DIY Beauty: An at-home facial in 6 simple steps

Being short on time or strapped for cash is no excuse for neglecting your skin, especially as the humidity lifts and cold weather sets in.

Try this DIY facial; it’ll work wonders for a dull, dry winter complexion!


1. Cleanse. Using warm water and a mild cleanser, gently massage face to remove all traces of makeup and dirt. One of my favorites is an old standby, Cetaphil ($10), which won’t disturb skin’s natural pH balance or strip it of natural protective oils or emollients.

Source Spa Sonic

Source: Spa Sonic

2. Exfoliate. Removing dead skin cells keeps them from blocking pores, evens out skin tone and decreases the appearance of wrinkles and sunspots. You can do this manually with a scrub, or get fancy with a device like the Spa Sonic Skin Care System Face & Body Polisher (regularly $60, but check Target for special promotions).

I’m not a fan of dropping $100+ on a Clarisonic, so the folks at Spa Sonic asked if I’d like to give their device a whirl. The result? Smoother skin at a fraction of the cost. Not only is it waterproof (any fellow shower multitaskers?), but it comes with five attachments for head-to-toe touch-ups: a big brush for the body, pumice for rough areas on (ahem, runners’) feet, facial sponge for microdermabrasion and two small brushes for the face. I’ve added it to my weekly regimen, and it’s been especially great at getting rid of that pesky film of makeup that wipes and washcloths always seemed to leave behind.

3. Steam. Buying a steam machine is unnecessary, and leaning over a hot pot of water on the stove is downright dangerous. Instead, fill a sink with hot water, add a few drops of your favorite scented oil, such as lavender (to relax), peppermint (to energize) or eucalyptus (to clear nasal passages), and lean over it with a towel draped over you head to trap the steam for 10-15 minutes.

4. Nourish. After splashing your face with cool water, apply a mask of your choice to target your specific skin troubles. My go-to? Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($9), an easy — and inexpensive! — way to draw out impurities and temporarily tighten pores.

5. Tone. Refresh and restore skin with this all-natural homemade toner: In a blender, combine 1/2 cucumber with three tablespoons witch hazel and three tablespoons rosewater (or substitute distilled water). Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any chunks, then pour liquid into a clean bottle. Store in the refrigerator; it should last about two weeks.

6. Hydrate. Finish by gently massaging a moisturizer into your face and neck using upward and outward movements. Typically, the colder the weather, the thicker and creamier my moisturizer, but if you have sensitive skin, I love Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer ($9) because it’s enriched with vitamins B5 and E, but doesn’t contain any dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals. And don’t forget to slather on some sunscreen (at least SPF 15, but ideally SPF 30) before you head outdoors!

How does your skin care routine change with the seasons? 

(Thanks to the folks at Spa Sonic for providing a sample for review; all opinions are my own.) 

DIY Beauty: Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Source: Indie Lee

Source: Indie Lee

Fall is in the air, along with one of my favorite seasonal scents: pumpkin!

Drink it in a latte, eat it as a slice of pie or slather it all over you body with this scrumptious Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub from Indie Lee, creator of the namesake eco-chic and all-natural skincare line.

Inspired by her fan-favorite Coconut Citrus Body Scrub, Lee whipped up this autumnal treat to get sun-stressed skin ready for the crisp months ahead.

See the image above for ingredients, and here are the directions for indulging in this guilt-free pumpkin polisher:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients until fully blended.
  2. Add coconut oil and pumpkin pie mix (or canned pumpkin, if you can’t find the mix), blending until smooth.
  3. If scrub is too runny, add more sugar to get it to desired consistency.
  4. Cover the scrub and let it sit for an hour before using.
  5. Discard of any unused portion.

For more natural beauty tips like this, visit

DIY Beauty: Soak away sore feet

foot soak

After a long day on your feet (or an intense run), there’s nothing that’ll keep those tired dogs from barking better than a tried-and-true remedy: Epsom salt.

Athletes swear by the stuff, which is used in all sorts of soaks to help relieve pain, reduce stiffness and get rid of odor.

It’s one of my favorite parts of the post-run ritual; just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and you’ll be good to go in no time at all.

