I blame my general disdain for home remedies on this awful roommate I once had who was the kind of person who dried her own fruit all over the apartment and “liberated” bugs from captivity with a dustpan. She would complain for days if she caught me eating a Big Mac at home: “The smell!” she once said to me, while scrunching her face as if she was experiencing constipation pangs from her most recent hummus-inflicted intestinal problems. “It’s like it’s in the walls!” Exacerbated, I snapped back, “I believe you’re actually smelling the family of spiders I just murdered. First, I sprayed them with Raid so that they couldn’t escape, and then I swatted their shriveling bodies to death with an empty pizza box, which I think I threw in the garbage. Now I’m having a Diet Coke to celebrate.” As you can see, she was a total monster!
That said, just because I won’t tell you to mash up an avocado and smear it all over your face for fear that I’ll have unbearable flashbacks to my tyrannical roommate, there are a few totally underrated home remedy beauty secrets that I do advocate. Let’s start with the most terrifying one…
Preparation H for Tired, Puffy Eyes
Most dermatologists will probably tell you never to use a hemorrhoid cream as a beauty product, but I actually have no idea if that’s true because I’ve never bothered to ask them. What I do know is that a ton of New York models use this magical cream just so they can get away with going to all the late-night fashion week parties while still rocking the runways with a fresh face in the morning. If you put a little Prep H under tired, puffy eyes when you wake up, it temporarily restricts the blood vessels, which (my model friends and I believe) reduces redness. Prep H contains 1% hydrocortisone, which is an anti-inflammatory that ‘appears’ to reduce puffiness, too. There, did I cover all my “don’t sue me in case I’m wrong” bases? Be careful not to get this stuff in your eyes if you have a low pain threshold and a general appreciation for vision.
Toothpaste for Pimples and Anxiety
Sure, this is technically bad for your skin, but so are things like Diet Coke, sunlight and living in the city. If avoiding those three things led to beautiful skin, then those Chilean miners would be supermodels by now, right? A little dab of white toothpaste directly on a pimple at night will help dry it out a bit, and while that’s maybe not the best long-term strategy for acne, it definitely helps deal with a flare up the night before a job interview or an important event, like your first appointment with a sexy therapist. Obviously, be sure not to use a whitening toothpaste or a gel. I once accidentally dyed a pimple blue with translucent blue paste and looked like I had just finished the matinee shift with the Blue Man Group and missed a spot. On another note, I had an appointment with a new therapist this morning who suggested I put toothpaste on my upper lip and inhale the menthol slowly to reduce anxiety the natural way. I’m doing it right now as I write this! I’m having weird flashbacks to a moment in my late teens that must have involved crème de menthe. Yikes.
Baking Soda and a Vitamin E Pill to Exfoliate
While this goes against my rule of not bathing like the Amish, I am obsessed with baking soda. I add it to my toothpaste when I want to give my teeth a good cleaning, and I love to make a facial exfoliator with it by mixing it with water in a small bowl until it has a nice texture and consistency. Then I squeeze in a Vitamin E pill if I have one lying around. Sure, it’s kind of messy, but I’m not suggesting that you go down to the river and bathe while you scrub your clothes clean on a wash board. Making my own exfoliator gives me the false sense of pride that I know how to cook something, too. It’s what the 1950s Madison Avenue advertising execs who created the Betty Crocker campaign would have wanted!
Vaseline for a Perfect At-Home Manicure
I’ve had so much caffeine by 3pm that the idea of painting my nails feels like I’m attempting a vanity-themed game of Operation, and I usually wind up looking more like I tried to henna my hands like Madonna circa Ray of Light. To avoid hands that will give me Lady Macbeth style OCD (“Out, out, damn spot!”), I use a Q-Tip to apply Vaseline to my cuticles and around my nails (but obviously not on them), so if I paint outside the lines, it just rinses off once my nails are dry. It’s like having the precision of a skilled surgeon but without the years and years of school, discipline and dedication.
A Lost Sock For a Totally Sick Updo
I went through a phase where missing socks drove me so bat-sh*t crazy that I started buying only one exact type of sock so I would, at worst, be left with just one unmatched sock at the end of laundry day instead of a ton of half pairs. When that brand of sock was finally discontinued, I decided to turn my looming nervous breakdown into an art project. These days, when I finally deem a single sock a lost cause, I cut the foot off of it, and roll the neck of the sock down into a doughnut shape. Then I pull my hair into a high ponytail, secure it with an elastic band and then pull it through the sock doughnut. Then I let my hair fall a bit messily around the doughnut, tucking pieces under it and securing bobby pins around it until my hair is totally hiding the sock but I have this amazingly oversized updo a la Marion Cotillard. If you then have an afternoon free, I suggest putting on oversized sunglasses and your most expensive dress and heading to your favourite luxury department stores to ask for samples of their most insanely over-priced products. They’ll give them to you because they’ll assume you’re rich and famous. Besides, you’ve been so economical and environmental with all your new beauty home remedies that you deserve a special treat.