Products

The Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Since I started school, my friends have been asking for my recommendations on skin products. In particular, I have one friend with acne prone skin that suffers frequent breakouts. She has always struggled for clearer skin.

I started researching key ingredients more than product lines, hoping to find an active ingredient present in many products that would help her. I found tea tree oil, which has became one of my best friends because of all its benefits on the skin and for hair. Instead of using harsh topical ointments, like benzoyl peroxide, I suggested she tries an organic remedy. I recently heard back from her that tea tree oil has helped more than any other acne product she’s ever used!

Not only does tea tree oil help with acne, but it’s also great for use on eczema, psoriasis, ingrown hairs, itchy/flaky scalp, and fungal infections.

It kills bacteria in the skin, making it a natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide. Tea tree oil is much cheaper than speciality products, usually only costing between $3 and $10, and there are plenty of great products which contain tea tree oil as their main active ingredient. Here are a few I like:

  • Pure Tea Tree Oil
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil line
  • Dr. Bronner Tea Tree Liquid Soap
  • Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner by OGx
  • Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment from Vitamin Shoppe
  • Tea Tree Water from Lush

Tea tree oil may not be for everyone. It can have major side effects and is extremely harsh on the skin if used incorrectly. If you have sensitive skin, try diluting your tea tree product with water.

I have had outstanding results since I started using tea tree oil products, especially treating my dandruff and dry scalp, as well as on my constantly dried-out cuticles. I encourage any one suffering from dry skin, dry hair, dry scalp, acne prone skin, and even any rash or irritations to add a little tea tree oil to their lives.

Benefits of a Monthly Facial

Woman Receiving Facial

Unless it’s for a special event, most people don’t understand the benefits that a good professional facial can offer. They wait until they see a skin problem—weird breakouts, dry itchy skin, dark spots—before coming in for a facial. But these frustrating problems can often be prevented by receiving proper monthly facials combined with counseling on correct home care products.

Unless you have a specific skin concern you are trying to work on, such as acne, or hyper-pigmentation, then once a month is an ideal schedule for a facial. Your stratum corneum—the outermost layer of visible skin—completely renews itself about every 28 days. During this time, your skin cells are being replicated from the treated cells to replace the old cells. If you give your skin a head start with a great facial, your skin cells will replicate the now healthier cells. This results in a better complexion. Also, most skin products can take up to six to eight weeks to start to treat active skin cells. But by speeding up the renewal process with a facial, you can make these products work faster and more effectively.

Here are my top ten reasons why you should consider receiving monthly facials:

  1. Facials allow you to relax. They feel live heaven, and are healing to the soul. The power of touch, massage, proper technique, and professional products can heal.
  2. Facials increase circulation of the blood under the skin. That allows the skin to facilitate the renewal of skin cells.
  3. By manipulating the lymphatic system that lies just under the skin, facials can decrease waste underneath the skin that can cause puffiness and fluid accumulation. Facials also aid in detoxification.
  4. A good facial and facial massage can help smooth fine lines and promote collagen production—the builing block of the skin—to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and sagging.
  5. A facial cleanses the pores on a much deeper level than home care. Even non-acneic skin can use a good deep cleanse. Extractions–cleaning out the pores–can help maintain clear skin and prevent acne formation and the appearance of larger pores. When left unchecked, pores can start to stretch and widen with the accumulation of oil and debris.
  6. Facials provide deeper exfoliation than you can achieve at home. Exfoliation smooths the skin, allows for deeper penetration of moisturizers or serums, unclogs pores, improves the skins ability to retain hydration, and evens skin tone.
  7. Receive counseling from a professionally trained esthetician on the best products for your skin that you should be using at home. This alone is worth the investment, as the skincare industry can be a difficult and expensive area to navigate without assistance.
  8. Facials can help even skin tone and lighten dark spots. Dark spots visibly age our appearance.
  9. Facials slow the aging process. They allow your skin to feel healthier, smoother, and look more radiant. Facials reduce fine lines, age spots, and relieve dehydrated skin. With these benefits, facials make us feel better about our skin. With the use of exfoliation, massage, and the penetration of nutrients and antioxidants, facials also fight to reverse aging. We will all age, but we can do it more slowly with glowing, firm, and hydrated skin.
  10. Although they are not a miracle in an hour, facials do give you a fresh start to a healthier and balanced complexion. Regular facials help you maintain optimal skin health.

