10 DIY ways to zap those zits faster (yes, even the toughest ones!)

While we all know that acne is often an indicator of what’s happening inside our bodies rather than on top of our skin, sometimes you just need that terrifying pimple to go away NOW. So, even though these tried-and-tested home remedies might not banish the chronic cause of your acne, they will definitely help zap the zits almost immediately!

DIY acne home remediesTry some garlic love

This is one of my favourites: peel a clove of garlic and mash it well with a fork. Apply the juice on your pimples and leave for 20 minutes. Despite its stinkiness, garlic is packed with antimicrobial and healing properties that are terrific for zapping away pesky spots. (PS: I would strongly suggest doing a patch test before putting garlic on your face, especially for those with sensitive skin.)

Make ice cubes out of green tea

Make strong green tea and pour into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, rub one of the cubes over your face 2-3 times a day. Green tea is both anti-inflammatory and astringent, so the inflammation will go down and skin will be soothed.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes.

This is as simple as it gets: cut open a tomato and rub its juice on the blemished areas once or twice a day. Tomatoes are astringent and packed with antioxidants, which make them perfect for zit zapping.

Dab a little lemon juice

Dab a bit of lemon juice on the spot and leave overnight. Lemon’s astringent properties will shrink the blemish. If you want even more drying power, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, rub into the zit and leave on. But remember: lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so don’t go out into the daylight without sunscreen!

Opt for egg whites

Separate egg yolk from the white, whip the white and dab it on spotty areas with a Q-tip. Leave on overnight and wash off in the morning. Boost the treatment by first dabbing on lemon juice, letting that dry, and then covering it with the egg white.

clove-nutmeg-acne1Spice up with nutmeg & cloves

Add 4 teaspoons whole cloves and 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg in half a cup of milk. Heat on low for 10 minutes, then allow the mixture to cool. Once it reaches room temperature, apply the liquid to pimply areas with a small fabric. Leave on for half an hour, then rinse.

Make an aspirin & honey pack

Dissolve 6 tablets of aspirin in half a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons of honey to the mixture and stir well. Apply the mixture to a clean face; let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off well with warm water, scrubbing gently.

Aspirin contains a mega dose of salicylic acid, which is one of the main ingredients in most store-bought acne products. Don’t use this mask more than twice a week, else it will dry out your skin.

Slap on some mustard

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder with 2 teaspoons honey and stir well. Apply on the affected areas, leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse off. Mustard contains natural salicylic acid, vitamin C, omega 3 and 6 plus zinc, all of which are great for banishing blemishes and soothing the skin.

Use lavender or tea tree essential oil

Ah! Another one of my all-time favourites. While it is normally a no-no to use undiluted essential oils on your skin, lavender and tea tree essential oils are okay to use “neat” if applied occasionally and only on the pimples themselves (not on the entire face!). So, put one tiny drop of either oil on a Q-tip and dab on the blemish; leave on overnight.

Opt for apple cider vinegar

Dab a bit of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar on the affected area and leave it on for at least 20 minutes (or overnight if you can stand it!). But don’t overdo: once or twice a day (and only on the blemishes) is plenty.

Do you have a favourite zit remedy? Something you’ve tried and loved? Share it here!

The secret beauty benefits of apple cider vinegar (DIY recipes included!)

It doesn’t come in a fancy bottle. It doesn’t smell like an expensive French spa. And it doesn’t feel even a bit luxurious. In fact, it smells a little sour and has a searing taste. Yet the use of apple cider vinegar for beauty purposes can be traced back to Roman times and it has been prescribed by skin doctors since the 19th century.

apple-cider-vinegar-beauty-benefitsApple juice vs Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made – but obviously – by crushing and fermenting fresh apples. This fermentation process produces enzymes and nutrients, which act like super-chargers for all the natural vitamins and minerals that the fruit contains. That means apple cider vinegar is packed to the brim with vitamins A, B and C, beta carotene, bioflavonoids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, sulfur, iron, fluorine, silicon, boron and pectin.

Here’s a short list of all the benefits… are you convinced yet?

Zit Zapper: Apple cider vinegar contains huge amounts of AHAs, which can help destroy unwanted blemishes. You can drink it to detoxify the whole body and get crystal clear skin. Or you can dilute it with water, dab it on a breakout and rinse after 15 minutes.

Helps Digestion: A blocked digestive tract can lead to all kinds of skin problems. Apple cider vinegar regulates bowel movements and also decreases heartburn.

Anti-Ageing: It is super high in antioxidant vitamins, minerals and potassium, which can slow down skin ageing.

Weight Loss: Apple cider vinegar helps break down fats in the body and has hence been used as a natural weight loss remedy for centuries.

Protects Against Infections: Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which makes it anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It also helps reduce sinus infections and sore throats.

