Do-It-Yourself

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil (melaleuca) is an incredible essential oil that has been around for quite some time. It has amazing healing components that kill bacteria and it has many benefits. It can reduce and prevent both acne and fungal infections of the nail (onychomycosis). It helps to kill lice and scabies. And it treats ringworm infection, athlete’s foot (tines pedis) and many other infections. If you have almost any type of infection or sore or itch, you should use tea tree oil to kill the bacteria that lives in the infection.

If you have a sore throat, take a bath and add it to the bath water. Tea tree oil’s healing properties and nutmeg scent will help treat the itchiness of your cough and reduce the inflammation in your throat, making it easier to breathe and sooth the soreness of your throat. Tea tree oil works by killing the bacteria and fungus that lives in the infection. This reduces your bodies allergic reaction to that bacteria or fungus.

In rare cases, tea tree oil can cause its own allergic reaction such as a rash or redness that is mildly itchy and appears as a blister. Some people have gotten severe blistering from tea tree oil. When you stop using the oil, the rash will dry up and go away on its own. So you probably want to make sure that you’re not allergic yourself before using a lot of it.

Tea tree oil should never be taken orally. Some reactions from ingesting tea tree oil include drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, blood cell abnormalities, unsteadiness, and severe rashes. Tea tree oil should never be used on pets, children, or by women who are pregnant or are breast-feeding.

My personal experience with tea tree oil has not been that great. After coming to the Cinta Aveda Institute, I started to experiment with essential oils including lavender, rose, and tea tree oil. After my face routine which included exfoliating and using toner, I would apply a couple drops of tea tree oil on my palm and dab it all over my face. At first, it was great. I noticed it would dry out some acne and it helped get rid of it much quicker then usual. But after about two months of using tea tree oil in my daily routine, I started to get this strange blistering on my forehead and cheek. At first I thought it was a staff infection, but I looked online and found my symptoms exactly matched the allergic reactions of others to tea tree oil.

Even though I like the oil, I am one of the unfortunate people that are allergic to it. I have noticed, however, that if I dilute the oil with some exfoliating toner, I don’t get any type of rash!

Pucker Up For Winter with a Do-It-Yourself Lip Scrub

Lip exfoliation is important to add to your beauty routine, especially in these dryer months. Just like your skin, lips regenerate and need help shedding those dead skin cells. Gently exfoliating them can prevent chapping and ensure your lips are soft and supple. Exfoliation makes your lips moist and helps retain moisture longer.

A good base is the key to an even and long-lasting lip liner, lipstick, and gloss application. Lipstick won’t stick to dry, flakey lips and also looks bad. So before you apply your favorite winter lipstick, try this homemade lip scrub. Lip scrubs are made to be sweet and great-tasting so scrubbing is healthy and enjoyable.

In the past I have purchased lip scrubs that were ridiculously expensive. But I’ve realized the ingredients were pretty much things I had in my kitchen. I use this every winter and absolutely love it! It makes such a big difference in how my lips feel and look, and it is so easy to make. It also smells yummy! Lip scrubs also make cute little gifts for the holidays for friends and family by placing the scrub into little mason jars adding a label and a bow!

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

  • One part honey
  • One part coconut oil
  • One part brown sugar
  • A little bit of vanilla extract, optional

Mix all ingredients together and put into a small container. Store in refrigerator and use when needed. I use it before bed and put on a good lip balm overnight.

Beauty Behind Ice

Freeze your flaws away by trying out an ice facial treatment. Ice can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions from blemished to aging, and it can be done simply from home. Depending on what you’re looking to treat, ice can provide some major benefits.

  • For blemished skin—Hold an ice cube directly on a problem area to reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain from deep, cystic acne. Wrap an ice cube in a plastic bag, and hold it onto the blemish for 10-15 minutes for results.
  • For tired eyes—wrap an ice cube inside a clean wash cloth and hold over your eyes for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling—or “bags” under your eyes. For a more powerful effect, brew caffeinated tea and freeze it into cubes, following the same instructions.
  • For dry/flaky skin—Create an icy scrub which will produce an awakening, cooling effect that’s perfect for mornings. Combine a few ice cubes with a few pieces of papaya into a blender to make your exfoliant. The ice pieces act as a mechanical exfoliant, while the natural enzymes in the papaya will act as a chemical exfoliant, to help further smooth the texture of your skin.

