As a multi-billion dollar industry, the tooth whitening business is big news, and everyone seems to want a whiter, brighter, more perfect smile. It’s not hard to understand why: A set of pearly whites instantly boosts confidence levels and is also seen as an external sign of a healthy lifestyle.
The problem with professional teeth whitening methods (you know, the procedures that go down in dental clinics) is that treatments are loaded with harsh chemicals, which can cause sensitivities that linger far longer than the effect they create. They also cost big bucks.
Luckily, there are natural ingredients and recipes out there that you can use to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home, and the best part of it is that they won’t put a dent in your pocket!
Here, 3 DIY ways to naturally whiten your pearly whites:
1. Activated Charcoal
Coming in as our favorite teeth whitening remedy, activated charcoal might also seem like the most controversial way of whitening your teeth, but you’ll be amazed at the results when used as part of your dental routine.
Take your toothbrush and wet it a little before dipping it into some activated charcoal powder. Proceed to brush your teeth with the black powder for roughly 2 minutes. After you’re done, rinse, repeat the process with regular toothpaste, and rinse again. You can use this on a daily basis until you get the results you’re looking for. Once you’re happy with the whiteness of your teeth, use the charcoal method once a week to maintain a white smile.
Be warned: You’ll probably be grossed out by what the treatment looks like while you’re doing it, and you might even think that we’ve given you a surefire way to permanently stain your teeth… But as soon as you rinse, brush, and rinse again, we promise there won’t be any signs of havoc. Instead, you’ll be left with teeth that are white again. It typically takes about 2 weeks of application to see visible improvements.
Why does it work?
Activated charcoal has the ability to bind to tannins, which is the substance that causes teeth to become discolored. Activated charcoal also changes the pH of your mouth, which means that it can be used to help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
2. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
Sure, baking soda is a great home-cleaner, especially when it comes to bathroom dirt and grime. But it’s also extremely effective at getting rid of stains on your teeth!
Mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice to form a thick paste. Put the paste on your toothbrush and then apply it to your teeth using the toothbrush. Leave the paste on your teeth for up to 1 minute and then rinse well.
Don’t leave the paste on for longer than one minute because the lemon juice can remove the enamel from your teeth (which is very, very not good). You can also opt to leave the lemon juice out of the equation, which makes it safe to leave on for up to 3 minutes.
Why does it work?
Since it’s mildly abrasive, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can gently and effectively scrub away surface stains on the teeth. Lemon juice, on the other hand, is very acidic (which is balanced out by the alkalinity of the baking soda), and it’s also a natural bleach of sorts.
Technically, this method requires the use of 3 natural ingredients: fresh strawberries, baking soda, and salt. When used as part of your daily bedtime routine, your teeth will be whiter and shinier in about a week’s time!
Mash up three large strawberries and then add a pinch of sea salt to the mush. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda at this point if you prefer. Wipe your teeth down with a paper towel to get rid of any saliva before applying a generous amount of the paste to your teeth by using a toothbrush or your finger. Allow the mixture to work for 1-2 minutes, then rinse.
Keep in mind:
Strawberries are also highly acidic which can damage enamel. Make sure you don’t leave the paste on for extended periods of time.
Why does it work?
Naturally high in vitamin C, strawberries can help break down plaque, which is one of the root causes of teeth that appear yellow in color. The other amazing thing about strawberries is their malic acid content, which acts to remove surface stains. Salt comes in as the abrasive ingredient here, scrubbing away the nastiness that causes stains in the first place. Finally, baking soda adds just a little more whitening power, but it’s totally optional, and you don’t have to include it in the paste.
Which method(s) will you be trying?
Have a better DIY teeth whitening recipe? Let us know in the comments below.
I was in the country for the weekend where summer seemed to be a distant memory with the temperature peaking at a brisk 63 degrees. Excited by the cooler climate, I whipped out my cashmere sweaters and Burberry wool blend coat (I highly recommend purchasing this slim-fitting, versatile black jacket to add to your fall wardrobe – I practically live in mine!). At last, I thought, fall has arrived.
Ahhhh. Not so fast. I returned to Los Angeles yesterday where the sun blasted me with her oppressive rays and the temperature hit 100 degrees. To say I was hot would be an understatement. I was melting… which got me thinking, how do we navigate these drastic weather differences — from city to city and day to day?
I turned to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, whose clients include Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Karlie Kloss, and Michelle Williams, to tackle this looming climate-slash-skincare crisis. When it comes to all-natural and DIY skincare, Vargas is one of the best in the business.
Here, she explains how to transition your skin – and your skincare routine – from summer to fall, and offers up a few of her favorite transitional products, plus a post-sun treatment mask that will have your complexion glowing (literally) within minutes.
Sarah Howard: How does skin change from summer to fall?
Joanna Vargas: At the end of the summer going into fall, the sunscreen that we’ve used is clogging pores, most people have suffered sun damage, and their skin looks dull and dehydrated, really clogged. Fall treatments for me include really great exfoliation. I like to have people do my Exfoliating Mask and even sleep in the mask overnight so it stays on the face for a long time to clean out the pores. Another great at home fall beauty mask is combining yogurt with honey.
SH: How should you alter your product regimen?
JV: Skin needs more TLC during the fall because the transition from humid to cold weather can be extremely drying. Dry skin is so fragile, and you have to do more to protect your lipid layer. I suggest adding a day cream to your routine that contains soothing Shea and cocoa butter – they melt at body temperature so they go right into the skin and stay there all day, so you don’t end up feeling dry halfway through the day. Also, another great ingredient to look for is avocado oil. It contains so many amazing vitamins for the skin and lymphatic system, so it will depuff, hydrate and soothe the skin.
