Being pregnant

Pregnancy: Must-have natural beauty remedies

Mom-to-be Roma Kojima shares her favourite must-have natural beauty remedies.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Roma Kojima is a soon-to-be mom of a tiny, wriggly girl. Aside from growing a human, she works in business development at Rogers Media, loves to travel and cook, and obsesses about leather purses she can’t afford. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

Weird stuff happens to your body when you’re pregnant. Everyone warns you but it’s always a surprise—mainly because whatever ends up happening is largely unexpected. For example, all this week I seem to be squeaking when I walk. I can hear it, but have no clue where this noise is coming from. (No, it’s not gas.) It’s driving me absolutely batty.

Anyway, one of the major things that happened to me was that my skin went to crap. I suddenly have more acne than a pubescent boy and obviously can’t apply most of the effective topical treatments. While I’m optimistic that it will all go back to normal after the baby is born, that still leaves me with several months of wanting to walk around with a paper bag over my head, Shia Laboeuf style.

Read more: Safe pregnancy: Beauty myths and truths >

It all got me thinking about how much we rely on tried-and-true or, in many cases, wildly optimistic beauty solutions we are constantly bombarded with. Growing up, “Fairness Creams” were all the rage. I never tried one, but short of bleach, I never really believed anything will make your skin lighter. Plus, I like the colour of my skin. In my 30s, anti-aging products are everywhere. I haven’t seen much evidence of them working, but luckily I don’t have wrinkles yet so I can’t tell the difference either way.

Don’t get me wrong, I like trying fun beauty products as much as the next girl, but I honestly don’t know how much you can fight nature. If you’re prone to wrinkling, you’re gonna wrinkle. We live in a time where we’re exposed to harmful UV rays, pollution, weird chemicals in our foods and who knows what else. Back in our grandmother’s time, they weren’t any less concerned with beauty, but where I come from most beauty treatments were legitimately natural and could, in fact, be found in the average kitchen.

We used several of these in our house, and I’ve yet to see better results from the store-bought chemical stuff. The added bonus of these is that when you’re pregnant, you don’t have to worry about whether they’re safe. If you can eat ’em, you can put ’em on your face. Of course you should check whether you’re allergic to any of these before trying them, just in case.

Cleansers

1) The Best Gentle Face Scrub I’ve Ever Used

Ingredients:
1/2 slice stale multigrain bread
3-4 tbsp warm milk, or enough to make a paste with the bread
(optional) 1 small pinch of turmeric powder (it’s antiseptic)
(optional) 1/2 tsp warm honey

Mush the bread into the milk with your fingers, add the turmeric and honey and scrub over your face, standing over the sink. Let the excess scrub fall off into the sink. After about 45 seconds of scrubbing, rinse off.

Note: If you have oilier skin, you can substitute the milk for plain yogurt.

2) The Best Heavy-Duty Face Scrub I’ve Ever Used

Ingredients:
1 tsp coarse ground rice flour (you can grind it yourself with a mortar and pestle)
3-4 tsp milk (or yogurt)
(optional) 1/2 tsp warm honey

Mix everything together to make a runny paste. Scrub your face for 30 seconds or so and rinse off.

3) Chickpea flour face cleanser

Ingredients:
1 tsp chickpea flour
2 tsp milk (or to make a paste)

Scrub face for 30 seconds or so and rinse off. This can sometimes dry out the skin, so don’t leave it on too long.

Toner

1) Cucumber Water Toner

Grate half a cucumber into a muslin cloth or cheesecloth covered bowl. Squeeze the muslin cloth over the bowl to collect the juice from the grated cucumber. Dip a cotton ball and apply to face. You can store this for a day or two in the fridge, which makes it a very refreshing pick-me-up for your skin in the summertime.

Acne Treatment

1) Papaya face mask

4-5 one-inch chunks of ripe papaya
1 tsp Fuller’s Earth* (multani mitt) or Sandalwood powder
1/2 tsp honey

*If you can’t find Fuller’s Earth, add 1/2 tsp lemon juice instead

Mix everything into a paste and apply to the skin for ten minutes, then wash off.

If you’re lazy, you can also just apply ripe papaya pulp on your face for 15 minutes and wash off. It’s all good.

2) Raw papaya acne mask

Raw papaya is available at most grocery stores—it’s light green on the inside and actually goes really well in a coconut curry. Just saying.

Grate some raw papaya and apply it evenly on the face. Leave on for ten minutes and wash off.

3) Tomato and avocado face mask

If you ever have some avocado left over from making guacamole, mush some up with a little ripe tomato. Apply to your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes, then wash off. The fats from the avocado are a great moisturizer and the tomato is said to help with oil reduction and blackhead prevention.

Again, if you’re feeling lazy, just mush up a tomato and apply the pulp directly to your face for 15-20 minutes and wash off.

Leave a comment below to let me know if any of these help your skin, or if you have any other at home beauty remedies!

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