I look at food and not only see it as nourishment for my body, but also at the possibilities it has for my skin. I love trying to achieve a zero-waste household. I am always conjuring up ways to use everything- from the last little bit of avocado peel and the overripe banana to leftover oatmeal and carrot tops. I’m forever repurposing, reusing and “rebranding” my food. I take oatmeal from breakfast to face mask and zucchini water from waste to skin wonder.

When steaming or cooking zucchini, you can and up with a lot of water. Instead of discarding the excess water, this precious liquid can be transformed into zero waste, nutrient dense botanical waste. It’s filled with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid. If that’s not enough, it also has skin reviving antioxidants. This combination is an anti-aging powerhouse, and the water is so dense in nutrients, your skin will get a super charged nutrient boost in a form it can actually utilize and metabolize.

We often put things on our skin that are not actually absorbable and usable. We wonder why our drawers are filled with products that are not making any difference. The truth is, it’s not just the ingredients in your product that matter, it’s what form they’re in. If your skin can’t absorb it, it does little good. This zucchini water has extracted all the goodness in a form that has the perfect transdermal absorption to enhance your skin goals.

Zucchini water is one of many transformations I take liberties with when it comes to feeding my skin from my plate. I make water with everything from:

Carrot tops

  • Rich in antioxidants, carrot greens contain a significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron

Apple peels 

  • Packed with nutrients and antioxidant compounds such as Quercetin, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium

Citrus peels

  • More nutrient dense than the flesh, the peels are packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium and antioxidant bioflavonoids

Kale stalks

  • Contain alpha-linolenic acid, potassium, vitamin C, selenium, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants
  • And my favorite no waste hacks:
  • Banana peels
  • Rich in protein, vitamin B6, B12, magnesium and potassium

Avocado peels 

  • Contains twice the amount of the antioxidants such as Carotenoid, Phenolic compounds and Flavonoids than the flesh
  • Rose petals
  • Vitamin C, Carotene, Vitamin B’s and Vitamin K

Once you get started and transform your mind to thinking of the skincare potential of your plate, the possibilities are endless. From cucumber and watermelon rinds to beet tops and corn silk, I encourage you to become your own cosmetic formulator and smash, smoosh, mix and repurpose your “waste”.

How to Make Botanical Water

From blanched, steamed water:

Simmer discarded water until it reduces by ¼ (so if you started with a full cup of water reduce it to approximately 3/4 cup for more concentration.

From fresh peels/rinds/petals:

Simmer 2 cups of distilled or filtered water with ½ cup of rough-cut peels/rinds/petals until it reduces to 1 cup of liquid.

Once the liquid is cooled, it’s ready to use. It Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen in ice cube trays and thawed as needed.

Botanical Water Cleanser or Mask

  • 2-3 tablespoons of botanical water (this will depend on the consistency of your oatmeal)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of cooked oatmeal (or uncooked powdered in a blender)
  • 1 teaspoon yogurt

This cleanser/mask can be made in advance and kept for up to five days in your refrigerator or frozen in ice cube trays. Additionally, it works wonderfully as a mask.

Article by Debbi Burnes, founder of Sumbody, natural products for your body. For more natural beauty recipes, check out Debbi Burne’s book, Natural Beauty Skin Care: 110 Organic Formulas for a Radiant You!

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