If you're the type who doesn't just enjoy eating food, but likes smearing it on your skin and rubbing it in your hair, there are plenty of beauty-product companies to oblige you. Fall seems to be their favorite time of year, when they flood the market with products that will leave you smelling like oatmeal with blueberries, cinnamon-sprinkled popcorn, cranberry-pomegranate jam, ginger tea with honey or, best of all, pumpkin pie.
All of the products we've chosen to feature contain real food ingredients, no nasty chemical simulations found in the products of popular mall stores that shall remain nameless but may contain a lot of the letter "B." Here are some of our top picks, as well as some recipes for fall food-based skincare items you can make at home. (Dudes, you might want to skip to the next story.)
"Honey has anti-aging properties, and naturally cleans and moisturizes skin," says Los Angeles aesthetician Gina Mari, who incorporates natural substances like honey and pumpkin into her treatments.
Probably the most over-the-top way to experience the skin benefits of honey is the Honey Dream at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, in which your entire body is doused in honey, then massaged. It's Winnie-the-Pooh's ultimate fantasy.
"Honey is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, germicidal, antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant," says Derek Hofmann, director of the spa. "It is immune-boosting to the body and when applied to the skin, has the same benefit, helping to reduce skin infections and aiding in acne prevention. Honey is also a humectant, naturally binding atmospheric moisture, so acts to help hydrate the skin." It also "smells delicious!" (Of course, there is nothing to stop you from trying this at home, except for your tolerance level for sticky towels.)
Honey has long been used to beautify hair as well. LUSH offers a Fair Trade Honey Shampoo made from Zambian Fair Trade honey. Honey naturally cleans and softens the hair, according to LUSH product specialist Erica Vega. Florence, Italy-based Santa Maria Novella sells a honey hair mask that leaves your hair smelling as if you'd spent the morning with your head in a hive.
"Oatmeal is a great exfoliant -- it removes dirt, cleans pores and leaves skin smooth," Mari says. "It is also moisturizing, soothes irritated skin, reduces redness and is great for treating acne." She recommends the Barr Co. oatmeal soap, which contains milk, oatmeal, vanilla and vetiver.
Local skincare line Arcona makes an exfoliant called Golden Grain Gommage that contains oatmeal and lemon extracts. "Oatmeal has an excellent sluffing action, helping to cleanse and soften, and dissolve dead skin," says Chanel Jenae, Arcona's co-owner, head aesthetician and chief product developer. Swiss skincare line Alchimie Forever has a mask that contains oats as well as blueberries, if you feel like rubbing your breakfast on your face.
LUSH offers a molasses-scented Porridge body soap loaded with oats as well as fresh organic orange juice.
LUSH also has a cormeal-based exfoliating facial cleanser called Let The Good Times Roll "inspired by the delight and comfort of popcorn." It's a blend of polenta (Italian cornmeal), corn oil and maize flour. "A touch of warming cinnamon adds a stimulating effect to the skin and a snuggly scent," Vega says. If you are tempted to eat it, LUSH recommends you make these cookies instead.