My first project for A Beautiful Mess was such fun to make. This tutorial takes a more in-depth look at the technique used to create gemstone cluster soaps - taking you through the step-by-step process with helpful visuals the whole way. Plus, I included the soaps in three more colors! Learn how to make amethyst, rose quartz, citrine, and quartz in the full tutorial over on A Beautiful Mess.
I'll be teaching a full-day workshop on natural beauty and handmade skin care at The Open Center in New York City on May 13.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Mother Dirt.
I used bacteria-based products to care for my skin and here's what happened.
So by now we have all heard how important probiotics can be to our overall health. We usually think of these kinds of "good bacteria" when it comes to our guts. Including fermented foods like saurkraut, kefir, or kombucha is an easy way to introduce helpful flora into our body.
But do you ever think about promoting helpful bacteria for other parts of your body? Your skin also relies on these kinds of flora to stay healthy. If you've ever suffered from a bout of candida than you know just how unhappy your skin can get when this balance is disrupted.
Like pretty much every other aspect of our lives, the natural biome that your skin maintains can be thrown out of whack by many of the modern conveniences we love so well. Commercially produced cleansers, lotions, and shampoos often include ingredients that can disrupt the skin's natural balance and biome, making it hard for your body to care for itself naturally.
Enter bacteria-based skin care. What a concept! Mother Dirt has formulated a very simple product line (just one head-to-toe cleanser, a shampoo, and a mist) that revolves around promoting the skin's natural biome. The method here is to cleanse your skin and hair using simple products that won't disrupt the natural bacteria on your skin and scalp, and then supplementing that bacteria with a twice-daily mist.
In addition to helping nurture a healthy skin biome, Mother Dirt products are intended to help users reduce their dependence on other supplemental products such as toners, moisturizers, and serums. The company argues that too many natural resources are wasted in the production and use of unnecessary beauty products.
I couldn't agree more on the virtues of simplifying one's personal care routine. After a quick glance at the ingredient list I was happy to try out Mother Dirt's product line. When my samples arrived I got started right away.
I was curious to see if the claims and experiences I read about in the company's brochure would hold true for my skin as well. The testimonials on Mother Dirt's web site report improvements in softness, texture, pore size - you name it.
How It Works
Mother Dirt pairs two simple cleansers, a head-to-toe foaming wash and a shampoo, with a face and body mist fortified with skin-loving bacteria.
Mother Dirt Cleanser is used to wash your face and body. It contains no bacteria, but is formulated to cleanse gently without disrupting the skin's natural biome.
Mother Dirt Shampoo is used to wash hair. Like the cleanser, this is a gentle cleanser that helps support your scalp's biome and natural balance.
Mother Dirt AO+ Mist is used after cleansing. This is the product that contains helpful bacteria. Spritz twice daily on your face, scalp, and all over the body. It's particularly helpful in battling bacteria in the sweatier regions of the body. (Think armpits!)
What I've Noticed
I've been using the cleanser once a day, the shampoo twice a week, and the mist twice a day for the past week. While my skin didn't transform overnight, I have noticed an improvement in overall wellness.
I have noticed some shrinkage in my pores, which is pretty encouraging since this is an area where I've been struggling with my skin for some time. I'm planning to give myself a charcoal masque this weekend to see if I can help the process along further.
Summer also has a tendency to send my skin's oil production into overload. Since I started the Mother Dirt products this has mellowed out quite a bit. My skin doesn't feel overly dry either, but I do wonder whether or not the spray will be enough when the weather cools off and starts drying me out. Will I need to add a moisturizer to the routine? We'll have to wait and see. For now, the balance feels just right.
This might be a little TMI, but obviously Texas summers are incredibly hot and sweaty. The brochure for Mother Dirt suggested spritzing sweaty spots of the body with the AO+ Mist to help manage bacteria that can cause body odor.
Since my favorite deodorants use essential oils and carrier oils to battle stinky bacteria, I was very curious to see whether or not these products would work, and they did! I noticed a difference right away.
