We were inspired by the New Labello Vanilla Buttercream lip balm and decided to see what other benefits vanilla has to offer. You might find this surprising. The benefits of vanilla extract or essence go beyond food and can be included in your beauty routine. We found 5 of our favourite uses, see below. The distinct flavour and health benefits of vanilla essence can be attributed to the presence of about 200 compounds which possess antioxidant properties. The nutritional value of vanilla is what makes it beneficial for your skin, hair and health in so many ways.

1. Treatment of Acne: The antibacterial properties of vanilla make it beneficial for the treatment of acne. Vanillin, through its antibacterial effects, helps cleanse your skin, reducing the occurrence of acne.

2. Anti-ageing Benefits: Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its fragrance and anti-ageing benefits. Applying raw vanilla beans infused with organic oil imparts a great chocolatey fragrance besides making your skin smooth and soft.

3. Promotes Healthy Skin: Vanilla is a good source of B-vitamins like niacin, thiamin, Vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid which play an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. The antioxidant properties of vanilla protect your skin from damage caused by environmental pollutants and toxins. You can prepare a scrub to revive your skin from within. Slice open 5 vanilla beans to scrape out seeds. Add seeds, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 drops vanilla essential oil to freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the ingredients and apply on your face. Massage for a few minutes then rinse with warm water.

4. Vanilla for Silky Hair: Vanilla when mixed with other ingredients can make your hair silky, shiny and smooth. You can prepare a hair pack for this purpose. Melt 100ml Shea butter in a small pot. After it has fully melted, add 5 drops of vanilla essential oil and 2 tablespoons each of almond, jojoba and castor oils. After cooling, blend this mixture until it achieves a softer consistency. You can apply this mixture on your hair for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off with a mild shampoo. This will make your hair soft and manageable without making it sticky. This mixture can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for future use.

5. Promotes Hair Growth: Both carrier and essential oils (olive, almond, coconut) help in promoting hair growth. These oils can be combined with vanilla essential oil for a hot oil treatment. To begin with, detangle your hair and rinse it thoroughly with warm water. After this, warm ¼ cup of carrier oil such as virgin olive, jojoba, almond or coconut oil on high heat for about 30 seconds. Add 10 drops each of lavender and vanilla essential oils and mix thoroughly. Apply this on your hair from the roots to the ends and massage your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes. Fasten your hair with a hair clip and wrap a warm towel. Leave for 15 minutes then wash off with shampoo. This will make your hair softer, fuller and shinier besides imparting an amazing scent.

There you have it, our top 5 beauty tips inspired by the New Labello Vanilla Buttercream lip balm. Read more about this tasty new addition to the Labello range by clicking here, and don't forget to enter our competition here and YOU could WIN R2500 cash!