Hair Help: It’s high potassium content prevents hair loss, while the calcium is good for strong bones and teeth.

Blood Purifier: The presence of pectin helps regulate blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol.

Diabetes: Acetic acid slows the digestion of starch, which in turn lowers the rise of glucose after eating.

See? It’s practically a miracle!

Not all apple cider vinegar is created equal

apple cider vinegar beauty benefits 2

But remember! I am not talking about the clear vinegar which is super processed and holds absolutely no nutritional value. Real apple cider vinegar is made with organic apples that are allowed to mature in wooden barrels. It is a little cloudy, with a rich amber colour, and retains the “mother”, which is made up of strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules with living nutrients and bacteria. So, when purchasing apple cider vinegar, make sure that its says “raw” and “unfiltered.” This is very important.

The Taste Factor

Never take apple cider vinegar directly! Its acidity can erode the enamel of your teeth, so always dilute in at least 4-8 ounces of water. This recipe will even make it taste good.

Ingredients

2 cups drinking water
2 tablespoons of apple or grapefruit juice (or any juice of your liking)
2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Stevia or honey (to taste)
 

Place all the ingredients in a glass and stir until everything is mixed together. Add a little ice if you like and drink up!

Do this every day for a month and see if it makes a difference. No! Two days isn’t enough research – you have to give it some time to work! So, give it some time and then come back and tell me how it worked.

Tried apple cider vinegar? Liked apple cider vinegar? How do you take yours?

Get really (really!) gorgeous hair with these simple backstage tricks

Backstage at Fashion Week, the going is always insane. In the hair and makeup tents, stylists are working overtime to tame models’ frazzled manes, creating cool hairstyles in minutes. So, to make the magic happen, all those magicians need to have some fabulous tricks up their sleeves. Right? I thought so too and set out to investigate. Here is the result of an entire season’s worth of question-asking, observing and note-taking. Read on to discover the best tips, tricks and shortcuts to amazing hair.

The head prep

  • When a model’s mane is looking more greasy than gorgeous and there is no time to shampoo, the stylists often bring out a translucent powder compact. Sweep a fluffy powder brush over its surface and apply to the hair roots. The powder sucks up the grease and has a mattifying effect, making tresses look instantly clean and sexy.
  • To keep hair healthy and shield against the drying effects of product overload or heat styling, many a model has learnt to only rinse conditioner out 70% of the way and then let strands air dry.
  • Backstage pro Laurent Philippon mixes Bumble & Bumble’s Thickening Spray with a few drops of essential oil and sprays it on towel-dried hair from roots to tips. This keeps tresses healthy and shiny.

fashion-week-hair1Style it up!

  • To prevent the bumps left behind by metal clips, backstage hairstylists keeps playing cards handy – the thick paper and smooth surface make them ideal for the job.
  • I always began my blow-out from the back of the head, till the backstage hair pros taught me to start at the front. The reason? That’s the area everyone sees first, so work on it while it’s still wet and you have more control. Once you’ve gotten the top party completely dry, pop in 2 Velcro rollers to add body.
  • We’ve been using the flip-head/comb-hair-forward/mist-with-hairspray/stand-up trick since before memory but it turns out we had the technique wrong: hair spray takes approximately 30 seconds to dry and set. Let it take hold of the root before you stand upright.
  • Need to create instant waves? Loosely braid hair into 6-8 equal braids, then used a flat iron to gently press the braids section by section. After each section cools, undo the braids, finger comb the hair and spritz on the hairspray.
  • This is the season for bouffants. Hairstylist Jimmy Paul’s trick for getting intense volume is to first prep the hair with salt spray – it makes the texture of the hair denser and allows for easier backcombing.
  • Want to get cool, bedhead texture? Rub conditioner into dry hair, pinching and rubbing the strands together to create hair that looks rough and matted, yet is actually soft.
  • This one is a favourite of celeb hairstylist Mike Vogel: after styling your hair, pinch small sections of ends between your thumb and pointer finger and gently rub together in a back and forth motion. This breaks up clumps and separates ends for a fuller look.
  • If you are plagued by little bits of frizzy hair along your hairline, mist a toothbrush with hairspray and use it to sweep those pesky hairs into place. This works even in the most humid environments.
  • Updos are notoriously difficult to keep in place. Bumble & Bumble stylist Amy Farid has the solution: “Spray hair with texturizing spray first. This will give hair great grip for bobby pins, which is what you need when creating an updo.”
ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images

ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images

The colour story

  • To increase the life of highlights, pick up a deep conditioning mask meant for coloured hair within 48 hours of the highlighting treatment. Apply to dry hair, leave for 10 minutes and then rinse well; your highlights will retain their tone for a longer time.
  • Christophe Robin, creative colorist at L’Oréal Paris, has this tip for longlasting hair color: scan the ingredients lists on shampoo bottles and watch out for formulations that contain colour-leaching sulfates.
  • Camouflage roots by zigzagging your part rather than making it straight.
  • Eye shadow can be used as a quick-fix to hide roots, especially for dark hair with light or gray roots. Simply match your hair colour to a shade of shadow and brush it on.

