Friday, March 25, 2011

25 of the Best Inexpensive Home Remedies to Achieving Beautiful, Healthier Skin, and Hair

*Thanks to my Mom, my friend Lauren, many beauty books and amazing websites for helping me come up with this huge list. We have tested each and every one of em so enjoy and I hope they work for you as much they have worked for me! :)

1. Baking Soda
Baking soda has many uses, removing odor from refrigerators, stinky shoes, brushing your teeth, mixed with water to form a paste to dry a pimple, or massaged through hair to get rid of the old gunk left over from styling products. If you're looking for an exfoliant alternative, rub it on your elbows or knees to help those dry and rough areas on your skin.

2. Toothbrush
On average we are supposed to use a new tooth brush every 3 months, so why waste the old ones? The toothbrush is an all-purpose tool, it can be used to comb through clumpy mascara on your lashes, eyebrow grooming, applying hair dye touch-ups, (my favorite) exfoliating flaky lips (with vaseline), and can also be used to scrub pencil sharpeners, tweezers, and combs!

3. Honey
Did you know that honey is anti-bacterial? It makes a pretty decent zit zap too, especially on nasty, red blemishes. Apply a little bit to your blemish every night before bed and place a band-aid or tape on top. It's also good for soaking up that oil on your skin (T-zone). Honey is actually a common ingredient in most face masks as it's stickiness holds the ingredients all together. Honey is also a surprisingly good lip moisturizer, mix it with a bit of sugar and rub, then lick off!

4. Sugar
Like baking soda, sugar also makes a great exfoliant, and a really sweet one too! I have an old jar of exfoliant scrub by True Blue Spa that ran out of, so I rinsed it and put about a cup of sugar in there and once a week I pour some in my hand, mix it with a little water and scrub my knees and elbows with it, especially when the seasons get colder. You could also try mixing honey with sugar or even brown sugar for a scrub as honey is excellent for your skin.

5. Bath Salts
They don’t just make your bath smell good. Bath salts are soothing and relaxing on those sore muscles, you can massage it onto damp skin before you settle in the tub. Doing this will help your skin absorb moisture more easily. :)

6. Frozen Food
For aches, pains, swelling, bruises, burns, irritation from waxing, a bag of frozen peas or blueberries can be applied as the shape can nicely mold around any part of your body to help any kind of irritation.

7. Tea Bags
No, this isn't a remedy for the male genatalia. If you keep wet tea bags (black, green, or chamomile) you can put them on your eyes every morning to reduce puffiness. They can also soothe mild burns and bruises. Chamomile is especially great for reducing irritation . You can soak a wash cloth in warm chamomile tea and apply it to your skin after a bikini wax!

8. Clay Masks
In my opinion, every girl should own at least one of these. Its good for soakin up excess oil on your face, chest, or back too! It can also dry up pimples and soothe itchy bug bites.

9. Yogurt
Plain low fat and non fat yogurt also makes a great alternative to clay masks! It makes my skin feel soothed, tight, dry, soft, silky and makes pores appear smaller. Its also perfect for an itchy, flaky scalp in the winter. I leave mine on for about a half an hour, rinse and my flakes are gone!

10. Kraft Miracle Whip (ew, I know)
Did you know that elbows have almost no oil glands? Miracle Whip is a great alternative to a moisturizer, although I dont recommend putting it on your face as it is more extreme than most moisturizers which makes it really good for that stubborn, flaky skin that won't go away.

11. Coritzone
Got beard burn? Sometimes getting too close and kissy leaves you with a red chin the morning after. I promise you that cortisone cream is your best solution.

12. Sweet Almond Oil
Inexpensive and perfect for soothing skin irritation after facial waxing or Nairing. Sometimes moisturizers can only make it worse and believe me, been there...done that! It's also an eye make remover, skin, hair and cuticle softener so try it out :)

13. Neosporin, Calamine Lotion
Neosporin Original First Aid Antibiotic Ointment and calamine lotion can calm down your blemish redness over night, try putting a bandaid over it and see the difference when you wake up in the morning.

14. Garlic, Potato and Kiwi
I've never actually tried this but I read in a book somewhere that these work. Secure a thin slice of potato with a bandaid on your pimple at bedtime and remove it in the morning. Apply garlic twice a day can also treat your pimples, just make sure it isn't an open pimple or it will most likely burn. Just cut a clover of garlic in half and dab it on. Kiwi slices and grated potatos can also help dark circles.

15. Jell-O
Soaking your feet in Jell-O everynight helps sweaty, stinky feet.

16. Visine
Visine is another good alternative for taking the red out of a pimple. First put a dab on the pimple, then using a clean, small brush or your ring finger, (wash your hands, too!)stroke a bit of concealer on it and blend the edges out, blot and you're good to go.

17. Elmers Glue
If your blackheads aren't too deep, try putting Elmer's Glue on them, wait for it to dry and peel it off.

18. Duct Tape
Years ago my mom said she heard on the news that duct tape could remove warts and my first thought at 10 years old was ah hell no...I later found out that it isn't used at like a waxing strip. I put it on my toe every night before bed and it took it off in the mornings before school. I don't know how it works, but the wart slowly shrunk and that nasty little thing was gone within a month. No visible scar leftover either! :)
19. Crest Whitening Strips
They also whiten your yellow-ish nails!

20. Ice & Pepto-Bismol
They say that ice is always effective in the beginning stages of cold sores, but so is pepto-bismol, give it a shot!

