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This is not the moment to answer the door to the mail man (or anyone else). As I write this, my face is covered with something that resembles a pet rabbit's undigested meal. It's actually a knock-it-up-in-your-own kitchen face mask recipe that was mentioned by my esthetician Ildi Pekar when she was interviewed by Copley.
To make Ildi's parsley mask, here's what I did:
I took a handful of chopped parsley (chopped in a mini-processor), 2 spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar, and 3 spoonfuls of plain yogurt. After mixing it, I spread it over my face (easier than I feared and it remains surprisingly in situ). I must leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse off with lukewarm water.
So while I'm killing 20 minutes, I may as well research parsley (which, I now know, is a relative of celery). A sprig of parsley is much more than decorative garnish. It contains an impressive amount of vitamin K. And when I say impressive, clock this: two tablespoons of parsley contains 153% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K. Perhaps because of its ability to regulate blood clotting, vitamin K is supposed to be great at diminishing dark under circles and evening out skin tone.
Parsley is also worth getting to know for its antioxidant properties due to myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies and it can activate an enzyme that prevents free radical damage. Useless aside: the hallucinogenic effects of an over-indulgence of nutmeg are due to myristicin.
The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). So if you are forced to passively smoke, nibble on a parsley sprig.
But that's not all. The flavonoids in parsley — especially luteolin - have been shown to function as antioxidants and extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. There is also beta-carotene, another antioxidant, works in the fat-soluble areas of the body. Last but not least, parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins.
Having now rinsed off, I am nothing short of amazed. Initially, my skin seemed a little dry but this lasted only a few minutes before becoming soft and glowing. However, most striking is the tightening effect of this mask. (And I am adding this four hours later: it still does). This puts Argireline (the ingredient that is often used in creams to restrict the movement of facial muscles) in the shade.
I put this down to the apple vinegar, which seems to have skin tightening function. I noticed that apple cider vinegar turns up as a cellulite cure, but this may have to do with the belief (some people take it as a supplement) that it aids weight loss. I would imagine that apple cider vinegar is also a natural exfoliant because it is high in AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). It is also supposed to restore pH balance and be really helpful for acne. Yoghurt's enzymes and lactic acid will also gently exfoliate, as well as calm inflammation.