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21 Affordable and Natural DIY Beauty Tricks

21 Affordable and Natural DIY Beauty Tricks

If you’re looking for environmentally-friendly natural beauty methods that don’t cost a bundle, we have good news: You can treat yourself from head to toe with stuff that you’ve probably already got in your kitchen. Here are 21 couldn’t-be-easier beauty hacks that are 100 percent natural and totally affordable.

Hair

1. Moisturize tired tresses

Hair that’s colored, highlighted, or regularly heat-styled (like with a curling iron or flat iron) can get dried out. Give your mane a moisturizing mask right from your refrigerator. In a bowl, mash together one banana and one avocado until the mixture has a smooth, even texture. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the mixture evenly through clean, damp hair, then pop on a shower cap (you want the mask on your hair, not your clothes or furniture). Wait at least 15 minutes, then hop in the shower and rinse.

2. Make beachy waves anywhere

A beach day’s great, but if you don’t have the time (or a conveniently located ocean), you can get the look with grocery store ingredients. Make your own salt spray by mixing a teaspoon of sea salt into 20 ounces of seltzer. Put it into a spray bottle and spritz liberally while scrunching your hair. Another option for major waves: Coat your strands in your DIY salt spray, then braid hair (two French braids are best). Let your locks dry out, then unbraid your tresses for serious mermaid hair.

3. Prevent split ends

Coconut oil is kind of a magic bullet when it comes to DIY beauty hacks — there’s so much you can use it for, and you can pretty much put it all over. It’s rich in fatty acids and proteins, so it’s great for keeping hair hydrated. Rub just a little bit between your fingertips — seriously, just a dab is plenty — and use it as a treat for the ends of your hair, pinching it into the ends. It’ll help keep your style neat and prevent damage without weighing down your locks, so this hack will work even for fine hair.

4. Fix discolored pool hair

If you’ve been spending your summer days in the pool (or even if you have really hard water!), chlorine and other chemicals can tint your tresses green. Yuck! To tone it down, take some tomato juice into the shower with you — you’ll need at least 8 ounces, though long hair may require more. Massage the juice through your locks, then let it sit for about 15 minutes. That gives the acids in the tomato juice time to nix the chemical residue. Rinse it out, then shampoo and condition as usual.

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5. Get a head full of curls

We’ve all heard bouncy, Shirley Temple-style hair described as “corkscrew curls,” but if you’ve got leftover wine corks around the house, you can actually use them as curlers. You can use them exactly as you’d use a regular curler — wrap a 1-inch strand of damp hair around a cork, then use bobby pins to secure it in place. When you’re done, hit it with a hair dryer until completely dry, then unroll your curls. We’re not saying it’s a license to drink more wine, but hey, it’s a reason to hang onto your corks.

6. Amp up blonde highlights

Spritzing your hair with lemon juice has long been a trick for lightening your locks, but the results can be brassy. To lighten and brighten blonde hair more gently, try chamomile tea. There’s a reason you often see chamomile as an ingredient in color-boosting shampoos and conditioners — it’s a gentle color booster for blonde, with chemicals that are easier on tresses than the citric acid in lemons (though admittedly, many chamomile blends include some citrus). To do, brew up a cup of strong chamomile tea — just leave the tea bag be and let it keep steeping while the tea cools off. Once it’s cool, comb it through your hair everywhere you want it lighter. Then either sit outside or blow-dry until your tresses are completely dry for bright, non-brassy color.

7. Boost red or brown hair

Not a blonde? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. To give red or brown hair — including color-treated strands — more pop, do a rinse with cranberry juice. After washing your hair, thoroughly saturate your damp tresses with cranberry juice (real cranberry juice is better than cranberry cocktail, but technically either will work). The longer you leave it on, the bolder your results. The only caveat: Unlike lightening your strands, this isn’t permanent (it’ll last through 1 or 2 washes).

8. Get shinier strands

Hair looking dull from overstyling? An easy DIY clarifying rinse will do the trick (and save you money compared to buying a clarifying shampoo). Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a half cup of water (double the receipt for longer locks). Using a wide-tooth comb, spread the mixture evenly through damp hair. The vinegar’s acidity helps seal up your hair’s cuticles, making your strands look shiny and healthy. After letting it sit for five minutes, rinse your hair with cold water to get the most benefit — heat will encourage the cuticles to open up again.

Face

9. Clean skin naturally

Apple cider vinegar can help your face, too. Here however, you can take advantage of its astringent properties to reduce shine. Put a little on a cotton ball or makeup pad, and swipe all over your face as a toner. If you’ve got combination skin, just focus on your T-zone (across your forehead, and down the middle of your face including nose and chin) to take down any oiliness.

