Under Eye Circles

Dark Circles
If you have dark bluish circles under your eyes, it's a result of seeing the color of the blood capillaries under your skin, or even the capillaries leaking blood in the area just like a bruise. Under eye skin is very thin and fragile so treat the area tenderly by not stretching or pulling which will cause damage. Products with vitamin K can help reduce the color, but be sure to keep the area very well moisturized to plump it up and keep it healthy since dry skin is thinner, more translucent and will show the color more. The thicker your skin is, the less you'll notice discoloration under the skin. Using a chemical exfoliant like AHAs over time will help thicken skin as it removes the old skin cells and replaces it with healthier skin with additional collagen. The older you get, the thinner the skin becomes, so keeping it well hydrated with creams containing rich nutrients is very important.

To camoflage the blue circles with makeup, use a little yellow concealer under your foundation. I tell my students to recall their basic art class of the color wheel when concealing unwanted spots. The complimentary colors on the color wheel when mixed together will cancel each other out-so if you have a purple spot you want to cover, using the color opposite of it on the color wheel-yellow-will cancel out the purple. Green concealers will cancel out the red of a bad blemish. And violet concealers will neutralize yellow tone spots. Just be sure to use colored concealers sparingly since using too much will result in a dark brown or ashy looking spot and take care to apply it only on the spot you want to cover and not on any surrounding skin, and always use under your foundation, not over it.

For thousands of additional tips and information: Beauty and the Budget at VirtualBookWorm

Apple Cider Vinegar

The Many Uses of Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has so many uses it's a great item to keep on hand in your pantry and it's very inexpensive. It can be used as a hair rinse to clarify product build up, makes hair shiney and helps control dandruff and oiliness. Also use it as a skin toner after cleansing your face instead of using high priced store bought toners. The antibacterial properties of vinegar help keep acne under control and rids skin of excess oil without stripping your skin of it's natural protectants since it has the same pH balance as your skin. Simply mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water (since straight vinegar can be too strong for skin and hair). Use on a cotton pad wiping over skin or pour over hair after washing and don't rinse. Since vinegar can be a bit drying, do not use on dry skin or dry/damaged hair.

Diluted vinegar can also be used as ear drops to help prevent ear infections. Soak your feet in vinegar water to reduce bacteria and keep feet odor free and prevent foot fungus from developing. It helps reduce the itch and sting of insect bites when poured over them. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, mix a shot of vinegar to a glass of water and drink all at once or sip throughout the day. It works on the principle of making your body more alkaline which fights the germs (bacteria cannot grow in alkaline environments). Eating a lot of carbohydrates makes your body more acid which in turn makes it more susceptable to germs that feed on it. Keeping your system more alkaline helps keep you healthy. There are even diets that use vinegar to help you lose weight. Ancient people traveling to unknown areas where they would be eating food they were unsure of, would first drink vinegar to protect their stomachs and keep from getting sick. Words of caution: Never ingest apple cider vinegar along with baking soda or even Alka-Seltzer. If you want to see what happens when the two are mixed, try mixing them in a bowl and imagine the eruption that would occur if that were in your stomach. Also, if you drink vinegar along with dairy products there is a chance it can curdle in your stomach and make you sick to your stomach if you tend to be sensitive. If you intend on drinking vinegar on a regular basis, the acidic properties of vinegar can eat away at tooth enamel over time. Use a drinking straw to sip it so it has little to no contact with your teeth. You can swish the vinegar solution around your mouth to help fight bacteria just don't do it continuously. For a trusted source of medical advice with information on your health and vinegar visit WebMD. They state that medical studies about the use of vinegar for treating cancer, blood pressure, obesity weight loss and diabetes is promising. Always keep in mind that vinegar should always be diluted since it's a strong acid.

