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By Sophia Hussain
Women around the world spend millions on expensive salon treatments they hope will turn the clock back. From Botox to fillers, peels to eyelash growing treatments, the demand for products that can tighten skin and restore youthful beauty will never fade. However, as well as being costly, many anti-ageing salon treatments are uncomfortable or even painful procedures, causing some individuals to experience unpleasant side effects–so we’ve come up with some natural alternatives.
As with all cosmetic procedures, the best results are achieved with a consistent regimen, so if you choose to supplement your beauty regime with a natural, at-home ‘salon alternative,’ make sure you undertake the routine regularly to really see a difference!
1. Natural Alternatives to Botox: Frownies, Frotox & More
Botox is an injectable toxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum, and is the most popular treatment used to smooth out wrinkles in the forehead (frown lines) and around the eyes (crow’s feet). However, let’s remember that this is a toxin, delivered via a needle! Side effects can include: double vision, breathing problems and allergy-induced rashes, so why not save the estimated $200-500 per treatment and invest in a natural alternative instead?
These little patches of natural Kraft paper are ‘glued’ to the skin, temporarily ‘freezing’ the muscle movements that cause wrinkles, just as Botox does. Just like with Botox, over time with regular use, the muscles will lose their strength and their ability to wrinkle the skin, much like the injectable salon treatment does, but for way, way less money. Want some for yourself? Click here.
Tip: Tend to get temporary wrinkles when you sleep because the pillow forces your skin to scrunch up? Wearing Frownies at night assures you’ll wake up wrinkle free. Before bedtime, just stick a Frownie on the part of your face you want to be smooth, get a solid 8 hours, and voila! You’ll wake up looking great.
b) Face Saver Balls
After renowned fitness trainer Yamuna noticed she was getting wrinkles, she shunned Botox and decided to do her own research and trials. Eventually, she came up with a concept that has earned her a large and loyal following – the Yamuna Face Ball, a rubbery ball that claims to work on the bone to improve its health and mass reduce skin sagging as a consequence. The ball also works out muscles, increases circulation, tones and helps reverse the effects of gravity–much like Botox does.
Today, at more than 60 years of age, Yamuna is beautiful, and claims that regular sessions that involve moving the ball across areas of the face that are often ‘stuck’ in a position due to squinting, frowning or grinding teeth can result in firmer, healthier skin, giving a ‘lifted’ appearance with diminished fine lines
The Face Saver ball was originally meant for women over 40, but women as young as 20 can start using the ball, in order to prevent repetitive stress patterns from becoming a problem as they age. For more information, please click here.
Developed by California-based lab Myoscience Inche, this 20-minute procedure involves placing a device filled with liquid nitrogen beside the nerves that control wrinkle-causing muscles. The machine puts the nerves into temporary hibernation, allowing muscles to relax. The ultimate result? Your wrinkles disappear. Unlike Botox, which takes four days to work, the effects of this £400 treatment can be seen immediately and last for up to four months.
Facialist to the stars Linda Meredith was aware that her celeb clients, who include Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow, all wanted a natural alternative to Botox. They were afraid of Botox’s potential health risks, especially when they were pregnant, and asked Meredith if she knew of an alternative.
At the time, she didn’t, so she created one: VTOX.
This Botox alternative contains natural neuro-peptides and algae which surround the muscles with proteins to block the skin from contracting strongly around muscles, whilst still allowing for some movement. Apparently, when the algae extract is combined with other ingredients, the skin around it will appear more youthful, without seeming to be ‘frozen’.
Rather than being injected by a needle, VTOX is absorbed directly by the skin, and is so safe, it can be bought online and used at home. For more information, please click here.
2. Instead of Lip Fillers: Cinnamon Or Peppermint Oil
Restylane is commonly used to increase lip volume. This injectable gel is made from hyaluronic acid, and is also used to smooth fine lines, and restore the contours in the jawline and chin. Priced similarly to Botox and injected with an even larger needle, side effects can include swelling, itching, discolouration, and tenderness at the injection sites.
Instead, for naturally plump lips, pour a tiny amount of peppermint oil or cinnamon powder into a small bowl, dip a water-dampened cotton swab into the powder, and apply the peppermint oil or cinnamon-dipped cotton swab onto clean smooth lips. This will cause a mild tingling sensation – let this sit for a few minutes then wipe off the remaining powder. Your lips will have plumped up slightly with results lasting for at least a few hours. Alternatively, a dab of peppermint oil will have the same effect. Sure, it’s temporary, but it’s practically free, and zero ‘duck face’ is guaranteed!
Tip: to ensure your lips are at their plumpest, dry brush them with a toothbrush to remove dead skin cells; be sure to moisten after with a natural lip balm.
3. Chemical Peel Alternative: Pineapple or Lemon Juice
A chemical peel involves applying Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) to the skin to peel off the top outer skin layer (epidermis), exposing newer smooth skin underneath. Some AHA peeling products, like this one by (re)Fresh Skincare, are all natural; however, this procedure stings, and can cause redness and even potential scarring and discolouration.
For smoother skin, pineapple contains skin-nourishing enzymes, and lemon contains natural citric acid. Drip some freshly squeezed juice onto a cotton round and apply to the entire face. Leave on the skin for five to ten minutes, then rinse off with warm water to reveal hydrated and glowing skin. Repeat daily for a week, then once a week for best results.
4. Microdermabrasion Natural Alternative: Sugar
Microdermabrasion is a skin exfoliating treatment that specifically targets scars, and involves applying aluminum oxide crystals to the skin with varying degrees of pressure, which are then suctioned off to reveal new clearer skin. The most common side effect is skin redness, but the actual procedure can feel uncomfortable and painful, especially when the suction is applied over the scars.
