Hair Care Treatment at home

Eggs, yogurt and honey are, at first glance, all components of a tasty breakfast — but they also happen to be Hair Care Treatment ingredients, and affordable, all-natural ones at that. And they're not the only ones. Did you know, for instance, that the oils in avocados more closely resemble our own skin's oils than any product in the beauty aisle does? Or that the mild acidity in lemon is an effective — and gentler — alternative to chemical-laden products? Next time your locks need a lift, save money by using one of these kitchen fixes.

For all hair types

"The [raw] egg is really the best of all worlds," says Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty at Home". The yolk, rich in fats and proteins, is naturally moisturizing, while the white that contains bacteria-eating enzymes, removes unwanted oils, she explains.

To use: For normal hair, use the entire egg to condition hair; use egg whites only to treat oily hair; use egg yolks only to moisturize dry, brittle hair, Cox says. Use 1/2 cup of whichever egg mixture is appropriate for you and apply to clean, damp hair. If there isn’t enough egg to coat scalp and hair, use more as needed. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse with cool water (to prevent egg from "cooking") and shampoo hair. Whole egg and yolks-only treatments can be applied once a month; whites-only treatment can be applied every two weeks.

Styling products (as well as air pollution) can leave a film that both saps moisture and dulls shine — but dairy products like sour cream and plain yogurt can help reverse this damage. "Lactic acid gently strips away dirt while the milk fat moisturizes," says Lisa Belkin, author of "The Cosmetics Cookbook".

To Use: Massage 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt into damp hair and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, followed by cool water, then shampoo hair as you normally would. Treatment can be applied every other week.

For itchy scalp

To fight flakes — brought on by poor diet, stress and climate, among other factors — try a lemon juice and olive oil mixture in your hair. "The acidity in lemon juice helps rid your scalp of any loose, dry flakes of skin, while the olive oil moisturizes the [newly exposed] skin on your head," says Cox.

To Use: Mix 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons water, and massage into damp scalp. Let mixture sit for 20 minutes, then rinse and shampoo hair. Treatment can be applied every other week.

For limp or fine hair

To add body to hair, reach for an unlikely beauty beverage: beer! The fermented drink contains generous supplies of yeast, which works to plump tired tresses, explains Cox.

To use: Mix 1/2 cup flat beer (pour beer into a container and let it sit out for a couple of hours to deplete carbonation) with 1 teaspoon light oil (sunflower or canola) and a raw egg. Apply to clean, damp hair, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water. Or add flat beer only to a spray bottle and spritz onto dry hair. "When the liquid evaporates, the remaining protein residue (from the wheat, malt or hops) continues to strengthen and structure hair," says Belkin. Treatments can be applied every other week.

For dry or sun-damaged hair

Whatever your hair-dehydrating demon — hard water, sun overexposure, your trusty flat iron — nature's sweetener can help. "Honey is a natural humectant, which means it attracts and locks in moisture," says Cox.

To use: Massage approximately 1/2 cup honey into clean, damp hair, let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to loosen the honey for easier application. For extremely sun-damaged hair, trying mixing honey with 1 to 2 tablespoons of a protein-rich ingredient, like avocado or egg yolk, which will help replenish the keratin protein bonds that UV rays attack. Treatment can be applied once a month.

For oily or greasy hair

"Used properly, [cornmeal or cornstarch] is an inexpensive way to remove oil and grease," says Belkin.

To use: Pour 1 tablespoon cornmeal or cornstarch into an empty salt or pepper shaker and sprinkle onto dry hair and scalp until you’ve used it all. After 10 minutes, use a paddle hairbrush to completely brush it out. Treatment can be applied every other day.

For frizzy hair

Home beauty experts swear by avocado — and not just to repair damaged hair. Its oils (which are light and moist like our own natural skin secretions) and proteins boast the best combination of nutrients for smoothing and weighing down unruly hair, explains Cox.

To use: Mash up half an avocado and massage into clean, damp hair. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with water. Amp up moisturizing power by combining mashed avocado with 1 to 2 tablespoons of a hydrating ingredient, like sour cream, egg yolks or mayonnaise. Treatment can be applied every two weeks.

For residue-ridden hair

"Nothing eats through product buildup like baking soda," Cox says. Sodium bicarbonate essentially breaks down anything acidic.

To Use: Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons baking soda with small amounts of water until a thick paste forms. Massage into damp hair and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with water, then shampoo hair. Treatment can be applied every two weeks.

