Beauty products are expensive, so when it comes to your daily routine, it can be oh-so-tempting to turn to everyday household items to fix your beauty woes rather than shelling out for pricey creams, lotions and cosmetics. Many items in your medicine cabinet and kitchen can do double-duty as a face mask, hair product or skin cream – but do these at-home remedies actually work? We look into some of the best — and worst — DIY beauty fixes.
Beer In Your Hair
This is one so-called beauty tip that you probably already know can't be true: rinsing your hair with beer will make it thicker and shinier.
Trust your gut on this one — lathering your locks with lager does little more than make your bathroom smell like a dingy sports bar. While a beer rinse doesn't actually harm the hair, it doesn't seem to hold up to its promises to strengthen, clean and protect your strands either, so save your beer for drinking.
Coconut Oil For Your Hair And Skin
Coconut oil is a pretty trendy product these days, and not just for cooking with. This oil is also said it to do double-duty as a face moisturizer, lip balm and hair conditioner — but does it actually work?
You bet. Coconut oil is super-moisturizing and can make both your skin and strands healthy and soft. However, it's also super greasy — it is an oil, after all — so this is one product you'll want to try before bed, and not before a big night out.
Cocoa Butter For Stretch Marks
Cocoa butter is great for moisturizing your skin, but don't believe the hype — scientific studies have shown that it won't help you get rid of or prevent those unsightly stretch marks.
The reason is simple — stretch marks occur below the skin's surface where cocoa butter can't reach them. In fact, there's not a whole lot you can do about stretch marks once they appear, but laser treatments from a dermatologist may help in stimulating the production of collagen.
RECIPE: Grate a bar of any basic all-natural soap (pure veggie glycerine bars grate in 10 seconds flat) and mix it into a pot of near-boiling water (1.5 L). Remove from heat, stir and let it sit a day. Mix in organic essential oils of your choice.
RECIPE: Melt (not boil) one teaspoon of grated beeswax in a double boiler. Add one teaspoon of quality oil (jojoba, safflower, etc.) and one teaspoon of fair trade shea butter. Add in a few drops of organic essential oil or natural vanilla extract.
RECIPE: Heat up olive oil in a pan and add in a few drops of vitamin E or honey.
RECIPE: Grate two tablespoons of beeswax in a double boiler with three tablespoons of jojoba oil. Once the mixture is melted, remove from heat and stir in 45 drops of certified-organic essential oils that you desire. Pour the hot beeswax into containers and let it cool. The finished product will be a solid perfume so rub a few strokes on your wrist and neck.
RECIPE: Crack an organic egg (with vitamins A, D, K and E), separating out the yolk into a bowl. Drizzle in a little skin-plumping honey, whisk it, apply and let dry for 10 to 15 minutes before removing with a damp cloth.
RECIPE: Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in 1/3 of warm water. Add in a few drops of organic mint oil.
RECIPE: Mix two tablespoons (30 ml) of baking soda in two cups of warm water. Looking for conditioner? Try mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water.
RECIPE: Try straight-up baking soda on your pits. You can also mix the powder with some water.
RECIPE: Aloe makes a great scar preventer if you have ongoing skin issues like acne. It can also be used as a light moisturizer.
RECIPE: Use a bottle of straight jojoba oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil as shaving oil.
Witch Hazel As A Toner
If you like your beauty products to be as natural as possible, you've probably tried witch hazel, a plant that works great as a toner to follow-up your cleansing routine with.
Unlike most store-bought toners that strip moisture from your skin with alcohol, witch hazel is a natural product that can help cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria while reducing the effects of skin irritation like redness. It also makes a great home remedy for things like minor infections and burns. Witch hazel is available in most health food stores.
Toothpaste On Zits
Dabbing some Aquafresh on that annoying zit like you did in high school is tempting, but it's also a waste a time. What's more, it can actually irritate your skin, as most toothpastes contain menthol, which can dry skin out.
For a better at-home zit remedy, you might want to try either 'Milk of Magnesia' or 'Pepto-Bismol' as a spot treatment — both reportedly dry up the skin's oils and help blast pimples. Another option? Invest in a spot treatment product such as 'Clinique's Acne Solution Spot Healing Gel.'
Mayonnaise For Shiny Hair
It sounds pretty gross, but many beauty experts and celebs swear that mayo hair treatments can make their locks look shiny and full. The secret ingredient, of course, is the oil in the mayonnaise that penetrates your hair and gives it a healthy sheen. Use it as a mask on your hair, cover it with a shopping bag and leave for 20 minutes to let the mayo sink in before washing it out in the shower.
Cucumbers For Puffy Eyes
It's long been thought that the nutrients in cucumbers were some sort of miracle cure for puffy, tired eyes, but this isn't exactly true. While cucumbers can help relieve swelling on your eyes, this is simply because they're cold and wet. In other words, it's not the cucumber that makes the difference — you could technically grab anything from your fridge or freezer and get similar results.
A better option? Try cold green tea bags on your eyes — the caffeine can help reduce the appearance of blood vessels and the natural antioxidants may reduce inflammation.
Lemon Juice On The Face
You tried it on your hair that one time back in junior high school, but did you know that lemon juice is great for your face too? Lemon juice on its own or mixed with a bit of water works wonders as a clarifying facial, toner, blackhead remover and sunburn treatment. You can also add some oatmeal or sugar to make it into a DIY face mask. Just make sure you don't get any in your eyes — ouch!
Brushing Your Hair To Make It Stronger
In your mother's heyday, it was common place to brush your hair 100 strokes every night to make it silky and strong. In fact, this could be doing just the opposite — over-brushing your hair can cause breakage and split ends. Still, it's OK to brush your hair a bit, as brushing can help spread essential nutrients and oils throughout your hair, making it shinier and healthy. Just make sure you're not over-doing it.
Hemorrhoid Cream For Eyes
It's long been touted as the beauty secret of supermodels, but does dabbing 'Preparation H' on your eyes actually reduce puffiness and dark circles?
Not necessarily. No clinical studies have proven that this is an effective remedy for your eyes. What's more, 'Preparation H' used to contain yeast to reduce inflammation, but the formula hasn't included yeast in almost 20 years. Another active ingredient, phenylephrine, can restrict flow to blood vessels but is also irritating to eyes and skin, so it's probably best to avoid this home remedy all together.
Reducing Your Pore Size
There's no shortage of products on the market that claim to reduce the size of your pores, but don't believe any of them. Pore size is based on your genes, not your habits, so unfortunately this is something you don't have much control over. You can, however, take steps to make your pores appear smaller. Exfoliating regularly will improve the appearance of your skin, and using an egg-white face mask for 20 minutes will help tighten and dry out your skin.