Coffee is an unusual, yet utterly beguiling, substance. Drinking more than a cup or two a day can dehydrate you by stimulating the kidneys thanks to coffee’s mild diuretic effects, as well as stimulate the heart and central nervous system. There’s also the inevitable staining of the teeth if coffee is drank in large quantities. For those following a strict beauty regiment, coffee in anything more than light amounts is a no-no. Those who want the stimulating effects of coffee without the need for caffeine may wish to switch to Downsize Daily Metabolism.
Yet, for all the bad press, those who are following less strict beauty regimes may want to reconsider giving up their daily cup of coffee. Coffee has been linked to a reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia, type-2 diabetes, gout, cirrhosis, Parkinson’s Disease and much more besides. Coffee is also packed full of antioxidants, preventing free radicals from causing cell damage. Coffee can even help with mild depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, thanks to the caffeine content and presence of monoamine oxidase inhibitors. In moderate amounts, and followed by a glass of water, coffee is actually a rather wondrous substance. Yes, sometimes, when something smells good, it is actually good for you as well.
Those who want to give up drinking coffee thanks to its negative impact upon our looks (e.g. dry skin thanks to dehydration, or bloodshot, baggy eyes due to a lack of sleep) may want to consider applying the coffee to their skin rather than drink it. Indeed, in some instances, coffee on the skin does the opposite of what happens when we drink it. Coffee’s slightly acidic skin-similar pH of 4.5 – 5.0 can help prevent acne and reduce blemishes, and skin can be made to look healthy rather than dry. However, in some instances, coffee works in the same way on skin as it does when we drink it. Coffee is lipolytic (fat-reducing), so not only can it help prevent fat build-up in the liver, but also help get rid of cellulite as it stimulates micro-circulation and encourages the release of fat cells into the bloodstream, from where it can be eliminated.
Considering all this, it is no surprise that coffee is a secret (or not-so secret) ingredient in many top-range beauty products. Here’s a few tips for some home made beauty treatments.
COFFEE SOAP (for 1 bar)
1 Bar of pure, fragrance-free soap
¼ Cup ground coffee, or ½ cup of dried “used” coffee
Essence (optional – only a few drops required)
Making your own soap is extremely easy. In this version, we won’t be using lye or any other such substance, but rather just a good quality bar of plain, pure soap.
First, cut the soap into small pieces, around an inch thick. Then, gently heat the pieces on low in the saucepan until all the soap has melted.
Once the soap has melted completely, add the ground coffee, as well as any other essence of your choice (e.g. lavender, although vanilla is an excellent combination with coffee). Even crushed walnuts and the like can be used for the exfoliant properties.
Once thoroughly combined, take the melted soap off the heat and pour into a mould (e.g. a a small plastic container). Allow the soap to cool and air-dry, Once dried, the soap can be stored and used as any other soap.
Simply beat an egg white until stiff, then mix in a ¼ cup of warm, used coffee grounds. Massage the resulting mixture onto the face, allow to dry and wash off with warm water. Follow this up with moisturiser, and your skin ought to feel firmer, look brighter & less tired as dead skin is scrubbed off, and minimise pores.
JAVA BODY SCRUB
Another easy one to make. Simply mix together a ¼ cup of fresh coffee grounds, a ¾ cup of brown sugar and one cup of sweet almond oil in a bowl. Once a loose paste is created, add in a few drops of vanilla essence. Should the paste be too thick, add in a little extra almond oil until it’s of relatively loose viscosity. This scrub can be used pretty much anywhere on the body except the face or wherever the skin’s broken.
This scrub busts cellulite, tightens the skin a scrubs off dead skin cells. The scrub ought to keep for a few days if it’s not all used in one sitting.
Dipak Hemraj writes for health and beauty experts Victoria Health.