Spice Up Your Beauty Bag

The famed Spice Route was not only lucrative for shipping precious cargo for culinary purposes, it also introduced potent beauty secrets from cultures across the world to a wider audience. Discover the naturally effective spices and herbs that have been used in skincare routines for centuries
Every day spices to boost your beauty routine
ITP Images
Every day spices to boost your beauty routine
September 19, 2019
By Michaela Williams

Use thin slivers of this antioxidant-loaded root to soothe blemishes and spots. Apply directly to the affected area and allow to sit for 10 minutes on the skin before rinsing. The combination of anti-inflammatory and circulation-boosting properties helps speed up the healing process.

Still highly-prized by chefs and home cooks alike, this irresistible spice has beauty benefits that reach beyond its sweet scent. Used in skin and haircare, the vanillin extracted from vanilla bean pods has the ability to hydrate and smoothen. Rich in essential B vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamin, products including the Smooth & Repair range from Maui Moisture replenish vital collagen stores.

Both known as anti-inflammatories, turmeric and paprika contain the carotenoid, beta-carotene, which offers both a vivid orange hue and free radical-fighting abilities. For an anti-aging and brightening face masque, stir together a quarter of a teaspoon of ground turmeric or paprika, a tablespoon of natural yoghurt and a teaspoon of honey, and apply to clean skin. Leave on skin for 10 minutes before rinsing off.

A favourite ingredient of India’s Ayurvedic principles, neem oil is extracted from the leaves of the evergreen tree. Used in skincare, the antiseptic ingredient mattifies shine and decongests acne-prone skin to keep complexions clear without stripping moisture from the skin.

A star of traditional Chinese medicine, camomile is revered for its ability to soothe skin and reduce irritation. Create a simple facial toner by brewing a half-cup of camomile tea with filtered water. Allow to cool before applying the liquid to a cotton pad and sweeping across cleansed skin to gently remove traces of oil and make-up. Blondes can also benefit from camomile-infused products such as Garnier’s Ultra Doux Illuminating Shampoo, with the dried buds’ brightening properties adding extra shine to lighter locks and highlights.

Originally dried and used as a substitute for pricier saffron, safflower has carved out its own place as a beauty stalwart. The oil pressed from the plant’s petals is high in vitamin E and fatty acids, which deliver a dual effect of hydrating and renewing skin. St Ives Renewing Collagen & Elastin Moisturizer features safflower oil to smooth and revive dry skin, helping encourage the production of natural collagen.

First traded from Indonesia’s Moluccas, the aptly nicknamed Spice Islands, the naturally astringent spice is effective for fading pigmentation. Cloves have similar properties as nutmeg, thanks to their shared phenylpropene, eugenol, which gives the spices their warming and stimulating properties. Mix a pinch of either spice with liquid castile soap for an invigorating facial wash suitable for oily and combination skin types.

A natural antiseptic and full of phytonutrients, rosemary has been used for centuries in poultices for wound healing. Harness its benefits by seeping a teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling filtered water. Allow to cool, pour into a spritz bottle and use throughout the day to refresh and protect the skin.

Prized for its multi-tasking abilities, cinnamon was just as likely to feature in a mulled drink or decadent sauce as it was to appear in a medieval pomander (a locket containing a perfumed blend). Shipped from India to Europe, the spice imparts a warming sensation on the skin. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to an unscented massage oil, to make a DIY alternative to a muscle rub. Work into the body to soothe an aching back or work out knotted calves
and shoulders.

Once worth its weight in gold, salt is now a commonplace kitchen essential found in every household. For beauty treatments, salt is a natural anti-inflammatory and oil absorbent. Refresh your scalp, remove build-up of hair styling products and skin flakes, and soak up excess oil by using sea salt as a natural scrub. Add a good shake of ground sea salt into a dollop of your usual shampoo, then work into the scalp, massaging for several minute before rinsing and conditioning and watch it work wonders.