Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Herbs For the Hair


What herbs do I need or could my hair benefit from?  There are so many herbs out there that serve what seems like a never ending purpose.  Here are some herbs that are great for the hair!

Enjoy!

Lavender- scent, stimulate hair growth
Lemon- hair lightener, shiny hair, scalp refresher, oily hair
Lemon Balm- scent and stimulate hair Growth
Lemongrass- scent, dandruff, oily hair, dandruff, hair volume
Clary S
age
- dandruff and hair growth
Thyme- darken hair, dandruff and silky hair
Ylang-Ylang- scent- hair tonics
Basil- provides scent, improves hair growth and assists in de-tangling
Burdock Root- Add to shampoos, conditioners and rinses for dandruff and hair loss
Calendula- good for blondes in shampoos, conditioners and rinses
Clove Buds- Brunettes and red heads
Cornflower-  blonde gray and white hair rinses
Fennel Seed-  scent shampoos
Rose- dry hair, scent,
Rosemary- hair growth, scent, darken gray hair, hair loss dandruff, remove excess oil
Nettle- antibacterial and anti fungal, astringent, dandruff, add shine, hair loss, grey hair prevention, conditioner
Southernwood- hair loss, hot oil treatment for dry hair with EVOO, brings out highlights
Watercress- Thick hair
Kelp- Oily hair, promotes shine
Patchouli- Dandruff
Plantain- dandruff
Red Clover- dry damaged hair
Frankincense - scent
Peppermint- scalp stimulator and hair growth
Green and Black Tea
Witch Hazel Bark- dandruff, remedy oily hair
Tea Tree- dandruff, prevent head lice, anti septic
Sandalwood- adds shine and scent
Eucalyptus- dandruff
Henna- natural dye, conditioner, hair strengthener, adds body and shine, cleanses scalp
Hibiscus- reddish tint, good for dry hair, conditioner hair growth and treat dandruff
Aloe Vera-  moisturizer and conditioner. Also gel provides hold
Geranium- add to shampoo/conditioners/rinses for oily hair
Ginger root- antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
Horsetail- strengthen hair, oily hair and dandruff
Marshmallow Root- nourishing for dry hair


Essential Oils:
Chamomile
Juniper
Lemon
Lemongrass
Jasmine
Rose
Rosemary
Ylang-Ylang

Saturday, December 25, 2010

DIY Herbal Rinses


So, as you know, I have been on a 6 month Ayurvedic Challenge and I must say, I am not really being all that consistent.  That paste is not the business and I am not really feeling the time it takes right now with my busy schedule.  But I have all these Ayurvedic powders, and I don't like to waste. So, I researched Ayurvedic Infusions.

As I have mentioned before, an infusion is steeping your herbs in a oil or water.  There are also decoctions(Bark & Roots), etc.  So  I will be using my left over Ayurvedic powders to create post shampoo rinses, herbal waters for creams, shampoos, etc and oil infusions, thus keeping to my challenge( I'm not a quitter)!

There are three types of rinses that you can create:  Herbal Tea Rinses, Herbal ACV, and Herbal Hair Rinse(Tea and ACV)

Rinses are to be used post conditioner.  They help add shine, smoothout the cutilce, soften hair, remove soap residue, restore hair ph balance and assist with hair managability.

Think about it as making a tea.  You can either just dump the powder straight into the water and strain later(using cheesecloth) or use a tea bag/mesh infuser to make this infusion. 

Herbs For Hair
Ayurvedic  Herbs For Hair


Water Infusion Instruction:

1 cup Distilled Water
1-2 tablespoons of dried herbs(2-4 tbs fresh herbs)
1/2 cup AVC (optional depending on your herbs)
 ( The rule of an infusion/decoction is 1 part herbs to 8 parts water)
  • Bring Water to a boil and then add powdered herbs/tea bag
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-20 minutes.  (Keep pot covered)
  • Remove infusion from the heat and let cool
  • After the infusion has cooled strain out the herbs using cheesecloth or remove the tea bag
  • Add your ACV and essential oils if desired now and stir.
  • Pour into clean glass jar of choice.
Keep refrigerated and it is best to use within the next four days!!

ACV Herbal Rinse
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh herbs or 1/2 cup dried herbs
  • Pour ACV into clean glass jar and add herbs of choice.
  • Store in refrigerator and shake jar periodically for 2 weeks
  • Strain herbs from  ACV and it's ready for use.

Application:
  • Take 2 tablespoons of Herbal ACV and add to 1 cup of water. 
  • Use as a post shampoo/clarifying rinse


Refrigerate for up to  6 months!!
 Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)



I've been on a quest to nail down a facial and hair regime for awhile using all natural products.  I have yet to do this so, here is my most recent test.  I hope to figure this  out soon, because although I love experimenting and learning new things about natural skin and hair care, I'm just want a consistent routine right now and throw in other things occasionally.  Anyhoo, I tried a Castor oil based cleaner this weekend and I was surprised how great my skin felt afterwards.

Ingredients:

60% Castor Oil  (deep cleanser)
20% Grapeseed Oil  (antiseptic)
20% Jojoba Oil  ( waxy oil that is very similar to natural oils produce by skin)

(Adjust the amount of Castor Oil used depending on skin type, i.e. dry skin uses less and oily skin uses more)

Oils by skin type: (courtesy Moptop Maven)
Oily, Acne Prone Skin: Grapeseed Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Flax Seed, Neem Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil
Dry, Mature Skin: Evening Primrose Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil
Sensitive Skin: Meadowfoam Oil, Apricot Kernel, Rosehip Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil

Essential oils by skin type
You can also add essential oils for smell and/or for your skin type or create an infusion, i.e burdock root for sensitive skin, psoriasis and eczema

Instructions and Application:

I mixed these ingredients in a jar and I was done.  Easy Peesey Lemon Squeezey!!!

Massage oil into face and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Let a clean face towel run under HOT water.  Squeeze out excess water and let sit on your face until the towel cools.  I did this 3x because, I felt 1x wasn't enough and left my face feeling oily and covered.  Wipe face and rinse once with cool water!

After application, I felt a cool feeling in my pores, like they were so fresh and so clean and could feel the breeze.

