papaya, is commonly used as a cure-all in Australia. "It helps sunburn, bites, rashes and dry cracked skin and lips. I always have it in my medicine cabinet. I frequently put it on my cuticles," says beauty expert and HuffPost blogger Carmindy.
Shea butter -- now the stuff of drugstore moisturizers -- comes from the nut of the karite tree of West Africa. In addition to its hydrating properties, it's known for its ability to protect skin from free radicals and prevent wrinkles. "In parts of West Africa ... Pregnant women give their expanding bodies a daily gentle rub with the vegetable butter. Many of my friends there have assured me that this daily routine prevents stretch marks," writes Jessica Harris in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/World-Beauty-Book-Wonderful-Natural/dp/0062510924" target="_hplink">"The World Beauty Book."</a>
Argan oil has been long known in Africa as a miracle of nature, and it's now becoming famous in the West too. Produced exclusively by Berbere women in Morocco, the oil -- extracted from the nut of the Argan tree -- is high in <a href="http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/travel/tmagazine/14get-sourcing-caps.html" target="_hplink">vitamin E and other fatty acids</a>. It has anti-aging properties, is an excellent moisturizer and is believed to help everything from acne to wrinkles. "Moroccan woman have beautiful hair because they've been pouring argan oil on it forever," says Carmindy.
An infusion of Tahitian gardenias and coconut oil, Monoi oil is used by Tahitian women to soothe and protect their hair and skin. It's both an emollient and a natural perfume. "I've never seen women who had such beautiful hair and skin who also smelled so great. I shipped back boxes and boxes of it for myself," says Carmindy.
Camellia Nut Oil
According to beauty expert Shalini Vadhera, camellia nut oil or tea seed oil is used by Japanese women as an antioxidant, to nourish and moisturize skin, treat burns, stretch marks and strengthen nails. It's high in vitamin E, antioxidants and oleic acid. "Two drops of camellia oil mixed with a tablespoon of sake is all it takes for clearer, smoother skin," writes Vadhera in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Beauty-Secrets-Becoming-Goddess/dp/0312349629" target="_hplink">"Passport To Beauty."</a>
With their high fat and vitamin E content, avocados are both delicious and good for you. South American women use the fruit to nourish their skin and hair. "Virtually all parts of the avocado can be used in beauty treatments," says Jessica Harris in the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/World-Beauty-Book-Wonderful-Natural/dp/0062510924" target="_hplink">"World Beauty Book."</a> Take the peels and rub the interior on your face. The slightly grainy texture of the inside of the avocado peel is exfoliating, and the peel itself is rich with avocado oil. The combination is great for those with problem skin." Carmindy recommends a face mask made of avocados and honey. "Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and avocado hydrates the skin."
This might sound unappealing, but <em>uguiso no fun</em> or nightingale droppings have long been used in Japan to clear sun-spots, acne marks and pigmentation. The bird excrement -- rich in proteins and a whitening enzyme -- is sterilized, ground into a powder and sometimes mixed with rice bran. The powder is then applied to the face and washed off with water. It's the beauty treatment of geishas and Buddhist monks alike.
Here are Nataliya's beauty tips to make your very own DIY organic facial, from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Massage one to two teaspoons of olive oil into your face. Olive oil is a gentle cleanser, cleansing the skin without stripping it of its protective layer.
Massaging the oil into your face for a minute will dissolve it into your pores. Then soak a soft wash cloth or flannel in hot water and gently wipe off all traces of the oil and dirt.
Nataliya's "raw face scrub" will remove the dead skin cells from your face. Its main ingredient is oats, known for their hypoallergenic, moisturising and exfoliating properties. Oats also contain amino acids - ideal for repairing damaged skin.
Ingredients for "raw face scrub":
- Measure out 2 teaspoons of oats.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
- Split open 1 tea bag (rose hip or green tea) and add to the mixture.
- Finally, add aloe vera gel and a little water.
- Mix all these ingredients until they form a paste.
- Gently massage this paste onto your face. Rinse off with warm water.
Now for the "raw cucumber lightening toner". Cucumber is a natural skin cleanser, which refreshes and tightens the skin.
Cut some cucumber slices and apply them directly to your face by using them like cotton wipes. Leave your face to dry naturally.
This is a "raw skin feeder". This mask will help nourish, heal, soothe and moisturise your skin. (Those who suffer with Eczema can try it for relief from itchiness.)
Ingredients for "raw skin feeder":
- 1/2 Ripe Organic Avocado
- 1/4 Cup Raw Organic Honey
- Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice (if skin is oily)
- Add 1 egg yolk (if skin is dry).
- Then mix to form a paste.
- Apply this mixture onto the face and leave it for 15-20 mins. Then rinse off with water.
Facial cosmetic acupuncture treatment could follow the mask application.
This painless process uses natural procedures to effectively relieve muscle tension, soften fine lines and provide a natural lifting effect. It can also help reduce the signs of ageing by revitalising the skin.
For further muscle tone lift a massage with coconut oil would then be given. Coconut oil is renowned as a moisturiser, antibiotic, multivitamin, anti-ageing, and anti-oxidant all-in-one.