The Beauty of a Rose

Rose IllustrationFew people can resist a rose. Fragrant, soft, blooming full–it demands that we smell it, touch it, and stop to admire its beauty. It is an iconic flower and also has a myriad of different uses in skincare. The Greeks and Romans would put rose petals in their baths to perfume them. In distilled forms, roses have been included in both in cosmetics and medicines for centuries.

Rose essential oil is important for more than its attractive scent. Rose helps rejuvenate and replenish skin. It can make your skin as soft and velvety as the petals. It also has anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral properties. Rose water is known for its health and beauty benefits. You can pour rose water into a bath, or use it as a toner, or use in cosmetic formulations of lotions and creams. It can help treat acne and acne-prone skin. It also has cleansing properties. Rose oils help reduce swollen spots or redness on your skin. It has calming properties perfect to sooth rosacea and eczema.

When you’re next inhaling the fragrance of roses, or stopping to admire their beauty, give a little thought to the other properties of this amazing flower. Consider adding rose oil to your beauty regime.

Oil Cleansing

Oils in BottlesMany of us have been conditioned to be afraid of using or having oil on our skin. A visit to a store’s skin care section bombards you with oil-free products to treat acneic skin types. Many of these products strip skin of their natural oils. This can create problems for the acid mantle, which in turn, causes our skin to produce more oil to balance the natural lipid layer of the skin.

Contrary to popular belief, oil dissolves oil. Oil cleansing can be greatly beneficial to acneic skin types and can be moisturizing for drier skin types. For oily skin, try cleansing with a three parts mixture of castor oil to seven parts of sunflower seed oil. For dryer skin types, vary the proportions two parts to eight.

Castor oil is quite drying, so you want to make sure you mix it with a nurturing oil for the skin. Sunflower oil is best, but it can be replaced with any type of vegetable oil.

Massage the mixture into your skin for a few minutes, focusing on the more congested areas of your face, and gently remove with a hot, wet washcloth. Use hot running water to clean the washcloth, and again gently remove any additional residue on the skin. When massaging the face, it is best to work in upward motions.

Some other good oils to try are flaxseed oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, to name a few. Each oil has its own benefits and can be mixed in combinations for added benefits.

Coconut Sugar Body Scrubs

Body Scrub Jar Contents Closeup

These are homemade sugar scrubs, straight from nature’s pantry. These scrubs should last you at least two months if not longer. All you need, beyond coconut oil and sugar, are some cute jars and a label. Add the ingredients found in one of the following variations to create a variety of scent combinations, or invent your own!

Coconut Sugar Scrub

Ingredients

½ cup white or brown sugar

¼ cup coconut oil

Method

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight jar.

Use one tablespoon of the mixture as needed in the shower. Scrub skin with the mixture and rinse will. This awesome scrub will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.


Brown Sugar Variations

Spicy Cinnamon Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Vanilla Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract


White Sugar Variations

Lemon Hand Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

15-20 drops (or more) of lemon or bergomot essential oil

This is great after washing dishes.

Vanilla Lavender Relaxing Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract

15 drops lavender essential oil

Relaxing Rose Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon rose essential oil

What’s Your Hue?

Exotic Lip Art by Girl Grey Beauty

Image courtesy of Girl Grey Beauty.

A lot of people have been trending new, upcoming, and out of the ordinary colors for lipsticks this past year. Colors from purple to blue, and now even green and yellow. Some of these colors have been around for years, but have not reached the surface of the high fashion pool until now.

MAC is a brand that is known for being bold and creative with their colors and matte looks. Having such a wide range of unique and intense hues has made them one of the most popular cosmetic line for lipsticks. This not to say that they were not already famous for their bold eyeshadow colors, blushes, and other face makeup. From their “Bronze Shimmer” to the “Up the Amp,” they have over 200 different hues including every color on the rainbow.

