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

Ingredients: 

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

Directions: 

  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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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: Stonyfield.com

Photo credit: Stonyfield.com

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 

Ingredients: 

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

Directions:

  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

Ingredients: 

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

Directions: 

  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.

DIY beauty: Honey and olive oil hair mask

Photo Credit: National Honey Board

Photo Credit: National Honey Board

Summer is hard on hair. Between drying heat, scorching sun and harsh chlorine (plus the usual damage from coloring and styling), it’s a recipe for tresses that are a real mess come fall.

So now’s the perfect time to take preventative measures with this homemade hot-oil treatment.

Using honey, a natural humectant, plus olive oil, a rich emollient, this DIY mask not only conditions hair and makes it easy to comb, but it also adds shine and prevents breakage.

The best part, though?

You already have both ingredients in your cupboard!

DIY Honey & Olive Oil Hair Mask

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Spoon honey and olive oil into a microwave-safe container

    Just two ingredients, and you're on your way to healthier hair

    Two ingredients to healthier hair

  2. Dampen hair slightly, but not to the point where it’s dripping
  3. Microwave mixture for 30 seconds. Remove and stir to combine

    HoneyOilHairMask2

    Be careful – it’s be deceivingly hot once microwaved

  4. When cool enough to touch, work a small amount at a time through hair, roots to tips
  5. Cover well-coated hair with plastic wrap before wrapping head with a towel

    HoneyOilHairMask3

    The aftermath…the pursuit of beauty’s not always pretty

  6. Let the mask work it’s magic for 30 minutes before shampooing in the shower
  7. Repeat monthly to revive dull, dry hair

Of course, I had to get over the  initial “ick” factor of combing some very sticky honey through my damaged, delicate strands.

But once I saw the results – gorgeous, shiny, super-soft locks – I’ve been hooked on this easy, at-home treatment.

Not bad for a half hour and just a handful of ingredients from your pantry!

DIY Beauty: Instant Egg White Face Lift

face-mask_LifeAuraDotComLooking for a quick and easy way to tighten skin and freshen up before a big event?

Check out this all-natural recipe from Indie Lee, founder of her eponymous all-natural skincare line Indie Lee & Co, for an at-home, instant face lift.

What you need:

  • 1 cold, fresh medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

How to make it:

  • Separate the egg, keeping the white (toss yolk and shell)
  • Whisk egg white and cornstarch together in a small bowl
  • Apply to clean skin, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off

Helpful tips:

After applying the mask, try to lie on your back or gravity may pull the mask downward. Also, as the mask hardens you will not be able to move your face very well. Don’t be alarmed; as soon as you splash warm water on your face, it’ll soften up.

Is your nail salon safe?

healthynails

Keep nails looking – and feeling – good by being choosy about where you get your next mani/pedi

A trip to the nail salon is usually associated with something positive, be it a special occasion or mid-week treat.

But while most establishments follow strict cleanliness and disinfection guidelines, others throw caution to the wind – putting you at risk for unsightly (not to mention painful) nail fungus, bacterial infections, plantar’s warts and more.

So what can you do to prevent a potential mani/pedi predicament?

First, look for the following when visiting a salon:

  1. Does your nail technician have the necessary experience and/or license, if required?
  2. Are the stations clean?
  3. Does the nail technician wash her hands between clients?
  4. Are there dirty tools lying around?
  5. How well do they clean their tools?

Next, consider the following advice from board-certified dermatologist Phoebe Rich, MD, FAAD, a clinical adjunct professor of dermatology at Oregon Health Science University in Portland:

  • Wait to shave your lower legs until at least 24 hours after getting a pedicure
  • Consider purchasing your own tools and bringing them with you to the salon
  • Check that the pedicure foot baths and filters are thoroughly disinfected between uses
  • Avoid reapplying the same color if nails have become yellowed and discolored from polish
  • Steer clear of strengthening polishes, which may make nails more prone to breakage
  • Do not wear artificial nails to cover up nail problems (e.g. fungal infections or brittle nails)

Finally, if the salon does not appear clean…choose another one! And if you have any symptoms of infection or questions and concerns about caring for your nails, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

DIY lavender bath fizzies

Have a DIY spa day with these quick and easy homemade bath fizzies

Have a DIY spa day with these quick and easy homemade bath fizzies

Looking to soothe aching muscles after a long run or heavy lift, but don’t have the time (or budget) to get to the spa?

Try this simple at-home recipe for lavender bath fizzies, courtesy of Indie Lee, founder of the all-natural skincare line, Indie Lee & Co.

What you need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • 1 Tbsp Jojoba oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil

How to make it:

  1. Mix 1 cup baking soda and ½ cup citric acid together
  2. Add a tablespoon of jojoba oil to the baking soda mixture
  3. Add 15 drops of lavender essential oil, mix until it’s fairly smooth consistency
  4. If needed, add a few drops of water at a time, until the mixture is moist enough to stick together and hold a shape
  5. Form into individual tablets using tablespoons or ice cube trays
  6. Let dry overnight, then drop a few at a time into a hot bath and enjoy!

Extra tip: Customize with natural food coloring or dried flowers to enhance the fizzies, which also make terrific gifts when packaged separately in cellophane.

For more information and a step-by-step tutorial, watch the video here.

Gel manicures: Nail friend or foe?

AP_01_12_2013_46438570_L-638x445

If you’re like me and have jumped on the gel manicure bandwagon in an attempt to find a quick-drying, more durable substitute for traditional nail polish, you may soon be on the hunt for another alternative.

Dermatologists are concerned that this latest nail fad can cause problems, such as nail thinning associated with brittleness, peeling and cracking, especially with frequent use. And, what’s more, it can camouflage nail disease if done repeatedly.

“In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish,” said Chris Adigun, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in New York.

In fact, in one study, women who had reported nail weakness, brittleness and thinning from gel manicures were examined by dermatologists, who attributed these symptoms to the gel manicures. It’s unclear, however, whether these side effects are due to the chemicals in the gel nail polish or the skin-irritating acetone soaks used for removal of the polish.

Dr. Adigun noted that while occasional gel manicure doesn’t pose a serious threat to nail health, she does advise women who frequently receive these manicures to be aware of the potential risks with repeated use. And for women who experience nail problems due to gel manicures, she offered a few helpful gel manicure “diet” tips:

  • Limit the frequency of gel manicures to decrease consequences of chemical and physical trauma
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen on hands to minimize UV exposure during the curing process
  • Ask manicurists not to push the cuticle to avoid potential inflammation, infection and dryness
  • Rehydrate nails daily with petroleum jelly to reverse signs of brittleness, thinning or chipping
  • Refrain from using tools or chipping gel nail polish with other nails to remove polish
  • Decrease skin irritation by only soaking nails in acetone, instead of whole hands or fingers
  • See a board-certified dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes to your nails

“As is the case with most things, moderation is the key when it comes to gel manicures,” said Dr. Adigun. “If you get [gel manicures] regularly, you need to be aware of the possible consequences and see a board-certified dermatologist if a persistent nail problem develops.”