11 tips for ensuring your hair, skin, and nails are healthy
For those who find themselves continuing to work from home, to take care of their kids at home, or to generally spend more time at their house, there's plenty of time to actually focus on improving the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
And we're not just talking about shearing off your split ends in favor of a not-so-chic buzz cut.
Extra time at home can be an opportunity to tackle trouble areas, like dandruff or damaged cuticles, and experiment with some new products and techniques.
To help you get started, we've compiled 11 of our favorite DIY and at-home tips to keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy and beautiful.
1. Use the right towel for drying
If frizz is a problem for your hair, you may want to consider replacing your hair towel. Your typical bath towel can pull on your hair, creating opportunities for frizz; however, a microfiber towel is gentler on hair and can help reduce frizz. If you have curly hair and need to retain some moisture to allow your styling products to work their magic, a towel like this will help wick away only excessive water. If a microfiber towel isn't in your budget, no worries. A clean cotton shirt will offer similar results.
2. There's a hair mask for everything
Whether you're dealing with dry hair, greasy hair, or an irritated scalp, there's a DIY mask for you. While there are a number of recipes online, most masks for dry, damaged hair include coconut oil for its moisturizing properties. Both warm coconut oil and olive oil work as excellent hydrating masks when applied to dry hair. These masks can be left in for an hour or overnight if your hair is extra damaged.
For greasy hair, try applying a mask of one egg white and the juice of half a lemon to your hair. The fatty acids in the eggs will help restore luster and and the lemon juice will absorb excess oil and grease. Let it sit under a shower cap for 30 to 45 minutes. If you're dealing with an irritated scalp or dandruff, consider trying a mask with one part apple cider vinegar, one part water or green tea, and a few drops of tea tree oil. An apple cider vinegar that's labeled "with the mother" has the necessary acidity to rebalance the pH of your scalp, similar to how a toner works for your skin. Spray or massage into your scalp and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes before rinsing.
Not interested in whipping up your own mask? The Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Hair Mask is an intensely restorative option for once-a-week use. It works with all hair types and can be applied in the shower or after hair is clean.
3. Don't forget your scalp care
The health of your scalp can have a major impact on the overall health of your hair, particularly when it comes to hair loss. A daily apple cider vinegar rinse, like the one mentioned above, is an excellent way to realign the pH of your scalp, reduce itchiness, and promote recovery. If you think buildup from leave-in products, dry shampoo, or everyday grime may be an issue for you, try a scalp scrub.
If you're dealing with dandruff, try using a specially formulated dandruff shampoo a few times a week to cleanse hair and soothe your scalp. And remember to avoid shampoo and conditioner ingredients that will irritate, like alcohols, sulfates, phthalates, fragrances and PEG/PPG.
4. Layer like a pro
For a daytime routine, remember to start with a cleanser to remove dust and debris from your face. If a toner is part of your skincare routine, use this next. If you use an essence to aid in serum absorption, this is next. From here on, you'll want to apply serums, targeted products, moisturizers, and SFP from lightest and wateriest to heaviest. For example, the next step after an essence should be a serum, then targeted products, then moisturizer, then an SPF.
5. Introduce new products one at a time
This may sound obvious, but it's important to fight the urge to try multiple new products at the same time. Your skin isn't going anywhere, so be patient and give yourself time to adjust to a new product. It's also a good idea to consult your dermatologist before adding products like a retinol to your skincare routine, as they may have some guidance on how to incorporate these products without causing irritation.
6. Treat your under eyes with care
The skin under and around your eyes is super delicate, so you want to make sure to treat it with care. Of all your fingers, your ring finger is capable of applying the least amount of pressure -- perfect for applying eye cream! When you're applying eye cream or moisturizer to this area, you want to pat the cream into your skin with your ring finger as gently as possible.
7. The freezer is your friend
Exposing puffy skin to colder temperatures will shrink the blood vessels, reducing redness and swelling. Before you go to bed, place two clean spoons in the freezer. The next morning, place the spoons under your eyes for a few minutes. You can also do this with an eye roller if you have one. And remember: less is more. Don't get too overzealous and start dunking your face in ice water.
8. Dry brush your skin
Using a dry brush before showering is an excellent way to remove dead skin, support lymphatic drainage, and potentially reduce cellulite. It also just feels good. Start at your feet and brush upward toward your heart with small, firm strokes. When you get to your stomach, either continue brushing toward your heart or brush in counterclockwise circles to mirror the path of your digestive tract. We've tried both methods and haven't noticed a difference. Feel free to add a body oil if you'd like.
9. Cuticle care is key
When healing cracked and dry cuticles, try using vitamin E. While you can find specially formulated cuticle oils that contain vitamin E, jojoba is also an excellent source. Jojoba oil is especially good for cuticles because it creates a protective barrier that seals in moisture, and it has antifungal properties that will kill bacteria and fungi like candida.
10. Take time for nail recovery
If you normally wear nails all year long, now may be a good time to work on the strength and health of your nail beds. Make sure you're eating foods high in iron, magnesium, and zinc to promote both your overall wellbeing and nail health. Next, when you're reaching for a hand lotion, look for one that is formulated with vitamins A and C to promote nail growth and collagen production.
11. Perfect the natural manicure
Rather than making a mess by trying to apply multiple coats of nail polish with the wrong hand, why not simply buff your nails? A multipurpose buffer allows you to shape and buff your nails so that they look shiny and healthy. If you're missing the full salon experience, you can replicate it at home with a bath salt or Epsom salt foot soak. This nail kit is a great option if you're looking for that full arsenal of nail tools.
Meredith Gallo is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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