Ice cubes held to female face.

Homemade Coffee Exfoliant

In my previous blog post “First Day,” I mentioned that I exfoliate not only to clean my skin well but also because it boosts my confidence. I suffer from a common skin condition called Keratosis pilaris, often called KP, in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within the hair follicles. Keratin is a cream colored natural protein in the skin, but in KP, the body produces excess keratin which surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs in a process known as hyperkeratinization. Most KP bumps contain a hair that has become an ingrown hair because the keratinized skin “caps off” the hair follicle. The hair is prevented from exiting and it grows encapsulated inside the follicle.

KP is harmless, and medical treatment is neither needed nor necessary. Most people, myself included, just cope with it. Others seek out cosmetic alternatives including urea, lactic acid, glycol acid, tretinoin, laser therapy, vitamin D, or tropical retinoids. I’ve been dealing with KP for so long that it no longer bothers me. My own regimin is taking long, hot baths or showers followed by deep exfoliation of the areas of KP with a coarse washcloth or stiff brush. This helps unplug my pores.

My favorite exfoliate is a homemade concoction of coffee scrub. Since I drink a lot of coffee and I also exfoliate, why not kill two birds with one stone?

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • ½ cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. After bathing or showering, massage the scrub on your wet skin and rinse with warm water.

After exfoliating with the coffee scrub, your skin will be soft, hydrated, and ready to be bared in your favorite warm-weather ensembles.

Natural Remedies

Some of the most cost effective and naturally beneficial skin care for all skin types can be made from ingredients you can typically find in your own pantry. Some of my favorites include:

Skin Care for Dry Skin

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Leave this combination on for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water.

A Firming Toner for Aging Skin

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups purified water

Paint this mixture onto your face and neck and let dry.

A Calming Milk Mask for Rosacea or Red, Irritated Skin

  • Vitamin D milk
  • 2-3 drops rose oil, optional

Soaking a clean cloth the milk until fully saturated. Optionally, add in rose oil for added aroma and more calming effects. Wring out the cloth lightly, being careful not to remove too much of the milk. Lay the cloth over your face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your face with cool water.

Brightening for Oily Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ a small lemon, juiced

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

Brightening for Dry Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

A Gentle Exfoliant

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ⅓ cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small egg

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thin layer to the face with a brush, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, moving your hands in circular motions to gently exfoliate. Use this mask once a week to remove dead surface cells.

Natural Cleanser with a Twist

Your face is the first thing people see when they look at you. Whether you are forty, twenty four, or fourteen, you don’t want to walk around with acne on your face. I have pimples and blackheads sometimes, so I know that when someone looks at me, they are thinking: “Why didn’t you take care of that before you left the house?” But you’re not really supposed to pop pimples, and when pushing out blackheads, you should be sure to steam your face first for fifteen to twenty minutes.



I’m always reading up on new things, and lately I’ve run across this natural way to cleanse the face that’s especially good for people with super sensitive skin. First, I steam my face and take a cotton cloth to gently push the blackheads out of my face once I’m finished. Then I rinse my face with slightly cold water. (Using water that’s too cold isn’t good for your face. You’re trying to close the open pores on your face, but you shouldn’t shock and stun your pores with extra cold water.) Then I’ll take about one fourth cup lemon juice, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and about a nickel sized dollop of honey. I mix them all together and gently start to apply and massage into my face. After two to three minutes of massaging, I’ll rinse my face. Then I’ll blot my face with a towel that has a light color to make sure it’s properly cleansed. For toner, I use witch hazel which is the best natural toner out there. Then I’m done. 

This cleansing ritual also works really well for people with chest and back acne too.

I’m taking Biotin. It’s helped my hair grow, but it has also helped my face. I’m not as oily and, at the end of the day, my skin feels a lot better—it feels firmer, replenished, and hydrated.