I am not much of a exotic lip color gal myself, however I have been dying to test drive a few “out of my comfort zone” lip shades. One of my favorite lip colors for myself would be a maroon or a deep reddish-purple color. But I want to discover what it feels like to explore purple lips. Strangely enough, these bold colors seem to not only bring out people’s personalities through style, but they also increase their confidence. I believe women (and men) feel so many different emotions just by adding some lip color to their look. It can make you feel sexy, subtle, happy, excited, bold, and so on. I know I feel like a million bucks when I rock a great red or maroon.

So challenge yourself to find a color that not only suits you, but brings out your inner, beautiful self.

Choose the Correct Sunscreen Product

Drawing of Sunscreen Bottle

Although many only use sunscreen during summer months, sunscreen is an essential skincare product we should use every day of the year. Of course the sun is brighter during the summer, so it is especially important then, but sunscreen protects against skin damage from UV radiation all year round.

It is advisable to apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before going outside to allow the drying time on all exposed body areas. Re-apply every two hours when exposed to the sun in general, even on cloudy days as 80 per cent of UV rays can penetrate the clouds. When out on a beach, it is advisable to re-apply sunscreen every 15-20 minutes. Wash your face or wipe off the area with a wet tissue before re-applying.

But different skin types should use different types of sunscreen. Here’s how to choose the right sunscreen for you according to your skin type.

  • If you have normal skin:

    Normal skin types are the least problematic. The tissue does not reveal any traces of oil and looks clean, smooth and has a good circulation and a healthy complexion. Opt for a cream-based sunblock. In case of oiliness, dab with a tissue to remove the excess oil.

  • If you have dry skin:

    Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look because of its inability to retain moisture. The skin usually feels tight and uncomfortable after washing unless a moisturizer or cream is applied. Lotion or moisturizing SPF is the best choice for dry skin. When opting for the right sunblock, one has to keep in mind that a certain thickness is required in the base to protect the skin from sun damage. With this in mind, always opt for the ones that are thick and not light (matte finish, for example). The higher the range of the SPF, the more oily the formulation.

  • If you have oily skin:

    Oily skin is one of the most problematic skin types. The face has spots of facial oil, normally located in the t-zone. The face usually looks greasy, thick, coarse, and shiny and also has large enlarged pores and tends to breakout in acne. For oily skin, gel or aqua-based SPF formulations work the best. These have a drying effect and do not make the skin look greasy.

Fading Dark Spots on Skin

Product - Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumI’ve always been a picker. I can’t leave my skin alone and try to pick things that don’t even exist.

I’ve been using all these different products over the years, pro-active brightening spot treatment, Derma’e and other concoctions.

I walked into my favorite beauty supply and a friend of mine handed me a sample of Murad’s “Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.” I saw my dark spots and pick marks start to fade in just two days. I couldn’t believe all the good it did for me in such a short amount of time. Murad’s product has really been a discovery for me.

It has two active ingredients: Hydroquinone, which is a progressive and intense bleacher, and Glycolic Acid. You have to use Hydroquinone sparingly because its effect can wear off; three days using it and two days off. Glycolic Acid is an AHA, which gently exfoliates the skin and sloughs away old skin cells.

This product doesn’t only get rid of old skin but helps renew skin as well. Though I love Murad products, I realize that what helps foster good skin and not having any dark spots is to also use vitamin C and exfoliate at least twice a week to help promote cell turnover and get rid of bacteria buildup.

For anyone out there who hasn’t found their answer to dark spots, I suggest using this Murad product. It worked for me.

Aloe Vera — a Powerhouse for the Skin

Aloe VeraEveryone is probably very familiar with Aloe Vera as a treatment for burns. However, Aloe Vera has a host of other skin and body healing properties. The Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.”

There are many studies that back up the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in treating a variety of skin conditions, from flaky or dry skin, cosmetic ailments, and scalp problems.

Aloe treats sunburns through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It helps the skin to heal quickly.

Aloe acts as a moisturizer without giving it a greasy feel, so it is perfect for anyone with oily skin. Aloe is also great for treating acne. The gel contains two hormones Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones contain wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema.

Aloe Vera is also widely used in anti-aging products. Aloe leaves many antioxidants including beta carotene, and vitamins C and E, that help improve the skin’s natural firmness and helps keep the skin hydrated. Aloe also lessons the visibility of stretch marks.

Besides being an effective skin treatment, Aloe is nutrient rich for good health. The solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, antraquinones, or phoenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids, and salicylate acid. It also helps to aid in digestion when taken internally.

