The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Jan. 17: NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DRY HAIR, ITCHY SKIN, AND MORE

 

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DRY HAIR, ITCHY SKIN, AND MORE

BEAT THESE COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NATURAL REMEDIES
By Margaret Boyles & Margaret Ross
If you suffer from frizzy hair, itchy skin, chapped lips, or one of many other common cosmetic issues, try these easy and time-tested natural remedies!

GENERAL ADVICE

  • First, forget the idea that drinking plenty of water will keep your skin (eyes, nasal passages, nails) moist and your hair well behaved. Dermatologists say that while drinking water is important for overall health, as far as moisturizing skin, hair, and nails are concerned, you need to add moisture from the outside and prevent it from escaping into the drier surrounding air.
  • Humidifying dry indoor air helps to provide that indoor moisture. It’s especially important if you suffer bloody noses and lots of respiratory infections. You could run an electric humidifier, but passive solutions may do the trick for you. We maintain a lot of well-watered houseplants that transpire water into the indoor air. We keep steamers going on each of our stoves that pump moisture into the air whenever the stove is running.
  • Hanging your laundry on bars indoors is another great strategy. It doesn’t take much longer to dry near the woodstove than it would in an electric dryer, and while it dries, your laundry humidifies the air around it.

NATURAL REMEDIES

Dull, Frizzy, Dry Hair

  • Use lemon juice as a rinse over freshly washed hair to induce natural highlights, especially if you’re a blond. It’s instant sunshine for your hair, in a fruit.
  • Beer has long been used—even by professionals—as a setting lotion and conditioner. Pour straight from the can or bottle, comb through and rinse.
  • Mayonnaise, straight from the jar, will make hair soft and shiny. The egg nourishes brittle hair with protein, while the vinegar gives it body and bounce.
  • Try this mixture to regain supple hair: Mix one teaspoon powdered brewers’ yeast with four ounces of apple cider vinegar to create an after wash rinse. Pour it over wet hair and let stand at least a minute before rinsing.
  • To tame flyaway hair, try a weekly deep-conditioning. For a rich conditioning treatment that you’d pay $30 to $100 for at a salon, mix a couple of tablespoons of olive, coconut, or castor oil with ½ cup of full-fat mayonnaise (alternatively: a ripe, mashed avocado), and massage into your hair and scalp. Then wrap your hair in a large plastic grocery bag and top it off with a warm, dry towel for about 30 minutes. Wash and rinse as usual (but sometimes twice is needed, to remove the oil).
  • To make a light and moisturizing leave-in conditioner, mix two parts water, one part witch hazel, two parts vegetable glycerin (a natural moisturizer available online or in health/natural food stores), and a tablespoon of olive or other cooking oil per cup of liquid in a spray bottle. If you have aloe vera gel on hand, add one part of that to the mixture. A few drops of essential oil will give you a scented product. Spritz on wet or dry hair before styling.

Oily Hair and Skin

  • Add one teaspoon baking soda to two ounces of your shampoo. This works as an alkali to absorb excess oil.
  • Baking soda works the same way with skin, it will absorb oil and also neutralize excess acid in your skin. Make a paste with baking soda and water.
  • Try lemon juice as an astringent facial cleanser.

Dry, Itchy Skin

  • You could use a commercial moisturizer or simply apply a thin coat of olive oil immediately after showering or bathing.
  • Dermatologists also suggest taking shorter baths or showers in warm (not hot) water. Use a mild, glycerin-based soap. And stay away from hair or skin-care products that contain any forms of alcohol, which are drying agents.
  • If you have itchy skin, try a soothing oatmeal bath.
  • For a homemade scrub, mix ground oats and honey. Rub all over your face—especially your nose. The abrasive will remove dry, scaly skin while the honey seeps in as a moisturizer. Rinse completely off and pat dry, and your skin will be glowing and baby soft. Only use this remedy once a week.
  • For superdry skin, use olive oil. Rub it in prior to a bath or shower. You may substitute peanut, sesame or sunflower oil.
  • A quart of milk in a hot bath is a luxury as well as a skin toner. It’s a trick nearly as old as time..

Puffy, Tired-Looking, Dry Eyes

  • Used teabags make excellent eye cosmetics. After being dunked (and allowed to cool slightly), drain the tea bag and place it over your closed eye (one for each) and hold it there for a few minutes. Redness, soreness, swelling and irritation will disappear like magic.
  • If you suffer from dry, scratchy, itchy, eyes, try laying a warm, moist washcloth over your closed lids for a few minutes each day.
    • This simple, effective treatment helps to liquefy the lubricating oil in glands located along the eyelids. It may take a few days, but if you use the compresses faithfully, you should experience relief.

 

Dry, Chapped Lips

  • To prevent cracked or chapped lips, use a lip balm and apply it often. It’s inexpensive and easy to make your own. If you make a big batch that’s a bit heavier on the olive oil, you can use your homemade balm for hands, fingernails, facial moisturizer, and (just a dab) hair conditioner, too.
  • Plain honey is an excellent remedy for chapped lips. Leave on overnight—it makes for sweet dreams!

Brittle Nails and Ragged Cuticles

  • To prevent brittle nails and ragged cuticles, use your homemade balm or a commercial conditioning agent after bathing or doing dishes. Some dermatologists suggest coating hands and nails with Vaseline or another moisturizing product and wearing cotton gloves overnight to treat dry nails and cuticles.
  • If you polish your nails, find an acetone-free polish remover, as acetone is a serious drying agent.
  • Also make sure to wear gloves or mittens when you go outside to prevent the dry winter air from drawing moisture from your hands and nails.

SOURCE:

Parts adapted from The 1977 Old Farmer’s Almanac.
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