Try this little home remedy for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lemon Mask Setup

Home Remedies for Dry Skin

October 15, 2014
By

Home Remedies for Dry Skin include Avocado

In this entry I will be discussing how to remedy dry skin at home. As the weather changes and we move into the winter months, I am sure we will all notice a change in our skin. When our bodies have trouble holding in the water and oil that it needs to keep skin moist, we end up with dry skin. One main reason you could have dry or scaly skin is due to low humidity. Heating and air conditioning can also contribute to dry skin.

  • Baking Soda

    A baking soda soak is a folk remedy to relieve itching and dry skin. Add one cup baking soda to a tub of hot water. Soak for 30 minutes and air dry.

  • Oatmeal

    Adding instant oatmeal to your bath will soothe your skin. The oats are packed with vitamin E, a nutrient vital to healthy skin.

  • Coconut Oil

    This can improve the moisture and lipid content of skin. Best applied after shower to lock in the moisture or add a spoonful to a bath for a 30 minute soak.

  • Avocado

    Since avocado is a natural emollient, it can hydrate and even prevent dry skin. You can use as a moisturizing mask one to two times a week. Mash half of the avocado and apply it directly to your face and body. If you are looking for more hydration, add a teaspoon of honey which will add moisturizing benefits to the skin.

  • Water

    Drink lots of water. It helps to keep your body hydrated and can alleviate dry skin. Eight to ten glasses daily is the minimum quantity, but it is ideal to drink more!

Benefits of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids

September 17, 2014
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We all have our issues with choosing products for our skin and finding the best effective products with ingredients that will benefit our skin! AHA’s and BHA’s are great ingredients for giving a youthful look to our skin. They both work in their own way for a particular skin type or skin problem.

AHA and BHA

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is an acid that is derived from fruits that contain skin rejuvenating properties. Most commonly known are Glycolic, Lactic, Citric, Malic, and Tartaric Acids and are found in most skin care formulations as they promote the cell turnover rate. The process in which they work is by melting down the intracellular fluid letting dead skin cells to be removed from the surface of the skin. AHAs are water soluble and are best for the sun damaged or individuals with a thicker dermis. AHAs exfoliate the surface layers of the skin and help retain more water which, in turns, helps the overall moisture content. They do not penetrate as deep as BHAs; the overall effect of the AHAs is felt on the surface of the dermis.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is specifically one organic compound—a salicylic acid. BHA will work in the same way as the AHA does by breaking down and exfoliating dead skin cells. The defining difference is that salicylic acid is oil soluble, which has the ability to penetrate pores filled with oil and exfoliate those pores. BHAs are great for those individuals with oily or acne prone skin. There is an anti-inflammatory property as well as an anti-bacterial affect from using a BHA. It is also great for sensitive skin types and those that may have a specific skin condition.

Three Sweet Secrets for Healthy Hair Treatments at Home

June 1, 2014
By

Carmen MirandaDid you just run out of your favorite store or salon—bought deep conditioner? Is your hair dehydrated and dull? Maybe you’re having a night in of pampering yourself and just want to get creative in the kitchen. I will show you a handful of ways to nourish your thirsty tresses, using easy natural recipes.

A papaya treatment can help remove build up and residue from cleansing products and chemicals, and also restore hair’s natural shine and softness. To make a papaya pack, buy a papaya and half it. If you have very long thick hair you can use the entire fruit. Peel the skin and discard along with all of the seeds. Mash the fruit until pulpy, add a half cup of plain yogurt, and blend. Apply this mixture to your hair and leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse.

Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and acts as a humectant to retain moisture. A honey treatment can be a solution to split ends and contributes to a healthy scalp, making your hair feel nourished and enriched. For a mask, heat together three tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of honey. Then add a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well. Apply it to the scalp and hair and leave it on for 30 minutes or longer. Rinse out, then shampoo. Do this once a month for healthy locks.

The ancient Egyptians were the first to recognize the fantastic benefits of avocado. It can add shine and luster to the hair, as well as prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. All you have to do is wet your hair, mash up an entire avocado, and make sure to coat all of the split ends. Leave the avocado in the hair for up to 30 minutes, and then rinse. Follow with shampoo if needed. The vitamins and amino acids will noticeably condition your thirsty ends.

Hopefully these fruity salves will help solve all of your dryness distress! Plus, you will be happy to save money by taking a break from expensive products and using these trusty treats.