DIY: Whole Foods Face Masks

While everyone knows how important whole foods are for our health, not many realize the benefits that whole foods can have for your skin. Think of it this way, why should you spend extra money to put harsh chemicals and other unknowns on your skin when you can achieve the same results with produce from the local market? Here are some of my favorite foods for your skin:

Customize Natural Face Masks

Honey is a humectant, which promotes the skin to absorb moisture and lock it in. It also is highly antibacterial which can be beneficial for acne-prone skin.

Oatmeal is fantastic to soothe irritated skin and to reduce inflammation. A mix of flavonoids, phenols and avenanthramides act as natural anti-inflammatories. It is best to use oats ground up or in a flour form.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which help to protect your skin against free radicals. It also contains caffeine which is great in helping to firm the skin.

Turmeric has antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in a face mask, it works to help fight wrinkles and smooth the skin. It has also been shown to help fade acne scars. Just be sure to dilute with other ingredients as it can stain the skin when used alone.

Avocado and Avocado Oil are rich in healthy fats. They are easily absorbed while moisturizing and helping with skin regeneration. These particularly help dry, sensitive or sun damaged skin.

Green Tea is high in antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce inflammation, soothe damaged skin and calm irritated skin. Tea leaves or brewed tea can be used for rinses or in DIY face masks.

Greek Yogurt is another great moisturizer and soother due to its protein, calcium and probiotic properties. It also works as a chemical exfoliant due to the lactic acid. Mixed with other ingredients, it can be used in a hydrating mask to promote glowing skin.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil not only moisturizes the skin but also cleanses it. It helps to remove makeup and pull out dirt and impurities from the pores. It has also been found to help prevent cell damage due to the sun’s radiation.

All of these ingredients are amazing on their own, but they are even better when combined. Mix two or three of these together to create the perfect face mask. Apply to clean skin and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat your skin dry.

By making your own masks at home, you know exactly what is in them. Even better, each time you make a new mask, you can tailor it to your skin’s needs at the time. No more spending money on large amounts of chemicals or standing in the beauty isle confused by the hundreds of different products. There are so many wonderful foods for you skin, these are just a few of my favorite.

What kind of masks are you planning on making?

Xoxo Sammie

 

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DIY: Smoothie Face Mask

One of the best parts about summer has to be all the fresh fruit. While we can always find apples and oranges, during the summer I love indulging in apricots, cherries and mango. One of my favorite breakfasts during the summer is fruit smoothies. It a quick and yummy way to give your body a lot of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So, I figured why not make a smoothie face mask?

 What you need:

1/3 Banana- has many different good skin ingredients. Potassium hydrates the skin, B-vitamins protect against free radicals, Vitamin-A heals scaring and Zinc fights acne.

¼ Ripe Mango- has high amounts of Vitamin-A and Vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has been shown to help boost collagen product as well as protecting against UV induced damage from free radicals.

1 Aloe Vera leaf- soothes and moisturizes skin without clogging pores. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

 First, you will want to peel the skin off the aloe and add it to the bowl. I like to rage the skin and rub the excess on my face to make sure I’m using all of the plant. Then, all you need to do is take a fork and mash all the ingredients together or you can use a blender. You can double the recipe to accommodate multiple people or you can put any leftover mixture into the fridge for 2-3 days to use later. I would recommend keeping any left overs in an airtight container. Cleanse your face and apply the mask in an even, thick layer. I would recommend laying down after applying so that it does not slide off of your face. Let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes. Then just rinse with cool water and pat dry.

You can leave your skin as is, but I do use a moisturizer since I am taking isotretinoin. I love this mask! It leaves my skin feeling so soft and hydrated. It also gives me such a pretty glow. I like making a double batch and using it twice a week.

I really enjoy being able to use good, natural whole foods to benefit my skin. What are your favorite summer fruits?

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY: Shimmer Body Oil

When I think of summer, I picture sunshine, the beach and tan glowing skin. I always dreamed of being tanned and for a lot of years, I tried. I thought that was the only way to get that summer glow. Unfortunately, my fair complexion does not tan well.


