Monday, February 17, 2014

3 Homemade Beauty Treatments: Valentine's Day Recycle!

Valentine's Day may be over, but that doesn't mean the fun has to be! If you have a spare rose lying around, or maybe some extra strawberries from a chocolate covered strawberry experiment, then these at-home beauty treatments will be perfect for you! These treatments don't have to be used only around Valentine's Day either... if you get some strawberries in the future and want to learn how to make them into fun beauty treatments, just come back to this post!

Beauty Treatment #1:
"Strawberries and Cream Face Mask"
Combine 4 Strawberries, mashed up with a fork, with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and a dollop of honey. The heavy cream is great for dry skin, but if you have normal skin you can substitute sour cream instead, and acne-prone skin should go for plain greek yogurt. Mix it up and apply to your skin for 10-15 minutes, avoiding your eye area. If you have a strawberry allergy raspberries can be substituted for the strawberries. 

This mask works well because strawberries have natural Salicylic Acid, Vitamin C, and Alpha Hydroxy Acids that can help clear up your skin and lighten hyperpigmentation. Heavy cream is super nourishing so if you have dry skin like me it is incredible, and both sour cream and greek yogurt are filled with lactic acid, which will help gently exfoliate your skin and help clear it up. Honey is amazing in any skincare treatment; it's a natural humectant which means it is incredible at retaining moisture and helping naturally heal your skin. Plus, it's anti-microbial which means it can also help clear up any acne or irritation. Raw honey is definitely better, but the packaged stuff will still be moisturizing and will work in a pinch. 

Beauty Treatment #2:
"Coconut and Rose Hail Oil"
Melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a pot, and then add in 2 tablespoons of rose water and 1/2 cup of fresh rose petals (this is about half a rose worth of petals). Bring it to a low boil, and then continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool before straining it through a coffee filter. Apply the oil to your scalp and hair, and then wrap it up in a towel for 20 minutes or so before shampooing out. I used my wrapadoo for this step because it's softer and more gentle than my regular towels. I adore my wrapadoo, and have used it for several months now, but I just realized after posting this video that I have been wearing it backwards all this time! There are instructions on the site on how to properly wear it, and it's unique from other hair wraps because you don't flip your head; you just put it on like a hoodie. Which probably explains why I have been wearing it wrong all this time… it goes against your natural instinct of how to wear it, but apparently it's much better for your hair this way. 

Rose water can be found at health food stores, but if you can't find any or don't have any on hand you can quickly whip up your own for this recipe. To make rose water you just need to put 1 cup of rose petals into a pot, cover with about 1 inch of water, and let it simmer on a low heat until the petals lose their color. This took me about 15 minutes. The low heat is important here... if the heat is too hot you will lose some of the properties of the rose water, so make sure to let it simmer. 

The hair oil works because both coconut oil and rose water have nourishing and healing properties that are both gentle and affective. Coconut oil is notoriously good for your hair and scalp, but the benefits of rose water are less well-known. Rose water helps promote hair growth, revitalizes the scalp by enabling smooth blood flow, helps prevent inflammation, strengthens the root hairs, and acts as a lightweight conditioner. On top of this it helps maintain the skins natural ph balance, which in turn will make everything more balanced, and you definitely want that - especially on your scalp where you are likely using harsh shampoos several times a week. 

Please use organic or hand picked roses - if you buy them from a giant supermarket chances are they will be covered in pesticides! 

Beauty Treatment #3:
"Strawberry Sugar Body Scrub"

Combine 7-10 strawberries, mashed up with a fork, with a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and as much granulated sugar as needed to make the mixture gritty. Apply this to your entire body in circular motions, and then rinse off. I would apply this in your shower as it is very messy and sticky, but it works really well! Your skin will be so soft afterwards.

I hope you guys enjoyed this video, and if you try any of the treatments let me know in a comment! 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Polish

From left to right: Back to the Fuchsia, Pink Pong, Arm Candy, Commander in Chic, and Jaded.

You know how sometimes a mood hits you and you can't get it out of your head? It's like you can't focus on anything else until you do whatever is on your mind. Well, that was me yesterday, and it involved nail polish. And nail art. And Valentine's Day.

