Lemons are yet another one of nature's multitaskers, and lemon-based products and recipes span many industries, including food, beverage, and household cleaners. Historically, they've been popular in cosmetics because of their pleasant scent and potent vitamin C concentration. Widely known as the active ingredient in many hair and skin lightening products (remember Sun-In, anyone?), lemon is also a great toner, brightener, cleanser, and fragrance. If you like to start your morning with a detoxifying cup of hot water, lemon juice, and honey, you’ll love these citrus-based beauty recipes. Try them on your skin and nails before lemons officially go out of season.
Acne-Fading Lemon Yogurt Mask
2 tablespoons honey, any organic brand
4 teaspoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best, but you can use bottled juice)
3 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt
1 egg white
The citric acid in lemons has natural lightening and exfoliating properties that help fade remaining acne marks. The egg white helps boost your skin's ability to protect itself, and honey serves as an antibacterial agent and humectant that soothes and hydrates skin. In no particular order, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them until the consistency thickens. Apply a tablespoon or two of the mask onto your clean, dry skin (enough to coat your face) and let it set for 15 minutes. Gently wash the mask off with warm water and pat dry. This recipe yields eight applications, so you can keep it in the refrigerator for one week or share with your whole family!
Lemon Sugar Hand and Foot Scrub
1/2 cup granulated sugar—raw or brown sugar with larger granules works too
2 tablespoons almond oil (you can also substitute apricot, olive, or jojoba oi)
Juice of half a lemon
OPTIONAL: 3 drops lavender, mint, or rosemary essential oil
This easy-to-make scrub is perfect for tired hands, feet, elbows, and even knees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients in no particular order and immediately massage the mixture onto hands or feet. You can add a few drops of lavender, mint, or rosemary oil to invigorate and refresh. Rinse off with warm water, then slather on your favorite lotion for extra moisture.
Mellow Yellow Nail Rinse
1 ripe lemon, cut in half
Small plastic ziplock bag
Your nails can turn yellow from prolonged sun exposure or if you wear nail polish for too long. To brighten your nails and reduce yellowing, first cut a ripe lemon in half. Squish the tips of your fingers into one half of the lemon and massage it on your fingers for two minutes. Store the lemons in a plastic ziplock bag and repeat this technique on every nail for five to seven days (try it on your toes, too!). After a week, you'll notice whiter, cleaner nails.
Lemons are highly reactive to light because of their high citric acid content. This phenomenon, called photosensitivity, means it's best to keep sun exposure to a minimum when applying lemon-based products on your body.