After my first shower with the cleanser and body spray with the AO+ Mist I noticed a difference in my (ahem) personal funk factor.
What's Not to Like?
The only real gap I see in the 3-piece product line is the lack of exfoliation. After about a week of using the Mother Dirt products I can tell that I'll still need to use a scrub or exfoliating mask to occasionally lift dead skin.
This may not be the case for everyone, but personally, I need a good scrub now and then! I can also foresee the need for periodic moisturizing with my usual favorites, raw shea butter or rose hip seed oil.
Overall, I'm going to give bacteria-based skin care a big thumbs up. I look forward to continuing with these products to see how my skin reacts to a long term routine.
Ready to Try it for Yourself?
You can learn more about bacteria-based skin care and shop for Mother Dirt products at MotherDirt.com.
If you've already tried Mother Dirt, I'd love to hear about your experiences with bacteria-based skin care. Share your story in the comments below!
Coconuts are pretty marvelous. They can hydrate us with their water, nourish and balance the skin with their oil, and even feed us with their meat. If you think about it, coconuts are sort of like the buffalo of natural skin care. We can use just about every part. Even the hull can be dried and ground for use as an exfoliating scrub.
This simple recipe combines the ever versatile coconut with a few drops of rose essential oil, a legendary ingredient for natural skin care. Rose can help balance the skin and is well-loved for nurturing mature skin. When combined with the hydrating, but slightly astringent properties of coconut water you get a masque that offers a gentle dose of moisture without going overboard.
I don't know about you, but my skin tends to feel a little more oily than usual during summer months. That extra oil combined with sweat and grime from even the shortest outdoor jaunt can leave my skin itchy, red, and irritated. Giving it a nice healthy cleanse can really help get it back to feeling happy and refreshed. Coconut flour can also act as a gentle exfoliant - another property that can come in handy while caring for rough summer skin.
As usual, follow this masque with a toner (I love this one) whenever you can. A moisturizer is only necessary if you feel like your skin was over-dryed at all by the coconut oil. If you aren't sure whether or not to use one, just let your skin dry for a few minutes before making up your mind. If it feels soft and happy, you probably don't need one. If it feels tight or itchy, give yourself a little splash of something nourishing like your favorite cream or a few drops of rose hip seed oil. If you use this masque during the day be sure to apply a fresh coat of spf before going outside!
Rose & Coconut Facial Masque
makes one serving
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
- 2-5 drops rose essential oil
- 2 - 4 teaspoons coconut water, unsweetened
Mi the coconut flour, coconut oil, essential oil, and 2 teaspoons of coconut water together in a small bowl. Stir well, then add additional coconut water, if needed, to reach a thick, smooth texture, similar to cookie dough.
Apply the masque liberally to clean, moistened skin. Allow the masque to set and dry for up to thirty minutes before rinsing. To use as a scrub, massage the masque in a slow, circular motion as it is rinsed away. Follow with toner. Follow with moisturizer if needed. Refrigerate any leftover masque for up to five days.
Hubby and I were both endowed with very thick heads of hair. For the most part, I'd say that my dense tresses are a blessing. After working in the natural beauty industry for over a decade I have met enough people on the opposite end of the spectrum to know that having too much hair is a much easier problem to solve than having too little. So I'm grateful, and I know my husband is grateful, for all of this crazy hair we have between us.
But there are times when having thick hair is kind of a pain. Keeping a healthy and happy scalp beneath a head of long, dense hair can be challenging - especially for people like my husband who have over-productive scalps. He has a touch of psoriasis too - which complicates things even further. The battle against dandruff is constant. The danger of build-up and damaged hair is around every corner, and itchy, dry scalp conditions are constantly a problem.
A natural beauty author's husband with serious scalp problems? No, sir. It just won't do. My mission to help soothe his head is not only a labor of love but also a matter of pride. I can't have my loved ones walking around all flaky. What will people think?
