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Feed your face and body with these beauty buys

From fruits and veggies to soda, “Today” style contributor Bobbie Thomas explores the secrets behind the powerful foods stashed in your cupboard.
/ Source: TODAY

While chemists are working 'round the clock to discover the latest skin care solutions, on the opposite end of the spectrum a move toward natural beauty is beginning to unfold. From candy that helps clear your skin to a face-lift in a can, consumers are heading back to basics only to discover that the foods they love to eat are also good for their skin! Bobbie Thomas, “Today” style contributor and author of “The Buzz” for In Touch Weekly, shares what’s new on the beauty menu.

Fruits
Summertime is all about sipping lemonade on the porch, eating watermelon by the pool, and an outdoor breakfast full of berries. But did you know that the very foods your stomach craves most in the heat can also do wonders for your skin? Beyond vitamin C, super foods like pomegranate have popped up on the radar as a source for providing significant changes in the skin.

Murad has created a full range of products that utilize the power of pomegranate, including supplements that are meant to increase the efficacy of sunscreen by 25 percent ($15-$25; sephora.com). And speaking of sunscreen, watermelon is known for its thick skin and survival in hot climates, so Korres, a natural beauty line, developed a facial cream with watermelon extract to help repair UV-stressed skin and prevent photoaging ($28; sephora.com).

California-centered company Juice Beauty uses a juice-based formula and adds other organic ingredients to create toxin-free skin care products. Their Green Apple collection is designed with the idea that an apple a day may keep more than the doctor away — it can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the skin and lighten surface scars and age spots ($4.75-$49; sephora.com).

And who would have thought that soda could be good for you? Nutrisoda’s Radiant drink offers the benefits of pomegranate and blackberry, and touts the bubbly beverage as a “face-lift in a can” ($24 for 12 cans; nutrisoda.com). Meanwhile, some simple fruits can even be used right from the cupboard as a cleanser or exfoliator. For example, models have been known to carry around lemons as a refreshing face-cleansing trick or papaya as a lip plumper, while many retreats offer luxurious citrus scrubs if you’re looking for a fruity fix as a pampering pleasure. Thibiant Day Spa in Beverly Hills recommends their Papaya and Pineapple facial as an intense way to exfoliate your skin ($105; thibiantspa.com).

Vegetables
Go ahead and thank your mother for forcing you to eat your veggies as a kid! We’ve all heard time and time again that vegetables are good for you, but did you know that they’re also good for your skin? Origins has teamed up with Dr. Weil to create a Mega-Mushroom product line that addresses skin impurities like redness and puffiness from an integrative approach.

High-end line Selona offers another take on mushrooms as beauty benefit. Its Black Diamond Truffle Signature Collection is rich in proteins and amino acids, which are intensely moisturizing ($46-$125; selonabeauty.com). Other newsworthy nutrients? Avocado for one, which is not only a staple in the diet, but also a beauty staple for women in Latin America, who use it on their skin and hair. Indonesian skin care line Juara offers an Avocado & Banana Moisture Mask, which incorporates both avocado butter and avocado oil ($35; juaraskincare.com).

Meanwhile, pregnant women in Thailand look to ginger to prevent stretch marks on their bellies. And to round out this salad of skin care, Ememinence Organics offers masks and moisturizers such as the Tomato Summer Sun Cream SPF 16, the Pumpkin Orange Masque, the Sour Cherry Moisturizer, and the Carrot Vitamin Masque ($34-$54; eminenceorganics.com).

Milk and honey
From the dairy farm to the bee’s nest, your skin can soak up the benefits of everything from milk and yogurt to eggs and honey. Joey New York’s Egg Cream Cleanser uses eggs to firm, lift and tighten skin ($36; joeynewyork.com). Lines like Skin Milk ($5-$25; skinmilk.net) and Archipelago Botanicals ($12.50; 800-399-4994) have lotions, shower sponges and complete bath boxes of milk-infused products for maximum moisturizing effects (because as it turns out, milk not only does a body good, it does your skin good, too).

