Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kitchen Beauty: DIY Natural Brightening Lemon Sugar Scrub

Isn't there something so exciting and rewarding about making your own beauty products? Is that just me? Ok... On with it then. I've got an effective, easy and cheap scrub that does a great job of sloughing off dead skin and evening the skin tone to reveal bright, baby-soft skin.

Now, don't confuse 'brightening' with 'bleaching' or 'whitening'. The natural, active ingredients in this simple scrub will not make your skin multiple shades lighter - but will help exfoliate dead cells and give a brighter, more luminous and even-tone appearance to the skin. This is very useful to treat active acne and gradually remove post-acne marks and other discolorations as well as general dullness.

What you'll need:

  • 1 tbsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of honey
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • granulated cane sugar
  • empty container
The measurements of these ingredients are totally up to you. For example, if you have drier skin, add more honey or a 1/2 tsp or more of any oil of your choice. If you prefer a gentler, more liquid scrub, include less sugar. That's the beauty of DIY's - you can customize it to your personal needs.

For reference, I used a 1/2 cup (4 oz) container to store my scrub.

Lemon juice contains a substantial amount of Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), which function as a wonderful chemical exfoliant and lightening agent for dark spots on the skin. The process is very gradual, though.

Baking soda is another wonderfully multipurpose product that has great antiseptic, exfoliating and brightening qualities. Similarly to lemon, it will not drastically change your complexion but will help even out areas of discoloration and clear active breakouts.

Honey is another antibacterial ingredient that also helps calm acne-prone skin and clarifies the pores while moisturizing the skin.

The last ingredient, sugar, is simply added to physically exfoliate the skin. Add as much or as little as you'd like. I prefer white granulated sugar over brown because it doesn't break down and dissolve as easily. That way, I can keep the scrub party going, longer.

Mixing the ingredients is a breeze. Just mash together with a fork or spoon until everything is evenly distributed. However, just a warning, when you add the lemon juice and baking soda together, there will be a bit of frothing or bubbling (remember science class?), so be sure to mix in a container big enough to allow this without making an exploding mess (unless of course, you're into that).

And that's it. Now you have an all natural scrub that leaves the skin immediately squeaky clean and oh, so soft with the future promise of gradual tone improvement and clarity. Be sure to store in a sealable container and use within a week so that the natural ingredients don't deteriorate before you can take advantage of its full potency.

Also, you don't have to limit this scrub to your face. If you have issues with dark underarms or any other area of discoloration, scrub away!

PS, due to the photosensitivity that lemon is known for, it's best to use this at night and don't forget to wear sunscreen during the day!

Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite scrub?

Blogger Tricks

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NOTD: I Mustache You Something

Mmm kay! I have been obsessed with mustache-themed everything for ... forever. Tell me the cuteness sucks you in too! This is why I couldn't pass up this adorable nail art look!

For this über easy design, I painted 4 of my nails with Revlon's Marmalade and then swiped the nail on my ring finger with Sally Hansen's Mint Sorbet. The mustache designs are actually nail stickers from the Born Pretty Store, which has a really wide selection of nail and beauty accessories for very affordable prices. They were kind enough to send me the nail art used for this look.

The vinyl stickers applied very easily and smoothly after my polish was dry and then I painted one layer of a top coat to seal everything in. You can find this sticker pack for just $0.99 here. If you are interested in anything on the store, you can get 10% off your order using the code LAP10K31.

Thanks for reading!

What Nail Art Look Are You Currently Loving?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask

I found an unexpected gem in the drugstore a few months ago have been loving it ever since. It is the Freeman's Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask and though the name is too long and it looks kinda scary, its become one of my favorite scrubs!

Admittedly, when you squeeze this product out of the tube, its a bit intimidating. I mean, it looks like asphalt! Never mind though - it works up to a great exfoliating treatment that leaves the skin really feeling polished as the name promises.

