Top 5 Natural Beauty Hacks

We're big DIYers here, and prefer natural cosmetics to those loaded with toxins. Here are our top 5 favorite natural beauty hacks!

1. Natural oils. I could not live without my oils! Olive oil makes a great makeup remover, and melted coconut oil is a great natural alternative to a deep hair conditioner. Just warm up in the microwave, massage through hair, wrap hair in an old t-shirt, and leave on for 1 hour or overnight! Wash out as normal and enjoy gorgeous, shiny hair. I use grapeseed oil as a natural face moisturizer - it helps tighten pores (lightly astringent) and provides just enough moisturizing action without causing breakouts, even in the summer. Most oils can be found at your local natural market, and are super cost effective!

2. Henna. We're big henna fans at One Strange Bird. See our post on how to henna your hair here! Chemical dyes are bad for you and the environment. You can buy henna in a variety of colors (which is actually henna powder mixed with indigo plant powder if you buy anything other than red), or buy the colorant-free kind for strengthening and conditioning. I've been dying my hair with henna for 6 years after frying it with chemical dyes in college, and I like Light Mountain Natural brand the best - no additives, just pure plant powder.

3. Castile Soap. Hand soap doesn't need to be complicated! Create a chemical-free liquid hand soap by mixing 1 part castile soap to 1 part distilled water in a pump bottle. Shake, and it's ready to use! We like Dr. Bronner's brand.

4. Honey and Bentonite Clay. There is really no need to spend upwards of $30 on a tiny pot of face mask. Ever. Pure honey is amazing for soothing skin, moisturizing, and clearing congestion while still being gentle enough for sensitive skin (try Manuka honey for even more amazing benefits). For those who need a little more clearing power (read: have congested skin), try Aztec Healing Clay's bentonite clay. Mix with a little water or apple cider vinegar and some lavender oil with the powdered clay, and you've got yourself a homemade mask. A container lasts me up to a year. It's great for soothing bug bites and poison ivy, too!

5. Apple Cider Vinegar. This stuff will literally change your skin. It gently exfoliates while balancing the pH of your skin. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part distilled water, plus a few drops of lavender oil, for an amazing natural toner. The smell is not fantastic (the man in my life thinks it smells like a foot) but it dissipates in about 2 minutes and you're left with the lavender oil scent. The results are worth it! We like Bragg's brand.

Enjoy better skin and a fatter wallet!


How to Tuesday: Henna Hair Dye

We love henna hair dye, especially for festival season! It's a great way to get a punch of color and envy-worthy shiny hair without nasty chemicals.

Items needed: Light Mountain Natural Henna Dye (longer hair use 1.5 packages) + PLASTIC bowl and stir stick + distilled water (regular water has metals that will react with the dye)

If you want to bring out darker brown tones, use day old brewed coffee instead of water. To add lighter tones, add lemon juice or chamomile tea.

Add water by 1/2 cup full, stirring until the dye has a icing consistency.  It will be slightly lumpy.  Try to get most of the lumps out, but don't worry if there are some.  Use a PLASTIC bowl and stir stick only.  Make sure that no metal touches the dye, as it will cause a reaction and turn your hair green. Remove all earrings and jewelry! Let the paste sit for 1/2 hour to 1 hour to cure.

Wash your hair with shampoo only and towel dry your hair so it is damp. Wear a shirt you don't mind getting ruined.  Light Mountain Natural henna comes with plastic gloves and a plastic covering, so make sure you put on your gloves before applying the henna paste.

Apply henna paste to your entire head, especially roots and hairline. You can use a dye brush or you can treat the paste like shampoo and cake it on your head. To keep your skin from being dyed, apply facial oil or lotion to your face/hairline area. Cover with plastic wrap and then wrap with an old towel. Henna is activated by the heat from your head, so you will want to keep it contained in the towel. Relax with some tea or a book while you let the dye sit 45 minutes to 1 hour. You can keep it on for up to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove towel and plastic wrap. Hop in the tub and rinse out the henna, and condition your hair as usual. Do not shampoo for at least 24 hours to let your hair absorb the dye. If you accidentally got some dye on your skin, it will wash off within a couple days. Your hair will be especially bright 24-48 hours after you dye, and will calm down and deepen a few days after.

Enjoy your sassy new 'do!

Nicole + Amanda