Traditional Beauty Remedies That Stand the Test of Time
These healthy hair and skin savers have proven effective for years. And, you can get everything you need on your next grocery run.
Some beauty routines will always be a go-to simply because they work. Why mess with a good thing, right? It's why despite millions of beauty breakthroughs and game-changing techniques, these tried-and-true ingredients continue to be expert favorites for everything from brittle nails to thinning hair. Many are classics, others, while they may seem new, have been used for ages to help keep skin, hair, and nails at their best. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rita Linkner of Spring Street Dermatology explains exactly what the benefit of each one is and the best ways to use them.
If you suffer from super dry and eczema-prone skin, oatmeal is the powerhouse ingredient you need to know about. It's soothing and anti-inflammatory, and oatmeal works so well because it contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that creates a thin, moisture-retaining film on the surface of the skin. You can either use a handful of whole loose oats inside a washcloth to massage and moisturize the skin, or try it in Aveeno's Colloidal Bath Treatment, which is made with 100% colloidal oatmeal, a great way to re-establish the skin's protective barrier. "It also smells as good as it soothes the skin while creating a milky bath that is relaxing. A total win-win," says Linkner.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This pantry staple is great at removing product build-up and excess oil from the hair and scalp. It's an effective hair rinse, proven to cleanse and balance strands, and it can also help banish bacteria on breakout-prone skin. Since it's acidic, cider vinegar is able to exfoliate the scalp and remove residue. It also can smooth down the hair cuticle to enhance shine. Once a week, dilute a cup of ACV with water and rinse your hair and scalp with the mixture right after shampooing. Massage it into the scalp for a few minutes and then rinse.
Dry skin and dull, dry, breakage-prone hair are no match for avocado oil's abundant fatty acids, which help balance skin's moisture levels. Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E also protect the skin from further damage. Avocado oil can also be used topically on the hair and massaged into the scalp to help promote hair growth. "Since it is highly conditioning, it can reduce frizz and enhance shine," Linkner adds. To reap the soothing benefits, massage five or six drops into clean skin, and then cover your face with a warm washcloth for a minute to help the oils sink in.
If you're dealing with acne-prone skin, reach for the turmeric. "I recommend my patients use skincare products containing turmeric if they have acne as the anti-inflammatory properties can calm skin and help clear up breakouts," says Linkner. It is also an effective natural brightening ingredient when used topically because of its antioxidant properties. Try it in Volition Beauty's Turmeric Brightening Polish for Face and Body.
To clear up dark spots and hyperpigmentation, grab your favorite fruit-oranges can neutralize free radical damage and ward off signs of premature aging. The fruit acid loosens dead skin cells while the vitamin C found is oranges helps reverse discoloration caused by melanosomes (which cause dark spots) in the skin. Linkner says that oranges themselves should never be applied topically or directly to the skin as they sensitize the skin to the sun. However, using a skincare product like The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum with a pure and potent Vitamin C that matches the levels found in oranges is a safe alternative. Linker cautions that you should always wear SPF, but particularly when using any vitamin C as it photosensitizes SPF and can make dark spots even worse.
Did you know milk is great for treating dry, dull skin? The lactic acid naturally found in milk is an alpha hydroxy acid, which is a common ingredient in superficial medical grade peels. It's a gentler and less irritating alternative to glycolic acid, helping to even out, resurface, and speed up cellular turnover in the skin. Linkner says that it can also help reduce acne, but because it can sensitize skin, it's important to limit sun exposure when using as a treatment. To use it, add one gallon of whole milk to a tubful of warm water and soak. Use the bath as an alternative to sugar and salt scrubs, which may be too abrasive for people who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or sensitive skin.
Eggs are best for clearing clogged pores and strengthening damaged hair. Their high protein content helps improve hair's resilience and luster. On the skin, the egg whites or albumen, in particular, can help remove dirt and debris from within pores. Spread an even, thin layer of egg whites on the skin, let it sit until dry, and then rinse with warm water. For hair, whisk together one egg, two tablespoons coconut oil (which is rich in moisturizing fats), and two tablespoons sesame oil. Apply the mixture to dry hair and wrap a hot, moist towel around your head. Relax for five to ten minutes, then, without wetting hair first, work in a handful of shampoo. Rinse and condition your hair to finish.
Dealing with flat, dull hair? Your favorite pilsner or IPA can help pump up the volume. Yeast and hops help to swell the hair shaft and plump the cuticle, and the acidity of the beer helps remove built-up product residue. In the shower, after you've shampooed, pour a bottle of beer over your hair. A rich beer with a high yeast content works best, so no light beer. Rinse briefly with fresh water.
Honey does a wonderful job of healing wounds and soothing burns. Why? The propolis in honey works as a natural antibacterial agent and helps relieve irritation from cuts and burns. Spread a thin layer across any cuts or burns, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe clean with warm water.