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Women today have many different makeup products to help keep our youthful appearance and make us beautiful. But while some of our beauty secrets might come from the cosmetics counter, others can come from the pantry.

Women have used food to maintain or improve their appearance throughout history. Sometimes, eating special foods such as swallows’ nests or fish cheeks was believed to help. Other times, rubbing or smearing various foods on the face was thought to be a good skin treatment. Some claim that Cleopatra regularly took milk baths to maintain her youthful appearance. The infamous Madame du Barry used honey as a facial mask.

Since I was little, my female relatives have offered me some of their simple beauty secrets, which always involve food. My grandmother wanted me to save eggshells, so I could rub the remaining egg white in them on my face to smooth my skin.

My mother taught me to cover my face with watermelon rind. She says that it is a natural skin cleanser. Since these beauty treatments are easy, I do them whenever I have eggshells or watermelon peels, even though I don’t really know if they work.

Many foods have been proven to contain elements that enhance the skin. Alpha-hydroxy acids, enzymes from fruits and vegetable such as pickles, pineapples and mangoes can exfoliate, or remove, old skin cells and make new skin look smooth and youthful. They are an important ingredient in many skin creams and moisturizers.

Some of these discoveries happened by accident: It is said that scientists discovered helpful enzymes in wine when they noticed that the hands of Japanese rice wine workers were youthful and white.

Today, many beauty products contain such beneficial enzymes. But these products are generally pretty expensive. Since food is supposed to be a good ingredient for beauty, why not use it directly?

According to the National Honey Board, some researchers indicate that honey contains alpha-hydroxy acids. So, next time you have the urge to look gorgeous and use up some extra honey, here are a few instant beauty recipes.

Honey Cleanser

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons finely ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix together and rub gently onto face. Wash off with warm water.

Firming Facial Mask

1 tablespoon honey

1 egg white

1 teaspoon glycerin

enough flour to form a paste

Stir the ingredients together. Rub over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

For more information on using honey for beauty treatments, check out Yu-Ru Lee


Pike Street (18 W. Pike, Pontiac) is the place for lobster every Tuesday night. For $24.95, chow down on a live Maine lobster (they’ll kill it for you), Boston clam chowder, corn on the cob and cole slaw. Call 248-334-7878. … Get to any Buddy’s Pizza before July 4 to enter their drawing for a family trip to Disney World. … Contribute to the international Feed the Children organization at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (16200 19 Mile Rd., Clinton Twp., 810-263-8700). They’re collecting supplies for Kosovo refugees, and especially need baby food, infant formula and nonperishable canned or boxed foods.

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