Charcoal provides great benefits to the skin such as drawing out dirt and bacteria and fighting acne. Sugar has firm but gentle exfoliating particles that help to remove dead layers and brighten the skin. This Charcoal and Black Sugar Mask is no "micro bead" hosh posh. You'd get a real exfoliation from it but without it feeling too harsh and leaving the skin dry and irritated.

As you can see in the photo above, the sugar particles are sizable but smooth, so they won't scratch and inflame the skin. Whenever I use it, my face feels super clean and smooth and has a subtle glow.

You may have noticed this product is also marketed as a mask but I think its texture better serves as a scrub. Sometimes, after I give my face a good scrub with this, I leave it on for a few minutes in the shower and rinse it off. I haven't noticed any difference between washing it off right away or leaving it on for an extended time.

Overall, I am really happy with this product. I wouldn't recommend it as a mask as the name suggests - but as an exfoliator, I think it is excellent! Also at only $3.99 in drugstores, the price can't be beat!

Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite scrub?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DIY Vanity Mirror With Lights

I have had my eye on one of those fancy Hollywood vanity mirrors for just about forever. However, at the steep price of around $300-$500, I figured there must be another way for me to get glam in the glow of dozens of bright lights. Well, I found a hack and thought I'd share it with you.

Now as a disclaimer, this is not a fancy, brain-busting method - but it works for me so far. Not to mention, its pretty cheap compared to a ready-made vanity mirror. Here's what I used for this 10 minute project.

1 Mirror (Walmart ~$12)
1 pack of globe string lights (Target - $12)
Masking tape (Anywhere - $2)
1 Wireless Remote (Amazon - $15)

 The process here is fairly primitive (don't laugh). All I did was line up the string lights on the backside of the mirror and secured it with lots of tape. Its not pretty, but no one would see the back. You could use a stronger kind of tape but this is just what I had in the house at the time. The pack of lights I used included 25 bulbs, so I attached 10 on each side and 5 at the top.

Also, since I'm far too lazy to plug and unplug the lights whenever I wanted to use them, I 'installed' a wireless remote. You simply plug the lights' outlet prongs into the remote receiver, which is plugged into the wall outlet. This step is of course optional, but it makes things a lot easier.

And there you go! A lighted vanity mirror for about $40! Not too shabby, right?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: L'oréal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm

Hi there Beauties,

For a few weeks after I moved to Spain, I noticed my hair was increasingly more unmanageable out of the shower despite using the same products I was accustomed to. I tried switching shampoos and conditioners a couple times and nothing worked! It was only until I stumbled upon this deep conditioner that I found some sweet relief!

The Loreal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm is a super thick non-greasy conditioner that promises to repair up to a year's worth of damage in just one use! I can't really know for sure if that claim is true, but I can attest to the fact that in the first use, I saw a noticeable difference in my hair. It was much softer and significantly easier to detangle once I got out of the shower.

As I mentioned before, the cream is very thick. So thick that you can turn it completely upside down and it would not budge! The scent is difficult to describe and it leans on the citrus side but it is not too strong.

Lately, I have been using this after shampooing with L'oréal's EverPure shampoo and leaving it on for about 15 minutes or how long I can stand to stay in the shower without getting bored. Sometimes I have used a plastic cap for even deeper penetration.

When I'm tired of standing in the shower, I rinse it out starting from the roots but I leave about 30-40% of the conditioner in my hair to keep some of the moisture as it dries. Once out of the shower, I detangle, apply my leave in conditioner as usual and air dry.

Overall, I am really happy with this product! I am pretty sure my tangle problem before was caused by the hardness of the water here but this conditioner is doing a great job of holding me over till I find a another solution for that. Due to the length of my butt-grazing hair, one jar of this only lasts me 2 uses but at around $6 a pop, that's ok with me. You can find this Damage-Erasing Balm at most drugstores.

Thanks for reading!

What is your favorite deep conditioner?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm Back! + Updates!

Hello Beauty Bugs!

