Beauty emergencies: How to fix a bad-everything day

We’ve all had them. No matter how well you maintain your beauty routine – and let’s face it, things can be erratic at times – nobody escapes a pre-party zit or hungover eyes. Or you could be like me and have it all at once at least four times a month! My skin ages 10 years, my make-up only makes matters worse and my lips look as if I’ve spent two weeks in the Arctic… forget bad hair days, these are paper-bag days. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to rescue a seemingly hopeless situation. Here’s how to cope when everything goes wrong.

beauty-emergency-2The bad hair day

Frizzy locks? Rub a bit of conditioner on your hands and work it through to the ends. This will tame flyaway strands. In a pinch, a drop of ordinary hand cream will do the trick.

Limp and lank strands? Put on a headband so that it lifts hair up off the face. Spray hair with a volumizer; wait 10 minutes and then remove the ‘band.

Greasy hair? Rub antibacterial gel over your hands, then rake your fingers through the hair before you brush and blast it dry. The gel’s high alcohol content will dissolve build-up.

The tired face

Skimped on sleep? Looking washed out? Skip the full face of makeup. When you’re tired, blood is circulated away from the skin to boost major organs like the lungs and liver, making the complexion look pasty. This means your usual make-up will not sit very well and shall possibly even make things worse. Instead, go for moisturiser, eye drops, a light brushing of face powder, lip gloss and, if possible, a pair of sunglasses.

Baggy eyes

Still carrying around last night’s baggage? Drink loads of water to flush out the toxins. Then, gently pat either aloe vera gel or an eye mask on those puffy zones to draw out remaining impurities. Or dab on some witch hazel – diluted with double the amount of water – as it’s wonderful at busting toxins.

Panda eyes

Global makeup authority Bobbi Brown has the cure: always apply your eye cream before your concealer to hydrate the delicate under-eye skin and make concealer go on smoothly. She also suggests choosing a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation. Work it from the under-eye area up to the lower lash line and, most importantly, the innermost corner. This is the most recessed area of the face and hence appears darkest.

Acne attack

If you notice a spot developing, wrap an ice cube in a thin handkerchief and gently massage it over the blemish for 10 seconds. Repeat every hour to bring down the swelling and reduce redness. Follow with a formulation that contains 2% salicylic acid and dab some concealer for on-the-spot camouflage.

beauty-emergenciesUnkissable lips

Olive oil is a terrific quick fix for lips, especially when you’ve forgotten your lip balm. It’s a terrific moisturiser and you can find it just about everywhere. Rub it into your lips, elbows, feet or anywhere else that needs a little TLC.

Stained teeth

If red wine and coffee (or cigarettes!) have stained your teeth, avoid lipsticks with orange, yellow or beige hues. The key to making teeth look whiter is contrast. So, choose bright reds or reds with a blue base instead.

Nails not up to scratch

Mix a bit of coconut oil or olive oil with salt and baking powder. Rub this mixture all over your hands, on the palms, up to the wrists and particularly on the nails. The oil acts as a moisturiser and the baking powder releases oxygen into the skin to plump out any fine lines and increase the circulation. The salt, in the meantime, acts as a gentle exfoliant to bust dead skin and soften the cuticles.

Smelly, grungy feet

This one needs a 3-part solution:

Rather than removing chipped polish on your toes and starting again, mask it with a coat of darker colour.

If you have a pearly eyeshadow that’s all broken up and is ready for the bin, break it down even further and mix it with a little moisturiser. Rub the mixed-up lotion into your feet for soft skin that has a sexy sheen.

If you get smelly feet, crush fresh mint in a bowl of warm water. Submerging your feet in this concoction will remove any unpleasant odours.

Streaky fake tan

Ah, the joys of the self-tan. For those who’ve been well and truly tangoed, try these tips:

If it’s really disastrous, go swimming. Local pools are notorious for having lots of chlorine and this will bleach away the tan.

If you have darker knees and ankles, rub a little whitening toothpaste into the area using a circular motion. The toothpaste will gently exfoliate and the whitening agent will remove colour.

What’s your secret beauty quick-fix? Share with us in the comments box below!

Beauty recipe: The apple hair mask (it makes hair all smooth & shiny!)