So, I invented this recipe to help both of us get our irritated scalps back to their happy place. I started off with a big chunk of manuka honey, a unique variety of raw honey that is believed to contain antibacterial properties. Honey is also a natural moisturizer so it's perfect for soothing cranky scalps.
I blended that marvelous manna with half a banana, a squirt of apple cider vinegar, and a splash of moisturizing apricot oil. These ingredients are meant to soothe, balance, and moisturize. If you're scalp is troubled try giving this recipe a try for a few nights and see if it makes any difference. We both loved it and I hope you will too!
Manuka Honey Scalp Masque
Makes about 1/4 cup (enough for one use)
This sweet and sticky scalp masque calls for manuka honey - an exotic variety of honey that is prized in the health food community. If you don't have manuka honey available, just use any variety of honey you have on hand. Apricot oil is a favorite of mine for hair care - but jojoba, avocado oil, or sweet almond oil would also do very well in this recipe.
- Mash the banana as finely as possible - or use a food processor to blend it into a smooth paste. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the manuka honey and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the banana and whisk until smooth. If necessary, you can push the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or food mill to smooth its texture.
- Slowly pour the apricot oil into the mixture while whisking vigorously.
- Use right away or refrigerate for up to five days.
- Part dry hair into small sections using clips or hair-safe bands to keep them secured.
- Apply the mixture directly to the scalp - in between the parted sections.
- Remove the clips or bands and use your fingers to massage the masque onto your scalp.
- Cover your head with a scarf or cap (keep in mind that the masque may stain fabrics) and allow the masque to set for up to twenty minutes.
- Rinse with warm water and follow with hair wash and rinse as needed.
Skin feeling a little dry or itchy? If you have a stand mixer and about fifteen minutes to spare than you are in luck. Add two simple ingredients and that's all it takes to create this luscious, moisturizing whipped body butter!
Try experimenting with this recipe by swapping out the apricot Oil for something a little more exotic, like tamanu oil (for sensitive skin) or pomegranate oil (for more intensive moisture). You can also kick this recipe up a notch by including a few drops of your favorite skin-safe essential oil. My favorites are ylang ylang, sandalwood, and bergamot.
This recipe doesn't include wax or stabilizers. That makes it super fluffy and absorbent but also prone to melting in warm weather. During the winter this butter should do fine at room temperature, but you may want to keep your stash in the fridge during the summer, lest it flop!
Simple Whipped Shea Butter
- Chop the shea butter into small chunks using a butter knife or spoon. Place it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-low for about one minute, then increase the speed to high and whisk for four more minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the apricot oil. Continue to mix on low speed for one minute or until the oil is well dispersed into the butter. Increase the mixer speed to high and whisk for another four minutes.
- Stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then start it again at high speed. This is the point when you would add any essential oils you may be using. Whisk for five minutes - or until the butter is light and fluffy. It should look similar to cupcake frosting or whipped cream cheese.
- The whipped butter can be spooned into jars or piped into jars with a pastry bag.
Whenever I host a DIY body scrub bar with Make it Good Apothecary people gravitate toward the little bowl of ground coffee. It's always the first ingredient to run out at a big event. More often than not, guests end up telling me how they've made coffee scrubs at home too - or that they received one as a gift from a crafty friend once upon a time.
Long story short - natural beauty fans LOVE coffee! And why not? It's rich aroma is a delicous treat for the senses! Coffee is also a popular spa ingredient for mobilizing cellulite, improving circulation, and amping up exfoliation. In short, it is a pretty much ideal additive for natural scrubs.
This recipe pairs ground coffee with plain sugar and apricot oil to create a simple base. These three ingredients make a fine scrub alone, but I thought it might be fun to add a second layer of scent and benefit by including fragrant virgin coconut oil and toasted coconut. If a regular coffee scrub is yum, than this version is yum yum YUM.
Try not to eat it before you get to the shower.
