I just returned from a wonderful, fun-filled and entirely draining week in the beautiful city of Chicago. While I enjoy the kind of vacation involving beachside napping as much as the next person, I also love the hectic exhilaration of spending days on end sight-seeing, flavoring new foods, catching a live show and browsing hole-in-the-wall boutiques for the perfect surprise presents to bring friends back home.
We usually envision ourselves returning from vacation rejuvenated, ready to tackle the piles of work that have stacked up in our absence, with slightly fewer bags under our eyes. Of course, after running around the city under a blazing sun for a week, compiled with the joys of public transportation and navigating O’Hare airport, I’ve naturally returned more frazzled than before I left. And I’m just going to guess that it was some sort of city toxin/airplane dryness combination that has left my skin dull and hair frizzy.
Are you feeling the effects of mid-summer skin, hair and body stress? For me, it’s the perfect time to treat myself to a night of all-natural DIY beauty treatments (while doing loads and LOADS of post-trip laundry, of course). Here’s what’s on the menu:
1. Carrot & Honey Face Mask
- What it does: This mask is perfect for rejuvenating tired skin since carrots are full of antioxidants that help fight free radicals (think: city smog) that cause your skin to look less radiant, and honey is a great natural antibacterial cleanser and moisturizer. This easy recipe also includes witch hazel (tones and cleanses pores), cucumber juice (soothes irritation) and lemon juice (contains vitamin C; plumps skin), which all work together to help your skin rebound from post-travel dullness.
- What you’ll need: 1/2 cup cooked mashed carrots, 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon witch hazel, 1 tablespoon cucumber juice and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- What you’ll need to do: Find the freshest ingredients possible; this will ensure that they’re full of the powerful antioxidants you’re after. Start by mashing the carrots (bring water to a boil, reduce heat and add carrots, and allow to cook covered for about 20 minutes or until they are tender; then simply mash the carrots into a smooth consistency). Next, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix together until consistency is thick and pasty. Massage and layer it onto skin and allow for it to sit for 25 minutes or longer. Rinse off and follow with a non-alcoholic toner (witch hazel is great as a toner by itself!) and apply a light moisturizer.
2. Rosemary & Lemon Foot Soak
- What it does: For all of us who strongly regret our footwear choices after extensive walking on trips, this soak can be a lifesaver. The rejuvenating properties of lemon, combined with the soothing and calming qualities of rosemary make for the perfect (and aromatic) foot soaking experience. This recipe also includes oat flour, which reduces inflammation, rashes, and works as a powerful moisturizer.
- What you’ll need: 2 drops lemon essential oil, 2 drops rosemary essential oil, and 4 tablespoons organic oat flour. Note: Essential oils can be found at most whole grocery stores or health food stores.
- What you’ll need to do: Add ingredients to a warm water foot bath. (It doesn’t have to be fancy! A small plastic tub would work). Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes. For added moisture, rub on some hand or foot cream afterwards (or alternatively, have someone nice massage it in).
3. Coconut & Avocado Hair Mask
- What it does: Both coconut and avocado are full of fats needed by hair to look shiny, soft, bouncy and healthy. When applied from roots to ends, these ingredients can help smooth hair at the cuticle and repair the appearance of split ends.
- What you’ll need: 1 large avocado, mashed; 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil (I get mine at Trader Joe’s); 1 tablespoon aloe juice; and 1 teaspoon jojoba oil.
- What you’ll need to do: Combine ingredients with either a spoon, or for a smoother consistency, with a food processor. Apply to damp hair from roots to ends as evenly as possible and cover with a shower cap to avoid too much drip-age. Let sit on hair for 30-45 minutes and rinse, wash and style as usual.
4. Vitamin E Cuticle Soak
- What it does: This one is simple. As you probably know, vitamin E is fundamental in delivering smoother, healthier skin, and cuticles are no exception. Combined with a powerful hand lotion, your nails will be looking great in time for the weekend!
- What you’ll need: A few drops of Vitamin E, which is available in most grocery stores.
- What you’ll need to do: Simply add a few teaspoons of the oil to a warm bowl of water and soak your hands for 10-15 minutes. Shea butter is also great for rough cuticles, so try finding a hand lotion containing this ingredient for maximum soothing power.
Happy summer travels, everyone! Do you have a trick to help you recharge after a tiring trip? Let us know!