Products

Five Essential Oils to Benefit Your Life

Oils in Bottles

The use of oils to treat various issues has been around the since Ancient Egyptians in 1500 B.C. The Bible also referencing remedies using oils. The oils can help with conditions from depression to fatigue, from skin issues to muscle tension.

There is an oil for almost everyone. Oils can have a healing effect mentally, emotionally, and physically. These five oils can benefit your life in a natural, easy, and effective way through the natural healing properties they possess.

  • Lavender is very versatile. Well known for its calming effects, lavender also works on cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. It can reduce stress hormones in your blood. Just add a few drops to your next warm bath or to your pillow for a good nights rest.
  • Tea Tree oil derives from Australia and is for topical use only. It is a natural antiseptic with many uses. Used as a natural deodorant by many, it also helps treat blemishes by dabbing onto skin with a cotton ball. It can be used for fungal infections such as athletes foot. It can be added to your shampoo to naturally prevent lice. The next time you’re camping, bring tea tree with you for ticks. A couple of drops on the tick and they will usually unlatch.
  • Peppermint is excellent for stimulating the mind and creating mental alertness. It is said that inhaling peppermint oil can improve mental alertness. Peppermint can be taken internally and it can help with indigestion by mixing a few drops into a glass of water.
  • Frankincense is one of the oils that has been around for thousands of years. Referenced in the Bible as a gift brought to Jesus, it was valued in ancient times because of its healing properties and uses as a perfume. People across North Africa and the Arab world still believe in the power of Frankincense and use the oil to help treat arthritis. As time has gone on, the rest of the world has been discovering its uses for depression, inflammation, immunity, alertness, and the healing of minor cuts and bug bites. Add a few drops to your next warm bath to ensure deep relaxation.
  • Lemon oil is probably one of the best known oils, and for a good reason. Adding a few drops to warm water in the morning can be a great and natural way to detoxify your body and boost mental alertness. It can also increase focus and concentration with its uplifting properties. Not only does it work from the inside, but also on the outside of the skin to help clear acne. Your pets will love you too by adding a few drops on the back of their neck to help keep fleas away and give them a nice fresh scent.

There are many more essential oils that have proven to provide positive effects on people for thousands of years. Explore these natural products and see how they can benefit your life.

The Benefits of Argan Oil

The Production of Argan Oil Using Traditional Methods

Argan Oil Produced Using Traditional Methods

Argan oil is produced from the plant kernels of the argan tree. It is native to Morocco. In Morocco it is commonly eaten as a dip for bread or drizzled over pasta or couscous. But argan oil also has a variety of cosmetic uses.

  • Nighttime Moisturizer

    Apply one drop to moisturize your whole face and keep it soft and smooth.

  • Skin Toner

    Add 2 to 4 drops to your toner to take advantage of the oil’s nutrients before moisturizing.

  • Exfoliating

    Mix with brown sugar and use as a facial scrub. It will exfoliate and promote healthy surface cell turnover.

  • Acne

    Argan oil’s high linoleum acid content helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne.

  • Razor Bumps and Burns

    Argan oil is an effective treatment for men and women after shaving and also speeds the healing process.

  • Leave-in Conditioner

    This non-greasy oil makes for the perfect leave-in conditioner. Argan oil helps to tame frizz and fly-aways and protects against the heat of hot tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.

  • Lip Conditioner

    Argan oil makes for a wonderful lip treatment or lip balm substitute. Rub 1 to 2 drops on your lips and wipe away any excess. This not only heals cracked lips but leaves your lips feeling soft, smoother, and conditioned.

  • Dry Feet and Heels

    If you are experiencing dry, cracking skin on your feet or heels, rub 2 to 4 drops onto your feet paying special attention to the affected areas. Cover with a pair of socks, let the oil soak in, and then remove.

  • Stretch Marks

    Argan oil can help to prevent stretch marks by improving the skin’s elasticity. Warm 2 to 3 drops of pure argan oil in the palm of your hands and gently rub into any problem areas.

  • Whole-body Moisturizer

    Add a couple of drops of argan oil to coconut oil (or any other natural moisturizing carrier oil) to enjoy all-over dry skin relief.

  • Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment

    If you have dry, brittle hair, do an overnight deep conditioning treatment with argan oil once a week. Apply 1 to 2 drops of argan oil from the mid-lengths to ends of your hair and let sit until morning.

  • Nails

    Argan oil’s non-greasy moisture is an ideal treatment for cuticles and nails. Remove all nail polish from finger and toe nails and rinse thoroughly before applying argan oil.

Hair Texture Talk

Brown Hair Texture Types

More and more people are seeking out beachy texture for straight hair or to enhance the natural wave or curl they have. Here are some ideas to help your texture shine.

  • Air Dry

    Thoroughly apply product to your hair, and twist or scrunch and allow it to air dry to see your natural texture come to life. A great product to use is the curl enhancer and a hold product like phomollient. Once your hair is completely dry, apply a finishing product like anti humectant and gently break up the pattern of your twists to reveal an effortless style.

  • Diffuse

    If your hair has a natural texture, you want to use a diffuser when you blow dry along with curl enhancing products. A great diffuser to try is YS Park’s. Simply apply your favorite curl enhancing products, and a little heat protectant, and use the diffuser to speed up the drying process.

