Friday, March 30, 2012

How Carrots Can Make You (Seemingly) More Beautiful

Ask anyone the benefits of eating carrots and they’ll tell you that the orange root vegetable will improve your vision. But if new research from the University of St. Andrews and Bristol University is to be believed, then carrots can also make you more attractive.

Sound crazy? Read more here.

Image via Pinterest; specifically here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thyme: A Potent Cure For Acne?

When I think of thyme, I think of chicken breasts and pasta dishes which require this herb to add flavor and taste. But according to a recent press release by the researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University, thyme is not only an effective treatment for acne, but a better one as well.

In their study, researchers looked at the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh on acne. Their results were that all three were effective in killing the bacteria, but thyme was more effective--even more effective than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide.

Lead researcher, Dr. Margarita Gomez-Escalada shared that the next step would be to carry out more tests that mimic skin in an everyday environment and see how thyme can replace acne treatments.

"The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side-effects they are associated with," explained Dr. Gomez-Escalad in the press release. "A burning sensation and skin irritation is not uncommon. Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments."

Image via Cooking Light.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yogurt: Remedy for Bad Breath

Bad breath is an ailment that everyone fears. It's not like acne or excess weight, which you either have or don't have. It's something that can be a chronic condition or pop up one day. What's worse, you may not even realize you have it.

Turns out there are two common sources for bad breath: the mouth and the stomach. If your source is the former, then a good brushing, mouth wash, mint and an investment in tongue cleaners ought to do the trick. But if your source is the latter, that's a whole different story.

What's the cure for stomach-induced bad breath? Yogurt! The probiotics in yogurt and the neutralizing effect on acid this dairy product contains is the simple cure for gastrological problems.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beer Hair Rinse

I had always heard about beer being a great rinse for your hair--mainly from a Catherine Zeta Jones interview where she revealed that as her beauty secret.

Being no stranger to beauty experiments myself, I tried this out this past weekend over St.Patty's day. Could there be a better day for your hair to smell like beer?

I did feel--and maybe this is all in my head--that my hair was shinier. That being said, it was nothing compared to apple cider vinegar and since apple cider vinegar is cheaper, I'd rather opt for that.

But does a beer rinse actually work? Self recently tackled that question in their beauty blog and the answer just may surprise you! According to their post, the reasons why people believe beer is good for your hair is the protein content, acidic pH and the fact that beer contains a natural astringent called hops.

Unfortunately, the science doesn't back this up: The protein in beer doesn't deposit in your hair and is washed off, the pH has no significant impact and the astringent is not left on your hair long enough to have any real benefit.

Long story short: Drink your beer.

Image via Zazzle.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Egg White Face Mask

I'm a little hesitant to apply egg anywhere because the scent really turns me off. But this recipe is awesome because it has citrus zest which totally hijacks the scent of eggs.

This mask is really easy to make--mainly because I always have the ingredients on hand--but I think it's a wee bit tough to apply. But that's because of the consistency of the eggs.

So can a two-ingredient face mask really make a difference? The alleged benefits of egg white on your skin are the following: firmer looking skin, reduced breakouts and reduced redness and inflammation. Additionally, the lactic acid in the yogurt serves as a non-abrasive exfoliating agent.

2 eggs; whites only
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (no flavors; preferably organic)
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest; for scent

Separate the whites of two eggs and place in a bowl. Beat the whites using a fork. Add yogurt and mix well. Add zest and mix well. Apply on face and leave it on for a few minutes. If the mask dries off, then apply a second layer. Wash with warm wet clothe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baking Soda Shampoo

I recently started using this baking soda shampoo once a week and I'm definitely loving it. I tried it for the first time because I wanted to get on the "No Poo" bandwagon (Note: No Poo has nothing to do with feces--it's a movement calling for women to stop shampooing their hair), but alas it didn't work out for me. I have really oily hair so the lack of shampoo just made me unpresentable to the point where I was convinced someone was going to offer me a free shower in their home.

But the one upside was that not shampooing my hair got me to try this little recipe--can I call it a recipe if it only requires two ingredients, including water?

There are a few reason why I opt for this simple rinse once a week. First and foremost, it really makes my hair feel squeaky clean and allegedly helps prevent dandruff. But more importantly, it cleans my hair without using a lot of ingredients. The icing on top: It's cheap!

1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup water

Mix ingredients. The baking soda will settle in the bottle so make sure you mix it up prior to using. Pour onto hair and massage the product into the scalp. Rinse after 3 minutes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keratosis Pilaris

I have a self-diagnosed condition of keratosis pilaris (otherwise known as chicken feet). I won't grace you with a picture of the tiny dots that have taken over my upper arms, but for you curious cats out there, you can get a sneak peek into what this looks like.