Soothing Epsom Salt Foot Soak


  • Water (heated to a comfortable level)
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • Essential oil of your choice
  • Unscented lotion


  1. Fill a bowl with enough water to cover feet (test temperature with your hands first!)
  2. Dissolve Epsom salt in water, and add a few drops of essential oil (my favorites: lavender to relax or peppermint to energize)
  3. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry and moisturize, adding a few drops of essential oil into your lotion

DIY Beauty: Honey yogurt oatmeal mask

oatmeal maskOatmeal: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Soothe stressed-out skin in a cinch with this easy, inexpensive mask, which utilizes yogurt to brighten, honey to retain moisture and oatmeal to heal dry, itchy areas.

When I’ve got more time, I like to paint it all over my face pre-shower and let the steam work it’s magic. Super simple, and great for even the most sensitive skin!

Honey Yogurt Oatmeal Mask


  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey, warmed with a hot spoon


  1. Mix ingredients together so they form a paste
  2. Apply a thick layer all over clean face (yes, the mask consistency is lumpy!)
  3. Leave on for about 15-20 minutes or until mask is almost dry
  4. Rinse off with warm water, using fingers to gently scrub skin with oatmeal
  5. Pat skin dry, and finish by applying your favorite moisturizer

SKINutritious Lemony Kale Salad

Photo credit: Daily Candy

Photo credit: Daily Candy

Just ask Kermit – it wasn’t easy bein’ green…until kale came along.

Thanks to this leafy superfood, the most-loathed color in the food pyramid has now risen to rock-star status.

Doctors may tout its transformative powers for inside the body, but holistic aesthetician Elise May recommends it for how it impacts the outside, as well.

Her favorite kale salad was recently featured in Daily Candy, and it’s so simple and so yummy, I couldn’t resist re-posting it here.

SKINutritious Lemony Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch dinosaur/lacinato kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Toasted pepitas, avocado, gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional)


  1. Wash kale and remove stalks. Slice thinly and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. With clean hands, massage dressing into kale for several minutes until leaves soften. Let sit for 5 minutes to soak up the flavors.
  4. Top with toasted pepitas, avocado and gluten-free breadcrumbs, if you so choose.
Photo credit: Daily Candy

Photo credit: Daily Candy

Want more of Elise’s skintastic recipes? Download her Skin Detox eCookbook here, and keep an eye out for the second edition, due later this summer.

DIY Beauty: Honey-yogurt facial

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

When it comes to DIY beauty, my grandmother passed down these words of wisdom:

“What’s good for the inside of you is good for the outside of you, too.”

So while I have yet to find a kale facial (don’t worry; I’ll keep you posted), there’s another cheap and easy fix that uses everyone’s favorite protein-packed, probiotic snack: Greek yogurt.

Not only does the lactic acid help smooth fine lines and even out skin tone, but yogurt’s enzymes can also help remove dead cells and exfoliate your skin.

Add a spoonful of honey to help skin retain moisture, and you’ve got a simple at-home masque that stacks up against even the spendiest spa versions.

Honey-Yogurt Facial 


  • 3 Tbsp plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey


  1. Mix ingredients together in a small bowl
  2. Apply to face evenly in a thick layer
  3. Leave on for 15 minutes
  4. Rinse off with warm water

DIY beauty: Mint brownie body polish

Mint Brownie Body Polish

Fellow chocolate lovers, here’s one of my very favorite indulgent treats – with zero calories.

Not only does it smell heavenly, but it will also leave arms, legs, heels and elbows feeling perfectly pampered in virtually no time at all.

The toughest part may just be restraining yourself from eating it straight from the jar

Mint Brownie Body Polish


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 drops peppermint extract


  1. Mix dry ingredients in small bowl
  2. Incorporate olive oil into dry mixture one teaspoon at a time
  3. Add peppermint extract, and stir again
  4. Store in an airtight container

To use, simply scoop out a small handful and use it to gently exfoliate dry skin pre-shower before rinsing off with warm water.

This recipe makes enough for approximately two or three uses, but you should discard any remaining scrub after about four weeks.