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Florence, Italy: Beauty Secrets Inside Your Kitchen

Updated on October 24, 2017
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C. De Melo is the author of Amazon's bestselling Renaissance Fiction novel: SABINA. She lives in Florence, Italy.

Plain Yogurt = Great Mask!

Load up on foods high in antioxidants

Eat lots of fish for healthy hair and nails

Natural Beauty

Would you be willing to try any of the suggestions put forth in this article?

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Vanity Thy Name is Woman...

Prior to obtaining my Art History degree and moving to Italy, I enjoyed a ten year career working for some the world's most famous cosmetic companies: Christian Dior, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique and Origins (to mention a few). At first, I worked as a sales manager and later as a regional makeup artist.

Many commercial cosmetic products practically promise you a face lift in a jar. People (especially women) spend a fortune on day creams, night creams, eye creams- it's incredible! Here is a fact that you should keep in mind: NONE of the cosmetic products purchased at these fancy and expensive makeup counters will perform the way consumers expect them to perform.

Why? Let me give you a brief explanation: your skin consists of two main layers- the epidermis (outer layer that you can see) and the dermis (inner layer underneath). In order for a product to make any drastic changes to your skin, it must penetrate into the dermis, and only powerful pharmaceuticals can do this.

If you live in the United States, you should know that the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) does NOT allow commercial cosmetic products that can be purchased over the counter to have this kind of potency. In other words, you would have to get your products at a pharmacy and it would be considered a drug, not a cosmetic.

Don't get me wrong, applying a good day cream with high SPF and a nourishing night cream will definitely produce good benefits over time. I could fill a house with the amount of facial and body creams I have consumed throughout the years!

Creams help to keep skin supple and lubricated, but they don't work on the inside , where REAL changes can happens. If you are not ready for a surgical face lift and have no desire to use pharmaceuticals, there is one other way in which to get lasting beauty results: NOURISHMENT. That's right, your diet .

My motto is: You are what you eat. What you put inside your body will manifest itself on the outside. Don't believe me? Give the following 10 tips a try for one month and you should see a visible difference:

1. Drink LOTS of Water- Humans are made of approximately 70% water. Drinking a lot of water keeps us hydrated, but it also keeps your skin soft and supple. Water cleans your system by flushing out toxins, including the impurities that clog your pores and cause skin problems. Stop drinking chemical soft drinks that are full of artificial flavors and colors! Drink water, instead for a clear complexion.

2. Eat Foods RICH in Antioxidants- Many articles have been published about the damaging effects of free radicals and how they can be combated with antioxidants. Free radicals not only cause cancer and other diseases, they also prey upon your skin, causing it to break down and age quickly. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants will not only keep you healthy on the inside, it will keep your outward skin looking younger longer. Combine this with ahigh SPF daily moisturizer and your skin will look great for a long time. Some of the foods rich in antioxidants are: kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, beans, nuts, tea, goji berries, cranberries, blueberries pomegranates- even raw chocolate! Just to name a few!

3. Eat Yogurt (every day) and use it as a MASK once per week- Since I am a woman, I eat plain yogurt every day because it has all the friendly flora I need to keep my insides happy and healthy. I also eat it for reasons of vanity. Yogurt provides the calcium my teeth need to be strong, and healthy teeth make for a beautiful smile. Since I eat yogurt with fat (that's right, delicious, creamy FAT), I tend to put it on my face as a hydrating mask about once a week. Believe me, I have used expensive masks that don't work as well as this does! Also, since my skin is sensitive, the yogurt never causes a rash or breakout. Apply to clean skin and leave it on for 15 - 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water and apply your day cream. Your skin will be glowing and soft, I promise.

4. Drizzle Olive Oil on EVERYTHING- I gave this advice on how to stay slim and healthy, but did you know that olive oil is wonderful for your hair, skin and nails? Your hair will be shiny, your nails a healthy pink and your skin will be supple. Several years ago, I met a woman in her 70's and she had the loveliest hands. She told me that every night before going to bed she would heat up a bit of olive oil, rub it into her hands and put on white cotton gloves. Her hands would be soft when she removed the gloves in the morning after waking up. She had been following this ritual her entire life. Wow.

5. Eat Bananas Often- A lack of potassium in your diet will cause all kinds of health problems, but it will also cause your skin to become flaky and dry. Eating bananas and other potassium rich foods will prevent this condition. Also, if you ever get occasional breakout, rub the inside of a banana peel on the infected area. This will dry out pimples naturally and gently, without causing any stress to your skin.

