Coconut oil scalp treatment: The route to thick, long & shiny hair

When was the last time you gave your scalp a facial? Yes… you read right. I said when was the last time you gave your scalp a facial? Because, like our face, the scalp is also ‘skin’. And it needs just as much love and care. In fact, hair experts say a good scalp treatment is key to healthy, glossy, sleek strands. And it makes sense: like all other skin on our body, the scalp also needs to breathe. It needs oxygen, moisture and nutrients. And since our hair is rooted in the scalp, it is kind of important!

It seems our grandmothers understood this pretty well. I know mine did – she was regularly brewing up lotions and potions for the skin on top of her head and her hair looked super-gorgeous even at the age of 80. So, I am borrowing a page from her beauty diary – two luscious coconut oil scalp treatments that she would use at least once a month to make her hair thicker, longer and silkier. Both remove product build-up, loosen the hardened sebum (natural oil) that clogs hair follicles, bust dead skin cells and boost circulation.

Pick your scalp recipe

First, however, you need to choose your scalp treatment formula.

For dry, flaky, dandruff-prone or acne-ridden scalps, take 6 tablespoons of extra virgin, organic coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil (depending on your hair type). Mix with 3-4 drops of tea tree oil and 4-6 drops of rosemary oil.

On the other hand, if you have an oily scalp, tons of product buildup or hair that just generally feels lacklustre, mix 6 tablespoons of extra virgin, organic coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoon of grapefruit juice.

How to apply the scalp treatment

Done? Good. Now, apply the chosen mixture to your scalp with a hair dye brush or cotton ball. Make small partings through the hair and work in 1-inch sections to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Then give your scalp a good massage (mothers, kind friends or loving significant others are priceless here), rubbing with your fingertips in a circular motion for 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture sit for another 20 minutes before washing off with your regular shampoo. Finish with a good conditioner.

Why does it work?

Easy right? And totally worth it, as your hair will attest. These ingredients are great for rebalancing the scalp’s oil and hydration levels, ridding it of toxins, calming down the sensitive skin and stimulating the follicles for hair growth, among other things. Neglecting your scalp, on the other hand, can result in hair damage and premature hair loss.

Which option do you choose?

Beauty DIY: The definitive guide to dealing with puffy eyes

Going through the day with puffy, itchy, irritated eyes is a pain… in every sense of the term. Besides being super-uncomfortable, puffy eyes are also something you don’t want to show to the world. Thankfully, natural remedies abound. And many of these healers can be readily found in the kitchen at home.

However, remember that all puffy eyes are not created equal. Causes run the gamut from a late night to allergies, hormones, weather or fluid retention due to excessive salt or alcohol. And the remedy needs to follow the underlying reason. So, first try and ID your problem, then choose the cure from these easy home treatments.

puffy eyes DIYThe I-need-sleep puffy eyes

Sleepless night? Cold water is the best bet. And it’s so simple that even your sleep-addled brain can manage: just rinse your face with several splashes of cold water. Or take a small bag filled with ice, wrap it in a washcloth and place it on your eyes. The chilled texture will help constrict blood vessels and lessen swelling. Repeat as necessary throughout the day until puffiness is gone.

PS: In a pinch, wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and place it over your eyes for 10 minutes. It will work just as well as the ice!

The outdoors puffy eyes

Witch hazel has tannic and gallic acids that are brilliant at reducing inflammation. Rosewater, on the other hand, is a cooling and aromatic astringent that contains both antiseptic and antibacterial properties. And using them is simple: soak cotton or wool pads in these astringents and leave pads on the eyes for 15-20 minutes.

The hangover or post-crying-binge puffy eyes

They’re a cliché for a reason: cucumber’s soothing qualities, astringent properties and high water content help put you on the fast track to brighter peepers. Lean your head back, rest a slice on each closed eye, and relax for 5-10 minutes to reap the de-puffing benefits.

puffy-eyes-DIY-2The allergy-ridden puffy eyes

If your eyes are puffy and itchy due to an allergic reaction, cold spoons will constrict the irritated blood vessels, while also reducing redness and swelling. Simply place 2 teaspoons in the refrigerator. When they are nice and chilled, lie down, close your eyes, and place one spoon (curved side down) on each eye. As the spoon warms, replace it with a cold one from the fridge.

Another option: the common potato. This has been a staple in European folk medicine for soothing allergy or illness-riddled peepers. The logic? Potatoes have astringent qualities. Plus, the high level of starch can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Peel a potato, then wash and dry it thoroughly. Grate it as fine as possible, place the pulp in a clean cloth and fold to make a poultice. Place the poultice on your eyelids for 15 minutes.

The I-overdosed-on-salt puffy eyes

A heaping portion of fries, Parma ham pizza and other salt-intense foods can cause puffy eyes. However, salt by itself does the eyes good. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water; make sure the water is not too hot. Soak cotton balls or facial pads in this solution, lie down and apply them on your eyelids for a few minutes. Rest in this position for at least 10 minutes while keeping the pads in place. You’ll arise with deflated eyes.

The fluid-retention puffy eyes

Aloe vera’s antioxidant and vitamin E content make it excellent for improving blood circulation and flushing out excessive fluids from around the eye area. Simply apply aloe vera juice or gel under your eyes, making sure that it does not touch the inside of your peepers. Leave it on for the day.

puffy-eyesThe I-am-dehydrated puffy eyes

Water is again the saving grace here. But this time, you need to pour it down your throat. That’s because when body is dehydrated, it acts much like a camel, storing water for the long haul across the desert. Instead of a camel’s hump, you’ll develop water reserves around the eyes. By keeping yourself adequately hydrated, the body isn’t put into survival mode and won’t puff up in all the wrong places.