After washing I sprayed Thayer Witch Hazel and Rose Water Toner on a cotton swab and rubbed that across my face.  This will help clear away any dirt missed, while toning those pores!

Then I applied Jojoba oil and wiped the access oil off with another cotton ball. 

FYI:  I chose the jojoba oil because it is supposed to be very similar to the sebum that our skin produces naturally and is recommended for oily skin.  After two days of using Jojoba oil I switched to Grapeseed oil, because I found the Jojoba oil to be too heavy for me. 

Each oil you use should be according to your skin type ( dry, sensitive,oily)

I am going to try this cleansing method for a while and see how I feel.  It's supposed to help give your skin a great glow, which I would love!  I like to imagine the oil lifting all the dirt out of my pores, while I'm cleaning.

What I must say is different about this method of cleaning, is that my face does not have that traditional stripped dry feeling afterwards, which I know is better for your skin, especially the oilys.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Castile Soap and DIY Goodness!!


Article Courtesy of  The Simple Green Frugal Co-op

As you start to research homemade soap or shampoo recipes you are probably going to notice that castille soap is almost always an ingredient. That's because it's so versatile and because its readily available in most health food stores, natural food stores and online.


So what is castille soap? Originally an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. Now a days "Castile" refers to any vegetable oil-based soap, versus animal (tallow) fat-based soap. Dr. Bronner's makes a "Pure-Castile" guaranteeing that what they are using is a real ecological and simple soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream during manufacture and slower biodegradability.


What can you use it for?

1. Soap you can use it as is as hand soap or body soap. I find the full strength to be a bit much so I dilute mine with water. I save some money and it is just as effective.
2. Shampoo
3. Toothpaste. I have never tried this but supposedly you can use a couple drops and it works. Has anyone tried this? Thoughts?
4. Laundry. 1/3 to 1/4 of a cup in a regular load of laundry.
5. Pet shampoo.
6. Aftershave.
7. Vegetable/fruit rinse.
8. Pest spray. 1/4 oz to 1 Qt water.
9. Massage oil. I got this from Dr. Bronner's site and I have to say I'm not sold on using soap as a massage oil.
10. Cleaning- counters, floors, etc 1 part castille soap to 40 parts water for light cleaning or 1 part castille soap to 20 parts water for heavy duty cleaning.
11. Dish soap.
12. Shaving lather.
13. Bubble bath
14. Carpet Stain remover. A drop or two on a clean damp towel should do the trick.
15. Cleaner/Disinfectant. 1 part white vineger 3 parts water and a squirt of castille soap and off you go.
16. Face Wash.
17. Clean makeup brushes. I imagine you could use it on things like paint brushes as well.
18. Wood cleaner. A drop on a microfiber cloth will do the trick.
19. Foot soak. A capful of soap into a basin of water will ease your tired feet.
20. Backpacking. Because it is so versatile and biodegradable you can take one small bottle with you and use as needed without worrying about what you are putting into the water.

There you go I thought of 20 different uses, are there any I missed? If you use castille soap I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shoe Clips!!!

Do you have a pair of shoes that you sometimes wish, weren't so plain or are you looking for a new look?  I found a cool website, shoeclip.biz. Thx Stylish Curves!

 I have a hard time finding black flats I like, that are not so detailed and/or specific that I cannot wear it with many outfits or so plain and boring that I hate them, so I might try this out and see, It's like owning a bunch of shoes, but not really.  Bedazzle your shoes, LOL!!

I know this isn't exactly DIY, but it's cool, right!  Fashion is so much fun and this allows you to play around with it instead of searching the Internet, boutiques, etc for THAT shoe!!


Enjoy!


                                                                     

Henna Application



I did my first Henna application this weekend using the Curlynikki method!!!

For an explanation of the ingredients go to the post about Ayurvedic Herbs & Oils.



Ingredients:
75 g Jamila Body Art Quality Henna
25 g Amla Powder
100g Indigo
Honey
Distilled Water
3 Green Tea Bags

First I mixed the amla and henna with green tea and covered with Saran Wrap while I co-wash and detangled my hair. 

                    Henna Powder                                              Henna Mixed with Green Tea

Then I mixed the indigo in a separate bowl and then added it and honey to the henna.  I the applied the paste to my hair and thoroughly coated my hair.  ( I didn't let the henna sit overnight prior to application because I didn't really have time and Curlynikki method purports the dye to release while applied to hair)


                       Indigo Powder                                                                                     Indigo and Henna being Mixed

 
( Sorry I forgot to take pic of Indigo paste)

I then wrapped my hair in Saran Wrap and then put a shower cap with a headband around the edge.



I then slept in the mixture and rinsed the next morning by dunking my head in my tub ( I clogged the tub LOL, It looked horrible and my uncle just looked at the water and then at me like WTH is this, SMH)


Anyhoo...After dunking my head in the water I finished rinsing out the paste and applied a deep treatment and sat underneath a dryer for 1 hour, then rinsed and did a basic ACV Rinse.  I used Aubrey's Organics Rosa M. Conditioner ( I didn't really like it though, might add some stuff to make it better)



My results:
                           Before                                                                                            After

My hair didn't come out as I hoped, I think next time I will do the henna and indigo separately, or maybe give it another try since mehandi.com says that desired results will come after multiple applications.  I will also give myself enough time and let the henna sit and allow the dye to fully release prior to application.
Hair is still wet, I will post updates and better pictures soon(I really need to find my camera charger), since they say it takes about three days to see the true results!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's in your beauty products and/or foods?


I know everyone at some point has tried to read the ingredients on their foods or beauty products and given up because they didn't know whet they were reading or knew how to even pronounce some of the ingredients.  Instead we just read the purported benefits and just bought the products wishing for the best.

We as consumers sometimes turn a blind eye to the things we ingest and apply topically.  Beauty is beyond the skin as we all know, so let's take care of our bodies, they are our temples!


Here is a website I found that tells you about Ingredients and rates their toxicity and danger to the body.

Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database

Enjoy!

Tyra Banks - Vaseline Frenzy



I know she can be over the top sometime or all the time, but she does work in the beauty industry where beauty and perfection is key!!

Enjoy!

Benefits Of Vaseline (Beauty Secret)


The number one items marketed to women is beauty products that promise great looking skin, lips, etc with high price tags.  What they don't say is that they are ridden with horrible chemicals that are really ineffective and/or damaging.  They also don't tell you that the biggest ingredients in the products are petrolatum a.k.a petroleum jelly a.k.a. Vaseline or Mineral Oil (read and decipher your product ingredients). 

I personally don't really use vaseline other than as a lip balm when there is nothing else around,lol.  But a co-worker of mine uses it as a night treatment for dry skin and I also dated a guy that used absolutely nothing else and swore by it! 

I actually prefer my unpetroleum jelly, so if your concerned about vaseline, then use my un-petroleum jelly recipe and still get all the benefits of vaseline listed below.

So stop paying all that money on Estee Lauder and at Ulta and Sephora beauty counters and go to your local grocer/drugstore and get your $6 jar of Vaseline!  I know I will be buying some very soon, and maybe I'll try sprucing it up as a tinted lip balm!

FYI: I would not recommend Vaseline for hair since it coats the hair ,not moisturize.

 50 ways to use Vaseline
(Courtesy of Christina Loves)

1. Put a coat on your eyelashes before you go to bed. Lots of people swear by this - and say it will make your lashes grow longer and thicker over time.
2. Put a coat of Vaseline on your feet at night, cover them with socks and wake up to softer feet - every day!
3. Put Vaseline on your elbows every day - they will stay soft!
4. Put Vaseline on your cuticles several times a day for softer and better looking cuticles every day.
5. Put Vaseline on chapped lips
6. Use Vaseline as lip gloss
7. Mix a little Vaseline with a little Kool-Aid powder and make a colored and flavored lip gloss!
8. Melt Vaseline and one chocolate chip in the microwave, mix and let re solidify for chocolate lip gloss!
9. Maintains perfume scent longer when applied at perfume points before spritzing the perfume.
10. Can be used as a moisturizer for acne sufferers (it is a misconception that it clogs pores)
11. Moisturizes severe dry skin
12. Use Vaseline on your knees to prevent that dry, ashy look
13. Mix with sea salts to make a scrub!
14. Applying Vaseline on your teeth prevents lips from sticking to teeth for celebrities and contestants in beauty pageants who smile a lot
15. Applied on teeth before applying lipstick prevents lipstick from sticking on them
16. Massage, baby!
17. Warmed up can be used as a night cream
18. Makeup remover
19. Protects skin exposed to adverse weather
20. Applied under eye shadow it can create a shiny effect
21. Applied on cheeks for a dewy look
22. Can be used to smooth and soothe skin after shaving
23. Used in manicures under cuticles
24. Gets rid of dry skin lines which can arise from washing
25. Lubricates ear lobes and helps to make earring insertion easy and painless
26. Keeps fingernails pliable and resilient
27. Use with your lipstick to create a cream blusher for your cheeks
28. Helps to ease off stuck on rings
29. Tames unruly eyebrows
30. Defines eyelashes and leaves them with a glossy and waterproof look
31. Conditions scalp pre-shampooing
32. Can help prevent chaffing
33. Aids with healing after cosmetic surgery procedures
34. Reduces scaling and itching associated with dandruff
35. Theraputic when applied to lesions caused by poison ivy
36. Can help improve condition of those with atopic eczema
37. Helps heal and protect new tattoos
38. Can protect against harmful hair dyeing, perming and straightening chemicals when used as a mask around the hairline
39. Use a tiny dab to put a quick shine on your shoes and bags
40. Smear a tiny bit on your hands and scrunch through your hair for a choppy look
41. Use just a touch on the ends of your hair to hide dry and split ends
42. Remove makeup stains from clothing
43. Rub Vaseline on the neck of your nail polish bottles and they won’t get stuck to the caps
44. Make your week old nail polish look new again - rub a small dab over the polish.
45. Use a touch of Vaseline mixed with powder eyeshadow pigment to make new colors, or a more solid eyeshadow that won’t get all over your face when you put it on.
46. Stretch your favorite lotion by mixing it with Vaseline.
47. Put Vaseline on your lips, leave it a few minutes, then scrub your lips with a toothbrush to exfoliate and leave them SO smooth
48. Remove false eyelash glue from your lash line
49. Apply a small amount on dry spots on your body before fake tanning lotions are applied, and prevent uneven tanning!
50. Generously apply Vaseline all over before taking flights to combat associated dryness

And just for fun, this one is totally not beauty related, but VERY timely - here is #51:
Once you carve your Halloween pumpkin, rub Vaseline on the exposed edges. it keeps it from rotting or going dry.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY Nail Polish



I have been on a search for "good" nail  polish lately.  Something that doesn't chip five minutes later.  While shopping for a grey matte like polish, all I could find was silver, glitter and metallic polish.  As I was getting frustrated ,my  thirteen year old cousin( might I add it was his birthday and he was ready to shop and get home for his party.dinner) tells me to just buy one white polish and a black one and mix.  I looked at him for a few seconds and gave him a hug.  I never thought about creating my own polish.

A few days later I found frakening.  Frakenpolish is when you create your own polish using different ingredients.

Follow this link for Frakenpolish 101 from the blog, Dr. Frakenpolish.

Some photos below from Dr. Frakenpolish:

Enjoy!




Monday, December 6, 2010

DIY Body Butter



Well, I can't speak for everyone, but the COLD weather has officially arrived to Chicago.  UGH!!  And what comes with cold weather....dry skin. So, I decided to create my own rich body butter. 

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Shea Butter
  • 2oz Mango Butter
  • 2oz Cocoa Butter
  • 3 tsp Apricot Oil
  • 1 tbs  Aloe Vera Gel
  • 1 tsp Beeswax (grated or pearls)
  • Lavender Essential Oil/ Fragrance Oil of Choice
  • 1/4 tsp Vitamin E Oil (preservative)
  • Clean Empty Jar ( i used one from a previous store bought cream, it's good to save jar FYI; economical and green)

Instructions:

Take all the ingredients and place them in a microwave safe bowl ( except the Fragrance Oil).   Place measuring cup in a pot/skillet with boiling water.  Let ingredients melt and stir.  When melted, stir in EO or Fragrance Oil and whip.  Pour mixture into clean jar and let sit overnight. 

               Note:  If you use the microwave, make sure all the beeswax pearls melt.

Voila!


My Results, Enjoy!
The jar was too large, but I wanted to make sure I liked this recipe before I made larger amounts.

Once the Butter Set

The butter will melt in your hands and once applied to the skin.  My next batch,  will try to make it creamier.  It felt very rich and smooth on my skin.  Great for the 9 degree weather here!


Ms. DIY

DIY Lip Balm and Stain

(sorry for pictures, I used my iPhone because camera was dead)
As with dry skin, come dry lips in the cold weather. This recipe will give you shine and color, plus protection against the cold weather.


Ingredients

1 tsp Cocoa Butter
1 tsp Almond Oil
1 tsp Beetroot Powder
1/4 tsp Beeswax (grated or pearls)
Lip Balm Jar ( I used old 1/2 ounce body glitter jar I had, green and economical)

Instructions:

Place ingredients in a glass measuring cup (except beet root powder).  Place measuring cup in a put/skillet with boiling water.  Let ingredients melt and stir.  Add in desired amount of beet root powder for desired results.  Pour mixture into clean jar.  Let balm set and use!

Voila!

The results were very rich and smooth on the lips.  Felt really good and soft.  I would suggest a good lip exfoliation and then applying this after.  I only wish I had used more beet root powder to get the sheer red look and a little less beeswax.  Next time!

                  - in attempt to soften and darken color I reheated the lip balm in the microwave an added beetroot powder.  FYI:  Do Not use microwave at full power or at all.  It will overcook your butters, thus causing it to become grainy,Lesson leraned.  Invest in good double boiler.
Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

DIY Ayurvedic Shampoo Bar

I have recently started my own Ayurvedic Challenge this month.  I have to admitted, I am not really liking the rinsing out the paste part.  Because I have all these powders and I hate to waste, I have decided to make my own Ayurvedic Shampoo bar.

Now, I'm not really keen on using Lye, so I have decided to use Castile Soap as my base. (Got idea from Natural Beauty Basics: Create Your Own Cosmetics and Body Care Products) You can also use pure soap a.k.a Ivory Soap or the melt and pour method.


Ignore the messy table

Ingredients:
1 bar of Peppermint Castile Soap-Grated ( What I had already)
3 tsp of Brahmi
3 tsp of Amla
2 tsp  of Shikaki
1 tsp of Neem Powder
3tsp of Bhringraj Oil
3 tsp of Shea Butter
2 tsp of Coconut Milk

2nd Recipe( Couldn't Find some of the items in my house, LOL! So I had to improvise)

1 bar of Peppermint Castile Soap-Grated ( What I had already)
3 tsp of Brahmi
3 tsp of Amla
2 tsp  of Shikaki
1 tsp of Neem Powder
3tsp of Bhringraj Oil
2 tsp of Henna Powder
1 tbsp of Honey
Instructions:

  • Take grated Castile soap and add Bhringraj Oil
  • Cover glass bowl and let Sit Overnight
  • Place all ingredients in food processor/blender
  • If using and essential oil, add one drop at a time ( mine already has peppermint bar)
  • Wet your hands and form soap into balls using 1/2 cup of mixture at a time
  • Place the soap balls on waxed paper until dry and firm ( The larger the soap ball the longer it will take to dry)
 NOTE:  After using this bar, I would try decreasing the amount of herbs used, so as not to overpower the actual soap.  I might as well just did the full Ayurvedic Paste method. 
..
Voila!!!




I know this looks gross, but I really want the benefits of the Ayurvedic herbs, So this is my alternative to using the paste.

Maybe next time I wll press the mix into a pretty soap mold!!
Enjoy!!


Ayurvedic Conditioner Mix

source
(My paste looked very similar this)
Ingredients

3 tsp Brahmi Powder
3 tsp  Amla Powder
3 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
3 tsp Bhringraj Oil
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Herbal Essence Hello Hydration

Instructions:

You should pre-treat your hair with Coconut Oil(or other oils) before applying Ayurvedic mixtures
Cover hair with plastic cap and Let Sit on hair for one hours 
Take ingredients and mix in glass bowl
Rinse Coconut Oil from hair using lukewarm water
Apply mixture from scalp to ends
Massage into scalp and them cover with plastic cap
Let sit on hair for AT LEAST 45 minutes to overnight
Rinse

This mixture can be used as a pre poo as well!!

My hair was super soft and thick after this conditioner mix.  I then followed up with a leave-in conditioner, flat twisted me hair and sealed my ends with coconut oil.  I am currently wearing protective styles, to give my hair a break and help my growth. (Plus, I don't want to do my hair)

Throughout the week I will follow-up with an Ayurvedic oil scalp massage, seal my ends and re-twist the hair.


I will post picture comparisons throughout the 6 month Ayurvedic Challenge!
Note:  It is much easier to rinse paste from hair by lying down in tub or dunking your head in sink.


Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ayurvedic 101 No. 3


Basic Washes
compiled by violetflowers

Icydove's Wash Mix
2 tbsp. shikakai powder
2 tbsp. amla powder


Add 4 cups of hot tap or heated water to powdered herbs. Allow to steep until comfortably warm (at least 5 minutes), strain ( use a metal coffee filter), and pour tea over wet hair and massage in. You can do a highly diluted ACV rinse. The amla is conditioning, but for a little extra boost, apply coconut oil as a prewash treatment and apply a conditioning rinse after washing.

Shell's Wash Mix2 tablespoons of shikakai
3 tablespoons of amla

Mix together with warm water and let sit for 5-15 minutes. Use as a paste. Apply to scalp and hair, distribute/massage very gently, and let sit for 5-15 minutes. Massage gently again and then rinse thoroughly.

Pre-washing oiling is advised anytime you use shikakai. Follow this up with an AVC rinse and some post wash oiling.


mira-chan's Indian herb hair gravywhole aritha � 3 to 5 berries
whole amla � 1 to 2 tablespoons
whole hibiscus � 4- 6 flowers

Boil in two cups of water till about a cup boils out. Strain. Then put on a low heat and add arrowroot starch (mixed with cool water so it doesn�t clump) and mix until it turns to a gravy consistency. Let cool and use. Will last a week at most with refrigeration. (Acts similarly to Dianyla�s herb gravy)


Epiphanee's Wash MixUse 1 tablespoon of shikakai powder and mix it up with about 3 cups of water until it is a thin paste (as opposed to a thick mud).

Apply the paste to your scalp and hair length - everywhere that you have applied coconut oil.

Just apply the paste and don't "massage" it in. It is very slightly abrasive so massaging it in would not be good for the hair shaft.

Leave for 10 - 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Neoma's Purple Sludge Mix1 tablespoon amla powder
2 tablespoons shikakai powder
2 tablespoons methi powder
2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers

Pour a cup of boiling water over the first three ingredients. Put the hibiscus in a tea ball and add them to the rest of the brew. Cover and steep 30 minutes. Remove the tea ball.

You can use it as soon as it cools sufficiently or keep it a few days in the fridge. I always use it on oiled hair. Finger-comb in the shower under running water to remove the herbal debris. May stain light hair or surfaces.

Leia's Herbal Wash and Condition
1 tablespoon bhringraj
1 tablespoon amla
1 tablespoon aritha
1 tablespoon neem
2 tablespoons shikakai
2 tablespoons sandalwood

Mix a little with boiling water, wait for it to cool a bit, and apply the paste to hair and scalp (sometimes after oiling with olive oil); leave on all night. You may use a bowl to catch the runoff and rinse again in the morning.

Violetflower's Wash Mix I1 dessert spoon of amla powder
1 dessert spoon of shikakai powder
1 dessert spoon of cassia obovata
6 dessert spoons of my soapnut shampoo

Massaged a small handful into dry hair, wet hair, then aplly the remainder, making sure that to cover all hair root to tip, massage scalp gently, then wrap cling film around hair for about 10 minutes. Rinse.

Violetflower's Wash Mix II
1.5 dessert spoons of amla
1 dessert spoon shikakai
1 dessert spoon of aritha
1 dessert spoon orange peel
1 dessert spoon brahmi
1 dessert spoon neem
1 dessert spoon tulsi
2 dessert spoons kapoor kachli
2 dessert spoons maka
3 dessert spoons marsh mallow
1 and a half teaspoons of virgin coconut oil.

Wash as usual--makes hair very shiny!


Conditioning Mixes That May Be Used As Gentle Washes
compiled by mira-chan and Shell


Mira-chan's Mild Wash Mix I
Take half a cup of fresh hibiscus leaves and crush them. The boil them in about a cup of water for 20 minutes. Strain, let cook and use as shampoo. The hibiscus leaf wash is not to be used post oiling or on oily hair unless it is very concentrated. It will not remove much oil. It mostly acts as an anti-dryness barrier.


Mira-chan's Mild Wash Mix IITake two tablespoons of powdered hibiscus flowers, mix with a cup of boiling water. Let cool. Apply to hair and leave for 5 to 20 minutes. Rinse well. Gives shine and cleans non-oiled hair well. Would be good for those who want to wash very often (daily or every other day) or for non-oiled naturally dry hair/ scalp.

Shell's Herbal COUse three tablespoons of amla in about two cups of warm water. Let sit for 5-15 minutes. Apply to hair and scalp. Gently massage scalp with a bit of water splashed on. Leave in for 15 minutes or so. Won't remove any but a very light oiling. Nicely conditioning and gently cleansing. Also makes your hair smell nice.


Rinses and Conditioners
compiled by Icydove

Traditionally, prewash oilings and using conditioning herbs in the washing mix serve as the Indian herb user's only conditioners. However, some people use Indian herbs for additional conditioning needs or for deep treatments.


Icydove's Herbal Rinse1 heaping tsp. of hibiscus
1 heaping tsp. of elderflower
1/2 tsp. of honey
Add the herbs and honey to two cups of hot water. Let steep for about 5 minutes, and strain. Dunk ends in the mixture, then pour it over head. Rinse lightly to prevent the hibiscus from staining. TIP: Use the mixture while the water is still warm or the honey could stiffen hair. Use aloe vera gel and jojoba oil mixed together as a leave-in.


mira-chan's Hibiscus Conditioner3-4 flowers of hibiscus
one tablespoon fenugreek seeds ( coarse powder or just crushed)
1 table spoon of arrowroot powder/ starch.

Mix arrowroot powder with a little bit of cool water. Make a large mug worth of strong tea with hibiscus and fenugreek. Strain then add arrowroot. Allow to cool then use as a conditioning rinse.

Kissedbyfire's Indian Herbal Wash/Condition1 tablespoon neem
1 tablespoon shikakai
1 tablespoon aritha
1 tablespoon amla
1 tablespoon sandlewood
1 tablespoon brahmi
1 tablespoon hibiscus
2 tablespoon marshmallow root
1 cup tea (rosemary, chamomile, lavendar, etc.)

Allow tea to simmer while mixing up the herbs. Add tea to herb mixture, mix well. Let cool to a warm temperature and apply.

Start with an avc rinse, then dry hair. Apply mix to slightly damp hair and scalp, and massage. Let sit for an hour wrapped in a plastic bag. Rinse.

Enjoy!

Ayurvedic 101 No. 2


Oils and Oiling Techniques
compiled by mira-chan

Why oil?


Oils are used as a protective conditioner and for treating problems of hair growth and both hair and scalp condition. They can be used daily to protect hair from the elements. Herbal oils are applied to the scalp daily or pre-wash to treat scalp conditions. More thorough scalp and length oiling is done pre-wash as a conditioner to protect the hair from the drying effects of the cleansing herbs and water.

Herbal oils are chosen depending on condition of the scalp and used either together or separately. They are applied on non wash days in the evening or at least 30 minutes before washing to let the herb act on the scalp.

Pre-wash oiling is done on dry hair at least 30 minutes before washing. Non- wash day oiling can be done on dry or damp (misted) hair depending on how hair reacts to oiling. Amount used depends on hair length and how much oil the hair absorbs. Start with small amounts and increase as needed.

Post wash oiling is done on dry or damp hair depending on the hair reaction to oils. Only a small amount is used. It helps in detangling and shine, similar to a leave-in conditioner.

Which oils might be right for you?

Coconut - cooling oil
Used for scalp and length of hair, the body, and for cooking. Herbs can be infused in it, flavoring/scenting the infusion by immersing oils in it and letting it sit in the sun without high heat as heat from cooking a long time will alter the properties of unrefined coconut oil slightly. Prevents protein loss from hair during washing.
Applied both pre-wash and on the days between washing.

For dry or damaged ends: Wet/ mist the ends of the hair and liberally apply coconut oil, then braid. Let the oil soak in for at least a day.

Sesame-Warming/ neutral oilCommonly used for hair and cooking. The best oil to use when infusing other herbs by cooking. Can be applied between washing but, referred as a pre-wash oil as it has a stronger scent than coconut.

Mustard - warming oilIt is used more in Northern India, for the scalp and for medicinal body massages. It brings circulation to the scalp due to its mild irritating properties, similar to cayenne pepper. It has anti-bacterial properties. Do not try to infuse herbs in this by heating as it produces noxious fumes. Applied pre-wash to scalp only. Has a strong scent.


Amla Oil -- cooling oilConditioning astringent. A cooling, pitta soothing oil. Used for hair loss, premature graying, strengthens the roots, reduces dandruff. Prevents split ends. A small amount is applied to hair and scalp after washing or massaged in pre-wash. Promotes sound sleep when massaged into the scalp.

Brahmi Gatu Kola (Bacopa monnieri)Herb infused in oil. A cooling, pitta soothing oil.
Used to combat dandruff and dry scalp.



Bringraj (Eclipta alba)
Oil of the herbs called the king of herbs for hair infused into oil such as sesame. Aids in hair growth. Used for prevention of premature balding, and helps with sun damaged and color treated hair. Massage into the scalp pre-wash.
Ayurvedi Herbs and Uses
compiled by mira-chan and Shell

Albizia amara- usilai, vaagai, sirisa
For dandruff.

Amla (Emblica officinalis)The herb is an astringent, helps dye uptake, a conditioner and is mildly acidic (high in Vitamin C).

Aritha/Reetha soapnut (Sapindus trifoliatus)Cleansing, can leave hair a bit stiff. Aritha - can be used whole, fresh or dried, boiled then let stand of a night, as a shampoo on their own. It can also be used as a gentle fabric detergent. Some recommend it for use with shikakai and amla.

Brahmi Gatu Kola (Bacopa monnieri)Used for skin diseases. When used as a paste promotes growth and is anti dandruff. Similar to the oil.

Bringraj (Eclipta alba)Aids in hair growth. Used for prevention of premature balding, and helps with sun damaged and color treated hair. Bringraj herb and oil have similar properties.

Hibiscus (Rosa sinensis)Mild cleansing agent, promotes hair growth, softens and conditions. Hibiscus - possibility of it staining light porous hair a slight red.


Henna (Lawsonia inermis): BAQ Henna is a natural red dye that gives different results depending on current hair color and can be combined with Indigo for darker colors(browns/black).  It is a great conditioning and strentghmimg agent.

Jatamansi--Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)An essential oil usually mixed with sesame oil. It helps in growth and darkening of hair, prevents hair loss and premature graying. It is good for dry hair and scalp. It is used as a nerve sedative by massaging it into the scalp.

Kapoor Kachiiused for fragrance.

Methi fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)Very conditioning, can be used as a gelling agent in mixes for the slime factor. Gives shine to hair. Also good for dandruff and hair loss.

Neem (Azadirachta indica)Anti fungal, anti bacterial herb. Can have an unpleasant smell if infused in oil. The herb itself has a neutral smell. It works in killing of and protection against lice, fungal caused dandruff, and any infection caused skin conditions. Helps treat eczema. Natural insecticide and fungicide.

Orange Peel (Citrus aurantium)A mild astringent used for skin. Makes hair soft, manageable, shiny, and supple.

Phaseolus Mungo -- black gram, green gram, mung beanCooling agent.

Rose Powder (Rosa alba)
Cooling, soothing, and cures skin irritations. Fragrant.

Sandalwood--red (Pterocarpus santalinus)Cooling and soothing herb. do not confuse with yellow sandalwood, which is prized for its lovely scent.

Sandalwood--yellowPurifying and soothing. Good for normal to oily hair in a hair mix (not a lot, has a simialr consistence to clay cleaners). Good as a face mask

Shikakai/Sheekakai (Acacia concinna)Cleansing agent. Can be drying. Use with oils or a conditioning herb.

Triphala/Trifalatriphala - mix of Amla, Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) - promotes hair growth

Tulsi--holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Treats ringworm and other skin diseases, protects skin from environmental damage

Vetiver (Vetivera zizanioides)
A cooling herb, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic

Ayurvedic 101 No. 1



Ayurvedic Hair Care compiled by Shell


Indians believe that the health of the hair, skin, and nails indicates the health of the person, and that someone with unhealthy hair needs to manage their diet better. Specifically they lack protein (Indians generally recommend milk protein to remedy this--especially yogurt), and fruits and vegetables. The ideal exercise according to Ayurvedic practitioners is walking.

Traditional Indian health theory involves balancing the various body types (dosha), of which there are three general types. This involves diet, exercise, lifestyle, and in some cases herbal treatments. For more information on Ayurvedic theory you may want to read ''Essential Ayurveda'' by Shubhra Krishan or ''The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies'' by Vasant Lad. Both of these books explain the theory of the doshas and recommend lifestyle choices to maximize health.

Most herbs used in Indian hair and skin care (yes many of the herbs below are also good for your skin!) are good for everyone, regardless of dosha. If you have particular problems or concerns, you may want to contact an Ayurvedic practitioner for a professional consultation.

Generally using herbs for healthy hair maintenance involves some kind of oiling (see below) and an herbal wash. You may also add an herbal rinse. The wash and rinse can be one mixture, or used separately, but together they should contain at least one cleansing agent (such as shikakai or aritha/reetha and one conditioning agent such as amla). Some Indians also use rice starch as a type of natural emulsifier to bind the herb powders together and make them easier to apply and rinse out.

Indian women tend to oil their hair daily or every other day, and to wear their hair in a single braid or a bun. Very rarely do they wear their hair down.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


"How do I get rid of the bits of herbs in my hair?"
There are a few standard methods to remove excess herb debris that is left after rinsing:
1) Strain the herbs so there isn't much left to remove
2) Use lots of conditioner
3) Soak hair in a bucket, filled sink or mermaid soak in a bath tub
4) After hair dries, brush out or shake out the excess herb bits. You can hold your ends and shake your hair to get out the bits. It works pretty well.

"Will Indian herbs darken my hair?"
In general, most people do not experience darkening when using Indian herbs. Factors that can increase the possibility of herbs darkening include leaving on the herbs for a long period of time and cooking herbs for extended amounts of time before application. People with light-colored hair are more likely to notice a color change, so strand testing is advised. You many find that oiling makes your hair darker, or redder. Oiling may also increase drying time.

"Where can I buy Indian herbs?"
Indian groceries are typically the least expensive place to buy Indian herbs, although the age of the stock widely varies from store to store. You can locate the Indian grocery closest to you by checking phone listings under ethnic groceries. Bulk herb and organic/natural food groceries sometimes carry herbs like hibiscus and fenugreek in their tea sections. Indian herbs are also available via the Internet.

"How much oil should I apply to my hair before washing with Indian herbs?"
It is usually helpful to start off with small amounts of oil and work toward an optimal amount. A light oiling can consist of a thumbnail-sized amount or less of coconut oil or 1/2 tsp. or less of a liquid oil. Giving the oil time to soak in before washing can help ensure a thorough removal by the herbs.

"Can I rotate Indian herbs with other methods?"
Yes, of course you can. If you like, you can use Indian herbs as your only method, along with other products, or just as an occasional deep treatment.

Certain herbs and oils in Indian culture are given the "absolute power" status: Oils: Coconut oil, mustard oil, castor oil, Amla oil,Neem oil and Sesame oil.
Herbs: Amla, Hibiscus, Tulsi, Neem, Bhringaraj, Brahmi, Fenugreek.

I just want to *stress* on three, over and above what you have mentioned:

Castor oil: Not very popular due to its massive stickiness and viscosity outside India (because I have seen only Indians (in India) being comfortable with having their hair as oil slicks. They just bun their massively oily hair, put some flower strands in it and are as happy as can be), but it is a very powerful carrier oil. Said to promote hair growth, fight dryness and dandruff and prevent greying.

Neem: Truly a tree to be revered. I cannot profess enough about the goodness of this tree. It is a medicinal oil and helps fight hair loss, dandruff, premature greying and a little goes a long way.

Hibiscus: Again, a plant that is high on my list and most Indians list. I want to worship this plant! The leaves can be crushed/blended with a li'l hot water and applied as a hair mask to condition. The flowers too. Dried flowers, leaves can also be used and also powders are available. The least Indians do is put the leaves, flowers in their "buckets" of water which they use to bathe with , and believe that even that helps!

Again - I just thought that the above 3 deserved a bit more stress - is all. Doesn't mean I want to take away from the "king" of oils - coconut (in Indian parlance) or amla, Bhringaraj etc.

One word of caution (may be an old wives tale): Sandalwood is used sparingly because it is believed to cause "lightness" of strands. Just like Cassia(right?). If you are going for darkening you may want to read up more on this.
In India Sandalwood is used as a face-mask to lighten skin too! It is mostly used in hair to perfume it - much like Kapoor Kachhli.



Enjoy!!

Ayurvedic Regimen Challenge



One of the main reason I became natural was to achieve the big curly look.  I LOVE big healthy curly hair.  In my natural hair journey I have experienced my set-backs( split ends, heat damage) and I have been reseraching every way to reach my goal.  In my reaserch I have come across two bloggers, Curly Nikki and Moptop Maven, who's hair looks beautiful and who use ayurvedic herbs ( henna, amla, brahmi, etc).

I have decided to give this Ayurvedic regime a  try and stop coveting others results and doing nothing about it. (TAKING ACTION!!). 

Starting November, I am will begin builind my ayurvedic regime for six monthes and see if I get the desired results.  Join me in my journey and/or share your ayurvedic recipes and stories!


I found a great article about Ayurvedic regime and recipes, but because it is VERY long I am breaking it into three different posts.

Enjoys!!

DIY Powdered Herbs


Herbs can be used fresh, dried or powdered.  

Fresh/Dried herbs (leaves, barks, roots)  can be used for infusions, decoctions, and teas(powdered herbs are virtually impossible to strain).

Powdered herbs are used for lotions, mask, cream, lotions, soap, etc.

While shopping for different herbs online, I couldn't help but wonder if I could purchase them locally.  So I tried a local fresh market and found rosemary, lavender, peppermint, spearmint.  I also visited a Chinatown and found bulk burdock root, orange peel, nettle, and hibiscus.  But what I found interesting was none of these herbs came in powdered form. So, of course being Ms. DIY, I had to figure out how to use all these herbs I had just purchased and their usage depending on the recipe, i.e. beet roots for tinting lip balm.

Creating your powdered herbs:

  • Dry/Dehydrate your herbs if fresh
  • Take your dried/dehydrated herbs and place in blender/food processor/grinder
  • Grind herbs until they become a fine powder
  • Store powders in clean and dry jars with lid

Voila!!

Save money and shipping!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Make Your Own Shealoe Butter

While reading a fellow bloggers page of Ayurvedic recipes, I came across Shealoe.  Shealoe is simply a combination of Shea Butter and Aloe Vera.  Shealoe provides all the benefits of Shea Butter, plus a refreshing cooling effect to the skin.  This mixture is also lighter than Shea Butter alone and can our hair be used for both your skin and hair.

I have used Aloe Vera Gel in my Whipped Shea Butter, but no more than a tablespoon.  I have not done a lot of research on Shealoe yet, but I would assume that it would still have the same sealing affects of Shea Butter.

As I mentioned in my post about Shea Butter, there are are many benefits of using it for both skin and hair.  If you have never used Shea Butter it is very thick and quit heavy.  For these reasons I do not necessarily like Shea butter, but I love the results and the protection it offers my ends ( Split ends are my enemy).  In other words, I deal with it.

