Beauty

How To Pamper Yourself This Weekend Without Breaking the Bank

“Self-care” is all the rage, and while much of it is necessary for a healthy and holistic life, more often than not, we don’t have the time, or simply can’t seem to justify the price-tag. That being said, showers are my ME time!! I take long, hot showers at night, and they are my favorite 20minutes of the day! Evening showers are my time to unwind– Winn is asleep– and I can relax, pamper myself, or just ZEN! Lately, three products have made this time even more luxurious, and they’re each under $20, so you’re not breaking the bank.



Fun fact, because I usually shower at night, I almost never use a hairdryer– healthier air dried hair FTW! Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Collection is everything you’d want in haircare and you can find it at your local Ulta or Walgreens. Get sexy windswept hair through tropical coconut oil & sea kelp that’s sulfate free, and moisturizing! This is in no way sponsored, y’all, I just genuinely enjoy this product line that much! If you trust me, go buy the entire collection now, it includes Moisturizing Shampoo, Conditioner, Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, Soft Waves Sea Salt Spray, Texturizing Cream, and their Texturizing Dry Shampoo (FAVE!) for only $35.



As you know from last year’s post on Beauty Detox, I’m always keeping an eye out for cleaner non-toxic beauty options– however, they need to do their job and they need to do it well. Recently, I stumbled across Patcha Soap Company, and their whipped soap scrub is GOLD!!! Dead Sea Mud whipped with natural exfoliants like sea salt, pumice, and volcanic ash, this scrub is not only deeply cleansing, but leaves your skin feeling smooth & rejuvinated! Patcha Soaps are crafted in the U.S. with no synthetic fragrances, SLS, sulfates, or parabens, and are cruelty free. In addition, Pacha Soap purchases help fuel “clean water initiatives, small-scale soap shops and other sustainable ventures in developing countries!” Naturally, I found this gem at Whole Foods, and despite our living near a city-sized Whole Foods, they still manage to keep a handful of scents stocked at all times. So far Dead Sea Mud is my favorite offering a deeper scrub, but I’ve also tried their French Lavender, and Limited Edition Holiday scent– both were incredible!



This year I made it my goal to prioritize skincare. However, the products I love are luxury items with a price-tag to match. I justify this, because when it comes to scrubs and masks, I often make these at home. These DIY blends are incredibly easy to make, are cost effective, and offer an opportunity to pamper your skin with natural ingredients that are chemical and toxin free. Simply mix the following 4 ingredients at a 1:2 ratio, you’ll need brown sugar, baking soda, your favorite face cleanser (I use Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleanser), and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I use lavender and frankincense for their calming & firming properties). Fold your cleanser in well, and you should see a whipped butter-like consistency begin to form.



If you’re new to baking soda as an exfoliator, it’s finely ground yet hard making it effective at removing dead skin cells without causing too much irritation. In addition, it’s acid neutral. Personally, I’ll make a jar’s worth of this scrub at a time, but I don’t use it every day. I talk more about How to Curb Winter Skin here, but simply put, too much of anything can be a bad thing, so try every 2-3 days to start. For an even deeper scrub, apply scrub with minimal water to start.



Personally, I struggled for years to find a scrub I loved on the market, they were often to rough, had too many chemicals, or simply didn’t live up to their promise, which is what led to this recipe in the first place. It should go without saying that everyone’s skincare needs are unique, but this combination has proven to be a trusted part of my regular skincare routine, even if I change up the cleanser. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

 



10 Tips to Curb Winter Skin


I have normal to dry skin, with occasional eczema outbreaks. Winter is not my friend. 

To make matters worse, during last fall I developed a common, but annoying pregnancy symptom known as itchy skin. While there are rare cases in which itchy skin can indicate liver complications, for me this was no more than a change in blood flow and hormones (plus a growing baby & stretching skin). Nevertheless, more than any other symptom this one drove me mad, and eventually I was forced to make some changes.  

After an in depth look at my skincare routine and some inevitable trial and error, I was able to find a few options to ease those winter blues. Below are some helpful tricks I developed along the way… 

 

Hydrate:

H20, but you already knew that... Regardless, during winter, add more– especially if pregnant! Not only does water keep us feeling hydrated, but it also helps on a deeper level aiding in metabolic function, muscle function, appetite, and overall immune health. If you get bored with water (9months will do that), try adding lemon or other natural fruits/veggies. 

Check your ingredients:

I was lathering myself in moisturizers to no avail. I’d been using the same products for years, and while I believed them to be clean & safe, eventually I had to swap some out for milder alternatives. At the time I went so far as to switch to organic baby wash and moisturizer, but have since found more mainstream & budget friendly alternatives. Bottom line, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Also, check EWG’s product ratings or download the ThinkDirty app for quick reference while shopping. 

Keep it simple:

While it’s not necessarily convenient, consider coconut oil as a moisturizer. This isn’t your best option if seeking to get out the door quickly, as you’ll have to let the oil soak in for some time. Personally, I like to shower at night, so taking a little extra time to towel dry and wrap myself in loose PJs isn’t a big ask. Full disclosure, I’m not the most patient person, so most days I mix one part coconut oil to one part moisturizer.

