Products

How I Took Control of My Skin

Product - Clinique Number 4

I have extremely oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and I have always had a difficult time finding products that work for me. Products formulated for acne would always irritate and over dry my skin to the point of it becoming flaky. It was a constant battle to find a good system that controlled the oil and breakouts but still left me hydrated. This battle continued until I found my way to Clinique.

I was skeptical at first because Clinique is a brand directed towards sensitive skin. I had it in my mind that something made for sensitive skin could not possibly help control the excessive oiliness of my skin. I was so wrong.

Clinique has a few different skincare systems. They have their regular three-step system that is broken down into four groups and numbered one through four.

  1. very dry skin
  2. dry to normal combination skin
  3. oily combination skin
  4. oily skin

They also have an acne line. I was still nervous about over drying my skin so I avoided the acne line. I tried their 3-step system using number four. This system consisted of a gel cleanser, a clarifying lotion (similar to a toner), and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

I used these three products twice a day, morning and night. To see a difference in your skin after switching skincare products, it is recommended that you use the products for at least one full month. This is so your skin has a chance to go through one full cycle of renewal which on average is 28 days. I kept this in mind when I began using the products.

However, in two weeks I saw a dramatic difference in my skin. I was not having consistent breakouts, my skin was nowhere near as oily and it wasn’t dry either. I’ve been truly happy with this skincare regime. I switched my skin care system to Clinique five years ago. I have tried others in the meantime but I always go back. It really works.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

How to Find the Right Curling Wand

Curling Wand Tips

Gone are the days of curls crimped and crunched by the clamp of a curling iron. The curling wand is here to stay! It’s a great tool to get effortless curls and waves without the spring and hinge contraption of yesteryear. Curling wands are essentially just curling irons with no clamp. They can provide most of the styling options that curling irons create but with a more natural, lived-in look.

The top things to look for in a curling wand are:

  1. Protection

    Many curling wands come with a glove to protect your hand from the heat of the tool. Without a clamp, you’re going to be interacting with the heated portion of the tool a lot more. This is great for getting just the right shape from a curl or wave, but the heat safe glove is a must have for protecting your hands during styling.

  2. Heat

    How hot will it get? How long will it take to get that hot? Check that there are multiple heat settings so your tool can both be customized to your needs and is flexible enough to be shared with friends and family.

  3. Material

    Wands come in a variety of materials from titanium to heat resistant plastics. Look for ceramic or tourmaline ceramic that protects hair during heat styling and reduces frizz.

  4. Size

    The look you’re seeking can be found and a lot of it comes down to the size of the wand’s barrel. Some curling wands come with removable attachments so you can mix it up. If you’re seeking big bombshell curls that fall loosely, then a larger barrel is for you. For shorter hair or tighter curls, you’ll want a smaller barrel.

Using these four criteria, you can narrow down the vast selection of curling wands to find the right one for you.

Men are Vain

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

So I’ve come to realize that men are actually quite vain. It’s incredible the lengths a man might go if he fears he’s going bald, either to cover up a receding hairline or try to avoid it altogether.

Time to blast someone I hold near and dear to my heart—let’s call him Bob (sorry, Bob). Bob is a pretty confident guy except that he started showing a receding hairline before he was 21. He wore hats or shaved his head down to a #1 guard (about ⅛″). He would seek my advice on different haircuts or obscure Eastern home remedies.

One day, I suggested this new Aveda product line called Invati. I tell Bob it’s a commitment, but a worthwhile one. He agrees to give it a shot. I bring home the Invati shampoo, conditioner, and spray scalp supplement. It took a few months of daily use, but then even I start to see a noticeable difference. The Invati line took the baby hairs he had and toughened them up to be full grown adult hairs like the rest of them. It also cleansed his scalp so that the hairs he did have could grow to their fullest, thickest potential. Now he swears by the Invati product line and he has made a believer out of me to have seen it first-hand.

You do need patience and diligence for the Invati line to work well—it’s not a quick fix. But if you stick with it, I think you’ll see amazing things happen to your hair and your confidence.

A woman can benefit from it too if she wants a fuller head of hair too.

Go ahead and grab the Invati product line for him or her and watch the “miracle grow” right before your eyes.

Skin Serums with Nanosomes

Illustration showing how tiny nanosomes penetrate skin.