Aloe Vera is one amazing, medicinal plant that anyone who cares about health and skin wellness should know about.

Simple Yet Versatile Hair Brush

Aveda Paddle-type Hair Brush

Brushing your hair can be a pain especially if your hair tangles easily. One brush I feel that is essential for any hair type is a paddle brush.

Aveda makes a great wooden paddle brush. I like this brush because it’s so versatile. I use it to detangle and while blow drying clients. It’s great for all hair types including curly, coarse, fine, short, and long.

Using the paddle brush as a styling brush is simple and easy. You simple blow dry the hair following the curve of the head. Once the hair is pre-dried, you can take sections and use the padding on the brush to smooth out the hair, perfect for a sleek look.

Also the brush is very gentle. My hair never snags on the brush and it easily detangles the most unruly hair. I would definitely recommend this brush to anyone who just wants an all around good brush for everyday styling and blow drying.

Do-It-Yourself Bath Bombs

Homemade Bath Bombs

Always on the go, we are so time sensitive that we never stop and smell the roses. But before we can take care of others, we must take care of ourselves.

I’ve found that a great way to relax is to take a luxuriating bath. Aromatic therapy can take you on a pleasant ride to a land of peace and tranquility. Many companies make bath salts, bombs, and oils; but you can customize your experience by creating you own.

Here’s how to create your own bath bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 & ¾ cup baking soda
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • food coloring
  • essential oils–peppermint or lavender for a stronger scent, lemon or grapefruit for a weaker scent.

Equipment

  • spritzer bottles
  • glass bowl
  • baking molds

Method

Sift baking soda, citric acid, and cornstarch to remove chunks.

To make different tints, fill small spritzer bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food coloring to each.

Pour 1 cup of sifted powdered mixture into a glass bowl. Lightly spritz, stirring after each spritz, until powder is the desired color. Add water slowly so mixture does not fizz. If mixing two tints, alternate colors as you spritz. Check the consistency of the powder with your fingers; when it can be tightly packed or shaped, stop spritzing. This may take a little while.

Add 5 drops essential oil for stronger scents or 6 drops for weaker ones. Mix well. Firmly pack mixture into small baking molds. I use ¼ cup for each fizzy, which is good for one bath. Allow mixture to set for two hours, then pop out of the mold carefully. Repeat, with different tints if desired, for remaining powder.

After you’ve made your batch, take one and enjoy it in a bath!

Teeth Whitening

Bright Teeth Illustraiton by Kim Carney of MSNBC

Since I was a child, I’ve watched TV shows depicting beautiful people with white, perfect teeth. I grew up thinking that extremely white teeth were the standard for good teeth. Throughout the U.S., there are many products that sell kits to whiten teeth. In Hollywood, most celebrities don’t just have white teeth. They almost glow in the dark like cartoons.

Myself, I think this is a bit extreme. It’s normal not to have glowing teeth. It’s okay if they are slightly colored. Who can afford the time and money to get teeth professionally whitened once a month?

Are those teeth whitening kits safe? I’ve used several whitening treatments in my coffee addict days. They definitely made my teeth whiter, but they had adverse affects. I used the Crest white strips, whitening toothpaste, and whitening mouth wash. I used the white strips once daily and the mouth wash twice a day morning and night after brushing and flossing. One morning, I went to do my daily routine of brushing my teeth and I discovered a nickel-sized cyst that had grown on my gums overnight. I started freaking out; I’d never seen anything like it before. My bunkmate at the time, who was using the same products and process that I was, also had one near her molars on her gums. We both decided to stop the whitening treatments to see if that was what was causing it. Two weeks later, the cysts disappeared and never came back.

Since then, I’ve promised myself I’ll never use another artificial whitening product ever again. I’ve done a lot of research on artificial tooth care products and their effects, and it’s devastating. They can cause labored breathing, bloody urine, infertility, and incontinence. Wow, no thank you. I’ll stick to my natural whitening remedies.

There are many amazing natural teeth whitening remedies on the internet, but they can be overwhelming. I’ve been using a recipe for a tooth whitening toothpaste that I got from an ex-boyfriend. It’s very simple, cheap, and can last a very long time. Here it is:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 8 drops of peppermint oil

Put the ingredients into a big glass bowl and mix well. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate, scooping out about a week’s worth at time.

