Do-It-Yourself

Cucumber Toner

Grated Cucumber

This super easy cucumber toner naturally smooths and softens the skin. Cucumber has many beauty benefits such as fading dark circles, reducing eye puffiness, treating sunburn, tightening open pores, and much more! Let’s hop right into this recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ cucumber peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 2 tablespoons distilled water

Method

Add ingredients to a blender. Once mixture is well blended, filter liquid through a strainer to remove any cucumber chunks. Put in a glass bottle with lid and store in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.

Magnificent Moroccan Argan Oil

Making Argan Oil in Marrakech, Morocco

In the last few years, it seems like the hottest ingredient in the beauty industry is Moroccan argan oil, and let me just say I’m a believer!

I use argan oil on my hair every single day. I love the smell of the products, I love the shine and moisture it gives my constantly dried-out hair, and I love that it’s everywhere!

When it comes to hair, argan oil is a great product to calm frizzy ends, add moisture to dry hair, and add a little shine. You can apply to your hair while it is still damp for an all over treatment or apply just to your dry ends after your hair is dry.

If you’re dealing with dry scalp, apply some argan oil to a cotton ball, and dab your scalp with the oil; if the packaging is convenient, apply the oil directly to the scalp from the bottle. If you do this before bed, you’ll give the oil plenty of time to moisturize your scalp before you wash your hair in the morning. Or if you’re like me—I can never seem to get rid of a dry scalp—wash your hair in the morning and apply oil to the scalp before using your regular hair products, allowing the nutrients to seep in all day long.

Now I’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of argan oil in the hair care industry, but being a believer and constant user of pure essential oils, I was interested in its effects on the skin. It might seem scary to apply a pure oil to your face, especially if you have finicky skin, but cultures have been doing just that for centuries and it’s left their skin smooth, clear, and visibly more radiant.

Products that work for the face almost always can be applied to the entire body’s skin, and argan oil is no different. You can use argan oil as a full body moisturizer, applying just as you would a body lotion or cream. Apply the oil right after you get out of your shower for best moisturizing results.

Argan oil is great to use on your hands as well, especially on your cuticles and nails if they are prone to cracking and peeling.

Basically, if your body is lacking moisture anywhere, argan oil will be your best friend. It sure is mine!

Pineapple: Beauty Fruit

Pineapple

Not only is pineapple tasty, but it’s also great for hair, skin, and nails!

Pineapples are full of important antioxidants, which work to prevent cell damage within the body by fighting against free radicals. When you are getting enough antioxidants in your diet, you are working toward preventing several chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, various cancers, atherosclerosis, and arthritis.

Additionally, this fruit helps to keep the skin flexible and firm because it increases collagen synthesis. It contains vitamin C and amino acids and these are all skin-friendly nutrients.

You can apply fresh pineapple directly to your face to reap the benefits.

Furthermore, this fruit contains high amounts of anti-inflammatory substances and vitamin C, both of which fight the causes of acne. The vitamin C helps to improve your body’s ability to heal while the anti-inflammatory substances help to prevent new breakouts and a worsening of current ones.

You can also use the pineapples wedges to naturally exfoliate the skin so that your complexion and tone always look their best.

Pineapple water assists with hydrating the skin.

Pineapple is great for your nails because it moisturizes and assists with cell renewal.

Finally, pineapple is great for your hair because it hydrates dull hair as well as prevents hair loss. The vitamin C content in this fruit helps to fight against hair loss. Simply eat some pineapple each day to strengthen your hair follicles from the inside out.

So eat pineapple and set some to the side and incorporate it into your beauty regime.

Five Benefits of Rosewater

Roses and Rosewater

Rosewater is an amazing ingredient to include in your beauty routine. It helps soften your skin and gives it a healthy glow. Rosewater can benefit your skin in many ways and it is very inexpensive. I’m going to share with you five beauty uses and benefits of rosewater. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get healthy, beautiful skin.

  1. Reduce Eye Puffiness

    Apply rosewater on a cotton pad and gently place it on your eyes. It will help sooth the tender skin around your eyes, preventing or reduce under eye puffiness.

  2. Soften Dry Skin

    Ladies with dry skin can experience amazing benefits with rosewater. When rosewater is applied to the skin, you’ll notice the softening effect immediately.

  3. Makeup Remover

    Apply rosewater with a cotton pad and gently massage your face. For a more effective makeup remover, you can dampen a cotton pad with rosewater along with bit of coconut oil. It efficiently removes makeup and is gentle on the skin. Never rub harshly or stretch the skin while removing makeup.

  4. Natural Setting Spray

    Rosewater can be misted over makeup as a setting product, providing a healthy glow and beautiful dewy finish.

  5. Skin Toner

    The regular use of rosewater as a toner can help prevent wrinkles by slowing down the aging process, tightening those pesky pores, and adding a natural glow to the skin.

Fun Home Mask Recipes

Estheticians have used food for facial masks for many years now, but, these days, the ingredients have been a little more out of the norm. Usual ingredients are honey and avocado. But what about wine and acai berries? I did a little research and found two new and unusual at-home masks anyone can try out.

Red Wine in Glass

Resveratrol, a strong antioxidant found mainly in red wine but also in smaller amounts in white wine, may help to repair the damage caused by sun exposure that can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin, according to a growing body of scientific research. Kaolin clay draws out impurities, while the grapeseed oil moisturizes and hydrates, and the oat flour gently exfoliates.

Wrinkle Soothing Wine Mask

  • ¼ cup wine
  • ¼ cup kaolin clay1
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic oat flour1

Combine all the ingredients. Apply to the face, neck, and décolletage. Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.

  1. Available in health food stores.

Acai Berries

Berries are rich sources of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that, besides being used as wrinkle fighters, have other benefits. They’re a strong astringent, so they tighten the skin and minimize pores. Fatty acids in high doses, like the ones found in acai berries, seem to fight hyperpigmentation. The sugar and the olive oil form a gentle scrub which also helps in removing dirt trapped in pores.

Pore Tightening Acai Berry Mask

  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons acai powder (or ¼ cup smashed acai berries)1
  • 10 fresh, whole blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mix
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.

With a potato masher, mash the sugar and acai powder (or slush) with the berries. Slowly add the olive oil and combine coarsely with a whisk. Massage into the face. Leave on for about five minutes, then rinse with warm water.

  1. Available in health food stores.

Six Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

  1. Makeup Remover

    You have to get the raccoon eyes off somehow, but many makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that are very drying to your skin. It is recommended that you squeeze a bit of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and swipe away your makeup for a simple and effective alternative.

  2. Shaving Cream

    Pure aloe can be the perfect shaving cream: It’s antibacterial, which is great for nicks; it’s slippery, allowing for a nice close shave; and it moisturizes, too. You can use it on its own, or combine with other nourishing ingredients for a more luxe product.

  3. Soothing Ice Cubes

    Grab an ice cube tray, fill with aloe gel, and freeze. Pop them out and store in a freezer safe container. These are great after too much sun exposure, run-ins with your stove, bug bites, poison ivy, and even psoriasis.

  4. Exfoliator

    It’s not the most pleasant part of grooming, but exfoliation is important if you want to reveal glowing, fresh skin. Aloe is a great base for a homemade scrub because it helps soften your skin and supply oxygen to your cells, strengthening the tissue to create vibrant skin.

  5. Eyebrow Gel

    We love a strong brow and tidiness is key. Dip a clean mascara wand in some aloe vera gel and sweep over stray brows for serious stay-put power without getting hard or sticky.

  6. Hand Sanitizer

    Sick of your hand sanitizer drying out your hands? Mix ½ cup aloe vera gel, ¼ cup alcohol, and 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour into a spritz bottle. The alcohol fights germs while the aloe soothes your skin.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is proving to be a spice that not only adds flavor to various dishes but can also cure many infections and diseases. Several research studies are being conducted in various parts of the world about the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes, hair loss, cholesterol, memory, arthritis, skin, and more.

A topical application of cinnamon with honey has been used get rid pimples, ringworms, eczema, and other skin infections. This is a wonderful spice!

  • Anti Aging

    Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin. This means that using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin.

    Use a mixture of three drops essential oil of cinnamon and two tablespoon olive oil or petroleum jelly. Apply this mixture to fine lines on the skin, taking care to avoid the eyes. The skin soon plumps out and fine lines become less visible. This can even be done to plump up lips and can be used as an alternative to lip gloss.

    Moreover, cinnamon used on the skin seems to increase collagen levels for up to six hours after it is applied. Breakdown of collagen causes the skin to lose elasticity and increases signs of aging. Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component. Topical cinnamon creams could be used to activate growth factors IGF-1 and improve collagen expression.

  • Acne Treatment

    Cinnamon is said to help with treatment of acne and pimples. Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon powder and three tablespoons of honey and apply on pimples. Leave this paste overnight—or for twenty minutes—before washing with warm water. Acne scars can dry out and skin can get rejuvenated. This paste can also de-clog pores and bring oxygen and blood to the surface. However, because of the possibilities of skin irritation, this should not be used more than once a week. Additionally, cinnamon has antiseptic properties. If you have an open cut or wound, just dust a pinch of cinnamon over it. Bacteria will be killed and the wound heals faster.

The next time you are searching for a quick masque with multiple benefits, make sure you feature cinnamon.

Baking Soda Beauty

Baking Soda

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of baking soda, Grandma’s cookies? Not anymore. Baking soda has become a major player in the beauty realm. It’s inexpensive, easy to find, and you probably already have it in your kitchen. Baking soda has many beauty uses; below are a few of them.

Clarifying Shampoo

If you use heavy hair products especially dry shampoo, your scalp most likely needs a deep exfoliating treatment every once and a while. Baking soda is a natural clarifier to cut right through all of that product buildup. Just add a small amount into your shampoo to give your hair and scalp a refreshing reboot.

Cuticle Care

Us girls (and guys) love our gel manicures, but sometimes they make our cuticles look a little worse for the wear, a small bit of baking soda mixed with warm water can whip them into place. Gently scrubbing your fingertips with this combo will exfoliate all of those dead, dry skin cells and leave you with healthier nail beds.

Exfoliant

For oily and acne-prone skin types, baking soda works as a great all-natural exfoliant. Just mix a little with some water in your palm, making a paste. Then gently scrub in circular motions to shed dead skin cells and reveal that glowing skin underneath.

Detox Bath

Baking soda also could be used in a detox bath to get deep into those pores. Mix it with equal parts sea salt and add your favorite essential oil for a spa indulgence.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.