11 Weird Health & Beauty Treatments You Need To Know
The Sakara Life nutritionists school us on everything from clay to bull semen (yes, you read that right).
Here are a few things we know to be true: a CHANEL jacket is always a good investment (even if that investment can't be made until well into your 50s); Phoebe Philo can do no wrong; kale, always kale. And as secure as we are in these truths, every once in a while something comes along to shake things up, like, for example, when we're doing our daily lunchtime blog catch-up and come across an article advising us to to start ingesting clay. Wait, what?! So Shailene Woodley isn't the only one. Without delay, we called up Whitney and Danielle of Sakara Life (who have pretty much become our what-to-consume-and-when resident life experts) to explain exactly what's going on here. As it turns out, there's (weirdly) a lot more were clay came from.
Ready to get weird?! Always.
Mother nature makes some seriously radical stuff. Both directly and indirectly she provides us with goods that nourish, fuel and energize our bodies, while helping us grow, build, and heal. More and more these days we are seeing people digging deep (literally), going back to our roots (literally), and starting to tap into Mother Earth's rich well (literally!) of resources in order to take their health to the next level. We’re talking energy levels that feel like they’re hooked up to a caffeine IV, an immune system with CIA-level training, a metabolism that roars as loudly as your inner lion, and skin, hair, and nails that supermodels dream of.
Things are about to get weird. And as we gently work our way from the weird to the weirder to the YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, promise us you’ll keep an open mind? Hear us out! There’s a reason people do it and we are firm believers in don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. Also, don’t forget that while, yes, there are people drinking dirt every morning, there are way more people putting synthesized chemicals in and on their body that were built in a lab and are going to cause some serious harm to their insides. Now that’s weird.
Your body is your canvas, so have fun with what Mama Nature gave ya! There’s no harm in getting creative as long as you do so consciously, safely and lovingly.
How to use it: face mask
Not so weird, right? Well, people are using this delicious tropical fruit for more than just a smoothie sweetener—they’re slathering their faces with it to get their youthful glow back. Pineapple is high in ascorbic acid (a.k.a vitamin C) and enzymes that exfoliate away dry, dead skin. This is a great DIY at-home fruit acid peel. Pop a 1/4 cup of cubed pineapple in your blender and blend till it's smooth. Apply the sweet, golden puree right on your face—the sooner the better to keep the enzymes alive. Just don't get it in your eye, because it sucks. Leave it on for 5-20 minutes (def no longer than 20) and if it starts to itch or tingle, you're done, wash it off. Moisturize, and with the rest of the puree, make yourself a tasty tequila and pineapple margarita.
How to use it: in your morning coffee, on your skin, as a hair mask
Coconut oil is a superfood you have definitely heard of by now, and hopefully, have stocked in your kitchen at this point. A natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, coconut oil is great both internally and externally. Eat it for a dose of good, healthy fats to maintain hydration of the skin, keeping it plump and soft. Eaten regularly, it helps kill Candida in your gut, which is linked to your digestion, immunity and inflammation (one of the major causes of acne). We keep a jar of coconut oil on our desk and put it in our morning coffee, or eat it by the spoonful if our skin is feeling a bit dry. For topical use, rub in on your skin after you get out of the shower to seal in moisture and protect your skin from the cold, dry winter weather. Coconut oil is also great for the scalp! Regular scalp massages with coconut oil promotes blood circulation and hair growth, and the oil provides a deep conditioning treatment for the hair. No matter where it’s going, always, always use pure, virgin coconut oil that is not hydrogenated.
How to use it: dessert, face mask…or both
Chocolate is a worldly, dreamy, creamy wonder. In its raw, superfood form, we eat it, drink it, praise it and, yes, sometimes we rub it on our faces. Dark chocolate is loaded with age-defying antioxidants that keep our skin looking its best. Eating pure dark chocolate is, of course, a great way to get these beautifying nutrients in your body (while giving your soul a little love we might add), but actually applying pure melted chocolate to the face allows its vitamins and antioxidants to penetrate the skin, aiding in cell regeneration for a healthy, youthful glow. Our advice? Don the face mask and let your tongue enjoy what it can reach.
How to use it: in lieu of your morning cup of joe or as a soup
Though the thought of bone broth may not get those glands of yours salivating (and hello?! ...so NOT vegan!), its healing and beauty-boosting benefits may intrigue you enough to give it a try. Bone broth has super high levels of calcium and magnesium that help to promote strong, healthy bones, a diverse amino acid content that has a seriously healing, anti-inflammatory effect and a rich source of nutrients that help strengthen the gut and skin tissues. If you thought chicken soup was a sickness remedy, bone broth is like chicken on crack (the healthy kind), with high amounts of minerals to boost immune function. Its high collagen content also supports healthy joints, hair, skin and nails for healing and beautifying all in one. Although we are starting to see bone broth popping up in restaurant menus, we suggest brewing this one in your own kitchen, with love.
How to use it: in your smoothie and on your skin
Sea-buckthorn is a nutrient POWERHOUSE that grows wild in the Himalayas. And we don’t use the term powerhouse lightly. Each juicy berry comes boasting a rich amount of antioxidants that help the body fight free radical damage, in addition to an array of flavonoids that help prevent disease cells from multiplying, reduce pain and inflammation and support weight loss. They’ve got a strong taste, so unless your taste buds are feeling adventurous, we suggest blending them into your next smoothie. Sea-buckthorn oil (made from the berries) is amazing for the skin, working as a cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer all at once. The extract of the berry balances and harmonizes the skin by going deep into its lipid layers and healing any imbalances there. It is also rich in natural anti-inflammatory compounds and phytosterols that reduce redness and help heal mucous membranes. This powerhouse does not mess around when it comes to your glow.
How to use it: supplement!
Collagen is a type of protein your body creates to provide your skin with strength, flexibility and resilience, and, when added to your diet, is great for helping with acne scars, wrinkles and maintaining plumpness. As you get into your 30s and (finally!) lose your baby fat, you don't want to lose it in your face—everyone loves youthful, plump cheeks à la Rosie Huntington-Whiteley! This is where drinking collagen comes into play. Collagen comes in many forms (hello, morning bone broth), but our favorite is the (non-vegan) Rejuvila Youth Genesis collagen that is made out of a special layer underneath fish skin that comes from Russia. Sounds weird, we know, but we met the founder and saw her skin… Yeah, trust us, you’d be drinking it too.
How to use it: go-to morning elixir, teeth whitener, face mask, in your nighttime detox bath
Clay is negatively charged, so when you ingest it, it attracts and bonds to negative isotopes as it travels throughout your body. It swells open like a highly porous sponge, drawing toxins into the sponge through this electrical attraction, bonding them tightly and not letting them go. Not so shockingly, your body cannot digest clay, which means it escorts these toxins straight OUT—including those harmful heavy metals. On your body, clay can make an amazing overall face mask or help reduce redness and inflammation in certain problem areas. Use it as a mouth rinse to re-mineralize and whiten your teeth or dump ¼ cup into your bath to turn your self-love routine into a detox boost. This does not mean to hit up your local art school and start blending whatever you find into your morning smoothie. Be very careful about what clay you’re using and where you’re getting it from—bentonite clay (which comes from volcanic ash) from Mountain Rose Herbs is our go-to.
How to use it: mixed in your juice, as a face mask, as toothpaste
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated to increase its seriously detoxing abilities. It attracts toxins in your GI like a giant magnet and escorts them out of the body quickly and efficiently. It does the same when applied topically as well, purifying toxins in the hair and skin in a completely natural, glow-inducing process. You can even use activated charcoal as a toothpaste to cleanse your mouth and whiten your teeth! Charcoal is staring to pop up everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled. We’re guessing you're going to be adding this detox queen to your morning routine sooner than you’d think…
Diatomaceous Earth (a.k.a. fossils)
How to use it: go-to morning elixir, toothpaste, body product
Diatomaceous earth is a chalky, white powder made from fossilized plants that come from the sea (diatoms). You can put it in your morning smoothie/coffee/juice, mix it in your oatmeal, or drink it mixed with water for a somewhat murky, metal-tasking, but detoxing(!) elixir. As the DE travels through your body, it slices through the exoskeletons of any critters that may be causing harm (trust us, they’re in there) and eventually kills and escorts them out. These particles of dirt are also strongly negatively charged, allowing them to attach to negatively charged metals, chemicals and toxins in the body and hitch them out as well. It’s an avid warrior against Candida in the body and can lead to some seriously glowing skin and shiny hair. It can also be used in toothpaste, face masks and body scrubs as it’s a great abrasive agent (think: baking soda). A word to the wise: this bad boy can be pretty dehydrating, so be sure you are drinking plenty of water if you are looking to get a little dirt(y) with your regime. Most importantly, make sure you get 100% food grade diatomaceous earth!! The non food-grade stuff you find out there is seriously harmful to your body.
How to use it: face mask
Mollusc mucus was discovered as a miracle remedy when Chilean snail farmers noticed that the cuts they got on their hands from working would heal without scars after handling snails. Besides being a remedy to cuts, burns and scars, snail gel is said to clear up acne by penetrating, smoothing and regenerating the skin. All in one seriously healing, chemical-free mixture! Intrigued? No need to hit up your local snail farm. Plenty of big name beauty brands are starting to unleash the wonders of snail power in their mainstream creams.
How to use it: hair mask
We told you we were saving the best(?) for last. Out of this impressive list of au natural beauty boosters, we’re guessing this is the one that makes you cringe the most. Yeah, we get it, but the bull is one powerful being, and we’re not shocked that its, well, byproducts come rocking a serious load (pun intended) of nutrients. Now that we’ve made you feel comfortable with the idea, let’s talk about your beauty regimen. Bull semen contains a pure form of protein that nearly matches that of human hair protein, making it an amazingly restoring and conditioning hair treatment. It penetrates deeply into the hair follicle leaving locks, smooth, shiny, thick and moisturized. Again, not something we suggest hunting for yourself. Spas are starting to offer this “animal-style” hair treatment—mostly in California—and, although we haven’t tried it yet, it’s definitely going on our never say never list.
—Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise
Photography by Caitlin Mitchell