While I personally can't think of one thing that I don't like about the season that is right upon us, I must admit that a mistake I used to make, beauty-wise, was not properly caring for my skin (and hair) as the temperatures began to shift. Especially when it came to feeling extra dry, I could certainly tell that I wasn't handling my business.
Something tells me that I'm not the only one who's been guilty of this lil' faux pas, so as we're just days away from what I think is the absolute best season of the year, here are 12 beauty hacks that are affordable, all-natural and a truly wonderful way to welcome autumn in.
1. Exfoliate from Head to Toe
While I'm pretty sure you know what the general concept of exfoliating is all about, if you needed a basic definition, it's removing dead skin cells from the surface layer of your skin. And since we all shed somewhere around 30-40,000 of them every minute, I'm sure you get why that's such a good idea to do. Exfoliating not only gets rid of dead skin cells, it unclogs your pores, helps to prevent ingrown hairs, reduces breakouts, evens skin tone and even makes it easier for your skin to absorb your favorite moisturizer. So, I'm pretty sure you can see why exfoliating, not just your face and neck but your entire body, is a great "fall prep" practice. Since the cold weather can do rough on your skin, exfoliating can help it to absorb whatever you plan on putting on it to keep it soft, supple and smooth. That's why it's a good idea to do it around twice a month.
By the way, coffee scrubs help to reduce inflammation (a recipe is here), brown sugar scrubs are a humectant that can draw moisture in from the air (a recipe for that is here) and charcoal scrubs are great at detoxifying your skin (a recipe for that is right here). So, if you want to customize your body exfoliation process, there's a good starting point to go with.
2. Bathe in Rosewater and Lavender Oil
If you like nothing more than coming in from the chilly air and soaking in a hot bath, two things. First, it's best if you wait for your skin to get down to your normal body temperature (going from one extreme to another can put your body into shock or even cause a heart attack; wow, right?) and secondly, try and avoid the "hot as possible" approach. One thing that you want to make sure that you do is not zap your skin of the natural moisture that it already has; hot water will do that which is why warm water is best.
Speaking of caring for your skin, treat it by pouring some rosewater and a few drops of lavender essential oil into your bathwater. Rosewater contains anti-inflammatory properties that will help to reduce redness. It also contains antiseptic properties that can help to soothe any skin infections or surface wounds that you may have. Rosewater is full of antioxidants that can repair any cell damage that you may have experienced. Plus, it's known to improve moods and even bring relief to headaches. Lavender oil is great for your skin because it also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can speed up the healing of breakouts, soothe skin conditions that cold weather may irritate such as eczema, help to remove toxins from your skin and, thanks to its scent, it's really effective when it comes to helping you to relax before bedtime.
3. “Seal” Your Skin
Something that I definitely make sure that I do when I get out of the shower is "seal my skin". Basically, that consists of not immediately drying off, putting some homemade whipped shea butter or sweet almond oil on my skin, letting it sit for a few minutes and then blot-drying my skin. All of this helps to "lock" the moisture in to where I don't need to apply any lotion or anything else once I'm done. Plus, my skin feels silky smooth, pretty much until the next time I take a bath.
4. Steam Your Hair
If it seems kinda weird that cold wet weather could actually cause your hair to dry out, here's why it's so problematic. When temps are cold and/or the air is dry, that can result in the cuticles of your hair lifting which can keep moisture from staying in your hair. And when there's no moisture, the dryness can ultimately lead to breakage. A remedy? Well, aside from deep conditioning your locks, it can never hurt to steam your tresses too.
Steam adds moisture. Steam makes it easier for the products that you put into your hair to be absorbed into it. Steam encourages elasticity so that your hair doesn't break as easily when it's being styled. Steam also helps to keep the pores of your scalp unclogged so that your hair follicles can grow freely.
As far as how often you should steam your hair, some folks do it as much as a couple of times a week while others reserve the practice for wash day. Either way, if this is something you'd like to try, Natural Hair Products has a list of some of the best steamers for natural hair here. Also, Melissa Denise is a YouTuber who has some tips on how to steam your hair without a steamer that you can check out here.
5. Line Your Hats
At this point, I can't even tell you how many hats I have. Back when I was wearing really short hair, this particular tip didn't matter all that much to me; however, now that I have some length, I am intentional about lining my hats with satin. Since my golf caps and brims are mostly made of wool, between the way that fabric has a tendency to dry my hair, cause friction and even has the potential for snagging on my ends, making sure my hats are lined is how I keep my hair protected while I'm out here looking fly. If you want to learn how to line your own hats, check out this video and this video.