What is it? Essentially, the skin condition caused by keratin (a protein in the skin) forming plugs inside the hair follicles. The end result is a manifestation of little bumps. The good news is it is not fatal; but the bad news is it looks aesthetically unpleasing. (I like my polka dots on my clothes, not on my arms, thank you very much!)

According to the Mayo Clinic (Oh, how I hope they're correct about this), keratosis pilaris usually goes away by the age of 30. That being said, I'm not raising my hopes because I noticed that my dad suffers from the same condition and he is way past his 30's!

I've found a lot cures online involving glyolic peels and microdermabrasion, but I really want to try something less…harsh, for the lack of a better word.

A quick Google search (I realize this is not the most accurate of sources) led me to try rubbing the affected areas with a pumice stone. I gave this method a try for one simple reason: Pumice stones are renown for removing dead skin cells on our feet, so why not for keratosis pilaris?

It's been 4 weeks since I've been using a pumice stone in my shower. (My process is simple--I rub a little body wash and then scrub the area in circular motions. After my shower, I make sure to moisturize with oil.) I've noticed a reduction in the redness and total number of bumps in my upper arms (my affected area), but it's far from gone. I'm going to definitely continue using a pumice stone and see where this takes me. If not for keratosis pilaris, then for the freakishly soft skin I have on my upper arms now courtesy of my 99 cent stone!

Image Source

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cornstarch Dry Shampoo

My hair is so oil-prone that I actually need to wash my hair every day or else without a fail, in less than 24 hours, my scalp and hair are greasy.

So, for a person like myself, dry shampoo is a savior.

I tried using cornstarch as a dry shampoo and there is no doubt that it works. Cornstarch is a natural thickening agent used in cooking, that is harvested from the endosperm of the corn.

It instantly absorbed all the excess oil in my hair and gave it the extra lift and volume it lost from the grease.

The one caveat; however, is that it isn't the most friendly product for brunettes and those individuals with dark hair since the white powder leaves a residue that gives your hair a grayish tint.

But that doesn't mean this can't work at all. I'm not sure I would be courageous enough to rub cornstarch on my hair and let my flocks loose, but I would definitely consider styling an up-do (such as a pony tail or bun).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

I seem to always have dry skin on my lips which makes applying lip color of any kind a horrible process. Lipstick never applies properly and only manages to accentuate my dry lips and flaky skin.

This brown sugar lip scrub is my savior. I used to use Vaseline after reading about a quick trick that Tyra Banks used, but then a friend sent me an article about the monstrosity that is petroleum jelly. Since then, this lip scrub has been my go-to.

2/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Jojoba Oil
2 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract; optional

Place jojoba oil in a bowl. Add brown sugar in 3 parts. Sometimes brown sugar is clumpy so make your life easier by rubbing the sugar between your fingers so the grains fall into the oil. Add honey and vanilla extra (for scent). Store in a jar or container.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Indian Turmeric Face Mask

I call it Indian, but this is really a common face mask used all over South Asia. I have a friend who swears by this mask; she claims she diligently applied this to her arms and legs for a year and managed to fade her tan and get rid of hyper pigmentation.

There are 3 key ingredients for this mask: Turmeric, Lemon Juice and Gram Flour. And lucky for us, two of the three ingredients are known for their own beauty enhancing abilities.

For starters, turmeric has antioxidants. You know them. The stuff that is found in pomegranate juice and green tea that prevents heart disease and cancer, and more superficially speaking, the stuff that fights aging. The second ingredient, yogurt, is packed with zinc and lactic acid which battles acne, hyperpigmentation and exfoliates your skin.

If that's not reason enough, then consider what the American Cancer Society has to say:

In India and Malaysia, there is a custom of making turmeric paste to apply directly onto the skin, a practice now under study for the possibility that it may prevent skin cancer.

1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 cup Gram Flour
1/3 cup Yogurt

Mix all the ingredients together until a thick paste is formed. Apply yogurt until a creamy texture is formed (approximately 1/3 cup; could require more). Apply generously to your face (or skin/arms/etc) and allow it to dry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Food For Healthy Hair

Don't we all covet beautiful hair? Sleek silky locks that never tangle or not up. You know, the kind we see in Pantene Pro-V commercials.

A recent article in the Huffington Post shared 10 foods that you should include in your diet if you want healthy hair. The article talks to Dr. Alan Bauman who shares some key points:
  • Protein is key for growing hair
  • You need both a healthy scalp and healthy hair
  • Crash diets lead to hair loss
Below are the 10 power foods that lead to healthy beautiful hair--but if you think eating a health meal will give instant results, think again! Dr.Bauman shares with the Huffington Post that it can take up to six weeks for the results to show.

1. Salmon
2. Dark Green Vegetables
3. Beans
4. Nuts
5. Poultry
6. Eggs
7. Whole Grains
8. Oysters
9. Low-Fat Dairy Products
10. Carrots

Image via Tumblr.