Synonymous with the internet are cute cat reels, funny memes, and of course, DIY beauty tips. The latter have come under fire from derms and aestheticians in recent years for being at best, ineffective and at worst, downright harmful.
Our rule of thumb is to avoid DIY as much as possible: when in doubt, shop the solution. However, not all are terrible and some can even complement a good skincare/haircare routine. Here’s some we like, and others we would avoid with a 10-foot barge pole.
'Slugging' with olive or coconut oil
If you get persistently dry and flaky skin (or dermatitis) on your body, a good method to try is slugging with a thick oil before bedtime, such as olive or coconut. Beware however – it makes for messy sheets! Because these oils don’t permeate the skin as well as tailored skincare lotions or creams, you’ll need to apply a super effective moisturizer like SVR’s Topialyse Intensive Balm beforehand, and then “seal it in” with some oil on top. This helps skin wake up in noticeably softer condition in the morning. The oil seal helps the SVR moisturizer do its best work, rather than rubbing off on your sheets.
Pros: Softer and more hydrated skin – especially in winter. It can also soothe irritation.
Cons: Messy bedding – we’re talkin’ stubborn oil stains on the sheets (not sexy). And if you’re prone to body acne, then it could spark a breakout.
Using castor oil on hair
This tip has been practised by the Indian subcontinent for centuries as a simple way to treat dry ends AND keep an irritated scalp at bay before applying shampoo. Apart from being an emollient, the oil’s natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also make it a natural way to help treat mild dandruff. Paired with a clarifying scalp scrub such as Innersense’s True Enlightenment Scalp Scrub will leave thick hair clean, shiny and more voluminous. Not using the right shampoo to wash it off or not rinsing your hair properly will only cause more grimy buildup – not good.
Pros: Great for thick hair with dry and split ends, as well as coloured hair as a pre-wash conditioning treatment.
Cons: It’s not a great idea on fine hair, and can weigh it down. If you don’t wash it off properly, it can trap the dirt on your hair and make it itchy.
Using rice water as a skin soak
When we say rice water, we’re not talking months-old rice with weevils in them (ew); we’re talking organic rice or pesticide-free rice. If you’re not doing it already (screams), you should be soaking and rinsing your rice before cooking it. This washes off excess starch and any hard grains or dirt that might in there. Instead of pouring this cloudy water down the drain, you can use it for a bath or as a soak for your hands. Rice is rich in ferulic acid and soothing allantoin, helping skin look younger and repairing damaging from constant use of hand soaps and sanitizers. Use it for a hand soak or even a bath.
Pros: It'll help keep your hands looking youthful. It also ensures you get use from every part of cooking rice!
Cons: We tried it as a toner, and it just doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as I’m From’s Rice Toner. or other rice-based essences.
DIY beauty tips that aren’t worth the effort
This isn’t an exhaustive list (there is a lot of weird stuff out there) but here are some of the more common ones that should be avoided.
Walnut shell powder scrubs: Will it exfoliate? Yes. Will it also cause tears in your skin? Also yes.
Substituting a vit C serumwith lemon juice or orange peel: These are better in a cocktail than on your face. They are extremely acidic and can seriously irritate sensitive skin. Even worse, they can cause otherwise-fine skin to become sensitized.
Toothpaste as a zit treatment: It’ll help dry out the pimple alright, and make your breakouts smell minty fresh – but it can also destroy your skin barrier, leading to more severe breakouts in the future. You’re better off with some diluted tea-tree oil.
Baking soda as an exfoliant: People seem really keen to take off a layer of their skin using household products. Again, no.
Honey as a face mask: Okay, this is not as bad. Honey has legitimate benefits for skin. The problem though, is that honey varies from batch to batch, which makes its impact on skin inconsistent. There’s also a lot of ‘scam’ honey out there i.e. you could be putting a sugar syrup mix on your face with zero medicinal benefits. Did you know more manuka honey is sold than is actually produced? Yep, there are a lot of fakes on the market.
What does an eye cream do? Well, it pretty much does what a moisturizer would. It can hydrate, soothe, treat fine lines, hyperpigmentation, etc. So do eye creams really make a difference? And is an eye cream really better than moisturizer for your face? The answer is, they can indeed make a difference to your skin AND they can be better.
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