It's been forever and I'm mentally giving myself a slap on the wrist. Lots of things have changed since my last post, so before I get back on the blog horse again, I thought I would give you a quick, little update to somehow get back in your good graces ;-)

For the last 5 months or so I have moved across the US, Caribbean and I have finally dropped anchor in SPAIN! That's right! I've moved to Spain! Naturally, things have been a little hectic - hence the silence on this side of the WWW - but now that things have settled down somewhat, I can devote a bit more time here.

You can still expect lots of reviews, tips and DIYs from me and thanks to the relocation across the world, I can experiment with more European products to share with you. Isn't that exciting?

I've missed you and I'm excited for a new beauty experience on this side of the world. If you want to keep up with my new Europe shenanigans, follow me on INSTAGRAM!

Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with me!

What European products should I try?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Whipped Hair and Body Shea Butter Mix!

Hair and body butters are all the rave and so moisturizing but *whispering*, they can be so expensive! Not to mention they could contain questionable ingredients we can't even pronounce. How about making your own natural shea butter mix that you can use on hair, skin and nails? I promise, its easy!

The cool thing about making your own moisturizing butter is that you can put whatever you want in it. I usually use Shea butter as a base and add whatever oils I have on hand.

What you'll need:

Unrefined Shea Butter
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Avocado Oil
Almond Oil
Castor Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Essential Oil(s)
Empty container(s)

The technique is super simple. Simply add all the liquid oils in a mixing bowl and get ready for whipping. I used between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup for each of the oils listed above.

Shea butter is a bit tough, so you'll need to break and heat it up to soften it a bit to make whipping easier.

I let my shea butter sit in the microwave for about 30 seconds to just soften but not completely melt it. I like to keep the firmness so that it doesn't take too long for the mixture to harden to its natural state. If you melt it totally, you may need to put the mixture in the refrigerator to harden before whipping.

Now add the shea butter to the oils in the mixing bowl and whip for about 5 minutes.

After whipping on high speed for a few minutes, the mixture becomes fluffy and much creamier. At this point,  I add some fragrance to help cancel out the "earthy" smell of the shea butter and coconut oil. I used lavender and orange essential oils, which give it a fresh scent.

 After a total of about 10 minutes of whipping, you get a mixture looking more like a thick butter.

 All that's left to do now is to pile it into some containers. Immediately after whipping, the butter is smooth and airy but after about 2 hours, it sets to a firmer consistency thats really easy to spread and melt into the skin or hair.

And that's it!

I like to use this mixture as a leave-in conditioner on wet hair and as a cuticle and hand creme. You can also use this as a body moisturizer. If you feel especially creative, you can also add food/soap coloring  to give it a fun colorful look.

Thanks for reading!

What are your favorite hair/skin butters?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Video Spotlight: Eyeliner Techniques

If you struggle with eyeliner application or maybe need a creative push out of your liner slump, I recently found a really helpful video that focuses on 12 ways to apply eyeliner.

Julia Graf demonstrates how to apply the following shapes using liquid, gel or pencil eyeliner:

Straight line
Classic Wing
Double Wing
Arab Eye
Artsy Swoop
60s Flick
Color Pop
Tightline & Waterline
Grunge Slick

You can find out more about Julia and her channel here. I am in no way affiliated with her, but just wanted to share with you what I'm watching. :-) I'm kind of a YouTube junkie, so let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this.

I'm a sucker for the Classic Wing, but I want to start incorporating the Color Pop and Arab Eye into my routine.

What's your favorite eyeliner shape?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jesse's Girl for JulieG - Romeo and Juliet Matching Lipstick and Nail Polish

Here's an idea! What if your nail polish matched your lipstick perfectly? JulieG's got you covered! In collaboration with the drugstore brand, Jesse's Girl, she recently released a new matching line for Valentine's Day. The duo I picked up is called Romeo and Juliet.

The nail polish (Romeo) and the lipstick (& Juliet) both have a peachy pink shade.

The formula of the lipstick is quite good with a smooth, matte finish and surprisingly good lasting power. It kind of stains the skin, which I love! The nail polish applied smoothly as well with no streaks even though the brush is relatively small.