21. Moisturizer & Body Oil
If your perfume fades throughout the day, mix a little in with a fragrance-free moisturizer and rub on your skin so it lasts all day. Is your hair lacking luster? Put a little body oil in your palms, pat and rub together and work slightly and evenly through hair. Be carely not to use too much, ya grease ball.

22. Blotting Papers, Tea Tree Oil, Baby Powder, Cornstarch
Greasy roots? Blotting papers actually work for your hair too, keep them in your purse, rub them on greasy roots after a long day before hitting the town at night :) A little bit of tea tree oil can be added to your shampoo if your hair is naturally greasy all over. Things like cornstarch and baby powder can be a quick fix on your roots, you can section out your hair and apply with a blush brush, kabuki brush, or whichever brush you prefer. If you have darker hair or red hair, these might fade out your natural color and I personally reccomend Treseme's dry shampoo (7 bucks) OR you can dip your brush in a matte bronzer or blush so it looks less harsh.

23. Fabric Softener
Work in a stinky place? Or are you surrounded by cigarette smoke and have no time to shower? Rub a fabric softener sheet in your hair to get rid of all of those nasty stinkies...You can also stick a sheet of it in your hair brush, which is an awesome remedy to get the static out of your hair!

24. Saran Wrap and Grocery Bags
When dyeing your hair, or doing any kind of treatment it's always good to cover the head to hold and absorb everything into your hair. I mean, of course shower caps are inexpensive but if you ever run out or forget to pick some up at the store then your solution is Saran wrap and grocery bags. They can be tightened and sealed on your head with a hair scrunchie or and a clip and it's that easy :) (Thanks, Mum!)

25. Olive Oil
Are you in need of a conditioning treatment and you dont have any shower caps? Look no further than your own kitchen! Coat your hair in olive oil, clip you hair up if its long, and wrap your head in Saran wrap or put a grocery bag over your head and tie with a hair tie or clip it to close it and keep it tight in the back. Next, run a blow dryer over it for a few minutes to hold the moisture, leave it on for 30 min, then shampoo and condition. Olive oil also makes an amazing conditioner and makeup brush cleaner. :D

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sea Salt Spray and... 'Beachy Waves'?

Unfortunately, I'm one of those girls with the poker-straight hair...I've tried everything from a perm to a curling iron. Perms never worked and its almost impossible to get a lasting curl without watching my hair sizzle from all the hairspray while its wrapped in a curling iron. My only option was scrunching, and it takes my hair 1.5 days to get it to look at least halfway decent-- and the longer it sits, the more nappy, knotty, and a bitch it is to detangle. Not to mention the damage it does in the process. I've always wanted natural looking waves and could never find a way to do it. So if you're like me and looking for the right solution, then sea salt spray is your answer...and let me tell you ladies, it works wonderfully :) I hear some companies sell it, but I've made my own thanks to Lauren and her amazing recommendation on what to put on our Home Remedies list. So here is my brand-spankin-new scrunchin' routine...

What you'll need:

A couple tablespoons of sea salt.
I use McCormick's French Grey Sea Salt but I'm sure you can use any kind.:) Exact measurements aren't needed but just be careful not to use too much because it can dry out your hair.

A spray bottle full of water. lol
Mine holds about 2 cups, it also sprays out like a water gun..if you're shopping for one, don't be like me and choose the cheapest one you find at Sally's. You'd be better off using an old bottle of some old hairspray with a twist-off cap. Plus recycling helps the environment! :) Just make sure it has a powerful mist to it instead of it shooting out like a watergun, as it gets messy and doesn't cover well.

First I'll tell you a bit about my hair. It's medium in length, layered, thick in texture but I don't have much of it and it is severely chemically damaged.
1. Now, before spraying I shake the sea salt mixture for about 30 sec, then let it sit for a minute and shake again.
2. Next, on dry hair I spray in the sea salt mixture and for every 2 sprays I'll scrunch it with my hand and I do this by placing my palm with fingers spread directly under the tip the chunk of hair, squeeze and grab, then push it up, and I do it repeatedly until it gets a wave. I usually spray from the tip to the root, also. I do this all around the head until I get an even coverage of wet hair and some slight waves.
3. If you aren't seeing that big of a difference, let your hair dry, then repeat the process again for more or bigger waves.
4. And lastly, I take the forked metal end of a teasing comb (A wide-toothed comb or pick might do the trick as well) and lightly comb through the top layers of my hair just to smooth out the nappy frizzies. 
5. After the scrunching is complete, grab your favorite hairspray (any kind will do) and set the curls so they last all day. I recommend a volumzing spray like Big Sexy. If you want more extreme curls, put in more hairspray and scrunch, scrunch, scrunch. I only use just enough to set because I prefer a more natural wave that doesn't tangle or do too much damage to my hair.

Tips: Don't blow dry or straighten your hair before scrunching. If your hair is generally straight, you'll need every last bit of wave you can get, so let it air-dry. Use very little conditioner, if any at all because to achieve a curl your hair needs to be dry and not weighed down. If your hair just reaches the shoulders in length, tilt your head to the left and scrunch with your left hand, on the left side because tilting it can make your roots more accessible to your hand, do the same with the right side of your head. (Although, they say bend forward to put your head upside down and scrunch, it seems it’s not as easy with my hair.) Remember that the shorter and more layered your hair is, the most curls and volume you get from it. This is optional, but you could try using a curl-boosting shampoo before hand, like Redken's Fresh Curls. (It smells really good and has worked wonders for my hair.)

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