I love hot weather but the humidity is turning my hair into a giant frizz ball. What can I do?
Signed, Messy in Mauston
While summer brings much to enjoy — sunshine, swimming pools, bratwurst — it can really wreak havoc on one’s hair. Speaking as a person whose mane can not be tamed, I sympathize with your humidity-induced predicament. I also have experience in remedying the situation, and I’m happy to share some tips with you.
One of the best weapons against frizz is a good conditioner. In addition to conditioning every time I wash my hair (I love John Masters Avocado Intensive Conditioner), I like to do a weekly leave-in treatment. I usually coat my hair in a generous helping of coconut oil, put on a shower cap, and kick back for a couple hours while the oil works its magic. Then I wash it out and enjoy my silky smooth ‘do. I’m also a fan of this recipe adapted from Organic Authority (organicauthority.com).
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp. almond oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients and massage into hair. Leave on for twenty minutes, then shampoo.
Another great way to fight frizz is with a smoothing spray. Try this recipe adapted from Overthrow Martha (overthrowmartha.com).
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp distilled water
1 tsp vegetable glycerin
3 drops argan oil
3 drops rose essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a small spray bottle. To use, shake well and spray on hair every morning.
If you’d rather buy a product, I recommend: Acure Leave-In Conditioner, Aubrey GPB Conditioner, and the afore-mentioned John Masters Avocado Intensive Conditioner.
For Valentine’s Day I’d like to make my own massage oil. Can you suggest something sensual?
Signed, Romantic in Rio
What a fabulous idea! Nothing says romance like a sexy scent, and who doesn’t love a massage? I like this recipe adapted from The Aromatherapy Companion by Victoria H. Edwards because its ingredients have aphrodisiac properties.
2 ounces almond oil
1 ounce apricot oil
1 ounce avocado oil
3 drops ylang ylang essential oil
5 drops orange essential oil
4 drops vanilla essential oil
3 drops jasmine essential oil
4 drops sandalwood essential oil
4 drops neroli essential oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil
Mix carrier oils in a 4 ounce amber glass bottle. Add essential oils drop by drop. Cap bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend. Can also be used as a bath or body oil.
I also recommend this adaptation of Edwards’ recipe for sweet and spicy edible oil.
30 drops German chamomile essential oil
2 ounces vegetable glycerin
2 ounces almond oil
2 drops cinnamon essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix glycerin and almond oil in a 4 ounce amber glass bottle. Add essential oils, cap, and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.
It is of utmost importance to note that THESE MASSAGE OILS ARE NOT LATEX COMPATIBLE. (So plan accordingly!)
If you prefer a premade massage oil, I like Love Oil from Four Elements and Badger Deep Tissue Massage Oil with warming ginger and cayenne.
I’d like to make gifts for my family this year.
Can you suggest some simple recipes?
Signed, Crafty in Crivitz
So glad to hear you’re going the DIY gift route rather than hitting the mall. What’s more thoughtful (or affordable) than a gift made by hand? And these recipes couldn’t be easier.
For the tub lover in your life, try these bath bombs adapted from Lauren Cox’s Ecobeauty.
1 cup baking soda
1 cup citric acid powder
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup almond oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil
plastic molds such as ice cube trays
Stir ingredients together until crumbly dough forms. (Add more baking soda or oil if needed.) Pack mixture into molds and let dry overnight. Gently tap molds to release bombs, then let air dry for one day. Yields approximately four bath bombs.
Maybe mom or sis would like this citrus sugar hand scrub, also adapted from Ecobeauty.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fine sea salt
8 drops lemon essential oil
3 tablespoons almond oil
Stir ingredients together until well mixed and pour into glass jar (preferably a cute one) with tight-fitting lid. Yields about eight ounces.
For the man in your life, I suggest this bay rum aftershave adapted from a recipe in Janice Cox’s Natural Beauty at Home.
1/2 cup witch hazel
2 tablespoons Jamaican rum
1 tablespoon glycerin
2 bay leaves, dried
1/4 teaspoon allspice, whole
1 cinnamon stick
zest from one small orange
Mix all ingredients and pour into a clean glass jar. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place for two weeks. After two weeks, strain and pour into a dark glass bottle. Yields four ounces.
Spring is finally here but my skin is not ready to be shown! Any ideas on how to brighten up?
Signed, Dessicated in Door County
Boy, can I relate! After a long, Wisconsin winter I’m practically covered in scales. So before I pull out my tank tops and flip flops, I like to give myself a head to toe treatment featuring ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. It’s like spending the day at an expensive spa without the hefty price tag!
Let’s start with a DIY scrub. The sugar in this recipe, adapted from Lauren Cox’s EcoBeauty, acts as both a physical and a chemical exfoliant; the granules help slough away dead skin while the trace amounts of naturally-occurring glycolic acid help dissolve dead skin cells. Both exfoliation methods act to reveal the fresh, radiant skin hiding underneath your winter layer. And the coffee stimulate circulation, which further increases the glow factor.