So, make sure you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water day, and don’t substitute sodas, coffees, or sugary drinks as they are extremely dehydrating.

The hormonal puffy eyes

If, like me, your eyes puff up at that time of the month, look for nettle tea. It contains anti-irritants that soothe redness and inflammation. First, drink the tea. Then, lie down, close your eyes, and place a tea bag over each eye. Let cool until the bags are comfortably warm to the touch.

The ageing puffy eyes

The eye tissue becomes weaker with passing years, thereby leading to puffiness in this already-fragile area. The alpha-hydroxy-acids present in strawberries can make skin smoother and tighter. At the same time, they can also reduce under-eye puffiness and swelling. Keep a couple of strawberries in the refrigerator for half an hour. Then remove their tops and slice them into thick pieces. Now lie down and place the slices under the eyes for several minutes.

Do you often find yourself dealing with puffy eyes? How do you tackle them?

Is rice water Asia’s best kept beauty secret?

Next time you boil rice, think twice before tossing the water. Rice water is rich in beauty minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair – a secret those flawless-skinned Japanese geishas have known for centuries. And it’s super-easy to make: simply boil some rice (preferably organic rice and boiled in distilled water), then pour the excess water in a lidded glass jar and store in the refrigerator. Once cooled, it will be a potent ingredient for crystal clear skin and super-shiny hair.

rice waterFlawless face

Wash your face, then soak a cotton pad in the rice water and apply it all over, as you would do with a toner.  Rice is rich in a complex of B vitamins called ‘inositol’ that helps promote cell growth, slows down the aging process and stimulates blood flow – the perfect recipe to tighten pores and bring a glow to the face. Besides this, rice water also has moisturising, antioxidant and UV-absorbing properties, along with an ability to bind to naturally occurring copper in the skin, thereby preventing the formation of melanin formation (hyper-pigmentation) and age spots.

Haute hair

After shampooing, work in some rice water into your hair. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse well. Rice proteins strengthen the hair shaft and fill in the cracks. The result? Ultra-smooth, seriously shiny hair.

Beauteous bod

The soothing nature of rice water makes it an effective remedy for rashes and other irritating or painful skin conditions. In a dermatological study at Brussels University, patients with atopic dermatitis (chronic inflammation of the skin) saw a 20% improvement after taking 15-minute baths filled with rice water twice a day.

Recipe for health

Drinking rice water is also extremely beneficial for overall health. It contains 8 essential amino acids, which form the building blocks for tissue and muscle regeneration. Rice water also provides energy due to high concentration of carbohydrates.

What do you do with your rice water? Will you be seeing it differently after reading this?

Why you should wash your face (and hair) with vodka

If you were in Russia, your day would probably begin and end with vodka, which is called upon for everything from rinsing the mouth to curing hair loss. Translating as “little water” or “dear water” in Russian, this crystal clear liquid was invented in 1503 by Kremlin monks who used it as a topical antiseptic and cure-all drink. The tradition continues till date – which can be a little weirdness-inducing at first glance. Then you see the zillion beauty benefits and figure that it’s simply like the French love for wine… cheers!

On this trip to Moscow and Samara, I pestered scores of women for traditional vodka-based beauty recipes. So, save a few sips of this potent alcohol for absolute (Absolut?) miracles on your face. And hair. And every other pore of your body. Salud!

Vodka’s beauty benefit #1: Astringent action

Mix equal amounts of vodka and water, then apply with a cotton ball to your face as an astringent. It will cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #2: Ole’s firming ice cube treatment

This one comes straight from beauty guru Ole Henriksen and is perfect for tightening pores and firming the skin. All you need is equal amounts of fresh lemon juice, strongly brewed rose hips tea, strongly brewed mint tea and vodka. Blend all ingredients together and pour into an ice cube tray. When frozen, wrap an ice cube in a thin cotton handkerchief and rub across the entire face and throat for 2-5 minutes. Ice brings down the bloat, while vodka and lemon juice tighten pores and brighten the skin. Rose hip tea calms any inflammation and mint tea promotes micro-circulation to impart a healthy glow.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #3: Go frizz-free

Roughed up cuticles? Zero-shine strands? Add a shot of vodka to your deep conditioner. It will lower hair’s pH, helping the cuticles to close – and sealed cuticles mean reduced frizz and tons of shine.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #4: Clarifying rinse

Mix a mug of water with a tablespoon of vodka and use it as a final rinse after shampooing and conditioning. Perfect for removing product buildup from the scalp and strands, making hair lustrous and shiny!

Vodka’s beauty benefit #5: Diminish dandruff

Flaky scalp spoiling your beauty cred? Add three teaspoons of dried rosemary to a cup of vodka and leave overnight. Next day, strain the solution and massage it into your scalp. Leave for half an hour, then wash off with cold water.

vodka skincareVodka’s beauty benefit #6: Prevent hair loss

Mix a tablespoon of organic honey and onion juice in a jigger of vodka and apply on your scalp. Leave it on your hair overnight and wash off in the morning. Vodka cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair and stimulates the growth of healthy tresses.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #7: Bust foot odour

Simply rub each foot with a shot-worth of vodka. Goodbye, funky odour!

Vodka’s beauty benefit #8: Ban bad breath

Swish around half a shot’s worth of vodka in your mouth for a minute and your breath will go from poor to pleasant.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #9: Cold sores

Apply a dab of vodka on a cold sore to dry it out.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #10: Poison ivy

Pour a bit of vodka on a poison ivy rash to help relieve itching – it removes the urushiol oil that causes this problem.

Vodka’s beauty benefit #11: Smooth shave

An uber-smooth shave begins with an uber-clean razor. So, soak your blade in a cup of vodka after shaving. Vodka will prevent it from getting rusty and clear any bacterial buildup.