A German friend suggested this new (actually old – they’ve been using it in Germany for some 12,000 years!) beauty recipe for hair that’s lost its mojo and seems totally dry and dull (MINE!). I took it for a road test this week and after ages had hair that actually seemed bouncy and healthy and pretty… not easy, let me tell you, for strands that have been colored and straightened into total lifelessness over many, many years of negligent adventurous behaviour.

The reason it works?

Apples contain an ingredient called pyrus malus, which is a terrific hair conditioner. In fact, pyrus malus is used as a conditioning agent in many hair products.

Apple cider vinegar, at the same time, helps balance hair’s pH levels, while simultaneously removing all gunk and product buildup. It also helps close the hair cuticle. The result is a smoother surface, which reflects more light, making hair shinier and easy to manage.

How to proceed

1. Peel, core and grate 1-2 large apples.

2. Combine this pulp with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon corn flour; mix well.

3. Work this mixture into dry, unwashed hair and leave it on for 30 minutes.

4. Rinse off the hair mask with tepid water.

5. Wash your hair as usual.

Anyone going to try the apple hair mask? Got another beauty recipe or DIY beauty treatment that you’ve tried and loved? Tell me about it in the comments below and maybe I’ll use it for this blog (with all credits to you, of course)!

From Brazil to you: DIY beauty recipes for glossy, glow-y, super flawless skin (no waxing required!)

Alessandra Ambrosia, Adriana Lima, Isabeli Fontana, Isabel Goulart, Barbara Fialho, Lais Ribeiro, Daniela Braga… when almost every second Victoria’s Secret model turns out to be Brazilian, you know the country is on to something.

So, it’s not surprising that I spent much of the Rio Olympics trying to figure out the secret behind a whole nation’s worth of glossy, glow-y, flawless women both on and off the stage.

Seriously, what is it about these Brasileñas? How do they manage to look so effortlessly beautiful? Those taut limbs, that glossy skin, the sexily tousled hair… they must be spending hours at the spa, right? Wrong.

These gals take their skincare way too seriously to be content with once-in-a-while spa visits. Beauty is a way of life. Turns out they are doing it every day, all the time: By the beach, at work, while prepping for bed. Seriously, ALL the time.

This has made Brazil the third largest beauty market in the world after the USA and Japan. One of the biggest lures for beauty brands is the treasure trove of ingredients found in the country’s lush vegetation, making it no surprise that the rest of the beauty world is following where Brazil leads. Subsequently, many breakthrough beauty rituals have been developed here, some of which you may love already, and others you need to know about… like sand. And carrot juice. And sea salt.

And then shhhhhhhh… I am off to put these glorious beauty tips in action. You?

A photo posted by Adriana Lima (@adrianalima) on

Brazilian beauty secret #1: Sand

Yup, that’s it. Plain and simple sand. Used as a foot and body scrub right on the beach! Don’t be so shocked: massaging sand into the skin stimulates circulation, thereby busting toxins, breaking up fat tissue and chasing away cellulite. It’s also a terrific exfoliator that gets rid of dead skin. To be 100% Brazilian, simply grab a handful of sand and rub into damp skin in gentle, circular motions (as you would with a body scrub). For a more spa version, mix 1 cup of dry sand with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 5 drops of almond oil. Use this as a body scrub that both exfoliates and moisturises the skin.

Brazilian beauty secret #2: Carrot juice

These women have complexions so glowingly gorgeous that the Brazilian tan has become the hottest catwalk and celeb trend worldwide. But Brasileñas are also super sunscreen-savvy and you won’t find them baking in the sun sans some foolproof skin protection. So how does this reconcile with those tans of gold? The answer lies in carrot juice. Carrots, you see, are packed with beta-carotene, which is super-good at promoting a tan and giving skin a natural glow. Plan for at least 2 glasses of carrot juice a day and don’t forget the sunscreen.

Brazilian beauty secret #3: Açaí berries

Even as fashionistas and health-savvy celebs are increasingly swapping their cappuccino for superfood packed smoothies across the globe, beauty juices (or sucos in the native lingo) have been away of life for Brazilians forever. The most powerful (and popular) ingredient? Açaí berries. These pulpy berries areloaded with antioxidants that neutralise environmental damage and help you ditch signs of ageing like wrinkles, age spots and fine lines. For a truly Brazilian power smoothie (called batida de tai or açaí smoothie), take 2 cups of açaí juice (or 2/3 cup of dried açaí berries), 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 banana and 3 tablespoons oatmeal. Blend, slurp, be a goddess !

