A non-toxic beauty blog focusing on botanical ingredients, honest reviews, affordable options, lifestyle musings, and more than a touch of humor.
"I now look back fondly at those being the most constructive years for preparing me for life in the real world...You have to have pretty thick skin and you have to have big shoulders." - Tom Curley

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hippie Trick: Use Honey for Pretty Much Everything (But Specifically to Heal/Prevent Ingrown Hairs)

It's no secret that you can use honey for pretty much everything. It's one of those ingredients like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or castile soap. Got a problem? Just use some _______ and it'll be fine!

For example, have some patches of dry skin on your face? Honey. Want to reduce blackheads and oiliness? Honey. Need some oomph in your 'do? Honey. Cutting back on refined sugars but still want to eat cake? Honey.

You get the picture.

So it's established that you can use honey for all sorts of health- and beauty-related dilemmas, but I'm about to tell you to put it someplace that you've never thought of before (no, not there!): your armpits. That's right, slather that stuff all up in there. Seriously, it's a godsend.

There are a lot of people out there who have enough pizzazz and confidence in their body hair to go unshaven. I admire those people, but I am not one of them. I shave my legs and my bikini line and my armpits. However, I have thick, dark body hair and fair, easily irritated skin. I don't have many problems with my legs, but I usually just have to deal with quite a few ingrown hairs and bumps under my arms, especially since switching to all-natural deodorants without antiperspirants. I don't know if it's the increased dampness or something about the arrowroot powder/cornstarch/baking soda that usually goes under there or what, but I've definitely noticed an increase in bumps and irritation after shaving as compared to when I used conventional products. I don't know why it's gotten worse, but it has, and I'd like to fix it.

Lo and behold, the other day while I was shaving, the solution came to me: honey! It's antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial... Since ingrown hairs are caused by clogged hair follicles, it seemed to make sense. After shaving, I grabbed some of the honey I keep in my shower and just slathered it on under my arms. It had a pleasant, soothing effect right away. I leave my honey just lying around, so it tends to crystallize a bit, which gave it some exfoliating properties, as well. I went ahead and left the honey there while I finished up washing my face and such, then washed it off right before I got out.

I noticed a change quickly. While I still had a couple of ingrown hairs, it was much fewer than usual, and those that I did have were smaller and healed more quickly, especially after using honey again during my next shower. All in all, I think it worked out very well. I may make up some sort of honey/tea tree oil/something else mixture just for use after shaving.

Just for kicks, here are some more tips for preventing ingrown hairs and irritation:
  • Always use a sharp, clean razor. I use Preserve razors.
  • Gently exfoliate before shaving. Pretty much anything works: a skin brush, a textured washcloth, an exfoliating soap or body wash, etc. I use Hylunia Grapeseed Exfoliating Scrub beforehand, since it's a little too vigorous for my face.
  • Use something slippery to shave with. This can be a clean shaving cream, coconut oil, extra body lotion, or a shaving bar. I recommend something with purifying ingredients, such as charcoal, clays, or willow bark. Or all of the above, like this shaving bar I use.
  • Don't go over the same area too many times. I know this is difficult to do sometimes, but just try to shave slowly and accurately, rather than rushing. Shaving against the grain of your hair growth is also no good, but I do it because I have to and I think that almost everything else does, too. Oh well.
  • Moisturize with something light and non-comedogenic afterwards. I use straight aloe vera gel or some grapeseed oil. Mixing this moisturizer with an antiseptic or antimicrobial ingredient like tea tree oil might be helpful, but I haven't tried it myself yet.
Happy Shaving (Without Ingrown Hairs)!

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