Natural cosmetics, cooking beauty
Rosemary, honey, coffee, and many officinal plants from nature become excellent natural cosmetics. So, let’s discover together those from the Lecco area of Brianza.
Take a sprig of rosemary, rub it in your hands, learn about its properties, use it as the main aroma in a risotto or as an ingredient in a face cream. The truth is that it is really very easy to connect ingredients that are available in the pantry to cosmetics in Italy. There is never a shortage of food or home remedies in any corner of the peninsula. We are not just talking about peeping into the oil bottle when you have a stye: there are centuries-old rituals that work, from remedies for sunburns of colds.
And if you can play with fruit and plants in places with warm climates, in the Brianza Lecco area versatile and resistant plants like rosemary are used. Among the hills and vineyards one can find places like Agriturismo La Costa in Valletta Brianza, a place where this idea of nourishment is developed to its fullest. You can taste the wine, try the rosemary risotto from Montevecchia and the flavours of the past like polenta made from ancient grains, and find this rosemary in the organic cosmetics of the Prati Magri line, with the fragrances and ingredients that can be found on the table.
The enchanting part of natural cosmetics is that when you understand the incredible versatility of plants like rosemary, the scent is associated with its invigorating and disinfectant properties (rosemary oil on the skin is incredible) and not with the Sunday roast.
The Prati Magri products often include honey: defined as ”yellow gold” by many, it is a striking example of how versatile an ingredient already produced in nature can be soothing, anti-inflammatory on skin impurities, practically an all-rounder to keep in the bathroom cabinet as well as in the kitchen.
Not everyone has the time and willingness to open a home laboratory and attempt to create customised formulas of creams and ointments. To untangle the various products and find the truly natural ones, we can look for the AIAB (Italian Association for Organic Agriculture) certification or those that prefer using locally sourced raw materials.
More and more often we learn that nature can offer solutions just as good as those from the chemist, and it is always interesting to discover all those elements we had under our noses and that have taken on new life and new uses. Castor oil has gone from being a laxative, any child’s nightmare, to being an incredible booster for hair, nails and especially eyelashes: a daily wipe can make them thicker and longer. Coffee is no longer just a drink that accompanies breaks during the day, but a powder that, when combined with coconut butter, cinnamon, and sugar, turns not into a baking treat, but into a simply fabulous energising scrub.
And if rosemary and honey become basic ingredients for the body, face and hands, via a cream or shampoo, it is easier to take the taste and scent of a day in the hills home with you. Quite often good ideas are born in the laboratory, but they just as often take their cue from tradition, from those granny remedies that have provided the solution to all problems for centuries.