Toasted Coconut Coffee Scrub
Makes a little more than 1/2 cup of scrub
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup apricot oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon toasted shredded coconut
- Melt the virgin coconut oil using either a double boiler, a hot water bath, or by heating it in the microwave in short 15-second bursts.
- Combine the melted virgin coconut oil with the apricot oil and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, coffee, and shredded coconut.
- Stir in the oil blend and mix until fully combined.
- I like to use my body scrubs in the shower where they can be rinsed off easily. Start by rinsing off your skin with warm water.
- Now apply the scrub liberally to your arms, legs, and torso in a gentle circular motion - sort of like you are giving yourself a nice massage! If you have a shower buddy ask them to give your back the same treatment. (Pro Tip: Shower buddies make exfoliation SO much easier!)
- After you are thoroughly scrubbed simply rinse with warm water. You can follow the scrub with soap as well if you'd like or just leave the residual oil on your skin as a moisturizer.
Should you ever find yourself feeling utterly depressed, I have a surefire fix for you. Go out and buy yourself a dozen roses, then shred them into a zillion little pieces. The fragrant, colorful confetti is just about guaranteed to raise your spirits. If not, at least your kitchen will smell amazing.
While I was working on The Natural Beauty Workshop I stumbled upon the practice of incorporating minced flower petals into ubtan body scrubs. How luxurious, I mused, then suddenly flipped the thought on it's head and remarked, how practical!
We add flower essences by way of essential oil or hydrosol to facial products all the time. Why not cut out the middle man by using whole flowers instead? Sure, the amount of active components that will make it from the petal down through your skin may be slim in comparison to rose essential oil, but facials don't need to be intense in order to be worthwhile.
This particular recipe celebrates simplicity with its gentle nature and soothing additives. It starts off with a mild kaolin clay, exfoliating yogurt, and soothing aloe vera. The flower petals add color, scent, and a touch of their balancing rose oil to the mix. This mask is pretty enough for a party but gentle enough for everyday use on almost any skin type.
Speaking of which, this recipe would be the perfect choice for a spa party. Maybe call a few friends and share a bottle of bubbly while you treat yourselves to a fresh mask. Or better yet, let my new business, Make it Good Apothecary, set up a DIY Facials Bar for you! What better way to ring in the new year?
Flower Petal Confetti Facial Masks
Makes enough for about four 1-tablespoon servings
- 2 tablespoons white kaolin clay
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice
- 15 fresh rose petals, minced
- Combine the white kaolin clay, plain yogurt, and aloe vera in a small non-metal bowl and stir together using a non-metal spoon or spatula.
- Top with rose petals. Take a moment to bask in the beauty of color, then stir them together with the other ingredients.
- Apply a damp, hot towel (but not TOO hot) to your face and leave it there to steam for about thirty seconds.
- Remove the towel then apply about one tablespoon of the mask mixture to your face - avoiding your eyes, lips, and nostrils.
- Allow the mask to set for about twenty minutes before rinsing it off. It may not dry completely but that's OK.
- Follow with a toner, and with a moisturizer, if needed.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The National Honey Board
Oh pumpkin, Autumn's most delicious siren, calling hordes of sweet-toothed revelers into the arms of caffeinated beverages and spiced baked goods everywhere. Sometimes I think that pumpkin is downright devilish, but the truth is she's not all that bad. In fact, pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps forms and maintain healthy skin.
To me, all of that Vitamin A has the words "facial masque" written all over it. I decided to use some fresh roasted pumpkin puree to moisten a simple besan facial masque using chickpea flour, plain yogurt, turmeric, and a spoonful of honey.
You might notice that I use honey in most of my skin care recipes, and there is a good reason for that! Honey is a humectant - a special kind of moisturizer that works by drawing moisture to the skin. Adding a few drops of honey to fresh recipes like masques, scrubs, and lotions, can help to enhance and extend their moisturizing benefit. Pretty neat, huh?
