Shanghai's best DIY beauty hacks

Try these homemade beauty recipes for your hair, face and feet

Adja Sy of Lalu Skincare

Spas and salons abound in Shanghai, but you’d be surprised at what you can do at home using stuff from your own kitchen cupboard. The experts let Helen Roxburgh in on their secret beauty recipes.

Adja Sy, founder of Lalu Skincare


Avocado and coconut oil reparative hair mask

Benefits ‘Pollution, our unsanitary water, colouring and UV can all leave your hair crying out for help. This reparative hair mask works wonders for strengthening and hydrating your hair, while giving it a whole lot of shine.’

1 Mash half an avocado in a bowl until smooth.

2 Add one tablespoon of unrefined virgin coconut oil, one tablespoon of sweet almond oil, one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the avocado mixture.

3 Stir until mixture is thoroughly blended.

4 Apply to dry hair, and let concoction sit for up to one hour.

5 Rinse thoroughly, and shampoo, condition and style as usual.

‘Coffee Mania’ hair conditioner

Benefits ‘This coffee conditioner invigorates the scalp, gives your hair incredible shine and hydrates as well.’

1 Combine one cup of cooled coffee, one cup of milk and one teaspoon of jojoba oil in a squeeze or flip top bottle.

2 Shake well to mix together.

3 Pour through shampooed, wet hair, and then leave in for at least two minutes.

4 Rinse thoroughly, and style as usual.

Creamy facial cleanser

Benefit ‘Egg whites have toning qualities that work to tighten your skin and keep your complexion youthful and glowing.’

1 Mix together one egg white, two tablespoons of sour cream and one tablespoon of purified water until creamy.

2 Scoop the mixture up with your fingertips and work it into a lather as a daily face wash

3 Rinse well with warm water.

Dr Zhang, TCM practitioner and professor

Motherwort face wash

Benefits ‘Great for treating acne and spots, or any scars.’

1 Buy dry motherwort (益母草) from a local pharmacy or TCM clinic.

2 Add 60g of dry motherwort to 300ml of water in a saucepan.

3 Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

4 Use this liquid as an external face wash to treat acne or scarring (avoid getting it in your eyes).


Rose bud foot soak

Benefits To get the qi energy flowing in your body again and treat aching feet

1 Buy a bunch of roses and remove the stems to use the buds and petals, or buy dried rose buds from a TCM clinic.

2 Take the petals and buds and immerse them in hot water

3 Stick your feet in and soak for 20 minutes. Lovely.

Kimberly Ashton, health coach and natural foods educator


Nourishing and brightening face treatment

Benefits ‘This is a lovely nourishing, healing treatment that helps balance the pH of our skin with the superfood ingredients.’

1 Cut a papaya in half and remove the seeds and flesh/fruit (keep aside for a delicious smoothie).

2 Cut the remaining papaya skin into small pieces ready to rub on the face. Rub all over the face in slow small circular motions and let absorb for 10 minutes.


3 Next, to brighten: mix two tablespoons honey with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of sea buckthorn juice until you have a nice paste.

4 Apply to a clean face and then leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water followed by a splash of cold water on your face.

Ye Ping, The Sanctuary


Home-made honey face mask

Benefits ‘Honey contains marvellously healing, antibacterial, antimicrobial enzymes, minerals, amino acids and even cancerfighting properties.’

1 Buy raw honey; make sure that it’s the raw kind, with all the necessary nutrients still included, before it’s processed.

2 In raw honey, the top layer should look ‘dirty’ – mix this top layer of wax and pollen together with the rest of the honey.


3 Spread the mixed honey mixture across your face – the darker the mixture, the better it is for your skin. Leave for 15 minutes, and then rinse off.