Here we are midway through the holidays and the regret is starting to kick in. If the crumbs in our kitchen are any indication, we’ll all be charged for gingerbread genocide and winter weather has us scratching our backs on trees and being very glad it’s not sandal weather.
But, people of the interwebs, I have the cure. See, in the last year or so, I’ve discovered I have serious reactions to products with certain preservatives. As such, I’ve had to use homemade alternatives. Seriously, I’m turning into an unwilling hippie. Luckily, because of my wild and crazy stint as an earthchild in high school, I have a few natural cures up my all-cotton sleeve. I’m not very good at avoiding the things that make me sick when I get stressed. Sodas, for example, make me look like I’ve gone ten rounds with a porcupine, but boy do I love them. During the holidays, I’ve gone overboard on the bad foods and bad beauty products, so my New Year’s resolution will be to drop more of these things from my daily routine. I’ll share my cures with you, and then, when you have an emergency pampering situation, you’ll know what to use.
New Year’s Hangover
So you spent a little too much time in the grapes of wrath on New Years Eve, and now you’re suffering the consequences. You have a headache, your mouth feels like you are munching on cotton balls, and let’s not mention the gastrointestinal issues. Hangovers suck and, according to Wikipedia and more reputable sources, the more you age the worse they get.
1. If you’re anything like me (I mean, what are you talking about, I don’t ever drink.) You wake up a lot in the middle of the night to pee. Use that as an opportunity to drink water. Next, when you wake up, eat something hearty with a lot of spicy chile. If your head is pounding, keep an ice pack in the freezer, put it over your eyes, and relax. Now, what you really need are some vitamins, but vitamins are kind of like little vials of controlled napalm when you aren’t feeling at the top of your game. Get some juice and make a smoothie. Bananas, Pomegranates, and peaches are my favorite blended together with some Greek yogurt and ice. Just make sure you rinse out the margarita mix first. Alternatively, you can go for the old school Scottish cure, passed down through generations of my father’s family: greasy meats and a hot toddy. To make a Hot Toddy, make a strong hot tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of honey, a slice of lemon, and a tiny splash of scotch whiskey. Mush the lemon in as you stir. This is also an excellent cold medicine.
Dry Weather Skin
I bemoaned my single status the other night as I desperately rubbed my back on the outside corner of my brick house. That tiny, itchy spot in the middle of everyone’s back is proof that we are a communal species. Midwinter, I turn into the incredible itching woman, and traditional lotions never seemed to help. They just made my skin burn and turn red. The good news is that we don’t have to suffer through the tight, flaky skin without fighting back.
1. Slough off the dead skin with olive oil and salt. To mix it, pour some salt in your hand, add olive oil, and rub it all over. Then shower. *Warning* This is going to make your shower slick. Prepare accordingly.
2. Use crisco or lard if you are feeling old fashioned to coat your skin. Put on a flannel night shirt, cotton socks, and hit the sack. You can mix in essential oils if you want. Just make sure you mark the one you mixed and keep it out of the kitchen. Some suggestions are peppermint, almond, and rose.
3. Wake up to softer skin.
If this doesn’t work for you, try taking a bath with an oatmeal pack. Just put a scoop of oatmeal into an old wash cloth, tie it off, and sponge it on in the bath.
Here’s my issue with winter: it makes my feet awful. I go to bed every night with lotion on my tootsies, but still, Frodo Baggins would be put off second breakfast if he saw them. I love that I get to wear winter shoes when they are at their worst, but they start to get a little painful midwinter.
Soak those puppies. I have a foot bath, but you can do this with a big bowl too. Add a few tablespoons of olive and/or almond oil and sea salt to hot water. If you are using a bowl and you have them, throw in some marbles. Soak for as long as you can, rolling your feet around on the marbles or enjoying the jets in your fancy foot soakin’ machine. Then, scrape off the gnarly bits. I like pedeggs for this, even though they look a lot like a cheese grater. Apply lard or crisco, add socks.
Note: If you have cracked skin, you will want to make sure you patch that up. Add a teaspoon of honey to the water and rub a little into any cracked or painful bits before the lotion. Honey is an antiseptic and will also seal out nasties.
Maybe Godzilla just destroyed your apartment, you accidentally killed Santa Claus, or John Wayne just shot up your house. Or, heck, maybe you are having a plain old ordinary holiday. Whatever’s going on, you’re probably in need of a little pampering.
How about a facial? Here are three.
Relaxation Facial: Mash a banana and add 2 tbs of honey and 2 tbs of oil. Apply to your face. Put damp chamomile tea bags over your eyes. Again, they can be used. Relax for 5-10 minutes.
Energizing Facial: Mix 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds (used are fine as long as you didn’t pull them from the trash) and 2 tablespoons of used tea. Add enough olive oil to help them stick together. Apply to your face. Rub in slow, gentle circles. Keep two dampened and used tea bags aside for your eyes. If you have puffy or dark eyes, pop those tea bags in the freezer for a while before you get started. Put the teabags on your closed eyes and chill for the next 5 minutes. Wash off, moisturize, and face your day.
Facial for Damaged Skin: Make a serving of oatmeal. Add two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix and apply to skin. Relax for 5-10 minutes. Wash off with a gentle washcloth. Heat a towel (Dampen in and microwave very carefully in 10 second intervals). Put it over your face for 5-10 minutes. Make sure you breath. Then moisturize with olive oil.
Funny story. Ok, it’s really not that funny, but it is true. I’ve always wanted curly hair. Oh how I coveted curls. And now that I’ve switched to organic, hippie shampoos, I have it. Granted, I haven’t really figured out how to deal with it yet so it’s kind of limp and frizzy, but I’ve got it!
1. Make tea with dried sage. Wash your hair with it. Don’t use shampoo or conditioner. Mix rosemary oil (you can find it at health food stores) with olive oil. Wrap it up in an old cotton towel and let it sit for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best. You’ll want to dilute the rosemary because it can burn. Rub that into your scalp first and then the ends. For an added boost, before you wash it again, rinse it with coconut milk. You can wash it by rinsing it with nettle tea of tea made from calendula flowers if you want to turn full hippie like me. Warm up the oil for a hot oil treatment and add rose water after for nice smells.
I hope that some or any of these are useful to you. Go have a spa day on Ma Nature and chill out. You certainly deserve it for reading this blog. The good news is that you can eat most of them. If you’ve ever gotten a bit of mask in your mouth while doing some pampering, you’ll understand why that’s a good thing.
Best wishes for the new year.