How-to: Homemade Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

With Labor Day now behind us, it’s official—Summer is coming to an end, and boy is it about time! As you were attending outings with friends this weekend, I was creating my perfect ending to the season: a moisturizing, homemade exfoliant to slough off that dead, dreary skin and brighten my epidermis for Fall.

Ingredients + Supplies:

  •   Coconut oil
  •   Sugar
  •   Vanilla Extract (optional)
  •   Glass jar (b/w 6-10oz, mine was 8oz)
  •   Measuring cup
  •   Bowl + spoon (not shown)


  1. Pour water into your clean, empty jar. Once full, pour that water into a measuring cup to see how much your jar can hold. Your ratio for the mixture will be 2 parts sugar to 1 part oil. I.e. since my jar was 8oz (1 cup) I was able to divide it into 1/3 cup oil to 2/3 cup sugar.
  2. Once you’ve measured out your sugar, pour into a cereal bowl. Dribble in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or a few drops from an essential oil of your choice if you’re opting for a more scented scrub. If you’d rather forgo these additions, keep reading.
  3. Pour in the appropriate amount of coconut oil to achieve that 2:1 ratio. Stir mixture until all sugar granules are saturated in the oil. If you bypassed the scent additions in step 3, no worries—coconut oil is quite fragrant on its own. If you added scent, make sure that these are well-mixed-in too.
  4. Now that everything is thoroughly blended, it’s time to transfer your new scrub from the bowl to your jar. Literally as easy as spooning it in! (see me doing it below)
  5. NOTE: in picking a jar, be smart about it. Don’t choose anything too tall and narrow—you won’t be able to fit your hand to the bottom to use the last of your homemade product! Think of some that are more round and stout—think jars that hold jam or marinated artichoke hearts 🙂
  6. Enjoy your amazingly moisturizing new scrub in the shower, or slap a gift-tag on it and give it to a gal pal!

If you’d like to experiment with scents and oils I’d love to hear about your concoctions! Leave a comment with any variations or personal spins you put on your exfoliants.

Photos via my Instagram

How to Look More Awake & Bright Eyed

So your weekend proved to be a bit more exciting than restful, and your eyes are a dead giveaway on Monday morning. Instead of trying to avoid social contact, pop in some eye drops and try this makeup trick to brighten your face…but be sure to grab a cup of coffee, because this how-to won’t lift your mood, only your bags.

To start creating this look, apply an even layer of foundation to have a fresh face as your canvas:

1. MAC Paint Pot (Shown in Painterly) $18.50

2. MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Coverage Concealer (Shown in Light Beige) $32

3. NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eye Liner (Shown in Rue Bonaparte) $24

4. Givenchy Mister Bright Touch of Light Pen (Shown in Dawnlight) $34

5. Revlon Eyelash Curler $5.29 + Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara (Shown in Glam Black) $6.59



1. bareMinerals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush $20 NOTE: Only use if applying powder/mineral foundation or concealer. For shown concealer, use your finger tip

2. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush $26

3. SEPHORA Collection Classic Crease Shadow Brush #73 $16

  Apply concealer under your eyes by dabbing it repeatedly until blended. Dab quickly and lightly—smearing with your finger tugs on the gentle skin around your eyes and doesn’t blend as well.
  Using the crease brush, buff the primer into your lid from lash line to brow bone. This will even out the skin tone on your lid and mask any visible veins.

  Using the light liner trace along the inner 1/3 of each eye, subtly blending to the middle of each.
  Though the highlighter has a brush built in, opt for a finer brush for more precise application. Twist the bottom of the pen to push more opalescent product to the top and using your precision brush to apply over the area where you drew the liner and continue about 1/4 inch more towards the bridge of your nose. The reflective nature of the highlighter will bounce light, illuminating the skin around your eyes masking your tiredness while brightening. NOTE: I’m using a brush by Tarte that I’ve had for years and is no longer available for purchase. The Laura Mercier one shown above is similar.

  Using your finger dab a bit more highlighter onto your brow bone
  Curl your lashes in three places to “open” your eyes: 1. The base, along your lashline, 2. The middle of the lash, 3. The tips of the lashes
  Finally, coat your lashes with a lengthening mascara. I prefer plump lashes, so I opt for a volumizing + lengthening formula, but apply your preferred mascara. Apply one coat for simple definition, and pencil in your brows if needed (like mine). Voila!

