Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Beauty of Coffee: Get Spa'd at Home!

 The Beauty of Coffee
Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of
coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?
--Jean Kerr (Mary, Mary)(1)

As time passed, I can see myself back in time when I was becoming well-rounded like a seasoned coffee tree on a coffee estate. As a working writer amongst the masses of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, I did take time-outs for beauty and play fixes, which included  socializing at no name coffee shops with an artistic flair. It wasn’t Café Nervosa or Central Perk (like in Friends and Frasier American sitcoms) but it was quality time with people that my mind and body craved. And that time-out can make you feel beautiful inside and outside.
Shopping with a caffeine fix at Hillsdale Mall on El Camino Real—The Gap, Macy’s, Bed & Bath—was heavenly. Those hot café mocha lattes in a tall 16-ounce glass with espresso, chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a straw are coffee to love. On a Friday night, my best friend and I would meet at a coffee shop. The mental energy perks followed.  Our complaints of the work week faded. Thanks to the caffeine buzz, we ended up getting a free make-up session. Then, it was time to shop. After splurging, we’d go across the street to Borders Bookstore.  We bought a pastry and got another cup of coffee. By 11:00 p.m., it was time to hit the different clubs, whether it was on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula or north to the City. Coffee chat for a night on the town was unforgettable and coffees gave us the nudge to do it all.


I’m hardly alone in discovering beauty benefits of coffee and its versatile healing powers from head to toe. Since coffee is antioxidant, it protects the body inside and outside. What’s more, its grounds are used to improve the skin, something I have experienced. 
Drinking coffee can help you get beautiful on the inside, but treating your body on the outside with its healing powers can make you look and feel great, too. And coffee—goes back to different uses by Hawaiians and the Japanese. Both cultures are known to use coffee beauty uses for reducing wrinkles and improving their skin. In fact, it has been said the Japanese have bathed in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp.

It’s no beauty secret that coffee combined with other natural ingredients can enhance your blood circulation, zaps stress and anxiety, and help to make your skin feel silky and smoother. Coffee grounds teamed with other natural herbs and extracts can help exfoliate, soften, and even make your skin look firmer and glow. And this is why some spas around the nation and world include coffee in their spa treatments.  Here, take a look at some of the popular coffee-based treatments.

Coffee Therapeutic Anti-Cellulite Massage
 Coffee extract promotes circulation and tones cellulite-prone skin. Rosemary, mint and citrus calm the mind and revitalize the spirit while peppermint oil relaxes and refreshes tired muscles. This massage will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
Coffee Contouring and Cellulite Wrap
  Using the beneficial antioxidant and improved cell metabolism of coffee, the wrap begins with BodyCoffee Polish to exfoliate and refresh the skin to enhance the warm, rich detoxifying body wrap. A hot shower with BodyCoffee Blossom Body Wash is followed by the application of hydrating BodyCoffee Body Lotion.
Coffee Scrub
 An exfoliating Spa ritual that works wonders on the appearance of cellulite by improving micro-circulation with essential oils and ground coffee while detoxifying the skin with Dead Sea Salts. An intoxicating Body Wash blend will gently rinse away tension; the experience is finished with a soothing application of BodyCoffee Lotion.
(Courtesy: Cal-a-Vie Health Spa.) 

 Do it yourself products make it possible and easy to enjoy those pampering health spa benefits in the comfort of your home. And more people—both men and women—are discovering the beauty benefits of coffee, whether it’s from the grounds or brewed coffee. Here, take a look at some of the at-home treatments I tried from head to toe, and you’ll be thanking coffee trees.
Hair Conditioner for Shine:  If you’re a brunette, coffee can be your choice of conditioner. A simple to do coffee treatment works like this. First, use freshly brewed coffee (not instant), the stronger the better—even espresso. Shampoo and rinse your locks while the coffee cools. Apply the liquid to your wet hair; wait for about 10 minutes. Rinse.  Note: Do not try this DIY treatment if you have blonde hair or color treated hair. If you have any hesitation, consult your hair stylist before you do coffee.
Coffee Mask: Since I’m fair and blonde, the hair rinse wasn’t an option. But I did opt for a java home facial using coffee grounds and an egg white. In a small bowl, I mixed two tablespoons of fresh, used coffee grounds from my morning brew. Then, I added one whipped egg white. I applied this on my face and let it set for about three minutes. I rinsed with cold water. Coffee grounds are a super exfoliant, like sugar, and egg white (which I’ve used before) helps to soften skin.
Coffee Skin Anti-Cellulite Lotion:  Before I showered, I turned to an old favorite—olive oil.  I combine extra virgin olive oil with coffee grounds on my upper thighs and buttocks. Being lean, I don’t have a lot of cellulite, but most women as they age will get some dimpled fat—and, of course, smoother skin is something that is appealing. After several minutes, I showered. I admit my skin felt softer but since I don’t hunt for cellulite (like I did in my twenties); I cannot honestly say it made a difference.
Coffee Body Wash:  The next morning, I went to the shower and tried a coffee exfoliant for my entire body. I combined the morning’s coffee grounds with an all-natural body soap. My skin did feel softer than when I use Ivory Soap. But I confess the coffee grounds got me a bit wary considering they might clog the shower drain.
Coffee Foot Soak:  That night, I used coffee grounds with honey. I rubbed the rough and gooey concoction all over my feet. Twenty minutes later, I rinsed my feet in warm water. My heels felt smooth so I treated myself to a pedicure and painted my toenails with a coffee colored nail polish.
Both spa treatments and do-it-yourself action can do the job. But it doesn’t stop there, especially for bold and beautiful people.

More beautifying information in The Healing Powers of Coffee (Kensington)

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