Do it yourself: Dining commons facials and masks

By Madeleine Jackman


After the harsh winter, we all want to do our best to repair our skin and hair in preparation for the spring and summer. Buying products like masks, moisturizers and hair treatments can quickly add up and for most college students, and going to an actual spa is simply too far out of the budget.

Fortunately, many common fruits and foods can be used to make do-it-yourself hair and face masks that are just as effective and far less expensive. While it may initially sound strange, it’s a cost-effective alternative plus it is guaranteed to be free of the harsh chemicals and unknown ingredients that make up most store-bought beauty items.

Mashing fruit on your face is one the fastest ways to achieve blemish-free, moisturized skin that will leave you feeling radiant all spring long. Eating fruit isn’t the only way to reap the benefits of all of the natural vitamins found in it, and using it as a mask is a great way to directly notice the benefits it has on your skin.

For the possibly easiest facial ever, all you need is a banana. Found in every dining common at any time and less than $1 if you buy it in the store, this is probably the cheapest option, as well. Simply mash a ripe banana, plop it all over your face and let it sit there for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Vitamin A will help eliminate dark spots. Vitamin B and potassium moisturize the skin and vitamin E can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and battle against sun damage. Peel a banana to stop your skin from peeling this season.

If you are looking for an exfoliant, get some brown sugar from the oatmeal station and mix it with a little bit of milk or olive oil. Simply scrub it in and rinse it off without having to wait for anything to dry. The milk leaves your skin feeling super soft while the brown sugar cleans out your pores, giving a ridiculously clean, fresh feeling.

Plain or unsweetened yogurt – make sure not to buy one that is full of sugars and artificial flavors – is the magical food that can be rubbed into your face or hair for almost immediate results.

Thanks to the zinc and lactic acid found in yogurts, your skin will be completely rejuvenated. Its acidic properties fight off germs and bacteria that cause acne, while the zinc can lighten up marks from past blemishes. Like bananas, it can also help to fight off free radicals and slow visible effects of aging.
In your hair, yogurt is a great natural conditioner. All of the same great properties that lead to effects on the face leave your hair clean, moisturized and with less split ends. For an added boost, mix in some juice from an orange to your face or hair mask for a refreshing scent.

Mix the yogurt into a thin consistency and leave it on your skin or hair for about 30 minutes. You can spend that half hour doing homework or making awesome weekend plans so you’ll feel doubly productive when your skin and hair are left glowing after rinsing it off.

For a mask that will leave your hair feeling soft and shiny, simply ask for some extra avocado on the side next time you’re in the sushi line.

Take one avocado, one-quarter cup of olive oil – found near the salad bar – and one tablespoon of lemon juice – found by the tea selection – and mash the three ingredients together into a bowl.

After thoroughly mixing the avocado, oil and lemon juice, simply spread it into your hair. This process is easier if your hair is already damp, although it isn’t necessary. If you have oily roots, don’t put the mask on the first inch or so of your hair.

Wait 20 minutes before proceeding to your regular shampoo, conditioner and dry routine. Continue the rest of your day with hair that hasn’t been this shiny and soft since before winter dried everything out.

Before you break the bank this spring trying to look your best, try these cheap, natural and easily-accessible alternatives found at any of the University of Massachusetts’ dining commons instead. And don’t forget to enjoy the leftovers.

Madeleine Jackman can be reached at [email protected]

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