House CallAug/Sep 2014 Issue

Hot Weather 911

Natural remedies for summerís bummers

Photo by Ingram publishing/Thinkstock

Photo by Ingram publishing/Thinkstock

Summertime—the living may be easy but the hot weather can wreak havoc on your hair and skin. Fortunately, natural remedies can help counter the effects of these seasonal syndromes.

High temps can speed up your metabolism, translating into more active oil glands and oilier skin. If this happens to you, carry clean cotton balls and a mild astringent, such as witch hazel or strong green tea, in your tote bag to wipe your face and freshen up naturally. Consider using a facial mask up to twice a week to keep your skin clean and healthy.

Sunshine, salt water and chlorine are especially drying to your hair. If you plan to be outdoors for long periods, wear a scarf or hat to protect your head from the sun. Hair can get sunburned, which causes it to lose its shine and break easily. Try a deep conditioning treatment once a week to restore lost moisture and keep your hair soft and flexible. To rid your hair of buildup from chlorine (or styling products), add a pinch of baking soda to your shampoo.

These DIY summer beauty treatments call for safe, natural ingredients that you may have in your kitchen. If your skin is super-sensitive and an ingredient is new to you, do a small test on your skin before using.

Sun Soothers

Sunburn can happen even when you’re careful. Fortunately, natural ingredients can help soothe a burn and relieve some of the heat and discomfort. Apply any of the following directly on your skin or add them to a tepid bath. Keep your body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water; your skin will heal faster.

Aloe Vera Gel 

Mix it with a little cornstarch to make a paste. Apply it to your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Dilute 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup cool water. Soak cotton cloths in this mixture and place them on your skin. (Herbal vinegars also work.)

Buttermilk

Spray it or dab it on your skin. (Don’t use if you’re allergic to dairy.)

Club Soda

Spray it or dab it on your skin.

Cucumber Juice

Chop a fresh cucumber into chunks. Place them in the container of a blender with a little water and process. Pat this mixture on your skin.


Summer Mask

MAKES 2 OUNCES

Sour cream is rich in lactic acid, a protein helpful in cleansing and nourishing the skin. Fresh mint is energizing and cooling. This simple facial treatment deep-cleans the skin and removes any dead skin cells from the surface. Do not use if you’re allergic to dairy.

ľ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons gluten-free oats

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves

1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Massage mixture onto your face and neck. Leave on 20 minutes.

3. Rinse with warm water. Rinse again with cool water.


Chlorine Hair Care

MAKES 2 OUNCES

Pool chemicals and chlorine are harsh on hair. Wetting your head with fresh water before jumping in the pool keeps hair strands from sponging up chlorinated water. Rinsing after a swim wards off hair damage. If your hair gets a greenish tint from swimming in the pool, this treatment can help.

2 tablespoons baking soda
ľ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon mild shampoo

1. Mix all ingredients in a small container.

2. Wet hair and massage with mixture, making sure all the ends are coated.

3. Cover hair with plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap. Leave on 20 minutes.

4. Rinse hair and shampoo as usual. Repeat treatment as needed.


Conditioning Hair Pack

MAKES 1 TREATMENT

Sun, wind, chlorine and salt water are surefire instigators for dry, damaged hair. To restore moisture and keep your tresses healthy, use this deep-conditioning pack once a week.

1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon pure honey

1. Mix banana and honey in a small bowl until smooth and creamy.

2. Wet hair with warm water.

3. Massage banana-honey conditioner into hair and scalp. Cover hair with plastic wrap or a towel. Leave on 20 minutes.

4. Rinse hair and shampoo as usual.

Janice Cox is author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Company) and other books about personal care using all-natural products.

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