I’ve never had a professional facial; I know, I know. I’m a green beauty blogger – shouldn’t that be at the top of my list? I do dream of making an appointment one day but most treatments at organic spas cost about 1/4 of my rent, at least here in L.A. But while browsing fancy spas and wishful thinking, I noticed that steaming is a part of the treatment, something that up until recently I reserved for alleviating a head cold.
Steaming works like a deep clean, unclogging the buildup from your pores while encouraging blood flow and increased circulation which is incredibly wonderful for dull, tired skin. And it’s one of the easiest, yet most indulgent DIYs out there! [Ed. note: this also comes in handy if you told someone you worked out, but instead decided to collapse onto the couch and watch Netflix. Just steam your face and you’ll have a legit-looking workout glow to show off.]
I now steam before applying my weekly mask and each time I’ve experienced an instant revitalized glow along with better efficacy from my pricey products! Incorporating this steam step into your routine does take a few minutes extra, but if you have a fancy product that you feel guilty even using, applying it after a steam is the best time to use it since your skin is ready to soak up every penny’s worth of its benefits.
Just hot water and a towel will do the trick but you can customize your home steam with the essential oils, herbs and flowers beneficial to your skin type.
DIY Therapeutic Facial Steam
Here’s my custom blend, good for normal/dry skin: 1/3 cup blend of dried rose buds/petals, calendula, chamomile, and lavender.
- Pour a full tea kettle amount of boiling water into a large pot.
- Throw in your desired herbs or essential oils and mix around.
- Lean over the pot and drape a large towel over your head to trap in steam and breathe deeply. Sit for 8-10 minutes, enough time to allow the steam to cleanse pores and for the beneficial oils to sink in. Take intermittent breaks from the steam, when needed (note – if someone’s in the room with you, its fun to look out from under your towel and cackle like a witch).
- Rinse face with lukewarm water then apply a mask or just finish your routine with your night time serum/moisturizer.
- If you have rosacea or redness, you may want to limit to 3-5 minutes or skip steaming altogether since it increases circulation and can irritate already inflamed skin.
When finished, you can compost the herbs and water your plants the facial steam water.
Happy home spa day!
Lately, I have been carrying around a mystery vial with me and receive a lot of odd looks when I unscrew the top and sniff. To clear up any rumors, it’s a very simple stress & headache relief essential oil blend that I have with me at all times. The two oils work together to instantly lift my mood and open up nasal passages. Lavender acts as a stress-whisperer, dissolving tension. Peppermint cools when applied to the skin and remedies nausea and headaches. Make this yourself with just two oils that you probably already have around the house:
Peppermint essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Optional: oil to dilute, like jojoba or almond, if this blend is too strong for you
In small glass jar/vial (make sure it’s glass since you’ll store the oil in it) mix 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with 5-7 drops of peppermint essential oil. If it’s too strong for your liking, dilute with a 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba or other carrier oil. Mix and you’re done! You can also just mix a couple drops of each E.O. in your palms, rub your hands together and breathe in. I like to dab this on the back of my neck and the pulse points on my wrists.
Life hack: Container Store has these little glass droppers and vials (pictured, above) that are great for concentrated DIYs!
Any other essential oil blends you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new combos!
As a kid, summer meant never not being in a pool (AZ life, hollaaa) but at the end of a carefree day, I would come home with patches of itchy, dry skin. This summer has been reminiscent of my childhood; traveling, being outside all day, nothing to worry about except which type of ice cream to devour for dessert. But spending so much time in the elements has returned my skin to that scaly fishchild state. One of the first things I did when I got home from vacationing was whip up a batch of this body butter/lotion, et voila, my skin was renewed!
This homemade body butter soothes virtually every skin irritation issue; dry skin disappears, rashes and bites are calmed and it also heals and prevents scarring, which is wonderful for my darker, scar-prone skin. This would also be great for preventing stretch marks and healing burns.It’s thick and luxurious due to the incredible healing properties in these rich ingredients. Not to mention it smells like chocolate frosting (no, it doesn’t taste like frosting..not that I’ve tried it or anything…*looks away*).
If greasy lotion bothers you, just make sure to slather it just before you go to bed to give your skin plenty of time to soak it up.
Healing Body Butter Recipe
To get the most out of any homemade products, make sure to purchase raw ingredients that are responsibly-sourced and organic. I purchase mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, Lassen’s (LA area), or Whole Foods.