6. Drink Some Tea and SAVE THE BAGS- Drinking tea is good for you, we already know that. What you probably don't know is that cold tea bags make excellent compresses. After you make your tea, squeeze the excess liquid and place the bag in your fridge. Use them when you have tired, swollen eyes or dark circles.Cucumber slices and raw potato slices also help with puffiness around the eyes.

7. Substitute Honey for Sugar- Most people know that high levels of sugar in your body may put you at risk for developing diabetes, getting fat and rotting your teeth, but did you know that it can also cause wrinkles? Eating too much sugar will cause a chemical reaction that destroys collagen and elastin, which are the two main protein fibers that keep your skin supple and elastic. I am not suggesting that you totally give up sugar (a teaspoon in your morning coffee is fine). Just avoid it when possible. For example, sweeten tea and yogurt with a teaspoon of honey, which is so much better for you. Eat a nice dessert once in a while - not every day (be moderate). Look for hidden sugar in products like ketchup and other sauces, and phase them out of your diet. When baking, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by at least one third. If you get sugar cravings, eat fruit- it is so much better for you anyway!

8. Oatmeal Scrub & Mask- When I was younger, I had classic combination skin with an oily T-zone. If I used masks designed to reduce the oil, it would make the rest of my face dry and sometimes even itch. I know many of you may have this problem. How to solve it? Look no further than your kitchen. In a bowl, mix 3-4 T oatmeal with a little bit of milk or plain yogurt, just so that it barely sticks together (should be very coarse and lumpy). Use half of what is in the bowl as a scrub to exfoliate any dead, flaky skin. When done, add more milk or yogurt to the rest in the bowl and apply it as a mask. The oatmeal will soak up excess oil and the milk or yogurt will gently hydrate your skin. The result? Soft, glowing skin. By the way, if you are trying to lose weight, oatmeal is fat free, low calorie and very rich in fiber. Just one small bowl will fill you up and ward off hunger so you eat less throughout the day.

9. Don't Toss Those Eggshells- Now this is a bit tricky, but worth it. After you crack a raw egg, carefully peel the flimsy white inner skin inside the shell. It's not easy to do since it is so fragile. Believe it or not, that little skin is full of protein and hydrating properties. Put it directly on the contour area around your eye to combat crows-feet, or if you have made an omelet and used many eggs, do a whole facial mask. You will actually feel a tightening sensation on your skin as the mask firms and hydrates. Leave on for about 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Apply cream afterward. Your skin will feel smooth and supple.

10. Eat Plenty of Fish- You probably know that Omega 3 fatty acids may help lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), but did you know that they also provide strength and shine to hair and nails? Fish provides protein that is low in fat and calories, so eat plenty in order to stay slim.

If anyone else would like to share their kitchen beauty secrets, I would greatly appreciate it! I'm always willing to try new things. Thank you for reading!


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    • REALfoodie profile image

      C De Melo 7 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

      Thanks, Mini...let me know if you try any of the tips!

    • profile image

      Mini 7 years ago

      Great hub! informative. :)

    • REALfoodie profile image

      C De Melo 7 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

      Hi AutumnLockwood- firming, hydrating and astringent all in one. I´ll have to try it. Very clever :)

    • AutumnLockwood profile image

      AutumnLockwood 7 years ago from Northern California

      I've tried mixing egg, honey, and lemon as a face mask. It's very effective.

    • REALfoodie profile image

      C De Melo 7 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

      Thanks Toni, WebsiteDesigner and Alternative Prime- Just yesterday I made an omelet and used the inner skin of the eggshells. My skin was so supple afterward. Glad you liked the hub! Thanks for your comments :)

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 7 years ago from > California

      Hi REALfoodie,

      Excellent Hub with some really great ideas! Fruits, Vegetables & Assorted Nuts have always been a mainstay of my diet and it seems to pay off bigtime...

      Brazil! 2014 World Cup!...I'll be there!

    • WebsiteDesigner profile image

      WebsiteDesigner 7 years ago

      Great article, especially during this recession when people are cash-strapped and are probably foregoing the expensive creams ... just use what's already in your fridge/pantry :-) Looking forward to the Brazilian twist on your future articles xoxo

    • profile image

      Toni 7 years ago

      Hey! Best hub yet!

      I'm off to buy some yogurt.

      Love from the vineyard... T

    • REALfoodie profile image

      C De Melo 7 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

      Thanks, jatat02- I appreciate that!

    • profile image

      jagat02 7 years ago

      Wow.....well executed article.