4 Reasons Why Making Your Own Vitamin C Serum Is NOT A Good Idea

why you shouldn't make your own vitamin c serum

Can I make my own vitamin C serum?

That’s one of the questions I get asked more often. It’s easy to see why. Vitamin C is one of the workhorses of skincare. It does everything, from boosting collagen production to reducing hyperpigmentation and even enhancing sun protection. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out big time.

But vitamin C serums can be pretty pricey. Why splurge when you can just dissolve your crushed oral supplements in water? Or add some L-ascorbic acid, easily available online and in most health stores, to your moisturizer?

Because you are not a cosmetic chemist with your own lab. Vitamin C is one of the trickiest ingredients to formulate with. You can’t just add it to your cream, or make your own serum or toner, and expect it to work effectively and safely. Let’s see what happens when you try:

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4 Beauty Tricks You Can Do With A Spoon

beauty tricks spoon

Spoons aren’t just for soup and ice cream. They’re also handy and versatile beauty tools that can help you master the winged eyeliner look, repair your broken cosmetics, and more. Here’s how I use them:

1. Create the perfect winged eyeliner

I love winged eyeliner. But all my attempts at it have always failed miserably. Until I tried doing it with a spoon. It makes things much easier. Just hold the handle against the outer corner of your eye and use it as a stencil to draw a straight and crisp upwards wing.

Then, flip the spoon so that it’s hugging your eyelid, from the tip of the upwards wing to the middle of your lashline. And voilà, you have just created the outline. Now you just have to colour it in!

2. Prevent mascara smudges

I love how long mascara makes my lashes look but I hate applying it. More often than not some mascara ends up on my eyelid, ruining the looks I have so carefully created. Argh!

The solution? Cover your lids with a spoon. That way, any residue will land on the spoon, keeping your eyeshadow intact and pretty.

3. Make contouring a breeze

Contouring is all the rage now, but still difficult to do. We know we have to place the colour in the hollow under our cheekbones, but where exactly is that?

If you never seem to find it, grab a spoon and use it to cap the apples of your cheeks. Apply the powder just underneath. Wasn’t that easy?

4. Fix your broken eyeshadows (and blushes, bronzers, powders….)

Have you ever dropped a brand new eyeshadow, breaking it? Ordered a pretty blush online and received it all smashed up because your postman wasn’t as careful as he should have been?

Don’t cry. Just get hold of some rubbing alcohol and a spoon. Then, add a few drops of alcohol to the crushed eyeshadow/blush/whatever and press it back together with the back of the spoon. Wait until it’s dry and then use it as normal.

What beauty tricks do you do with a spoon?

Can You Use Baking Soda As Toothpaste?

baking soda as toothpaste

Baking soda is enjoying a new wave of popularity. Gone are the days when it was confined to our kitchens, used only to bake delicious bread and cookies. It has now found a prominent place in our skincare routines too. Often, with disastrous consequences.

As an exfoliant, it is way too harsh for skin. Ditto as shampoo. Your hair doesn’t like it much either. But as toothpaste? Here it gets a bit tricky.

Baking soda can be very beneficial for teeth, but only when used properly. And that doesn’t mean on its own.

How does baking soda benefit teeth?

Toothpaste does a great job at removing plaque and bacteria, but it works even better when it contains baking soda. In 2008, scientists compared commercial dentifrices with baking soda to commercial dentifrices without it and concluded that “brushing with dentifrices with higher concentrations of baking soda consistently removed numerically more plaque than those containing lower levels.

Another study has found that toothpaste with baking soda can also reduce gengival inflammation and dental stains caused by tea, coffee, and even smoking, helping to keep your pearly whites white. The study also found that “microbiological assays showed no adverse shift in the oral microflora; rather, the microbial analysis showed a promotion of health-associated oral microorganisms”. No wonder so many people are swapping their toothpastes for baking soda!

But what about its alkaline ph? Such a high ph (about 8) can cause havoc on skin, destroying the acid mantle that helps to keep moisture in and harmful bacteria out. But it is very good for teeth. An acid ph in the mouth can contribute to the formation of cavities. It has been suggested that baking soda, being alkaline, can help counteract this, keeping your mouth at an ideal ph.

Are there any side effects?

Before you get too excited and rush to your bathroom ready to throw your toothpaste in the bin, swearing you’ll never use anything else bar baking soda again, wait a moment. Baking soda has been proven to be very effective at keeping our mouths and teeth healthy, but only when used in properly formulated toothpastes. NOT on its own!

So, what happens when you use only baking soda? More harm than good. Baking soda is very abrasive, and, when used too often, especially in high doses, can easily damage the teeth’s enamel. This can make teeth become oversensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and even make them more vulnerable to cavities. Baking soda is especially bad for people who wear braces, dental fittings or fixtures. It can weaken the glue that keeps them in place and cause them to fall out. Eek!

Even without these risks, baking soda alone still wouldn’t be enough to take proper care of your teeth. Baking soda is just one ingredient and there’s only so much it can do. Your teeth also need fluoride, which can strengthen the enamel of teeth and, if they are sensitive, potassium nitrate, which reduces their sensitivity with regular use. These, and other beneficial ingredients, are all commonly found in commercial toothpastes.

How to incorporate baking soda in your oral care routine

By using only baking soda, you don’t just risk ruining your teeth, but are also missing out on many beneficial ingredients that can help keep your teeth healthy. To enjoy its benefits without the nasty side effects, a toothpaste with baking soda is your best bet.

The American Dental Association recommends two: Arm & Hammer DentalCare Advance Cleaning ($7.01) and Tom’s of Maine Cavity Protection Baking Soda Fluoride Toothpaste ($4.29). If you like your current  toothpaste and don’t want to switch, consult your dentist on how you can best incorporate baking soda in your oral care routine without doing any unwanted damage.

The bottom line

Baking soda is an important ally in the fight against plaque, cavities, and dental stains. But, when used alone, it can do more harm than good to your pearly whites in the long run. For best results, use a commercial toothpaste with baking soda or consult your dentist for possible, and safe, alternatives.

Have you ever used baking soda as toothpaste?

Why You Should NOT Use Baking Soda To Exfoliate Your Skin

Once upon a time, I thought exfoliating with baking soda was a wonderful idea. It’s cheap, natural, and seems to do the job well. Why use anything else?

Then, I got into science. I learned all about ph and the acid mantle, and discovered that something as innocuous as baking soda can actually do a lot of damage to our skin. Here’s why:

What’s the acid mantle, and why is it important?

Our skin has an outer, protective, slightly acidic layer called the acid mantle. Formed by sweat and sebum, and home to harmless bacteria, the acid mantle protects skin by killing bad bacteria before they have a chance to enter our body. It also helps skin to retain moisture and stay soft and supple.

The acidity of the mantle is measured by its ph. Healthy skin has a ph between 4.2 and 5.6. For best results, most skincare products are formulated within this range. Anything about 7, instead, is called alkaline and is bad for skin. Why? Because it can disrupt the acid mantle, leading to all kinds of trouble.

Why you shouldn’t use baking soda to exfoliate skin

A 1997 study found that alkaline cleansers irritate “the physiological protective ‘acid mantle'”, change “the composition of the cutaneous bacterial flora and the activity of enzymes in the upper epidermis” and dissolve fats from the skin surface which may lead “to a dry and squamous skin.”

Baking soda has a ph of 8, high enough to disrupt the acid mantle. This damage is cumulative. The longer and more often you use it, the more damage it’ll inflict to your skin.

But that’s not all. Manual exfoliation (scrubbing dead cells away) is usually harsher than chemical exfoliation (using substances that dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together). That’s because it is easy to scrub too much or for a few minutes too long, removing too many dead cells and irritating skin. If, at the same time, you’re disrupting the acid mantle too, you risk serious damage to your skin.

The Bottom Line

I love a good home remedy, but exfoliating with baking soda is just asking for trouble. Instead, stick to professionally formulated exfoliants with AHAs (if you have dry and/or sun damaged skin) or BHA (if you have oily skin). Your skin will thank you.

Do you exfoliate with baking soda?

Why You Shouldn’t Use Toothpaste To Get Rid Of Pimples

toothpaste for pimples

Once upon a time, I used toothpaste to get rid of pimples. It was what every magazine recommended. Back then, magazines were the only source of “wisdom” for a young girl. There was no internet to check out if all their recommendations were true. Had there been, I would have stayed clear of this particular trick. Here’s why:

Toothpaste can dry out pimples

I don’t know why people started using toothpaste as a spot treatment. Maybe a girl, while trying to get the last bit out of a toothpaste, accidentally squeezed too hard and had a dollop land on a pimple. Or maybe she noticed most toothpastes contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in many anti-acne products , and tried applying it on her pimple. However it happened, triclosan, and other ingredients used in toothpaste such as menthol, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol, can cause pimples to dry out. But that doesn’t mean you should use it.

Why you shouldn’t use toothpaste on pimples

All the ingredients mentioned above, and a few more such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is commonly found in toothpastes too, can dry out pimples. But they can also dry out and irritate your skin. Worse, if you leave toothpaste on a pimple a little too long, you may even experience burning! Ouch! Is it worth risking all that when there are much more effective and safer spot treatments available? I don’t think so.

What to use instead

if you have oily, acne-prone skin, use an exfoliant with salicylic acid (it can penetrate inside the pores to unclog them) to prevent breakouts. Two of my favourite options are Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA and Philosphy Clear Days Ahead Oil-free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer.

If you already have a pimple, instead, opt for a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide such as ProActiv Plus Emergency Blemish Relief or Serious Skin Care Clearz-It Acne Treatment (it contains tea tree oil too). If your blemishes are so stubborn they don’t respond to small concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, try something a more heavy duty, such as Clearasil DailyClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream (it contains a whooping 10%!).

Have you ever used toothpaste on pimples?

How To Make Your Own Moisturizing Spray

diy moisturizing spray

A lot of women like to finish their makeup routine with a spritz of moisturizing spray to add radiance and extra moisture to the skin. But there’s no need to invest in one of the expensive sprays you can find in department stores. You can make your own. It’s easy, and a lot cheaper.

Here’s what you need:

95 ml of distilled water
4 or 5 ml of glycerin
1 sanitized spray bottle

Put both the water and the glycerin in the bottle, and give it a good shake. Because we’re not adding any preservatives, you need to store the mixture in a dark and cool place away from light and heat. And, when you start noticing any changes in consistency, colour, smell, etc, stop using it. That’s why, if you don’t use this type of product daily, you should reduce the doses. When it comes to homemade products, make only what you can finish before the ingredients go bad.

This spray is best used after cleansing the skin, but you can spritz it on after moisturizer or at any time during the day when you feel like your skin could use some extra moisture. How does it work? Glycerin is a humectant that can attract water from the environment into the skin, helping it to stay hydrated. But don’t use more than one spritz, or it’ll leave an unpleasant sticky feel on your skin!

Have you ever made your own moisturizing spray? Will you try this one?