Gingerbread is a holiday classic for a reason. The five spices that define it — clove, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice — create a warm, comforting aroma that’s perfect for getting in a cozy mood. But did you know that these spices are also make for amazing skin and hair remedies at home? It’s true — learn how to use each of these spices for different beauty treatments below.
To diminish dark circles, use clove.
Clove’s unique compounds absorb into skin to increase circulation, expelling shadow-causing fluids that pool under eyes and cause dark circles. Tip: Apply it in tea form, which has anti-inflammatory tannins that de-puff under-eye bags. Try it: Place 2 steeped, cooled clove tea bags on closed eyes for 10 minutes; remove and rinse.
To slim a double chin, use ginger.
Ginger’s gingerol stimulates the lymphatic system to push out the excess water and trapped toxins that accentuate a double chin. Try it: Mix 1 tablespoon each of ginger powder and coconut oil. Rub under the chin for 1 minute; rinse after 5 minutes.
To firm wrinkles, use nutmeg.
The spice contains a small amount of vitamin A, which spurs collagen production to help wrinkly skin appear more taut. Pairing it with hydrating and skin-plumping avocado oil speeds results while leaving skin looking instantly more healthy and youthful overall. Try it: In a bowl, combine ½ tablespoon of ground nutmeg and 1 ½ tablespoons of avocado oil. Massage the mixture onto wrinkled skin. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off.
To reverse thinning hair, use cinnamon.
Astringent cinnamon breaks down follicle-clogging buildup and speeds blood flow to the scalp to encourage healthy growth. To boost benefits, add in strand-strengthening olive oil and hair-hydrating honey. Try it: In a bowl, mix 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of honey. Microwave 10 seconds, then stir in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Rub on the scalp for 1 minute; rinse after 10 minutes. Tip: Patch-test before use, since cinnamon can be irritating.
To shrink cankles, use allspice.
Anti-inflammatory agents in allspice may reduce swelling fast. For best results, pair with warm water. It opens pores so de-swelling ingredients penetrate better. Try it: Fill a basin with warm water and 10 drops of allspice essential oil (like Plant Therapy Allspice Essential Oil, Buy from Walmart, $11.99). Soak feet for 10 minutes; pat dry.
‘Spicy’ Skincare Products That Also Work
Dry complexion? Try TULA Skincare So Gingerbread Exfoliating Sugar Scrub (Buy from Amazon, $18.70) contains ginger extract and sugar to whisk away dry, dead skin cells.
Rough patches? The moisturizing combination of shea butter and ginger root extract in First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream in Gingerbread (Buy from Ulta, $8) helps alleviate dryness fast.
Chapped lips? A balm infused with coconut oil, mango butter and rose hip seed oil, like Wild Rose Gingerbread Natural Lip Balm (Buy from WildRoseHerbs.com, $7.95), hydrates lips while its ginger plumps them.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.