Every once and awhile I am reminded of my age. It happened the other day when I was talking to someone 20+ years younger than me. We were talking about inexpensive and natural ways to give your hair highlights. I mentioned that when I was young we used to put lemon juice on our hair to enhance the natural highlights. We would mix the juice of 2 lemons into a container with a little of our favorite conditioner. Then we'd paint it onto our wet hair and sit out in the sun for about an hour. Whaaalla -- natural looking highlights. My young friend gave me a blank stare. Suddenly I felt like I had grown up during the ice age. I assure you I did not dodge dinosaurs during my teenage years, but being a little older during these tightening economic times does have its advantages. Back in the day we used items found in the kitchen as beauty aids. I remember a good many of these beauty secrets that are both natural and inexpensive and, let's face it, we are all looking for ways to stretch the budget these days. Since this week is Valentine's week, I thought I would share some of these natural and inexpensive beauty aids. Everyone deserves a little lovin' this week and we might as well start with ourselves.
Exfoliate: Create your own spa scrub by combining 1/4 cup of brown or refined sugar with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Apply to wet skin making small circles, then rinse. You can also mix sugar with your favorite facial cleanser. Some people use baking soda to exfoliate. Apply baking soda to wet face and gently rub.
Teeth Brightener: You know those $35 whitening strips to brighten your teeth? Most of them contain baking soda. Forget the strips and just use the baking soda. It'll do the trick.
Dull Hair: Winter's dryness can leave hair dull and lifeless. To add a little shine, combine 1/2 cup of apple-cider vinegar with 1/2 cup water. Pour it over your hair as a final rinse. It will help reduce product buildup, which contributes to the dullness.
Itchy, Dry Skin: I love a hot bath -- nothing better in my book. Unfortunately, hot baths drain your body of natural oils and during the dry winter months that can cause dry, itchy skin. Add a quart of milk (any kind) to your not-too-hot bath water. The lactic acid in the milk helps soften skin, and milk proteins help relieve skin irritation. These milk baths also exfoliate your skin.
Moisturizer: Honey can help hydrate the skin and reduce oil. A natural humectant, it draws water into the skin, and it has antibacterial properties that can help heal acne. Warm 1/3 cup of honey in the microwave and apply it to damp skin. Leave on your skin 10 minutes. The warm honey is easy to apply to your face and as it cools it ""stiffens" and becomes much less "runny." Rinse thoroughly, then moisturize.
I'll be the first to admit that I am a beauty product junkie, but using natural kitchen ingredients helps reduce your dependency on expensive treatments and is a little easier on the family budget. Just remember homemade mixtures can spoil quickly because they have none of the preservatives that extend the shelf life of over-the-counter beauty products, so these natural products should be used right away.