Vinegar will safely clean your floors, windows, etc without damaging any surfaces and make them bacteria free. It removes soap residue and sticky labels. Remove wallpaper by wetting the wall with equal parts vinegar and warm water. Eliminate smokey and other odors by boiling water with a generous amount of vinegar added to create steam. Add a cup to your load of laundry to rid clothes of body odor and musty or sour smells of linens. Reduce the saltiness of soup or stew by adding about a teaspoon of vinegar. Soak sponges in vinegar to remove odor and disinfect. Clean drains by pouring 1/2 cup baking soda down drain and follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, let stand 5 minutes and run hot water. Mix equal parts flour and salt with enough vinegar to make a paste to polish metals or make a paste of vinegar and cream of tartar to get grime off pots and pans. Keep cut flowers fresher by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 quart water in the vase. For a great, inexpensive glass cleaner recipe, mix 1 quart water with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup ammonia. And of course it's a natural preservative for food-when have you ever seen pickles spoil? Clean up pet urine accidents on carpet and other surfaces with vinegar which neutralizes the urine ammonia smell and helps keep pets from soiling the same area again. When you give your dog a bath, a vinegar rinse will keep their coat shiney and helps keep insects away. Cleaning musty smelling antiques with vinegar helps remove the bad odor. With all the uses of this cheap miracle liquid, be sure to keep a gallon on hand!

Insect Repellant & Treating Bug Bites

Bug Bite Relief
To bath water add about a cup of apple cider vinegar (or substitute the juice of a few lemons), about 10 drops of lavender essential oil and about 5 drops of thyme essential oil. Don’t get the water in your eyes since it will sting. Or try applying a little lavender oil or vinegar directly to the bite. Baking soda made into a paste and applied to the bite also works well to neutralize the toxin, or add a couple handfuls of baking soda to your bath water. Meat tenderizer made into a paste also neutralizes stings and bites, as well as WD-40 spray (supposedly works for arthritis too when rubbed into joints I’m told). Chigger bites can be neutralized with Preparation H cream. A ground oatmeal paste applied to insect bites helps stop itching or soothes skin rashes. An excellent preventative for biting insects is to eat a lot of garlic which comes out through your skin as a natural repellant. I even plant garlic mixed in with my other plants to help keep insects away. Garlic has so many other health benefits that the natural, chemical free repellant just gives you a bonus. It also acts as a natural antiseptic when applied to the skin.

For Canines being Bugged
We always put fresh clove of garlic in our dog’s food daily and it worked wonders for fleas and ticks even when the dog spent most of it’s time wandering wild fields. When I got a Great Dane that was completely infested with fleas, I fed him fresh garlic daily and in less than a week, every flea was gone! I’ve read that you should not give your dog garlic but we fed it daily to our St Bernard and Great Dane and neither had any ill affects from it ever-just insect free coats. Use care though when feeding much of it to smaller breeds.

Choosing Lip Color

Whiter Looking Teeth and Lipstick Colors
To make teeth appear whiter, choose darker lipsticks that create the most contrast and shades with cool undertones such as reds with a blue cast to it and pink tones instead of orange based shades which will make less than white teeth look worse. It also helps to pick gloss or satin lipsticks instead of a matte lipstick to keep imperfections less noticeable. But remember that dark shades will make your lips appear smaller and thinner so if your lips are already small, avoid too dark shades and pick a bright or sheer blue-red or pinks.

Reduce Swelling From Cold Sores

Cold Sore Treatment
Use a hemorrhoid cream like Preparation H to reduce a swollen cold sore (avoiding any lip areas where you might be licking it off). Applying ice to the swollen area can help reduce the fat lip as well. Keep the area well moisturized to help prevent hard scabbing and scarring. To help prevent cold sores, avoid too much sun exposure which can bring them on as does excessive stress and eating too much of items like chocolate and walnuts. If you get cold sores occuring frequently, try taking the amino acid suppliment L Lysine to help reduce the number of outbreaks. To help camoflage a breakout, wait till the weeping stops and lightly pat on foundation or concealer just to the breakout after you have moisturized it, and apply powder on top. Repeat applying concealer and powder until it is less noticable. For the lip area, apply a good moisturizer, then lip balm to seal in the moisture and on top of that an opaque lipstick with a good moisture base-avoid matte lipstick which dry the lips (lipsticks labeled 'long wearing' are very drying) and make the sore stand out more. Keeping it moist constantly with an antibiotic ointment or vitamin E oil will help it heal faster and reduce scarring. Bag Balm ointment (available in most drug stores near skin creams and very inexpensive) is also great to use for healing and reducing scar formation, especially at bedtime-use a generous amount to cover well.

