VANILLA CLOVE DIY BODY OIL SPRAY

Hello Lovely,

I always thought it would be cool to make my own scent. When I went to the VIVA conference, I did that but forgot to take a particular ingredient out and it ended up tainting the entire scent making it useless. But when I did make it, it was a delicious spice scent that kind of reminded me of cookies baking while you admire a fresh pot of flowers. (Weird combination I know). So after that epic fail, I decided to try again with simpler ingredients that anyone could find in their kitchen pantry (minus the sweet almond oil base).

Even my brother admitted that he liked the smell of this and he generally ignores my existence. So I think we have a winner!

I plan on gifting this to my sister-in-law as a thank you for everything she's done to help me out these past two years. I also plan on buying more sweet almond oil from Whole Foods so that I can make more of this over the holidays to bring back for friends. Here's how you can make your own.

CAUTION: You just might attract that special someone to meet you under the mistletoe if you wear this!

Vanilla Clove DIY Body Oil Spray

  • 1/4 cup almond oil (walnut or jojoba oil would also work)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla essential oil.
  • 2-3 drops clove oil or 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • A small spray bottle

Combine all of the ingredients. I prefer to let the whole cloves sit in the mixture for about 5 minutes, just to infuse the scent. Remove the cloves and pour into a small spray bottle (you should definitely use a funnel for this, I ended up spilling some of mine). If you’re not smelling enough vanilla, go ahead and add a 1/2 teaspoon more.

My hand was a little heavy on the vanilla extract, so this smells very vanilla-y. I hope that's not a problem for her. If you go heavy on the vanilla, use the spray sparingly because a little goes a long way, trust me! I was really tempted to keep this one for myself. Who would you gift this to? Share with us in the comment section below!

3 Tips for Protecting Your Hair at Night

3 Tips for Protecting Your Hair at Night

Caring for your hair as you sleep is just as important as caring for it when you’re awake, and even more-so because what you do before bed can be the difference between your curls being on point and being a big matted mess in the morning. Whether you’re rocking a TWA or waist-length Locs, it is important to protect your hair as you sleep in order to retain moisture and preserve your style. 
 

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Clinique 10 Day Cleanse Review

One of the things I like the most about beauty stores in the United States is Freebies! It’s one of the easiest and guaranteed ways a customer or potential customer will walk out of a store smiling.  On that beautiful Thursday, I was that girl when I walked out of Macy’s with a little bag of trinkets including a 10 Day Cleanse Kit.   Having this, I decided to skip my regular cleanse routine of natural and commercial products, to this simple 3 step process for the next 10 consecutive days.  I was nervous and excited to try this and couldn’t believe I was trusting my skin to a brand I hadn’t ever used for cleansing.

This skin care trio was specific to combination/oily skin and featured has a liquid facial soap, clarifying lotion and moisturizing gel.  Ranging in size and texture, I liked the fact that the items came in a cute little box with an instructional booklet on ingredients and manners of usage so I didn’t have to do much research on what to do.  Here is my review of the products:

Pros

  • I loved the color distinction between each item, which helped to keep things succinct

  • There was still an average of 50% product remaining in the bottle after the 10 days which was a pleasant surprise.  Although the bottle sizes did look deceiving tiny, I’m still using it many days later

  • It only takes an American dime per product use, twice per day, on my face.  

  • Each product had a smooth, texture and a pure feel

  • My skin had become clearer and retained its smooth texture during these 3 days

  • Each item had a clean almost floral scent that was inviting and gave me a little boost when I used it

Cons

  • The Clarifying lotion was the most difficult to use.  With no further instructions than use twice per day, I had to discover online that it was supposed to be used as a toner, which involved dabbing it onto a cotton ball and lightly sweeping it across the face.  I actually had a much better result of carefully placing spots of the lotion on my face , massaging in using a circular motion and allowing it to absorb in.

  • At times, the facial cleanser was not able to remove eyeliner product from my eyes, but once the area was washed a second time, it would  be completely removed

Overall Score: 4 out of 5

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with this system.  I normally don’t follow a routine of products from the same brand, and prefer to use mostly natural products, but I do understand the advantages of not mixing items.  My face felt and looked very clean in a pure way and rarely did I have to reapply.  The clarifying lotion took the place of my usual apple cider vinegar toner and did so with positive results.  I am considering buying the full size products of this system and using it as my regular routine.  I would recommend liquid facial cleansers to anyone as it can be massaged easier onto the skin, doesn’t clog pores or irritate the skin due to the lack of exfoliators.  It’s also important to always moisturize your face after it’s cleanse as this will help to rehydrate your skin.

I give Clinique two thumbs up on this one! How many steps are in your facial cleansing routine?  Do you prefer bar or liquid cleanser?  

XoX,

Strawberry Refining Mask

Hello Lovely,

Need a fun and easy way to love your face? With summer around the corner, the quest for showing off polished skin is inevitable.  Commonly we start with the area that everyone sees on first contact: our face!  Exfoliation is the key to polished skin and offer so many health benefits.  Exfoliation is the removal of dead or dry skin cells found on the surface of the skin.  By removing these, you increase blood circulation and reveal the healthy glowing skin underneath.

