Thursday, July 10, 2014

Food On Your Face (And Body)

Dear Mouse,

It's summer!

Oops. Ok a few months to catch up on. Long story short: It's hot, I made my off-Bway debut here, I went to Norway with this show (that will be coming here in the fall),  I had a birthday and you (plus fam) made me not one but two excellent parties, and I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

But not (entirely) in the way you might think.

                                                                         Also the Lab.

There's no doubt about it, Mouse, my Inner Hippie (or maybe "Natural Woman" is more accurate?) has come back. ("Back", you say? Come on, I wear heels now! Sometimes.)

 What has caused this? There are several possibilities. Could it be working on a show that was basically a Passion Play about Climate Change and the very real consequences of our disposable lifestyle?    Could it be the fact that I've been spending a lot of time with {PLACEHOLDER BLOGNAME}**, a person who prefers (herbal) tea to coffee, ice cream to cocktails, and hiking/biking/kayaking/salsa dancing/mini golf/writing a musical together to... sitting in a bar? Or could it simply be luck/sharing a dressing room with some like-minded women interested in 'green' answers to beauty/heath problems where 'traditional' (chemical-laden, plastic-encased) products and medicines have failed us?

** Despite a lengthy summit on the plane back from Norway as to what an appropriate blog handle for this person might be, at the time of this writing a decision still has not been made. Suggestions considered and then rejected: The Boyfriend (meh), The Collaborator (dry), King Hakon Hakonsson VII of Bergen (historically inaccurate). 

They say when the mind is ready, a teacher appears. In my case it was three of them. Three Wise Women, bearing gifts ... in the form of beauty/health concoctions you can make... from food!

                                                                  It was like this.

                                      ok, really this is intermission of this 5.5-hr biblical epic play where
                             if you want you can be Baby Jesus in a photo w/the cast. 
                                                   Oh, like you wouldn't have done it.

My Gifts of the Magi were as follows.


Dressing Room 1 sat to my left in, well, our dressing room, while we were working on the End of the World show mentioned above. It was perhaps during the third of our five (!) 12-hour tech days while discussing how to reduce our use of plastics and watching videos of her cute 1-yr old son that Oil Cleansing came up. The next day she brought me (unasked!) a small vial to test myself, and I am indebted to her.

If this were a different kind of blog I'd go into depth here about my personal history of 'problem skin', and mention the words 'adult acne' and the incredible frustration of looking for a fix all my life. Also, if this were another kind of blog (you know, the ones where you really learn stuff), I would explain the theory behind OCM and go into depth about options. But this is our blog, and I'm already taking liberties. So folks,  read further, but the basic dealyo is replacing your facial cleanser (you heard me) with a blend (proportions vary) of organic castor oil (yes) and another, 'carrier' oil (yes-  DR1 and I use sunflower), massaging it into your face at night (no facial cleanser or makeup remover needed), and steaming then wiping it off with a hot washcloth, once or twice a week, or (if you're me), nightly. It all varies, but

Here's how I do:

1 part organic castor oil
2 part sunflower oil  

Mix in tiny glass jar. At bedtime, pour quarter-size amount in your hand, then massage into your face. Run a washcloth (I bought a stack of cheap ones for this) under water as hot as you can stand (do not burn yourself!), wring out and press it to your face. Hold there til it cools. Do it again once or twice, then wipe away any residue and splash face with cold water. THATS IT. Maybe some moisturizer.

I know. It sounds extremely counterintuitive (OIL? on my SKIN? for breakouts??). All I can say is it has NOT made me break out more and HAS (so far) made me break out less and my face feels soft as my baby niece's butt. (Too much? Sorry. It's really soft.) Everybody's different (DR1's blend is 5-to-1 and she does it twice a week.)  In the morning I use some cetaphil or (gasp!) just water, depending.


In fairness,  it was at least a year ago that The Playwright and I had this important discussion on the rooftop of the bar Brass Monkey, and I may have mentioned it already. As I recall, I was the only one having an adult beverage while Dennis (of past tornado-incident blog fame) and herself were drinking ice water and discussing their latest health food discoveries, and it was here that I heard the words "manuka honey" for the first time.

