Beauty Guide: looking great from head to toe

Contrary to popular belief, looking great from top to toe doesn't require fancy machines or plastic surgery.

Aside from eating right and exercising regularly, there are many natural remedies that can help you maintain your crowning glory, give your complexion a boost, and keep your body in tiptop shape.

The environment that we live and breathe in daily is filled with toxic chemicals, dust and harmful particles that affect our skin and health. Especially with the haze now, your skin and scalp are more susceptible to damage, which may result in irritation or unhealthy hair growth.

By using natural remedies and supplements, not only will you find yourself saving a ton of money, it also means less chemicals and toxins in your body. This will keep you glowing on the inside, as well as the outside.

Here are some natural beauty solutions to problems that many people struggle with daily. Improve your appearance with these tried and tested solutions!

1. For a glowing, rosy complexion

Forget expensive facial packages or disposable face masks from department stores. Really, all you need are naturally occurring nutrients from fruits.

Take papaya for example, which is rich in Vitamin A and Papain (the papaya enzyme which aids in digestion). It helps remove dead skin cells and breaks down inactive proteins, instantly brightening your skin.

The soft, orange fruit is low in sodium, which means it retains and absorbs very little water. So when you apply it to your skin, it doesn't take water away from your skin, but instead keeps it hydrated. Applying papaya mask on your face for 15 minutes should be enough to reduce blemishes and brighten your skin!

Directions: Make your own papaya mask by mixing 3 tablespoons of mashed papaya, 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of honey and juice from half a lemon together. To brighten and whiten your skin more, add a tad more lemon. Leave it on for 20 minutes and you're good to go.

2. Reduce puffy eyes and dark eye circles

Rid yourself of tired-looking eyes by giving the area around your eyes a slight lift and brightening treatment.

A quick fix to get rid of puffy eyes in the morning would be to put a cold metal spoon on the affected area for 30 seconds. You'll see instant results! Extend the time if needed.

But for a more long-lasting solution, look for brightening agents that will reduce the appearance of puffiness. You can find these packed into two common household foods: potatoes and cucumbers. The juice from both will help "bleach" the area under your eye.

Directions: If you can't get the juice of a potato and carrot, simply mash up half a small potato and half a Japanese cucumber in a bowl. Make sure it is creamy, and try to spread the extracted juices on your affected areas if possible. The coolness of the juices will reduce the puffiness of your eyes while the brightening agents will lighten your eye circles and highlight your best feature: your eyes.

3. Protect your hair from the haze

With the haze that clouded Singapore since last week, people have been wearing masks to refrain from inhaling harmful particles. However, some have neglected to protect one important part of the body: skin on the scalp.

While your hair itself might not be affected by the haze, the skin on your scalp may experience more itching and flaking than usual. Dermatologists have cautioned that these particles do not just affect the airways, but also the skin and hair.

Skin therapist Teri Tay, who works as an education manager with American skincare brand Dermalogica, said in a Straits Times article: "Hazy weather actually traps UV rays in the atmosphere, making the effects of UV exposure stronger than when skies are clear."

Tips:

Massage your scalp with shampoo daily then coat the end with conditioner. Both together will help get rid of physical irritants. Switch to products with vitamin E, an antioxidant and lipid that helps maintain the skin barrier during the hazy period.

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins to increase the skin's defence against free radicals.

4. Food you should consume to prevent hair loss

Want a full head of hair? All you have to do is consume the right food that can prevent thinning hair and hair fall.

Fruits rich in Vitamin-C should be your number one source. As Vitamin-C supports the absorption of iron in our body, the deficiency of which may lead to hair loss, you should include fruits such as kiwi, blueberries, papayas and oranges in your diet.

This vitamin is also rich in antioxidant properties that reduce the damage caused by free radicals, which leads to brittle and weak hair. In addition Vitamin-C aids in the production of an essential protein known as collagen, which strengthens blood vessels that supports the hair shafts.

Protein is the other key nutrient that helps to strengthen hair and prevent hair fall. Consume food rich in protein such as lean chicken, tuna, salmon, cheese, tofu and even nuts.

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, lentils, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds are loaded with protein and other essential vitamins. Walnuts, for instance, are made up of biotin, B vitamins (B1, B6 and B9), Vitamin E, protein and magnesium, all of which strengthen hair cuticles and nourish the scalp.

5. Treat your hair with a herbal mixture for a healthy, shiny mane

Your hair, as they say, is your crowning glory. As you age, hair loss, greying and dullness follows. Four herbs in particular - He Shou Wu, Ling Zhi, Dang Gui and Ginseng - can benefit your hair greatly. Alone, they each have their own properties, but together, they make an effective elixir for hair.

He Shou Wu for example, which is packed with zinc, prevents not just hair loss but also helps to darken your hair for that healthy look. Ling Zhi is also another herb that has anti-ageing properties to prevent hair loss while Ginseng helps to maintain the shine in your hair. Finally, Dang Gui helps your hair follicles become more receptive to nutrients for your hair.

Tips:

Seek treatments that are infused with all of these nutritious herbs.

Beijing101, for example, combines these herbs in their treatments to revive your hair. Understanding that the working adult today runs on a tight schedule, the certified consultants will help to plan and create a personalised hair care treatment that targets the root of your problem.

Using only premium grade herbs, this might just be the way to a healthy mane for a confident you.

Get a Herbal Scalp Treatment at $40 and redeem a Vitalising Gliss treatment worth $68! Visit www.beijing101hair.com for more information.

6. For stronger, shinier nails

The chemicals in nail polish are damaging to your nails. On top of that, every time you use nail polish remover, you are harming the laminated layers of your nails that composes of a protein called keratin, making them softer and more brittle.

While manicures and pedicures do give you beautiful looking nails, refrain from regular application of nail polish and instead, stick to the basics such as cuticle removal and buffing to smooth ridges.

There are, however, some simple home remedies to improve the health and strength of your damaged nails.

Directions: Simply rub virgin coconut oil or olive oil into your natural fingernails every morning. You could even apply them before bedtime and wear gloves and socks to retain maximum moisture.

These nutritious oils will moisturise your fingers, and at the same time strengthen your nails, protecting them from the dust and dirt of the day. They help to fight nail fungus too!

7. Achieve a slimmer figure with acupuncture

Acupuncture might sound daunting, but this traditional method is a tried and tested treatment that has benefited many people over the years. Using nothing but simple needles, this is an age old form of treatment that works by stimulating the release of endorphins at certain points of the body.

These endorphins counteract the need for stress eating thus, helping to reduce your appetite. If you do choose to try acupuncture, be sure to go to a certified acupuncturist!

For instance, Slimming101 (www.slim101.com.sg) offers certified acupuncture treatments at affordable rates. If you are still sceptical about the benefits of TCM, Slimming101 also offers programs that include both acupuncture and the use of modern weight-loss machines.

This article was part of a sponsored series first published by SPH Content Studio.

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