Sunday, November 15, 2009

Installment 12 - I nearly fell in...

Well, chickpeas, if it seems that I've simply fallen off the face of the earth... well... I sort of have. If you'll note the VERY recent startup of a new blog (My Heart Is Elsewhere...) you will notice that I've been a very busy woman. But no... I know... it is simply no excuse. So I shall pick back up where we left off. On our last episode there were hints of unclogging pores. This was suggested by the lovely magical_leelee, whom I must thank for the inspiration.

Most of us get them... some of us more than others... some of us may not even realize that we have them until it's much too late. Fortunately there are many home made goodies that can be used to not only rid ourselves of these hideous little buggers, but to prevent them from returning. One such remedy includes lime juice. Lime juice is effective as both a fixer AND a prevention. For getting rid of blackheads you can mix lime juice with boiled milk. For use, you may want to steam your face to open up those pores first, then take a slightly course wash rag, dip it in the solution and scrub away. For its preventative use, mix the juice with peanut oil and smooth over your blackhead prone areas.

You can also use lemon juice for many treatments. The acidity in both the lemon and the lime juices is effective in clearing out your pores. Making a light paste of cinnamon powder and lemon juice can help clear you up; however, if you have less delicate skin, you can simply apply straight lemon juice and let it sit for about 15 minutes or so.

If you prefer making a night out of your blackhead-free beauty routine, you can also make a variety of facial masks. For instance, you can crush fenugreek or coriander leaves (either together or separately) and simply schmeer it over your face – letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinsing thoroughly. Finely ground oatmeal mixed with rose water (or for a more homey touch, pulped potato) is also said to be a very effective mask.

My final recipe is an internal one – and this is one I personally swear by. Three words: Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses. This stuff works wonders for skin that is prone to acne and blackheads. It also has an unbelievable amount of health benefits aside from skin care (some people even swear it keeps gray hair at bay). So here's what you do... grab yourself a cup of milk (or soy milk, OR – if you're really brave – just down it) and mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the molasses. Drink this daily for a while. Usually it works within a few days, but if you have a really nasty case it may take longer.

So there ya are, my loves. Some simple ways to get rid of those spotty little troublemakers.

Before we finish this episode, I would like to point out that Dottie St. John is still rolling on with her survey, and if you haven't taken it yet, don't be shy. Go ahead and click the link. You know you want to.

A Dottie St. John scent survey

For our next episode... “Cook it to a crisp...”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Installment 11 - Travel Beauty Log: India

There's no denying that the exotic beauty and charm of India is palpable. What's more, the people of India have some amazing remedies and tricks up their sleeves when it comes to beauty and health. In this episode, we shall be looking at a few of these tricks, as well as some recipes and recommendations.

We will start with hair, shall we? For oily hair, it is recommended that you boil a few tablespoons of mint leaves until you create a dark broth. You can either apply the water to your hair and let is soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing, or mix it in with your shampoo. For dry hair, apply coconut or neem oil directly to your scalp, then run your fingers through your hair. You can also mix either of these oils (or coconut, or gooseberry oils) with henna powder and wash your hair with it. Strangely enough, goosberry oil is thought to slow down the process of graying hair. As is mixing black pepper, or lemon juice with plain yogurt, and massaging it into your scalp. The same black pepper can be mixed with coconut milk and massaged into the scalp to encourage hair growth; while a Armica herbal rinse will help to ease, or cure dandruff.

As for the skin, there are a ridiculous amount of remedies, so we shall just touch on a few. Cucumber juice mixed with rose water can be mixed, applied to the face and left on overnight to help balance the complexion; lime juice, glycerin and rose water can cure acne on the face and body. To moisturize you can make a mixture of a tablespoon of soaked, crushed almonds with urad dal, and let sit on your skin for about a half hour. Careful with this one, though, as it also acts as a skin bleach. For blackheads you can massage a mixture of honey, lemon and salt; this will exfoliate your skin, and help to unclog pores. Finally, to help prevent wrinkles, mash up some fresh chickpeas and soya beans, apply to your face for 25 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

As with the countries we have touched upon thus far, these are but a few pieces. However, there are thousands of remedies and practices to be found in India, and I encourage you to them up, as they are not only effective (hey, hundreds of years of use say a lot!), and often quite unique.

In our next episode... 'do ya think Draino would do the trick?'

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Installment 10 - Beauty from the inside out...