Products encapsulated in tiny nanosomes can more easily penetrate deeply into the skin.

Many of us have heard of incorporating serums into our skin care regimens and some of us already have. Serums are a crucial step in taking care of our skin. They have a more highly concentrated blend of active ingredients than, say, a moisturizer. Serums have smaller molecules that absorb into the skin quickly. However, just like with most skin care products, serums are water-based, while our skin is oil loving. So, most of the time, the product sits on top of our skin and doesn’t penetrate much deeper.

What can you do to get your skin to absorb more of the ingredients and reap the benefits from your serum?

You could use a dermaroller before applying serum, but that’s not something your skin would be able to take every day. You could also use an ultrasound device to help penetrate the product deeper into the skin, but maybe you don’t want to have to purchase another tool.

Both of those methods are great but the easier way is by using a serum with nanosomes—which may also be called microspheres or nanospheres.

Nanosomes, made from phospholipids by using nano-technology techniques, are extremely small single or double bilayer liposomes. They encapsulate active ingredients; and, due to their tiny size, can penetrate skin to deliver products much deeper. Nanosomes aren’t just in serums either, they can also be found in sunscreens and moisturizers. When searching for products with nanosomes, it will always say on the bottle that it contains them.

Importance of Hair Products

Aveda Hair Products Collage

I never really knew the importance of product until I started studying at Cinta Aveda Institute. Aftercare is vital for the longevity of your hair style, cut, or color. Without certain products, your hair won’t look the same when you leave the salon. It’s important to realize this when you’re spending a lot of money on salon services.

If you spend for beautiful hair color, you might not know that the shampoo you bought at your local drug store actually strips away your color in the shower. It’s always important that you ask your stylists questions about aftercare and that they are educating you with their knowledge of appropriate products.

Essential products that I always use are:

  • Shampoo and conditioner: the most important products you can buy. Most drug store brands actually do more damage to your hair because they contain sulfates and chemicals that dry out the hair and strip away color or the essential oils that your hair needs.
  • Prep or style primer: if you don’t like a lot of product, a style prep or primer is a great choice. You just spritz throughout your hair and blow dry. Benefits of some preps or primers are that they can be moisturizerizing, maintain a style, and can protect against heat damage.
  • Hair oil: this is good for dry or damaged hair. You just take a pea-sized amount, emulsify through your palms, and add to your mid-lengths and ends. Oils add moisture and some contain damage repairing vitamins and proteins that can help restore your hair.

Next time you visit your favorite salon, make sure you are using the right aftercare products. This will help your hair look fresher longer.

Best Hair Masks for Color Treated Hair

Hair Mask Combed in HairEveryone wants thick, healthy hair, but sometimes I feel like it’s harder to achieve this effect when your hair has been color treated.

Originally a brunette, I always felt my skin tone looked better against blonder hair, so I have been color treating my hair for years. I have done some research to find the best hair masks for hair that has been color treated. These act as a thicker, creamier version of conditioner, with a longer lasting effect.

If you are looking to protect your mane, adding in a nice mask such as Moroccanoil’s Restorative Hair Mask will turn hair from limp, frizzy, or fried; to repaired, thick, and lustrous. It coats strands like butter; and when washed away, leaves hair feeling smooth as silk.

If you are looking to preserve, Klorane makes a great pomegranate based conditioner, known simply as Conditioner with Pomegranate. This keeps color treated hair radiant, and helps extend the color longer as well.

If you are looking for a good mask that can be found at most drug stores, Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask should do the trick. Formulated with olive and sweet almond oil, this mask penetrates and coats each hair strand. There are so many high-end masks out there, but I can honestly say that this one rivals them all.

Lastly, it seems like everyone uses coconut oil for some this or another, and it can definitely be used to condition hair if need be. If you are not able to constantly go in for professional treatments, coconut oil is a wonderful at-home remedy.

Fruity Face Masks

Woman with Avocado Face Mask

Here are a few easy face masks you can make with just a few things you most likely already have in your kitchen. All you need is a few fruits and veggies and, for the last three, a blender. These starter masks are all pretty much good for any skin type, So get creative and find the one that fits your needs best!