For do-it-yourself dairy remedies, many beauty bloggers suggest using Kraft Miracle Whip to exfoliate dry skin and elbows, or trying yogurt as a mask to absorb excess oil. But before putting these everyday ingredients to the test, you’ll want to check with a dermatologist. Don’t let Mother Nature’s ingredients fool you, they can be just as strong as the over-the-counter stuff, and potentially irritating to sensitive skin.

For women with a sweet tooth, take a tip from ancient beauty queen Cleopatra, who was known to use honey on her skin. These days, French beauty line L’Occitane has an entire collection based around the sticky substance, which acts as an adhesive ($10-$32; usa.loccitane.com), while the Greek line Apivita sells a Skin Face Food Mask with Honey ($7-$30; bigelowchemists.com). Honey is also a staple in many at-home recipes, thanks to antibacterial properties that can cure blemishes, soften lips, and its ability to attract and retain moisture.

Nuts and oils
While no one wants an oily complexion, certain types of oils can actually be beneficial for your skin. Women in Italy have used olive oil for a century as a 3-in-1 facial to cleanse, exfoliate, and tone. It’s also an optimal choice for your cuticles, or as a softening agent in general. Sweet almond oil adds shine to dry hair, and worldwide organic brand Weleda uses both sweet almond oil and peanut oil in products like Skin Food and Ever On Face Balm, resulting in major moisturizing power ($10-$25; Whole Food Stores).

Rice, sake, and wine
Cosmetic cocktails like wine and sake are sprouting up in the form of beauty products everywhere. Years ago, a Japanese monk discovered that the elderly workers in a sake brewery had wrinkles on their faces, but noticed that their hands were baby smooth, suggesting that sake's yeast aids in the skin’s natural renewal process. Fresh has in turn developed a line of Sake Rice products based on this anti-aging information ($35-$80; fresh.com).

Apivita softens and moisturizes overnight with their Facial Night Cream with Brown Rice, and even combats free radicals in their Red Wine Face and Eye Cream ($12 each; b-glowing.com). Just Calm Down, a delicious day spa in New York City, will soak your hands and feet in red wine and grapes, among other out of this world edible elixirs. Be sure to check their Web site to indulge in special monthly recipes (JustCalmDownSpa.com).

Coffee, tea, and chocolateLet the caffeine craze begin, and with skinsational results! It may be the oldest trick in the book, but if you want buttocks that look bikini-ready, try recycling your coffee grinds each morning as a body scrub for your backside! Many beauty editors claim it helps diminish the appearance of cellulite. Green tea is a great eye de-puffer, so try the bags as a makeshift eye mask and you’ll be good-to-go for the day. Meanwhile, makeup maven Bobbi Brown and Vosges Haut-Chocolat have teamed up to create a macha green tea and dark milk chocolate-enriched beauty bar that is filled with anti-oxidants ($6; vosgeschocolate.com). And on another decadent note, Haven spa in New York offers a signature Hot Chocolate Body Wrap treatment featuring cocoa to stimulate and energize the skin ($110; 212-343-3515).

But one of the biggest breakthroughs in the beauty field is all about finding beauty from within. Internal skin care line Borba asks you to literally drink your way to glowing skin with their Skin Balancing Waters ($2.50; beauty.com). The innovative neutraceutical company also offers Jellis and Gummis candies, which they claim to be clarifying, anti-aging, replenishing, skin calming, and firming ($25 per bag; beauty.com).

And this may be just the beginning of the beautician trend. Beauty-boosting beverages and foods are all the rage in the East, with everything from yogurt drinks enriched with collagen and hyaluronic acid in China to Collagen Soup and Green Tea cereal in Japan, and even anti-aging beer in Germany! While not yet FDA-approved here in the U.S., we’re likely to see more ingestible beauty products heading this way in the near future. Bottoms up to beauty from the inside out!