My mother was a woman ahead of her time. I can remember her taking heaping spoonfuls of Hellman’s mayonnaise putting it in a bowl and slathering it on her hair, she would then wrap her hair in plastic wrap, with a freshly warmed towel just out of the dryer, and go take her Calgon bath, where we were instructed, and strongly advised against bothering her for any reason, unless the house or one of us three girls, were on fire. Even then, I would have resisted bothering her, you ever see an Irish Mother angry? It’s tantamount to waking a hibernating bear, which is probably a wee bit tamer! Surely I jest. My mother was also known to use olive oil on her skin along with her Oil of Olay, and on the ends of her hair, and once a week without fail, she would apply the whites of an egg which she would lightly beat with a little bit of water, and use it as a facial mask, she also had a secret for bee stings to help free the stinger out with a paste of water and Lawry’s meat tenderizer, which I honestly have never tried since I have never had a bee or wasp sting ever, but they loved my sisters, and it worked wonders on them. One of the best gifts my mother gave me besides giving me life, was the lessons of caring for your self, whether it was her lessons in caring for your skin, which I thankfully took notice of, and started doing in my teens and have reaped the benefits of pretty amazing skin as a result, even in my 50’s, as well as why healthy foods nourished my body and mind. My mother was a big fan of fruits and veggies, and she encouraged us to eat them everyday, more like insisted, which I have preserved and implemented with my children, and because I started them out early as babies with healthy eating, they are all thankfully, healthy eaters, exercise regualry and have amazingly lean bodies, as a result. Speaking of which…..
Now all of these go to products that my mother used, were implemented long before the introduction of the internet, and women’s magazines were touting motherhood and recipes not the fine art of caring for yourself, that was deemed selfish in my Mom’s day. More importantly, women of my mother’s and grandmother’s generation, as well as the women who came before them, relied on what was on hand for one thing, because they couldn’t afford such luxuries as moisturizer and hair products, and for another, because it was convenient to use what was on hand.
I am big on DIY beauty care, because I love the simplicity of natural foods to nourish me and my body, they work amazing, and they save me tons of money, win win. I am happy to pass on some tips and my favorite go to products, and I even stumbled upon a cure for those unsightly, chicken bumps, Ketatosis pilaris, which I have battled on my arms since my teens. I started using coconut oil on my face and decollete about two years ago, and I would periodically use it on my wet skin after I showered. I now keep one container for food and one in the bathroom for the shower. So I started relying on it more than my Sesame Oil, and low and behold, my bumps are smooth and barely visible. I had never seen coconut oil touted for Ketatosis pilaris, but it worked for me, and if you are suffering with this condition, I urge you to give it a shot! It won’t completely vanish them, but the white scaly bumps are gone and my skin is finally smooth on my upper arms. So here my friends are some of my go to, tasty tidbits for a healthy, happy, rocking bod!
These babies are not just for making killer guac, or garnishing sandwiches, I mash them up and apply directly to my face once a week to keep my skin healthy and glowing. Avocados are high in Vitamin E and Vitamin C, as well as other phytonutrients, which are great for aging skin, and the dreaded wrinkles that come with time, for most women, of course not me!! HA HA!! I also mix a whole avocado, with an egg yolk, and use that as a hair mask. To do: Mash a large avocado with one yolk, mix well and apply to wet hair. Let sit for 15 min., then follow with a regular shampoo and conditioning treatment. This is perfect for dry summer hair. Another handy oil that I not only cook with but use on my frizzy hair, is avocado oil. I love this on the ends of my hair. It keeps flyaways at bay much better than most hair serums. Specialty oils such as avocado, coconut, and almond, are considerably cheaper at TJ Maxx, than at a grocery or health food store, so I urge you to seek them out, especially if you will be using them for your body, why pay more if you don’t have to? With the money you save you can get a mani-pedi!
Strawberries and baking soda
This is one of my favorites, when I get strawberries that are soft, and not worthy of being the star in my spinach and strawberry salad, I mash them with a bit of baking soda and make a paste, then brush the mixture on my teeth, I let it sit for about two minutes, then rinse thoroughly and follow-up with a regular brushing. The baking soda helps to whiten your teeth. while the strawberry seeds act as a mild abrasive that removes plaque. It is gentle to use every day, but I use about twice a week. Another handy tip for baking soda, is to mix it with the juice of 1/2 lemon to make a paste and apply it to bare nails that are stained by dark nail polish. Leave it on about five minutes, then rinse, follow-up with a cuticle remover, gently push back your cuticles, rinse, and follow with a mani/pedi moisturizer. It really does make them brighter.