  • Avocado Mash: mash ½ of a ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons of honey and apply to the face. Leave on skin for around 20 minutes and rinse off
  • Banana and Honey Mask: Mash one banana with 1 tablespoon of honey and mix until it forms a smooth paste. Apply to face and set for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off.
  • Milk and Honey Mask: Mix together plain yogurt and honey. Put it on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Pumpkin Pie: In a blender, combine 2 cups canned pumpkin, 4 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt, and 4 tablespoons of honey. Apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
  • Berry Blitz: In a blender, combine ½ cup frozen or fresh berry mix (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries or all three). Add ½ cup plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. You can drink the rest or double the ingredients for a full on smoothie and face mask mix.
  • Cucumber mask: In a blender, blend one peeled cucumber until it has a jelly-like consistency. Apply to skin for around 15—20 mins and rinse off. This one is best if applied when cold.

Hair of Your Dreams

Mermaid Hair

Mermaid hair, Beta Fish Hair, Unicorn Hair…Whatever you call it, it’s dreamy and it’s happening now.

The pastel hair trend definitely rules the roost now and you can get involved with some of Aveda’s high lift colors or enlightener. It’s a commitment, but it’s glorious to be able to see your hair go from natural to fanciful.

There’s nothing new about crazy hair colors but now it’s become a lot more prevalent and a lot softer in hue. These soft shades are achievable when your hair has been lightened enough. They look great with long or short hair.

Shades like lavender are insanely easy to maintain with Aveda’s pigmented shampoos and conditioners. So, if you’ve already taken the plunge and want to return the technicolor to your tresses, try Blue Malva Shampoo and Conditioner. It adds a silvery, cool hue back to hair that’s become brassy or lost its luster. The shampoo is gentle and suitable for all hair types and the conditioner deep conditions hair.

If you’re going for a big change to your hair, why not make it of the mythical variety?

Skin Foods

StrawberriesBeing in the Esthetics program, my focus is on skin care. We spend many hours learning about the skin on different levels. We study skin diseases and disorders. We study the various types of skin based on hydration, or lack thereof. We spend a lot of time learning about ingredients and products to put topically on the skin to address and balance each person’s unique issues.

It’s also very important to treat the skin from the inside out. It’s important for the skin to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. But what are good foods and herbs that can enhance and beautify the skin?

Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keeps the skin supple and smooth and help to fight age related damage.

Per serving, strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C than oranges or grapefruit. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and breaks down collagen, leading to fine lines. You can also apply a berry mask for smoother, more hydrated skin.

Olive oil is another powerhouse for the skin. It has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. You can use it topically to soften skin and create more radiance. It is also wonderful as a lipgloss or for rough patches of skin that may occur on the elbows or knees.

Another excellent addition to the diet is green tea. It is filled with antioxidants. There are studies that show drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Green tea contains tannins which act as an astringent. When applied to the skin it can reduce puffiness. You can use this feature of green tea on your eyes: chill damp tea bags in the fridge and put on eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stay aware of what we put both in and on your body.

Coconuts: Who Knew?

Coconuts in TreeLiving in the Philippines, coconuts were plentiful and not really out of the ordinary. We drank the milk and ate the meat: we drank coconut water straight from the young coconuts, most of our desserts had coconut. The women in my family used the oil as a hair treatment. Even so, I didn’t realize all of the health benefits one can get from a coconut until the coconut craze began a few years ago here on the western part of the world. Now, I’m seeing many different brands of coconut water, and reading all these articles about coconut oil. It seems that the world has discovered coconuts.

Coconuts are a great source of antioxidants and they have antibacterial properties. They can fight infections, lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and support the development of strong bones. And these are only a few of their many wonderful benefits.

Coconut water is one of the more popular coconut products. It’s a refreshing drink that contains electrolytes. When purchasing coconut water, make sure it comes from organic young coconuts, is not heat pasteurized, and does not come from concentrate. My favorite brand is Harmless Harvest.

Coconut oil is another great way to enjoy the benefits of coconuts. It can be used for cooking, removing makeup, and as a moisturizer. There is still ongoing debate about whether it is good or bad for consumption due to the amount of saturated fat it contains. Look for an organic brand.

Coconut flour is also available and is a great substitute for regular flour for those with a gluten intolerance and is also a good source of fiber.

And, of course, they’re delicious.

Make Your Own Lip Scrub

Homemade Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

Crusty dry lips are gross. Lush makes a really nice lip scrub. But since I discovered that it’s so easy to make it at home, I’m no longer willing to pay Lush’s price.

