I remember my Grandmother, out of the blue, proclaiming “Look at me, I have not a single hair on my body!” followed by her scandalously rolling up her sleeves to show me. I stuttered ‘B-b-but how Grandma?”, my eyes wide with wonder. She proceeded to tell me that when she was a baby her mother would make a small ball of chappati dough and roll it over her body, pulling out the tiny hairs on her skin until hair ceased to grow. My Grandmother’s logic was that doing this as a baby stopped the growth, and although I am amused at the idea of laser treatment machines being replaced with chappati dough, I am also slightly envious. To me, she had been blessed, kissed by the gods, and the seed was well and truly planted for me that the magic lay in traditional beauty treatments. I’ve put this down to my scepticism about any costly bottle of Something promising to give you perfect skin or lustrous locks. As a result I have turned to my kitchen cupboards to create all sorts of lotions and potions. I love mixing fruit, vegetables, oils together to produce that perfect face or hair mask. I always feel like I’m concocting some spell that will offer a wonderful transformation. Over the years I’ve tried them all and had some excellent disasters. I had once heard that honey is a great natural moisturiser and can give you that amazing glow and so with this new-found knowledge I bought myself a jar of honey. I remember lying back excitedly in a bath full of bubbles, smearing honey all over my face, and not being able to do anything to stop it seeping into my hair and mouth. It was an absolute nightmare to wash out and my hair quickly transformed into a sticky, tangled, unsightly mess. The only plus side was that it tasted great! Another time, after making juice in a juice maker, I looked at the beautiful colours of the pulp; thought this must be great for my skin and decided to put it all over my face. It didn’t stay and as it fell off in chunks onto me, I noted that it was far more hassle than it was worth and worse, I smelt of oranges, apples and pears for ages.
I have to say, along the way I have discovered that the right natural beauty treatments do work wonders. The best facial scrub ever is to massage your face with olive oil and use sugar as a scrub, rubbing the sugar gently across your skin. The oil and sugar are magic and my skin always looks amazing for days! I have thick, difficult hair. If I can’t go out because ‘I’m washing my hair’, then I really am washing my hair – it takes ages and I regularly fantasize about ’easy to wash hair’. Anyway, to tame this mane I’ve tried many a natural remedy. Egg is a great conditioner and so is mashed banana (and that’s also great for your skin too). 15 minutes on your hair and it’s transformed – shiny, bouncy and happy. But what I love most is good old almond oil. Massaging it into my hair and leaving it for 20 minutes. Once washed, my hair is able to deceive all into believing that it’s healthy, bouncy, and naturally frizz-free.
So, whereas I may not be able to stand in front of my grandchildren one day and smugly wave a hair free leg or arm, I will be able to say “My dears, that yoghurt you’re eating, rub it into your hair before your shower. You’ll thank me for it in the morning.”