Wow, does that title ever sound like a self-help book or what? But honestly, ducks, it is widely understood that just scrubbing and bathing your skin and hair in nutrients isn’t enough. And frankly, most of us aren’t that great about getting all the equipment we need with diet alone. SO! In this episode, we shall be discussing some vitamins and supplements that give us a bit of a boost in the beauty (and health as a bonus, hoorah!) department. Just as a quick reference, most supplements aren’t exactly regulated by any higher power, and everyone is different. Sometimes taking a certain amount is too much for one person, and not enough for another. Sometimes vitamins may cause strange reactions, or counter some of the medications you are taking. Though these things are not entirely common, it IS recommended that you check with your doctor before starting anything, and testing out what vitamins, minerals, and dosages you take. (There, I AM a responsible hostess, aren’t I?)

To start this, I think it would only be fair to fill you in on what I use, as I can honestly say I dig the effects. I use three things on a daily basis: Alpha Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, and a vegetarian multivitamin. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that helps to ward off free radicals (and thus, protect against wrinkles), and helps to fade scars and age spots. CoQ10 can effectively help in maintaining skin elasticity as we age, and is also a killer antioxidant. As for the multivitamin, any will do. I personally use the vegetarian form because... well... I am one, and there is a lot missing in my diet. However, the purpose for a multivitamin is to help boost the effects of the other two supplements, plus throw in some essential vitamins and minerals that help keep the skin supple and lovely.

Now... as for other supplements, I’ve tried some, and just heard of others, so you’ll have to test for yourself and see what works best for you. Vitamin A aids in the growth (and re-growth) of body tissues, and helps to maintain your gums (which is best for your beautiful smile). The B family is excellent for your metabolism and can help in maintaining body weight; not to mention a slew of health benefits, AND works as a mood enhancer, and increases energy. Vitamin E and Zinc are great antioxidants; Choline helps to metabolize fat buildup; iodine helps build a strong foundation for a well functioning thyroid gland (which in turns, helps the production of health hair, skin, and teeth); and vitamin C can be a major help in protecting against sun damage.

These are but a few supplements that can used for both beauty and health; in fact, most vitamins, minerals, and herbs taken internally can help to beautify, and these are simply a few of the better known materials that are linked directly to healthier skin, hair, nails and teeth.

On our next episode... the journey continues to India!


Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, June 22, 2009

Installment 8 - Travel beauty log: Japan!

Oooh, wouldn’t we all like to be a rice bran beauty? Well, with a few simple recipes, you too, can be amongst the nuka bijin of Japan. All right, so I’m getting ahead of myself here. Or acting like an advertisement -- I feel like I should be in watercolor with a big grin and a jar in my outstretched hand here. So we’ll just re-start... Japanese beauty secrets are without question the most sought out of all beauty secrets. They are effective, and often times, pretty bloody unique. So in this episode, we shall investigate a few items that can be transformed and used in your home remedy arsenal.

We’ll begin with our ad up there... rice bran. This stuff does everything; prevent wrinkles, clear, exfoliate and cleanse skin, all while moisturizing. Many people like to massage on some of the diluted rice bran oils and let it sit for a while, if not all day. But you can also mash up a bit of beeswax and mix the oil in. If you’d prefer an exfoliating cleanser, you can mix the oil with dry, grated pellets; then mix in some honey, dip a wash rag in the mixture, and scrub gently. Be very careful, though, as it can be a bit rough.

Next, green tea! Yea, I know... tea is tea is tea... but really, this stuff works great in beauty products. You can use it for eye bags (like its black tea sister), or you can use it for a multitude of other treatments. For instance, it can be used as an excellent and quick conditioning rinse; just steep a few bags of the stuff, rinse through your hair, and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. It will leave your hair soft, shiny, and smelling lovely. What is more, it’s also thought to help prevent hair loss -- so that’s a nice bonus, huh? It is also very simple to use on the face; you simply steep, apply to a cotton ball and rub over your skin.

And finally... something that is not so much a treatment as a technique: facial massage. Facial massage is thought to be one of the best beauty remedies in Japan... and frankly, kiddies, it’s a personal favorite. It feels amazing, drains your sinuses, helps stimulate blood flow, helps prevent wrinkles, AND keeps you nice and supple. You could go to a salon and have Japanese facial massage done, but there are a few things you can do in the comfort of your own home, too. First, wash (wash, wash, wash!) your hands. Next, focus on the indentations of your face; down your jaw-line to the tip of your chin; up and down the sides of your nose, below your eyes, and over your brow-line. Make small circles with the tips of your fingers, and remember to be very gentle below your eyes, as the skin is very delicate. You can use lotion if you prefer, but it is just as effective without it.

So there ya are... a few beauty tips straight from Japan.

Next, a pit stop from our travels at the gas station called: What exactly am I supposed to swallow?!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Installment 7 - Travel beauty log: Italy!

Look around any specialty beauty website, and you’ll notice one common factor: whatever country they originate from has the most beautiful people in the world. But what makes these people so ravishing? Well, every country has its own particular secrets and spices, so in this short series, we shall explore some of them.