There are many variations of the sugar lip scrub that you can make at home.

Ingredients (for single use)

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, brown or white
  • 1 tablespoon of honey, or coconut oil, or olive oil, or even maple syrup
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract (optional)

Method

Combine the sugar with the honey or oil. If it’s too dry, add a bit more of the liquid ingredient. Stir in the vanilla. To make a reusable amount, scale up the ingredients and use a small glass jar or another sealed container. Stores in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

There are many ways to flavor this mixture to your liking. Add peppermint essential oil, or cinnamon for an extra kick.

Can ‘Expensive’ be Cheaper?

Tarte Cosmetics Product Collection

Before I started at Cinta Aveda Institute, I’d buy all my cosmetics from the Ulta Beauty Store. Ulta displays their pricy, high end cosmetic lines and products on the left side of the store. To the right, they have typical drugstore lines like CoverGirl, Maybelline, and Rimmel London. To me, makeup has always been a “Want to Have” rather than a necessity, so I always went for the cheaper side. I figured I could find some pretty descent stuff for a low price. For years—and I mean years—I had used Rimmel’s liquid foundation and CoverGirl’s pressed powders. I was happy with the products and I never noticed any problems that I might be having with them.

Once I started school however, some of the first topics we discussed were makeup. To my surprise, I found that it is a lot more important to use good quality makeup than I thought. I learned that you shouldn’t judge a line based on their price, and that the more expensive products can be the best for your skin. The cheap makeup I was using was actually the reason I was breaking out so much, and the more I broke out, the more makeup I used.

I finally decided to take the plunge and shop on the expensive left side of Ulta. To my surprise, a lot of the brands I was interested in weren’t that much more expensive. On top of that, I wasn’t going to need as many products. I started trying bare minerals first. I used that for a couple weeks, but it made my skin itchy and it basically covered up nothing. I used so much of it that it only lasted me 2 weeks. So I went back to find something I knew would be healthy for my skin and still give me perfect coverage.

I tried Tarte Cosmetics and instantly fell in love. Tarte has easily become one of my absolute favorite makeup brands and has really transformed my face. Tarte is made from Amazon clay which helps to really get the coverage you want, but it’s not heavy on your skin. You barely notice it’s there. It also lasts the entire day and doesn’t get greasy-looking. Finally, the company is socially aware. It does many things to help people and the environment with their profits. I love Tarte and my skin finally looks and feels great because of it.

Instant Eye Lift

Eye with makeup and individual false eyelashes.“Falsies” are my favorite part of any make-up routine. I believe every woman looks better with a little eyelash enhancement. Whatever look she’s going for — natural, voluminous, or dramatic — any woman can find the perfect lashes. But with all the different brands, styles, lengths, and colors, picking false lashes can be quite the conundrum!

My obsession with eyelashes began eight years ago when I first moved to Los Angeles. A friend I met had the longest, most gorgeous eyelashes I had ever seen. I knew I wanted mine to look just like them. I asked her what kind of mascara she used, hoping to learn about a new brand, when she told me that they were falsies. I couldn’t believe it! With no eye makeup on, I figured I would be able to see the ends of the strips she was wearing. But I couldn’t. I asked her to close her eyes. Still nothing. Then she opened her eyes wide and looked up at the ceiling. That revealed a bunch of little black beads on the inner waterline of her lids. She was wearing individual eyelashes, something I had never seen or heard of before, and she told me she put them on herself. That same day she applied individual eyelashes to me and I’ve been addicted to them ever since.

Since that day eight years ago, I have been taught different techniques to achieve many different looks. My personal technique for applying individual lashes is the one my old friend taught me.

With my non-dominant hand I hold the upper eyelid up and away from the eyeball, revealing as much of the waterline as possible. Then, using tweezers with my dominant hand, I pick up an individual set of lashes, dip them in a dot of individual lash adhesive (Ardell dark glue is my favorite), and place the lashes on the waterline. I start towards the middle and first work to the end and then move back towards the inner eye. I carefully place each individual bunch apart from the next to avoid the lashes clumping together.

Applying the individual lashes on the waterline and under your actual eyelashes gives the ultimate look of naturally long and voluminous lashes. The best part about individuals is that you can make them as thick and long as you desire! Stack them close, place them few and far between, or just apply to the ends of your eyes for a sexy winged eye effect. Whatever look you want or whatever the occasion you can achieve it without harming your real lashes. And, let’s face it, any woman’s beautiful face will always look better with a little lash enhancement!

