Mirror, mirror on the wall…who’s being jipped to be the fairest of them all? It’s no doubt why the beauty industry is such a moneymaker…we all concern ourselves with how we look and feel. It sort of makes a girl wonder if she’s shelling out funds for a true cause, just for convenience, or if she’s just throwing it down the drain. We did our research and even tried these at-home remedies to see if doing it yourself is worth it or if some things are better left to the professionals.
Eye Makeup Remover
The Pitch: Mama and Glamour told us never to go to bed with makeup on. When it comes to eye makeup removers, every company makes their own version of either wipes or solution; and each boasts to take even the most waterproof of makeup off.
The Downside: Although just about all work as promised, some products will irritate the eyes. Chemicals and fragrance, even if the package says hypoallergenic, don’t bode well for those with super sensitive skin.
The Natural Way: Two words and one bottle that can be found in everyone’s kitchen…olive oil. This is not only a healthy option for cooking – olive oil releases makeup pain-free and does the trick faster than most store bought products. A little goes a long way, so you can say goodbye to buying a new pack of remover wipes every month.
DIY: Pretty straight forward, just add a few drops to a cotton ball and gently rub around your eyes in a circular motion. Wipe off with a soft cloth or towel. No need to rinse the excess and as an added bonus, the olive oil also acts as an amazing lash conditioner!
Shampoo & Conditioner
The Pitch: Do you really need one? One cleans, one softens. Really simple.
The Downside: While we never considered there to be an alternative to the basics, there are many options…from curly formulas to smoothing to clarifying formulas. No matter the brand or promise, one thing is very true about shampoo – it strips your head and hair of the body’s natural oils. Well, isn’t that the point? Sort of. Ingredients like mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate actually damage the hair follicle and scalp, causing your hair to weaken and break easier. Conditioner was invented to replace moisture to the hair after the shampoo has stripped the oils away.
The Natural Way: This one is not for the feint of heart. Two household kitchen items can act as the saviors to your shampoo and conditioner habits…baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Basically, baking soda acts as your shampoo by cleansing the excess oils and buildup that have formed at your scalp and the apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an acidic rinse that will balance out your hair’s pH levels, leaving it shiny and de-tangled. Now, you may be afraid to try this because of the smell…but if you rinse really well, you won’t notice it. If you still feel like you can, apply some Argan Oil to damp hair ends afterwards for a better scent.
DIY: For the baking soda, mix one tablespoon in with one tablespoon of hot water in a recycled plastic bottle and shake it up. Apply all over your crown and massage this into your scalp for about one minute. Don’t use too much or keep it on your hair for too long, or you’ll dry it out too much.
For the ACV rinse, you want to use anywhere from a 1:6 to a 1:12 ratio of cider to water. Start with about two tablespoons in a bottle and shake it up with your comfort level of water. Apply this all over your hair, avoiding spilling it in your eyes….it does burn. Then rinse it like crazy.
The Pitch: Whether it’s laser whitening or gel trays, this cosmetic dental procedure promises to lift stains from coffee, smoking, and wine to actually give white to your pearls.
The Downside: Teeth whitening works, and even more so from the dentist themselves. But you end up spending a lot of money and time, to turn around and need to do it again in three months. If you choose to do this at home with whitening strips or trays, it can also be painful for those with sensitive gums or teeth.
The Natural Way: Nothing you do at home is going to act as quickly and efficiently as chemicals and lasers. But a little patience and diligence will pay off in the bank account, not to mention your dental appearance. By mixing baking soda and lemon together, you can emulate a whitening gel or use Hydrogen Peroxide as a mouthwash before brushing.
DIY: Bust back out that baking soda (which may or may not be in your shower now) and mix a small amount in with one fresh squeezed lemon. Use a Q-tip or cotton swab to wipe your teeth and gums dry, then use a dry toothbrush to brush on the lemon/baking soda mixture. Leave this on for one minute and rinse/brush it clean. Also, use Hydrogen Peroxide (you know, the brown bottle with the white cap) as a whitening mouthwash each night. Just take a small swig, swish around for 30-60 seconds, rinse with water, and brush your teeth as normal.
The Pitch: Our skin is a vessel that can get very parched, on a daily basis. There are multitudes of lotions, moisturizers and oils on the market that claim to replenish, soften, smooth, tan, or tighten your skin. But the basis of them all is to give you touchable, attractive skin that smells nice.
The Downside: This one isn’t really trying to convince you that all lotions are bad, most are really great…but some are very perfume heavy, which can be disconcerting to someone wanting to smell more natural. And of course, some moisturize much worse than others do.
The Natural Way: You want sexy, summer smelling skin? Get a big ol tub of Coconut Oil and slather it on. It smells like a beach in Jamaica and it moisturizes that ashy or flaky skin like nobody’s business.
Side Note: Coconut oil can also be used to moisturize your lips and strengthen your hair.
The Pitch: Waxing is a quick way to remove unwanted hair anywhere on your body. The procedure in relatively quick, never painless and typically keeps you bare for 2-3 weeks.
The Downside: Waxing can be reasonably priced ($30-60) or very expensive, depending on the salon. But you normally get what you pay for. Waxing is just straight up painful, there’s nothing but laser removal surgery that we can do about that. You want a place that is very hygienic, professional and knows what they’re doing…so if you go this route, you will want to pay enough to get the best experience (especially if you’re waxing you know where.)
The Natural Way: This option is not painless. In fact, it will be even MORE painful than having someone else do it. But if you’re brave enough or have a really nice friend who’s up for a spa night at home, you can put together an all natural ingredient homemade waxing kit with sugar, water, lemon and strips of old denim.
DIY: In a small saucepan, mix 4 cups of white granulated sugar with 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water. Stir this together well before turning on a low flame, then continue to stir for 10-15 minutes, or until the mix has become brown and thick. Let the wax cool enough to where your skin can handle it, then take cut up strips of your old (clean) denim and wax away. After you are finished, gently massage the waxed skin with some of that coconut oil to soothe it.
Slimming Body Wrap
The Pitch: Most spas now offer body wraps along with their other services. These can not only be relaxing and leave your skin purified and soft afterwards, but many of them also claim to help with cellulite and weight loss.
The Downside: The spa method will work and will be relaxing, but you’ll end up spending hundreds, when you could do much of it at home with a little willpower, the right ingredients and know-how.
The Natural Way: One popular slimming wrap technique uses caffeine to stimulate the blood cells, exfoliate and tone your skin. The idea is to gently slough off dead skin cells, while the caffeine boosts blood flow to break down cellulite. Many cellulite creams and expensive treatments use caffeine anyways, but you can do this easily from the comfort of your own home.
DIY: Place 3/4 cup of ground, dry coffee in a crock pot or large pot. Boil 4 gallons of water in a separate large pot, then pour into the pot with the coffee grounds in it. Gather 8 smaller towels and put them into the pot to soak for about 20 minutes. For the actual wrapping portion, you are guaranteed to make a mess, so either apply the towels in the bathtub or on some newspaper or towels laid out on the floor. Get a slatted spoon and remove the grounds from your water. Mix them in with almond, olive, coconut, whatever type of oil you like on your skin. Massage this all over your skin, gently exfoliating in a circular motion. When you’ve covered all areas you’d like wrapped, start wrapping your towels – begin with your ankles and work your way up towards your heart. Relax for 30-40 minutes with these wraps on, then rinse off in the shower thoroughly.