Health & Wellness

3 Natural Beauty Hacks (Jamaican Grandma Edition)

My grandma is one hot tamale- she stays beautiful through meditation as well as utilizing tried and true natural techniques from what she call ‘ole’ time people time’. I grew up seeing her use these techniques and I adopt them to my own beauty regimen.

The reality is that back in the day people didn’t have all the fancy  and expensive sulfate and paraben infused shampoos and astringents with unpronounceable ingredients. Yet they still managed to be on point with their beauty game. Here are 5 natural beauty hacks that I learned from my Jamaican Grandma (and Mommy).

   Use Tuna (not the fish) to Wash Hair

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If you happen to have that prickly plant growing somewhere around your house you can put it to good use as opposed to avoiding getting stuck by with when you’re gardening. Tuna, otherwise known as the Prickly Pear plant, is part of the cactus family (obviously…) and has a range of benefits from washing hair to even relieving internal issues like inflammation when prepared for drinking. My grandma does this every now and again as well but I’ve never tried it…and I probably never will. However, I have seen what it has done for my hair! When I’m out of shampoo or otherwise want a break from the harsh stripping action that today’s shampoos furnish, I head out to the back yard and get to picking. Think of it as the poor mans gently cleanses your hair and moisturizes without stripping your hair of too much of your natural oils.

Here’s how you prepare:

  1. Pick one (1) large leaf and take a sharp knife to scrape off the prickers
  2. Wash leaf but be careful as there could be tiny prickers you missed
  3. Slice the leaf open and cut into small pieces
  4. Soak in a bowl of water for about a half an hour or till the water appears and/or feels slimy
  5. Wet hair prior to get out excess dirt and then pour the Tuna Shampoo on hair
  6. Wash, rinse and style hair as normal- You’re Done!


  Use Sinkle Bible and Orange Juice for Glowing Skin

Unlike my Grandfather who will just sit down with his bowl and spoon eating the jelly insides of the Sinkle Bible stalk, my Grandmothers approach was far more palatable. Known locally as Sinkle Bible, the Aloe Vera plant grows abundantly in almost every Jamaican household. Aloe Vera is widely known for it health benefits such as its antioxidant and antibacterial healing properties. It has a tonne of vitamins including Vitamins A, C and E. Used externally, it can heal burns, improve skin elasticity and prevent wrinkles. It even prevents scars and I am proof of this- when I recently got the chicken pox I used it religiously the entire time because I didn’t want scars and thankfully almost all of them are gone. But the method I will be sharing today has to do with our insides. Mixed with Orange juice, that jam-packed Vitamin C combination working with other vitamins and minerals will boost collagen production  in your skin as well as cure minor tummy troubles. Many use it as a natural colon cleanse for its almost immediate effect but the additional benefit is the glowing skin you’ll have after about a week or two of using it. My grandmother and myself will drink it every other day for about four (4) time a week. In preparation for my wedding I did it for two (2) week before the big day. Though the ummm…colon cleansing part of it never really worked for me, I do suggest you speak with a doctor before- safety first!

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Here’s how you prepare:

  1. Pick one (1) Aloe Vera stalk
  2. Use knife to cut off the prickly sides and then slit down the middle to expose the jelly
  3. Use knife or spoon to scoop out the gelly and place in blender
  4. Pour your freshly squeezed orange juice in the blender then blend.

When this is done, your ready to drink! I recommend you drink the mixture right away as I find that putting it down makes it taste awful. The taste of the juice will be slightly bitter but bearable. Just think of the glowing skin you’ll have and you’ll be fine.


 Shrink Pores and Reduce Redness with Witch Hazel Astringent

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From this beautifully odd looking plant comes the purest form of astringent you’ll find. Like the other beauty items listed above, Witch Hazel has a myriad of benefits outside of beauty. It heals cuts and scrapes fast, its great for reducing the itchiness of bites and Poison Ivy rashes, and when mixed with two parts water it can sooth a soar throat.

When the shrubs and bark of this plant is broken down and distilled with water it makes for a cheap and natural alternative to over the counter astringents. I actually learned about this when I was very young during my acne days from my Mom and I’ve been using it ever since. I noticed that my skin appeared tighter and acne bumps shrunk almost over night- even if I had previously picked at it. I have pretty dry skin and sensitive skin and I’ve found that it did not over-dry – I had some natural moisture still locked in. Later in life I discovered that chemical messengers calls tannins were the key to the super liquid. It’s a great cleanser before make-up application as it provides a pretty smooth foundation.

Photo Credit:  c/o/ MsStrawberryBacon

You can buy Witch Hazel at any pharmacy. It’s great on all skin types. I use Benjamin’s Witch Hazel due to affordability however  anyone you can get your hands on should have the same effect. Juts make sure that the ingredients listed are nothing more than Witch Hazel and/or water.

I hope this has been helpful and thanks for reading!




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