Then came the highlighter trend. I fell in love with highlighters and using them all over my body. Finally I could glow without harming my skin. I thought it couldn’t get much better than that. Then I came across the Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil. But, at $42 for 1.5 oz, I couldn’t justify purchasing it. I knew that I could make a similar product. Not only could I save a lot of money, but also customize the product for my skin’s needs.



What you need:

Spray or Dropper Bottle

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Mica Powder 

How I chose my ingredients: I really love pumpkin seed oil because it absorbs quick, moisturizes and fights free radicals. It can also be used all over the face and body. As for the Mica powder, you can choose any color you’d like. Since I am so fair, I decided to go with a iridescent gold color. I was looking for a glow, but was afraid to go with a bronze tone as it could contrast with my skin and look more dirty rather than glowy. If you tan or have a darker complexion, I recommend checking out this bronze mica powder. Just a quick note, you will only need a tiny bit of the mica and will have plently left for other projects.

 

I love this project because not only is the end result beautiful, but you can do it all in under 5 minutes. First, fill your empty bottle up with oil. I like to fill it almost all the way to the top, but leave a little room to make it easier to add and mix in the Mica.


Next, add the mica. I suggest starting with 1/4 tsp and to add more from there. 1/4 tsp will give a subtle glow. If you want a glow that pops, use 1/2 tsp of the mica powder. Then just put the top on the bottle, shake well, and spray away!


​I am so excited to use this all summer! The pumpkin seed oil moisturizes and nourishes my skin while the mica gives me that beautiful summer glow. Although this product doesn’t offer sun protection, it can be used on top or you can always add some of the extra mica to your favorite sunscreen. Just be sure not to add this on top of your makeup, as oil will remove makeup products.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY: Chocolate Macaron Lip Scrub

Since starting Isotretinoin (Accutaine), the biggest change I have noticed is my lips. I tried to be proactive with hydrating them, but they started to get dryer as my first month went on. Luckily, I’ve found that by using light exfoliation and a mix of oils, I can keep them soft and moisturized.


I’ve been using a homemade scrub that not only gets rid of the dead skin, but keeps my lips so soft and tastes great too!


What you need:

3 tbsp white or brown sugar

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 1/2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 tsp honey


The best thing about this recipe is that it is so quick and easy. Just measure out each ingredient into a bowl and mix together. Then, put the mix in an airtight jar to keep for up to one month.


This recipe does make quite a bit. I have found that it also works really great for use on the face. The honey acts as a natural antibacterial while the olive oil draws out impurities and adds moisture to the skin.

Overall, I’ve been obsessed with with scrub. I use it nightly to help polish my lips and keep them smooth. Just make sure to put on some Lip oil or a good balm after exfoliating.

Have a great week!

Xoxo Sammie 

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DIY: Sunburn Soothing Mask

The last two weeks have been insane. My husband officially finished his Ph.D. and now has been preparing to go visit his family in Lebanon and then move to Colorado. For me, I’m coming up on finals and end of semester projects. I’ve also been working, student teaching and I am currently out of state house hunting. To say it’s been insane is an understatement. Luckily, things are starting to calm down and fall into place.


While we are house hunting in Colorado, we decided to take a day trip to Estes Lake. It is so beautiful! Unfortunately for me, I forgot my new medication makes me super sensitive to the sun. I didn’t realize how burnt I had gotten until I woke up the next morning. Let me say: it’s pretty bad and pretty painful. 


Staying in a hotel, I don’t have access to my aloe vera, oils or butters. I didn’t want to purchase anything because I wouldn’t be able to take it back on my carry on and I was feeling pretty hopeless until I went down for breakfast. While making a bagel, I saw everything I needed: yogurt and a banana. So, I took a little to go bag and headed back to my room to make a DIY sunburn soothing mask. It’s so quick, easy and helps a lot!


What you need:

1 Banana: the potassium helps to hydrate, vitamins B, C and E protect the skin, Vitamin A heals dry skin, and the amino acids help nourish and strengthen skin.

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt: Yogurt has moisturizing properties. It also has a cooling effect when applied to the skin and the zinc has antiinflammatory properties. The probiotics also help to get rid of and prevent infection.

The best part? Only 3 quick steps to sweet sunburn relief.


Step 1: Mash Banana in a bowl.

Step 2: Add yogurt to banana and mix. Place in fridge for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Apply even layer to sunburnt areas and let sit until dry, about 20 minutes. Gently rinse off in the shower or soak a rag and let it sit on mask for a minute before lightly wiping off.


I have to say, this mask saved me. It cooled the burn on my chest and took out some of the redness. Although my face wasn’t burnt, it helped moisturize and sooth my skin. Added bonus: if it gets on your lips it’s safe to eat and tastes pretty good!

What are your go to travel beauty hacks?

Have a Happy Monday!

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY: Rose Gold Elixir

With social media, it is so easy to fall into the trap of over hyped products. Scrolling through Instagram, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen using the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir. It seemed like every other picture was an influencer putting this on their lips and ending with flawless results. I managed to avoid the temptation because it was not sold in the US. However, as soon as it became available on Sephora, I shelled out the $54 for this magical serum.


Now, I’ve been using this for over a month. Do I like it? I do! Is it worth $54? I wasn’t convinced. After looking at the ingredients, I thought I’d be able to make a version myself for a fraction of the cost.


What you need:

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Rose Hip Oil

Orange Peel Essential Oil

Lemongrass Essential Oil


The receipts is so simple! I just use 1 tbsp of Pumpkin seed oil, 1 tbsp rose Hip oil, 6 drops orange peel and 6 drops lemon grass essential oils. Then, just pour mixture into a dark bottle and you are ready to use!

A few notes: there are two ingredients that I did not include. There are no scientific studies showing proven results of gold in skin care, so I decided to skip for cost. I also did not include vitamin e oil because it is debateable on the benefits it has for the skin. Finally, you will need to make sure you keep the serum in a dark bottle. This helps to protect the integrity of the oils. This recipe should last for at least 3 months due to the fact it does not contain any water.

Good skin care is a great investment. However, a lot of things you can make for a fraction of the cost in store. This serum is hydrating and always leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished. What is your favorite skin care item?

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY Dry Scalp Treatment

I have had problems with dry scalp on and off for years. Lucky for me, it can usually be remedied by using a hydrating shampoo or something like Head and Shoulders. Unfortunately for my husband, that hasn’t been the case.


It seems like no matter what he tries, he can’t get rid of his dry flakey scalp. It’s gotten to the point where people really notice. We have tried switching shampoos, using prescriptions and exfoliation. Unfortunately, nothing has helped long term.

So, he finally agreed to test out my diy dry scalp hair mask. It incorporates a mix of olive and coconut oil to hydrate as well as honey and a few essential oil.


What you need to make enough for two:

1/4 cup Coconut oil

1/4 cup Olive oil

2 tbsp 100% honey

Essential Oils I used:

6 drops tea tree 

6 drops Rosemary

4 drops Lavender

4 drops Peppermint

Check out my essential oils guide 

This dry scalp treatment is super easy to make. Just add everything into a bowl and melt together. You can use a microwave, but for best results I suggest using or creating a double boiler. Just fill a small pot with water and heat on stove. Then grab a glass bowl that can sit on top of and slightly inside the pot. 

Add honey to bowl and stir occasionally. Once melted, add in the oils. I melt the honey first because it has a higher melting point. Once everything has melted together, remove the bowl from the pot and set on counter to cool.


While the oil cools, it’s the perfect time to exfoliate your scalp. I like to take a brush and run it through my hair from scalp to tips. Like exfoliating your face, this helps to loosen and remove dead skin to prep your scalp for the moisturizing treatment.

Once the oil has cooled enough to not burn but is still warm, it is time to apply. I make sure to apply with my head over a bath tub or sink to catch any drips.


Basically, I just pour the dry scalp treatment on and massage it in. If you have longer hair, you will want to section your hair and pour the oil on bit by bit so as to cover your full head.

Now, just wrap you hair in a moist towel or shower cap and sit down and relax. I personally love to throw on a sheet mask and watch an episode of something on Netflix. Let the treatment sit for 30-45 minutes. 

When the time is up, rinse off in a warm shower. I like to soak my hair, lightly massage in the oil for a minute before using a moisturizing shampoo to wash away any residue.


Not only does this moisturize my scalp, but is leaves my hair so soft and shiny. As for my husband? He loves it! So far, his hair looks amazing! No more large white flakes or itchy scalp. He is definitely impressed.

What would you like to see next week? Let me know in the comments below.

Xoxo Sammie


 

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Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care

You have probably noticed, but I use a lot of essential oils. Essential oils are great for so many different things. I like to mix and match different ones for aroma therapy, but each one has different benefits for your skin as well. So, I figured why not make a list of my favorite top 10 essential oils for skin care so that way when you try a DIY, you can fully customize it for your skin’s needs.


Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care

Chamomile: My first thought when I think of chamomile is sleepy time tea. However, it is quite good for skin too. One of the greatest benefits is that is helps with scaring and blemishes. It can work wonders for people with skin conditions as it isn’t too harsh.

Eucalyptus: Perfect for dry skin, eucalyptus is commonly found in hair products. It has been shown to help with dry skin and dandruff. As for aroma therapy, it is quite calming and soothing. It is also a good option for many people with sensitive skin.

Frankincense: This oil is great for acne prone skin as well as mature skin. It can help reduce redness as well as make your pores appear smaller. It is also great to help reduce wrinkles and tighten the appearance of skin. Some say it has also been helpful is treating eczema and lightening stretch marks and acne scars.

Lavender: One of the most universal oils, lavender has benefits for every skin type. Not only is it great at reducing stress, but it is full of antioxidants. It has been shown to improve skin tone and help with signs of aging. It can also help some skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. It is suitable for most skin types.

Lemon Grass: This oil is a great natural astringent. It’s antiseptic and astringent properties make it great for achieving even, glowing skin. Its very popular to add to hair products as well. Perfect to help tighten the look of pores and your overall skin.

Orange: If you have dealt with adult acne, this oil is perfect for you. The high levels of vitamin C help to protect and heal the skin. It also has anti aging properties for the skin as well as fighting dark spots and wrinkles. Orange is antibacterial and anti inflammatory, so it is a great option to help with acne.

Peppermint: I love this oil not just for the benefits but also the scent. Because of the menthol, peppermint can have a brightening effect on the skin. This oil is also particularly good for oily, acne prone skin as it helps control oil production.

Rosemary: This particular oil is most commonly used in hair care. That being said, it has benefits for the skin as well. It has shown beneficial in treating eczema, acne and is helpful to dry skin. It is an oil that stimulates blood flow and has been shown to work well for mature skin.

Tea Tree: This oil is particularly great for acne prone skin due to it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This oil also has many healing properties. It is believed to help stimulate circulation. So, not only will it help cure acne, but more blood circulation means that it can also help scaring and other skin conditions. Take caution: it can be too drying for some.

Ylang Ylang: If you have dry skin and are looking for anti aging benefits than look no further. This oil is perfect for maintaining a healthy, youthful glow. It helps fight signs of aging and it is also an anti inflammatory.

As always, I recommend spot testing all essential oils on a small part of your arm or leg to make sure you will not have a reaction. You always want to dilute essential oils as well. I hope you find this guide helpful going forward. Soon, I plan have a guide for choosing the best skin care oils.

I have also made an easy to save or print chart to keep on hand. 

Essential Oils Chart (download)

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sammie

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DIY: Chocolate Mousse Body Butter

My husband has the worlds biggest sweet tooth. If he could, he would have cake everyday. In fact, there has been multiple times where he has said that the only thing he loves more than chocolate and coconut is me. So, I thought why not make something that combines his two favorite things?


