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.
We all want perfect Gisele-beachy waves (well, I do at least). Isn’t it baffling how thick and full and perfectly messy your hair looks when you step out of the ocean? Well, you can make your very own “ocean in a bottle” with ingredients that you likely have in your beauty and kitchen cabinets. This simple, DIY beachy wave spray requires only 4 ingredients and about two minutes of time. Gisele hair is closer than you think…
Benefits of the ingredients:
Sea Salt – Activates curling and texture.
Hair Gel – Gives added texture and hold.
Coconut Oil – Naturally adds moisture and leaves hair soft to the touch. Smells like the summer.
Mix warm water with sea salt into the spray bottle. Start with 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every 4oz of water. Add more salt for thicker waves. Choose your favorite hair gel and squeeze a dollop into the spray bottle. For drier hair, add in one teaspoon of melted coconut oil. Shake all of the ingredients and spray away.
Will last for up to one month.
Turmeric has long been a spice used to add flavor in Indian dishes. But it’s also a fabulous all-natural anti-acne ingredient that kills bacteria. Yes, the color is a bright yellow that, for some, may be a bit frightening but the benefits are so worth it (and so will that Instagram pic of you with the mask!). Besides being a holy grail ingredient for acne, turmeric can also help soften fine lines and wrinkles for an overall glowing complexion on all skin types.
Here’s a simple and effective DIY Tumeric Face Mask for acne-prone skin types. It’ll take 2 minutes to make!
What You’ll Need:
1 Tbsp of turmeric powder
1 Tsp raw and organic honey
1 Tsp plain, organic yogurt (for oily skin, opt for fat free or skim)
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Turmeric – High in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to soothe, heal, and reduce redness caused by acne or skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.
Honey – A natural humectant that binds moisture into the skin; antioxidant and antibacterial-rich to help with sun damage and acne.
Yogurt – Contains enzymes and lactic acid to exfoliate, hydrate, and soothe while evening skin tone.
Mix the turmeric powder with the yogurt, then add in the honey to create a thick paste. If the formula feels to watery, add more honey. Apply the paste to your face, sit back, relax, and remove 15-20 minutes later with a warm washcloth.
Create a new batch for each use (you can do it, it’s easy enough even for us culinary-challenged folk).
For a quick spot treatment, combine a few drops of filtered water with turmeric powder to create a paste. Apply directly to affected areas, like pimples or overly red skin.
There are certain oils that – even when endorsed by celebrities for specific skin and hair ailments – we are weary of dousing on our bodies. But then there’s rosehip oil: Known as one of nature’s most powerful anti-aging ingredients and a favorite of model and Kora organic skincare founder, Miranda Kerr. If you’ve had the pleasure of checking out her hair, skin, and body in countless magazines then you’re well aware that she’s got glowing skin (and hair… and body…). Naturally, we decided to investigate the wonder oil.
Rosehip oil not only smells delicious, but is a true super ingredient. Packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, it offers a plethora of benefits. Here are our top ten favorite ways to use it:
1. To remove even the most stubborn of waterproof mascara, soak a cotton pad with rosehip oil and gently press over your lash line.
3. Coat any scratches or cuts from shaving or summer adventuring with rosehip oil to prevent ugly scarring. Even better, regular application will also fade existing scars.
4. Dab a light coating of rosehip oil on your pucker for a lasting and moisturizing lip sheen.
5. Rub a bit of rosehip oil in your hands and then run through your mane to smooth flyaways. Make sure to only use a very small amount to avoid weighing down your locks.
6. Pat some rosehip oil on your cheeks to enhance your natural glow during summer. It will compete with even your most trusted highlighter.
7. Are your brows coarse or unruly? Rosehip oil will condition them while also keeping them in place.
8. Feet take a real beating during sandal season. Before bed, liberally coat your heels with rosehip oil before putting on a pair of sock to wake up with noticeably softer soles.
9. Brittle and dry nails will love a good dose of rosehip oil. It promotes growth while simultaneously preventing hangnails and breakage.
10. Because of the active vitamins, rosehip oil will work just as well as your favorite dark spot correcting serum. Not to mention, it’s definitely more friendly on the wallet.
Do you have any favorite ways of using rosehip oil? Or any products containing the super ingredient that we should try? Let us know in the comments below.
*Buy rosehip oil here.
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com
This is definitely one of the easier DIY recipes… but it’s also one of the most effective; especially for a good pore cleansing pre-summer. Acneic skin types will find the DIY Honey Nutmeg Cinnamon Mask beneficial as a bi-weekly (everyday for 10 minutes if you’re skin is super congested or scarred) treatment to reduce acne bacteria, swelling, and scars. For normal skin types, this is a great monthly or bi-monthly mask to deep cleanse and exfoliate, especially before a special event or holiday party. Results are immediate: If your skin isn’t glowing, you’re doing it wrong.
While there are several variations of this mask online, we’ve added a pinch of lemon and, that has made all the difference!
What You’ll Need:
1-2 TBSP Honey (organic)
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1/2 TSP Cinnamon
1 Lemon Wedge
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Honey – A natural humectant that locks in necessary moisture to keep skin hydrated and soothed while antibacterial properties benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts and healing current flair ups.
Nutmeg – An antifungal, antibacterial, and anit-inflammatory ingredient that reduces swelling and clears up infected skin.
Cinnamon – Aids in blood circulation and oxygenation; Plumps the skin; Dries out pimples and blackheads.
Lemon – A natural source of Vitamin C; an ingredient commonly used to lighten sun and age spots and even out skin tone; A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion.
Instructions: Mix equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon into a bowl (between 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp). Add 1-2 tbsp of organic honey and mix into a paste. Squeeze your lemon wedge into the paste and mix some more. Massage onto clean skin and chill out for 20-40 minutes. Watch an episode of 2 Broke Girls. Peruse the web for Funny or Die videos. You could always FaceTime with your boyfriend, but not recommended – this mask looks a little cray-cray on the face. When you’re ready to rinse, remove by gently rubbing the mask off in circular motions (hello, exfoliator!). Add water to remove entirely.
Extras: You can also spot treat inflamed zits with a mixture of honey and nutmeg. Leave it on the affected area for a couple of hours. Rinse off, and repeat until the pimple has subsided.
Make a new batch for every mask.
*Note* Cinnamon can irritate some skin types, so test on a small patch of skin before applying to your entire face. If you feel itchy or irritated, wash off immediately.
Basil has long been celebrated as an ingredient used to remedy acne-prone skin. Known for its antiseptic properties, basil not only helps to eradicate existing acne, but it also wards off new breakouts, soothing the skin and helping with circulation. However, because of the basil leaves high concentration of anti-aging elements, this wash is just as beneficial for fighting off fine lines and a dull complexion.
This DIY basil face wash is great for the pores but is also a wonderful choice for all of you ladies who want a smooth and beautiful, youthful complexion. Instead of using it as a wash, try it as a weekly mask for longer lasting benefits. Note: this may quite possibly be the easiest wash/ mask I have yet to discover. It will take you all of 5 minutes to prepare and the results are flawless!
What You’ll Need:
20-30 Fresh Basil Leaves
Organic plain yogurt (optional)
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Basil – The oil can aid in removing dark spots while the antibacterial properties help fight acne. The leaves also contain anti-aging and soothing elements.
Organic Yogurt – Contains zinc, calcium, vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12, protein and yeast. Zinc helps fight off acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties while calcium is a natural source of antioxidants that help in cell renewal to ward off premature aging. B Vitamins are great to increase blood circulation and prevent acne and protein s leave skin instantly more radiant.
In a bowl, use a wooden spoon (or sub with a mortar and pestle) and crush the fresh basil leaves so that the natural oils are released. This is the basil paste. You can use this with water as a face wash, applying to the face and allowing to sit for 3-5 minutes, once every other day. Rinse with tepid water.
As a mask: Use the paste and leave on the face for up to 20 minutes. For added benefits or for skin that needs a bit of extra soothing, add 1tsp of organic yogurt to your paste and then apply to the face and leave on for up to twenty minutes. Again, rinse with tepid water.
As a toner: Probably my favorite way to use basil is as a toner. You’ll prepare the leaves the same way – grinding and releasing the oils – then add 2 cups of boiling water to the bowl. Allow to steep for around 10-15 minutes, then strain to remove any excess leaves. Store the basil water in a glass container and use morning and evening with a cotton pad, applied to the face, after washing. No need to rinse off, follow with a serum or moisturizer. Will last for 1 week if refrigerated. Enjoy immediate glowing skin.
How will you use your basil leaves?
It’s bananas how great bananas are for the skin (see what I did there?)! The delicious fruit is chock-full of vitamins A, B, and E, so it’s no surprise that the banana face mask is particularly popular as a DIY complexion corrector. With only 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes prep time, you can concoct a face mask that will rejuvenate, exfoliate, and hydrate. This mask is perfect for post-sun skin care (hello, spring break vaca), or a tired and dull complexion.
*This mask is very similar to the Strawberry Honey Acne Mask (directions here) except it is more hydrating and a better alternative for all skin types including sensitive skin.
What You’ll Need:
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of Quaker Oats rolled oats (optional)
Benefits Of The Ingredients:
Banana – Rich in vitamins A, B and E, bananas are a great natural anti-aging ingredient (Vitamin A increases cell turnover while Vitamin E soothes and moisturizes). Acids from the banana also exfoliate dead skin.
Honey – A natural antibacterial, great for acne-prone skin. Honey – The antibacterial properties in honey benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts and healing current flair ups. Also a natural humectant meaning it locks in necessary hydration.
Lemon – A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion (because lemons are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants).Also an ingredient commonly used to even out skin tone (good for minimizing the appearance of acne scarring).
Oatmeal – A natural, gentle exfoliator. It also soothes a variety of itchy skin conditions like eczema and insect bites by relieving dryness. Overall, great to brighten dull or sensitive skin.
In a bowl, mash up the banana, removing any major chunks. Add in 1 TSP of honey and 1 TSP of fresh lemon juice. Mix together, apply to clean skin. Keep it on for 15-20 minutes, rinse off. Do not save any leftovers. Make a new batch each time you plan to use this mask. *If you choose to add oatmeal for more soothing properties, mix in 1/4 cup of rolled oats and let them soak in the mixture for a good 10 minutes before applying to the skin.