NOTE: Why didn’t I do this trick using white eyeliner? Because it’s often over-applied and can make your eyes look farther apart instead of more awake. But if you want to try using white liner instead, by all means give it a shot. Just leave Cara’s look for the runways:

Model photos via, via, via

Summer’s Makeup Trend: Bright Pink Lipstick (How-to)

This trend has been around for the past few seasons, and best of all it’s functional now through the Fall. Of the many Summer/Fall beauty trends on display, this is by far the easiest to achieve. Per us, I headed to Sephora to get the low down on how to recreate it. I opted for a true pink variation: not pastel, neon, nor reddish-pink. That way, this post is applicable for readers of all skin tones. To start creating this look, slough off any dry, peeling skin from lips with a warm wash cloth or a toothbrush. Apply a thin layer of lip balm to soften lips and ease cracks. Have a fresh face as your canvas:

 

The idea of applying a beige pencil to your lips may look a bit ghoul-ish, but it provides the perfect canvas to allow the lipstick to really pop. NOTE: this is actually a long-wearing eye pencil, but my friend at Sephora swears by it for the staying power and I have to agree! If you’d like a toned-down version, skip this step.

  1. Using the eye liner and a steady hand, trace the defining line of your lips, being careful not to veer over onto your skin. Fill in all of your lips with the liner (both top and bottom).
  2. Apply the pink lipstick to your lips, however you normally would. Once your lips are drenched in color, make sure there is not a distinct beige line around your lips–a sign that you didn’t follow your natural lip line or you need to apply more lip stick. Add another coat of color for ultimate saturation.
  3. As your last step, clean up around the edges for any remaining product that may have smeared.

Voila!

Collaged photos made by me, taken via 1,2

How to Look Good Without Makeup On

Above: models from the Louis Vuitton F/W 2011 show, all without makeup. This was a bold move for the fashion house: while these are just a sampling of 10, the brand’s website boasted all models they casted for that show sans makeup (how many do you recognize from above?). Many women find refuge behind a mask of makeup; I fit into that category only until very recently within the past two years. It takes courage and confidence to wear no makeup when we’re often told and shown images of women made exceptionally beautiful by makeup. Today’s post is for the ladies who are wanting to take that initial step into the makeup-free abyss, but aren’t sure how.

Today is the start of Hell Week for those of us in undergrad. At my school, today is the last day of Fall classes; Final exams start Monday. This was an incentive for today’s post: While in the midst of finals, who has any time or energy to do their makeup? It’s pointless to “put on your face” just to type papers and spend what seems to be endless hours in the libs…I mean, the library. Below are a few tips that make going au natural easier than any exam you’re studying for! 😉

1. Shape Your Brows

Your eyebrows essentially frame your eyes as well as your whole face. Keeping them maintained is one of the easiest ways to look groomed without cosmetics. Whether you opt for a bold, strong brow or a simple groomed arch, make sure they’re defined. No bushiness or stray hairs. You’re simply not wearing makeup, you haven’t stopped caring!

2. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate

I’m not encouraging you to scour your face, but I recommend sloughing off dead skin at least twice a week. I’m now in the habit of scrubbing every night simply as an effective way to get my makeup off, but it has more benefits than that. When you exfoliate, you’re removing the top layer of dead skin cells to ensure that your “new” layer of skin has the chance to give you that glow. Without exfoliating, dead skin can give you the look of ruddiness, dull complexion, and make dry skin look even dryer. I also find that the smoother your skin is before you moisturize, the better the moisturizer maintains that smoothness.

3. Moisturize

It goes without saying that you should be moisturizing everyday. Whatever your routine is, make sure you’re maintaining it—think of one day without moisture like one day without water. Your skin is parched! This is the best way to ensure for that dewy glow you’re looking for. To accommodate my extra dry skin, I’ve bumped up my winter routine by adding 3-4 drops of avocado oil with my moisturizer in my hand before I apply. I’ve been doing this for just under a month now, and I have not had a flake on my face since!

4. Brighten Your Whites

There is no better way to look awake (without the help of mascara) than by ensuring that the whites of your eyes are their brightest. Simply use 2 drops for each eye in your morning routine, and you’re good to go. Brightening those pearly whites will also make people stop and stare. In a sea of chain smokers and heavy drinkers, you’ll sparkle when you flash your newly whitened teeth on exam day. Many college kids don’t think about their teeth, but think of how much you talk, smile, laugh, and have people looking at your mouth. Let’s make sure it wows them when your makeup isn’t there to. Opt for an at-home whitening kit (you can wear them while studying in your dorm room!) unless you have the cash to get a professional job (or you scored a deal on LivingSocial recently).

5. Hydrate from the Inside Out

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it, but a healthy complexion starts with your diet. I’m not going into detail about foods you should/shouldn’t eat, I’m simply encouraging you to drink more water. It’s a huge challenge I face too, but when I do it I fall in love with the results. It minimizes blotchiness, reduces redness, and makes you have this plump radiance that you noticeably are lacking on days you don’t drink gobs of water.

6. Confidence

No, this isn’t something to apply, smear, or blend. This is something you need to wear all day to rock no makeup. If you are self conscious while not donning foundation, don’t do it! You’ll feel uncomfortably insecure all day—I know, I’ve been there. You have to ease yourself into less makeup if this is new for you. Maybe start with no eye makeup, only foundation, and progress from there with whatever you’re comfortable. If you’re ready to rock a fresh face then hold your head high. Let people see the real you. If someone says, “Oh, I didn’t realize how many freckles you have,” or “I never noticed that birth mark before,” thank them. They’re finally seeing the true you.