Mouse, I'll be brief. Get this honey.


Ok. It is not cheap. (Oh hello, Gwyneth, how'd you get in here) but before anyone starts yelling, think how much people pay for good face cream, acne medication, wound salve, and cold medicine altogether, because you can use this honey for all these purposes.  It comes from (obviously) really, really savvy and talented bees in New Zealand, and Trader Joe's is now selling it for $10 a pop though I am slightly suspicious and can only speak for the Wedderspoon's at this point. (Someone test drive it and let me know).

For cold prevention:  All I can say is I ate a teaspoon of this honey every day all last fall & winter and did not get sick once. This year, I didn't, and I got bronchitis for all of January and have a cold right now (which I am eating honey to try and cure).

For skin, esp acne-prone: Put some manuka honey on your (clean) face. Leave 15-30 minutes then rinse. If you're having a breakout, do this once in the AM and once before bed.

You can also make a hydrating/nourishing face mask by mashing 1/4 of an avocado well with a bit of manuka, smearing/leaving it on your face for 15 min, then rinsing. Here's a picture of me wearing it.

                                                                Soft as ... well, you know.

I'll keep this in the kitchen? medicine cabinet? (I'm having trouble figuring out where to store it), at least until all the bees are gone (see 'end of the world' concerns, above).


Stay with me, Mouse.

Now if you're anything like me, and you are, at this point you're thnking something like this: , "The Boo has gone off the deep end. She has entered hippie-dippie paradise and I hope she has a great time living there with {KING HAKON HAKONSSON... nope},  but I've been down this Road of Lies before. Sure, we all know that antiperspirant use has been linked to many evils, most notably breast cancer and Alzheimer's, but  as the mom in the (excellent) film The Obvious Child says, "I would rather not remember smelling good than live my whole life remembering how I smelled like garbage."

And to that I say ... ME TOO!

That's the thing!! I too have been taken for a ride by all kinds of (commercially produced, in plastic) 'natural' versions. I tried The Crystal in college. I dallied with Tom's of Maine. They worked for like an hour. Or a day.

But when a (different) person who shares a (different) dressing room with you tells you nonchalantly that the substance in her small glass jar is "deodorant.. I make it myself", and that person is notably gorgeous, patchouly-free and Not Bad Smelling, it makes you curious. And when you realize you forgot your Secret and you have to go onstage in ten, and you borrow some of the homemade stuff and it works, for hours after the show and the party... you ask for the recipe.

Here's how I do.

5 T extra virgin organic coconut oil, melted (liquid)
1/4 C baking soda
1/4 C cornstarch
5 -10 drops of essential oil (optional and your choice: I went with lavender)
Whisk the dry ingredients and then pour in the oil, whisking. Store in glass jar.

DR2's recipe uses arrowroot powder instead of/in addition to cornstarch, and mixes tea tree oil with the essential oil drops. At room temp it's like a lotion, in the fridge it is solid but melts on contact with your skin. Apply with your fingers after showering in the AM. That's it.

The whole first week of this experiment  I was terrified and carried around an emergency travel-size deodorant stick in my purse for the moment of (I was certain inevitable) failure. It never came. It looks and smells pleasantly like frosting (do not eat), and though not technically an antiperspirant I have noticed it usually keeps me dry. {PLACEHOLDER BLOG NAME} asked me if it is "PH Balanced for a woman, but strong enough for a man".  No word on this yet.

Ok, that's all for now.  I can feel us losing readership by the paragraph. For anyone wondering what happened to the Food Blog they like,  I give you a different kind of potion below, one that, yes, you eat.


chickpea miso paste
dijon mustard
real maple syrup
salt, pepper

Whisk equal parts mustard, maple, and miso. Liberally spread over salmon fillets and sprinkle salt and pepper. Exactly 23 minutes at 425, skin side down, in the oven. You're welcome.


The Boo


Anonymous said...

who knew you pursued all of these potions and actually use them????
they do sound good enough to sure not?

Unknown said...

I'm willing to try the deodorant, and maybe the face cleanser too- thanks for sharing!

Ania said...


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