We’ve all been there: roaming the beauty product aisles of the local drugstore in search of the perfect fix for unruly hair or stubborn dark spots. But consider the search over, says Seventeen magazine beauty director Yesenia Almonte, because some of the most effective beauty products out there can easily be whipped at home with inexpensive pantry and produce items that make it easy to survive summer’s steamy days in style. From a revitalizing papaya facial to a fruit smoothie to eliminate frizzy rizos, here are Almonte’s favorite “do-it-yourself” summer beauty products.
What’s not to love about naturally bright, glowing skin? Almonte, a new first-time mommy, says that when she’s particularly missing her pregnancy glow, she reaches for the ingredients to make this moisturizing facial. “Stress, a change in hormone levels or even using the wrong products can make your skin look dull,” explains Almonte, who’s based at Seventeen headquarters in New York City. “But the cure is papaya, with natural enzymes that give a bright glow which we all crave.”
Papaya Facial: Combine 3 tablespoons of mashed papayas with 2 tablespoons of mashed bananas, 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon of coconut water and 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Stir the mixture until it forms a thick consistency, then chill in the refrigerator for one hour. Smooth the mask onto clean skin, wait 5 minutes, then rinse your skin with cool water.
Stop breakouts & dark spots
Whether you’re in your teens, early 20’s, a savvy-career minded chica or a busy mom, hormonal acne is often stubbornly present. And unfortunately for Latinas, painful pimples often leave a devastating scar. Instead of investing in costly creams and drying lotions, says Almonte, try whipping up a pumpkin facial which helps ward off breakouts and exfoliates skin to heal the existing dark spots.
Pumpkin treatment: Combine 1 teaspoon canned pumpkin puree with 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of flour and 1 egg. Using a fork, beat the mixture until smooth. Smooth a thin layer onto clean dry skin (avoiding eye area) and leave on for 20 minutes.
The dog days of summer often result in a head of frizzy hair, but the remedy may be as simple as whipping up a delicious smoothie. That’s right; just take the ingredients that you’d normally blend into a chilled treat and with the addition of olive oil, you’ve created a budget-friendly hair mask. “This mask is perfect for all hair types,” explains Almonte, a proud Dominicana who wears her thick hair both curly and straight. “If your hair is a bit finer, use less olive oil and if your hair is thicker, you can add up to a tablespoon of olive oil for extra moisture.”
Fruit smoothie: Mix 1 banana, 1/4 cantaloupe (without the rind), 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together in a blender. Apply the mixture to damp, unwashed hair and comb through from roots to ends. Allow it to sink in for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse well. Shampoo and condition your hair and style as usual.
Sure, avocados taste great in guacamole but it turns out their fatty oils do a wonder for a Latina’s hair. Whether you blow dry your hair straight or keep the curls, an avocado mask can help bring your hair back to life as it repairs hair from the inside out. “It turns out that some of the tropical produce we love is great for hair and are a cheap, but effective way to pamper your locks,” says Almonte, who has appeared as a guest judge on Univision’s “Nuestra Belleza Latina” and who has worked at popular magazines like Latina and In Style.
Avocado mask: Combine 1 can of coconut milk (for shine!), 1 mashed avocado, and 1/4 cup of honey in a bowl. Slather the mixture on dry hair, focusing on split damaged ends. Top with a plastic shower cap. Blast your hair with the heat of your blow dryer for 5 minutes, then allow the mask to soak in for an additional 30 minutes. Rinse well, but don’t shampoo. Style as usual.
Brunette hair can often look dull, but it turns out a cup of café might be the secret to a lustrous, multi-dimensional mane. “Dark coffee intensifies darker shades so a rinse with it leaves your hair with that shiny, salon-worthy wow factor,” explains Almonte. With a coffee a staple in Latino households across the country, this easy and inexpensive beauty fix sounds like a winner!
Coffee rinse: Brew a pot of plain, non-flavored coffee. Cool and pour on dry hair until soaked through. Comb through to distribute evenly and cover hair with plastic shower cap for 20-30 minutes. Rinse out and follow with your normal shampoo/conditioning routine. Rinse again with cold water for a blast of shine.