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond oil
1/2 cup coffee grounds
Stir ingredients together until well mixed and spoon into a wide-mouthed container. To use, rub a couple tablespoons of scrub all over your body, concentrating on rough spots like knees and elbows. Rinse well.
Once you’ve scrubbed your skin baby smooth, it’s time to seal in the softness with a moisturizing body oil. Immediately post-scrub, while still damp from the shower, simply slather yourself in the oil of your choice. If you have almond oil left over from your scrub recipe, it’s an excellent choice for all skin types. Other great options include grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Or try Evan Healy’s Sweet Blossom Hydrating Body Oil, which smells absolutely divine. Et voila! You’re ready for shorts, sandals, and sunshine.
I’m a single lady who plans to spend Valentine’s Day pampering the heck out of herself! Got any ideas?
Signed, Solo in Stetsonville
Good for you! If there’s one thing I believe in, it’s the importance of treating yourself. In my experience, one of the best ways to do this is to give yourself a facial. Sure, you could go to a spa, but it’s more fun (and a lot cheaper) to have a DIY Facial at home, and the results are just as fabulous!
Start by washing your face. Once you’re nice and clean, it’s time to steam! To do a facial steam, you’ll need two quarts of water, one cup of dried herbs and a big pot. Which herbs you use depends on your skin; try chamomile for dry skin, lavender for normal skin or rosemary for oily skin. Put the water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Add herbs, cover and turn off the heat. Let things sit for a few minutes, uncover and stir. Next, remove the pot from the stove and set it on a table or other surface so you can sit by it. Drape a towel over your head and around the pot, making a tent to contain the steam. Sit for as long as you can with your head six inches above the pot.
When you’re finished steaming, your pores will be wide open. meaning it’s the ideal time to do a facial mask. Mix a little bit of clay (try green for oily skin or white for normal to dry skin) with a liquid like distilled water, witch hazel, yogurt or rosewater. Use just enough liquid to make a smooth paste, adding more clay and/or liquid to even things out. Apply the mixture with your fingers or a brush and relax with a good book while the clay draws out impurities and gently exfoliates your face. Rinse the mask off and admire your skin as it glows like a light bulb!
Skin going crazy? Kitty suggests a recipe for a pumpkin pie facial mask that’s good enough to eat!
I love fall, but the change in seasons is causing my face to freak out. Help!
Signed, Fluctuating in Florence
Rest assured, you’re not the only one whose skin gets screwy when the seasons change. In order to ease the transition, try whipping up a calming facial mask.
In EcoBeauty, author Lauren Cox suggests using one of fall’s signature ingredients, pumpkin, to help soothe stressed skin. Try this recipe adapted from Cox’s book.
Pumpkin Pie Mask
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 drops pure vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until they form a paste. Spoon mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. To use, spread one tablespoon onto clean face, avoiding eye area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well.
Not only is pumpkin full of vitamin A and other beneficial nutrients, it also contains exfoliating enzymes. Dead cells on the surface of your face can lead to clogged pores and dull-looking skin; the enzymes in pumpkin gently dissolve these dead cells, revealing the fresh and radiant skin beneath.
Once you’ve exfoliated your skin, I suggest applying a simple facial oil. Although it may seem counter intuitive to add oil to oily skin, it actually helps your skin bring itself into balance. This balance is especially important during skin-stressing times like the change in seasons. Try pressing a few drops of argan oil into damp skin, or pick up one of the many superb facial serums sold at Community Pharmacy. Happy fall!
By Kitty Magoo, CP Advice Columnist
My hair gets oily in the summer but I don’t always have time to wash it. Help!
Greasy in Grafton
I hear ya! As someone who enjoys exercise but can’t always shower right after, I’ve struggled to find a way to deal with the sweaty mess that is my post-workout hair. After spending some time on the Internet, I stumbled across the solution: dry shampoo!
The concept is shockingly simple: your roots are greasy so you sprinkle them with an absorbent powder that soaks up excess oil, making your hair appear clean even if you haven’t gone near a shower in days (which I don’t necessarily recommend, but to each her own). You’re probably wondering how dumping stuff on your head could possibly leave your hair cleaner, but it really works! Try this recipe for DIY Dry Shampoo, courtesy of http://www.veganbeautyreview.com.
Cocoa Powder Dry Shampoo
5 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. cornstarch
5 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix ingredients in a blender for a few seconds. Apply mixture to roots, wait a few minutes, then brush out. Note that this recipe is only appropriate for dark hair; for blonde hair, simply omit cocoa powder and use 7 tsp. cornstarch.
Other common ingredients include orris root powder, cornmeal, oatmeal, clay, baking soda … basically any absorbent powder will do. Experiment with varying recipes until you find the right one for your hair. Or if you’d rather buy a pre-made dry shampoo, Community Pharmacy sells one by Logona that features Rhassoul clay. (It also doubles as a surfactant-free cleanser if you’re into multitasking.)