Multi-Task:

I use coconut oil for everything, including makeup-removal– works wonders on mascara. I know some have complained about breaking out while using coconut oil, but that’s never been the case for me, plus it’s a natural anti-microbial, so the clean freak in me can’t think of a better skin remedy. While I use coconut oil on my body almost daily, I only use it on my face a couple times a week (and a little goes a long way). If coconut oil’s not for you, consider adding another face oil. Personally, I’ve had great experiences with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and all 3 of Beauty Counter’s Face oils. I prefer adding this step after I shower when pores are clear. Like I said, I tend to shower at night, and I like knowing nothing will be layered over this treatment until morning. In general try to let each of your skincare products settle into your skin before adding another. 

Hit Snooze:

For most of my life I washed my face both at night and in morning. There’s no alternative to washing your face at night– ask any esthetician, and they'll confirm you should never fall asleep with all that makeup. That being said,, you can skip the morning wash. Pending you keep clean linens and pillows, there’s really no need to wash up come morning, as doing so will only strip your skin of all those good natural oils it's developed overnight. Think about it, when is your face most dewy & glowing? Hold onto that glow, girl! If wrapping your mind around this one is still a hurdle, consider a moisturizing toner instead of face wash. You’ll still feel refreshed while avoiding a total loss of benefits. 

Wear a mask:

This recommendation is as much for your hair as it is for your skin. I try to include a face mask every 1 to 2 weeks – like I said, not the most patient person, but it always leaves my skin feeling tighter and refreshed. I’m better at treating my hair. I have yet to find a natural hair mask I love, but my quick rescue option gets the job done. Try Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle–  you’ll see immediate results. Also, quick gym trick: If your gym has a steam sauna, wash your hair before entering, lather it in conditioner, but skip the rinse (for now). After a relaxing steam, complete your shower. Having allowed for that extended heat conditioning will lock in moisture in a whole new way! 

Avoid unnecessary heat:

Fun fact, I don’t even own a hair dryer– probably another reason I like to shower at night. Don’t get me wrong, some days I crave the convenience of a quick blowout, but I’ve also noticed a significant change in the life of my hair since making this change. The difference in split ends alone is mind blowing! I still use a curling iron and flat iron, but again I try not to use it every day. Think style one day, then dry shampoo and updo the next. 

Exfoliate thoroughly, but not daily: 

This is a tough one for me, because I love a good scrub, but you can overdue it, making skin vulnerable to irritants & infections. Use a scrub to rid yourself of dry skin, but give yourself a break for a day or two after. This applies to both shower and face scrubs. When choosing a face scrub, invest a little more and opt for a fine grain scrub. I recently had an esthetician warn me that rough grain scrubs manipulate your pores making them larger over time. No thanks! As for body scrub, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just amazing, and there’s no better scrub than Frank Coffee Scrub. You can thank me later ;)

Rethink your make-up routine:

If you typically use powders, consider switching to tinted moisturizers or liquid foundations. There are also great cream blushes, highlighters, and lip stains available that will leave your skin feeling much softer throughout the day. 

Refresh:

Remember there’s nothing wrong with a quick refresh. I love a good face mist no matter the season! I’ve tried a lot of options in the past, and typically only refresh a couple times a day, but lately my favorites are Beauty Counter’s Brightening Mist & Herbivore's Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist. These are great options to carry in your gym bag or purse and can serve as a perfect moment of bliss in an otherwise chaotic day. 

Beauty Detox

Let me preface by saying “I didn’t want to be that mom”– ha!...

We talk about health and wellness a lot, but I'm actually extremely skeptical, and while I try to practice clean living, I would have my limits. That being said, women are known to make significant health changes during pregnancy, be it diet, exercise, personal care, etc. In general, I eat well, workout regularly, and make safe product purchases for our home. However, when it comes to beauty products, I get protective, and with good reason– organic/natural beauty products don’t tend to perform well! 

So, why are we talking about this?…. 

Studies have found over 200 toxins present in umbilical chord blood at birth! This is the same umbilical cord that serves as lifeline for months leading to delivery pumping approximately 300 quarts of blood to your baby each day! The chemicals found in this channel are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, some cause cancer in both humans and animals, and others have a history of causing birth defects. No pressure, right?… 

Naturally, after learning this, I made some additional improvements to the cleaning products around the house, fine tuned our grocery list, and started to dabble in more organic body wash/lotion. However, it wasn’t until I had my makeup bag stolen and was forced to replace my entire makeup collection that I finally decided to give safer beauty a try. 

Like many of you, I’ve had friends reaching out to me about Beautycounter for over a year, and I’d kindly dodged each invitation, until one unexpected friend joined the conversation. I say she’s unexpected, because she’d be the last person to act like as saleswoman, she’s extremely logical, down to earth, and honest– no gimmicks here, what you see is what you get (I love friends like that!).