  • Twist and Diffuse

    This is the method you’ll see used most often in the salon for enhancing texture. You can sit under a dryer and allow your twisted tresses to slowly dry or have the diffuser do the work. By combining the two previous approaches you get a soft textured style that even the most stubborn curls shine through. The key to this is to twist and then allow the hair to dry without further disruption. It’s tempting, but don’t touch the twisted strands or you’ll find your hair will get frizzy!

  • Thickening Tonic

    Here’s a fun fact: your thickening tonic doesn’t always have to be blow dried to activate its benefits. Thickening tonic works well when the product is blow dried into the hair and the amla fruit extract forms a layer on the hair strand that makes your hair appear physically thicker. That’s what makes your hair look so luxurious and full, but you can also spray it in and allow it to air dry to give a beachy texture. Enhancing your hair with thickening tonic is a great idea in conjunction with a hold product like phomollient which has honey in it, so the hold doesn’t need any heat styling to be activated.

  • Volumizing Tonic

    It’s not just a root boost. Try applying volumizing tonic in a light but thorough mist over all of your hair after you spray at the roots. This will give your hair memory and, when you blow dry at home, you’ll be able to add more movement and curl to your style. This is another tip that’s great in conjunction with your favorite hold product.

Aveda Products in Combination

Aveda Hair Products Collage

When I first started my trial and error journey with Aveda products, I admit to playing the guessing game. Luckily every product had a clear description on how to properly use it.

After a year of playing around with the wide variety of products, I found the perfect “go to” combination. Prepping the hair with some Brilliant Damage Control never hurts; everyone can use a little UV and thermal heat protection. I like to follow with a touch of Phomollient. I find this product helps limp hair hold a springy loose curl while also being beneficial to textured hair that needs to be blown straight. I like to finish with a couple pumps of Light Elements Serum. It smooths and weighs down those pesky flyaways I know everyone gets.

No matter the texture, length, or condition of someone’s hair, I find this combination of products always works for me. It’s definitely not the only combination, but if you ever find yourself stuck in a rut of not knowing which combination of products to use, grab these three and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

But if I had to choose just one product to take with me to a “stranded on an island” situation, I’d take Dry Remedy Oil. Everyone could use a little dry remedy oil, especially if you have chemically treated hair.

It makes your hair feel like it just took a big sip of refreshing water. A great thing about it is that it’s low maintenance. It doesn’t require any sort of styling or heat to work. You apply it as needed throughout the day to damp, dry, or even style hair. It also works when the wind trashes your hair. Sprinkle a few drops into the palm of your hands and gently glaze over that wind-induced frizz.

For those of you who don’t have chemically treated hair, you also can make use of this product. Textured hair, coarse hair, graying hair—throw this tiny travel-sized vial into your bag and run some through your hair when it needs some freshening. Did I mention that it smells pretty darn good too?

After applying, don’t be too hasty to wipe your hands clean. I personally like to let those natural oils hydrate my hands as well.

Aloe Vera Cooling Gel

Aloe Vera Leaf

Herbal medicines are natural, plant-derived treatments used for both internal and external health issues. One of the most common of these medicines is a succulent plant called aloe vera. Because it is so versatile, aloe vera is used by the cosmetic, medicine, and even food industries.

Aloe vera has many healing properties—soothing, cooling, and moisturizing. That’s why aloe vera is frequently topically applied to wounded areas including a sunburn, a sore, or a cut. Also, due to its moisturizing benefits, aloe vera is a common ingredient in cosmetics. Its moisturizing emollient effects aid in many products including soap, shampoo, and moisturizers.

With the sun becoming more present every day, sunburn is a high health risk for many people. Here is a sunburn repairing recipe that will cool any irritation on the skin as well as aid in healing:

  • 120 milliliters aloe vera gel (either store bought or from plant)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops of pure lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of pure peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a clean bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a sealable container and store it in the fridge. The gel mixture may oxidize quickly, so use as soon as possible.

Vitamin E is an effective moisturizer and can neutralize free radical damage. Lavender is calming and antibacterial. Peppermint is cooling and antibacterial.

The Benefits of Rice Water

Bowl of Rice and Rice Water

Rice water is rich in minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. What’s more, this beauty secret has been utilized by flawless-skinned Japanese Geishas for centuries. Rice is rich in a complex of B vitamins called “inositol” which helps promote cell growth, slows down the aging process, and stimulates blood flow.

Rice water can tighten pores, bringing an abundance of radiance to the face and body. Furthermore, rice water is moisturizing and contains antioxidant and UV-absorbing properties. It also has the ability to bind to naturally occurring copper in the skin, thereby preventing the formation of melanin (hyper-pigmentation) and age spots. Moreover, the soothing nature of rice water makes it an effective remedy for rashes and other irritating or painful skin conditions.

In a dermatological study at Brussels University, patients with atopic dermatitis—chronic inflammation of the skin—saw a 20% improvement after taking 15-minute baths filled with rice water twice a day.

Not only is rice water great for the skin, but it is also great for your hair. Rinsing or washing your hair with rice water improves manageability and protects it from future damage. In addition, the amino acids in the rice water strengthens the hair roots, adds volume and sheen, and makes hair silky smooth.

Now that you know about the benefits of rice water, your next question is probably: “How do I make it?” It’s super easy to make:

  1. Boil some rice, preferably organic rice boiled in distilled water.
  2. Pour the excess water in a lidded glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Once cooled, the rice water will be a potent ingredient for crystal clear skin and super-shiny hair.

Who knew that something we usually pour down the drain could be so beneficial?

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!