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Frugal Skin Care

Author:Helen Rea, Issue: July 2004, Topic: Beauty

I use various kitchen things on my skin, partly for frugality, partly because my sensitive skin seems to prefer them.

I read in a novel about patting sake (sweeter the better, apparently) onto your skin as a toner. Despite a diagnosed allergy to rice, this seems to be OK on my skin. I also use almond or olive oil as an overall cleanser and winter moisturizer round the eyes -- I buy the almond oil for my wooden flute, so it's extra frugal! I stay away from essential oils -- just too strong for easily irritated facial skin, even when diluted.

However, almond oil and an orangey essential oil are very nice to rub into the feet after a bath in winter -- pop socks on straight away to allow oil to continue protecting your skin. This seems to keep feet extra toasty, and also prevents dry, cracking, winter skin.

Facial scrub -- black sugar (kurozato) is great for greasy summer skin! It dissolves very easily in even a little water, so even the lumpy types seem to be OK. Add a little katakuri-ko (especially the genuine one!) for extra squeaky-clean skin.

I've heard that fresh okara makes a good face/body scrub, but I'm definitely allergic to soy, so I have never tried it.

Not home-made, but old-fashioned gourd lotion ("Hechima-sui") is cheap, mild, and pleasant to keep in the fridge and pat onto your face in the summer.

Also not home-made, and not cheap either but a bargain compared to famous-brand cosmetics - horse oil (uma no abura). This never seems to irritate even severely chapped or sensitive skin, and quickly heals chapped lips so I can play my flute all winter. Also excellent for my dishwasher hands and the kids' wind-chapped hands. Kept in the fridge, it lasts a long time, but will go rancid out of the fridge.

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