Tips and Tricks for Waxing Beginners

In the last several years, waxing has become a common (and popular) service offered at salons and spas. Whether it's the eyebrow, upper lip, armpit or, well, someplace more intimate, many people choose waxing for longer-lasting hair removal. But to those who've never done it (or who’ve done it once and had a bad experience), it can seem a bit daunting. If you're thinking about giving waxing a try, we've spoken to the experts and gotten the inside scoop on everything from preparation and pain to what kind of results to expect, so you can be well prepared when it comes time to take it all off—your hair, that is.

Who Should Wax

Waxing is a great alternative to shaving if you have hair you’re uncomfortable with, says Cornelia Zicu, chief creative officer at the Elizabeth Arden: Red Door Spas. "Waxing is recommended for people of all ages and both genders." Though she recommends that people start getting wax treatments at a young age, when the hair is fine and will be less painful to remove, anyone can get it done, regardless of age.

Waxing vs. Shaving
"Waxing is better because it removes [hair] from the root," says Janea Padilha, cofounder of the J. Sisters Salon in New York City and author of Brazilian Sexy. She adds that when you shave “you just cut the hair, so two hours later, you can see the hair there or the blue shadow (the hair follicle below the skin)." Waxing, on the other hand, not only can last up to a month, but it’s also much more permanent—over time it thins the hair so less grows back. Bonus: It exfoliates the skin as well, leaving you feeling silky smooth.

Preparing for a Wax
If you're worried about pain, take one or two Advil an hour before your appointment. "We also recommend an exfoliating scrub the day before and advise not to apply body lotion the day of the wax," Zicu says. Also, for underarm waxing, she recommends you use deodorant without antiperspirant because it comes off easier.

How Often to Wax
If you’ve shaven recently, wait five days. And though the time does vary between waxes, depending on how quickly or coarsely the hair grows back, Padilha says it’s best to wait around a month. "People should wait three to four weeks between waxing," she says. "But in an emergency, if they have a new boyfriend or are about to go on vacation, they can come back in three weeks with no problem."

What to Expect
First your waxer will clean and disinfect the area. After that, she’ll apply the wax and remove small areas of hair at a time. "There are two different types of wax," Zicu says. "Soft wax is done with paper or muslin strips, and hard wax is removed without strips." In general, hard wax is used to remove hair in the bikini, underarm and face area; soft wax is used on larger areas of the body such as the leg or armpit. Afterwards, she’ll remove any wax residue and apply cream.

The Pain Factor
Waxing is uncomfortable because the hair is being pulled all the way out. "If the roots are not pulled out, the discomfort is minimal but the results are also minimal," Zicu says. She adds that “discomfort is only [felt] at the time of service and stops immediately after." To be sure it's done right, you may want to check the strips to ensure the roots were also removed (you should see a small dark bulb on the hair follicle).

Post-Wax Treatment
Although the pain does subside as soon as the wax is over, the area can remain sensitive, which is why Zicu says not to use any scrubs for the next 48 hours and not to expose the area to direct sun for at least 24 hours. To treat redness or swelling, apply a small amount of cortisone cream from the drugstore.

After the tenderness has subsided, Padilha says to exfoliate in the shower to remove dead skin so the pores don't become clogged, causing ingrown hairs and bumps. If bumps do appear, “don't squeeze or tweeze!" she urges.

Waxing Hygiene
First and foremost, make sure you go to a place with proper sterilization procedures. Zicu insists, “The technician should be licensed and she should not double-dip during the waxing session." (Double dipping means that the technician used the same stick each time she dipped into the vat of hot wax. This practice contaminates the wax and allows bacteria to spread from one client to another. Plus, you wouldn’t want the wax used on your upper lip to have been mixed with a stick used on another woman’s bikini area.)

The Bikini Wax
There are special concerns when waxing the bikini area, but they’re very similar to those for the rest of the body, according to Padilha. She popularized the Brazilian-style bikini wax at her spa in 1994, "before anybody knew what it was," she says. "But now that people do know, the bikini area is the most common part of the body I wax."

Bikini vs. Brazilian
A Brazilian wax removes more hair than a bikini wax. Whereas a bikini focuses on the front and sides (what would be visible in a swimsuit), the Brazilian removes the front, sides, back and everything in between, often only leaving a strip of hair in the front—or none at all. Most of the time, you can leave your underwear on during a standard bikini wax, but for a Brazilian, you’ll have to besans panties.

