Violet Hudson investigates the power of her fridge when it comes to all things bright and beautiful
About a year ago, Victoria Beckham – she of the talon-nails and ballpoint pen-heels – admitted that sometimes she slathers some mushed up avocado on her face. What, cried the tabloids, is wrong with her? This is a woman with many millions of pounds at her disposal, who could bathe her epidermis in the umbilical cords of unborn cashmere goats if she so chose; and yet she goes for the humble avocado?
What they failed to pick up on was that Victoria, pouty, expensive, glossy Victoria, has a point. Yes, yes: picking something from the fridge and then squishing it into a magic elixir is usually the preserve of children making potions from rose petals. But, hey, lots of high-tech beauty products use plant extracts, so what’s the harm in going back to the original?
I decided to start with something small, something easy. A porridge bath. Basically, a handful of oats shoved into a clean tea-towel, which I then tied around the tap so that the water would run through it. Aveeno, whose brilliant body moisturisers I swear by, use oats: what’s the difference? The bath is super easy to run and was a pleasing milky colour when I get into it. Afterwards, my skin felt soft and plump. It has worked a treat: although the tub did need quite a thorough scrub afterwards. Ease: 7/10. Effectiveness: 9/10.
Next up: the lemon juice nail whitener. Lemon juice is a natural bleach, so after my hands had gone Lady Macbeth red after making a beetroot risotto, I needed a way to make them lily-white again. No amount of scrubbing with fairy liquid was getting rid of those stains. Half a lemon squeezed onto my fingers and a bit of gentle rubbing later, my hands were back to normal. Although I had forgotten about a paper cut. Ouch. Ease: 10/10. Effectiveness: 8/10.
Now time for a slightly yucky one. My hair, though fine, is also a bit brittle and can get very split-end-y after a cold winter. So I decided to try the age-old trick of making a hair mask out of olive oil and egg yolk (yes, basically mayonnaise): the combination of protein and moisture is supposed to do wonders. It feel slimy and gloopy as I smoothed it over my damp hair. Usually with a hair mask I’d put on a shower cap to let the steam make the mask sink in; but that obviously wasn’t an option here, unless I wanted an omelette on my head. Afterwards, and after about 18 rinses, my hair did feel silky smooth. But it got greasy again very quickly, and the hassle of making this combined with the ick-factor means I won’t be trying it again in a hurry. Ease: 3/10. Effectiveness: 5/10.
I’ve always had blotchy, sensitive skin so an entirely natural face-mask made of honey and yoghurt seemed like just the trick. They’re both known for being soothing and anti-inflammatory, while honey is mildly antiseptic. I slathered it on, left it for ten minutes and then washed off. Easy as pie – although I did get some yoghurt in my hair. My skin looked fresh and didn’t feel at all tight, although there was still blotchiness and the odd pimple. I think this one felt better than its actual results – but it was a lovely, fragrant treat. Ease: 9/10. Effectiveness: 5/10.
Back to olive oil. I have exzcema and have always used it on my skin: as a balm for particularly dry bits, as a post-bath moisturiser or simply as a hand salve when I’m in the kitchen and can’t be bothered to go upstairs. One thing I can’t really use, due to my sensitive skin, is exfoliators: they tend to bring me out in an angry red rash. So a body scrub made of olive oil mushed together with some sea salt offers the perfect solution. It took two seconds to put together, and worked a treat, sloughing away dead skin and leaving me baby-soft, if a little shiny. Ease: 10/10. Effectiveness: 10/10.
And finally: the Posh Spice avocado face mask. I bought some ‘ripe’ avocados from the supermarket. Of course they were hard as rocks. So I bought some more, from a different supermarket. Them too. Finally I found some suitably squidgy ones in the corner shop, but by that point I was losing enthusiasm for the whole project. Posh allegedly sleeps with her mask on, but there was no way in hell I was turning my pillow case into a guacamole pot, so I applied the mushed-up avocado onto my face midday and waited for 15 minutes. It felt horrible – slimy, lumpy, cold. Vicious green when I had applied it, by the time I looked in the mirror after letting it work its magic, it was a dull oxidised brown and looked properly revolting. After rinsing off – and rinsing the sink many, many times – I must admit my skin looked and felt lovely: plump, clear, even-toned and bright. But it was so revolting that I’d rather just eat an avocado any day. That’s the thing about these fridge-tricks: they’re great for when you’re broke or if you’re trying to only use natural products. But I can’t help but think they’d all be better eaten. Ease: 2/10. Effectiveness: 8/10.