Like so many people, I spend most of the winter hibernating and dreaming of summer/pretending it's summer by blasting the heat. A few years ago, I even invested in one of those super sad lights that give off the impression of sunlight for seasonal depression — or for intensifying my summer fantasies. In my bedroom, it's summer all winter long; Erykah Badu plays, and I'm starting to feel like I just may make it through February, March, April, and May. Since I'm on the east coast, summer tends to arrive shamefully late and all at once, saying, "I'm going to start at 90 degrees and we can go up from there. Cool?" No, summer. Not cool.
It's June, and I've already whimpered my first complaints about summer. The subway is too hot, my hair is dry as a motha, and my skin is so, er, shiny that I could escape the NYPD by slipping through their grasps (should I decide to moonlight as a criminal, of course). The other day, I was so hot that I decided munching on raw cucumbers was all I could bear to put in my dehydrated body — and that's when I realized that these juicy green vegetables may be the key to the oily sensation also known as "Summer Kristin."
Cucumbers are known to be highly alkaline and fight free radicals in our bodies; they are rich in vitamin B-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium, among many other healthy elements that we find in most store-bought cosmetics. It's no wonder this hydrating snack has been used all over the world to eliminate eye baggage. Personally, I'm tryin' to see what else cucumbers have up its sleeve. Turns out, cucumbers are high in electrolytes, which makes them super hydrating for our skin and bodies. They decrease inflammation by preventing the overproduction of nitric oxides that cause inflammation and oil build-up; now that's the jam for hair and skin care.
Cucumbers are everywhere; your neighbor's garden, any grocery store, or farmer's market will be able to fuel your quest for natural beauty and salad cravings for a small price of $1-2 a pop. The cost is so cheap, why wouldn't you want to jump up on one of these super easy beauty remedies?
Thinking of going au natural this summer in your make-up routine, simply because your face is too oily to put anything on it? Yup, I'm right there with you. The thing is, just eliminating those somewhat smothering powders and liquids on your skin is not going to save you from the oil apocalypse that is going on all over your face. My advice? Take half a cucumber, throw it in a blender (or mash it up with a mallet) and add a teaspoon of lemon juice plus a pinch of turmeric. Apply this on make-up free skin and keep it on for at least 5 minutes. This mask is going to do some serious damage control by brightening your skin tone with cucumber's subtle skin lightening properties and lemon's ability to even lighten dark spots. The turmeric is an antiseptic and anti-bacterial spice that you can save for later when you're making an amazing summer curry. Trust me, turmeric is the biz all around.
One of the most common burns that we get is from nature — the sun. Interestingly enough, the most effective ways to treat a sunburn quickly and safely is also from nature (in my humble, PhD-free opinion). Mash up half of a cucumber and mix it with raw aloe juice. I'm sure this is going to be less messy if you use a blender to make your sunburn cocktail, but I find myself literally extracting juice from the aloe and cucumber by hand and still able to get a great amount of juice to lather directly onto the infected area. The hands-on method also allows you to keep your ingredients cold, which you definitely want. The aloe is going to provide you with some serious healing and cooling properties and act as a much needed moisturizer so you don't have to go out lookin' like a red lizard. That cucumber though? It's going to provide natural antioxidants to treat your wound and hydrate your skin back to life.
Rejuvenating Hair Spritz
Now, this is going to be an incredibly refreshing drink for your long locks or curly 'fro. I am always looking for a nourishing hair spritz and often find myself paying up to $20 for over-the-counter remedies. Oh, sure, they work on my hair, but I can't say I don't begrudgingly hand over my money. Here's what you'll need to make a great spray at home:
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 half cup of cucumber pulp
- 1 teaspoon of basil oil
- 2/3 cups of water
- 1 spray bottle
Make sure your coconut oil is nicely liquefied before you add all of your ingredients into a spray bottle. Use this treatment when you are wrapping your hair for the night or when your mane is looking a little dull and haggard. The coconut and basil oil will give you some serious moisturizing properties and are both natural antiseptics for hair cleansing, when combining with cucumber, your hair is in for a serious treat, because all of these ingredients are going to stimulate hair growth and prevent breakage.
About that cucumber life? Remember to purchase your beauty ingredients organic to avoid pesticides in your skin and hair.