Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you're mixing up a giant vat of honey-lime margaritas (yes, AT THE OFFICE), salting a batch of homemade tortilla chips, and whipping up the world's largest serving of the greatest dip known to mankind.
I speak, naturally, of the legendary "guacamole": that indulgent dish that's somehow really, really good for you. (Thank you, healthy fats. No, seriously. Thank you.) And not only is guacamole delicious on everything from sandwiches to scrambled eggs to bruschetta to enchiladas to spicy bowls of rice and beans, every single ingredient can be used on your hair or skin. Seriously. I deconstructed guacamole out of curiosity, wondering if every element would work as a DIY beauty treatment, and weirdly enough, it's true.
In case you needed any more proof that guacamole is the perfect food — or if you really overestimated the amount of fresh cilantro you needed to whip up a bowl — here's how to turn practically any element of guacamole into a lovely, chemical-free beauty treatment. Just remember to stay far, far away from any and all topical applications of japaleños. (I Googled "jalapeño face mask." No luck.)
Amazing for: Those with dry skin and hair.
Why: The creamy "alligator pear" is chock-full of healthy fats and vitamins A, C, B-6, and magnesium. Avocado oil is a popular hair and face moisturizer, but why not go straight to the source?
How: Leaving a mashed avocado on your hair for an hour or two will result in unbelievably soft locks — trust me, I've tried. Your hair will feel like silk. An avocado facial mask will moisturize skin and maybe even slow wrinkle production. Throw in some honey if you're feeling fancy.
Amazing for: Those with oily skin.
Why: Everything lemons can do, limes can do better. Or the same. Limes are full of citric acid, which acts as a mild exfoliant. Natural beauty aficionados also claim that lemon and lime brighten and tone oily skin.
How: Mix equal parts lime, coconut oil, and sugar for to make a brightening, exfoliating facial scrub. (Note: You may want to stay away from using limes if you have sensitive skin. Too harsh.)
Amazing for: Dry, flaky legs that aren't quite ready for miniskirt season.
Why: You can't make guacamole without a healthy sprinkling of salt, but this mineral is the perfect body exfoliator, too. It's also ridiculously cheap. (Don't use your Himalayan pink stuff for this recipe.)
How: Mix up a giant scoop of sea salt with olive or coconut oil until it reaches your preferred scrubby texture, adding essential oils if you're a fragrance fiend. Keep in a clean jar in your shower.
But what if you're not simply an avocado-lime-salt kind of guacamole-maker? Everyone has their pet roster of guacamole additions (note to the people who add milk: I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND YOU), and believe it or not, your secret guacamole ingredient is probably pretty decent for skin, too.
Amazing for: Soothing the skin.
Why: Like many herbs and spices, cilantro's got some serious antibacterial, antifungal forces going on. In one study, essential oil of cilantro (also known as coriander) applied topically was "more effective than a placebo cream at reducing redness due to UVB exposure," which "may or may not translate into long-term benefit for aging sun-damaged skin."
How: Cilantro is a hip ingredient in many creams today: cilantro hair conditioner, cilantro (coriander) body lotion, or this avocado and cilantro lotion that practically comes with tortilla chips. If you're feeling freakishly DIY, check out this list of at-home cilantro beauty treatments, including an intriguing cilantro-and-rice facial mask.
Amazing for: Oily skin, blackheads, clogged pores.
Why: Love adding chopped tomatoes to your guacamole to stretch it out? Save one and squish it up for an oil-zapping facial mask, instead. Tomatoes are mildly acidic and full of the phytochemical lycopene; a study found that topically-applied lycopene helped skin defend against UVB radiation and protected skin's DNA.
How: Acne sufferers swear by tomato pulp and juice for reducing acne and unclogging pores. You can add plain mashed tomato to your face, or cut the acidity with the addition of honey, cucumber, or aloe vera gel for a more soothing treatment.
6. Garlic and/or onion
Amazing for: Zapping a pimple; hair regrowth.
Why: Chances are you use at least one member of the allium family in your guac-making. If you're feeling experimental — or if your garlic is sprouting and you want to get rid of it — both pungent plants can be used topically. A study showed that raw onion juice applied to scalp (I KNOW, I KNOW) legitimately improved hair growth in men and women with hair loss (alopecia areata). And garlic is a popular at-home remedy for acne, due to its powerful antibiotic and antiviral properties.
How: Um, rub raw onion juice on your scalp twice daily for two months. For acne, rub the spot with a sliced clove of garlic, or make a little spot treatment with crushed raw garlic, raw honey, and turmeric. Please proceed with caution and pay attention to your skin's reaction, since garlic (like lime and tomatoes) may be too much for sensitive skin.
And if you've got any ingredients left after you've put avocado in your hair and cilantro on your face? I think you know how to use them up.