What’s the best tip you’ve ever learnt from your hairstylist?

Your skin’s 24-hour cycle (because for skincare, timing is EVERYTHING!)

If I was to force feed you a rich beef stew at 6 am, followed by a roast chicken an hour later, it’s a definite possibility that your digestive system would rebel AND your energy levels would go into free fall. Similarly, there are reasons we don’t (usually) hit the gym at 3 in the morning, nor do we schedule killer tasks for midnight. Our bodies have a definite internal clock, which predetermines the best time to do work, eat meals and sleep. And for most of the time, we’ve learnt to understand and respect the same.

Unfortunately, we forget that our skin is also a biological entity (in fact, it’s the body’s largest and fastest growing organ) that has a similar internal clock. This internal clock determines the best time to moisturise, shave, wax or apply a treatment. There is also a time when skin will be most vulnerable, most oily or most sensitive. Often, we ignore this skin clock, which may well explain why all those creams, gels and serums are not delivering their promises. So don’t ignore your skin’s daily schedule, as that’s what decides the ultimate effectiveness of any product or treatment. Here you have it in a nutshell.

skin-clock7 am – 10 am

  • This is the prime time for puffiness and creases, as lymphatic fluid pools while you sleep, especially under the eyes. So try a cold compress, apply an eye mask or opt for an eye gel that’s enriched with refreshing botanicals like briar rose, cucumber and chamomile.
  • Skin is at its most sensitive right now, so save the deep cleansing, exfoliating, spot-squeezing and massaging for later; instead keep your morning skin routine simple – cold water, mild cleanser and toner.

10 am – 1 pm

  • During this period, our levels of adrenaline (which fight stress) and endorphins (natural painkillers) are highest, making it the perfect time for ouch!-inducing treatments like electrolysis or waxing.
  • Going in for fillers or Botox? Try it during these hours – it’s advisable not to lie down or rub your face for several hours as this could make the serum leak into adjoining areas, causing unevenness and drooping.

1 pm – 3 pm

  • These are the hours when the skin is at its best and the natural barriers are functioning optimally, making it the best time of the day for exfoliating treatment, including DIY peels and clinical microdermabrasion.
  • However, this also the time when you face peak sun damage. Twenty minutes in the midday sun can cause more skin damage than two hours in the early morning, so reapply the sunscreen.

3 pm – 5 pm

  • There is a reason behind the dreaded afternoon oil slick: oil producing glands pump out twice as much at this time, compared to the rest of the day. That’s because androgens (male hormones) increase mid-afternoon, making sebum levels rise to peak-production. To foil the shine, soak up the grease with blotting papers, then apply a thin layer of matte translucent powder.

skin-clock-25 pm – 7 pm

  • These are the most polluted hours of the day, stepping up risk of free radical damage, which can gradually disintegrate skin cells and accelerate the ageing process. Make sure you wear moisturiser that’s spiked with the anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E.
  • A study from Manchester Metropolitan University shows that this is the best time to hit the gym: your energy levels are high and muscles and joints are at their warmest, lessening chances of injury. However, avoid having a beauty treatment for at least two hours after the workout, as the rise in body temperature adversely affects the skin’s natural protective barriers, making it extremely sensitive.

7 pm – 9 pm

  • Blood vessels are at their most dilated now, making us go red most easily. So make sure you use some concealer to spare the blushes.
  • As blood flow to the skin increases and endorphin levels drop considerably, you will also become more aware of pain and irritations such as allergies, insect bites or eczema, so keep some calming lotion at hand.

skin-clock-39 pm – 11 pm

  • Your face is more receptive in the evening, when skin temperature is higher and the surface layer more porous, allowing for greater penetration of active ingredients. Start by washing away makeup and grime to prevent clogged pores, blackheads, breakouts and lackluster skin, along with providing a clean canvas for treatment products, helping them penetrate faster and work better. Now is the best time to have a warm, relaxing bath and a cleansing facial massage, followed by the heavy-weight treatments.

Post-11 pm

  • That old adage ‘an hour before midnight is worth three afterwards’ is true; the hormone that triggers sleep – melatonin – peaks at around this time, making 11 pm the hour we should go to bed for maximum skin benefits. But more on this later as it’s a chapter in itself!

Have you noticed your skin responding to an invisible clock? Let’s talk.