Exfoliation can be done twice a week at the most, for body and face.  Exfoliating too often can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to redness or dryness.  A fun way to exfoliate your face us with a strawberry almond scrub.  It’s the right balance of ingredients as Almonds and strawberries are great for improving complexion and preventing sun damage.  Together, these contain vitamins E and C, Salicylic acid and powerful enzymes.

You can easily store this in the fridge in a 5 – 10ml sample container for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 2 almonds (thinly sliced and minced)

Directions:

  1. Place the strawberries in a small container and mash thoroughly using a fork until the berry blend is as smooth as possible, with very tiny pieces of fruit.  
  2. Ensure that the almonds are thinly sliced and minced before adding , as we wouldn’t want the mixture to be too coarse or chunky for the skin.  
  3. Apply on cleansed skin and leave on for 5 – 7 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Pat dry.

Which strawberry skin benefit would best help your skin?  Do you use other fruit masks?

XoX,

 

Hydrating Aloe Body Butter

I’m soo happy to pull out ‘the forgotten mixer’ I received as a wedding gift a few years ago.  I had only used it a few times, mostly due to the lack of counter space at our current residence.  It’s the Kitchenaid brand which is known for quality , elegance and speed but is also quite a heavy piece of equipment.  Since December of last year I’ve been eager to create a body butter that was whipped to perfection.  I haven’t received my essential oils as yet but I’m happy to say that today, I was able to make my first batch.  This three ingredient body butter will moisturize and heal your skin naturally with the Vitamin A, E, fatty acids and UV ingredients found collectively in these ingredients.  With sunnier days fast approaching, this would be the perfect daily must have.

As an option you can add 2-3 drops of your favourite essential oil for a preferred scent otherwise the butter will smell like shea butter.

Aloe Body Butter

Ingredients

  • Fresh Aloe Vera Gel (1/4 of a piece of aloe gel from the leaf)
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. Raw Shea butter

Directions

  1. Blend the aloe vera gel in a mixer or blender until smooth and bubbly (approx. 10 minutes depending on the power and speed of your mixer/blender).  
  2. Once the gel has reached the desired texture, add the remaining ingredients and let mix until it has a whipped, fluffy texture with peaks.  
  3. Place into an airtight container and keep in your fridge or in a cool dark area for preservation.  You now have a body butter that you can use after your shower in the morning and evenings that will help with maintain softness and a glow in your skin.

What other skin must haves do you keep handy? Share your natural beauty must haves in the comment section below and if you're planning on adding this DIY to your beauty regime.

XoX,

How Using Aloe Vera has Helped My Skin

Hello Lovely,

Growing up in the Bahamas, we’re surrounded by natural plants provide the best in skin care. I’ve always loved having these in my backyard.  The Aloe Vera plant offers many beauty properties inclusive of amino acids, water content and vitamins; it pampers and heals skin easily.  Receiving an aloe leaf as a gift, I used parts of the gel as a simple but soothing face mask.

Here are 5 benefits of using Aloe Vera gel:

1. It treats sunburn and acts as a moisturiser. 

Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, the skin heals quicker. Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel, so it`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion. For women who use mineral-based make-up, aloe Vera acts as a moisturizer and is great for the face prior to the application to prevents skin drying. For men: Aloe Vera gel can be used as an aftershave treatment as its healing properties can treat small cuts caused by shaving.

2. It treats acne and fights aging. 

Aloe Vera gel contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin in aloe Vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring. As we age, everyone begins to worry about the appearance of fine lines and the loss of elasticity in their skin. Aloe leaves contain a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated.

3. It lessens the visibility of stretch marks. 

The skin is like one big piece of elastic that’ll expand and contract as needed to accommodate growth. But if the skin stretches too far, too fast (due to pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss) the elasticity of the skin can be damaged. That’s what leaves those unsightly stretch marks. These marks appear due to minor tears in the layers of the skin caused by sudden and excessive stretching. Aloe Vera gel can help hide these stretch marks by healing these wounds.

4. It's nutrient rich for good health. 

This solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, amino acids and salicylic acid. 

5. It aids in digestion. 

The internal benefits of aloe Vera are supposed to be just as amazing. The plant is said to improve the digestion and to relieve ulcers. The juice is also prescribed for arthritis and rheumatism.

Here is how I use it:

  • Peel Aloe Vera leaf by removing prickly sides and top skin.  

  • Using a very sharp knife you can thinly slice the aloe from the leaf or scoop it with a spoon and place in a small bowl.  Blending can also assist for a smoother texture.  The gel can also be use directly from the leaf.

  • Place a small amount of gel on your face (previously washed) and let sit for 10 – 15 minutes.  Rinse with cool water for a soft and refreshing feel.  

This is one of the easiest and most rewarding masks that I’ve tried and highly recommend it.


What’s your favorite use for Aloe Vera?  Have you used this mask before?

XoX,

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LIP BALM WITH JUST TWO INGREDIENTS

Hello Lovely,

February has been a big month for birthdays. Not only did I celebrate a birthday, but three of my girlfriends have birthdays in February. With so many birthdays in such a small space of time, a girl needs to have a plan for getting everyone a gift! The best gifts are handmade and personalized; and if it’s one thing my girls will enjoy, it’s beauty with benefits. The best part? This personal DIY only requires 2 ingredients to make, so it’s budget-friendly too.