Besan facials are always a treat but this particularly recipe left my skin feeling extra smooth and soft. There must be some kind of magic going on between the pumpkin, yogurt, and honey. This has me wondering what other kind of recipes could benefit from a punch of pumpkin. Body scrubs? Hair masques? Milk baths? Yes yes yes.
Now where did I put my latte?
Honey Pumpkin Besan Facial Masque
Makes about four servings
- 2 tablespoons chickpea (besan) flour
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Combine the chickpea flour, honey, pumpkin, yogurt, and turmeric in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
Moisten your skin with a hot, damp washcloth by draping it over your face for about thirty seconds.
Apply the mask to your skin liberally, avoiding your eyes, lips, and nostrils. Let the mask sit for up to thirty minutes before rinsing it off. If you'd like to give your skin a little scrub, try massaging the mask gently as you rinse.
Follow with a toner and a moisturizer, if needed.
The remaining mask can be kept in the fridge for up to one week. Since this is a fairly gentle recipe you can use it as often as once per day.
Honey is an essential ingredient for my natural beauty stash. Check out my recipes for Honey Chamomile Toner, Honey & Citrus Salt Scrubs, Grapefruit and Honey Besan Facials, and Olive & Honey Lip Scrub. For even more honey beauty goodness, check out the beauty recipe collection on Honey.com!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The National Honey Board
I love toner. I love the look of it, the feel of it, and most of all, the ritual of it. Soaking a little cotton pad with a magical elixir then dabbing it onto my face is simply a lovely feeling. The slight tingle and refreshing touch of moisture always makes my skin feel extra fresh and happy after a good scrub or oil-cleansing. Apart from feeling nice, toners can help balance skin's pH. Depending on what you add to your toner recipe they can also help soothe, moisturize, or even battle harmful bacteria that can cause acne and redness.
This particular recipe uses a combination of apple cider vinegar to help provide balance, chamomile tea to soothe and calm sensitive skin, and a honey to provide a moisturizing boost. Honey is a special kind of moisturizer called a humectant which draws moisture to the skin. The addition of honey to a toner, like this one, can help your skin maintain moisture. That's pretty much always a good thing - but it's especially helpful during extremely hot or cold weather when the air tends to wick extra moisture away from our skin.
This recipe should work well for most skin types using about 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. If your skin is very sensitive or prone to dryness, try using a little less (about 2 tablespoons). If your skin has a tendency to be very oily you can add a little bit more (up to 6 tablespoons). You can also try swapping out the chamomile tea for an herb that better suits your own skin type. For example, you could try using dried neem instead of chamomile if your skin is prone to acne.
Honey Chamomile Toner
Makes about 8 ounces
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers (or 1 bag of chamomile tea)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 - 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Pour freshly boiled water into a mug or heatproof container with the chamomile. Allow the tea to steep for ten minutes. Remove tea bag or strain the solids from the tea. Add the honey and vinegar to the tea, then stir well to dissolve the honey. Pour the mixture into a clean bottle.
After cleansing your face, dab the toner onto your skin liberally using a cotton ball or soft cloth. Follow with a moisturizer as needed. This toner will remain fresh for about one month. After 30 days it is best to discard any toner that is left and make up a new batch.
Honey is one of my favorite ingredients for natural skin care. Check out my recipes for Honey & Citrus Salt Scrubs, Grapefruit and Honey Besan Facials, and Olive & Honey Lip Scrub. For even more honey beauty goodness, check out the beauty recipe collection on Honey.com!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The National Honey Board.
Oh honey. It's sweet. It's golden. It's a natural gift thanks to its marvelous versatility and seemingly endless list of benefits. When it comes to natural and DIY skin care, honey is an ingredient that I reach for again and again.
Honey is a special type of moisturizer called a humectant. Humectants, like honey, draw moisture in and keep it there, which can help enhance almost any homemade beauty recipe. While nutritive oils and butters, like sweet almond oil or shea butter, condition the skin beautifully, pairing them with honey can help lock that moisture in making your natural skin care recipe even better.
