Many of us are already familiar with the many uses of cornstarch in the kitchen. In fact, we probably all have a box of the stuff in our pantry or refrigerator. It’s often used as a thickener for gravies, soup, stews and curries. You can also lightly dredge meats and vegetables with cornstarch when you are whipping up a fancy stir-fry; it gives them a nice, golden crispy layer all around. Cornstarch is also used as a binding agent in desserts like pudding and custards.
But it may come as a surprise to many of us that the many applications of cornstarch are not limited to the kitchen. In fact, it can also be a really useful aid in your hair and skin beauty regimen. Take a look the some of its uses below:
Add Life to Limp Hair
Cornstarch can potentially do the job of many hairsprays and dry shampoos out there. Using a clean makeup brush, gently dab a little cornstarch on your hairline and elsewhere on your scalp. Brush through with your hairbrush so that the cornstarch is evenly distributed. The cornstarch not only absorbs the excess oil — breathing new life into day-old hair — it also gives those with fine hair added volume and an extra lift.
Nifty Hair Detangler
Besides giving your hair a little oomph, cornstarch also makes for a terrific little hack for those times in your life when your hair is uncooperative and decides to get all tied up in knots. Powder the knot with a good amount of the white stuff and let it sit for at least 5 minutes (or up to 10 even, if you are not in a hurry). Then try untangling the knot again. Hopefully, you’ll find that the previously pesky knot will easily undo this time around.
Reduces Acne Breakouts
Cornstarch will not clog pores, and its oil-absorbing ability allows it to sop up the excess sebum that your skin produces. That way pores are less likely to clog up, thereby clearing up or preventing the development of acne. With a clean brush, you can dust on the cornstarch anywhere that is acne-prone, whether it is on your visage, chest or back. And if you happen to apply too much such that there are obvious signs of the powder on you, the fix is very simple; simply wipe off what you need to with a washcloth and you are good to go.
Handy Itch Reliever
Who knew that cornstarch could be a comforting balm for helping soothe sensitive skin? Whether it is a sunburn or rash resulting from a skin allergy, applying a paste made from a mixture of cold water and cornstarch can help calm any redness and irritation. Mix cornstarch and water to a thick consistency (think peanut butter) and then use a cotton ball to dab it onto the affected areas; let dry. It may be a good idea to do this at bedtime and let the paste work some magic while you snooze, and you will hopefully get a better night’s sleep too if the paste does what it is supposed to and puts a lid on the late-night scratch fest!
It’s Gently Exfoliating
When mixed with a paste, cornstarch can also serve as an effective DIY exfoliating scrub. Here’s a simple recipe you can try out: take one tablespoon of cornstarch and mix it with a half tablespoon of honey. Add about two tablespoons of milk and one teaspoon of sugar. The cornstarch mops up excess sebum and helps to lighten dark spots; honey has antibacterial properties that can help clean out congested pores; milk’s lactic acid helps clear off dead skin cells, while the sugar helps with the gentle exfoliation. Mix the ingredients well and apply a generous layer onto a clean and dry visage. Leave on, relax and then rinse off with cool water once the mask is dry. Then say a warm hello to smooth and glowing complexion! You could also mix and match with other skin-friendly ingredients; sea-salt and tea-tree oil, for instance, are two other very good options.
Because cornstarch is naturally oil-absorbing, dusting some of the powder (with a clean brush!) on your face will instantly mattify your skin. You can also do the same for your lipgloss if you are in the mood to change up your look. After you put on the lipstick, dab a smidgeon of cornstarch gently on your lips until the cornstarch fades off. Voila! Get your lips from glossy to matte in minutes. Cornstarch can also turn your high-shine nail polish to one that is gloss-free. You’ll need to add some cornstarch into your topcoat and you can do that by pouring some topcoat onto a small piece of wax paper (enough to coat 10 nails) and add a sprinkle of this marvellous white powder into it. Paint this modified top coat over your favourite shade of nail polish and it’ll dry completely matte. We did say it was marvellous.