Last month, influential beauty blogger Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty) hit the headlines when she shared her trick to growing thicker eyebrows with her reported 12.9m Instagram followers. Now it’s no secret that big brows are big business, and when it comes to achieving perfect brows (the current Holy Grail of beauty) it seems that no tip is too strange, or in this case too stinky to try!
The 60 second clip (which achieved some 60.5k likes) showed Huda demonstrating how she rubs raw onion on her brows to encourage them to grow. Her explanation for this seemingly bizarre beauty hack being that “onion juice has sulphur which speeds up the growth of hair and makes it thicker.”
Curious to discover if this brow boosting tip really is backed up by science, or if rubbing onion anywhere near your eyes is simply a recipe for disaster, I did some digging and learned that sulphur does in fact play a critical role in the healthy development and cells and hair growth. And, although most of the information I found was related to dietary sulphur, and the effects of nutrition on hair growth, I did discover an interesting study from 2002 (published in the Journal of Dermatology) which demonstrated that the topical application of raw onion juice showed a positive (and measurable) effect on hair growth among a group of subjects with the hair loss condition alopecia areata.
However, if you are tempted to try this tip for yourself please proceed with caution, as it is not entirely without risk. Onions contain enzymes that can cause tearing, inflammation and stinging of the eyes – and the onion does not necessarily need to come into direct contact with the eyes to trigger these unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms.
Now, whilst I believe it is up to the individual to determine whether the onion juice tip is worth a try (or possibly a cry!), where skincare is concerned I certainly wouldn’t swerve the supermarket or store cupboard altogether, in fact your kitchen may already be home to all manner of natural beauty boosting ingredients, many of which have stood the test of time, having been passed down through the generations (with some even dating back as far as Ancient Egyptian times) – and that won’t make your eyes water!
Let’s begin with my current favourite food based skin saviour, a budget friendly, beautifully fragranced and versatile product, rosewater makes a wonderful facial toner, and can be mixed with both glycerin and/or witch hazel making it both hydrating and astringent – without being harsh on the skin. Or, for a simple refreshing and calming skincare mist, try mixing equal parts rosewater and sterile water in a sterilised spray bottle and spritz over your skin.
As well as being delicious, avocados offer powerful beauty benefits both inside and out. In her book ‘Eat Pretty’ beauty and health coach Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP explains how avocados provide one of the healthiest sources of fat in nature, are rich in vitamin E which helps maintain strong, hydrated skin cells and B vitamins which play a role in detoxification. Applied topically avocados make amazing face masks, either on their own, or combined with other ingredients such as olive oil, honey or raw egg white. To give this a go simply cut an avocado in half, remove the nut, scoop out and mash up the flesh, apply to clean skin and leave to work for 15 minutes before rinsing off.
Honey, particularly raw or unpasteurised, is an amazingly versatile ingredient to introduce into your skincare arsenal. It is packed full of antioxidants, has naturally antibacterial properties and thanks to it’s ability to attract and retain moisture it works wonders for restoring skin hydration and elasticity. Reaping all these benefits couldn’t be easier, simply smooth a thin layer over clean, dry skin, leave to work for approximately half an hour and rinse off with warm water.
It turns out that this everyday store cupboard ingredient can do more than just help make your cakes rise! It has a multitude of uses due to its natural cleansing, exfoliating and deodorising properties – a triple threat for treating tired, rough or otherwise unhappy feet. Try dissolving 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl of warm water and soak feet for 15 – 20 minutes for a skin smoothing and softening treat.
Love a cuppa? Well you may want to reconsider ditching your used coffee grounds as they make an excellent base for an effective body exfoliator. Experience a different kind of caffeine fix by mixing half a cup of used coffee grounds with half a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of olive oil (or alternatively you can use almond or coconut oil) and use once or twice per week to slough away dead skin cells and boost circulation.
Do you have a kitchen cupboard beauty secret you’d like to share? Tweet me at @SarahUrbanEcho