Treating Sore Gums

Sensitive Gums
Rub some aloe vera gel on gums and let it sit for a while, or use aloe vera juice to swish around your mouth and teeth to strengthen and heal gums. This can also help protect gums before using tooth bleaching or whitening kits if they irritate your gums. Honey is also a natural antimicrobial. Take a spoonful of honey once or twice per day and let it linger around your gums. Green tea is very healing. Drink a couple cups per day (home brewed, not bought in bottles which are usually spiked with sugar and chemicals, making the problem worse) and be sure to swish around your mouth well. For temporary relief of sore, irritated gums, use baby Ambesol (for teething toddlers) to numb the area. If the soreness is long term, get to a Dentist to find out what's wrong since gum and dental problems can be serious. Brushing with baking soda and peroxide helps keep gums and teeth healthy.

Make Your Own Toothpaste & Mouth Wash

Mint Toothpaste Recipe
Combine about 6 teaspoons of baking soda, 4 teaspoons glycerin, 1/3 teaspoon salt and about 15 drips of wintergreen or peppermint extract found in the spice section of grocery stores. Mix thoroughly to a tooth paste consistency. Store in a container.

Lemon Mouth Wash Recipe
Combine ¾ cup of vodka, 1 cup distilled water and about 20 drops of lemon essential oil and 30 drops of bergamot essential oil in a bottle, shake well and allow to sit for about 1 week, shaking once a day. When ready to use, dilute it with 3 parts water to 1 part mixture. Use it as a gargle or mouth rinse. Do Not Drink.

The Simplest Toothpaste
Don't forget the tried and true method of inexpensive toothpaste to make yourself. Just add baking soda to hydrogen peroxide into a paste and brush. This is a very old, effective recipe that helps keep gums healthy and teeth white and polished.

For thousands of additional tips and information: Beauty and the Budget at VirtualBookWorm

For Singers and Speakers

Clearer Voice
Gargle with oil for 40 seconds and for better results take a little sip of the oil. This can really help sooth your throat and create a clearer sound before singing or even before giving a speech if you tend to get hoarse from talking too loud. Choose an oil with a flavor you don’t mind like extra virgin olive.

Natural Whitener for Teeth

Whiten Teeth
Rub one or two sage leaves on your teeth (fresh, not dried). Baking soda gets the toughest coffee stains out of mugs so it will help remove stains from your teeth as well. Just rub some over teeth. Or use a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth. Strawberries as well can help whiten teeth when rubbed over them regularly. If you plan to purchase a product to whiten teeth and don't want the high price of Dentist whitening (which by the way gets the best results-you get what you pay for when it comes to whitening), the best product is Crest Whitestrips. Don't waste money on any other brands. But over the counter tooth whiteners work mainly by dehydrating your teeth and not really changing their actual color and will revert back to the same color after a period of time, which is not so with whitening by your Dentist.

