15 Tricks for Better Skin.

Everyone loves healthy skin. And everyone loves having nice, pretty soft skin. But not everyone is blessed with adamantine skin that survives anything and comes out looking like we’re on the cover of a magazine. I know I’m not. We all get the odd pimple, blackhead, greasy spot or dry area from time to time. And it’s unreasonable to ask everyone to stay indoors all day, wash their face ten times a day and never eat anything inflammatory or allergenic. So here are 15 tips to make sure you have great skin as often as possible.

1: Drink more water.

The biggest cause of all skin issues is dehydration. Even oily skin, heavy sweats and water retention, that look like they might be caused by excess water, can be triggered by dehydration. If you naturally drink very little or a lot, this doesn’t mean you need to add a litre or two a day, just a glass when you get up and a glass when you go to bed can make a massive difference.

2: Exfoliate.

Using a rough grain exfoliator like a sugar or coconut shell scrub can do wonders for you. It can prevent ingrown hairs, reduce the number of blackheads and even thicken and darken the skin over stretch marks, reducing their appearance.

3: Vitamin D.

Your skin is designed to produce Vitamin D when it’s in contact with sunlight. The amount of Vitamin D in our bodies nowadays, when we spend so little time outside, is very low. So it stands to reason that our skin suffers from this lack of Vitamin D. I have noticed my skin lost some of its ashen complexion and the dark circles under my eyes disappeared after some Vitamin D supplementation. This is especially important for people with darker skin, as higher melanin content makes it harder for your body to make Vitamin D!

4: Scrape pores.

In the same vein as exfoliation, but where exfoliation is prevention, scraping is the cure. When you have blackheads or open pores, this can really help. Take a scraper like you’d use with hair removal cream. Run it over your problem pores, pressing down lightly so it squeezes out any blackheads or clogging. Use a splash of cold water to seal the pores again. Just be sure to do this before bed, as the skin will be red for a few hours after scraping and using makeup can clog your pores again.

5: Moisturize.

Whether you use a damp, warm towel, essential oils, a store bought face cream or a yoghurt and honey mix, make sure to moisturize, especially if the weather is warm, your skin is very oily or dry or if you use a lot of makeup on a regular basis.

6: Disinfect.

If you see redness, scratches, spots, blackheads or swelling anywhere on your skin and it’s definitely a skin surface issue, use a little tea tree oil. It’s a natural disinfectant and could help prevent further damage and encourage your skin to heal normally.

7: Steam bath.

If you have oily skin or pores that clog often, use a steam bath a couple of times a week to clear your pores. The warm steam will open your pores and the heat will encourage you to sweat, which may help force out many of the oils that collect in your sweat ducts and glands, giving your drier, softer skin for the following days.

8: Go lactose-free.

In many people acne is a symptom of lactose intolerance. If your heritage is anything but pure Hungarian or Scandinavian, chances are you are at least a little bit lactose intolerant. Try cutting out dairy from cream to skimmed milk. Butter is still OK as the lactose in it is negligible. After a couple of weeks you may notice your acne is reduced or entirely gone.

9: Pat dry.

With very oily and sweaty skin, sometimes we make the problem worse by poking or prodding too much and using too many products. Keep some facial blotters with you wherever you go and if you feel your face getting prickly, oily or sweaty, just lightly blot your face and neck. This will absorb excess oils without irritating the pores. Never use one blotter twice, especially if your skin is very oily, as you could be adding oils back to your skin after you’re done.

10: Beta carotene.

More urgent for people of Caucasian heritage than any other, but still useful to most people unless your skin is 100% Sub-Saharan Black. Beta carotene is the pigment in carrots, sweet potatoes and oranges that makes many foods orange or red or pink. Your body absorbs it and it lightly colours your skin, filling in the melanin gaps with a golden or orangey colour. This pigmentation gives lighter skinned people a healthy glow and can help prevent sunburn during brief periods of exposure.

11: Cool off.

Some of the biggest problems with skin care happen when our pores are wide open. Regularly washing our faces in very cold water can help keep your pores closed. Fanning and sitting in a breezy area is good too. Keeping cool will help keep your pores closed.