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10. Send under-eye bags packing

Didn’t get enough sleep last night? If you want to look like you got your beauty sleep, it’s all about caffeine — but not the way you might think. Soak two tea bags (black tea or green tea, as long as it’s caffeinated) in ice water for a few minutes. Squeeze them out (so tea’s not running all over the place), then apply directly to your eyes and leave ’em there for at least 5 minutes. You can place them over your entire eye area, or just under your eyes. The combo of the caffeine and the cold nixes puffiness and dark circles.

11. Get an extra bright smile

There are baking soda toothpastes out there, and there’s always the option of brushing with just baking soda, but an effective combo is to sprinkle a little baking soda on your toothpaste before brushing your teeth. It’ll help remove surface stains (like from coffee or wine) and can get into spaces your brush can’t reach. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly when you’re through!

12. Plump up your pout

Want a natural way to get fuller lips? Moisturize your kisser while boosting volume with this simple concoction: Add a little pinch of cinnamon to a few drops of almond oil, then massage into your lips. Want to go extra-tingly (and extra-plump)? Do half almond oil, half peppermint oil with the cinnamon.

13. Make a moisturizing face mask

There are lots of DIY mask options that you can make with natural ingredients from your kitchen for almost ever dilemma your face, well, faces. This one’s an amazing moisturizer, perfect for skin that parched from staying out late or hitting the beach all day (or both). Mash up half an avocado with 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey, and layer it onto your face. Relax for 10 minutes or so, then rinse clean with a wash cloth.

14. Put pimples on ice

Feel a zit coming on? Pop an ice cube in a sandwich bag and hold it right on the little bugger. Try to hold it for at least five minutes, more if you can (we know, it’s cold). The ice will help decrease the inflammation, so the pimple will be less prominent and less red. If it’s cystic acne (those painful, deep, under-the-skin zits), the ice will also help numb away the physical pain.

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15. Exfoliate and brighten your complexion

Kiwis are such adorable, fuzzy little fruits — but dealing with all those little seeds can be a pain in the you-know-what. Put those seeds to your advantage with this one-ingredient facial fix. Peel a ripe kiwi, slice it up, then mash the slices with a fork — just mix all those little seeds into it. Scoop it up with your fingers, and work the paste all over your clean, damp face, rubbing with a circular motion. All those tiny seeds are perfect exfoliators, banishing dead skin cells, plus all of the vitamin C helps improve your skin texture and fight free radicals. Scrub for 60 seconds, then rinse your face with warm water.

16. Treat sun-damaged skin

This yummy and easy serum is perfect for soothing spots that have gotten too much sun — it’s perfect for your nose and forehead, but also for shoulders and the upper torso. Squeeze juice from a slice of ripe watermelon, then take one tablespoon of your watermelon juice and mix it thoroughly with a tablespoon of raw honey. Apply where needed to moisturize and soothe irritated skin. Let your serum sit for 20 minutes or so, then gently rinse it away with cool water.

Body

17. Get a smoother bod

Heard about how terrible those little beads you see in exfoliating scrubs are for the environment? Get smooth, glowing skin naturally by mixing up your own scrub. Mix equal parts sugar (white or brown works, but coarser is better — think raw, not refined) and olive or almond oil. If you’d like a scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil — peppermint is especially refreshing. Then exfoliate by rubbing the mixture all over your skin. To get the most benefit, massage it around for a few minutes before rinsing off.

18. Treat your hands

Your hands work hard all day! Give them a break with an ultra-rich natural treatment. Mix one tablespoon of honey — a natural humectant, i.e. moisturizer — into one cup of plain yogurt. Slather all over your hands, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off and enjoy your soft, renewed skin.

19. Give your deodorant back up

Want to be sure you’re absolutely, positively BO-free? Top off your deodorant with a light dusting of baking soda (just a pinch, since you don’t want to powder your clothes). It does the same thing for your pits that it does for your fridge, neutralizing and absorbing odors.

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20. Soothe stressed skin

To relieve dry, itchy skin, make yourself an oatmeal bath. Sounds crazy, but it works! To do it, just add 1 to 2 cups of dry oatmeal to a warm bath. The water releases the oats’ natural fats and complex sugars. These turn into a thin, moisturizing jelly (you’ll be able to see it in the surface of the water but trust us, it’s a good thing), which soothes dryness, itchiness, and redness.

21. Scrub your feet smooth

Exfoliate your feet and grind away at those calluses with this easy DIY scrub. Put half a cup of walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground. Then mix the nuts into a cup of plain yogurt. The yogurt moisturizes, while the nuts exfoliate (and again, are much better for the environment than those beads). Even better: As you work on your feet, you’re exfoliating your hands too… unless you’ve got someone else rubbing it into your feet, in which case you’re super-relaxed and hey, they’re getting smoother hands!

Featured photo credit: Kim Love via flickr.com

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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