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Edible Summer Beauty

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Who can resist the rainbow array of summer fruits at the market? Rich pink watermelon and raspberries, shiny bright oranges, polished yellow lemons, plump green grapes and sapphire blueberries--in this time of artificially taste-enhanced foods, it .

Who can resist the rainbow array of summer fruits at the market? Rich pink watermelon and raspberries, shiny bright oranges, polished yellow lemons, plump green grapes and sapphire blueberries--in this time of artificially taste-enhanced foods, it is truly amazing that these enticing fruits are not only naturally delicious, but also bring beauty benefits by the barrel-load.

Watermelon is the cool summer fruit. Buy a whole one; eat it by the mouthwatering slice and stock your body up in vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, iron and lycopene, one of the most effective antioxidants. You'll have plenty left over to make a watermelon face mask!

There are few greater-tasting pleasures than fresh, organic strawberries on a warm summer day. Don't worry about the juice dripping down your chin; strawberries have been used traditionally to soothe sunburn and to moisturize the skin. Eat one cup of strawberries and they will nourish your body with iron, calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin and 90 milligrams of vitamin C, 262 mg of potassium and 92 micrograms of vitamin B6.

Papaya is another fruit powerhouse that contains vitamins A, C and E and the enzyme papain. This enzyme softens the skin cells, making it an excellent ingredient in exfoliants.

The citrus family--lemons, oranges and grapefruit--are used in natural cosmetics as antioxidants due to their high vitamin A, C and E content. Lemons have a mild bleaching effect on the skin and hair, but use with caution as the acidic effect of lemon juice can cause irritation. A lemon hair rinse will bring out natural highlights. Simply add the juice of a lemon to a cup of warm water, using this as the final rinse after shampooing.

Neroli and petitgrain oils from the blossoms and leaves of the orange tree are used as natural fragrances in soaps and lotions. Grapefruit oil is also used as a natural fragrance in cosmetics, but grapefruit is also important to the natural cosmetic industry for the preservative properties of grapefruit seed oil.

Juniper berries can be seen decorating many garden landscapes, but did you know that juniper oil is a popular ingredient in skin creams and lotions, soaps and perfumes? It is beneficial in treating acne and other skin problems. A tincture of juniper berries is an excellent homemade skin toning lotion.

The first ingredients used in cosmetics were fruits and herbs, milk and yogurt--not only the flesh of the fruits but also the seeds and seed kernels. Apricot kernel oil is included in formulas for creams and lotions for its softening action on the skin. Ground apricot kernels are often included in face scrubs and facial masks. They leave the skin soft, glowing and moisturized.

In the days of homemade everything, we would make our cosmetics each day, and the creams, lotions and face packs would be for only one application. The same rule applies today: To ensure freshness, make only enough for one application, or better still, share with a friend. Enjoy the bounty of summer with a watermelon face pack or a lemon hair rinse. Treat them as you would fresh flowers. Enjoy their fragrance and beauty, and luxuriate in the fruits of nature.

Watermelon Mask

Scoop out two cups of melon flesh into a bowl, remove any seeds, then mash the pulp through a coarse sieve. Pat the thick juice over the face, then lie down in a quiet spot while the watermelon juice cleanses the skin and tightens the pores. Rinse off and repeat whenever you feel the need for a natural facelift.

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