That’s it. It’s very simple and very effective. I have seen a great improvement in the color of my teeth from light yellowish to white. It takes about a month to really see any results but you’re avoiding crazy cysts and possible side effects. I will never go back. I love my new natural whitening toothpaste and you will too. So give it a try. It won’t hurt and I really think you’ll love it.

Honey for the Hair

Honey

Honey is an everyday product in many household kitchens including my own. It is used in various recipes as essential ingredient. But a lot of people have taken notice to the health/beauty benefits the product offers. Honey prevents certain types of cancers and heart disease, can reduce ulcers, and also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can even help regulate the body’s metabolism, reduce nausea, and even improve eyesight.

Honey contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin B6, calcium, iron, thiamin, particular amino acids, and so on. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, honey is extremely valuable for skin treatments. Besides being super-moisturizing for the skin, it also can be used as a hair conditioner or lightener. Honey is a natural lightener for skin and hair due to small traces of hydrogen peroxide it releases.

I started using honey as part of my beauty regimen about three years ago. A friend told me how she had started using it as a weekly treatment in her hair. She informed me how much softer and shinier it had made her hair! At the time, I had never given much thought about honey. It had never crossed my mind to use it as a beauty product!

If you would like to see the difference in your own hair, here is a simple hair treatment recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Mix the honey and oil thoroughly together. Optionally, add the lemon juice to the mixture.

Use your hands to evenly disperse the mixture throughout your hair. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, covering your hair. Rinse off.

Enjoy the wonderful smell and feel of your new, replenished hair!

Seven Best Plants for Skin Care

Here is my list of the seven best plants for skin care, most of which we use during facials and waxing at the Cinta Aveda Institute.

Aveda Plant Ingredients

  1. Aloe Vera is the top medicinal plant on my list. It is common in lotions. Aloe soothes and hyrdrates. The gel of an aloe plant contains nutrients vitamins A, C, and E; folic acid; zinc; and potassium.
  2. Lavender works to soothe your skin. It also has antiseptic properties that make it great for cleansing.
  3. Roses do more than smell good, they also boost the health of your skin. Rose is good for hydrating skin and it also helps soothe overworked skin. Rose is a great toner and can ease redness and irritation from breakouts.
  4. Calendula can relieve dryness and make your skin look and feel more hydrated. It also boosts blood flow and is used to treat burns.
  5. Tea tree oil is an ideal choice for treating acne. You can also use it as an alternate to deodorant. At the Cinta Aveda Institute, we use it after we wax a body part, to prevent breakouts and ingrown hairs.
  6. Witch hazel is great for cleansing your face. It helps clear away dirt, bacteria, and debris that can lead to breakouts. It’s also great for relieving skin irritation and fighting inflammation.
  7. Neem oil can help if you suffer from chronic skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, or recurrent breakouts. Neem oil has a lot of antioxidants, which means it supports healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Commercial Deodorants Have Chemicals

Homemade Deodorant

How is your Deodorant working for you? Do you use a commercial deodorant product advertised on television?

How would you feel if I told you that most of those deodorants contain cancer-causing ingredients? Well, it’s true, they do. Many contain preservatives called parabens that cause hormone disruption—specifically, they mimic estrogen—and can cause DNA damage that could lead to breast cancer. You can recognize parabens in the ingredient list: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

And do you think it’s good for your armpits not to sweat? No it’s not good. If you’re using an antiperspirant, it blocks your sebaceous glands from producing the sweat that should to help cool the body. You may think you will sweat more if you don’t use an antiperspirant; at first you will, but once your body becomes regulated and back to its natural state, you will not sweat as much and the odor will reduce.

When you decide to do the switch, you will notice changes. Aluminum is the main antiperspirant ingredient in almost all deodorants. Aluminum-based compounds are used to plug up sweat glands. Aluminum may be harmful when placed on to the skin or the breast; it also mimics estrogen-like cells that cause a hormonal effect which may contribute to breast cancer.