Braids For Days

Woman with Braid

Braids are nothing new in the world of hair but, right now, they are hot. From Youtubers to Rihanna’s ID Magazine cover, we can’t get enough of them. They’re a great way to give yourself perfect next day hair and to have an easy updo that can go from the office to a night out.

I’ve been wearing braids since I was just a kiddo and love them for myself and others. As in any styling situation, product options abound and it really comes down to the results you’re looking for. So, here are some top tips!

  • Easy “Day Two” Hair

    Try a little hair potion at your roots and a deep side part with a French braid resting on your shoulder. It emits a poised and understated elegance rather than a ‘no time to style’ vibe.

  • Commuter Hair

    A super easy option is to wash your hair and add your favorite prep or leave in conditioner. I’m a big fan of Aveda’s BeCurly Style Prep. Add to damp hair and dry it about 80%. Now you can add a little Texturizing Crème or a hold product, part your hair down the center, and braid into two buns. Let your hair air dry while you do your make up or commute, etc. When you take out your braids, you’ll have perfect beachy waves!

  • Fun Updo

    This is a fun option if you have more time and are happy to put in a little more work: start similarly to “Commuter Hair” but dry hair completely, substituting Smoothing Fluid for Texturizing Crème. This will help control fly-aways and leave your hair silky and smooth. Section your hair into a top and bottom half. Curl the bottom and leave it untouched. Begin a french braid where you normally part your hair and wrap it around so that you have a braid crown with romantic curls flowing beneath. Use a few bobby pins to hold it in place, spritz a little hair control, and you have a hairstyle that will break Pinterest!

Steam Your Face With Herbs

Face Steaming

When Spring arrives, it will bring an array of useful medicinal herbs and flowers. For skin health, one of the easiest ways to incorporate these herbs and flowers is to use them in steams. Even if you live in the city and don’t have the fresh plants around you, you can have these herbs on hand. They should be dried and stored in glass jars out of direct sunlight.

Why is it Important to Steam?

One benefit is that the vapor imparts a glow to your complexion, and you will find that your skincare products penetrate deeper and work more effectively. The heat and moisture also open the pores freeing dead skin, dirt, and bacteria. It brings toxins to the surface. Oily and acneic type skin can greatly benefit from steaming—it helps get rid of both blackheads and whiteheads by opening plugged pores and softening blockages. Those with rosacea, severe acne, sensitive skin, or coronary issues should skip steam or consult with a doctor.

The process of steaming is very simple. Bring a pot of water to a boil, toss in a handful of fresh or dried herbs and flowers, simmer for two to three minutes. If you are using essential oils, remove the water from the heat before adding a few drops of the oil. Move the water to a comfortable location where you can sit alongside and keep your face 8 to 12 inches above the water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl to hold in the steam.

Some good herbs for use in a steam are rose petals, chamomile, lavender, sage, calendula blossoms, fennel seeds, and rosemary leaves. There are many more options but do your research first. Steaming too often or placing your face too close to the water can lead to broken blood vessels. Once a week should be sufficient. Follow with a splash of cold water and pat dry. You can then apply your serum, facial oil, or moisturizer.

Introduction to Micellar Water

Micellar Water Brand ExamplesIf you follow fashion week beauty or even some beauty vloggers, you may have heard of micellar water. Bioderma is the most well known brand. I first read about it years ago when it was only available in Europe. But as soon as I got my hands on a bottle, I wondered how I had ever lived without it.

Micellar water is made up of micelles—tiny oil droplets suspended in water. They get rid of makeup, oil, and dirt from your skin with no need for rinsing. It doesn’t leave an oily residue on your skin nor does it dry it out. It’s also gentle enough to use as an eye makeup remover. Micellar water is great for sensitive skin types since it is formulated without harsh chemicals and soaps. However, if you are wearing heavy makeup, you’ll still need to wash your face or use makeup wipes in addition to micellar water.

I like to use it at night after washing my face for gentle, extra cleansing. It gets the traces of makeup that my cleanser may not have removed. I also use it as a substitute for washing my face in the morning, as I believe in a more gentle morning routine for skin.