100% Aloe Vera also provides many benefits to both hair and skin ( Should be Clear)
  • healing and soothing to skin
  • provides hold to hair for styling
  • moisturizing to Hair and Skin
  • Used to sooth sunburned skin
  • treats acne, dandruff, athletes foot, burns, eczema, insect bites, herpes, poison ivy, poison oak, boils, ringworm, scars, wrinkles, etc
Being Ms. DIY, of course I wanted to make my own shealoe instead of ordering it from some online vendor! 

Instruction

  1. 1/4 cup Shea Butter and 1/4  cup Aloe Vera Gel; Mix in blender
  2. You can add herbal/vegetablw/essential oils as desired
  3. Blend
Voila!!!

Whatever the amount you use, make sure the Aloe Vera Gel and Shea Butter are 50-50.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Willow Smith vs. Sesame Street - Whip My Hair (Fraggle Roc Nation Remix)

I posted the original Sesame Street video and I liked it's message, but I REALLY like this remix. LOL!!!!!

Enjoy!!

Willow - Whip My Hair

This video is so, cute and I love the song. I look forward to seeing what else she does!!\

Enjoy!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Make Your Own Infused Oils

Infused Oils

Infused oils are, simply put, carrier oils infused with herbs therapeutic properties.  These oils can be used for skin, hair and cooking depending on the herb used.

What you will need:
  • Dried herb(s) of choice
  • Clean glass jar with lid
  • Carrier Oil ( it's best to use oils that are beneficial to your skin type [dry, oily, allergies])
    • Some Carrier Oils
      • Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Oil, Avocado Oil, Almond, Oil, Jojoba Oil
Quick Method:
  • Using a crockpot or stainless steel pot heat desired carrier oil over low heat
  • Add 8 ounces of desired oil (s)
  • Add a handful of dried herbs or 2x the amount of fresh herbs
  • Let oil simmer for two hours, stirring every 10-15 minutes
  • Remove herbs from oil by straining them into a clean glass jar with lid.
Slower Method (Solar Method):
  • Take a clean glass jar and pour in desired carrier oil (s)
  • Add a handful of dried herbs.
  • Place lid on jar tightly
  • Let jar sit for two week in light, Occasionally shaking the jar
  • Remove herbs from oil by straining with cheesecloth
Store finshed oils in amber glass botttles and place in cool, dry place and away from light ( this will keep your oils from losing their therapeutic properties)

Use within 6 monthes - 1 year and know that some oils need to be refrigerated and have shorter shelf life.  Avoid getting water in your oils to avoid bacteria.



Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dandruff

Everyone has experienced dandruff at some point in their life and knows how much it sucks to have a bunch of snowflakes all over your black turtleneck.  This post is about getting rid of dandruff.  But to get rid of it, you need to understand what it is.

What causes Dandruff?
  • occurs from excessive dry or oily scalp conditions
  • sensitivity reactions hair care products
  • fungal overgrowth
  • results of stress, thus causing oil glands to over produce
  • diet too high in sugar, dairy, fried food, fat
Ways to Avoid:
  • Keep scalp moisturized
  • Do not suffocate scalp with heavy greases and pore clogging oils
  • Keep Scalp clean
  • Minimize stress
  • Watch diet ( add tablespoon of hempseed oil to diet)
Ways to Treat:
  • Herbs for dandruff
    • artichoke leaves, burdock root, celery seed, Clary sage, horsetail, lavender, nettle, peppermint, quasi chips, rosemary, sage, southernwood, tea tree thyme, and willow bark
  • Essential Oils for dandruff
    • cedarwood, Clary, sage, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, lemons, myrrh, patchouli, peppermint, pine, rosemary, sage, tea tree oil and ylang-ylang
  • Herbal Hair Rinses
    • ACV rinses for dry hair
    • Fresh Lemon Juice for Oily Hair
      • Use this rinse after your shampoo
      • These rinses can be left in or let sit in your hair for minimum of 15 minutes and then rinse with cool water
      • Mixed 1 quart water infusions with 2 tablespoons ACV/Lemon
  • Infused Oils
    • This is an oil that has all the nutrients and benefits of desired herb
  • Coconut Oil with tea tree oil or any of the essential oils listed above
    • use this as a conditioner and then rinse
    • Tea Tree Oil is a great antiseptic

Baking Soda

Here are some ways baking soda can be used and the benefits.

Skin benefits:
Great cleaner and exfoliant.
  •  Add milk for great exfoliating
  • Cleans pores and draws out sebum clogging the pores

Hygiene:
  • Used as a deodorant
  • Used in body powders
  • Use as toothpaste
    • add peppermint essential oil and tea tree oil
Bath
  • serves a a great feminine refresher by neutralizing acids and restoring PH levels
  • Use this method instead of feminine douches, which are bad because they strip the vagina of all bacteria, good and bad
    • Make sure you use wam water.  Do not use in HOT water, will reduce effectiveness

I aslo found this cool list of other ways to use Baking Soda
61 Ways To Use Baking Soda

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sesame Street:Song: I Love My Hair

This is cool, I like that this is geared towards teaching young black children to love and appreciate their own hair and not feel pressured to fit a certain ideal, etc.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Gotta Work it Out!!!


Did you know weight loss is 80% diet and 20% workout?  So, if you eat crap, and workout you will NOT lose weight.  Or if you eat crap and DO NOT workout, you will gain weight.

I am a big supporter of losing weight the right way.  That means no pills, craze dieting, etc.  I once lost 40 lbs just by changing my eating habits and I've been avoiding the reality that it takes time and persistence.

Weight loss always feels like a conundrum, that is TOO big to tackle.  It's like a boulder that you look at a and can't decide which side to start pushing.

Well here's the answer, start with your diet, then get ACTIVE!!!!  Weight loss occurs when there is a deficit in the number of calories eaten versus the calories burned throughout the day!!

Cut down on the sweets
Trade out your white bread for whole grain low calorie bread.
Eat more vegetable
Eat lean protein
EAT BREAKFAST!!!  ( This should be your biggest meal)
Don't eat and go to sleep
Eat dinner no later than 7pm
Drink at least 64 ounces of water
Cut down on the salt and use Ms. Dash and/or light salt
Eat a balanced diet ( starches, vegetables, protein, fat and dairy)
Workout more days than not!!

These are some beginning motivating guidelines!!  Figure out what works for you!!

Also, do it for the right reason, health first and superficial later!!!