Though it does take a little long than most of the recipes I share, there is only three ingredients.


1 cup Shea Butter

1/2 cup Coconut oil

1/4 cup 100% Cocoa Powder 


First, you want to melt your coconut oil and shea butter together. You can either do this on low heat using your stove top, or in 30 second intervals in the microwave. It is important that they melt together and that there are no clumps of shea butter left.


After everything is melted, leave the mixture on the counter to cool for about 20 minutes. After that, place in the fridge for another 10-20 minutes to help it firm up.


Take the mix from the fridge. If it is too firm, let it sit out for a few minutes. You want about the consistency of the room temp coconut oil to get the best whip.


Whip the mixture for 2 minutes. Now, add in your cocoa powder and whip until it is uniformly mixed. You want your body butter to look like fresh chocolate mousse.


And that’s it! Keep in an air tight container at room temp. The mix does not contain water, so it should easily keep for a few months.

Though it may take about an hour to make, it is well worth it. The shea butter and coconut oil are deeply nourishing. They can be a little heavy on the skin, but they will do wonders. The chocolate is detoxifying and makes this mix smell heavenly. This always  leaves my skin soft with a sweet scent, but with out feeling artificial.

Will you be giving this diy a try? What would you like to see next?

Have a great week!

Sammie

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3 Steps To Naturally Long, Strong Nails

I have always loved painting my nails. In high school I would often spend Sunday night creating fun nail art for the coming school week. I absolutely loved it, except I could never get my nails to grow out long and strong. My nails would chip, crack and flake. It was terrible! Even worse, I would spend hours creating nail artwork just to have it be ruined when my nails broke a couple days later. Eventually, I stopped painting my nails altogether.


Fast forward a few years into college and I started alternating between acrylic and gel manicures. I loved having long beautiful nails. That is, until it was time to take the manicures off. Acrylic and gel manicures left my nails weak, thin and brittle.


After many years of searching, I finally found the secret to achieving naturally long strong nails. The best part? It is a quick, easy and inexpensive.

First, we all know this, but you should drink lots of water. Now, you don’t have to drink a gallon a day, but you should really push yourself to drink a minimum of 8 glasses (64 ounces) a day. It will not only help your nails but also your skin and hair. Overall, it’s just a really good habit to get into.

Second, you need some good ole fashion vitamins. I always use to think that vitamins were kind of pointless. I mean how can something make such a big difference? The truth, it has completely changed my nails. All you need is a hair, skin and nails vitamin. I am currently using this one from Sam’s Club, but any brand will do.


My third, and final, step I use to achieve naturally long, strong nails is the CND Rescue Rxx Treatment. Guys, this stuff is amazing! I found this while looking for a product to save my nails after the last time I had acrylics. I really love it because I know about most of the ingrediants in it: Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Water, Alcohol, Keratin and Perfume. The only ingredient I was not familiar with was Sorbitan Oleate. A quick look at EWG.org informed me it is a low risk product that helps to mix the oils and water together.


I like to paint this on my nails once or twice a week when I think about it, or just as needed. All you have to do it paint it on and let it sit while watching an episode of Scandal. I definitely noticed a difference after only a week of use. I can’t recommend this product enough.

Thanks to these three products, my nails have never been better! I no longer have to spend tons of money at the nail salon and my nails stay almost effortlessly long and strong. I’ve also noticed that when my nails are healthy, nail polish lasts longer.


Other tips to keep your nails happy are to use a good moisturizer daily. I really enjoy First Aid Beauty and Cetaphil lotions. Also, use a nail file to shorten your nails instead of just cutting them. Make sure to file lightly and only in one direction instead of back and forth. Finally, be gentle. When typing, use the pads of your fingers instead of the tips. This will help from putting excessive pressure on the nail tip.

That’s all for today lovelies! I hope you find this helpful! Are there any nail products or polishes that you are loving right now?

See you Friday!

Sammie

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