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by Kim Wong Shing

There’s something inherently satisfying about spending some time at home, relaxing while you wait for your face mask to dry. Face masks rejuvenate your skin and restore your glow, but store-bought face masks can be steep in price. Luckily, there are many common kitchen ingredients that can be whipped into a quick mask.

Masks for the summer should focus on cleansing, hydrating and brightening the skin. Heavy moisture isn’t needed. Instead, aim for some light hydration and exfoliation.

These 5 DIY face mask recipes use easy-to-find ingredients, many of which you probably have around your kitchen. They’re a cinch to make, and they’re a great summer treat for your skin.

Hydrating Oatmeal & Honey Face Mask

Honey gently nourishes and hydrates the skin, while oatmeal soothes the skin and provides some gentle exfoliation.

1/2 cup raw ground oatmeal
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk or yogurt
1 tbsp honey

You can substitute the milk for a non-dairy milk if you prefer. Combine the ingredients in a pan, heat for 5 minutes, and let cool. Apply to a clean face for 15 minutes for best results.

Brightening Strawberry & Lemon Face Mask

Strawberries are rich in salicylic acid, which is commonly found in acne-targeting skin products. Lemon juice cleanses and tightens pores.

1/4 cup mashed strawberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp honey

Mash ingredients together until the consistency is creamy. Apply for 8-10 minutes.

Antioxidant-rich Papaya & Honey Face Mask

If you’ve got sun spots, an uneven skin tone, or signs of aging, papaya is a lovely antioxidant-rich fruit to add to your masks.

2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup mashed ripe papaya
1/4 cup lemon/lime juice (optional)

Blend the ingredients together by hand until smooth. Apply for 15-20 minutes.

Soothing Green Tea & Coconut Oil

Green tea is just as powerful on your skin as it is inside of your body. Rich in antioxidants, it reduces redness and adds a subtle glow to the skin. Coconut oil adds moisture and is an antiseptic.

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp water

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Apply for 15 minutes.

Exfoliating Banana, Egg & Avocado Face Mask

Both banana and avocado are super gentle exfoliants, while egg tightens the skin. Avocado also adds a burst of hydration.

1 egg
1/2 avocado
1 banana

Mash the avocado and banana together, then add the egg. Mix until smooth. Apply for 15 minutes.

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Harvesting Vegetable Seeds

When it comes to saving the seeds from your vegetable crops, you need to be sure about the variety of crops you’re harvesting from. It’s important you select open-pollinated varieties of vegetables to save seeds from.

Veggies like beans, peppers, tomatoes, and peas are a good choice to get started, especially for a beginner. This is because the seeds are easier to store and the plants that grow from them are of the self-pollinating type so you needn’t take extra care while growing them.

Even though you may be excited to start saving seeds from cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash, these types of plants are insect-pollinated so the resulting seeds won’t give you a plant that produces flavorful and healthy fruit. Hence, you’ll be sticking to open-pollinated varieties because even if they are cross-pollinated with different varieties, or self-pollinate, it’s most likely the resulting plant will bear fruit that is similar to that of the parent plant.

Once you plant your open-pollinated crops, mark the plants you’ll use to save seed from. Make sure to select them on the basis of which has delicious fruit and bore more of it, along with other factors.

Saving the Seed

Tomatoes

Starting with tomatoes, your garden farm staple, I’ll let you know that saving seeds from your tomatoes will be easy. Pick the fruit after they’re ripe and remove the seeds from the middle before you use the tomatoes for making sauce or a salad. Remember to carefully remove the surrounding gel-membrane-pulp and not just the seeds because this can damage them.

Place the gel-seeds mix into a glass of water and remember to stir the mixture a few times a day. Eventually, the gel will ferment and you’ll be left with seeds sitting at the bottom of the jar. You can strain them out and lay them on a few paper towels to dry.

Peppers

Once you’ve selected the pepper plants you want to save seeds from, (after tasting and the number of fruit they yielded) leave a few fruits on the plant to (over)ripen. Once they appear wrinkled, retrieve the peppers, remove the seeds carefully and lay them to dry.

The benefit of leaving the fruit on the plant for the extra amount of time is it helps you get the seeds easily without plucking or pulling them, which could damage them.

Beans and Peas

Leave a few pea pods and other beans on the plant for another month after you’ve harvested the rest until they’re well over ripened, brown in color and have dried up. Get out the seeds and keep them away to dry.

Storing Your Seed

Store your seeds in small paper packs before keeping them in a sealable glass container. You can store different types of seeds together this way, as long as they’re separated by paper packs. You’ll need to store them in a cool place so your fridge is a good option if you live in an area prone to hot and humid climate.

There’s likely to be some moisture inside the fridge too, so to keep it from reaching your seeds you should add some silica to the containers so they stay nice and dry. Remember to label seeds and use them within one year of extracting them.


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