I learned a lot about honey and its many virtues while touring with the National Honey Board last month. We visited three cities, spreading the joys of honey to local media and honey enthusiasts. During each event I helped guests whip up DIY salt scrubs using honey, fresh grapefruit juice, olive oil, and sea salt. You can check out the recipe that I used for that demo at Honey.com. I thought it might be fun to elaborate on the recipe a little showing how easy it can be to customize depending on ingredient availability and personal preference.
Scrubs are a wonderful introductory product for DIY skin care. They are easy to make and don't usually require exotic ingredients or exact measurements. This scrub, for example, uses fresh fruit juice to add scent and a boost of alpha hydroxy acid. You can use pretty much any citrus fruit to make the scrub, from tiny mandarins to huge pink grapefruits. I used plain sea salt for this recipe but you can swap that out for any fine grain (food grade) salt. Fancy salts like Himalayan Pink or Hawaiian Black can be used to create scrubs in a variety of lovely colors.
I added honey to the scrub to increase it moisturizing benefit. An added bonus of using honey is its sweet aroma and beautiful golden color. You can use any variety of honey in a DIY skin care recipe like this one. All varieties of honey have the same humectant properties so I usually use whatever honey I have in my pantry for cooking. Since you only need a tiny bit for most skin care recipes I'll even dip into my higher end honey stash without remorse.
Honey & Citrus Salt Scrub
Makes 1/2 cup
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh citrus juice (grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime)
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon apricot kernel oil (or avocado, sweet almond, or olive)
- 1/2 cup fine grain sea salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and juice.
- Slowly drizzle the oils into the bowl while whisking continuously.
- Add the salt and stir to combine.
This scrub is best suited for the body. Personally, I find it to be a little too strong for facial use. If you'd like to make a facial scrub, check out my Besan Facial with Grapefruit and Honey recipe. Gently massage this scrub over the skin of your arms, legs, hands, feet, and torso. Rinse with warm water after scrubbing and follow with a cleanser only if you feel the need. Because this scrub includes fresh juice it should be used up immediately or stored in the fridge for up to seven days.
Check out Honey.com to find more natural beauty recipes!
I might have mentioned this before, but I have a lot of sisters. The youngest one is named Caitlin Ariel. She arrived about nine years after the rest of us so my parents decided to make sure she received a warm welcome by naming her after the Little Mermaid. This thrilled us (naturally) but it wasn't really necessary. I'm quite sure we would have loved the little stinker even if she didn't share a name with our favorite Disney princess.
Caitlin called me the other day to request a simple recipe for lip scrub. This made me laugh for a moment because it illustrated the different places we are in our lives so well. Keeping my lips smooth and happy isn't really on my radar at the moment. With my little one crawling underfoot all day long I am lucky to wash my hair more than once a week. As far removed as I might be from the glamorous life of a woman in her twenties, I totally get why Caitlin asked for a lip scrub. The feeling of crispy, chapped and flaky lips bugs me too - especially on the rare occasions where I do paint on some colorful lipstick.
Eerily,it must have been about nine years ago that I used my first lip scrub, an overpriced concoction of slippery wax, emulsified mineral oil, and tiny microbeads. This recipe is far more simple, and much less toxic. It uses only three or four ingredients - most of which can be found in the kitchen. Olive & Honey Lip Scrub can be whipped up in small batches and kept on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for a few weeks.
Sugar makes a great exfoliant for lip scrubs, being small, scrubby and edible. Olive Oil lubricates the sugar while moisturizing the lips. Honey adds a touch of extra sweetness and a boost of soothing, antibacterial goodness to the recipe. If you have peppermint essential oil handy, just one drop will give your scrub a pleasant tingle. If not, don't fret. It isn't a necessary ingredient for this recipe.
Olive Honey Lip Scrub
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 drop peppermint essential oil (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Keep covered when not in use.
Apply a small dab of scrub to your lips, then gently massage the mixture into your lips in a circular motion - using the tip of your finger. Continue to scrub your lips by pressing your lips together. The scrub can be blotted off with a napkin when finished.