Our first destination shall be… let’s say… Italy!

No question, Italy has some ravishing folks – women and men alike. Known for fine curves, and even finer skin, these stunners have some simple home remedies that can be grown in your garden and found in your kitchen.

One of the best known remedies is, of course, olive oil. One of the easiest ways to use this is to take about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, dip your (clean!!!) fingers into it and massage like crazy into your face. After this you just let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, and rinse off thoroughly. However, if you’ve been reading and following my instructions, chances are you’re going to want something more complicated. Oh yea... I know. It’s fun, right? ...Right? Well, anyway... here’s a more complex recipe:

First, grind up some oatmeal (about 1/4 cup or so), then add in an egg yolk; a teaspoon of brewers’ yeast, and finally… that’s right, kiddies, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir up well and smear on. Let it sit for a half hour and rinse really well. Your skin should feel tight, smooth, and ultra moisturized!

You can also mix olive oil with beeswax to make a moistening lip balm; soak your fingers in a small cup to cure rough cuticles, and cover your hands with it and leave it over night to treat cracked hands.

Grapes are also used in Italian beauty; not only are they killer antioxidants, they are fantastic for oily skin, and have a firming effect on the skin. Once again, the simplest way to use them is to cut them in half and give’em a good rub on the face. You can also pulverize them in the food processor and mix them with some all-purpose flour so you can create a good mask. If your skin is oily, but sensitive, you could also add in some aloe vera oil, or chamomile tea.

Finally, lemon and rose essential oils (skincare grade, of course) are used to help skin imperfections. Lemon oil applied directly under the eye for 15 minutes, once a week, can help reduce dark circles under the eye, and help to prevent fine lines. It can also be used to help get rid of warts. Rose, on the other hand, can be applied throughout the face, and is said to moisturize, help fight wrinkles, calm the skin, and help fade scars.

This is a meager list, at best. But I’m guessing the Italian beauties out there want to keep some of their secrets.

Next on our magical journey... Japan!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Installment 6 – I could sleep in those eye bags for days!

Before we begin with this episode, I must say that this is dedicated to a dear person, whose funky dreamin’-mind inspired this particular post. Thanks JonnyDunMind!!!

Now, when it comes to puffy eyes (or eye bags, for that matter), there are all the things you should and shouldn’t do to help the situation – don’t rub them like crazy, drink lots of water, quit with the salt licks, and so on and so forth. You already know all of this. You’ve probably tried it. You’ve also probably tried teabags and cucumbers. Quick and effective fixes, sure. But really more of a hangover-eye cure. So here are a few simple recipes that will get those eyes shining and puff-free in no time.

First, there’s the egg and potata’s recipe. Yea, you could fry’em up for a hearty breakfast, but that’ll only serve to make your eyes swell, right? So instead, whip an egg white or two thoroughly, and coat those bags, baby. While you’re letting that sit, wash a potato really well (on top of everything else, you don’t need potato germs in your eye), slice off the skin and cut the potatoes. Now you’ll want to cut them up even thinner until they’re a pulpy mess. Next, wrap up your potato mash in a fine cloth, wipe away the egg and sit back with your new potato eye pouches pressed to your face. Now, I realize this sounds completely made up, but here are the facts: 1. Egg whites leave skin feeling tight, and reduce the general appearance of eye bags, while 2. The starch from the potato acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and will help reduce the swelling. Viola!

The next recipe is quicker, and a little girlier. Take a tablespoon of honey, mix in some vitamin E oil, and rosewater. Mix this concoction really well, place a few cotton balls in the bowl, and let it sit at the back of the refrigerator for about a half hour (or however long it takes to get really, really chilly). Take the mixture and cotton balls out of the ‘fridge and coat your eyes (you can even do the upper lids if that makes ya happy), lay back and let the cotton rest on your eyes for five to ten minutes. Not only will the chill help the swelling go down, but the other ingredients will help with the inflammation.

Of course, there are many other non-herbal-type remedies you could use – some of which are for the quick fix mode when you gotta get out in a hurry. One over the counter remedy, of course, is Preparation H used once or twice a week. You could also try sleeping at a slight incline to encourage proper circulation; or try wetting, than freezing a washrag so that you can give your eyes a quick shot of cool in the morning. Gentle facial massage is also said to be helpful for keeping things moving in the right direction.

In our next installment… I Need To Go Where (Part 1)?!

On a side note!

One thing I forgot to mention! My dear friend Dottie St. John (worldly sophisticate, home-made beauty entrepreneur, and all around fabulous dame) is experimenting with an all new line. SO! If you’d care to take part, she has a very short survey that would do a world of good.

Click here if you would be interested in taking part: