What’s up my fellow health nerds?! Tomorrow is July 4th, and to me that is the official kick off of summer. I thought it would be a great time to talk about how important it is in the summer to care for our body’s largest organ…the skin, and also our hair. I think that these two can take a real beating over the summer months, from swimming in the salty ocean, or chlorinated pools, to the sun soaking in our skin and hair all day, to eating saltier, dehydrating foods. There are really easy and simple ways to ensure that your skin and hair stay healthy and hydrated all summer long, (not to mention, prolonging that summer glow!) As promised too, I’m posting a recipe for an all natural DIY summer hair lightener that you can use in your backyard, at the pool, or on the beach, to get a sun streaked look that will last well into the fall and winter. Read through to get the recipe:
Golden Wellness Top 10 Summer Skin & Hair Care Tips:
- Hair Masks: We often put masks on our face, but don’t forget about your hair! Your hair loves a good mask too, as if offers deep hydration, shine, and strength to what can become brittle, broken, dried out hair that can be a result of a lot of sun, or swimming. What makes a good mask? My favorite one that I know I always have at home is straight up coconut oil. I put on as much as it takes to coat my whole head, (onto dry hair) and wrap my hair in a towel, and let it sit for at least an hour, or overnight. This method works fantastic, but leave yourself time to wash it all out. It is oil, and will leave ya lookin’ like a grease slicker if you don’t get it all out (been there, done that). My other favorite hair mask that I just tried last week is by Shea Moisture. They have these amazing single packets of hair masks, which is perfect for trying out which one you like. I used one last week and my hair is STILL super soft and flowy feeling. I highly recommend these as well. Get these products here. I would do a hair mask once every couple of weeks to maintain soft, hydrated hair all summer long.
- Coconut Oil: The terrible coconut oil….kidding. I still love and will always use coconut products. Nothing moisturizes as deeply as this oil. I like using this oil after a day in the sun to help moisturize and preserve a good tan. I wouldn’t use this on a sunburn though, as the oil traps heat in your skin. But if you didn’t burn, and want to avoid flaky, dry, ashy looking skin, add this to your after sun routine for supple, hydrated skin all summer long. (Note: I avoid using coconut oil on my face in the summer because it is so thick, I find that it can sometimes clog my pores. Opt for a lighter oil, or moisturizer for your face in the summer. I use vegetable glycerin on my face and love it.)
- Lavender Essential Oil: Your go to for everything from bug bites to poison ivy to sunburn. I found this trick out when I arrived in Copenhagen with my friends…literally as we landed, I felt an itch on my arm and knew instantly what it was (thanks to years of childhood being out in the woods getting tons of poison ivy.) I was limited as to what I had to use for it, and read that lavender oil is great for drying up poison ivy. Well, it worked GREAT! I put it on straight, and it started drying it up right away. I also used lavender oil on a wicked sunburn I got in Maine one summer, and along with moisturizing, the sunburn healed quick…and well. I would suggest applying the lavender oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut, jojoba, or almond oil, but in a pinch, I used it neat, and I was fine. Always test a small patch on your skin first to test for any sensitivities.
- Drink…WATER! What, did you think I was going to say beer? Well, have that too, (it is summer after all) but don’t forget to hydrate. Water works from the inside out. A hydrated body will show on the outside. Your skin will reflect this, it will remain plump, and soft. Often, dry skin or lips are a sign of dehydration which is pretty common in the summer. Read more about why you should drink water, and some tips on how to make water taste good all season long from my post here.
- Eat In Season: I blogged about what foods are in season, and why they are in season this time of year a few posts back. Summer fruits and veggies are hydrating and full of skin healthy minerals, like silica for example. Eating loads of these foods, as opposed to salty, oily foods which dehydrate, will ensure that your skin and hair are looking strong, smooth and supple. Check out some suggestions on what to eat during the summer months here.