12: Sunblock.

Sun damage on any skin tone is terrible. You have dryness, wrinkled patches and swelling. Even if your skin is dark and won’t show redness, it will show the swelling, wrinkles and peeling. Be sure to use sunblock if you’re out for over half an hour and enjoy the sun without burning.

13: Dry shave.

If you shave your legs and/or arms, consider doing a dry shave once in a while. After a shower, pat yourself mostly dry, take a fresh razor and carefully shave without using water or soap. If the drag hurts don’t do it, but if it doesn’t bother you, you’ll be amazed at how smooth the skin is and how few ingrown hairs you get!

14: Cut back sugars.

Many people get very bad skin from eating fast release sugar. If you find your skin is puffy, oily, aging quickly or covered in acne, but lactose wasn’t causing it, it could be sugars. Try cutting out all foods with simple sugar and having only one or two pieces of fruit a day over a week. You may find your skin looks much better.

15: Oil cleansing.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but actually all soaps are made of oils and for most of our history we made use of oils for washing. The fact of the matter is that oils bind with oils, so if you have oily skin, eczema or generally sensitive skin, oils can bind with your natural skin oils and the irritants that are in them. Your skin could be far healthier if you use oil cleansing. Try using olive oil, coconut oil or walnut oil for the best results.

And that is what I have learned about how to care for your skin!

How do you keep your skin clear, healthy and happy? Have you tried any of the above advice? Share your experience in the comments. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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Beauty and Sex-Appeal are in the Body.

Something I have noticed about how women react to men is that in the last few generations we have been operating on the assumption that men aren’t allowed to fancy you for your looks. No longer is only male love supposed to be disconnected from their natural, biological lust, but now their lust isn’t even supposed to be based on your looks.

A perfect example is fat acceptance girls and chubby chasers. FA girls hate chubby chasers. Why? Because chubby chasers like fat women. Now, in any sane world women would be pleased that there are men who like their looks. But in this world sex appeal is now supposed to be divorced from looks. The chubby chasers should, apparently, find large women attractive, but not because they’re large.

Another example is how if a man tells a woman that he finds her attractive and wants to have sex with her and says both these things too closely together, regardless of her relationship with him she will start to become averse to the idea of sex. Saying she’s attractive? That’s cool. Wanting sex? That’s cool too. Saying you want sex because she’s attractive? No, not allowed.

Men are supposed to apparently lust after women’s personalities.

This never used to be the case. Women always accepted that a part of male sexuality was wholly based on her looks and that we had to live with that and work with that to get the men we wanted.

And I don’t think anyone has stopped knowing this. Women still lose weight or do their hair in hopes that a certain guy will notice them. I think the difference is more subtle.

The past few generations have been raised on two messages that, together, create a false impression in a woman’s mind.

1: Men are mindless animals that are blinded by their desire for you and this makes them usable.

2: Only what’s on the inside counts in terms of love, everything else is impure and unfair.

And the impression they caused? That men’s true love is a pure, asexual thing, but men have a wild libido that they don’t even know about that makes it easy for women to control them.

Which is a ridiculous concept, but it’s a concept I have observed most other women of my generation operating on. They assume that sex can and should be used to get things, that men who want sex based on looks are broken, that men who love you truly will want sex regardless of looks. Which is why they let themselves go in relationships, date “bad boys” who upset them and wind up bemoaning how terrible men are.

But then along comes a man who directly associates her looks with her sex appeal with his love for her. Say, a chubby chaser. He, just by calling himself a chubby chaser, is directly saying “I like the way you look, that makes me attracted to you and this attraction makes you potential relationship material.” Or, turned around: “If I didn’t like the way you looked, I would not be attracted to you and you would therefore not be relationship material.”

Which leaves the girl with a dilemma. If men are, indeed, aware of their own libidos and do, in fact, feel sexual attraction as a part of love, then a woman is not special or unique or lovable just for being herself. She is replaceable. And she thought she had triple leverage in the relationship: her looks, her sex appeal and her love. But it turns out she only has one: her looks.

In past times this was balanced. Women knew that men wanted them to be pretty and women made themselves pretty for their men. Women also knew that there were plenty of other women who were also pretty, so they didn’t rely on looks. Instead, they developed charm, a touch of wit, various homemaking skills and a pleasant disposition. It was a way of adding more to a relationship, to keep a man around and keep him interested.

But in today’s world many women rely entirely on looks, sex and love. Which is why it hurts so much to realize that those three qualities are actually one single quality.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

How To… prepare a makeup kit.

This post is the last in my “housekeeper’s kits” series. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI at these links.

Ending on something a little lighter for my seventh and final kit: makeup. Again, another one for the girls, but also an idea for a gift!

1: The Bag.

Most people’s makeup bags are too big with too few compartments or too small. Instead, look for something about the size of a pressure cooker pot, a 2l jug or an xBox360, with two or three compartments to it. This should be enough. If you’re an avid collector of makeup, try and keep various kits this size rather than one larger one, as it will keep everything more organized.

2: The Basics.

These are your minimalist makeup products. The two, three or four things you absolutely won’t go without. Keep them all together in a small section or their own pouch.

My basics:

-brown eyeliner

-black mascara

-concealer

-tinted lip gloss

3: The Specials.

These are things you actually use, but not all that often. Fancy dress, dressing fancy or to swap with your basics when you fancy a change. Anything you don’t use daily can be considered here. Anything you don’t use weekly absolutely belongs here. Keep them organized in a larger section of your bag where they can be accessed easily but kept away from your regular use items.

For specials, I would suggest an assortment of makeup with a bias towards makeup that enhances your best asset, all in good colours for you.

-eyeshadow collection in at least 5 colours that look good on you

-a couple of lipsticks that look bold and attractive against your skin

-blushes and countouring in your colours

-something unbelievably sparkly

4: The Applicators and Tools.

The stuff you use to put the makeup on and get your face neatened up. There are thousands of reasons to keep them separate from your main makeup, but the primary one is hygiene. These tools will be in contact with your face every day until they are replaced. You need to keep them clean, keep clean tools away from makeup and not let them come in contact with face cleaning equipment, unless you want to damage brushes or get deep pore cleanser in your eye through your lash curler!

I haven’t had a need for much more than this, but I’m not into heavy makeup most of the time. Add a special applicator for every item you wear regularly!

-large brush for coverage

-smaller brush for bursts of colour

-fan brush for eyeshadow control

-thin applicator for eyeshadow control

-sponges for dabbing and blurring

-lash curlers

-tweezers

-small scissors

5: The Cleaning.

And when you need to make a few corrections or get everything off, these come in handy. These occupy the main area of your bag, seeing as they’re large and best kept handy. You will also want to keep tools for cleaning your brushes and applicators.

6: The Nails.

Nail-care materials are often spread around the house, but it’s worthwhile to keep a set in your makeup bag that never strays from there.

-clippers

-scissors

-nail files

-fake nails and glue

-nail polishes

-nail polish remover

-nail moisturizer

7: The Travel Bag.

Something you can grab and throw your favourite makeup into. You’d take your whole kit with you if you were going somewhere for a week or more, but this is more for an evening or a couple of days.

It needs to have two main compartments: day and night. Maybe a third for interchangeable items. Each will have a makeup combination that covers all the sorts of makeup you wear, but only for one set. So an example would be:

Day: deep beige eye shadow, tinted lip gloss, brown eyeliner.

Night: dark green shiny eyeshadow, red lipstick, darker eyeliner.

Both: concealer, mascara, wipes.

And that is how I would put together a makeup kit!

I’m open to any further suggestions for kits to make and will, if asked nicely, put together some visuals of the kits I use, what’s in them and how to pack them for easy everyday use.

So go ahead and tell me about everyday situations, emergencies or clutter that you really think need a kit. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

8 Ways To Find Beauty In Everything.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the world for what it is. Or for what it isn’t. Or basically to enjoy it for what it is, even if it isn’t perfect. It’s especially hard when you’re going through a rough patch or have depression in general. Existential misery, the feeling that everything is meaningless or the cloud to every silver lining will blind you to the positives and leave you feeling miserable. And when you’re in that sort of a place you can’t always feel better about it.

But there are some ways to lift yourself up when you’re down and to prevent yourself from being dragged down quite so harshly. Preventative medicine for the mind, or a supplement of happiness to tide you through, as it were.

1: Respect yourself.

It can be hard to do anything at all when you don’t respect yourself. To try and cultivate self-respect, remember to always make note and give thanks when you get things right, so that these become more memorable. Learn about your own flaws and work against them when they can be fixed and accept when they can’t. From time to time, try and think of yourself as a child or a pet. Would you treat a child or puppy with the amount of love, care and attention you treat yourself? Remember that you deserve to be happy, especially when it doesn’t cost anyone anything.

2: Respect others.

It is just as important to respect those around you. When you have no respect for yourself you will breed sadness, as you won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour or the silver linings in life. But when you have no respect for others you will breed anger, as their flaws will routinely disappoint and offend you. Try and think about other people rationally. Look at their skills and flaws and ask yourself if your demands are reasonable. Remember that they may not be capable of what you expect of them, and that they have the free will to deal with their flaws or embrace them. You have no power over them.

3: Hone your senses.

Everything in life can be experienced through all the senses. We have the five main senses, of course, but we also have the surrounding senses, such as proprioception, time perception and intuition. Learn about all of them and from time to time use meditation to bring them all out. Try observing and painting every colour in a flower, or listening to every instrument in a piece of music. By working on your senses you can learn that some things may have an awful scent or colour, but a pleasant sound or atmosphere.

4: Indulge your senses.

Once you have spent some time observing every sense, try and indulge or even overwhelm them. Listen to genres of music you’ve never heard before. Look at psychedelic art. Try eating high concentrations of foods that are often diluted, like saccharine, or low concentrations of foods that are often strong, like coffee. Push yourself to identify more elements of life. Try and meditate to speed up or slow down your perception of time. Try and feel every part of your body without touching it with your hands. Indulge every sense you can isolate.

5: Look for beauty.

And when you’re experiencing everything at least a little bit and striving to experience everything fully, you want to find beauty wherever you look. Maybe a tall tree in your neighbour’s garden is blocking the light from your own. But you can plant shade-loving plants beneath it and enjoy the shelter it gives from rain and sun. Maybe your child plays loud music in the afternoons. But the music may have agreeable qualities that you hadn’t noticed. Maybe chocolate tastes too sweet for you. But the bitter, astringent or spiced tastes that cocoa has shouldn’t be neglected. The beauty is there, if only you look for it carefully.

6: Protect yourself.

That said, be sure to guard yourself against things that have more harm than beauty in them. If chocolate is genuinely too unpleasant for you, then ensure you don’t have to eat it by warning people and learning to politely turn it down. If a certain type of music gives you migraines, makes you feel ill at ease or is simply irritating, explain this to anyone who plays it around you. You can’t control the actions of others, but you can take small steps to remove unnecessary harm from your life.  And these steps are entirely your own responsibility.

7: Disregard unharmful flaws.

However, some flaws are merely mild annoyances that cause no real harm. If a certain type of music annoys you and your neighbour insists on playing it, then there is nothing you can do. It is causing you no real harm, so learn to ignore these things. Inconvenient, annoying or frustrating things happen all the time. The world doesn’t care that your father died in a train derailment, that incense gives you headaches or that you take longer to cross a certain section of a road than others would. Trains, incense and crossings won’t stop existing just because they bother you. If the thing you perceive as a flaw causes you no harm, then learn to ignore it whenever you can’t avoid it.

8: Be honest about positives and negatives.