I'll bet when you think of Chickpea Flour skin care isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Falafel? Yes. Facials? Not so much. Though you might find it surprising, Chickpea Flour is actually a super traditional beauty ingredient in other parts of the world. In India, Chickpea Flour is called Besan, and acts as a main ingredient in an endless variety of facials and masks that promise everything from younger looking skin to the lightening of age spots and the clearing of acne. You'll also find Chickpea Flour going under the alias of Gram Flour.
These recipes are based on the notion that Chickpea Flour contains vitamins and minerals that benefit beauty. Most of the articles you'll find on Besan make some pretty interesting claims, but the science behind them can be a little vague. After a little digging I was able to find a few nuggets of solid information on what makes Chickpea Flour such a popular ingredient for skin care.
Besan Facials can be as simple as Chickpea Flour mixed with water. They can also be complex, including a long list of natural ingredients. The most common ingredients you'll find in Besan Facials, besides Chickpea Flour, are Lemon, Honey, Yogurt, and Turmeric. This recipe combines Chickpea Flour with freshly squeezed Grapefruit Juice and a dollop of local Honey. The combination is meant to help cleanse and brighten the skin, lightening age spots, disinfecting disruptive bacteria, and leaving skin soft and glowing. It worked well for me, and I hope you'll like it too.
Besan Facial with Grapefruit and Honey
Makes enough for two masks
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 1 - 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. You can add a little extra juice if the mixture seems too thick or sticky.
- Prep your skin for the facial by cleansing it, then steaming it under a hot (but not scalding) damp washcloth.
- Apply the facial directly to your skin - avoiding your eyes, lips, and nostrils. You can also apply the mixture to your neck and decolletage.
- Let the mixture set on your skin for about fifteen minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- Follow with your favorite toner and moisturizer.
It's a rotten, stinking shame that most commercially produced bath and body products contain toxic chemicals. I wish that I could click my heels together three times and wake up in a world where a girl could shop without worrying about carcinogens and neurotoxins. Alas, that world is just a dream. In reality, it takes some serious scrutiny to stock our bathrooms with safe products.
Luckily, we have the Environmental Working Group on our side. The folks at EWG have done the hard work for us of compiling an ever-growing database cataloging almost any commercial beauty product you can think of. If it comes from a big company, EWG probably has it profiled in the Skin Deep Database, where you can check out its overall safety score and find out how safe or sketchy it really is. Each individual ingredient is given a safety score as well, and you can read about what makes the product or ingredients dangerous. EWG also offers some handy-dandy consumer guides that make finding the safest possible cosmetics really easy.
I realize that the idea of our cosmetics being toxic is pretty overwhelming. In fact, the very idea can seem so daunting that it might even be construed as far fetched. Before you write the whole thing off as a tin-foil hat conspiracy, check out this video from Heather White, EWG's executive director. She does a really great job of explaining some of the documented and researched dangers of commercial cosmetics and how our current systems allow these dangerous products to make it onto shop shelves.
Of course, another option is to take matters into your own hands and start making your own beauty products. I'm a big supporter of that option for a few reasons. First off, it is the best way to know without a doubt what is in your products. Going DIY can also save you a ton of money, especially if you keep things simple. Finally, making your own products is easy and really pretty fun. If you're interested in learning more about how to replace your store-bought products with a handmade routine please sign up for my book's mailing list. The Natural Beauty Solution will be coming out this Spring and will include game plans and recipes to help you ditch commercial products completely.
I've come up with some pretty awesome recipes to take care of my preggo self over the past nine months. Your skin care needs can change drastically during pregnancy. For me, it meant my skin growing more sensitive than ever, and requiring a whole lot of extra conditioning from natural moisturizers.
I'm glad to report that by switching to extra-gentle cleansers, avoiding any traces of dyes and fragrances, and slathering my skin in homemade belly balm, my mama body is looking and feeling great, even at the tail end of the third trimester.
2014 is shaping up to be quite the year! In just under a month I'll be a Mother, and now it looks like I'll be becoming an author as well. So how did this happen? What is the book going to be about? I know! So many questions.
First things first, the book. The book is tenatively titled Natural Beauty Reset, and will serve as a step-by-step guide to replacing your commercially produced beauty products with a 100% natural and DIY routine. My goal is to provide simple solutions for all of your basic beauty needs, from head-to-toe, allowing the reader to break free from the expensive and chemical-laden products that so many of us rely on.
In my line of work, I read a lot of natural beauty books. While there are some incredible books out there on natural beauty, many of them involve elaborate recipes filled with exotic ingredients, or they focus mostly on specialty treatments, like masks, bath goodies, or pedicures. My book will share recipes that can be used every day, and are made from a relatively small pantry of standard natural ingredients.
I've been living an all-natural and totally DIY routine for years now, and I'm really excited to share the benefit of my experience with other people through this book. Like making the switch to an all-natural diet, establishing a natural beauty routine can easily become part of anyone's everyday life. Natural Beauty Reset will offer customizable recipes, practical tips, and multiple options to help suit every skin and hair type.
Can you tell that I am WAY pumped up about this project? I feel incredibly blessed to have this all coming together. It was sort of kismet when I met my agent, Sally Ekus of The Lisa Ekus Group, at BlogHer Food in Austin, and since then she has been helpful and supportive every step of the way. I can't thank her enough for her part in making this project a reality.
With Sally's help, I landed a contract with Spring House Press, which is a publishing house with a focus on DIY living. The folks at Spring House Press have been wonderful to work with so far. I feel like we share a very clear vision of how we see the book coming together. What does all this mean? Good things, very good things. I expect to love this book, and I think you will too.
I'll keep you all updated on our progress as the book comes together. Babeleo and I will be spending plenty of quality time writing and formulating over the next six months. He/she from the Rock n' Sleeper, and me from my laptop - we'll make a great team. Keep up with us, and news on the book, by subscribing to the blog by email.
Two Easy Ways to Enhance Your Natural Hair Care Routine
Switching over to a natural hair care routine is great in so many ways. It's better for your health, better for your hair, and often easier on your wallet than using commercial shampoo. But even with all those benefits, giving up the fruity scents and pretty fragrances from your favorite products can be a bummer.
If you've been missing your candy-sweet tresses, then I have some good news for you. All is not lost! Natural ingredients can smell great too. Let me introduce you to my two favorites.
Hydrosols are a byproduct of the steam distillation of Essential Oils. The fragrant waters that are leftover after making Essential Oil are sometimes bottled up and sold as Hydrosol. These fragrant waters posess mild aromatherapy properties, and can range in scent from floral to herbaceous. Neroli Hydrosol, made from orange blossoms, has a sweet floral scent that I can't get enough of.
I like to keep it in a spray bottle, and spritz it into my hair just after showering or whenever I feel like my hair could use a little aromatic boost. Think of it like perfume for your hair, only a lot less obnoxious. Hydrosol has a light, pleasant scent that won't overpower the room, or make your friends choke. In fact, aromatherapists use Neroli Hydrosol to foster a sense of happiness and well-being.
Organic Virgin Coconut Cream Oil
I use this oil every time I wash my hair. It has a really light, non-greasy texture that soaks into my hair right away, leaving it soft, shiny, and pretty. It also smells delicious, just like a fresh coconut. As you might imagine, the combination of Neroli Hydrosol and Virgin Coconut Oil can give Herbal Essences a run for its money.
Virgin Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature. Scoop a tiny dab into your palm (you just need a little to condition your hair) and rub it between your hands to melt it. Massage the oil into you hair, going heaviest on the ends and lightest on the roots. I usually do this when my hair is still damp, but now and then I'll use a touch of oil to help style a cowlick or tame flyaways.
More Natural Hair Care Tips: