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
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Create a natural citrus candle, sans wax

Photo credit: Upschool.com

Photo credit: Upschool.com

Citrus aromas make us feel refreshed and energized. But why burn toxic synthetic materials, or buy exorbitantly-priced soy and bees’ wax, when the perfect citrus-scented mood-lighting is sitting in your fridge?

Indie Lee, founder of the all-natural skincare line, Indie Lee & Co, shares one of her at-home secrets for an all-natural clementine candle – no wax necessary!

What You Need:

  • 1 Clementine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

How to Make It:

  1. Cut clementine in half
  2. Carefully peel skin off to keep whole
  3. Twist inside bottom pulp plug into a wick
  4. Fill with olive oil
  5. Light and enjoy

Extra tip: Cut a small design in the top half of the peel to make a creative candle lid.

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!

5 tips for building a budget-friendly home gym

homegym

Photo credit: BusinessWeek

The only thing worse than not using the gym membership you signed up for way back in January?

Paying steep monthly fees for the rest of 2013 while it remains unused.

So before you shell out any more unnecessary cash, cut your losses and bring your workout closer to home (meaning, in it).

No matter how small a space or budget, it’s easier than you think to build an effective gym without breaking the bank. Here are five tips to becoming a healthier homebody – and for shrinking your waistline, not your wallet.

  1. Go weightless. These aren’t your father’s push-ups and sit-ups; today’s body weight exercises are high-performance maneuvers designed for building and maintaining muscle strength and endurance, along with interval training. Don’t believe me? Check out this video and tell me that’s not one intense workout!
  2. Think DIY. Function often trumps form when it comes to gym gear, so before you buy it, try making it on the cheap. Use hot water bottles under your feet in place of a pricey Bosu balance trainer, tap into your woodworking skills to build your own plyo boxes, and make medicine balls from old basketballs, a drill or awl and some sand, for example.
  3. Buy secondhand. Certainties in life: Death, taxes and the fact that there will always be people hawking their (barely used) exercise equipment on Craigslist. But don’t stop there; visit stores such as Play It Again Sports to snag a deal on pre-owned gear, scout your local gym for used equipment sales after yearly upgrades or ask for discounts on floor models at retailers.
  4. Press play. There’s an app for that – or a video game, a gadget, a DVD and more. Whether it’s tracking your calories burned throughout the day with Fitbit, turning your smartphone into you own personal trainer with RunKeeper or popping in a video from home fitness giant Beachbody, harness technology to keep you healthy and active throughout the day, not just in the confines of a gym.
  5. Embrace co-op. Finally, if your motivation comes in the form of group fitness, consider creating a co-op gym space with relatives, friends or neighbors. Split the cost of equipment among the group (either by machine or overall, depending on how your crew wants to divvy it up), and store everything at one home where the group can congregate for workouts.

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.

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.