Even though I make most of my own products for my hair and skin, I am always perusing the packaging of natural and semi-natural skincare brands to make sure I'm not missing out on any ingredients nature has to offer. I started noticing cardamom as a hot ingredient only recently, but I wasn't surprised at all to learn of the skin benefits of cardamom. It's a close relative is ginger, which is one of the most powerful healing herbs out there.
According to sources at Stylecraze, cardamom has vitamins A, B, and C, all of which can enrich your skincare routine in a very beautiful way. For instance, cardamom has shown to improve circulation due to its levels of vitamin C, plus it contains antioxidants and infection fighting properties that can increase the recovery time of dark spots and blemishes.
I'm always wary before adding a spice to any DIY recipe, since it can burn your skin if you aren't careful. Since cardamom is fairly potent, I suggest going in easy in your experimentation with this spice: Use minimal ingredients, choosing from those you've used regularly with no irritation, and make sure your products are fresh. And, of course, you'll want to do a patch test to make sure your formula doesn't irritate your skin before you slather it all over your face. Now that I've discovered cardamom as a beauty ingredient, I can't get enough. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it.
1. Cardamom Rose Mask
This lightly exfoliating mask was so soothing on my face, I had to share. For this recipe I used a pinch of dried cardamom powder, a cup of rose water, and 3/4 cups of plain oatmeal. Since oatmeal can be coarse on your face, I always recommend throwing your ingredients in a blender to soften the grains first. Once your mask has reached the desired consistency, apply on damp, make-up free skin and leave on for five minutes. No need to use this mask more than once a week!
2. Spicy Milk Cleanser
I prefer using the powdered form of cardamom for the tiny grains that can gently exfoliate and draw out blackheads. For my lactic acid of choice, I like to use a third of a cup of goat's milk (camel milk is great too if you can get your hands on it). Add a teaspoon of cardamom and mix with a wooden spoon. Gently massage into your face and neck for a few minutes, rinsing with lukewarm water. This cleanser is quite gentle, but start by using it once a week and increase over time once you've confirmed your skin is in love with it.
3. Bad Breath Prevention
According to the sources at the health and lifestyle blog Daily Alternative, green cardamom controls body odor. Chew on the seeds to freshen up your breath, add it to a Epsom salt foot scrub, or include it in your natural deodorant recipe. Bonus: If you are trying to prevent cigarette cravings, cardamom is one food that has anecdotally been shown to combat those cravings — something i can personally attest to.
4. Honey Cardamom Facial Scrub
As I mentioned before, I'm wary of new spices on my face, so this simple two-ingredient exfoliate was a perfect way to start my love affair with cardamom. Take the seeds from some fresh green cardamom pods and blend until fine. Add two ounces of raw honey. To make it even more gentle, blend the honey into the already ground cardamom to really mix the two together.
5. Cardamom Essential Oil
Using the essential oil version of this spice will be a different experience than working with fresh cardamom, but that doesn't make it any less desirable for your skin and hair. Add a modest amount of cardamom essential oil to shampoos to relieve dandruff or your favorite body scrub to control body acne. While I prefer the fresh stuff, this oil definitely requires a lot less effort — something I can always get down with.
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (5); Courtesy Brands