SH: Add or subtract anything in particular?
JV: Fall skin is damaged, dry and in need of repair. The best way to start is to use a cleanser that can exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate collagen production. I would also consider doing a nice peel to really start fall refreshed. I like both fruit acids and enzymatic peels. Also, summer sun and pollution stress the skin and fall is the perfect time to repair the damage with an intensive moisturizer.
SH: How can you manage these at home?
JV: The best skincare tip I can recommend is something I learned when my son had excema as a baby. To this day it is my family secret for healing dry, sensitive skin. Boil a large pot of water with one cup of chamomile tea leaves and one cup of rosemary. Cook these for fifteen minutes. Then strain and add this water to your bath. Not only will you feel relaxed from your day, this potion will soothe your skin like nothing else. Dry patches and redness will disappear overnight!
Also, Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom. It will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing. For those who are afraid of the bacteria that sometimes can accumulate in a humidifier, you can even get a little one that attaches to a mini water bottle.
DIY TIP: A great at-home scrub would be 1/4 cup of almond powder plus 1/2 cup of olive oil- it’s so simple but scrubbing this on the skin for a few minutes in the morning will soften sun damage, exfoliate dead cells and actually calm the skin. Plus it adds a glow!
SH: What are your 5 must have fall skin products?
JV: I love the Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser for fall because it also doubles as an exfoliant. This cleanser contains rice bran which helps to remove the damage while the geranium acts as an anti-bacterial agent and seaweed stimulate the lymphatic system.
Eve Lom Cleanser is awesome for soothing and hydrating the skin while removing all traces of makeup on the face. It’s one of those classic products that everyone I know uses.
Wei White Lotus Moisture Rich Eye Blend is one of my favorite formulas because it’s gentle, but it’s also super rich. It contains peptides to keep the skin strong and the white lotus delivers minerals to chase away fine lines that have formed from summer stresses.
One of the best moisturizers I’ve found is Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm. It will reduce inflammation, help to regenerate tissue and will address uneven pigment that you may have from summer months. I like it because it restores the moisture barrier for the skin and reduces redness.
My own Joanna Vargas Rejuvenating Serum is the perfect serum to sleep in. It repairs the skin, and because the formula contains jojoba oil, it’s great for all skin types, even oily skin. This serum will help to soften sun damage from the summer and make all those fine lines disappear.
SH: Do you have a DIY treatment for post-sun skin?
JV: I would do this mask:
2 tbsp almond oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warmed honey
1/4 organic yogurt
The almond and olive oils are anti-inflammatory and will soften any damage from summer. The honey hydrates the skin and the yogurt calms and exfoliates the skin. Mix together and leave on the face for 20 mins. Your glow will be amazing when you are done.
Winter may be a memory of the past, but skin can suffer greatly in spring and summer, too. Sure, a dry, cold climate produces dehydrated, chapped skin, but hot weather creates the need for processed air (a.k.a. air conditioning), which leaves the skin just as parched and cracked, if not more. While there are plenty of amazing body butters on the market to soothe your sad skin, sometimes it’s more fun – and rewarding – to do it yourself.
This DIY whipped coconut body butter is amazing! It’s relatively simple to make at home, and the results rival the prepackaged creams. Plus, you can cater the ingredients to suit your specific skin concern, and you can’t beat the fresh and natural coconut scent that literally smells like summer in a bottle. Dispense the body butter into a mason or jelly jar or similar container, slap a homemade label on it, maybe even a pretty bow (or a strand of twine), and you’ve got yourself a lovely – and reasonably priced – homemade gift!
What You’ll Need:
2 Cups of Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil (buy it here)
1 TSP of Almond Oil (buy it here)
1 TSP of Vitamin E Oil (buy it here)
10-20 Drops of Essential Oil, like Peppermint, Lavender, or Lemon (buy them here) (optional; for fragrance)
Mason or Jelly Jar or this container
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Coconut Oil – A natural moisturizer that quickly absorbs into the skin; contains 3 fatty acids – capric , lauric, and caprylic acids which help kill certain fungal infections (read 10 Unconventional Uses For Coconut Oil, here).
Almond Oil – Contains vitamins E and B and essential minerals; aids in repairing sun damage.
Vitamin E Oil – Extremely moisturizing antioxidant that boosts collagen and cell rejuvenation.
I read online that whipping hard coconut oil (you cannot heat or melt it first) has a similar effect as doing so with shea butter, which is the base for most DIY body butters. So, this recipe makes a killer whipped body butter without any shea. Whipped is actually much easier to apply, and it has a fluffy, light consistency as opposed to the hard-as-a-rock consistency of its solid counterpart.
To whip your coconut oil, mix the solid coconut, almond, vitamin E, and essential oils into a bowl. According to Living The Nourished Life, using an electric hand mixer will get things whipped up, but a Kitchen Aid Classic Stand Mixer ($25), will really do the trick — and quickly. Whip to desire, but no more than 8 minutes, as you don’t want to completely liquify your butter. After 4 minutes, try a dollop of body butter on your hand to test for consistency and smell. If you want more scent, add additional drops of essential oil now and continue mixing.
Once you’re butter is whipped to your liking, remove and place in a mason or jelly jar. Store in a cool, dry place. This stuff will last awhile, but I suggest making a new batch every month.
*Accompany your whipped body butter with this DIY Lemon and Sugar Scrub.