Category Archives: Beauty

natural beauty // diy face wash

I’m still on board with the whole no-shampoo thing, but it’s not without its caveats, as mentioned before. This face wash, however, has been completely no-fail–yet another testament to the power of that 99 cent miracle worker we call baking soda. 
I’m lucky to have skin that generally behaves where breakouts are concerned. However, it’s also the infuriating kind, that, when it does act up, is impossible to pinpoint. It’s extremely sensitive and prone to dryness, so it’s necessary to avoid harsh products, but certain areas (namely my T-zone) can get a little oily, and the wrong balance of treatments tends to result in flakiness. So my goal is to use gentle ingredients, but to also be able to exfoliate and lift dirt and oil.
I mixed together this little combo, and will not be going back. It’s so easy, and a short ingredient list is always a good thing.
DIY FACE WASH
– Baking soda
– Clay powder (Find it at a health or natural food store, or, like me, on iHerb)
– Essential oils of choice (I use a drop or two of tea tree and a few drops of jasmine)
– Water
To make: Combine equal parts baking soda and clay powder. Add the essential oils, and then add just enough water to form a paste (an eyedropper is a really good tool for this!). Voila–you have your face wash.
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Next up on the natural beauty calendar: tea tree oil (aka the ultimate skin remedy).

I’m still on board with the whole no-shampoo thing, but it’s not without its caveats, as mentioned before. This face wash, however, has been completely no-fail–yet another testament to the power of that 99 cent miracle worker we call baking soda

I’m lucky to have skin that generally behaves where breakouts are concerned. However, it’s also the infuriating kind, that, when it does act up, is impossible to pinpoint. It’s extremely sensitive and prone to dryness, so it’s necessary to avoid harsh products, but certain areas (namely my T-zone) can get a little oily, and the wrong balance of treatments tends to result in flakiness. So my goal is to use gentle ingredients, but to also be able to exfoliate and lift dirt and oil.

I mixed together this little combo, and will not be going back. It’s so easy, and a short ingredient list is always a good thing.

DIY FACE WASH

– Baking soda

– Clay powder (Find it at a health or natural food store, or, like me, on iHerb)

– Essential oils of choice (I use a drop or two of tea tree and a few drops of jasmine)

– Water

To make: Combine equal parts baking soda and clay powder. Add the essential oils, and then add just enough water to form a paste (an eyedropper is a really good tool for this!). Voila–you have your face wash.

—-

Next up on the natural beauty calendar: tea tree oil (aka the ultimate skin remedy).

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natural beauty // going shampoo free

When I began to hear the buzz about going shampoo-free, I knew it was something that was totally up my alley. Going completely au naturel when it comes to beauty has been a goal of mine for some time now. I am so passionate about nature and what the earth has to offer, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like my vegan, plant-based diet is just the beginning–it has inspired me to work further towards incorporating these philosophies in all aspects of my life. Plus, more opportunities to DIY? Please.

There are different recipes out there, but the typical no-poo regimen consists of a baking soda scrub (the “shampoo”) and an apple cider vinegar rinse (the “conditioner”). The baking soda cleanses and lifts grease (and stank) from roots, and the vinegar clarifies strands and adds shine.

There were some daunting aspects to the process. For one, I read many a horror story of this monthlong period of nonstop grease, before going poo-free begins to “work.” I’ve never had the kind of hair prone to greasy roots (I generally only need to shampoo 2-3 times a week), but the prospect of hot summer days and not shampooing didn’t seem like the most ideal of situations. Also, one of my friends (Sara!) had begun to give it a try, but stopped for reasons along these lines (with the addition of hot yoga). And that vinegar rinse? I had no desire, as Sara so perfectly put it, to “smell like salad dressing.”

But I wasn’t ready to give up the idea, so I decided that there had to be some kind of transitional way to go, rather than just giving shampoo up cold turkey. After some research, the most feasible course of action seemed to be cutting down the ingredient list of my current regimen drastically. I had been using a great line of shampoos and conditioners, Organix, which I chose for its simplicity, affordability, and because it smells freaking awesome. But my next step was to choose something even more basic, and I went for a little homemade concoction made of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I love the almond scent), a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, and a few drops of jasmine essential oil as my new shampoo, and went straight for that vinegar rinse in place of conditioner.

It worked!

It wasn’t without occasional pitfalls–on one particularly memorable occasion, my mom noted that my hair smelled “earthy”–but I met these with little adjustments (and sometimes, quick Google searches) to remedy whatever the situation was. 

But that obviously wasn’t the end. Last month, I decided to go for the moment of truth, and switch exclusively to baking soda. I had one very iffy week, but it was nothing that a topknot couldn’t hide. And compared to the 4-6 week-long nightmares I kept hearing about? I’ll call it a complete success.

Which brings me to now! I am now a month into the new regime, and there are no signs of turning back. I love how healthy my hair looks and feels, I love that my puffy frizz is so much less of an issue than it has been my entire life, and while I haven’t calculated it, I imagine that I’m saving a crapload of money to boot. Take a peek at my regime–and I hope that I have at least a couple of no-poo converts in the making.

