Do-it-yourself beauty secrets

Graphic by Arnaud Pages

Graphic by Arnaud Pages

When your skin is so cracked that it begins to resemble a Montreal pothole and your hair takes on the texture of hay, it may be time to consider a trip to the kitchen. No need to trudge off in the snow to snag these sweet beauty products – simply open your fridge and get your skin and hair ready for summer.

By making your own beauty remedies, you are quenching your skin with tons of pure minerals and avoiding the hidden dangers associated with hitting up the spa. Bacterial, fungal, viral and yeast infections can be transmitted from one client to another through unsanitary instruments and careless aestheticians, according to MSNBC’s Today Health. Not to mention, the cost of spa treatments or even drugstore products can add up fast.

The average American loses 1.5 pounds of dead skin cells per year. That’s a lot of tissue accumulating over skin that could otherwise be beautiful, soft and glowing. According to Montreal dermatologist Dr. Rachel Rubinstein, “North Americans have the tendency to shower way too often, drying our skin to the bone.” Your body makes its own natural moisturizers, but if you need another layer of moisture, the ones you can make yourself are potent in antioxidants and vitamins.

Dr. Rubinstein explains that your skin is the largest organ of your body, and whatever you put on it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Moisturizers you find at the pharmacy do smell pretty, but some cost a fortune and are laden with unpronounceable chemicals that can cause irritation.

To some, cooking is an art and a science, but it can be part of your beauty regimen too.


Smoother skin

On her blog, beauty expert Kandee Johnson explains that to maximize the penetration power of this moisturizer, it is important to wet the skin with warm water. The heat molecules pry your pores open, leaving room for the mixture to seep in and do its magic.

“I’ve done this a few times, and it does work. It’s a great all-natural alternative,” says Marie Alexiou, a Concordia early childhood and elementary education student who suffers from very dry skin during the winter.

When life gives you lemons, you shouldn’t only make lemonade, but incredible exfoliating facial scrubs, too.


What you need

¼ cup granulated or brown sugar

Fruit containing alpha hydroxy acids (lemon juice or chopped tomatoes)

2 tbsp. sour cream or plain yogurt



1. Mix ingredients in a bowl.

2. Heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, or until lukewarm.

3. Apply to skin (face, arms, or wherever you need a little TLC) and scrub.

4. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse with warm water.


Healthier hair

Lice are no longer a concern only for five-year-olds. Avoid the transmission of itch-inducing bugs, and the staph-infection-causing bacteria methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, found near open sores around the hair follicle, by treating yourself to a homemade hair treatment.

This recipe is the knight in shining armour for your damsel in distress strands.


What you need

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. honey

(You can modify amount of ingredients depending on thickness of your hair.)



1. Warm the mixture in a microwave-safe bowl for 20 seconds, or until it has a loose texture.

2. Work through hair, concentrating on the ends.

3. Comb through, and leave on hair for 30 minutes.

4. Rinse out and shampoo.


“My hair reacted pretty well to this treatment. After I washed it out, it felt softer and less brittle. I definitely see more shine,” says Chloe Wise, a Concordia studio arts student. “I would consider switching to making my own treatments because of the financial and environmental factors. Also, it was fun.”

The beauty benefits of olive oil are not restricted just to your hair. Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, founder of The Derm Blog, writes on his site that, “Olive oil contains caffeic acid, oleic acid, and oleuropein, all of which are potent antioxidants.” He explains that when olive oil is applied topically, it can help with dry skin, inflammation, burns, several forms of dermatitis, and eczema. Use this powerhouse potion on your strands and reverse the damage that winter has done.

Boys, this applies to you, too. There’s no need to fear emasculation by trying these tricks at home. Skin care concerns both genders, because let’s face it: no one wants their skin to feel like sandpaper.

Dr. Rubinstein stresses the importance of steering clear of pharmacy brands that are proven processed carcinogens. You have a couple months to experiment to find which recipes work and which don’t.


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