- Exfoliation: Get your scrub on peeps! Exfoliation does wonders, not only does it slough off dead skin, (which may be more prevalent during the summer with increased sun exposure) but it also gets your circulation going, which helps toxins flow and exit the body more easily. Exfoliating also helps keep your skin looking golden and BRIGHT. I would exfoliate 2x a week. But NEVER after a sunburn (ouch, that hurt just typing it.) Here is a recipe for my favorite summer salt scrub,
- Get out in the sun: That’s right. One of my favorite thing to do in the summer during the day is to get outside and sit in the sun for at least 15 minutes-no sunscreen! Does that sound crazy? I swear it’s not. Most of us are actually Vitamin D deficient. The sun is the most readily available form of Vitamin D. We have become scared of the sun’s rays, and cover up a lot in the summer-either with clothes or sunscreens. And hear me out-don’t stop wearing your sunscreen, especially if you are going to bake on the beach all day. But it is totally healthy and good for you to get a daily dose of Vitamin D during these summer months, as your body can store the extras for times when Vitamin D may be deficient (like the winter months).
- Sunburn Care: Sunburn, it happens. But there are ways to deal with it to make it heal better, and not feel so uncomfortable. My first tip when you know you got a good burn is to HYDRATE. Start drinking lots of cool water. Second, take a cool shower. The cool water will help to bring down the temperature of your hot skin. After your shower, pat yourself dry, and put on a light moisturizer, or straight aloe if you have it, along with a little lavender oil. Wear loose fitting, or even better, no clothes at all while you sleep, and keep the room cool with either a fan or an AC. Repeat these steps for the first few days after getting a good sunburn. The burn will not only heal faster, and better (think less flaky and dry), but will be more bearable as it heals too.
- Coffee? Nah. I work part time at a coffeeshop in my town, and so I see it all the time, people load up on coffee drinks in the summer. Iced coffees, frozen lattes-all these sugary, caffeinated treats are sooo good, I know! But as a daily- or sometimes twice daily habit- it can leave you feeling dehydrated, or give you trouble dealing with the heat. Coffee as a treat is perfectly fine, but try to not go for an iced coffee when you are thirsty or want a cool down. Less caffeinated teas, such as iced green teas, are perfect options for your morning bev in the summer, and won’t leave you feeling parched later on. Coffee can also increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in your skin, so removing this in the summer can help keep your skin plump and hydrated. You don’t have to stop drinking coffee altogether just because it’s summer, just remember: everything in moderation.
- LAST! Natural Hair Lightening Spray: As promised, here is the recipe for an all natural hair lightening spray! I have to admit-I have been a die-hard Sun-In fan for YEARS. Ya girl over here still uses it to this day! I have been trying to develop a natural version though because the truth of the matter is that the stuff that is in Sun-In is everything I am kinda opposed to. Would I eat it? No way. Do I keep my hair away from my baby when I use it? Absolutely. It’s got a lot of those “can’t pronounce it” ingredients, and I know it can be harsh for my hair. So I set out this season to try and make one that I can use to replace my Sun-In habit, something that would be nourishing for my hair, but also do the lightening trick. So here it is! Tried and tested; it works, and I love it! 2 things to keep in mind: this will work best if your hair is brownish to blondish. My hair is naturally the color of a penny, and it has brought out everything from very orangey to very blondish highlights. Also, DO NOT USE if you have color treated hair! It will cause your hair to turn funky colors. I keep the extras in the fridge when I am not using it, and it should last in the fridge for at least a few months if kept in an airtight glass jar.
All Natural Sun-In
- 1 cup chamomile tea
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 aloe vera leaf, scraped out (you can also buy pure aloe vera if you don’t have access to a plant)
Brew your chamomile tea, set aside to cool. In the meantime, juice 1 lemon, removing the pulp and seeds through a strainer. Scrape out the guts of an aloe vera leaf. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender, and blend on low for 1 minute. Remove, and add to a spray bottle. Store the spray bottle and extras in the fridge until using.
PRO-TIP! Use the spray on wet or damp hair preferable. Spray on when laying out in the sun to bring out highlights. If you really want to get some bleach blond streaks, add a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide to the mix. I am trying to stay away from it because I have used it for so long and it can be harsh to your hair. The regular mix will work fine, it just might take a bit longer.
Enjoy! Happy July 4th!