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A good skincare regimen will give you healthy, vibrant skin. But as you walk through the skincare products section of your favorite drug or department store, you’re faced with hundreds of creams, cleansers, and exfoliates that promise to give your skin a healthy and moisturized glow, but generally fall short of your expectations. And skincare aides are expensive, too expensive to be stuck in a cabinet somewhere and forgotten! If you are serious about taking care of your skin and want to save some time and money, try these natural remedies that you probably already have at home.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a staple in any well-constructed deli sandwich, but it can also be used as a moisturizing cream for when you have to shave! Whether you are a man or woman, mayonnaise will give you a nice shaving lather and will keep your skin from breaking out in a rash afterward. Using mayonnaise gives you a savings of over $50/year.

Olive and Coconut Oils

While olive and coconut oils are great for cooking, these oils also do wonders for dry skin and hair. Olive oil contains vitamin E and polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. Coconut oil protects your skin from harmful UV rays. For the best results, simply massage these oils on your skin when you get out of the shower while you’re still damp. Your skin will quickly absorb it and you won’t feel greasy.

Honey

Honey is a gift from nature. Use it as a beauty aid and use it regularly, because contains vitamin B and antioxidants that will moisturize and bring back softness to damaged skin. Mix a bit of honey with sugar and oil (or milk) and make a sugar scrub with it. You can then give your hands, feet, and face a good scrub, rinse and feel the results: super-soft silkiness. A simple honey-and-sugar scrub is an excellent replacement for the chemical peels and synthetic body scrubs found at the store.

Avocado

And you thought avocados were only for making a delicious bowl of guacamole! Well that’s all fine and dandy, but just know that they also turn magical when you use them on your skin. Make a paste using a couple of slices of avocado and apply it directly to your face for about 20 minutes. Once you rinse it off, your skin will be noticeably softer and enriched with vitamins E and C. Avocado masks are much safer for your skin than the chemical peels at the store and it’ll save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plants have been around for thousands of years and are a natural remedy for sun-damaged skin and injuries; providing much needed moisture to your skin. Not only does aloe vera contain anti-inflammatory enzymes that soothe the skin, but it also has vitamins C and E to actually heal it. Whether you have a sunburn or are looking for a healthy glow, invest in an aloe plant. When you’re ready to use it, just cut off the outer skin of the leaf and scrape out the gel with a spoon and apply it directly to skin.

Fight off the signs of aging, keep your skin healthy and bring out the glow with these natural beauty helpers!

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How to Choose Natural Hair Products Like a Pro

The natural hair industry is booming. That’s good news for curly- and kinky-haired women, but it can also be really overwhelming! There are so many brands, and every brand has multiple lines of products for different things. If you feel paralyzed by the sheer number of options, here are a few guidelines to help simplify things.

Learn to decipher the ingredients

This is the most empowering thing that you can do as a consumer of hair products. Don’t just buy products based on what they claim that they’ll do — check out the ingredients on the back. Pay special attention to the first five ingredients, since those are the most highly concentrated.

You don’t have to learn all about hair chemistry to figure out which ingredients to look for. If you have a few products that have worked well for you—or, conversely, products that you hated—you can start there. Which ingredients are in those products? Some specific things to look for include:

  • Does the product contain oil, and if so, what kind?
  • Is there glycerin?
  • Is there protein? Is it one of the main ingredients or further down?

These are just 3 of the most common love/hate ingredients. Figure out what your hair loves and hates, and branch out from there.

Get to know your hair

A lot of women have multiple curl patterns on the same head of hair, but knowing your overall location on the hair type spectrum is helpful. If you have a very loose curl pattern, creams and butters will wreak havoc on your hair. Conversely, if you have tight coils, you can skip any conditioner that comes in a spray bottle—chances are, it simply won’t pack enough oomph.

Aside from how your hair looks, how does it usually feel? Most hair falls into the “high porosity” or “low porosity” camp. Low porosity hair needs tons of moisture, preferably with heat. High porosity hair needs less moisture but with plenty of oil to seal it in.

Does your hair become frizzy a lot? If so, a strong conditioner or gel is your new best friend. Do your strands break off easily or become limp? Then you may actually need less moisture. Instead, go for a product with protein.

Knowing what your hair needs will help you target your search.

Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Still, it’s impossible to know what results you’ll get until you’ve gone through the whole routine. Even the same products can have different results on different days. Curly hair is mysterious if nothing else!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have the money to spend on products I might end up hating!” I feel the same way. A couple tips for experimenting on a budget:

  • Buy travel sizes at your local beauty store.
  • Let other folks experiment for you. Read or watch some online reviews to get a head start.
  • Start exchanging products with friends so you each get to try new things.

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