Sunscreen Information

Avoid Tanning & Burns---
Avoid Wrinkles & Skin Damage
Use the highest SPF you can, at least 15 SPF but 30 or higher is better. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before exposure to the sun so it can absorb into your skin properly. Reapply often and especially after swimming or sweating since no sunscreen is water ‘proof’-they are just water ‘resistant’. Most clothing fabric will allow the sun to penetrate through the fibers and expose skin to harmful rays. The denser and thicker the fabric, the better protection it gives. Some fabrics even have sun protection ratings for outdoor activities. When wearing sheer or lightweight fabrics, apply sunscreen on your skin as well. Check the fabric’s coverage by holding up to the sun or a light bulb and seeing how much light it lets pass through. Sunscreens with ingredients of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or avobenzone are considered the best protection. Sesame oil is a natural sunscreen screening out as much as 30% of the sun’s rays-a good alternative if you have sensitivities to the chemical sunscreens. Most people can tolerate zinc oxide without sensitivity since it’s a natural mineral and not a chemical. Tanning beds emit mostly UVA light and is extremely damaging to skin cells and causes wrinkles, especially since the light is only inches away from your skin. The darker your skin, the more melanin you produce and the less susceptible you are to sunburns since melanin absorbs the sun’s UV rays. Darker skin does provide some protection from damage by the sun but dark skin is still at risk for all effects of sun damage--skin spots, freckling, burning, wrinkles, skin cancer. If you do get a sunburn, try soaking in a bath that has a large jar of Nestea added to lukewarm or cool water. My book has lots more tips and remedies for sunburns: Beauty and the Budget at VirtualBookWorm

Wrinkle Treatment/Prevention

Help Eliminate Wrinkles Overnight and Early Prevention
When you wake up and look in the mirror, do you see any ‘sleep lines or creases’ that develop overnight from your face compressing against the pillow? Those lines you see will eventually end up as permanent deep lines in your face. Sleeping on your back will keep your pillow from smushing your facial skin that causes these lines. A trick you can use if you can’t sleep on your back, or even if your face goes into frowning mode while sleeping: use paper medical tape (the type that is thin and softer) and apply to your forehead lines and around your eyes before going to bed, carefully peel off in the morning while holding skin taut so as not to stretch it. There is also a special pillow you can buy that is "C or D" shape and cradles your head while your face is not touching the pillow. You can substitute a similar pillow-the ones sold for travel that are "C" shaped used around your neck and just use as a regular pillow instead. Preventing sleep creases will also help you get going faster in the morning when you don't have time to wait for the creases to disappear. Check here for a Contoured Pillow or here for a Travel Pillow

Frowning and grimacing will create lines and wrinkles too that deepen over time and are hard to treat. Whenever you are alone, putting a piece of Scotch tape over the area where you frown or grimace will remind you to stop, such as between your brows, forehead or crows feet area around eyes. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses whenever outside so you don’t squint. Drinking from a straw constantly (or smoking) will give you the vertical lines around your lips. If you must use a straw, just close lips around it without puckering up.

Keep skin moisturized all the time, especially aging skin that produces much less oil on it's own, so wrinkles are less noticable and help prevent lines from forming. While your skin is still moist from washing, applying a rich skin cream to help trap the moisture in your skin and keep it in all night. The best ever selling face cream used by women all over the world for decades is Nivea Cream It's very budget priced and I know I can find it in any country I travel to (my personal recommendation is the heavier creme in the round blue tub-it's a wonderful emollient for those of us over 50 and very basic but really excellent). My mother used it almost all her life, she's 80 and looks fabulous! And it feels wonderful on dry, itchy skin since it's a much thicker cream-it has a consistency of creamy butter. If you want to be budget minded and save money, buy the Budget Size Nivea Cream I sometimes like to tailor it to my owns needs by mixing in some essential oils that suit my skin type such as carrot seed oil, lavender or chamomile. You can find a variety essential oils, I particularly like Carrot Seed Oil because it's naturally antiaging, another form of vitamin A which is what Retin A and Retinoids are made from but you don't need a perscription for the natural oil-a few drops go a long way and ends up very cost effective. For information on the properties for various essential oils, my book Beauty and the Budget at VirtualBookWorm goes in depth for what you should use for different skin problems. Keep me bookmarked as I will be adding information here in the future on different oils.

For those with acne prone skin, avoid the heavy creams since they can clog pores, but you probably already have plenty of oils to lubricate skin, so a light, oil free moisturizer is all you need. Nivea has an extensive line of products that I would highly recommend for cleansing, sunscreens, products for men, antiaging creams, etc.; you may want to take a look at their line: Nivea Product Line