1/4 cup Shea butter (improves elasticity, collagen production, intense moisture, anti-inflammatory)
1/4 cup coconut oil (healthy fatty acids, rich in vitamins K, E and iron, anti-bacterial/anti-viral)
1/4 cup cocoa butter (antioxidants, rich in vitamin E, caffeine said to help firming/reduce cellulite)
1/4 cup jojoba or sweet almond oil
10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice (I prefer rose or neroli)
Hand mixer (optional)
Combine the first four ingredients in a sterilized glass bowl and melt using a double boiler. Once melted, let the bowl cool down then place in fridge until the ingredients solidify (about 45 min-1 hr).
Optional, yet highly recommended: use a blender to whip ingredients for about 5-8 minutes, until a frosting-like consistency is achieved.
Mix in essential oils of your choice, if desired. When you choose your oils, keep in mind that there will be a strong chocolatey smell from the cocoa butter, so they should pair well with that. Slather this on after exfoliating/dry brushing and feel like a queen. Store in an airtight glass jar, like a small mason jar. Use within 1 month. Enjoy! You’ll definitely be feeling yourself.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, I’ve been purging and simplifying all aspects of my life. Clearing out the unnecessary really does clear the mind (can you tell I’ve been doing a ton of Yoga? Hehe). While I love luxurious, rich products, lately, my skin has been asking for minimalist products, and to just let it be. Trying to be more in tune with what it needs, I’ve been using my own blend of oils for cleansing and makeup remover and my skin has responded really well. I thought I’d share this since it’s easy to make and super inexpensive.
Here’s my no makeup selfie, post oil cleansing. See, dewy, happy skin!
I’ve chosen these three oils because they give skin a balanced ratio of oleic (moisturizing) and linoleic (great for cleansing and preventing blemishes) fatty acids, and would work well for normal to dry skin types. If your skin is acne prone, I would suggest reducing the amount of coconut oil and doubling the amount of grapeseed oil since it’s higher in linoleic acid, the type of acid that acne prone skin lacks. This is just a base formula, so feel free to play around with the ratio of oils. And since I also use this as my makeup remover, the only essential oil I’ve included is lavender that will not irritate the delicate eye area.
Basic Oil Cleanser Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp sweet almond oil
optional: 3-4 drops lavender essential oil
Add oils to a small glass jar then stir or gently shake to blend (I use these amber dropper bottles from the Container Store). Add 3-4 drops of lavender, if desired.
To use, apply a few drops to dry skin. Massage away dirt and makeup for 30-60 seconds (I like to add a few drops of water to emulsify), then wipe away with a gentle microfiber cloth or my favorite, this cute lil’ konjac sponge. Follow up with a toner and/or moisturizer.
I hope this inspires you to simplify in some way!
I did it! I did my own wedding day makeup and I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. I made this decision for a few reasons. The first, was authenticity. I wanted to feel like myself in pictures. 87% of Pinterest search results for ‘bridal makeup looks’ are my worst nightmare. I didn’t want to look “bridal” and all the pale pink and nude shades that go with it, or worse, overdone smokey eye. I wanted a natural, yet glammed up, old-Hollywood look using the beautiful, natural products I love. Like if Beyonce and Elizabeth Taylor had a makeup baby.
I approached a couple of eco-makeup artists to see if they could help execute this look but both were going to be out of town on my wedding day, so that was a bummer. And when I began to research non-eco artists, many were crazy overpriced and felt like I’d look like an overdone cartoon of myself.
Two months out from the big day and no artist booked to paint my face (procrastination was a prevalent theme in our planning process), essentially without any options and a limited budget, I nervously committed to doing it myself. I already owned most of the colors/products I’d need, and it would also save some money. All I really needed was practice.#nopressure
If you’re on the fence about doing your own makeup, here are a few things to think about that really helped me along the way:
1. Find your inspirational look
I would say this is the determining factor. If you’re sure of what you want it will be so much easier to get the shades you need or ask for advice at the beauty store. Many of the looks that inspired me came from editorial spreads, bloggers, Instagram, and looking at the work of makeup artists I admire as opposed to other people’s wedding makeup.
I adore celebrity eco-makeup artist Katey Denno’s work and found a few looks of hers that inspired me. Her blog was also extremely useful in recommending products. If an artist has enough faith in a natural lipstick to look beautiful in photos on the red carpet, then I figured it would hold up for my wedding look. I settled on an old-Hollywood inspired feel and knew I wanted a true red lip and subtle cat-eye. Rrrowr.
Think about the look you want and experiment with it a few times before the big day. Try/buy new colors now. Remember to take a few indoor and outdoor pictures to see if you need to add more/less, depending on the look you want. For me, it all came down to perfecting the cat eye and adding a bit more color to my cheeks than I normally would.
3. No new shades
Okay, you can buy new colors, but give yourself enough time to try them out, as I mentioned. You’ll have practiced a few times and know what looks good. Stick to the plan the day of and you’ll be confident in your application skills.
4. Be multi-dimensional
While you may want to have a little extra coverage to achieve a soft “airbrushed” look, this means the face can look a little flat in photos, especially against a white dress. I used blush, contouring powder and a highlighter on my cheeks, all applied a little more heavily-handed than usual. But it gave my face more depth that came out just right in photos!
5. The week before: prep your skin
I was extremely stressed the month before, but I didn’t get any pimples! I attribute this to drinking apple cider vinegar every morning and using essential oil aromatherapy ( I used a few drops of lavender with peppermint- instant tension relief!). And also, the the goddess of weddings smiling upon me.
Take care of any detox/exfoliating masks no less than 3 days before the wedding. This will give your skin time to chill out in case there’s any irritation or detox-related blemishes. And two days before, exfoliate. I used my trusty Clean Dirt from May Linsdtrom. Again, use your routine products – don’t introduce anything new to your skin to avoid a freak out.
6. Don’t forget to clean your brushes!
This will ensure a fresh palette and no clumpy brushes that could result in streaks. It’s a common-sense step, but I was so busy, I almost forgot! Use this genius trick to dry them properly!
Now to the fun part: The products I used!
After washing my face, I applied African Botanics Marula oil. I went to my salon to get my hair done which allowed the oil to set for a couple of hours.
The bridal suite at my venue had gorgeous lighting so I chose to apply my makeup there. I applied Kjaer Weiss Foundation in Illusion with a Beauty Blender (yes. this tool lives up to the hype! more on this in another post). This foundation offers heavier coverage, but still feels lightweight. I first used a concentrated amount to conceal under my eyes and a few lingering brown spots, then blended everything out with the Beauty Blender, which gave me a nice, even complexion. Note: I did NOT want to cover my freckles. If my freckles start to look “masked” I know that I’ve applied too much foundation.
Freckled ladies: If anyone ever tells you to cover up your amazing freckles/angel kisses (which two MUA said to me when I wad younger), go bananas, tell them they’re crazy, and then immediately walk out of wherever you are.
I then applied a very light dusting of Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 4, just to set everything and reduce shine in photos.
I used my trusty Ecobrow Wax in Penelope, just a more defined, thicker brow to get the old Hollywood feel. In general, always make your brows a bit darker when you’ll be taking photos. They make your eyes pop and defines features.
Applied first was Alima Pure’s Chai eyeshadow to the entire lid. What really made them pop was contouring the outer lid with W3ll People’s Sparkling Plum shadow for a bit of depth. This shade offered the perfect amount of smolder, without looking too dramatic.
I decided to use two dirty products for my mascara and eyeliner. As of now, I’m not aware of waterproof/smudeproof mascara or eyeliner in the green beauty world (that could change!). I just didn’t want to risk having black smudges in my wedding pictures in case I started bawling. I created a subtle cat-eye with Stila’s waterproof liner and used a sample tube of Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Waterproof mascara.
My favorite part of my look: Ilia Lipstick in Strike It Up was love at first try for me! The blue tones make my teeth look glow-in-the-dark white and just brightens up my complexion. I have found my perfect red! I knew the lips would offer drama so I tried to keep everything else subtle.
I applied a bit of RMS Living Luminizer on the apples of my cheeks and my brow bones. Then an ever-so-slight swipe of Alima Pure’s Contouring Powder in Sombra in the hallows of my cheeks (or where I wish I had them on my round face 🙂 I then finished with a generous dusting of Alima Pure Blush in Honey Rose.
There you have it! Thinking of doing your own makeup? Have any other suggestions that I missed? Leave a comment!
Photo credits: NorrisPhoto and my talented sister-in-law, Alice Helms
*Affiliate links appear in this post and throughout this site. When you click the link, I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make through the partnering merchant. Unless noted otherwise, I originally purchased the product(s) and all opinions are my own. I only provide reviews for products and lines that I know, trust, and love!
It just kills me when I have to spend money on gas, laundry, or deodorant. And while I did find an effective natural deodorant, Soapwalla, (read about this and the danger of most deos here) it’s $14 bucks a pop and I’ve been trying to balance my beauty splurges by committing to D.I.Y. one beauty product for each expensive product I buy.
I ran out of my trusty Soapwalla and after a few days bare-pitting it and some gentle encouragement from my dear fiancee to perhaps set a higher standard of personal hygiene for myself, I finally broke down and gave homemade deodorant a shot, not really expecting it to be all that effective.
I put this formula to the test with a hike and a few yoga classes and holy kerschmolies, it works! And not in a funny Portlandia way. Really.
Also, this is SO cheap to make and smells like coconut-orange frosting. So here are the tools you need to get into the homemade deodorant game:
1 tbsp Shea butter
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1-2 tbsp baking soda
2-3 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops of essential oils of your choice (I used 3 drops peppermint and 5 drops bergamot)
1 sanitized small glass jar that you’ll use to store the deodorant
1. Add Shea butter to glass jar and heat until softened (I microwaved for 20 seconds – feel free to use a double boiler; I was too lazy to do this when I made it)
2. Add all ingredients except for essential oils and stir, making sure the powder and baking soda are mixed thoroughly. Add more baking soda, if desired (I prefer a thicker paste consistency)
3. Gradually stir in essential oils to achieve the desired strength of scent
Your homemade deo is now ready to keep your pits company! The tea tree oil and coconut oil act as natural preservatives but make sure to use within 2 weeks so the deodorant stays fresh and effective.
Apple cider vinegar is a beauty and health wonder juice that I believe to be straight from Mother Earth’s bosom. Thanks, girl. Its benefits have been touted by both the naturopath community and supermodels. I will try anything in the middle of that Venn diagram (if you haven’t read Miranda Kerr’s Top Shelf, enhance your quality of life and do it now!).
When I get in the habit of drinking ACV for an energy boost (described, below), I swear my skin looks brighter and I feel less congested when I wake up. It has worked wonders for my hair. It detoxifies, closes the cuticle, which softens and adds shine. Raw, fermented ACV (a.k.a with the mother, like Braggs) is simply apple juice sugar that has tuned into vinegar. It is rich in enzymes, minerals, specifically potassium, which alkalizes, and balances and prevents inflammation in many parts of the body. ACV acts as an antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, which is why it’s great for everything from boosting immunity to curing candida.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar actually balances your skin and hair’s natural pH levels.
D.I.Y. toner: use this ratio to start – 1 part ACV to 4 parts water. Those with sensitive skin will stick to this ratio. If you want to power up, use a 1:3 ratio. Acne, skin irritation are treated with this solution and has been said to fade acne scars.
I use this D.I.Y. to balance my scalp, remove product build-up and increase shine:
Mix 1 part ACV with 2-3 parts water in a spray bottle. After shampooing or co-washing, apply to wet hair and let it sit for 3-5 minutes then rinse out. I prefer not to use conditioner on the days I use this ACV rinse since I’m trying to let my hair “breathe’ for a day or so. It does smell, but it will fade away. Hair will feel bouncy and light, once dry.
Morning energy boost: Dilute a tablespoon of ACV with 8 oz of water and drink on an empty stomach.
Immunity boost: Add a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of hot water with lemon and honey.
This mask brightens and soothes, blah blah blah…
Let’s get to the real reason I like it so much: I adore feeling like a kid playing with my food and then smearing it on my face. It’s also great fun to look like an oompa loompa for 15-20 minutes of your day. It can really challenge your beliefs. It’s also great fun to startle your s.o./roomie/family once you’ve applied bright orange goop to your head. Just sorta slowly peek at them from around a door sill with orange face, Milford-man style, and wait for them to notice. It’s great fun.
But seriously. As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a great topical solution for minimizing puffiness and soothing skin. Honey is a humentant with powerful moisturizing properties and the lactic acid in the yogurt softens and sloughs-off dull skin. I’ve never experienced any staining from the turmeric but those with lighter skin may want to do a patch test, first. My skin always feels rejuvenated after applying this mask.
What you’ll need:
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp honey (raw honey is best)
1 tsp turmeric
Mix all ingredients and slather on your face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water. I like to use muslin cloth when I rinse for a little extra exfoliation.