Back in my high school days, I can remember having sleepovers with girlfriends who would dab a spot of toothpaste on their blemishes when they felt a breakout coming on. And although nowadays there are endless creams and concoctions that would deter most of us from reaching for a tube of Colgate in the case of a breakout, I remember being fascinated about how an everyday product like toothpaste could have two such useful purposes (whether it really did heal pimples or not). In fact, you might be surprised to learn that your home holds more items that can act as two-in-one remedies than you would think. I myself have a few favorites I rely on in my everyday life, but I recently researched a few more easy home remedies that you probably already have in your bathroom, kitchen and pantry.

I was certainly surprised to learn about some of these, and I bet you will be too. Take a peek below and let me know if you have any at-home remedies to add to this list in the comments below…

At home remedies for common ailments

1. Brittle nails? Rub vegetable oil on them.

One too many gel polish sessions in a row is almost guaranteed to take a toll on the health of your nails. If you notice that your nails are peeling or feel particularly brittle, vegetable oil can be a great at-home moisturizer and cuticle oil replacement, says Just dab a bit on your nails and massage it in. A good hand cream will help too, but vegetable oil is a great alternative in a pinch.

2. Have a cough? Each two squares of dark chocolate a day.

No one wants to deal with a scratchy cough that won’t go away (especially when you have a daunting day of back-to-back meeting ahead of you). The remedy for this might be simpler (and more enjoyable) than you’d think: Just eat two squares of dark chocolate a day. Yep, you read that right! Dark chocolate is a natural cough suppressant. And since dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cacao and way less sugar than milk or white chocolate, it actually won’t spike your blood sugar the way refined-sugar sweets would. According to Livestrong, eating one small square will help to coat your throat, helping to keep a scratchy cough at bay.

3. Trouble sleeping? Eat a handful of cherries before bed.

Not only can cherries can help cure a headache, but this tart fruit can also help you get drowsy before bedtime. According to Fox News Magazine, a small study showed that melatonin-rich tart cherry juice was shown to aid sleep, and when adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia. Cherries naturally contain melatonin, the chemical in our brains that helps us fall asleep and controls our inner clock, says Keri Gans, a registered dietician in New York City and author of The Small Change Diet.

4. Spotted a pimple? Shrink it with a muddled mint leaf mask.

If you’ve suddenly noticed a red blemish pop up on your skin, worry no more—making a homemade mask with mint leaves (which many of us have the kitchen or garden) will have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. According to The Health Site, mint leaves have menthol and anti-bacterial properties, which can diminish the appearance of a pimple. Simply muddle mint leaves with a splash of water to make a paste and apply to your pimple for about five minutes. Tip: Using refrigerated mint leaves will soothe and cool a particularly irritated blemish.

5. Eyes have dark circles? Brighten them with parsley.

Had one of those weeks where catching up on zzz’s wasn’t a priority? Under eye circles can be the unfortunate outcome. But using parsley you might already have in your fridge can help brighten dark circles in a pinch. The vitamin C, chlorophyll and vitamin K in parsley can help lighten skin and reduce under-eye puffiness, according to Online Health Mag. To reap the benefits, make a homemade under-eye mask using fresh parsley and probiotic yogurt (which will hydrate and cool the skin). Combine both ingredients in a blender or food processor until they make a paste, and apply under eyes for 10-20 minutes.

6. Dry skin or dark spots? Rub on a little lemon juice.

I recently read that little lemon juice helps brighten dark spots on skin and acne scars on skin, so I’ve been giving it a try. So far, so good! According to Livestrong, it’s a safe and effective way to clear up any discolorations on the skin—plus, it’s way more affordable than expensive creams and serums. And, if you have dry elbows or knees, you can also use lemon juice to slough off dry skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Rub some lemon juice on those areas and leave for a few minutes, then rinse off and hydrate with a natural moisturizer like coconut oil.

7. Coming down with a fever? Slip on cold wet socks.

Coming down with a fever isn’t fun. And most people’s first reaction is to think “How do I get rid of this fever ASAP?” The hard truth is that a fever is your body’s way of warming itself up to fight off whatever bug you’ve caught. So, a fever should really run its course naturally (unless it gets to dangerously high temps, in which case you should call your doctor immediately). To help break a common cold fever, simply slip on a pair of cold wet socks while resting. The cold socks will make the blood vessels in your feet constrict as your feet cool down, which sends good nutrients into your organs and tissues. These nutrients will help your body fight off infections and stimulate healing, according to Mind Body Green.

8. Got a cold sore? Soothe with a water-soaked Earl Grey tea bag.

Cold sores are no fun, and can be very painful and annoying. If you feel one coming on and are in search for immediate relief within your own home, a simple Earl Gray tea bag can help, according to Black and chamomile tea bags can take down the inflammation as well, but according to, the bergamot in Earl Gray tea has extra healing properties. Soak the tea bag in water (either warm or cold works) and place onto the cold sore for about five minutes to help it soothe and heal.

9. Feeling motion sickness? Chew peppermint gum or sip on peppermint tea.

If you’re traveling by car, plane or boat any time in the near future, it’s a good idea to have peppermint gum or mints on hand. Besides the obvious reason that it freshens breath, peppermint can also ease motion sickness and calm your stomach. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, peppermint essential oil works even better than gum or mints (rub a little bit on the underside of your wrists). The menthol in peppermint will calm your stomach and ease nausea if you’re feeling a little queasy.

10. Want whiter teeth? Eat an apple.

Have you ever had that super-clean-teeth feeling after eating a juicy granny smith apple? If so, it’s not all in your head. Apples really can give your mouth a gentle clean due to their mildly acidic nature and high fiber in the fruit. According to Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS, apples are the ideal food for cleansing and brightening teeth. Eat an apple between meals to help freshen your breath, eliminate plaque and whiten your teeth.

Pretty interesting stuff right? Pin the image above so that you can have it on hand… It just might save you a trip to the store!

Do you have any remedies to add to this list?

XO Lauren

Illustrations: Jen B Peters
1. Mother Nature Network
2. Livestrong
3. Fox News Magazine
4. The Health Site
5. Online Health Mag
6. Livestrong, Women’s Health
7. Mind Body Green
9. Top 10 Home Remedies