This Valentine's collection consists of 3 other pairs named after famous couples. The lipstick and nail polish are sold at RiteAid and Jesse's Girl for $3.99 each.

Thanks for reading!

Do you like to match your lipstick and nail polish?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain (Red-Dy or Not)

Who doesn't have a Balm Stain these days? A super affordable option hit the drugstore shelves recently from Wet n Wild. I picked up the shade Red-Dy or Not, which is very wearable a soft strawberry red.

The shade in tube looks a bit more dramatic than it really is but the balm applies sheerly in terms of the depth of the shade, but it still covers well on the skin.

 The initial finish is quite glossy and feels very moisturizing. The supple feeling doesn't last very long and is quickly evaporated or rubbed off by eating but the staining claim is accurate. In the photo above, the color lasted long after eating a sandwich and drinking, 4+ hours after application. After this time, my lips felt dry, so I reapplied. I couldn't find any claims on these for how long these are expected it to last.

The packaging is simple with the ever-so-popular twist up jumbo pencil tube. Thankfully, the cover snaps on some grooves along the sides so it doesn't fall off on the go. The metal bit at the bottom twists more product to the top.

I picked up this Balm Stain in RiteAid for $2.99 and I am sure you can find these in other drugstores if not now, in the months to come. I couldn't find any links from drugstores online (is this even real? ^_^) but here is some information from Wet n Wild. There are 5 other shades in this collection.

Overall, I think this Balm Stain performed pretty well considering the cost. The 'balmy' feeling doesn't last long at all but I was happy the staining persisted through eating and drinking and didn't look patchy.

My rating: 4/5

Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite balm staining product?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Romantic Valentine's Face of the Day (Pink)

I was just shopping around for Christmas decorations and I blinked and now its almost Valentine's Day! How crazy! Here's a soft, girly look I did that I think would be perfect for that lovey-dovey day. Full product list below.

I chose to keep all the focus colors very soft shades of pink and purple.

CoverGirl Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation in Tawny
Milani Powder Foundation in Creamy Cocoa
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Cafe

MAC Love Joy Blush (Review)

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Maybelline 24 Hr Color Tattoo in Iced in Pink (Review)
Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette (Review)
MAC Texture Eyeshadow
Makeup Geek Bitten Eyeshadow
MAC Fix+
Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude
Maybelline Line Stiletto in Blackest Black

NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown

NYX Lip Liner Pencil in Bloom
MAC Chatterbox Lipstick

For exact placement on the eyes, I used mainly the Urban Decay's Vice 2 Palette unless specified otherwise. Actual shades used are highlighted above.

Brow bone: Dope & Habit
Inner lid: Coax & MAC Fix+
Outer lid: Voodoo & MAC Fix+
Blending Shade: MAC's Texture
Crease: Makeup Geek's Bitten
Waterline:  Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude

And thats about it.

Thanks for reading!

How will you be dolling up for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RePurposed Items for Beauty Organization: Palette Storage

Usually, products designed specifically for makeup organization can get a bit pricey. However, with a little creativity and open-mindedness, you can find everyday objects that can sort your cosmetic goodies just as well or even better. In this new 'RePurposed' series, I'll show you unconventional ways that I have organized my makeup. Up first, Eyeshadow Palette storage!

Here, I've used a desktop mail sorter to display and organize my most-used eyeshadow palettes. I like this method because it allows each palette to stand independently and not move around when I pull one out to use. The sorter does not take up much space and I actually have another set on the other side of my 'beauty desk'.

 I've placed them in order of height so that it is easy to see all the palettes in one glance. Shown here are actually 2 sorters placed back to back, which each hold 3 palettes.

In stores, this is sold as a 'mini sorter' or a 'letter divider/sorter' and you can usually find a fairly inexpensive one in the stationery section of stores like Target and Walmart or at an office supply store like Staples, OfficeMax or the Container Store. I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.

As always, thanks for reading!

How do you store your palettes?