The world of at-home beauty remedies have brought us many valuable things, like the aspirin mask and the apple-cider vinegar hair rinse. But, it’s also brought us some pretty cray-cray things, too. We wanted to see if these slightly more out-of-the-box beauty remedieswould have the same success rate, so we decided to go guinea pig and test them out.
Five brave staffers were coerced — erm, we mean volunteered — to try out these treatments, all in the name of science. From a salt-water rinse to get rid of acne, to one of the most insane uses for dairy we’ve ever seen, get the scoop on the weirdest of the weird ways to get your pretty on.
The Treatment: The Salt-Water Dunk
The Victim: Lexi Nisita, news editor
“Because my parents live in Florida, I have a free pass to go to the beach quite frequently. In the dead of winter, I usually arrive at the airport with a face full of spots and dry skin. But, when I get back? Freckled and looking good, if I do say so myself.
“Some of it is definitely due to the sun and lack of stress/NYC trash air, but I suspected the daily ocean swims might also play a part. So, I put two and two together and decided to try dunking my face in some pore-opening hot water mixed with a hefty amount of coarse sea salt.
“I stir in most of it until it dissolves, but I leave a bit at the bottom to rub (gently!) on problem areas. If possible, I don’t towel-dry my face except for my eyes and mouth. I let it air dry, then rinse off the…erm…crust with some lukewarm water. It can sting a bit, but I usually power through, and if it’s really bad, I skip the scrubbing step.
“Honestly, I feel like I see an immediate improvement in my skin, and any problem areas always heal up much faster. Plus, I don’t have to worry about any overly irritating chemicals!”
The Treatment: The Napkin Blotter
The Victim: Leeann Duggan, staff writer
“As an oily-skinned person who moisturizes with coconut oil, let’s just say I’ve resigned myself to a certain amount of shine. Still, by about 3 p.m. on most days, my dewy glow has devolved into more of a greasy sheen, so bad that my coworkers could start using my forehead to check their lipstick. Usually I would turn to blotting papers, but I was tasked with testing the Starbucks napkin blotter trick.
“A little background: One MakeupAlley user claims that Starbucks napkins (yep, those big brown ones you use to mop up errant latte spills), work better than fancy oil-blotting sheets at mopping up face-shine. Not just as well: better. A pretty bold claim for something they give away for free by the bale.
“I waited until 3 p.m. (a.k.a. The Greasening Hour), and dabbed one side of my face with Starbucks napkins, and the other with Julep Green Tea Facial Blotting Papers. The Julep paper is made of linen, and did a fine job soaking up the excess grease — although, it also took a fair amount of my makeup off with it. The Starbucks napkins took their fair share of oil, too, turning a very satisfying shade of darker brown wherever I pressed it to my skin.
“Amazingly, the Starbucks napkin also seemed to leave more of my foundation intact than the blotting paper did. At first, I thought the napkin’s brown-ness may have been simply camouflaging the Givenchy Photo’Perfexion it was stripping from my face. But, a side-by-side comparison in the mirror confirmed: the blotting paper robbed me of more of my precious (and painfully pricey) base than Sbux did.
“My conclusion? Blotting papers: about $10, and you’ll probably have to reapply your base. Starbucks napkins: work just as well, are beautifully, gloriously FREE, and they leave your makeup be. Any product that saves me from touching my makeup sponge twice in a day is a winner in my book. These are the real thing, guys…and now that stash of napkins in your desk drawer doesn’t make you a hoarder, it makes you a beauty connoisseur. Say, anyone want me to make a coffee run?”
The Treatment: The Milk Rinse
The Victim: Rebecca Smith, SEO editor
“When I was young, my mother worked at a pool. The lifeguards served as summer babysitters for my best friend, sister, and I. Sound like the dream life? Well, maybe it would have been if I wasn’t allergic to chlorine. We’re not talking something that could be fixed with goggles — even with the ugliest, most high-tech goggles attached to my face, I would emerge from the pool with swollen, red, painful eyes that resulted in a lot of equally painful tears.
“One day, a lifeguard recommended a cure — milk. Yes, the thing you are constantly realizing you need to buy more of after your cereal is already in the bowl. I was hesitant at first, and in my hesitation, poured the milk all over my face. So, that first attempt was awkward. But, it worked. Within five minutes my eyes were no longer in pain, a demonic shade, or full of tears. It may have been the quickest home remedy ever.
“Once I graduated from my pool days, I thought I was done with this treatment. If only I had known how many all-nighters, hangovers, and days spent in the city pollution were in my future, I would have realized this was not the case.
“After my years of practice, I can now pour milk into my eyes using a cup without making a colossal mess. This little treatment has helped me get rid of red, painful eyes in time for class, work, impromptu photo shoots, and those days when my eyes are just plain irritated. I am telling you, it may sound weird, but it works.”
The Treatment: The Plastic-Wrap Mask
The Victim: Dianna Mazzone, beauty editorial intern
“My hair is baby-fine, so you won’t catch me piling products on my hair for fear of weighing it down. But, I like hair masks because I put ‘em on then wash ‘em out — it’s nice to feel like I’m doing something to my hair without doing so much something that it backfires. So, I was pretty eager to enrich my experience by adding heat, which supposedly enhances the efficacy of hair masks.
“I washed and conditioned my hair as normal and then applied a hair mask (I opted for L’Oréal Advanced Haircare Power Moisture Moisture Rush Masque). I then hopped out of the shower — and here’s where it got tricky — proceeded to cover my head in plastic wrap, which acts as a conductor when applying heat.
“The tutorials I read online suggested using a shower cap, but were quick to note that Saran Wrap works just fine, too. Let me tell you this, readers — plastic wrap does not work just fine. It was anything but fine, actually. Even though I secured it with a headband, the plastic sheets were slipping and sliding like nobody’s business.
“Once I thought I had the plastic wrap somewhat stabilized, I applied heat via my hairdryer. It quickly became clear that the plastic just wasn’t havin’ it — it simply wouldn’t stay put. I eventually managed to get it somewhat under control, enough that I was able to apply heat for around five minutes. I rinsed out the mask and let my hair air dry — and the results were no different than what I normally experienced post-treatment.
“Even though the Saran Wrap was a bust, I would be willing to give the same procedure another shot using a shower cap. In fact, further online research indicated that one thrifty lady had even found success using a plastic bag. Would the results have been different had I chosen a less cumbersome method? The world may never know. However, if plastic wrap is your only option, I’d most definitely recommend sitting this one out. Save it for your leftovers, my friends.”
The Treatment: The Skin Deluge
The Victim: Megan McIntyre, senior beauty editor
“After seeing the ‘miraculous’ before and after photos in the Daily Mail‘s story about how one woman completely transformed her skin just by upping her water intake, my first thought was, ‘I really need to get a glass of water.’ According to this woman, going from drinking three glasses a day to three liters a day made her complexion more even and glowing, helped her digestion, made her lose weight, and gave her a more energized feeling. I would like all of those things, so I decided to give it a shot.
“Now, I realize there is nothing weird or crazy about drinking a ton of water. But, as someone who drinks at most three glasses a day, quadrupling my intake of water was just plain nutso to me. I diligently gave it a shot, hoping I, too, would reap the ‘so beautifully glowing it looks Photoshopped — oh, wait, it probably is Photoshopped’ benefits.
“Things did not start off well. I kicked off my first day of hella H2O with a cup of tea. Whoops. I course-corrected by immediately chugging a glass of water, then filled up another cup and took it to my desk. Halfway through cup two, things started to go downhill. Mid-typing, I suddenly felt a really intense urge to pee. I rushed to the bathroom — and spent the rest of my day running back and forth from the loo. Apparently, I fall somewhere on the bladder-control spectrum between an incontinent nonagenarian and a small infant.
“Halfway through the day, my stomach started to feel what can only be described as sloshy. I honestly think I could hear all that water moving around in my body. I ended day one having only successfully made it through a total of eight glasses and starting to rapidly lose my ground in front of the nonagenarian. The rest of the week continued in this same vein. I know plenty of people drink liters upon liters of water each day, but clearly I am not cut out for this.
“Even though my experiment was technically a failure, I will say that I did notice a slight difference in my skin. I wasn’t breaking out quite as much and my skin no longer felt tight and uncomfortable. I also noticed I wasn’t snacking throughout the day — probably because I was running around with the content of a water silo in my stomach. As for the energized feeling? Well, that was not happening. When you spend all night running to the loo, you’re reward is nothing more than dark circles and sleep-deprivation.
“I’m going to attempt this again, but this time I think I’ll ramp up a little slower and hopefully give my body time to adjust. Water chuggers of the world, please tell me: Does it get any easier the longer you do this? Or should I just set my desk up in a bathroom stall to save time?
Illustrated by Emily Kowzan & Ammiel Mendoza.
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