Julia Roberts and Cindy Crawford have a lot in common: good looks, fame, money, talent and coffee beans. Both are rumored to use coffee-based beauty products to slough off dead skin, moisturize and keep cellulite at bay. Despite the temptation to jump on the same bandwagon, a lot of us could be forgiven for writing off coffee’s claim to tighten and tone as just another fad promoted by the fickle beauty industry. It is normal to dismiss such claims. The truth, though, is that coffee packs a punch not just as a beverage but as a beauty aid too. It’s been touted as a wrinkle buster, sunblock, moisturizer and a salve for a host of other skin problems.
While researchers are still investigating the efficacy of coffee’s properties, coffee’s connection to beauty is age-old. And antiseptic extracts from the wild coffee plant were made useful by Indians years ago to effectively help heal dry skin, cuts and abrasions, and even snake bites. Native women in South America used ground coffee beans as part of their beauty regimen for years, due to its exfoliating properties.
In a more contemporary context, some of the world’s leading spas today have begun using coffee beans, especially the Indonesian (Javanese) and Hawaiian ( Kona) varieties, in their beauty and purifying treatments. One renowned spa that uses coffee in its treatment is the Natural Elements Spa at Le Meridien, Dubai. The Spa Manager, says, “We use green coffee in our slimming body wrap. Coffee contains enzymes that stimulate detoxification. They also activate the breaking down of fat and help smoothen puffy looking skin. The green coffee powder we use has been proven to inhibit free radical formation and break down fatty tissue.”
While coffee is the buzzword where cellulite control is concerned, extracts such as coffee butter and oil are being used in cosmetics including sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. Coffee butter (produced by adding hydrogen to the oil released by roasted coffee beans) has good stability, which gives it a higher shelf life. It is also smooth and silky, which makes it an ideal ingredient for soaps, lotions and creams. Another coffee-based extract used in cosmetics is coffee oil. It’s rich in natural chemicals that penetrate the skin easily and have the ability to retain moisture. Coffee also has the same pH balance as human skin, which is why it helps protect against acne and blemishes. It also has good cleansing properties.
Coffee’s rich aroma makes it a popular ingredient in the fragrance industry. Perfumers describe coffee’s scent as being fresh and evocative as well as warm. Quality beans that yield a higher amount of essential oils are used to make fragrances. The various scents of a fragrance are described as notes. According to experts, coffee can be used as a top heart or base note. As a top note in a fragrance it adds warmth and body; as the heart note it harmonizes and smoothens the other notes, and as a base note it adds a powdery element to its companions. Coffee-tinted notes are in men’s fragrances like Angel for Men by Thierry Mugler and DKNY‘s Be Delicious.
People who really need their coffee fix can find it in a variety of ways. Coffee’s versatility allows you the advantage of enjoying its aroma and beauty benefits without spending a fortune. For instance, just rub a few roasted beans in your palm and let the woody and warm scent comfort you. Coffee’s fragrance also has the ability to neutralise strong smells, so it can kill the odor of fish, onions or garlic that gets on your hands especially while cooking.
For those looking to give their skin some TLC spa-style, an invigorating, coffee scrub that exfoliates and tones the body could prove heavenly. All you need is a cup of ground coffee beans ( Kona or Javanese) mixed with some olive oil and the inclination. Once you have the ingredients and are willing to attempt it, make sure you try this while taking a shower. Gently rub the fine particles over your skin. This will help stimulate circulation and also exfoliate the skin. Wash it off after a few minutes. Your skin will be smoother and softer.