Cayenne pepper as a lip plumper? 9 reasons to raid your spice cabinet

DIY beauty recipes: spices and herbs
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By Lesley Kennedy

A quick walk over to your kitchen pantry can be as good as a day-pass to the spa — if, that is, you're armed with a little DIY know-how. “Being a kitchen beautician can so beneficial for your beauty routine,” not to mention convenient, says Sunnie Brook, a celebrity hairdresser, makeup artist and beauty blogger. “In your cupboards you can find remedies for oily skin, puffiness, dry skin or brittle hair.” 

From lip plumpers to hair lighteners, facial cleansers to body scrubs, here are nine easy ways to put your herbs and spices to new use.

Fennel seeds 
This antioxidant-rich spice is great for calming puffiness and decreasing redness, making it the perfect addition to a DIY facial mask. Make a tea, steeping a tablespoon of fennel seedsg in four to five ounces of boiling water. After 10 to 15 minutes, strain the seeds and cool. Next, add in a tablespoon of ground oats, along with a few squeezes of honey. Mix it all up and apply as a mask, leaving on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and smile at all that money you just saved.

“Thyme is a great cleanser for oily skin,” Brook says. Mix a tablespoon of the dried herb with three or four tablespoons of witch hazel in a small sterilized jar, and shake it up. After letting it brew for a half hour or so, you’ll have a natural toner that will help keep pores unclogged.

Cloves and ginger
If you’re looking to revive dry, dull skin with a body scrub, nutrient-dense cloves, a nutrient-dense spice, and ginger, chock full of therapeutic properties, will not only smell intoxicating, but will leave skin feeling silky as well. To concoct an invigorating scrub, grab a plastic container and mix up three or four tablespoons of ground coffee, a tablespoon each of ground cloves and ground ginger and half a cup or so of coarse sea salt. Then tote the combo into the bath or shower, add a little water and apply to areas that could use a little extra love (hello, feet, knees and elbows!).

The fragrant, woody herb has anti-inflammatory properties. Steep a tablespoon of dried rosemary leaf in two cups of water for about 10 minutes. Let it cool, and then apply with a cotton ball as an astringent toner.

No need to invest in store-bought odor eaters. Just mix equal parts dried sage and baking soda and sprinkle it into your shoes at night for shoes that don’t smell.

Oily skin? Blemishes? Here’s a quick fix to eradicate both: Add about three tablespoons crushed basil leaves to a cup of boiling water and let it sit until the water cools to room temperature. Strain the basil, and use the liquid as a daily toner. So easy and so cheap!

This go-to spice has a slew of uses, but its most intriguing might be as an all-natural hair-lightener. Combine a couple tablespoons cinnamon and honey with a tablespoon of olive oil and up to half a cup of water (depending on your hair length). Then slather the mix on your dry hair, twist it into a bun, wrap it a towel and go watch an episode of "True Detective" for an hour. Then, shampoo and condition and look out for a subtle change in hue.

It might sound strange that yellow-tinged tumeric can brighten your smile, but go ahead and grin — the Indian spice is actually known to fight stains and can whiten teeth. All you do is sprinkle a bit on your toothpaste and brush. You also can whip up a little paste using ground tumeric and water, applying it with a toothbrush before your usual toothpaste.

Cayenne pepper 
Expensive, not to mention painful injections? Please. To whip up a natural lip plumper, simply add a pinch of this hot chili pepper to your lipgloss — or a small tub of Vaseline — and wait for your pout go from barely there to Angelina Jolie. That tingling sensation? It’s your lips swelling — so just remember, a little goes a long way.

Lesley Kennedy writes the kid and mom style blog The Strawberry Pop. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Google+.