Baking Soda “Shampoo”

– baking soda

– water

– essential oils: I use tea tree oil (it does wonders for an itchy scalp and is basically the ultimate skin remedy) and jasmine (smells amazing)

To make: Fill an empty bottles about 3/4 full of baking soda. Add just enough water to make a paste, and then add the essential oils. Mix well.

To use: In the shower, apply the paste to all areas of your scalp, and massage as you would normal shampoo. Don’t worry about covering all of your hair–the scalp is the focus. Rinse well.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

– Unfilitered Apple Cider Vinegar

To use: Avoiding your roots, pour or spray the ACV on your hair from the middle of the strands to the ends after your baking soda cleanse. Let sit for a couple of minutes, and rinse well. Finish off with a blast of cold water to seal the cuticle of the hair.

AFTERCARE: COCONUT OIL CONDITIONER

After towel-drying, while my hair is still damp, I put just a little bit of coconut oil on my fingers and apply it to my ends, scrunching my hair as I go. This has allowed my natural, curly texture to really shine through–and it makes my hair smell really good.

HOW TO AVOID THE PITFALLS:

– Greasy roots: Up the baking soda, and make sure you’re getting all of your scalp. Also, make sure the vinegar is not touching your roots. This was my problem, and once I learned that it encouraged grease, this simple adjustment worked wonders. I also have found that using a spray bottle makes for easier application, and wastes way less vinegar. Also, make sure that 

– Smelly hair: If you smell like salad, really make sure you’re rinsing that ACV out of your hair well. It’s completely normal for your hair to be a little pungent while it’s still wet, but that should completely dissipate once it’s dry. In between washes, use baking soda on your roots to lift any grease or smells–like dry shampoo!

A mess or wasting ingredients: I bought some travel bottles at a beauty supply store and they’re great–particularly the spray bottle for the ACV. Much easier than trying to pour or scoop from a plastic container or glass jar.

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Give it a try, and stay tuned for my next natural beauty DIY: face cleanser.

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Weekend DIY: The Perfect Bubble Bath

Baths aren’t the most eco-friendly thing in the world, but when used sparingly, they are a godsend. Feeling overworked, anxious, stressed… or even sick? Taking a bath can be an economic and therapeutic fix. There are a few ingredients that can make a bubble bath positively blissful, as it should be… and the great part is that how you mix and match is totally up to you and your mood.

  1. Epsom Salts
    Benefits
    : draw out toxins; increase magnesium in the body which leads to a boost in serotonin, elevating your mood
    How to use: add 1-2 cups to your warm bath. Sea salt is a decent alternative.
  2. Bubble Bath
    Benefits:
     depends on the kind you choose, but most will soothe and soften your skin
    How to use: I always add it to the bath as it’s running, right near the faucet so that the bubbles foam up immediately and I can gauge how much I want. Shower gel can be a good alternative, though it might not foam up as much. Pamper yourself! I just splurged on this the other day: It was amazing. I’m definitely on a budget, so I usually just grab my liquid shower soap and use that, but this proved that it is definitely worth it.
  3. Temperature
    Benefits: depending on how hot you make it, warm temperatures are soothing while hot temperatures are detoxifying
    How to use: this sounds like an inane detail but it can actually make or break the experience. It really falls to personal preference- do you want a loooong, relaxing time to read a book? Then keep the temperature on the warm-hot side. A shorter, detoxifying experience? Make the bath super hot (but not scalding- think a hot jacuzzi; you don’t want to burn yourself!) and sweat it out for 15-20 minutes or so.
  4. Essential Oils
    Benefits: Here are some of my favorites:
    lavender: lowers heart rate and blood pressure for anti-anxiety; helps insomnia; soothes inflamed skin
    eucalyptus: decongestant; soothing for sore throat and cough; soothes muscle pain; rejuvenating and de-stresser
    jasmine: anti-depressant; relieves muscle spasm (including coughing); de-stresser.
    rose: anti-depressant; soothes coughing and muscle pain
    bergamot: anti-anxiety; relieves soreness
    patchouli: anti-anxiety; antidepressant; soothes skin; helps fluid retention
    There are soooo many more. I almost want to do a post with a more complete guide… maybe I will eventually. Just have fun experimenting and even do a little research on what the benefits might be.
    How to use: mix and match your favorites- most will compliment each other pretty well, as long as you keep it to two or three, tops. Just add a couple of drops of each to the bath as its running. Use sparingly- essential oils are expensive, and they’re strong. You don’t want to feel high from the fumes!
  5. Ambiance
    Light some scented candles, dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, have a few magazines or a good book at the ready, and turn on some Bon Iver. Oh, and for the love of God, turn off your phone.
  6. And extras
    Do whatever you want! I like to smother my hair in coconut oil and pile it on top of my head to soak. I also have this amazing lemon sugar scrub that I rub all over my legs to slough off dead skin and it makes them soooo smooth. Whatever floats your boat.

Happy relaxing!

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