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Why Salma Hayek and Juice Generation want you to put smoothies on your face


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Photo: Ben Ritter

Juice Generation has long been the go-to for savvy New Yorkers in need of a blue algae-infused juice or that kale salad (seriously, it’s one of the best). But unless you had a ticket booked to the Big Apple, the only way you could get your hands on a PB Acai bowl was to order founder Eric Helms’ recipe book and make one yourself from scratch.

Until now—starting this week, Helms and his co-creator, Salma Hayek (yes, that Salma), are rolling out a nationwide option. Dubbed BIY (Blend It Yourself), the nationwide subscription service features pre-portioned cups filled with good-for-you frozen ingredients that are ready for your Vitamix. And they’re not just for drinking: The line of twelve smoothies includes three drool-worthy acai bowls and three “Beauty Blends” that are also face masks. (Subscription prices start at $51 for six cups.)

The idea started years ago—literally, when Hayek was a little girl in Mexico. “My grandmother took the leftover papaya when I was a kid and then poured some orange juice and smashed it and stuck it on her face,” recalled Hayek at a recent intimate gathering in New York celebrating the launch. “It wasn’t even blended correctly, and I said, ‘You’re crazy, look at you!’ And she said, ‘That’s why I’m beautiful—look at my face.'”

Photo: Juice Generation

Hayek wanted to bring this idea of fresh fruit for skin care to the whole country—so she called up long-time friend Helms. As a company that only has storefronts in New York, he was initially stuck on what to do with Hayek’s beauty-slash-smoothie line idea—but he was open to serious expansion. “We had nationwide delivery before with Cooler Cleanse in 2008, which was extremely successful,” he says. “We actually have a real connection with people outside of New York—we get hundreds of emails a day asking questions about juicing, and 90 percent of them aren’t from the five boroughs.”

So to bring exotic fruits like pitaya and mangosteen in frozen packages to doorsteps all across the country is a major move. But it’s also a very forward-thinking one, synthesizing ascending wellness trends—like healthy subscription services and superfood-packed skin products—in one easy-to-make container. That’s not all—it sits in what’s becoming the hottest wellness real estate in your kitchen: the freezer. Companies like Daily Harvest and Green Blender have restored its cache by educating consumers that fruits and vegetables that are flash frozen at peak ripeness are more nutritionally dense than produce that’s traveled for days (or even weeks) before sitting on a store shelf.

Then there’s the fact that what’s packed inside each BIY cup is actually pretty beneficial, from a complexion perspective. Among the skin-nourishing power players in the three beauty blends—which have different purposes, from repairing to renewing—are perennial fave avocado (whose essential fatty acids are crucial when it comes to keeping skin hydrated and plump), gently exfoliating papaya and lemon, hydrating aloe vera, antioxidant-rich spinach, and anti-inflammatory hibiscus. As for how to actually use the smoothie as a mask, in-person Hayek recommended using a brush to apply a thick layer (you could also slather it on with your fingers—don’t be afraid to get messy). And yes, you’re encouraged to drink the delicious leftovers—I asked Hayek and she replied, “Of course!”

“[Hayek] has a couple other beauty ideas in the works we’ll be releasing later.”

It’s just the tip of the very pretty iceberg, according to Helms. “[Hayek] has a couple other beauty ideas in the works we’ll be releasing later,” he says. “It’s really on-trend right now at a time when women are looking for natural, organic ingredients. She’s always joked that you have to do what it takes to look good—so if it’s walking around with kale and papaya on your face, you do it.”

And unlike sitting on an airplane wearing a sheet mask, this healthy skin option is also delicious. “The smoothies were not designed to taste good—they were designed to make you look good,” quipped Hayek. “Now you can have both at the same time. Yes girls, you can have it all!”

You’ll need a powerful blender to whip up those BIY cups—these are the 5 best editor-tested and approved options. For something slightly more chewable, try this Juice Generation-inspired jackfruit taco recipe.