I was recently sent a few bottles of the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish, and the hot pink one, Back to the Fuchsia, was calling my name. It's a gorgeous bright pink with a blue duo-chrome to it, and I thought the blue undertones would look fantastic paired with some silver glitter, so I pulled out the polish and the glitter and got to work creating a glitter ombre. 

I applied 2 coats of the pink polish before adding a bit of silver glitter to the ends, coating my tips the heaviest (almost like a glitter french manicure) and then gradually stroking upwards until each nail looked even (or even enough, I just eyeballed it). I finished it off with a top coat (you know the one if you watched my January Favorites video!). 

The polish itself is a gorgeous formula, which claims to have 7 benefits of a salon manicure in 1 bottle. It is a base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, color, top coat, is chip-resistent, and has a gel-like shine. I can honestly say that this formula is a keeper; it applies like a dream and lasts a good week without chipping. The brush is large and wide, which I loved because it painted streak-free and easily. 

It feels very festive indeed and now I'm ready for Valentine's Day with my glittery nails and my little black dress. All I need now are some chocolate covered strawberries, and trust me, they will be mine!

Wanna try a bottle of this polish for free? The lovely people at Kotex are offering you a free bottle of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish when you purchase 3 U by Kotex products at Target! This offer is avilable at all Target stores, so hurry up if you want to get a free bottle of pretty polish!

If you have tried this polish, which color is your favorite? Or better yet, which color would you pick as your free one?

Heads up, this post is brought to you by U by Kotex :)

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish, Instant Boost Skin Tonic, and Skin Repair Cream

Back in October, Birchbox did a partnership with Liz Earle skincare, letting subscribers sample the cult favorite Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser in their monthly boxes. I was lucky enough to be sent samples of the full-size products to try as well, but since I was trying so many new skincare products at the time the review got wait-listed. The products were put in my beauty cabinet for future use, and forgotten about.

Seriously guys, I am so mad at myself for not trying these little gems sooner. 

Let's rewind. During December, when I was filming Vlogmas, I was pretty much broken out on and off all month. I had one break out on my cheek and another on my jawline, and they would go away and then come back, repeatedly. I wasn't using anything new at the time, so I knew it wasn't a product breaking me out; it was just that my skin wasn't balanced or healthy in general. Part of the problem was that I took very few skincare products home to Tennessee with me, thinking I could be a minimalist, and my skin got upset with me. My skin is one where more is definitely better; the more I layer, the happier it is, especially with hydrating products.

After Christmas, I came back to LA, and decided to give my skin some extra attention. I knew that what I was currently using on my skin wasn't working, so I thought it was time to try something new. I thought, "Well, it doesn't matter if I break out more right now because I'm breaking out anyway." So into my beauty cabinet I ventured and I came out victorious - holding brand new bottles of the Cleanse & Polish*, Instant Boost Skin Tonic*, and the Skin Repair Moisturizer*.

I used all three products that first night, getting a little nervous as I stared in the mirror at the 3 angry pimples on my cheek. "I hope I don't wake up with 20 more of you mad little guys," I thought as I wandered off to bed. (Apparently it's story time now. Hello, Sophia London, I have missed you.) New skincare products are always tricky for me, since I have sensitive skin and am allergic to a few ingredients commonly found in skincare, so I definitely felt a little uneasy (but hopeful!).

The next morning I woke up to find all 3 of my angry spots calmed down, with no new ones forming. As I continued to use these products over the course of the next few weeks my skin got clearer and clearer, and yeah, I'm sold on this one guys. You need to try it. 

The Cleanse & Polish is an all-in-one makeup remover and cleanser. It's full of naturally active ingredients like eucalyptus, beeswax, rosemary, chamomile, and cocoa butter for softer, more radiant skin. It's gentle enough even for your eyes, and does a good job getting every last smidgen of mascara. 

I apply two pumps of this to my dry skin, doing my eyes last, before wiping it off with the included muslin cloth. I have been a fan of these muslin cloth cleansers for awhile now, but this one was different than any other I have tried. It is less oily/balmy than the Eve Lom Cleanser; more of a thick lotion consistency. It doesn't irritate my eyes at all, and like I said, it got off all my eye makeup every night with the exception of the one night that I was wearing waterproof mascara. That night I had to follow up with a little bit of eye makeup remover, but it was not even a big deal. Oh, and this cleanser is mineral oil free, which is a bonus for those of you sensitive to mineral oil!

The Instant Boost Skin Tonic is a hydrating toner that I apply on a cotton pad after cleansing. It's full of chamomile, cucumber, and aloe vera to calm irritation and brighten the skin. Glycerin adds hydration to your skin and helps lock in that moisture all day (or night), and hops extract tones the skin and swipes away bacteria without stripping your skin. It feels very light and soothing, and has a nice cooling effect that I quite like. My skin does not feel tight afterwards, which is key, and it has a pleasant, herbal scent. I am a big fan of toners, both chemical and hydrating, so I enjoy this step. Plus, this baby is alcohol-free, and it has a nice little twist up top (it's the little things, guys).

The Skin Repair Moisturizer is marketed as a lightweight moisturizer that locks in hydration while providing a barrier against free radicals. It's packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients, but I'll be honest, I'm not in LOVE with this product. Now, this might be because I was sent the "Normal/Combination Skin" one when my skin really needs the "Dry/Sensitive Skin" one, so you'll have to take this review with a grain of salt, but I feel it is really thick and hard to sink in, especially when being marketed as a "Normal/Combination Skin" moisturizer. Plus, it has a slightly white tinge to it once applied to the skin, which I find really odd and something I have never encountered with a non-SPF moisturizer. I'm not loving the application, but my skin is looking hella good, so for now I am going to continue using it. I definitely want to try the Dry/Sensitive Skin version in the future though.

The deluxe sample given out in the October Birchbox. There was also a muslin cloth in the box!
Honestly... with samples this good coming in my monthly Birchboxes, I'm never going to cancel! Cheers to Birchbox for being awesome!

While the Cleanse & Polish and the Instant Boost Skin Tonic are must-tries, the moisturizer is still up in the air.

P.S. I'm eyeing the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion - I have heard it's amazing stuff. If there are any other Liz Earle products that you guys love or are curious about and would like me to review, please leave them in a comment below, as I will be placing an order soon enough.

You can only find these products online, either through the Liz Earle website or through the Birchbox website, unless you are located in the UK. If you have some Birchbox points burning holes in your pocket this is what I recommend trying out!

These products were also featured in my January Favorites video! Check it out to see what else made the favorites list :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Clinique Cheek Pops: Spring-Worthy Blushes

From left to right: Plum Pop, Berry Pop, Peach Pop, and Ginger Pop

If you are looking for a pretty pop for your cheeks this Spring, Clinique has you covered. They have recently launched this collection of flower blushes in 4 pretty shades, called the Clinique Cheek Pops*. These blushes are said to give you an effortless, natural flush, with buildable coverage, and let me tell you - they are spot on. 

They come in four colors, Berry Pop, Plum Pop, Ginger Pop, and Peach Pop, and while I love them all, Plum Pop has stolen my heart.  

Shown wearing Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Plum Pop.

The formulation is silky smooth and doesn't crumble up when you swirl your brush in it. In fact, I didn't think I was getting any product on my brush until I applied it to my cheeks! The coverage is light, but buildable, and the best part is that while this is a powder, it applies and wears like a cream. The color blends effortlessly and seamlessly, without clinging to dry patches, and lasts all day on the skin. It's natural, gorgeous, and gives you a healthy, just-pinched glow. 

Plus, the little pots themselves are so happy looking. Who wouldn't want one of these peeking out of their makeup bags on gloomy mornings? They are such cheerful little guys!

You can find these colorful flower pot blushes on Clinique's website, or at Sephora. Clinique is currently offering 2 free makeup brushes with any $40 purchase, plus you can get 4% cash back by shopping through ebates - LINK!

*Samples sent for consideration.

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