DIY Stress Relieving Whipped Body Butter


Photo via Poppy Talk 

In the interest of full disclosure, here’s a little tidbit of information about me – I’m as high strung as they come and have battled varying degrees of anxiety for years. I’ve been a chronic worrier since I was a kid, and while some days are more challenging than others, I do feel that over the years I have found a few things that make me feel better and keep me calm. Some of these things include yoga, going for a brisk walk, painting, or lighting scented candles and taking a bath. These are little comforts for me and I believe that self-pampering and aromatherapy really help to soothe my mind and body. I love essential oils and I find that certain scents have an especially positive effect on my mood. Lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, and vanilla are my favorites and when they are combined, they instantly send me to dreamland. Essential oils also have a lot of effective beautifying properties as well, so what better way is there to reap their stress-relieving benefits than by using them to make an all natural body butter? This particular recipe results in a rich, whipped texture that reminds me of white chocolate mousse, although trust me, you don’t want to eat it. With only two ingredients comprising the actual body butter, it is really easy to make, and you can totally customize this recipe with your own essential oil combinations if you’re not a fan of my soothing blend. It’s totally up to you! Read on for a stress-free mind and super soft skin!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Shea Butter
  • 3 Drops Rose Absolute
  • 1 Tsp Rose Water
  • 1 Drop Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Vanilla Absolute
  • 1 Drop Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

DIRECTIONS

1 // Measure the coconut oil (it should be solid) and shea butter into a medium bowl. Add rose water and stir with a spoon until well blended.

2 // Blend the buttery mixture with egg beaters or a hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Set aside. 

3 // Add essential oils to your partially whipped mixture. Blend further until stiff peaks form.

4 // Spoon mixture into an empty and clean mason jar. Store in a cool dry place. If you’re giving it away as a gift, feel free to dress the jar up with dried rose petals, lavender buds, ribbon, and/or twine. Get creative! 

5 // Enjoy your gorgeously floral scented, silky smooth skin!

If you give this a try, let me know what your verdict is! Also, I’m always on the lookout for beauty DIYs, so please let me in on a few of your favorites!

xoxo,

Alicia

Splurge & Save | High End & Drugstore Beauty Favorites


I don’t think that it’s any secret that I’m a huge beauty junkie. While I do have a ton of different make up, skincare, and hair products littering my vanity, they aren’t all from high-end, trendy brands. There are certain products that are worth splurging on, just as there are a few holy grail drugstore items that rival even their most pricey counterparts. From my splurge-worthy swear-bys to the diamonds in the rough, these are the best beauty products out there, regardless of your budget. 

SPLURGE 


1 // Fresh – Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream

I am a bit of a night owl and so a good eye cream is a must for me. This anti-aging formula brightens my eyes and makes me look like I’ve gotten a good eight hours of sleep when really I’ve only gotten five. It also packs an anti-aging punch with star fruit extract and tons of antioxidants.

2 // Urban Decay – Naked Eye Shadow Palette

This is the holy grail of eye shadow palettes. It has it all – neutrals, blues and purples, metallics, and mattes. Whatever my mood, there is a delightfully high-pigmented shadow ready to go. It also never creases and lasts for ages. This palette may be a little pricey but it’s worth every penny and when mine bites the dust, you can bet that I will buy another ASAP. 

3 // Benefit – The Porefessional Face Primer

Seriously, this stuff is better than any foundation I have ever used. I don’t even need foundation after using this primer. It goes on like silk and blurs pores and imperfections until all you’re left with is baby smooth, porcelain doll-like skin. Add a touch of mascara and some tinted lip balm and you’re good to go!

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon

This is my favorite eyeliner. Why? It goes on smoothly, doesn’t tug at the delicate skin around my eyes, is highly pigmented, and it lasts all day long. It is also self sharpening. Why is there even such thing as eyeliners that you have to sharpen yourself in this day and age? But for real, this eyeliner looks as fresh at 8 pm as it does 8 am. Give it a try and see why it’s perfection itself.

5 // Fekkai – Salon Professional PrX Reparative Mask

The key to silky smooth strands is hydration. Fortified with hair-nourishing vitamins and Argan extract, this vanilla scented hair mask penetrates deeply into each hair shaft to smooth and condition, leaving it lustrous and soft. It also never hurts when your hair smells like sugar cookies. 

SAVE


1 // L’Oreal Paris – Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

I have tried many mascaras, from high-end designer to cheap dollar store versions. This inexpensive formula is one of the best out there. It leaves my lashes thick and fluttery. There’s practically a breeze when I bat my eyes. Bambi eyes are just a few clicks away. 

2 // Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Addiction

This is the perfect matte lipstick. It glides on like a gloss and then dries to a plush, velvety magenta hue that brightens my face and makes me look polished and pretty. It also doesn’t dry my lips out which seems to be a common problem with matte and long-lasting lipsticks.

3 // Neutrogena – Hydro Boost Water Gel

Lightweight and cooling, this is my absolute favorite moisturizer in the summertime. It is formulated with purified hyaluronic acid and this gel formula sinks into the skin right away and deeply hydrates without leaving a greasy residue. It keeps my skin looking fresh and supple, but never shiny.

4 // Olay – 4-in-1 Combination/Oily Daily Facial Cloths

While I love indulging in a multi-step skincare routine on most days, sometimes I’m just too exhausted to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Enter these delightfully multitasking cloths which whisk away makeup (even waterproof mascara), oil, dirt, and debris while toning my complexion, all in one go. They are absolutely perfect for low-maintenance ladies. Now there is no excuse for going to bed with a face full of makeup!

5 // Garnier – SKINACTIVE Micellar Cleansing Water (All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover & Cleanser)

I’m sure you’ve heard of micellar water before – you know, that skincare product that all the models claim to use religiously and that every magazine raves about. It’s like this magical potion from heaven that takes off all of your makeup, cleanses and conditions skin. The best part? You don’t have to rinse it off! This formula is super gentle and removes literally everything, even my waterproof mascara. It’s like unicorn tears in a bottle. Lazy ladies, rejoice!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you have any favorite luxe/cheap beauty products that you think I should try? Let’s talk beauty! 

xoxo,

Alicia

Chocolate Face Mask DIY


Photo via Hello Glow

Let’s face it – most of us are addicted to chocolate. And while my favorite way to indulge with this sweet treat is to eat it, cocoa (what chocolate is made from) is actually packed full of antioxidants and other nutrients that are great for your complexion. This mask DIY is inspired by the ever-so-popular Cupcake mask from LUSH, but with my own tweaks to make it more moisturizing and suitable for my dry and sensitive skin. It’s comprised of only five ingredients and most of them can be found in your fridge. So kick back and relax with this super indulgent mask, a glass of wine, and your favorite Netflix series. Just try not to eat it! 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Kaolin Powder
  • 1/2 Plain Yogurt
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Absolute
  • 1 Tsp Honey 

Cocoa Powder – Rich in antioxidants, cocoa powder helps to detoxify your skin of the harmful free radicals in the environment. It gives the skin a healthy glow while keeping it supple and youthful.

Kaolin – This absorbent clay sops up excess oil and purges skin of impurities. 

Plain Yogurt – Unsweetened yogurt soothes irritated skin and acts as a natural moisturizer. The lactic acid also acts as a gentle exfoliant, dissolving dead skin cells.

Vanilla Absolute – This yummy smelling essential oil calms redness and gives the skins a more even appearance.

Honey – Honey has been used for centuries as a natural moisturizer and antiseptic. Not only does it zap zits and kill bacteria, it also acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the environment and into your skin. 

DIRECTIONS

1) Measure out the dry ingredients (cocoa powder and kaolin) and set aside in a small bowl. Mix until the kaolin and cocoa powder are well blended. 

2) Next add the yogurt, vanilla absolute, and honey. The mask should have a paste-like consistency that is similar to icing (it will smell like icing too!). If you don’t like the consistency of your mask, customize it by adding more yogurt or more kaolin. 

3) Spread the mask over your entire face, avoiding the delicate area around your eyes. Leave on for ten minutes, then wash off and apply moisturizer. 

4) Enjoy your silky soft, matte skin!

If you give this mask a try, let me know what you think in the comments! I hope you enjoy it!

xoxo,

Alicia


may-beauty-picks

May Beauty Picks

This month I have been all about stepping out of my comfort zone. Nude lipsticks and bold metallics have been all over my radar lately and I am happy to say that I have found a few favorites that are now on regular rotation in my beauty routine. After all, playing it safe everyday gets pretty dull, even when it comes to something as simple as makeup! So with that in mind, here are my top five beauty finds this May, from the holy grail for curly hair to your eyebrows’ new best friend.

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1 // Renpure – Coconut Mint Curly Cleansing Conditioner

I’m sure I’ve reiterated it a million times, but curly hair needs plenty of hydration in order to be healthy and manageable. This cleansing conditioner totally fits the bill and quenches my parch strands with oodles of extra virgin coconut oil. It’s also completely free of sulfates and other nasties that are often found in shampoo, so it doesn’t strip my hair of its much needed natural oils.

2 // Pixi by Petra – Endless Silky Eye Pen in Opal Overcoat

This shimmery pale gold liner gives me a well rested look instantly. It also glides on easily and lasts all day (fading eyeliners is my biggest pet peeve). It looks great on its own or layered over a darker colour.  Weird but true, this also makes my lips look really full when I use it as a lip liner. Simply use it around your natural lip line and then blend before putting on your lipstick. Angelina lips in an instant!

3 // Mellow – Creamy Matte Lipstick in Nude

Nudes are tricky for me. It’s not easy to find the right shade as most either wash out my fair complexion or make my lips look like they are coated in a too dark foundation. This has subtle mauve undertones which gives it just the right amount of colour. It’s natural looking and very flattering, giving me that no-makeup-makeup look that is so hard to achieve. The formula is also very rich and creamy which is rare for a matte lipstick. It honestly feels like a balm!

4 // Benefit – Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

This is kind of a magic wand. Seriously. Beautiful defined brows have a way of framing your entire face and making you look polished even if you don’t have any other makeup on. This gel formula has microfibers which adhere to your skin and brow hairs, making your brows look fuller in a subtle and natural way. If you shy away from eyebrow pencils and powders, give this gem a try!

5 // Naked Cosmetics – Metallic Eye Shadow in Heavy Metal

I love rose gold. All rose gold things are alright with me. I recently received this shadow in an Ipsy Glam Bag and it is one of my favorite products I have ever gotten. It’s highly pigmented, vivid, and it shimmers like crazy. It’s not a shadow that I would wear everyday, but it’s perfect for a night out when I want to shine bright like a diamond.

What is your holy grail of beauty products? You know, that one product that you can’t live without? Let’s talk beauty.

xoxo,

Alicia

Love For Lemons

Lemon-Fashion-Collage

There are a ton of reasons to love lemons. They make drinks taste better, they smell lovely, and they can even be arranged into beautiful centerpieces. One thing you might not know is how fantastic these vitamin-C packed fruits are for your skin and hair. Their naturally astringent properties make them an excellent natural solution for battling blemishes and oily skin. They are chock full of vitamin C and antioxidants which help to keep skin bright, youthful, and glowy. Lemon juice has also been used for centuries to give hair natural highlights. This citrus fruit is a serious overachiever. One might even say it’s the Beyonce of the fruit world.  If you’re not yet convinced, then you need to give one of these 7 beauty gems a try.

lemon-beauty-products

1 // Bliss – Lemon + Sage Body Butter

Not only does this ultra-rich body cream smell delicious, it’s also incredibly hydrating and nourishing with antioxidants like vitamin A and E. Unlike a lot of moisturizers out there, this baby will keep your skin silky soft all day. Although you will probably want to reapply because of the uplifting, sunshine-in-a-bottle scent.

2 // Mod Bath and Body – Lemon Cupcake Whipped Sugar Scrub

I’m all about baths and this sugar scrub makes tub time even more indulgent. The sugar base naturally sloughs away dead skin cells, leaving your skin smooth and smelling like lemon cake. Say yes to dessert.

3 // Jack Black – Lemon & Shea Butter Intense Therapy SPF 25 Lip Balm

Chapped lips don’t stand a chance against this heavy duty lip balm. It goes on light but absorbs quickly, replenishing your parched lips with a surge of moisture and SPF protection. I love the non-greasy formula and the fact that it smells like lemonade.

4 // Mullein & Sparrow – Lemon Rose Face Wash

From the minimalistic bottle to the luxe formula, there’s nothing about this cleanser that I don’t love. Astringent lemon cuts through oil and grime while rose soothes your skin and calms redness. Tough yet gentle, consider this the good cop, bad cop duo for your skin.

5 // EOS – Active Protection SPF Lemon Lip Balm

People, myself included, often forget about their lips when they are applying sunscreen. There are few things that hurt more than a burned, blistering pout. This sweet smelling lip balm hydrates with shea butter and jojoba oil and protects with SPF 15. Multitasking beauty products are where it’s at.

6 // Tom Ford – Fleur De Portofino Eau De Parfum

Spritz on this floral fragrance and escape on a olfactory vacation to the Mediterranean. Sparkling Sicilian lemon and bergamot open the spectacle, before softening into a opulent white floral bouquet with a touch of sticky honey and vanilla to make the flowers in the heart all the more soft and sweet. A gorgeous, feminine fragrance that is perfect for spring.

7 // Tony Moly – I’m Real Brightening Lemon Sheet Mask

Sure, you’ll look like Jason from Friday the 13th,  but this sheet mask will make your skin look and feel radiant in a matter of minutes. Forget a coffee, this lemon-infused mask will make your complexion look instantly fresh and wide awake. You know what they say – when life gives you lemons, rub them on your face.

Have you tried any of these products? Are there any that I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments! 

xoxo,

Alicia

april-beauty-picks

April Beauty Picks

So I really had quite the opportunity to discover new beauty products this month. Why? I lost my entire bag of makeup in a cab on the way home from my friend’s house. Cue the violins. So after I had a good little cry (kidding, not kidding) I had to go out and stock up on all new beauty essentials. The silver lining of my taxi tragedy was that I found a few gems that I absolutely love. From a mascara that can withstand sweat, rain, tears, and naps, to a luxe serum that has pearls in it, these are my five favorite beauty finds of the month.


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1 // Artistry – Ideal Radiance Illuminating Essence

First things first, this serum is a freaking godsend. My cousin Marina actually introduced me to Artistry when she began selling the line and I instantly became intrigued by its quality and cult-like following (Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez are fans). It was difficult to choose which products I wanted to buy, but I ended up settling on this one. My skin is pretty clear but I have always been prone to blotchiness and dullness. With antioxidant packed ingredients like acerola cherry and skin-soothing pearl protein and flower essences, this oil free serum has already made my complexion brighter and my skin tone more even and fresh looking. It’s a splurge at $133 but I think it’s worth every penny.

2 // CoverGirl – LashBlast 24HR Mascara

If there is one thing I never leave the house without, it’s a few coats of mascara on my lashes. My biggest pet peeve however, is when it flakes under my eyes and I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. This is one of the few mascaras I have found that looks as fresh at 7 pm as it did when I applied it at 7 am. It makes my lashes full, long, and lush and doesn’t flake at all. The only flaw? It’s a bitch to take off. I find coconut oil does the trick though, and it’s a small price to pay for fresh, fluttery lashes all day long.

3 // Revlon – Kiss Balm in Berry Burst

I’m more of a lipstick gal than a balm girl, but this tinted formula is kind of like a hybrid between the two. It’s super hydrating and leaved a pretty wash of colour on my lips that brightens my whole face. It’s also SPF 20 which is an extra bonus. I love this for when I don’t want to have a dramatically bold lip but I still want a little colour.

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

I love this eye liner for the same reason that I love CoverGirl’s Lashblast 24HR Mascara. It. Lasts. All. Day. Long. I truly hate when my eye makeup smudges and this highly pigmented gem never fades. Unlike the mascara, this is super easy to wash off. It glides on easily and can make my eyes look subtly defined or sultry and dramatic. It’s pricey at $33, but I love, love, love it.

5 // Artistry Essentials – Pore Cleansing Masque

My favorite thing to do after work is as follows: light a few candles, switch on Netflix, apply this mask. My face always feels a bit greasy at the end of the day and this deep cleansing mask is perfect for soaking up excess oil. With mineral clay, brightening ginseng, and nourishing copper and zinc, this reaches deep into my pores to pull out dirt, debris, and sebum. It also tingles in a very satisfying way that makes me feel like it’s really working. I use this two or three times a week depending on what my skin needs, and it leaves my complexion soft, smooth, and matte. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, but as always, you should always spot test a mask before slathering it all over your face.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Au Naturel

I have a ton of beauty products littering my life, ahem, vanity. Despite this fact, every now and then I like to put my Martha Stewart pants on and mix up my own skin elixirs using time tested natural ingredients, most of which can be found in my kitchen. What’s great about making one’s own beauty products, aside from it being a lot of fun, is that you can decide exactly what goes in it. This means that there will be no nasty preservatives or cheap, irritating ingredients coming in contact with your skin (mineral oil is the WORST and is in so many store bought moisturizers). You can also customize your potions to better suit your skin type, whether you have ultra sensitive skin or your complexion is a little more on the oily side. Below are four of my go-to beauty DIYs. They can all be made in five minutes out of four ingredients or less. So slice up some cucumber for your eyes, light a scented candle, and pamper yourself with an at home spa day.

matcha-rose-yogurt-face-mask

1 // Matcha Rose Face Mask

Matcha (finely ground green tea) is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. Rosewater is a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated) and has anti-aging and antibacterial properties that keeps your skin soft, supple, and youthful. Plain yogurt is incredibly soothing and helps to hydrate your skin while calming redness. This mask is very gentle and excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I like to do a mask like this two or three times a week to keep it in tip-top shape.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the mask turns a pale green and is a creamy consistency. Spread it evenly over your face and leave on for 15 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and apply a light moisturizer to lock in the hydrating effects of the mask. Easy peasy.

honey-lemon-sugar-scrub

2 // Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

Honey has natural antibacterial and moisturizing properties, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting both acne and dry, flaky skin (combination complexions, this is your holy grail). Brown sugar softens skin and sloughs away blockages and dead cells, while olive oil deeply hydrates. Lemon juice is great for balancing oil production while brightening dull, tired skin. This scrub can be used on the face and the body. If your skin is sensitive, ease up on the lemon juice as it can be irritating for temperamental complexions. This is great for deep cleansing the skin, keeping it looking glowy and radiant. Because of the astringent lemon juice and scrubby sugar, I would not use this scrub more frequently than once or twice a week.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Enough olive oil to get a fluffy consistency

Combine ingredients in a bowl until you get a fluffy, snow-like consistency. Customize the mixture depending on your skin type – if your skin is dry, add more honey and olive oil, if your skin is oily, add extra lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply a light lotion to make your skin even more soft. Your face will feel like a baby’s tush, no joke.

balancing-witch-hazel-lavender-chamomille-toner

3 // Balancing Witch Hazel Toner

Toner is an important, but all too often skipped step in most people’s beauty regimes. This simple version only has three ingredients but powerfully cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Witch hazel, a potent natural material in many clarifying skincare products, helps to kill acne-causing bacteria while balancing oil production. Lavender soothes the skin while acting as a mild astringent, and chamomile tea calms redness and irritation. Use this toner before bed to prep your skin for your moisturizer. Get ready to say ‘bye felicia’ to your pimples.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of witch hazel
  • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 cup of chamomile tea (brewed and cooled)

Mix all of the ingredients well and strain into an air-tight bottle. Keep your toner stored in the fridge to keep it fresh – plus keeping it cold adds to the tingly-clean sensation you will feel when you use it. After cleansing, apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse it off and allow it to sink it before applying your moisturizer. This is my favorite toner and I find it really helps to ward off pimples, even during shark week when my hormones make me breakout like cray.

coconut-argan-hair-mask

4 // Coconut Argan Hair Mask

If you have dry or curly hair like mine, this deeply hydrating mask is a god-send. Even if you don’t, it will help to keep your stresses glossy and softer than a baby bunny. I’ll tell you right now, the consistency is gross and it doesn’t smell great. I hate the smell of raw egg, but it is incredibly nourishing and helps to smooth the hair follicles while strengthening your strands and preventing breakages. Coconut and argan oil are also fantastic lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeply into each strand, keeping your hair hydrated and unbelievable shiny. I use this mask once or twice a month (although I could stand to use it more) and it totally bans frizz, keeping my mane smooth and silky. I am also very prone to split-ends and this mask really prevents my strands from breaking, meaning that my hair stays a lot healthier in between hair cuts. It is worth braving the slightly unpleasant smell, and after you wash it out you will be rewarded with gorgeous, mermaid hair. You simply have to suck it up and let your hair soak it up.

Things You’ll Need

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp argan oil
  • 1 egg

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave so that it is a liquid consistency. Whisk it together with a whole egg and the argan oil and apply to your hair, focusing especially on the ends. Wrap your head in a shower cap (or towel if that’s all you have) and let the mask soak in for 30 mins to an hour. Afterwards, wash the mask out of your hair and shampoo and condition as you normally would. After using this mask, I like to apply leave in conditioner to enhance its hydrating effects. That being said, you don’t need to, and if your hair is oily you would be better off skipping it. Let your hair air dry and resist the urge to make everyone around you touch your silky soft hair.

What did you think of these DIYs? Do you have any all natural beauty recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia