12 seriously strange skincare secrets the experts swear by (I kid you not!)

Having beautiful, glowing, flawless skin is not always about rigorous dermatological treatments or expensive products. Sometimes, simple goes a longer way and every skincare pro I’ve ever spoken to has sworn by at least a couple of kitchen shelf DIYs they call upon in their own life. Some of these secret rituals are merely curious, while others are downright bizarre. But they are all underlined by serious doses of skincare science and the experts promise they perform miracles. So, here you go!

skincare tips1. Do shots… with chlorophyll: Don’t really relish those green juices and salads seem too much of a bother? Just stock up on liquid chlorophyll. This most essential of plant nutrients detoxifies the body, oxygenates the skin, boosts tissue repair, steps up digestion and restores our acid-alkaline ratio to keep the complexion clean, healthy and glowing from the inside out. Added bonus: It works fast and tastes like mint.

2. Order the guac: Or just go straight for the avocados, which are loaded with healthy fats and phytonutrients that nourish skin from the inside out and bring back your glow.

3. Bring on the beer: Beer isn’t just good for your hair, it’s also a powerful skin ally. All those B vitamins, hops, saccharides and yeast help dissolve dead cells, balance pH levels and bust acne-causing bacteria. Simply mix together half a cup of beer with one egg white and slather on your face. Let the mask dry for 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Now say hello to radiant, fresh skin.

4. Freeze up: Late night? Crying bout? Sun scorched? Beauty pros always keep a few sheet of aluminium foil in the freezer. Simply take one of the chilled sheets and put them on your face for a few minutes to de-puff, tighten pores and bring back the glow.

5. Eye it: If it’s your eyes that need the de-puffing and redness relief, pop some eye cream in the  icebox and apply to lids for turbo-charged results.

6. Tea time: Skin more irritated than puffy? Chill some green tea bags and gently press them onto the inflamed areas – the antioxidants will soothe a sore complexion.

7. Tropical treat: Another refrigerated treat for your skin? Pineapple juice. Freeze some fresh pineapple juice and then rub this “ice cube” over clean skin. Let the liquid dry on your face for 5-10 minutes, then rinse away with plain water. Pineapple’s natural enzymes exfoliate, improve hydration and boost elasticity. Hello, luminous skin!

8. Dairy goodness: Swap the hot water with freshly boiled milk while steaming your face for the ultimate skin detox. Simply boil the milk, pour into a bowl and let the vapours float over your face as you lean in under a towel. Milk is full of lactic acid, which will decongest the pores, leaving your skin beautifully clear.

beauty hacks9.  Hydrate NOW: Dewy, glowing skin equals hydrated skin and when you’re sorely lacking in the latter department, whip together an egg yolk and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Apply a generous layer of this mixture all over your face and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.

10. Acne Rx: Need to bring down the redness and inflammation of a pimple right NOW? Dab a  bit of Visine on the blemish. This won’t make your pimple smaller, but it will definitely look less obvious for a few hours.

11. Scrub-a-dub: To banish dry, cracked heels, mix a handful of sea salt with enough almond oil to make a thick paste. Use this to exfoliate your feet and toes; say hello to smooth, sandal-ready summer feet!

12. Thigh high: For legs that tend to rub or chafe in summer, apply deodorant to the insides of your thighs… this sounds weird but it works!

What’s the strangest beauty tip you’ve ever heard? And how did it work out for you?

Heat got you down? Make a keep-your-cool face mist

As a kid, all I wanted to do on hot summer days was run through every sprinkler in the neighbourhood. Thankfully for my current day self, there does exist a grown-up version of those cooling, refreshing blasts of goodness – called face mists, they allow you to spritz your overheated skin without getting chased off a stranger’s lawn!

Added bonus: these face mists also help tone your skin, wards off excess oil, hydrate a sun scorched complexion, soothe irritation and restore skin’s pH balance. And they help refresh your mind and soul with a hefty dose of fragrant aromatherapy. So, if you have issues with acne-prone or dehydrated skin, or if you just get extra-toasty in the summer heat, this may be your ticket to relief!

Yes, you can pick up one of the branded face mists off the shelf. But if you want something sans all that drying alcohol and other additives, try one of these DIY versions, which are ridiculously simple to whip up!

DIY face mistAloe face mist for dry, sensitive or sun damaged skin skin

How-to: Fill a small spray bottle halfway with aloe vera juice. Then add enough orange blossom water to nearly fill the bottle to the top. Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil; shake well.

Why it works: Orange blossom water calms and tones with its gentle astringency, lavender essential oil helps reduce inflammation, while aloe vera moisturizes and encourages skin’s healing abilities.

Citrus face mist for acne-prone skin

How-to: Add one grapefruit (cut into chunks with the skin still on) and two tablespoons of rosemary (fresh or dry) to two cups of distilled water. Bring this mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and let everything steep for another half hour. Finally, strain the liquid to remove the grapefruit and rosemary, let it cool, pour into a spray bottle and refrigerate.

Why it works: Grapefruit’s natural cleansing action helps battle blemishes, while refreshing the face and giving the complexion a nice pick-me-up. Rosemary,  in the meantime, helps fade existing acne scars.

Rose hip & chamomile face mist for dull skin

How to: Blend together 3.5 oz of strongly brewed rose hip tea, 3.5 oz of strongly brewed chamomile tea and 2 oz of aloe vera juice; pour everything into a spray bottle. Store in the refrigerator; mist on generously through the day.

Why it works: Rose hips contain nature’s highest concentration of vitamin C, which strengthens collagen and perks up the complexion. Chamomile soothes and calms, while aloe vera is lightly hydrating and eliminates redness. Result? This energizing face mist is perfect for use as a skin brighter or a quick pick-me-up.

Yes, you can make your hair grow faster – with this India-inspired hair treatment

Indian women are known for their thick, dark and glossy locks. And a whole community insists they do it through this three-oil blend, which is easily made at home anywhere in the world. Why does it work? The eucalyptus and clove oils boost blood circulation to nourish hair right at its root and prevent hair loss.

Coconut oil, in the meantime, actually penetrates the hair shaft because it’s so similar to our tresses’ natural lipids. Once inside the hair, it serves as a “re-fatting agent”, replacing the natural oils that have been lost due to washing, heat damage and environmental toxicities. This strengthens the hair, adds volume and prevents breakage. It’s also loaded with lauric acid and capric acid, which have a microbial action, thereby guarding against hair loss. PLUS, it contains Vitamin E, which keeps the scalp healthy; fatty acids that keep dandruff at bay; and a high moisture retaining capacity, which keep strands soft and hydrated.

Convinced yet?

indian-hair-oilYou will need

2 teaspoons eucalyptus oil

2 teaspoons clove oil

10 tablespoons coconut oil

How-to

1. Mix together all the oils and store in a glass bottle.

2. Gently massage into the scalp at night; repeat 2-3 times a week for best results.

Healthy hair menu: The foods you should be eating for gorgeous, shiny hair

If nutritionists and trichologists are to be believed, your daily haircare regime should start at the breakfast table and not in the bathroom. That’s because hair, like skin, needs to be nurtured from the inside in order to look its best. Here is an expert-approved list of foods that will help you achieve happy, healthy, heavenly hair. So, stock up the pantry and get ready to say goodbye to dull, drab strands…!

healthy hair menuHealthy hair menu: Carrots (+ kale, asparagus & pumpkin)

Healthy hair needs vitamin A… lots of it. And the best natural source of vitamin A are carrots, followed by kale, asparagus and pumpkin. All these vegetables not only nourish your hair and skin (remember, healthy scalp = soft, supple hair), they also prevent dandruff. Salad, anyone?

Healthy hair menu: Salmon & flaxseed

When it comes to beauty foods, it’s hard to beat salmon, which is loaded with vitamin B-12, iron and Omega-3 fatty acids. The latter are crucial for scalp health and a deficiency can lead to dull, brittle strands. Other good options? Mackerel, sardines and herring.

Vegetarian? Include 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (or 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil) in your daily diet for plant-based Omega-3 fats.

Healthy hair menu: Citrus fruits

Glossy hair needs optimum levels of sebum – an oily substance in your follicles that acts as a natural conditioner. Fruits high in vitamin C help your body to produce sebum, so load up on those strawberries, oranges and grapefruits.

Healthy hair menu: Spinach

Popeye didn’t eat all that spinach for healthy hair but he could well have. It’s another great source for that much-coveted sebum, while also packing in powerful punches of iron and calcium for hair health.

Healthy hair menu: Beans & legumes

Legumes (like kidney beans and lentils) provide plentiful protein to boost the thickness and length of your hair. Plus, beans also have iron, zinc, and biotin, which prevent hair breakage. And while rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair. The American Dietetic Association recommends 3 or more cups of lentils or beans each week.

Healthy hair menu: Nuts

Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should. Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts, in the meantime, contain zinc to prevent hair shedding. Cashews, pecans and almonds are terrific sources of these minerals as well, so keep them around for those mid-day munchies!

happy-hair-diet-2

Healthy hair menu: Whole grains

Whole grains – including wholewheat bread and fortified whole grain breakfast cereals – are another heavy hitter on the Healthy Hair Menu. They provide the body with B vitamins, which promote happy tresses by boosting your red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen to hair strands and therefore increase their growth rate.

Healthy hair menu: Low fat dairy

Calcium is a very important mineral for hair growth and it can be found in low fat dairy products such as skim milk, fresh cheese and yoghurt. Plus, these foods also contain whey and casein – two major sources of protein. Yoghurt also contains cysteine – an amino acid that detoxes your body and promotes hair growth by actually increasing the thickness of each individual strand. For some healthy hair foods “to-go”, throw a yoghurt pot or cheese wedges in your bag to snack on later in the day.

Healthy hair menu: Poultry

When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn’t matter whether you like your eggs boiled, scrambled or fried. In either case, they are one of the best sources of protein you can find. And inadequate protein levels lead to weak and brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can even result in loss of hair colour. Besides protein, eggs also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, both of which are important hair nutrients.

Healthy hair menu: Oysters

Oysters may be better known as aphrodisiacs but they can also lead to healthy hair. They regulate the production of androgens, a hormone whose low levels are associated with hair loss. Plus, there is zinc, a powerful antioxidant that supports the growth of strong, thick hair.

Which hair food is your favorite? Do you have any other “happy hair” recipes?