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The answer's a lemon

The humble lemon has a multitude of beauty uses

18 FEBRUARY 2011

We all know the lemon is high in vitamin C, and that taken with honey it's a traditional home remedy to soothe sore throats. It's also an essential ingredient in lots of sweet desserts, and adds a zing to cocktails and soft drinks alike.

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But there's a lot more to the humble lemon than that: the adaptable citric has a number of cosmetic uses and is widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy, as well as having energising and revitalising properties. Even that's not the end of the story. Here are a few ways you can use this sour citric in your own beauty routines:

  • Cleopatra may have bathed in asses' milk, but she probably used lemons when she washed her hair. The Egyptians mixed water and lemon juice as a hair treatment as the citric acid helps break down and eliminate sebaceous fat. So if you suffer with greasy hair you could try incorporating lemon juice in the rinse water.

  • In the summer, natural blondes can try mixing the juice of a lemon with a quart of water and using it as a hair rinse or spritz for sun-lightened streaks.

  • If you live in a hard-water area, over time, the lime deposit on the hair cuticle deadens the hair's natural shine. Try using a special deep-cleansing shampoo every couple of weeks to eliminate the build-up, and add a few drops of lemon to the final rinse. You should soon find the lustre restored to your locks. Vinegar will also work, but doesn't smell quite as good!

  • Rough and dull skin on elbows, knees and heels can also be tackled with lemon juice – just cut a lemon in half and rub the cut surface over the affected area. The citric acid acts as a  natural exfoliant and also helps to lighten the discoloured skin. Apply a moisturising cream afterwards and you should notice an improvement almost straight away. Within a month you'll be surprised how much softer and smoother your skin is.

  • Yellow nicotine stains on the fingers and nails are unsightly, but lemons can help here, too. Rub the affected areas with half a lemon every couple of days and you should soon see the colour start to fade.


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