Cooking and eating through a new culture

Coming Clean

I have a confession to make. It’s not something I am proud of.  In fact I have no idea how I got this way and I am amazed at how far I will go to sate my addiction. This may come as a shock…but I am a product whore.

Lotions, creams, make-up, hair products, you name it, I hoard it.  If you want to see my eyes glaze over in pure unadulterated bliss, just take me to Sephora.  I have spent an obscene amount of money on products.  There is just so much to try!  And samples? Oh, I love them and stash them everywhere. Or the value packs of multiple products! I would literally eat them up.  When Rafa and I drove down here, my car was loaded with stuff.  I bought liter size shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser, and body soap (I didn’t know what would be here).  When we got out to stores, all I do is take a running inventory of what products they have so I know where to buy them.  I may like clothes, but I love products.  It’s a sickness…I may need therapy.

After nearly slicing my finger off after cutting open a bottle of lotion to get the very last tiny drop out, I realized I needed to make some changes.  I am jobless. Even though Rafa would give me anything I asked for, this is not the time for me.  It’s a time for us.  I can’t be ordering all this crap from the states or spending horrid amounts in Escazu for over priced products.  I must (deep breath) let go of all this frivolous nonsense…(whimper) but how?

I have to admit, my skin took a while to adjust to the tropics, and it still goes a little crazy when we hit the Caribbean.  It’s hot!  So when you pile on sunscreen, bug spray, make-up, and then sweat it all off in a matter of minutes, my sensitive gringo skin revolts.  I had pulled out everything I owned but nothing seemed to work.  It was only when I began doing research on topics in this blog that I found some awesome natural, homemade remedies.

Mango, papaya, banana, even coffee is excellent for your skin.  Why not?  I’m home alone for most of the day and everything I brought with me was just not working.  Time for a little egg on my face…literally.  For me and my oily skin, I started off with a whipped egg white mask, which did an extremely good job of tightening my skin and toning open pores.  Sometimes after I cut mangos for my fruit salad, I rub the pulp side on the skins  on my face and let dry for 10-15 minutes.  Mangos are chalked full of beta carotene (vitamin A)  and they can be used as an exfoliation and rejuvenation, because it contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acids).  Alpha hydroxy acids are nothing more than fruit acids and are often found in products claiming to reduce wrinkles or the signs of aging, and improve the overall look and feel of the skin.  The high citric acid in limes is a fantastic astringent great for oily skin.  Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which has wonderful exfoliating properties – removing dead skin, and specifically damaged skin.

I have to admit, while writing this my hair is coated in an avocado that got to mushy to eat.  Instead of tossing it, I mashed it with a little olive oil and smoothed it into my hair.  I’ll leave it in for about 20 minutes and then shampoo out.  It leaves my naturally curly hair super soft and silky.  As a leo, I love my long, lustrous hair.  Aveda has always been my go to, but I must admit, the avocado works just as good as any hair treatment I’ve tried.  An avocado facial mask is also wonderful for dry skin.

Now this one can get a little messy, but coffee grounds used as a body scrub has been known to reduce cellulite.  In a 2008 study performed at the University of São Paulo, researchers found that an application of skin cream containing caffeine to cellulite reduced the size of cellulite fat cells by 17 percent.  In addition, a 2007 study performed at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found that caffeine cream applied to cellulite decreased the hip’s diameter in almost 70 percent of participants. Caffeine is a vasodilator, which means it constricts blood vessels in the skin. This action works to make blood vessels tighter and firmer very quickly, which is reflected in your skin texture.  Granted, it makes a mess out of my shower but it does smell nice.

Now, I know this all sounds a tad hippy dippy but I have been getting great results.  There is more money in my bank account and my skin is noticeably healthier.  I have also been able to breeze through the MAC store in Escazu in a few minutes.  Rafa settled into a store chair thinking he was there for the long haul when I said (gasp), I had all I needed at home.

Now in a few weeks I am heading stateside to see friends and family (to prove I haven’t been sold into white slavery) and to pick up the rest of my belongings.  Six months have gone by in the flash of an eye.  It will be exciting to see everyone…including my hairdresser.

I bow before you, oh temple of products.


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