From a marketing standpoint, I’d been skeptical about Beautycounter in part due to their fear-based messaging, and I made this known. Her response? “Yes, but shouldn’t there be a little bit of fear in how comfortable we are with the chemicals we allow in our daily products?”… She had a point. The US hasn’t passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. As a culture, why are we so comfortable with this?

She then introduced me to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), an organization that seeks to educate consumers about toxins in home & personal care products. On the EWG site you’ll find a toxicity rating scale of 1-10. Use their Healthy Living App to search any product, and you'll get a rating with chemical breakdown and explanation. Knowledge is power, and I spent a good hour reading about every product in my makeup bag. To my surprise, the number one product I use on a daily basis, an expensive moisturizer I’d been raving about and even convinced my mother to start using, scored a 10/10 on the toxicity scale. Whether I wanted to or not, in that moment, I knew at least some things had to be replaced. 

Beautycounter is committed to banning any questionable or harmful chemicals from it’s products, including a list of over 1,500 chemicals that they refuse to work with. That being said, they're not some no-name homemade label, in fact, last year Chanel's very own Xavier Ormancey, made the move from Paris to Santa Monica as Beautycounter's new Head of Product Development.

Nevertheless, moving away from my previous makeup routine was harder than expected, In some weird way, I felt attached to what I knew, my previous products wore well, my skin responded well, and they looked great. Therefore, being a reasonable person, I decided to begin by replacing any products that scored above a 5 on EWG’s rating scale. 

Here’s the fun part… Beautycounter’s new are here! These little sets are the perfect opportunity to test out a variety of products at a bargain, and they make for the cutest stocking stuffers! 

Personally, I went into this with a lot of skepticism, but after a couple months of using these products, I’m actually really impressed. In fact, while I was home for Thanksgiving, I had my mom and sisters try out some of my favorites, simply because of how good they feel on your skin! I'll admit, the contour kit isn’t nearly as pigmented as my previous collection, but the colors are beautiful and they feel so much nicer and lighter!

As a personal trainer, one of the main things I look for are products that can outrun a day at the gym, and I'm happy to say that every item i've tried so far has passed the test.

I've linked below to each of the items I've personally tried, but if you'd like to learn more, I'd love to answer any questions, or connect you with my friend, Rachel :)


Friday Favorites

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1.  HAPPY FRIDAY - Guys, I cannot tell you how long I've searched for this image. I think I first spotted this crazy zebra on Ruelala's Facebook page, but when googling a party zebra all that would ever result were zebra themed parties. Not the same thing. Needless to say, if this little diva doesn't bringhten your day, I don't know what can! // Happiness //

2. NARS - I recently found a NARS lip pencil I'd lost, and now I don't know how I was living without it! You all know, NARS is my go-to lip label, but this pencil is on a whole other level of awesome! The coverage lasts incredible long, which is huge in my book, and because of its glossy finish, you get the best of both wearing a lipstick and a gloss all in one! The pencil format is perfect for when you're on the go, and beacause it's not a "heavy" coverage it'll be perfect for spring & summer! Next on my shopping list, a coral shade & I'm thinking it's gonna be Happy Days...

3. ROASTED CHICKPEAS - This is my new obsession! The only downside? I can eat my way through two cans of chickpeas in no time! Hard to realize how much your actually eating when the roasting process shrinks the chickpeas & they taste amazing! The perfect salty cruch you've been craving, plus a dose of spice- if you're into it. Did I mention how easy these are to make? All you need is 2 cans of chickpeas ($2), a little bit of olive oil (I never measure), spices to taste, and lime juice! Sarah's recipe is much more descriptive, but I've been experimenting with my own little recipes and you simply can't go wrong. Foolproof cooking- always my favorite!

4.  REFLECTIONS - On Tuesday evening I came down with a cold, and I'm convinced that being sick is God's way of telling us to be still. Not kidding, I spent most of Wednesday confined to my bed, and while much of it was spent sleeping, I did get to do some reflecting. If you know me (or my Pinterest), you know I'm a sucker for a good quote- always have been, always will be! Words matter, and statement well spoken is worth noting. My friend, Kathryn is an extremely talented graphic designer, and one of the sweetest, thoughtful, & most creative people I know. Kathryn is constantly encouraging me through her Instagram & I'm not even sure she realizes it (trust me, this is one you should follow). If there's one thing I've learned through "style blogging" it's that you have to have your head on straight, and you have to be confident of your identity. This quote reminds me why this is so important.

5.  WANDERLUST - Serious wanderlust going on in my head lately, but what surprised me is where it all led. With this extended winter in Chicago, I would never guess that I'd be itching for a trip back home, but after some lengthy Pinterest wandering all I want is a good hike and camping trip; throw in some fishing and a good fire & I'm perfectly content! Trust me, this is not where I thought this wanderlust would lead, and I won't be following through until we're well into summer, but I am definitely looking forward to a trip back home and getting to show you just how beautiful Alaska is!

That's all in this week's recap, hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

xo