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Tea Tree Oil

Yesterday afternoon I noticed the beginning of a big nasty cold sore at the corner of my mouth.

Last night I dabbed a drop of tea tree oil on it.

This morning I have no cold sore.

Get thee to the store, if you don’t already have some, and buy some tea tree oil.  This is amazing stuff.  It’s available all over the place now; I get mine from Trader Joe’s.  It’s antifungal, antibacterial, anti-zit, and clearly anti-cold-sore.

It’s also a good addition to diaper balms, homemade hand sanitizers,anti-acne  toners, and other concoctions; despite its very astringent smell, it’s pretty gentle on the skin.

Good stuff.

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I have food on my face. (Mocha-Frappuchino Facial Mask)

I may have mentioned that Crunchy Betty rocks.

Today, since I had the ingredients all in my fridge, and since I was going to work from home this morning anyway, I decided to try her Mocha-Frappucino Facial Mask.  My face has been getting sort of dull and oogy, and since ditching most of the commercial products I haven’t really settled upon anything new to keep it life-ful, so I figured what the heck. So here I sit, with a sort of odd mixture of coffee grounds, cocoa powder, yogurt, and honey on my face. Feels sort of weird, but no weirder than any other mask I’ve ever used–what’s more bizarre is the delightful smell surrounding me–yes, this is food I’m wearing on my face.  It’s scary-easy to make, just mix equal parts (I honestly made way less than her recipe) coffee grounds, cocoa powder, and plain yogurt, with half-a-part honey (I did a teaspoon each of the first three and then half a teaspoon of honey, which was plenty for my face for one use), schmoosh them up good, and smear them on your face. Wait a bit, rinse off, while gently rubbing the coffee grounds around to exfoliate. Which I’m going to do now…hang on for a few minutes, okay?

VERDICT: Holy ever-loving Mother of God. I mean, with full out Hail-Mary-full-of-grace-thank-God-for-my-amazing-feeling-face.  (I don’t mean to take her in vain or anything–I’m sure if she had access to this facial mask she’d be just as blown away.) Wow, I totally didn’t expect it to be this unbelievable.  It took me longer than I expected to get back to my computer just because I was standing up there just sort of touching my skin for a few minutes, not quite believing what it feels like. Pores closed up, nice and smoothly consistent all over, no scary tingles or burny feeling or anything. Just plain…lovely.

A couple of notes: First of all, I didn’t take Betty’s advice on two fronts: one, she said if one is going to use recycled coffee grounds one should use ones that were very fresh, like within 20 minutes of brewing. And that due to mess, one should probably rinse it off in the shower.  I did not take these pieces of advice for one basic reason: I didn’t want to try this while my family was home, and sit there with a brown lumpy face at breakfast while I drink my coffee and have them give me crap over it.  So I waited till they were gone, then used the grounds, and washed in the sink.  I do not feel particular caffiene jitters at the moment, and I did not make a huge mess in the bathroom…but one of these days I should try it with non-used, freshly ground beans instead and see what comes of it.

All my friends whom I love–the next time you feel tempted to go out and buy some expensive facial mask or wash or whatever, please, please try this first! Do it when your loved ones aren’t home, you don’t have to tell anyone, just give it a shot. (Er…make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients first, okay?)  It’s incredibly cheap, is ten times better than any store-bought mask I’ve ever found, and believe me I’ve found a few, and it’s AMAZING.

Okay, time to start working. With this lovely smell of chocolate still all around my face…

Natural Nail Care?

Okay, a couple of weeks ago I broke down and got that mani-pedi...the feet are still looking good, but the fingernails are a disaster.  And my daughter is now highly excited about being a Big Girl and wearing polish herself…so I went on a hunt for some less-icky nail care products.

Our local Whole Foods has an “Almost Natural Polish Remover” that’s not too bad–it takes a lot more work to get the polish off than the chemical ones, but on the other hand one doesn’t mind working a little harder because you don’t feel like you’re going to pass out from the toxic fumes.  I found that going over each nail just wiping it once (to get a little of the product into the polish) and then going back and actually removing the polish worked better than just attacking one nail at a time.  And I had better luck with paper towels than cotton balls or tissues, because you do need to sort of scrub a bit. (If that sounds annoying, well…considering the indelibility of nail polish in general, think of what must be in any liquid that can dissolve it quickly and with no work at all. Do you really want that in your skin and nostrils?)

I also got a small bottle of nail polish, from the same company (No-Miss Nail Care Products.)  It costs a little more than your drugstore Sally Hansen stuff, but considering I don’t think I’ve ever actually emptied a bottle of nail polish in my life, I can live with that.  The color I chose is called “Panama Petal”–because I play piano and my nail tips get trashed quickly, I always look for a fingernail polish color that’s a light enough pink to not be obvious when it starts to chip, which it always does.

This shade was nearly sheer and took three coats to get a fairly opaque color on the nails. (Though if I’d used a base coat, I could probably have done it in two.)  That said, it went on easily and smoothly and felt pretty much like any other polish I’ve ever used.  Also smelled like any other polish I’ve ever used.  But it has no toluene, formaldehyde, or pthelates, and it’s not animal tested.  So…I like it, and I think I may have found my new brand. Not that I’ll need to buy any for some time–I’m fairly dull that way.

It’s nice to have pretty fingernails again.  And tonight my daughter and I will give her a new pedicure.

(UPDATE: Two days later, and neither she nor I have any chips on our fingernails…I expected this stuff to hopefully be nearly as good as the toxic-er stuff, I didn’t expect it to be better!)