Why Brazilian?
Some reasons for having a Brazilian wax include cleanliness, convenience and, of course, sexiness. "I always say men are my biggest clients," Padilha notes. But it's not just about sex. "When you sit at the beach or pool in your bathing suit, you feel so good, so comfortable because you don't have to worry about it [hair peeking out].”

Does It Hurt More?
"Some women can't do the bikini, but they are OK with the eyebrow. Others can do the bikini, but they can't stand to wax their legs," Padilha says. "Everyone is different. But it does hurt less the longer you do it. Eventually the hair becomes weak, so it doesn't hurt at all."

Does It Matter What Time of the Month It Is?
According to Padilha, waxing hurts more the week before your period, so it's best to go in the week after. And if you're pregnant? "Just like always, some days we are a little more sensitive than others," she says. "So if you're pregnant, it's fine. It doesn't hurt more." Otherwise, she says, it's just about being comfortable. "The first time clients are scared. Not because of the pain, but because they’re embarrassed. But after they've gotten one, forget about it!"

How to Colour Your Hair at Home

No doubt about it, coloring your hair at home saves time and money. If you’re still hesitant to give it a try, we’ve got some good news: Home haircolor kits are easy to use (and their formulas are gentle to your hair). Follow our steps and you’ll achieve great results.

When it comes to choosing a single-process shade, which will alter the overall color of your hair, you can go lighter or darker as long as you stay within one or two shades of your natural hue. Don’t go by the model on the box. It’s better to use the color guide on the side, which is a more accurate indicator of the results you can expect based on the color of your hair. If your current hair color isn’t pictured, put down the box—that color won’t work for you. At-home color kits are best for enhancing your natural color and for covering gray. Don’t rely on them for drastic changes like going from brunette to blonde. Visit a salon and let the pros handle that.

Step 2: Condition Your Hair

Two days before coloring, apply a deep-conditioning treatment to help strengthen hair. This will also give dry or damaged strands an added dose of moisture to help absorb the color better. We love the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner ($3.25; at drugstores). Then wash your hair the night before you’re going to color, not on the same day (your nails could accidentally scratch your scalp and cause the fresh color to irritate your skin). 

Step 3: Prep the Bathroom

Create an at-home haircolor kit by gathering the essentials: a wide-tooth comb (to help section hair), four large hair clips (to secure sections), a kitchen timer (so you don’t need to stare at the clock), a jar of petroleum jelly (to apply along your hairline to protect your skin from staining) and an old button-down shirt (easier than a T-shirt; you won’t have to slip it over your hair before rinsing). You can stow these items in a bucket under your sink, so they’ll always be on standby when you need a touchup.

Step 4: Read the Instructions

Sounds obvious, but this step is both the easiest and the most ignored. Take the time to read through the instructions before coloring (don’t just rely on the photos). Every kit is different, and the instructions explain exactly how to mix and apply the color correctly as well as how long to keep the solution on your hair. And be sure to wear the gloves that come in the box to keep your hands from getting stained.

Step 5: Divide & Conquer

A. Using the comb, divide dry hair into four sections: down the middle, then across the center from side to side. Twist and clip each section.

B. Starting with a front section, unclip hair and apply color along the roots.

C. With your gloved fingers, gently run color from roots to ends. Repeat on each section.

Step 6: Set a Timer

Once you’ve finished applying color to your last section of hair, start the timer for the amount of time indicated on the box. This will ensure that your color has enough time to properly develop. Most solutions are formulated to automatically stop processing after the time indicated, so leaving dye on longer shouldn’t change the results—but leaving it on for less time will.

Step 7: Rinse and Shine

When the timer rings, rinse and shampoo your hair. Always follow up with a deep conditioner; most coloring kits include one. The conditioner will help seal in color and smooth down your hair’s cuticle (the outer layer, which lifts up during the coloring process) to promote healthy, shiny hair.

Get the Results You Want

Remember, hair looks different wet than dry, so always dry your hair after coloring to see the final shade.
If you’re unhappy with the result, don’t panic! Call the toll-free number on the box and talk to a hair color expert, who can help you fix the problem. For example, if some of your gray is still showing, they may recommend you shampoo your hair and do a touchup application 48 hours later.
Be proactive: Call and speak to a hair color expert before coloring to get extra tips on applying that specific kit.

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