There are good sides and bad sides to life. Whatever your outlook, things will happen that will make you sad, hurt, angry or frustrated. Regarding these things, the only outlook that helps is acceptance. Sometimes you will find something that has no value to you. So accept them for what they are. Death is death. Devastation is devastation. Disease is disease. They may hold no reward for you, but they’re not meant to. They have their own role to play in life which, however harmful it is to you, is benefiting something, somewhere. Trying to deny their existence or the harm they cause you will only make you less happy. All you can do is accept that they’re there, accept that they play a part in this world and keep on going. After all, the pigs you eat for breakfast and the microorganisms you kill with antibiotics would have a hard time seeing the good in you too!

And those are eight ways to see the beauty in everything. If you make an effort, you will find that everything has something beautiful about it, even if that beauty is completely useless to you.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

In brief: Why you should admire and not covet.

Jealousy is a plague that has followed humans since our earliest existence. As living beings, we are constantly competing against our environment and other humans of a similar standing. As social animals, we are in close contact with our competition and superiors. So we naturally look at what we have, look at what they have and want a better lot.

This can be very good in that it helps us set high goals, gain healthy respect for our peers and superiors and understand our position and potential. However, it can also cause us problems.

We start to develop a deep envy of anyone who has something we want. We covet what they have, be it a fancy car, curly hair or a knack for music. And rather than enjoy their merits for what they are and look to the good in ourselves, we focus entirely on our lack of these things. Which leads to social disruptions as we become jealous of our peers and lose self esteem over our differences.

And all this is perfectly natural. But, just as eating and getting fat are natural does not make obesity good or healthy, neither is jealousy and low self esteem healthy just because competitiveness and living in close proximity to your competition are natural.

For a healthier outlook, instead admire the positives in others. Don’t look at what they have and get angry because they have it and it’s nice. That may be a natural reaction, but it is also immature and harmful. Look at someone who has the car you want and admire that car. You can do this and accept that you don’t have the money to buy it (yet). Look at someone who does amazingly in maths exams without any effort at all and admire their talent. You can do this and accept that you have to work harder than that and may never get those results. Look at someone who has the curly hair you’ve always dreamed of and admire its beauty. You can do this and accept that your hair is not naturally curly like that.

It’s key to respect your differences. You may want to be the same as your friend or a celebrity in certain aspects, but there is no point harbouring envy and anger because someone has something you don’t. I’m not really a believer in the doctrine of “everyone is equal in their difference”. There are plenty of bright people who are also athletic, attractive and charming. Not every dumb person will have anything to compensate for it. But generally people have good traits and bad traits, even if they aren’t really excellent in any way. You may not have your friend’s hair colour or gift for mathematics. But getting het up about it doesn’t help you get it. It just makes you angry, insecure and bitter, all of which are actually making you worse as a person. And when we try and improve ourselves from a place of jealousy, trying to seize what we covet… Well, like the proverbial flower that is picked, the thing we thought was so beautiful is ruined and dies. When we get a face lift or botox to get beautiful skin, we wind up with unnaturally stretched, creased skin. When we lie in tanning beds or bleach our skin, we get reddened marks, cancer risk and blotchy patches. When we cheat in a French test we get pushed beyond our abilities in the higher classes until we drop out. You can’t just see what you like and angrily grab at it. Sometimes it’s beyond your reach and snatching it will only break it.

So try and appreciate yourself. Bear in mind that the traits you would readily cast aside for something else are also coveted by others. Even the tallest man wants the normalcy of average height. Even the richest person wants the simplicity of less. Even the greatest mathematician wonders about becoming a gardener. Nobody is ever fully satisfied. Someone out there wants your hair, your waistline, your money, your family, your job. You may not enjoy any of it. But at least appreciate that whatever you have has some value.

And if you find actual flaws? Flaws that hinder you, that aren’t representative of you, that you could easily fix? Build yourself up from there. You don’t need to hate your hair to get a haircut or to hate your job to change careers. You don’t need to be bitter towards the maths whiz to work harder in maths or to get angry at attractive celebrities to get fit. Just because the baseline is “be me” doesn’t mean that you can’t go beyond it. You stay “me” every step of the way, don’t you? You will still be true to yourself if you become wiser, more attractive, wealthier, more powerful, fitter, more educated or stronger.

So admire the things you love in others.

Respect the difference between yourself and those around you.

Appreciate every blessing bestowed upon you.

And never stop growing.

After all, you’re perfect, but you need to keep going.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Small Steps To Looking More Feminine.

Many of us want to become a little more feminine. Not necessarily porcelain doll, but we’d like to at least look and feel like women and embody the virtues that make us happy and that men enjoy.

But in terms of appearance, being feminine can seem hard, especially to the slightly more tomboyish of us. It can sometimes feel like our more image-conscious sisters use ten thousand different tricks, products and styles to achieve a graceful, feminine appearance. And sometimes the things we think of as over the top are considered basic by others and what to us is complicated is simple to them. So, for the absolute beginners like I was until recently, here are my ten first steps to obtaining a more feminine appearance.

1: Hygiene.

Make sure to use conditioner and a shampoo that suits your hair. Wear some perfume or body scent. Use some moisturizer. Basically, go from basic soap, shampoo and deodorant, to something to make your hair shinier, something to make your body smell softer and something to make your skin smoother. These tiny additions hardly take any time at all and make a world of difference.

2: Makeup and hair.

The next layer is basic makeup and hair styling. Just enough concealer, foundation, lips and eyes to add some extra feminine softness. And aim for a long haircut that is easy to maintain and frames your face well. Long hair is more feminine and the right fringe can soften and feminize your face.

Commenter SurferCajun added that boar bristle hairbrushes could also help keep your hair healthy, vibrant, lustrous and long!

3: Frills and flares.

Just because you may not be ready to wear skirts and dresses daily doesn’t mean you can’t use their attributes. Frilly, flared clothing always looks somewhat feminine, feels great on the skin and grabs your man’s attention, so adding something with frills and flares, be it a skirt or just a top, will make your wardrobe more feminine.

4: Nice shoes.

Not everyone likes girly shoes. And not everyone wants to wear heels daily. But just because you don’t want to wear tall sparkly heels every day doesn’t mean you have to be, as Jon puts it “Frumplestiltskin”. Try and swap your everyday doc martens and trainers for something a little girlier, like ankle boots, or ballet flats.

5: Jewelery.

Don’t try and overdo it or overload yourself yet. Get a few select pieces of jewellery or dig out your old jewellery. Make a point of wearing one item of jewellery (on top of wedding or engagement rings) a day. This way you can keep it more inkeeping with your outfit, but add that touch of sparkle that catches your guy’s eye.

6: Handbags.

As I discussed two weeks ago, I have been transitioning off backpacks and onto handbags. Whilst I sometimes use a backpack just for the sheer size of it, moving mostly onto handbags adds some feminine glamour too your everyday appearance.

7: Colour coordination.

Try and keep your outfit held together. Ideally find out what your colours are and then your wardrobe will always match. But if you have something in every colour, avoid combinations that remind you of abstract art or shabby-chic. These looks are very hard to pull off and don’t always look feminine even when they are pulled off. Stick to classic colour combos, like blue and white or green and purple.

8: Posture.

Good posture adds grace and femininity to every woman. Walk with small steps, with your back straight, your neck straight and your head facing forwards or even a little upwards. Sit by touching your calves to the seat of the chair, sitting down upright and folding one ankle behind the other. Don’t slouch, stoop or bend over.

9: Manners.

All this wouldn’t be complete without manners. Manners are very much a regional thing, but aim to have the manners of a local fifty year old, not an all-American twelve year old. Remember to be considerate, grateful and giving.

10: Smile.

Finally, smile. Have a pleasant demeanour about you. Appear open and friendly, not cold and unapproachable. Try and deeply enjoy your new femininity, to let that joy radiate from your smile.

And those are my ten very simple tricks to being a little bit more feminine. They take virtually no time, hardly any effort and most don’t even cost you anything. All could be accomplished in a day and mastered in a week, if you set your mind to it. Though I’d personally recommend focusing on one a week and seeing how you go!

Have anything to add or comment on? Looking forward to reading your anecdotes, tips and thoughts!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!