Today I’m showing you guys how to make your own lip gloss using a tutorial I found on Paper n Stitch. All you’ll need is Vaseline and any flavor of Kool-Aid of your choosing. Everyone knows that Vaseline is perfect for scrapes and burns, but did you know that Vaseline makes a great lip balm? I’ve been using it as a lip balm for over a decade now and it’s so much cheaper than Chapstick and the EOS balms. And since I started using it consistently, I haven’t had a single cold sore. Plus, when other lip balms lose their moisture, Vaseline can last for hours. Have I sold you on its benefits yet? Awesome! I used Cherry and Strawberry Kiwi. I was trying to get a cherry red, but it turned out purple. I stored them in disposable gelatin shot cups with lids.

How To:

1.      Start by adding petroleum jelly to a small microwave safe bowl. Then microwave on high for 30-45 second intervals until melted, stirring in between. You want it to be clear without any clumps. For me, it took three one minute intervals to get the clumps out completely.

2.      Next, add Kool-Aid powder to the melted jelly slowly while stirring, until you reach the desired colour. This will also give the lip balm a tasty flavour.

3.     Once the Kool-Aid is completely mixed with the melted jelly, scoop it into screw top pots and let them return to a solid state overnight. It doesn’t actually take that long, it should be ready after an hour.

Now, they’re ready to be given as gifts or kept for yourself.

 

Love your skin: Greek Yogurt Face Mask

Hello Lovely,

What’s yummy enough to eat but even better for your skin? Greek yogurt!  This invigorating commodity packs more nutrients and essentials over the regular yogurt , which your skin will love.  Its thick texture contains protein which is vital to cell growth as well as alpha hydroxy and lactic acids which dissolves dead skin cells and diminishes fine lines.  It's perfect for sensitive or combination dry skin. When added with honey, it provides a natural glow from the inside out.  I’ve used this recipe after a bad sunburn and it provided an overall cool feeling and radiance that I needed.

Greek Yogurt Face Mask

Ingredients

  • 1 (6oz) Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 med. fresh Lemon wedge


Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Use your fingers or a small brush to distribute evenly on face and neck.  This can also be used on the chest area above your bust or on arms if using to relieve sunburn.  You can use immediately or place in the fridge for additional coolness.  Let the mask rest on the applied area(s) for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water to ensure the pores are tightened. Pat lightly with a towel and moisturize after.

Let us know how you like this face mask! Try it and comment below.

XoX,


 

Love your body: My Favourite Natural Soaps for Nurturing Skin

Hello Lovely,

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Being a big supporter of natural skin products, I wanted to try natural soaps.  The first time I used the Sea Salt and Olive Oil soap from Kiss My Face was in 2015. The result was smooth and moisturised skin but also a slippery tub, so be very careful when using oil-based products.  The key to selecting the right natural soap is not only finding your favourite scents (lavender, vanilla, orange) but also the best ingredients for your skin such as:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids - fruit acids which reduce fine lines and provide gentle exfoliation

  • Shea Butter - reduces flaking, redness or peeling

  • Olive Oil – a natural healing oil with vitamin E and antioxidants

  • Sea Salt - can help balance, protect and restore the skin as well as remove irritation

  • Coconut Oil – a nourishing oil that is rich in fatty acids

  • Tea Tree Oil – a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and  antimicrobial Some studies have even shown that Tea Tree Oil is as powerful against acne as benzoyl peroxide

  • Aloe Vera – detoxes you from the inside out as well as an anti-fungal

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I’m happy to say that the majority of these ingredients are found in the Nubian Heritage brand.  They have a wide collection including Coconut & Papaya, Carrot & Pomegranate as well as Raw Shea Butter soaps. The company is a firm believer in coconut oil in the majority of its soaps.  I was looking for a moisturising and nourishing cleanser for my skin, minus the harsh chemicals or dyes so I selected the Peppermint & Aloe and Goat’s Milk & Chai soaps based on the ingredients and the effect I wanted on my skin.

The Goat’s Milk & Chai was very nurturing and soothing for my skin.  Having sensitive skin, I was happy to find a soap made specifically for this skin type. The combination of rose petals, extract and water provided a light perfume scent and added a floral feeling to my usual shower.  The combination of goat’s milk, coconut oil and organic Shea butter left my skin feeling soft and supple.

The Peppermint Soap had more of a refreshing effect, with the crushed almonds providing exfoliation.  The baking soda left a squeaky clean feel as its alkaline nature acts as a cleanser and toner for your skin.  I always felt very clean and buffered after using this soap.  The soap also included Aloe juice and Sweet Almond Oil.  

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Overall these products have had a better effect on my skin than unnatural, commercial soaps and I wouldn’t turn back.  I used them only on my body, not my face. I would recommend the Kiss My Face and Nubian Heritage brands as good starters but there are many other natural brands out there.  Use the list above to help find the best natural soap for you and give us your review.

XoX,