It’s great a substitute for toner to freshen up and cleanse your skin without irritation while traveling.

Micellar water is no longer hard to find. As it has risen in popularity, many American cosmetic companies have released their own micellar waters.

Developing a Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine Application

Finding the perfect skincare regimen can be a hassle. Here are four essential must haves for developing the perfect routine to have flawless skin.

  • Skin Cleanser

    There are many face washes on the market for oily skin. I would recommend a gel cleanser. If you’re acne prone, it can contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For sensitive or dry skin, you can use a cleansing milk or cream cleanser that is much more gentle and moisturizing.

  • Toner

    Start with a spray toner. These are easier to use and it’s just one or two spritzes and you’re done! Toners are good because they restore the PH balance in your skin and can be firming as well.

  • Moisturizer

    SPF, SPF & SPF! Make sure your moisturizer has sun protection factor in it. Depending on its strength, you may need to reapply it throughout the day. Also make sure it’s not a chemical SPF which can cause free radicals that can irritate and damage the skin.

  • Eye Cream

    Eye cream can be selected depending on your needs. There are a wide variety on the market, designed to treat different problems. Some are for moisturizing, some are for dark circles, some for puffiness, and so on.

Oh, and ask for samples! A lot of cosmetic stores offer take home samples so you can try out products before you buy them.

Make Your Own Lotion Bars

Homemade Lotion Bars

Have you ever used any of Lush’s scented lotion bars? Amazing, right? Those lotion bars are super easy to make at home and half the price!

Lotion bars are solid at room temperature like a bar of soap, but when rubbed on the skin, they melt leaving your skin super soft and moisturized. You can add any mixture of essential oils to customize the scent. You can even add coffee beans to make a massage bar. These are fun presents, and can easily be made for baby shower gifts, birthdays, Christmas gifts, or just for yourself.

Did I mention the directions are super easy to follow? This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity that you’d like. I make mine with 1 part=1 cup so I used 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup beeswax and ⅓ cup each of shea butter and cocoa butter (you could also just use 1 cup of any for the individual sized bars). I also added some vanilla essential oil. I set them in silicone baking cups, though any mold or shape would work. The recipe I used made exactly 12 lotion bars. You can store them in any plastic container. I keep mine in the fridge, labeled so nobody tries to eat them!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shea or cocoa butter or a mix of both together equal to 1 cup
  • 1 cup beeswax
  • 1 tsp. vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 30 drops of essential oil like vanilla (optional)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients, other than the optional essential oils, in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.
  2. Turn the burner on and bring the water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and add the optional essential oils. Gently stir until essential oils are incorporated.
  4. Carefully pour into molds or whereever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden. I used silicone baking cups, though any mold will work. Different shaped molds can be used for holiday gifts (hearts for valentines, flowers for Mother’s day, and so fort) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
  5. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds.

† If you add an extra ounce or two of beeswax, you get a thicker consistency, which leaves less lotion on the skin when used.

Exploring The Product World

Jumble of Beauty ProductsFinding the perfect products sometimes feels like a never-ending journey. I am still trying to find the perfect products for myself. The truth is you will never stop searching. Everything is in constant change—your life, your environment, your skin. What you eat, how much you sweat, cry, use the sauna, bake in the sun—it all changes constantly and affects which products you need.

The key is to find a base product that will take care of your needs now and one that you can be confident using into the future. Makeup, cleansers, moisturizers, and shampoos—products are never perfect and can always get better. You’ll need to do a lot of exploring and testing.

Going into the Esthetics Program at Cinta Aveda institute, I walked in with my nose up. I had no intention of giving their products a chance. I had it set in my mind that none of their products would work for me, and I wouldn’t want to offer them to my future clients. It took working on other students, and testing them on myself, to really see the magic Aveda’s products were doing to my skin. I can now honestly and confidently recommend these products, especially a few favorites.

Hand Relief is my go-to. I use it after every facial and, from washing my hands all day, it really saves my hands.

I like everything in the Green Science line, specifically, the face crème. Since I have dryer skin, the thickness of it just leaves my skin feeling new and fresh.

And I really enjoy the Tourmaline Skin Refiner. This exfoliant does great things for my skin. The fact that it is all natural and will dissolve into my skin just makes it even better!

We all need to keep our minds open to new products as our needs change and new products become available. I hope that you find a set of products that really work for you.