Monday, July 28, 2014

Beauty hacks

A friend's recent FB post recommending using oil to cleanse your face reminded me of all the "non-traditional" beauty items I've heard about over the years - items you normally find in your kitchen, or perhaps your medicine cabinet. She mentioned it would be nice to have a page with all these beauty secrets, so I thought I'd quickly jot down a post of all the ones I have tried, and recommend.
  • Oil cleansing: I use jojoba oil I buy at Trader Joe's for removing makeup - it's great, especially at melting off eye makeup. Extra virgin olive oil works too. (And it's something you may likely already have in your cupboard.) I have super oily skin so the idea of rubbing oil on my face seemed counter intuitive, but it really works, and does not break me out. If anything, I think it has helped normalize my oil production. I simply put oil in a pump bottle, and use a pump or two to rub all over my face, gently going over eye area, then rinse with water. I still use a mild cleanser after though - the oil is just for makeup removal. 
  • Other uses for oils: I use coconut oil as a hair mask on the regular - just put on dry hair and leave on for about 20 minutes before washing hair. (Kind of makes you crave an Almond Joy while you're wearing it though.) I also mix coconut oil with granulated sugar as a body scrub - works well, and leaves skin moisturized. A little jojoba oil is great to smooth dry/frizzy hair as well, and works wonders smoothed into cuticles. 
  • Non traditional mattifier: Bear with me here, but I'm recommending milk of magnesia as a beauty product. I don't know who first got the brilliant idea of putting a digestive aid on their face, but they were on to something. I have found it to be an excellent oil-control primer, and whenever I use it under makeup not only am I less shiny, but my makeup lasts much longer. If you're going to try it though, make sure to use the plain unflavored variety. I don't think cherry flavoring will work well with foundation. ;)
  • Non traditional face primer: If you thought the milk of magnesia was a weird recommendation, I have an even weirder one: chafing cream as primer. Yeah, I know. I'm not sure who the brave soul who first tried this was, but I know I got the tip from a YouTube beauty guru I enjoy watching, Tati. I like to use primer to smooth out pores and make my makeup last longer, but the high end stuff that really works can be really pricey. Monistat Soothing Care Powder Gel costs $8-$9 at most drugstores, has the same ingredients as face primers that cost triple that amount, and it really works. You just have to get over the fact that you're putting Monistat on your face.
  • The many uses of baking soda: make a paste with water and use to cover insect bites - helps control itch and dry up the bites as well. You can also mix in with your regular cleanser to make it an exfoliating cleanser, or use 3 parts baking soda to one part water to make your own exfoliant. You can also sprinkle some in your shoes to avoid stinky feet, add some to your toothpaste to help whiten teeth, and use it as a mouthwash to neutralizer halitosis in a pinch (just one teaspoon in a small cup of water.)
  • Foods as beauty products
    • Avocados are very moisturizing, and make a great hair mask (mix in with some coconut oil for a hair mask that will leave your hair SUPER shiny), and a great face mask (2 tbsp of mashed avocado, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp yogurt and 2 tbsp mashed cucumber make a very nice refreshing mask that is quite cleansing and refines pores.)
    • Cool cucumber slices really help de-puff eyes. 
    • Manuka honey is like a super food (which I was happy to see sold for awhile at Trader Joe's, and online and at health food stores at a higher price.) It has all kinds of uses: as a digestive aid, to treat infections...but for beauty purposes, it is great as a mask. You can use in the avocado mask I mention above to really help reduce redness and treat acne breakouts (it has antibacterial properties) or use it on its own. (Smooth all over face, leave on about 20 minutes, then rinse off.) I think it tastes a little medicine-y as a sweetener in tea, but it really works wonderfully as a lip balm, mixed with some coconut oil as a intense moisturizer (rub honey/coconut oil mixture on your feet at night, put on some socks, and wake up to soft tootsies), and it makes a great face scrub mixed with milk, sugar, and a little olive oil. (I've read that milk & honey was Cleopatra's beauty secret.)
So those are some of the ones I have tried and recommend - what are some of yours?  I'm sure that there are many, many others - and I welcome any tips/hacks that others have to share. I'm all about multi-purpose!

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