6. Make a Castor/Argan/Vitamin E Oil Solution for Your Eyelashes
If you want to have longer and thicker eyelashes without having to buy any (so that you can have a few extra coins saved up for the holiday season), make your own serum that consists of Jamaican black castor oil, coconut oil and vitamin E oil. The Jamaican black castor oil contains properties that will help to thicken your lashes and make them appear fuller. Argan oil is packed with fatty acids and antioxidants that will help your lashes to grow longer. Vitamin E is awesome because it stimulates hair growth. If you apply this combo with a mascara wand every night before turning in, you should see some progress with your lashes within 3-4 weeks.
7. Apply Some Shea Butter and Cinnamon to Your Lips
I can't tell you the last time I went to bed without putting some raw shea butter on my lips. Since it's an emollient (which means it creates a barrier between your lips and the atmosphere around you), it's an excellent "base" for lip gloss or lipstick before heading out into the chilly air. Since shea butter is also loaded with antioxidants and vitamins A and E, it can help to soothe and heal your lips if they experience any chapping during the fall and winter seasons. As far as cinnamon goes, if you apply cinnamon oil, it's a natural lip plumper. On the other hand, if you go with its powder (or ground cinnamon) form, it can gently exfoliate while also providing a soft natural sun-kissed glow. Yep, even in the fall. Just add a sprinkle or two of it to a lip container of shea butter and you're all set.
8. DIY a Hand and Foot Cream
I'm thinking it's a given that you should amp up how much you moisturize your hands and feet as you head into the cooler seasons of the year. All I want to say here is try and avoid commercial brands that are heavy on the perfumes and ingredients you can't pronounce. One, because our skin definitely absorbs some of what we put onto it and two, some of those harsh items can strip our skin of the moisture that it so desperately needs; especially when it's cold.
That's why I'm all about you making your own hand and foot cream. That way, you know exactly what goes into it. The YouTube channel Yaya DIY Creations has a hand cream recipe worth checking out here. paskiiLuv has an easy-to-make foot cream recipe here.
9. Cop Some Bamboo Socks
Speaking of feet, just because you're about to swap out sandals for boots, please don't use that as an excuse to slack off when it comes to getting pedicures. That said, since we're all going to be wearing socks a lot more often, did you know that cotton ones can sometimes cause blisters? The "science" behind it is, since cotton is a fabric that absorbs moisture, the longer your feet are damp, the easier it is for a blister to form. That's why wool, synthetic or even bamboo socks are a better route when you're planning to spend a lot of time in inclement weather.
Bamboo socks are cool because they contain antibacterial properties, they're pretty soft, they hold less odor, they are thermo-regulating (which means they help to keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter) and they're sustainable.
Bamboo Comfort is a website that features some of the best bamboo sock brands this year. You can see the list here.
10. Take a Fish Oil Supplement
If it seems like you can't stop scratching words with your nails onto your skin (due to how dry it is) no matter how hard you try, you might want to take a fish oil supplement. Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory and healing properties that help to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Some other benefits include the fact that it's able to help to heal symptoms associated with psoriasis, decrease the appearance of pimples and also protect your skin from sun damage (and yes, you can experience sun damage any time of the year because, well, the sun is out all 12 months).
11. Invest in Some Local Honey
First up, if your allergies are known to kick up during the fall, local honey is what you should look into because it contains similar allergens to what are in the air around you. Taking a teaspoon or so a day can serve as a natural antibiotic, so that your system can develop a resistance to allergens and allergy-related symptoms. Not only that but honey is a powerful humectant as well. This means that if you put a couple of teaspoons into your hair conditioner, it can help to moisturize your hair or if you make a face mask out of it, it can deeply condition your skin. Honey is bomb on a ton of levels. In fact, when it comes to honey in general, check out "Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find".
12. Get Yourself a Pumpkin (or Two)
The signature fruit for fall is undoubtedly the pumpkin.
As far as all-natural beauty benefits go, it's great for you because pumpkins are high in vitamins A and C, zinc, antioxidants, fruit enzymes and even alpha hydroxy acids. All of this works together to trigger collagen production in your body, brighten your skin tone, improve your skin's texture, help to reverse UV damage and hinder free radicals from damaging and aging your skin.
So, the next time you're at your local grocery store, pick up a pumpkin or two. Then, when you get home, treat yourself to a pumpkin face mask (recipe is here); a body scrub (recipe is here); a foot scrub (recipe is here); a body butter (which is made with pumpkin spice and recipe is here), or a lip exfoliant (which is also made with pumpkin spice and the recipe is here). You'll feel good. It smells great. And it's one of the best all-natural beauty treatments to officially welcome your skin into this, what I'm sure will be, beautiful upcoming fall season.
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