Instead, use sugar to gently exfoliate the skin. You control the amount of pressure to apply, depending on what feels comfortable and how much you need to rid your skin of dead cells. Simply splash the face with warm water, then dip your damp fingers into a bowl of sugar, and using these same fingertips, gently scrub the sugar in circular motions over your entire face including your lips – for at least one minute. Rinse off with cold water and pat dry, revealing soft skin with a healthy flush.
Tip: Only use sugar on the outside of your skin–consuming it actually has a negative effect, stiffening collagen fibres and causing wrinkles!
5. Latisse Natural Alternative: WINK, Almond or Castor Oil
Latisse is just one brand name, but there are several eyelash growing serums on the market that promise longer, thicker, and darker eyelashes and is only applied to the upper eyelashes. However, beware of even one Latisse drop coming into contact with your eyelid, and especially with the iris (eye colour) – as this chemical formulation can cause permanent dark brown discolouration.
Luckily, WINK is an all-natural lash growing formula that is less pricey than Latisse and is proven in clinical studies to work just as well. Can you believe that 100% of those in the test group reported thicker lashes of up to 20% after a month’s use? It also works on regrowing eyebrows in some cases too, and is made from 100% natural ingredients (mainly oils) with no harmful chemicals whatsoever.
Want an even more natural solution? Almonds contain biotin, which contributes to hair growth when consumed. However, using super thick castor oil (its texture is more like a gel than an oil) or skin-soothing almond oil will, over time, help your eyelashes grow thicker and longer.
Pour a few drops of almond oil into a small bowl, dip a cotton swab and looking downwards, and gently apply the oil starting from the upper lash line extending to the eyelash tips. Next, run the dry end of the cotton swab over the oiled lashes to absorb any excess oil. Finish off using an eyelash curler as the oil helps extend the length.
6. Anti-Cellulite Treatment Alternative: Homemade Wraps
Whilst salons charge an arm and a leg to leave your limbs cellulite free, it’s a bit of a pain to have to drag yourself into the salon when you can do almost the exact same thing they would do to you (for big bucks!) at home.
You’ll need: a cup of coffee grounds, a roll of cellophane wrap, wrap around bandages and a blow drier.
First, apply the grounds to your legs, then wrap tightly in cellophane. On top of this, wrap the bandages around your limbs ‘mummy style’. Finally, either lie in the sun, a sauna or if neither is available, blow dry your legs for about ten minutes. The secret here is the heat–it helps the caffeine penetrate the skin, breaking down the cellulite. For further instructions, click on this link.
7. Instead of CACI Facial Treatments: Facial Exercises
CACI, or Computer Aided Cosmetology Instrument treatments, tighten muscles under skin with electrical currents, thus giving a tauter, smoother appearance to the face. However, results can be patchy and the expense can be high–ten treatments are recommended to see results, at about $100 a pop.
Instead of stimulating muscles with electricity, why not just use them to make them tighter? The truth is, most of us use a limited range of facial expressions daily, thus allowing our muscles to atrophy, leading to slackness. But facial exercises have been used safely for many years by celebrities and models to tone facial muscles, making the visage look tighter. Make sure you do them daily to see results! Here are a few you can try:
For a tighter neck: Lift your lower lip to the point where you are making a pout. Hold that pose for a few seconds. Next, lower your jaw while keeping your lower lip upward in the pout and your face still. Repeat this exercise about 10 times a day to see results.
For tighter eyelids: Raise your eyebrows and hold them for 5 seconds. Open your eyes as wide as you can and allow your mouth to frown. Repeat 5 times. STEP 2: Open your eyes as wide as you can. Hold, without raising the eyebrows, for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
For tighter cheeks: Put three fingers on top of your right cheekbone. Press down slightly, then smile to raise your cheekbone as much as possible. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times, then do the same on the left side.
Still not sure how to do these? Try watching this video:
8. Instead of Salon LED Treatments: LightStim
Pricey LED treatments are available in most ‘Beauty Clinics’. Emitting strong light energy to energise cells and stimulate the body’s natural processes to build new proteins and regenerate cells, a treatment with a salon can run up to $150 per session, with up to 6 sessions recommended.
The treatments are popular with those with small wrinkles, redness or tired looking skin, because they work. But now, you can save money by doing this at home, on your own time, with handheld machines like LightStim.
Clinical studies of LightStim claim the visible reduction in the appearance of facial wrinkle severity improved in ALL participants after eight weeks of use, and say that in a follow-up three months after the clinical study ended, all participants maintained the improvement they achieved during the eight-week study period.
We decided to put this to the test with our Editor in Chief’s husband, who had just undergone a small surgery on his nose that left a small scar, and wanted improvement on that, as well as a bit of increasing age-related redness he started to notice on his cheeks. He took Before and After photos in the same spot, wearing the same clothing to ensure no tricks of the light would alter the results, and after just 6 weeks of using the machine daily on his scar for 3 minutes, you can see the results below: less redness, and a slight reduction in the scar. Conclusion? LightStim works, and at $149, it’s way cheaper than a salon.
9. Instead of Vitamin Injections: Topical Vitamin C
There are plenty of brands on the market, but one I’d recommend above all others is Drunk Elephant C Firma, famous for its formula that’s packed with essential nutrients, fruit enzymes and a chronopeptide that mimics the anti-oxidant benefits of vitamin D, all working together to firm and brighten the appearance of skin while improving the signs of photo-ageing.