 

As you begin studying and spending endless hours under fluorescent lighting just remember, some of the women we most adore actually do go without makeup on occasion, too. It’s just that the photos aren’t often seen. Below are some of the biggest models in fashion. 1. Heidi Klum, 2. Gisele Bundchen, 3. Adriana Lima, 4. Kate Moss, 5. Cara Delevingne, all sans makeup (click on each for enlarged images):

 

Good luck to everyone on exams! I hope to see your radiant makeup-free faces on campus!

 

Banner photo via, model photos via 1,2,3,4,5

Winter Skin Rx

Just because “the weather outside is frightful” doesn’t mean your skin has to be! Cold temperatures don’t do our skin any favors. From loss of moisture to wind chapping, cracking and splitting; to scales, flakes, and peeling…need I continue?

Not everyone experiences the same type of skin troubles during Fall and Winter, but here are a few tips anyone can benefit from:

  • Switch It Up

Nix oil stripping cleansers + toners during colder months. This goes for both face AND body. The best way to tell: if you use a particular product during the warmer months because you enjoy how refreshing it is, how you look less greasy, etc. opt for a creamier, more moisturizing formula. Also, consider switching your highly scented body wash for one with oils or oatmeal to soothe itchy, dry skin. Many fragrances are alcohol based, and that is never hydrating.

  • Turn DOWN the Heat

Don’t be tempted to increase the temps in your shower/bath. Hot water strips skin of its natural oils. But make sure to moisturize immediately after on DAMP SKIN. The moisture on your skin’s surface will help the moisturizer absorb and do its job a bit better. Think of it like this: with a little extra moisture on your skin’s surface, the lotion/oil has even more hydrating properties to take with it through your skin layers. Hello hydration!

  • Fight Flakes

I should learn to follow my own advice, but: DON’T PEEL (believe me, I’m well aware of how tempting this is!). Instead just buy a heavier moisturizer and moisturize damp skin (see the point above). If you’re unsure of which “heavier moisturizer” to buy, see if your daily moisture lotion comes in a cream formula, or a “for dry skin” formula. When exfoliating: don’t buy natural scrubs for your face. Harsh, jagged, crushed nut shells will do more damage than good. Look for spherical exfoliating beads within the cleanser; they’ll be much gentler to your beautiful face. As for other troublesome areas: I prefer natural scrubs for my body. I always try to look for oil-based scrubs because after sloughing off the dead skin you’re left with silky softness before you even exit the shower.

  • Hydrate from the Inside Out

I think this is just a rule of thumb, but maybe for some it’s not…yet: Eat healthy to keep your skin glowing from the inside out. Green tea, water-based fruits (think: melons + cucumbers), and foods high in omega-3s (check out nuts, legumes, tuna, and salmon) all do wonders for moisturizing your skin. And, as always: Drink plenty of water!

  • Pamper Your Paws

I’m sure your frost bitten fingertips and worn out heels could use a little TLC. To show your digits a little lovin’ exfoliate both hands and feet, slather on a rich moisturizing cream or oil, and slip on cotton gloves and socks for overnight absorption. You’ll wake up to pampered paws!

  • Don’t Skip Your SPF

Even though the temperatures have gotten colder, the sun still has the same effects. Do not let this half of the year be your excuse to avoid applying SPF. While you may be able to cut back on the SPF number during these months (because, really, you’re not going to enjoy your lunch break at an outdoor café any time soon), don’t skimp on it all together. Many daily moisturizers now offer a range of SPF protection, so you can pick and choose what is right for you without having to apply Banana Boat before work. If you are one of those ladies who loves the outdoors and outdoor activities all year round, do not let your SPF number decrease. Are you a skier or snowboarder? Think of the snow as a giant reflector for the sun. Make sure to reapply!

  • Keep Moving

Staying as active as you were in the warmer months will allow you to maintain your rosy glow—and it won’t just be from frost bite! Colder temps will definitely put a damper on your normal outdoor workouts, but don’t let that stop your routines all together. Keeping your blood flowing, your endorphins high, and heart rate up will make you (and your skin) much happier than remaining sedentary.

  • Bathe Less Often

Ok, this may be a bit extreme for some, but at least cut back on the duration that you are bathing. The less amount of time you spend in the scalding hot water the less drying your shower will be. I understand you really don’t want to give up those glorious mornings basking in the steaminess, but think of how amazing your skin will feel once you actually cut down on your shower’s duration.

 

 

If you’re looking for any additional alternatives to aid winter skin or suggestions for any of the 8 points above feel free to contact me—I am more than happy to answer all readers’ questions to the best of my abilities 🙂

 

Photo via