Apple Cider Vinegar
My Dad was a huge fan of Apple Cider Vinegar, long before anyone knew of the health benefits, he consumed it every day in a glass of water. He always felt it helped to regulate his sugar, he was a diabetic, and he managed to stay off insulin for many years, so maybe he was on to something. In addition to using it in my pasta salads, and on my Collard Greens, I love using this as a rinse once a week to clarify my hair. I just take about 1/4 of a cup and mix with a bit of water, and pour it over my hair, then wash my hair as I normally would, It helps to remove product that builds up and leaves hair incredibly shiny. I also use beer as well. Not as much lately, but beer helps to clarify hair and adds tons of body to hair, which with my thick waves I don’t need help getting big hair, but for those of you with thin hair that need volume, beer can get you there!
Sugar, Lemon Juice, Himalayan Pink Salt
I am a big fan of exfoliation, and dry brushing to help with lymphatic drainage. I use to buy scrubs at the store, but I hated the way my skin felt afterwards because of the chemicals they are adding to the scrub, I should also point out that I am highly allergic to many commercial products, and have been rushed to the hospital for severe reactions to hair products, and skin products, and at the urging of my EMT firefighter, will now be carrying an epipen for my safety. So I need to use all natural products as much as possible. My go to exfoliator is as follows, 2 cups of white sugar, with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and about 1/4 cup of olive oil, mix together, add to a mason jar and apply to wet skin in the shower. I usually get a few applications as an all over body scrub head to toe. It helps to remove the dead skin, and leaves your skin amazingly soft. You can also use almond oil as well, as I use both and both are amazing. I also use Himalayan Pink Salt or even Dead Sea Salt to make a scrub with almond oil, and lavender essential oil, it helps me to relax and the sea salt does a super job of exfoliating.
My dry brushing method is done before my shower, fully naked. The lymph system is your line of defense for your immune system, composed of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, lymph fluid is more prevalent in our body than blood. One third of our bodies toxins are excreted through the skin, and dry brushing is a great way to rid the body of these toxins. Lymphatic drainage is important because without proper movement, issues such as high blood pressure can create lymph edema, which I get from time to time if I am on my feet for many hours and do not keep my sodium intake in check, as I am on meds for high blood pressure, it is also a great way to break up fibrous tissue, aka cellulite, aids in digestion, I could go on and on, but trust me you will want to include this regimen into your daily shower, if you do nothing else on this page, please do this one thing for your health, well-being, and because it feels, fucking amazing!! I have a firm brush specifically designed for dry brushing. It really doesn’t matter as long as the entire body is brushed. Long sweeping circular motions work best, starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and onward to the torso in an upward direction to help drain the lymph back towards your heart.
Hair Color Boosts
Now that I am a blonde for the last several years, my natural brunette wants to fuck with me and turns my hair brassy usually about two weeks after I get my hair colored. I combat it to some degree with the use of a purple toner once a week to help, but I find that in addition to this, if I use the juice of two lemons and rinse through my hair twice a week it helps refresh the color and keep it vibrant. I also use camomile tea with the lemon to enhance the color. If you have lowlights and do not want them to fade, I would cut back on the lemon, I have not had issues with mine, but everyone’s hair shaft accepts color differently. Now for you girls that are brunette, I use to pour cooled coffee, without the cream please, with a tablespoon of cocoa powder mixed thoroughly, over my hair to bring out the highlights in my brown hair. When I was a redhead, I use to mix black coffee with cinnamon to make the red color pop. I would leave this on about 15 minutes in the shower, while I shaved my legs and belted out a little Aretha! R E S P E C T find out what it means to me! The acoustics in my shower are amazing and I sound almost decent! Operative word, almost!
Body & Pedi Milk Soak
One of my favorite soaks for body or feet is Milk. I use this when I have milk that is sour as only soured milk contains lactic acid, which is great for sloughing off dead skin cells. I usually fill a tub and add about three cups of milk or more depending on how much is sour, with the bath water, throw in some rose pedals, I always have fresh flowers in the house, it’s kind of my thing, and I use that and my dried lavender which I grow in my garden, to relax. When I am done bathing, I quickly shower off the milk as it does adhere to your skin and is not always a pleasant smell, but your skin is so supple and smooth after it, I then apply coconut oil for super baby smooth skin.
For just a pedi foot bath, I use about 1 1/2 cups of milk with some warm water, rose pedals and lavender. Soak for 20 minutes, I then use a lemon sugar scrub, rinse thoroughly and apply a peppermint pedi moisturizer and my feet are pretty enough to show off in killer strappy heels!
I hope some of these tips inspire you to get creative in the kitchen and beyond to seek natural alternatives to nurture and pamper yourself, for a more radiant, sexier, healthier you!