Monday, November 4, 2013

DIY Natural Beauty: Coconut Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Avocado PLUS A Homemade Tend Skin Recipe

Natural and DIY beauty treatments are becoming more and more popular as it's a good way to save some money, and like cooking a meal, rather than buying a meal - you know what is going into what you're putting on your skin and hair. And if a single ingredient product can do what a store-bought moisturizer or mask can do - it's worth a try, isn't it?

This post will look into three DIY Beauty treatments that are getting a good deal of buzz online lately - coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and avocados! I'll also be sharing a homemade version of an anti-razor burn product called Tend Skin (not available in Canada)!

Since these products are safe to eat, they're safe to use on your skin, which is definitely not the case for store-bought hair and skincare products. 

Coconut Oil

Found in drug store, health food stores and grocery stores. Look for organic versions. As you can see in the photo above, coconut oil is not liquid and opaque as say an olive or vegetable oil. It's white, like the inside of a coconut, and easier to work with as a result. (This is also why it's a good substitute for butter in baking.) This is dependent on temperature however, so it can easily be heated to liquify it.

Used in baking and cooking as well as a beauty treatment, coconut oil's highly emollient properties makes it an excellent skin and hair care product. It's also antibacterial (it can get rid of your dandruff), penetrates the hair shaft better than other oils and smells delicious. It can stimulate hair growth, 

Long used as an ingredient in hair products, particularly for thick, coarse and dry hair, coconut oil adds moisture and shine and allows for better control when styling.

Hair: To use it as a hair mask, massage a few tablespoons into your hair and scalp. If you've got fine or thin hair, avoid the scalp since coconut oil is quite rich and can weigh down your hair. Use more on the ends where your hair is oldest and most damaged. If the coconut oil you're using is solid, you'll want to warm it so that it is liquid. And warm coconut oil will help the mask work better, so put on a shower cap and wrap your head with a towel while the mask is on. The heat will open the hair follicles to allow for even better penetration. You can even blast your shower cap and towel-wrapped head with a hair dryer if you like as well. Leave the mask on for 20-30 minutes minimum. You can also leave it on overnight if you like and for those of you with damaged and dry hair, this might be a good idea. Just be warned that you could ruin your pillowcase and bedsheets, so use old linens or lay towels down.

Use it to add a little shine to your styled hair, but go very cautiously. Too much will make your hair look greasy. 

Skin: To use it as a body moisturizer, just slather it on. Best for very dry skin, but if you have less dry skin, try it as a moisturizing body mask and hop in the shower after you allow it to sink in. Great for dry hands and feet - slather it on hands after doing the dishes or use it when you give yourself a pedicure to hydrate the skin on your feet.

You can use coconut oil to remove your eye makeup. It breaks down waxy makeup products. Massage it very gently over the eye area and wipe very gently to remove the makeup. Wash your face as usual.

Try coconut oil in place of a shaving cream - this works for legs and underarms (be extra cautious using it in the bikini area) and even the face, if it's not going to make you break out. 

Do you use coconut oil in your beauty routine? Share your tips in the comments below.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar does not taste or smell as good as coconut oil, I should tell you that right off the bat. BUT, the benefits of this cloudy, amber liquid that smells like fermenting apples are worth it, trust me. 

Apple cider vinegar balances the pH of your skin and hair, stimulates hair growth, boosts hair shine, can cure dandruff, can fade ages spots or acne scars, reduce inflammation, soothe sunburn, get rid of warts, relieve aches and pains, kills candida (yeast infections), whitens teeth, neutralizes the bacteria that causes bad breath and loads more. Seriously, this stuff is like a magical elixir.

Hair: In the shower, rinse your hair with a combination of apple cider vinegar and cold water (1 cup apple cider vinegar + 1 cup of water). Some recipes call for cold water and some say warm water - experiment to see what works best for you. This rinse will strengthen the hair shafts, remove product build-up and enhance shine and softness. Rinse your hair with cold water (if you can stand it, use warm if you can't) after leaving it for a few minutes. You probably won't need conditioner and don't worry, your hair won't smell like apple cider vinegar.

Skin: Use a combination of water and apple cider vinegar as a toner (1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water), morning and night, after cleansing. It'll help to balance your skin's pH (meaning it'll bring it closer to balance between being oily and being dry), softening and smoothing it and also work to reduce redness and blemishes. 

Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your bath for soft and smooth skin. It also works as a great foot soak for tired, swollen feet. Sunburned? Soak a washcloth with apple cider vinegar and lay it over the sunburned area. It should reduce the redness and immediately cool and soothe the burning sensation. 

Teeth: Applying apple cider vinegar to your teeth before brushing can help to lighten discolouration and stains from drinking red wine, coffee and tea and smoking. Or gargle with apple cider vinegar mixed with water to lighten stains and freshen your breath (apple cider vinegar kills bacteria that can cause bad breath).

Are you a fan of this magical elixir? Share your secrets below!


Recently I was invited to an event promoting Mexican avocados. A little odd, right? But the event was held at one of Toronto's best nail salons (Tips Nail Bar) where guests were given avocado hand masks and free manicures, as well as avocado-based snacks and all the information about avocados and their beauty benefits we could handle.

Tips Nail Bar recently moved into a new space and it's gorgeous!

Here are some photos.

Nail polish, sorted by colour families on the back wall.

Dramatic white chandelier in the reception area of the salon.

Near the front of the salon, the painted fireplace, and Miss Avocado, our evening's glam girl.

Pedicure stations.

Artwork above the pedicure stations.

Long communal manicure table.
The entire wall in this photo is covered in a hanging painted canvas.

Shellac polishes along the painted canvas wall.

So what about those avocados? Janine Falcon of BeautyGeeks was our hostess for the evening, her gorgeous skin aglow from an avocado mask she'd done minutes before the first guest had arrived. As we sat with a concoction of mashed avocado, egg white, oatmeal and lemon juice on our hands, she told us about the benefits of using avocado on the hair and skin. 

Avocados are intensely moisturizing and contain vitamins A, B, C and E, antioxidants, amino acids and many minerals and nutrients. Using avocado on the skin can help to moisturize, exfoliate, soften and overall improve skin tone. Using avocado in the hair can moisturize, smooth, soften and create shine.

After I'd rinsed the mask off my hands, my skin felt softer and smoother and the tone of my hands was improved. For my manicure I chose Chanel's Bel-Argus. For no reason other than it's pretty! Also, Chanel!

My Chanel Bel-Argus manicure. 

More photos:

Avocado snacks!

Anita of I Want, I Got getting her hand treatment.

Bloggers getting their manicures.

Janine Falcon, our lovely hostess.

Hands are getting softer and smoother by the second.

Miss Ava Cado
Avocados can be used on their own, but we were given simple recipes to share with our readers and to use ourselves at home. The Avocado hand treatment, a mask for oily skin, a mask for dry skin and a hair mask can be found here

Another idea floated amongst bloggers and Janine at the event: avocado sugar scrub - combine mashed rip avocado with brown sugar for a moisturizing, exfoliating, renewing body scrub.

Do you use avocados as a beauty product? Tell us how in the comments below!

Oh yes, and I promised to share with you a homemade version of Tend Skin which is a product that you apply to skin after shaving to prevent razor burn and bumps and ingrown hairs. It's a cult product that is fantastic for getting rid of those horrid little pink bumps you get after shaving. If you shave your bikini lines, you need this stuff OR save yourself some cash and use the recipes below. 

Tend Skin

There are two variations of this homemade Tend Skin, one using rubbing alcohol and one using witch hazel, both commonly found in drugs stores. You will also need uncoated aspirin, which can be a bit difficult to find since most aspirin - and you want aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin) not ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) - is coated so that it does not irritate the esophagus or stomach. Do not buy aspirin that says it's coated or enteric coated. 

Another note, if you have a mortar and pestle, this is perfect for crushing the aspirin. Otherwise, using the back of a spoon and cutting board will work. Try to get them into powder form as much as possible.

I use a travel shampoo container to hold my homemade Tend Skin. Any plastic or glass container will work for storage. The aspirin and rubbing alcohol/witch hazel won't fully combine and some aspirin will settle to the bottom. Simply shake to combine before using. Apply it to freshly shaved skin. It can also be used to spot treat blemishes.

Variation One
18 uncoated aspirin, crushed
5 oz. 70% rubbing alcohol

Variation Two
8 uncoated aspirin, crushed
2.5 oz. witch hazel

Whew! So what do you think? Will you try any of these at home? Are you already a believer? Tell us in the comments below what you think, and share your own DIY beauty recipes too!


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