Now, remember, what you eat comes out through your pores. So even if you’re using a natural deodorant, if you eat greasy fast food, you’ll most likely still have an odor. Your body cleanses by expelling the toxins through your pores as well as your digestive tract. So eat healthier and you won’t have as much odor. A natural deodorant can mask the occasional scent.

Chlorophyll is also a natural plant-derived ingredient. Chlorophyll can be found in plants and gives them their green color, and it may help protect the body from cancer from the inside out. When ingested, it helps oxygenate the blood and cancer cells don’t thrive in oxygen. So eating a lot of leafy greens will help and act as an internal deodorant.

So which natural deodorant should you use? That all depends upon you. What scents do you like? Are you sensitive to certain oils or plants? If you’re still not sure, make a list of your likes of herbs and oils that help as a natural deodorant. You can even make your own; it’s very simple and cheap and you can have a lot left to make more in the future.

Here is a simple recipe that I use:

  • 1 cup coconut oil (antibacterial)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Just put it all in a cup and mix it all together and you will have a natural, healthy, safe, deodorant!

You can put it in a jar and use a scoop to get it out and rub onto your under arms.

Remember that it will take about 12 days to acclimate your body to the use of natural deodorant. So, be patient, and know that you will be reducing your risk of breast cancer by switching over to natural deodorant.

Golden Milk

Turmeric - Curcuma longa Roots

Turmeric is a spice that has been used in India for a long time. It is what gives curry and mustard their yellow color. Not only is it used for food, but also as a medicinal herb. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which is an antioxidant. Curcumin has anti inflammatory effects and fights free radicals in the body. It also increases the antioxidants in the body. Curcumin is more easily absorbed into the body with the aid of piperine in black pepper. There have been studies showing that turmeric can prevent or delay arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

There are many ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet—of course, the easiest way is to sprinkle some on your food. My favorite way to take turmeric is by making Golden Milk. It is a drink made with any warm milk that you like, turmeric paste, black pepper, and an oil of your choosing. This is a great drink to have before bed due to its relaxing and immune boosting properties.

Turmeric Paste

  • ½ cup turmeric powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook turmeric powder and water together over low heat, constantly stirring until a thick paste has formed. More water may be needed. Add black pepper, stir to incorporate. Allow to cool, then store in a glass jar.

Remember that turmeric stains, so avoid plastic containers.

Paste is best for 2-3 weeks.

Golden Milk

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric paste
  • 1 cup almond milk, soy, coconut, or hemp milk, or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon Udo’s or coconut oil
  • Honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup

Cook all the ingredients, except the honey or syrup, together in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the ingredients are mixed well, do not boil. Add honey or syrup to taste and enjoy!

Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel

Aveda Product - Perfecting Plant PeelI love Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel, and every client I do this on absolutely loves the way their skin looks and feels immediately after. Powered by plants, Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel system performs like 30% glycol without the redness and irritation. It is a facial masque which actively smoothes with instant exfoliation and radiance. This can be performed as a standalone 30 minute service or an add on to our signature facials. Your skin will have an amazing glow immediately after the service.

I believe you get the full plant peel when used with the steamer. I like to apply the plant peel and let the client sit under steam for about seven minutes, while I do a hand/arm massage. When the seven minutes are up, I spray the activating spray over the face and massage it in so it warms up. I like to combine this with the hydrating mask mixed with a little Outer Peace Cooling Masque to cool and hydrate the skin after. When the client looks in the mirror they immediately notice smaller pores and a glowing face. I always get excited to see the look on their face when they see their skin. If you feel the client could benefit from this peel, you should always recommend and explain the amazing immediate results they will get. It is an extra $10.00 on top of the facial price, but I promise it is worth it.

The Perfect Blowout

Blonde Female ModelDuring my education at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I have been assisting at the Zindagi Salon on Grant Street. Absorbing as much as I could in a real-life professional salon, I was able to perfect my skills in shampoo and style. It matters what tools you are using and, as a stylist, it is important to invest in the right tools. Although it may be pricey to have the perfect arsenal while in school, saving up and acquiring sturdy tools will help you save in the long-run, as cheaper tools, non-specific for hairstylists, will break or deteriorate faster. More expensive tools will produce better results and last you longer. The saying is true in this case: You get what you pay for. Be savvy and shop around; you can find discounts if you look hard enough.