Brazilian beauty secret #4: Babassu oil

With half of Brazil being home to the Amazon, this country is ripe with skin and health boosting plants. And increasingly, global beauty brands are reaping them for their products, including Kiehl’s Açaí Damage Repairing Skincare, Aveda’s Uruk makeup and MAC’s semi precious stone laced Mineralize collection. True Brasileñas, however, believe in going straight to the pure, unadulterated source, with simple ingredients like babassu oil (also known as cusi oil). This clear vegetable oil is terrific at nourishing the skin and regulating sebum (skin’s natural oils) sans greasiness. Simply do as the Brazilians: Rub a dollop of babassu oil straight into your skin to keep it soft and hydrated through the day.

Brazilian beauty secret #5: Cupuaçu

Cupuaçu (coo-poo-ah-SOO) is another hot favourite with the golden limbed. This fruit is super-rich in flavonoids – in fact, it has two flavonoids that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. Cupuaçu also has five fatty acids, including a powerful Omega-3, which dramatically improve skins tone and texture. So, this chocolatey-vanilla tasting fruit packs a solid 1-2 punch by both fighting environmental damage and improving skin quality. And it’s available fresh or frozen in many speciality stores around the world. When you find it, try this easy smoothie recipe: Mix 1 cup of cupuaçu pulp, 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass leaves, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 cups cold milk in a blender. Blend on high, then strain out the floating solids. Drink chilled. PS: Also look for cupuaçu butter in health stores. It feels smooth and decadent, has a deliciously sweet aroma and helps lock in moisture for super-silky, supermodel skin.

Brazilian beauty secret #6: Sea water

Sea water gives you more than just sexy beach hair. It actually coats your strands with 26 minerals that make them ultra-soft and create oodles of natural volume, sans the need for any chemicals. It also adds loads of texture, making it easier to hold a style (hello curls and tousled waves!). No sea insight? Pour 1 cup plain water, a tablespoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of hair gel into a spray bottle. Shake and spritz through your hair. Channel Adriana Lima. Voila!

A photo posted by Lais Ribeiro (@laisribeiro) on

Brazilian beauty secret #7: Sea salt

I would have never believed this one without actually seeing it in action: Sea salt actually helps heal acne, cold sores and minor wounds. That’s because sea salt is a strong antiseptic and if you can take the sting, this simple DIY recipe will clear up those blemishes: Mix 1 tablespoon sea salt with tap water; apply as a paste on the spots.

Brazilian beauty secret #8: Seaweed

The sea has even more in store: Seaweed is a potent combo of vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed as this gelatinous substance’s unique molecular structure is very close to that of human skin. This makes seaweed a terrific ingredient to help purify, firm up, nourish and rehydrate the skin. It also slows down ageing and boosts cell generation, all while improving skin texture and tone. Plus, it makes tresses super shiny and stimulates blood circulation to promote hair growth. Enough for you? Then take 1 cup seaweed, 1 ripe avocado, 1 tablespoon plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon olive oil; blend apply to hair and/or face for 20 minutes.

Have you tried any of these ingredients in your beauty rituals? What’s the key beauty ingredient in YOUR culture?

Chillies and vodka… for longer, stronger hair?

jalapeno hairWould you dare to try this hair mask? Mexican fashionistas swear by its hair raising benefits! And it’s simple – chop one jalapeño pepper into tiny pieces and place in a small ceramic bowl. Pour half a cup of vodka over the peppers and let soak for several days. Then strain out the jalapeños and rub a small amount of this tonic into the scalp every night for longer, stronger and shinier strands.

Why does this work? Jalapeños stimulate the scalp and boost circulation, thereby encouraging new hair growth.

Vodka, in the meantime, cleanses the scalp, removes product build-up and stimulates the growth of healthy tresses. It also de-frizzes and closes the hair cuticle by lowering its pH level.

What other miracle recipes do you have for me? Drink a little vodka every night, while flipping through my Kindle?