Skin & Hair DIYs that aren't terrible ideas.

Skin & Hair DIYs that aren't terrible ideas.

 

 The internet has no shortage of terrible ideas that *look* honestly pretty great. (I'm sure you've seen those viral "5 minute hack" videos?) The ones I take personally are the beauty "hacks" (barf, that word.) Most of them are gross, ineffective, wasteful and some even borderline dangerous.

Look, the only thing you should be doing with baking soda and lemon is baking scones. (By the way, those 2 are popular with these so-called beauty hacks because messing with pH makes for a quick "difference", so it makes the trick seem legit. It's not.... messing with skin pH is *not* a good idea.... hair, you can get away with it to a certain degree but we'll get that later.)

There's also a lot of food that seems to go on your face in said DIY lists. From bananas to avocado, honestly it's more of a mess than anything and not worth the trouble. Food is not skincare, and skincare is not food, despite what I thought about 15 years ago. (Ugh.) Look, companies like mine spend a lifetime creating cosmetics (with countless iterations, research, experiments, testing, money thrown at it, etc), it's unlikely that an ingredient or two thrown in a blender will measure up. There, I said it. 

However! There is some legitimate overlap when it comes to hair and skin ingredients that you CAN totally do at home! Miracles workers? Nah. But they're fun ways to pamper yourself at home.

These DIYs are approved and vetted by yours truly. (Hi, it's Jess.) In fact, most of these I do quite regularly!

Honey and yogurt mask (or maple syrup/agave and any vegan yogurt)

This is probably the most involved of the DIYs I approve of, but it's still very basic. Combine equal parts yogurt (plain and fat-filled, vegan or not) and honey (unpasteurized is best but any kind of liquid sugar will work), for an exfoliating, hydrating, probiotic face treat. Leave on about 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly. Follow with a hydrating serum like Everlasting then top off with an oil or balm.

Hydrosol Mists

You know when you get a face mist with a really good, fine mister on it? Wash and keep those bottles and reuse them! Most grocery stores, in their "international" aisle, will have inexpensive hydrosols, mostly meant for cooking. They might not be cosmetic-grade, but you can make a quick and dirty body/room/hair mist (not for face though...) with rose water, orange blossom, lemon balm and more. Since these will be preservative free, make sure you use it up quickly, and rinse out if it starts to smell different, which is a sign it's gone off. (Probably a week or so.) Using a hydrosol is safer than using essential oils at home, especially if you're just throwing them in a bottle with water.

Bath Salt

A salty brine is the cure for so much, in my opinion. I take salty baths several times a week in the winter and I swear by them.... but I don't use super fancy bath products. At the grocery store (or pharmacy or health food store), get a large sack of fine-grain sea salt, dead sea salt or Epsom salts (technically different as it's magnesium, so you can combine with another salt for an even better experience.)  Add about a cup to a regular tub, 2 for a big soaker. Rinse with fresh water when you're done so your skin doesn't feel dry. Rinse your tub when you're done too, so you don't need to scrub it as often. (I'm *such* a mom, honestly.)

Sugar Scrub

Combine equal parts oil (olive, or whatever you have) and sugar (any will do, just remember the bigger the granules are, the rougher it will be on the skin.). On damp skin, scrub up legs or other body parts you want to buff and rinse. Don't use this on your face, but you can use a little on your lips (just be gentle). Don't slip in the tub!!

Dry clay

Plain, dry clay, like salts, is a good item to buy at the health food store in bulk (not necessarily bulk as in a massive amount, just that it's nice to have something plain on hand.) Buy a clay that's meant to used on the body (not like, ceramics clay or cat litter.... does that old interview when Snookie put cat litter on her face live rent-free in anyone else's brain? No, just me? Damnit.)

Anyhow, different types of clay have different properties, so just read up on the particular types available to you (should just say right on the packaging), but generally speaking, green clays and other Montmorillonite-type clays are widely available, and are mineral rich and have good absorption qualities, so best for oilier skin. White clays, like Kaolin, are gentler and brown clay like Rhassoul, are bouncy (hard to explain, it's an interesting clay!) and somewhat more hydrating. A pack of dry clay will last ages, and if it's not combined with anything else, should be quite affordable.

Combine dry clay with a gentle cleanser like Eclipse  to make an exfoliating, deep-cleaning weekly mask, or add into the above-mentioned honey and yogurt mask.

You can also try combining some clay with your conditioner as a rinse-out volumizer and scalp mask... but depending on your hair type, you could end up with a tangled mess, so best for fine, oily hair.

Flax hair gel

This is one of my favourite DIYs ever, and I love that it's a trick popularized in the 1920s and 30s, and revived by the curly hair community. Now, this can be used as a styler AND as a leave-in hair treatment because flax is so good for your hair. Flax gel is a protein-rich mucilage, which most hair strands just adore, will help with pattern hold and retention, and is also a film-former, which helps hold hydration in hair and smooth the cuticle down. 

Take 2 tablespoons of whole flax seeds and boil in about 1 cup water for 5 minutes or less, until it bubbles up a little and about 1/4 evaporated. Strain with a metal tea strainer into a small jar (do it while it's still pretty hot or else it gets too thick to strain!). You will be left with a fun, weird, mucus-like (sorry but it's true!) gel that can be applied to wet/damp hair. Scrunch through hair and air dry for shiny, healthy, strands with your natural pattern really popping!

Use up within a week, keep in fridge.

Diluted ACV hair rinse

Hair loves acidity, but doesn't get an opportunity to get much of it. Once in a while, when my hair just seems dull, I will give my hair an acid rinse (not great for coloured hair though, your dye won't last long!). Dilute about 1:6 ratio apple cider vinegar to water and pour over already wet hair (head upside down, you don't want this all over your face and in your eyes.) Let air dry. The vinegar smell will dissipate and your hair will feel lighter and shinier. 

Let me know if you try any of these suggestions, and don't forget to question the really... sketchy suggestions out there!