Really cheap beauty secrets

An L.A. aesthetician divulges her recipes for homemade treatments
Julia McKinnell

When Hollywood aesthetician Raisa Ruder first applied oranges and cooked pumpkin to the faces of her clients, she kept it secret, she admits in a new book (co-authored with Susan Campos) called Babushka’s Beauty Secrets. Ruder was born and raised in Ukraine, where her grandmother was a legend among local women who lined up at the family’s tiny home at the end of a dirt road for her homemade beauty potions that consisted of beets, potatoes and garlic. “When I first arrived in the United States, I’d apply these one-ingredient wonders but wouldn’t tell women what the product was in fear of their reaction,” she confesses in the book. “I thought they’d scream. But as each satisfied customer left my salon, my confidence grew.”

Now Ruder’s clientele includes models and actresses like Tyra Banks and Molly Sims. “The positive feedback I received upon revealing my ‘secret’ ingredients is one of the reasons I decided to write this book. Clients didn’t really care about all the fancy packaging, just if a beauty treatment worked.”

Ruder’s motto is: “Why spend hundreds at a department store makeup counter when you can create it yourself for a fraction of the price?” For example, “alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are the hottest ingredients to hit the beauty business,” she writes. “They are perfect for sloughing off dead skin. But before you go spending hundreds of dollars, just know that foods such as pineapples, strawberries, apples and even milk are overflowing with AHAs. So why not go directly to the source?” The same goes for costly vitamin C serum. At the store, you’ll pay $250. Ruder’s “Babushka’s olive oil, orange and lemon serum” can be made at home for $1.95.

The book is full of recipes for cheap concoctions that work “better than Botox,” she claims, but don’t expect immediate results. “It’s tough to be patient since many of us are used to walking into a doctor’s office and having our wrinkles simply disappear. This book isn’t about that,” she writes. “Sure, many of the recipes will have immediate results like plumping up the lips or giving the skin an instant glow, but the best results will show up in six weeks to three months.” Another warning: many of the recipes are messy. “Rubbing a tomato on your face isn’t pretty, but your skin will be once you wash it off. Trust me, the results will outweigh the mess.”

Ruder says clients with photo shoots coming up insist on the “Close-up Soufflé” treatment. “As we get older, our pores get larger. This soufflé is the perfect way to combat that problem.” The ingredients are: one egg white, one tablespoon lemon juice, two tablespoons oatmeal, one shredded tomato. “Place all the ingredients in a blender and purée until it has a thick sour-cream-like texture. Apply to the skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm tap water.”

For bags under the eyes, “sliced potatoes work wonders.” For crow’s feet around the eyes, try soy beans. “I have a client who swears it takes 10 years off her face.” Use a quarter-cup soybeans, soaked in water overnight, and one tablespoon milk. “Blend the soybeans into a paste in the blender. Then throw in the milk and blend for another minute. Place under the eyes for 15 minutes.”

To hide cellulite, “combine two tablespoons olive oil with one cup warm used coffee grounds. Apply to your legs, arms and face, or anywhere else you want a little colour. Keep on the body for 15 minutes then wash off. Your skin will have the perfect glow!”

For your complexion, try strawberries. “They have tons of vitamin C, which is the great skin restorer because it helps produce the big C—collagen. Place five strawberries in a blender and blend for one minute until smooth. Cover the entire face with the mask and let it stay on for 20 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water. To moisturize the skin, apply one tablespoon of honey in a thin layer all over and leave on for 20 minutes. “Make sure you wear a headband so it doesn’t get all over your hair,” she writes.

One more thing: don’t throw away the empty halves of your morning grapefruit. “It can keep your elbows soft and youthful looking. Just let them rest inside the two halves of the grapefruit while you watch TV.”