No matter how you slice it, summer is hard on your skin and hair. Rising temperatures, scorching sun, chlorine-filled swimming pools and outdoor recreational activities all take a toll on both your skin and hair.
It is easy to want to reach for commercial skin and hair products and advertisements, because such products are so attractive and promise great results. However, many of these products — in fact, most of them — are loaded with synthetic ingredients, some of which are even known to be toxic. Most of the time, you are paying a lot of money for little more than a pretty bottle full of chemicals that can actually damage your hair and skin.
However, there are many natural solutions to beautiful and healthy hair and skin that not only work, but cost a fraction of what commercial products do. If you are looking for a simple solution for radiant and silky hair and skin this summer, you need look no further than the healthy food sections in your local supermarket. That’s right, the very same foods that provide powerful nutrition for your body when you eat them can also restore and protect your skin and hair when used topically.
How to keep your hair soft and shiny, naturally
No matter what type of hair you have, wind, sun, salt and chlorine can cause damage. If you spend a lot of time in a chlorinated pool during the summer months, you know how easily it can strip your hair of its vitality. The following foods will nourish damaged hair and keep your locks looking the best they can no matter what the weather:
1. Eggs: According to Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home, raw egg provides a great deal of nourishment for your hair. Egg yolks are rich in fats and proteins that naturally moisturize hair and the whites contain enzymes that eat bacteria and remove unwanted oils. If you have normal hair, use all of the egg to treat your hair but for oily hair only use the yolks. Apply a half cup of egg to clean and damp hair. Allow it to sit on your hair for about 20 minutes and rinse with cool water. For best results, use whole egg treatments once a month and egg white treatment every two weeks.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar: If you have been using commercial hair products for some time, your hair may be dull and listless. The combination of summer heat and sun and these products can really take its toll on both your hair and scalp. Raw apple cider vinegar is a great way to remove residue and product build-up from your hair. As a bonus, it works as a natural detangler and closes the cuticle of the hair, allowing light to reflect — making hair super shiny. Spray hair with a mixture of one part water and one part apple cider vinegar several times a week.
3. Avocado: Not only is avocado a highly nutritious and delicious fruit to eat but it can also do wonders for sun and weather-damaged hair. Rich with vitamins A, B, C, E and K, this green wonder also contains the vital minerals copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They are also rich in essential proteins, fibers and phytochemicals. To nourish dry and damaged hair, try a hot avocado hair treatment. Simply mix one tablespoon of avocado oil (available at most health stores) with one tablespoon of olive oil . Warm the oil mixture on the stove over low heat and massage into your scalp using a circular motion for about 15 minutes. Wrap your hair in a warm and moist towel and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Remove towel, and shampoo and condition as normal using organic products.
4. Honey: Brittle, weather-damaged hair can be revitalized with raw honey. A natural humectant, honey attracts moisture and is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that feed hair follicles and encourage healthy growth. One of the best ways to use raw honey for your hair is to mix 1/4 cup with enough water to thin it out. Apply the honey and water mixture like you would shampoo and allow it to sit on your hair for about 30 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
Foods that feed your skin
Sun and wind can damage skin, leaving it dry and also promote aging. The following foods and food combinations work to keep your skin healthy, balanced and youthful looking.
5. Lemon Juice: Not only will drinking a glass of warm lemon water daily boost your immune system, but a topical application of lemon juice using a soft cotton pad can freshen, cleanse and protect skin. Lemon juice can exfoliate, remove dead skin cells and also lighten age spots. Use fresh juice from lemons for best results.
6. Coconut Oil: Pacific islanders have known for thousands of years just how valuable the coconut really is. Coconut oil  contains healing antioxidant compounds that moisturize and protect skin from environmental insults such as wind and sun. Use coconut oil sparingly over your entire body, including face and neck, for an all-over moisturizer. This amazing oil contains antifungal and antibacterial properties which makes it ideal for helping with skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. When using as a facial moisturizer, be sure to only use a tiny dab, as it goes a long way.
7. Oats: Whole oats are not only an amazing option for breakfast but are also a highly effective skin cleanser and moisturizer. If you have problems with itchy skin, rashes or your skin is peeling from too much time in the sun, oats are the answer. Oats contain beta-glucan which creates a protective film and also reaches deep down into your skin for deep moisturizing.
Make a healing facial mask by mixing one smashed banana with a cup of ground oats and a little lukewarm milk. Apply to your face for about 15 minutes and rinse with cold water. You can also soak in an oatmeal bath for relief from sunburn and to moisturize your entire body.
8. Bananas: If you are outside this summer in your sandals you may notice that your feet dry up rather quickly. Cracked heels are not only unsightly but also highly painful. To moisturize and heal cracked feet blend two overripe bananas to form a creamy paste. Apply the paste to your feet and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Wash feet thoroughly with warm water first followed by cold water. This treatment can be done as often as needed for silky smooth feet all summer long. If you apply the paste before bedtime, follow with some coconut oil and put on a pair of cozy socks for a do-it-yourself spa treatment that won’t break your bank.
Always remember, the No. 1 rule to amazing hair and skin is to never put anything in or on it that you would not eat!
What are your tips for great skin and hair, the all-natural way? Tell us in the comments section below.