Personally, I enjoy using the ceramic round brush, specific for volume and shine. My guests so far have all enjoyed having voluminous “Texas Hair”. This calls for the Aveda Pure Abundance line, which comes as both shampoo and conditioner to create grit and texture, allowing the hair to be more full. I like to be generous with the volumizing tonic, it’s my go-to for every style. It’s a sweet-scented spray, heat-activated, and helps the root elevate creating a nice 60’s beehive look reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. I like to keep the crown last, and when working on the section, spritz the tonic at the root of the hair again after blow drying the rest of the head. Then I divide the crown into sections small enough and narrow enough to fit my brush, then blow dry upwards making sure the root gets blasted with heat. I make sure to have a nozzle on; that concentrates the heat to flow directly onto where I’m concentrating to create volume. Hair has a memory, when you wet the hair and dry it into a certain shape, this shape will stay until you wet the hair again, so blow drying upwards will coax the hair at the crown into feeling and looking fuller. Pin these sections into curls as if you had hot rollers with small clamp clips. Pin at the root. Finish off the crown and let cool dry, then take those curls out, and spray them with some Air Control hairspray to maintain this style during the day.

There you have it! My perfect blow-out for any day of the week and any occasion.

Makeup Makeup Makeup!

Makeup Display

Having guest speakers come in to share their words of wisdom is always such a delight. A huge idol of mine, James Vincent came in to talk with us. He’s a professional makeup artist, a beauty editor, an educator, and mentor. He gave a makeup demonstration that was phenomenal. I find him inspiring and feel lucky that I got a chance to meet him. He discussed “The Makeup Show” which I knew I had to attend. I bought tickets right away.

The show was over a weekend. A couple of girls and I made an awesome trip out of it. We sat in on a couple of great seminars. One was “Bridal Makeup” by Buntricia Bastian for Pinnacle Cosmetics. She was very informative. Some information I took away from that seminar were the zones of the face:

  • Zone 1 is the hairline, and eye brow
  • Zone 2 is the zygomatic arch, eyes, nose, and cheekbone
  • Zone 3 is the lips, jawline, and chin
  • Underneath the eyes is the driest spot on a woman’s skin.
  • When working with older clients, use translucent powders.

Another great thing about the makeup show were all the products I got, and at great prices too!

If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend attending. I’m extremely grateful and happy I got to attend this show.

Women Before Banner

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

It’s almost spring and summer will be right around the corner. The one thing we always hear during the spring and summer months is “Wear Sunscreen!” Ok, we know the the risks of not wearing sunscreen but do we know the risks of wearing it? Everyone thinks that sunscreen is all upside with no downsides. Unfortunately, sunscreen comes with many risks.

Most store-bought sunscreens contain harsh cancer-causing chemicals that cause aging and damage to your skin. For instance some of the most well-known and widely-used sunscreen in the U.S. have some chemical ingredients that may be extremely harmful and could cause serious problems. What are the ingredients that may be harmful? There are many, but here is a list of the ingredients that I try to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone: This is a chemical penetration enhancer that provokes a reaction when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. When absorbed into the skin, it can provoke an eczema-like reaction that sometimes spreads beyond the exposed area and can stay on your skin well beyond your time in the sun.

  • Octinoxate: One of the most common ingredients in sunscreen, it helps other chemicals to absorb into the skin. It can disrupt hormone balance when mixed with water—perhaps by jumping into a pool while wearing sunscreen. It can also produce free radicals which can damage your skin and cell tissues.

  • Retinyl Palmitate: A derivative of vitamin A, Retinyl Palmitate is supposed to improve the sunscreens performance against UV damage but actually, when exposed to the sun, it can break down and create free radicals that damage cells and DNA, and possibly cause cancer.

  • Paraben Preservatives: Parabens are in many products and could be very harmful. They can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and are suspected to be a major factor in breast cancer.

Now that you know that there are risks, please make sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the product is safe for you and your loved ones. The Environmental Working Group does an annual study of sunscreens and they provide a list of healthy sunscreens and brands that you can research yourself. They also provide a breakdown of the ingredients of the various products and why they are safe for you.

Get out there and enjoy these glorious seasons, but use a safe and effective sunscreen so you can fully enjoy the sun without hurting yourself or your skin.