Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn Burst Pumpkin Pie Face Masque

I hope all of my fellow students enjoyed their Fall Break! As for me, it's back to Philadelphia tomorrow and although break has gone by too fast, I did get to enjoy my share of pumpkin ice cream (which tasted like pumpkin pie) and homemade chocolate chip pumpkin cookies! All of these pumpkin treats were inspired by the Pumpkin Pie Face Masque!! And it really is as easy as pie!

Pumpkin Pie Face Masque
-from the Sagestone Spa at Red Mountain Resort (as seen on

2 teaspoons canned pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon milk or soy milk
*a squirt of Aveda's Intensive Hydrating Masque or pure aloe vera gel if you have really dry skin (I added this once I got in the shower and put the masque on)

The pumpkin

The honey

Pouring the honey (the action shot)

The milk

Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl or cup and apply to clean (but dry) skin. Rinse off after about 10 to 15 minutes.

All ready to be mixed

The final product

I used this while in the shower and kept it on for about 8 minutes, but on days when I'm not pressed for time, I would definitely keep this on for the full 10-15.

Pumpkin enzymes are great because they get rid of dull and dead skin cells and help make your skin glow! It's also full of vitamins A and C, and Zinc, which all help to protect and heal your skin. Pumpkin is good for you both inside and out!

Have a great end of Fall Break (or beginning of it for some!) and for those of you pour souls who don't get a Fall Break, my thoughts are with you :)

Stay tuned for a great Autumn Sugar Scrub!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Product Review: Tom's of Maine Citrus Deodorant

Hello Everyone,
It's hard to believe it's October already! Here in Pennsylvania we've had a lot of rain lately...which usually I don't mind although my rain boots got a hole in them last spring and I haven't replaced them yet. I should get on that :) However, I love this season. Pumpkins, leaves changing colors, warm sweaters, apple cider...I love Fall!!

As for La Beauté, the month of October will begin my Autumn Burst Recipe Series!! In the upcoming weeks I will share homemade skincare recipes with a special fall twist that I promise will make you excited about all the wonderful little things that fall brings!

But for now...a product review!

My first experience with Tom's of Maine products was my freshman year in college. One September afternoon I noticed that I had come down with a fairly bad underarm rash, which continued to spread, swell, and get very red and itchy. One of my roommates suggested it was my deodorant that was causing this (it was one of those chemically-laden ones) and so I went out and bought a Tom's of Maine Apricot scented deodorant. For the most part, after a week or two, the rash was gone and hasn't made a comeback since!

I liked the apricot deodorant because it was entirely natural, smelled slightly sweet but not overpowering, and wasn't tested on animals. It also soothed my skin and actually made me feel good to be using such a "healthy" product. However, I didn't care too much for the exact formula, because the product itself seemed to have a pretty low melting point and got very mushy very quickly. After using that one tube, I tried other products and haven't turned to Tom's for my "deodorant needs" since.

However, before coming back to school this fall, I saw a new Tom's deodorant: the 24 hour Odor Protection Crystal Confidence one to be exact!

-Smells AMAZING!! The citrus zest scent is refreshing and uplifting and is the best smelling, non-synthetic deodorant I've ever tried
-NO WHITE RESIDUE!! One of my biggest irritations is when my black clothes get that white deodorant mark on them, but because this is a crystal liquid rollerball formula, there is no residue
-The product itself has lasted me from mid-August until now, and I'm only halfway through the bottle! (And yes- that's with more than once daily application folks!)
-All natural

-During the mid-August/early September heat spell, I found myself reapplying more than I would normally with another deodorant, but it wasn't too much of an inconvenience
-A little more expensive than "chemical" deodorants, but because of how long it lasts, it's worth it to me!

All in all, I give this product an A for it's natural composition, refreshing scent, and efficacy!

Stay tuned next week for the first Autumn Burst installment!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wata Wata

Not every important beauty message has to be long and convoluted! Want glowing skin? Want to flush out toxins? Minimize unnecessary food cravings? I hope the answer is yes!

I don't need to tell you the importance of water for your health, but I can tell you a few ways you can add some flair to your water to make it a little more interesting to drink!

Want a slightly sweet water? Try orange slices....

Looking for a tangy flavor? Freeze slices of limes and pop them into your water like little ice cubes!

Try cucumbers for digestion!

Lemon for detoxification!

Raspberries because they are sweet and pretty!

I even like to make my own "Metro-Mint" by adding some peppermint extract to my water- just a drop!

Get inventive!

Check out this site for a few "recipes" like Citrus Cucumber and Orange Mint:

Drink up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Healing by Touch- What Massages Can Do For You

For part 2 of my mini-day spa series, I'd like to talk about the benefits and healing power of massage. Since I am not a trained massage therapist, I thought I'd ask a professional :) Laura Ellen is an amazing massage therapist and I asked her for a little insight regarding the health benefits of massage, and here is her lovely exposé on what massages can do for you!!

I wrote massage is for everyone as a working title but that’s not really true. Some people flat out do not like being touched and for them, it’s ok, you don’t have to get massaged and if you don’t want to be talked into it that’s fine. For the rest of us . . . oh my how we love a good massage.

Massage is beneficial on so many levels. Let’s start with the physical aspects. Massage keeps your blood flowing and helps to keep your muscles supple. This boosts your immune system. Less actual sick days at work, more “calling in sick” on good powder days in the winter and sunny bike riding days in the summer. Why waste a good sick day on being sick? Get massaged monthly. Massage can make your work outs more effective because your muscles are staying flexible and stretched. Less pain during work outs, more flexibility, and less recovery time from really pushing it. It’s no secret that if you have tight muscles getting a massage is a fantastic way to get them released and happy again. Massage releases toxins and lactic acid from your system. This helps keep your skin in good condition and your face will glow. The oil and lotion used during massage keeps your skin moisturized.

Massage also stimulates the brain. Children who were massaged as infants show greater mental acuity as they age, they have a much closer bond with their parents, make friends easily, and they are able to form and keep happy relationships.

Massage can be just flat out relaxing and pampering. Not every massage has to be after running a marathon or completing an iron man. Massage feels good and you should treat yourself. Be sure you’re treating yourself well in life and keeping you happy so that you can, in turn, be happy with others.

Massage can be particularly beneficial for those who have body image issues, especially if there is some sort of malady involved. Women who have suffered a mastectomy, people with scars, missing limbs and digits. All of these people need to feel that they are still beautiful, inside and out. There is no greater way of letting them feel this than by literally touching them so they know they are not being judged.

Check out Laura Ellen's own witty and insightful blog "The Republic of Laura" at

My Own Reflection
My first massage was a not so great experience. I had received a gift card for my birthday one year for a massage at a small, non-Aveda spa in Littleton, Colorado, and it was a painful 50 minutes. The therapist didn't listen to my requests for pressure changes and I walked away feeling sore, uncomfortable (both physically and emotionally), and worst of all, confused about why anyone would want to be massaged in the first place. It wasn't until I had the first great massage of my life (at Tall Grass during the summer of 2008) that I realized how healing massages can be if performed correctly.

As Laura Ellen started off her post, not everyone likes to be touched, and at the end of high school and beginning of college, this was me. During a massage, I can feel a deep connection between my emotions and my body, and at one point in my life, I was too afraid and uncomfortable to be touched by anyone. During that first massage at Tall Grass, I flinched the first few times I felt the hands of the therapist on my skin, but soon her gentle strokes and soothing words eased me into a state of relaxation I had not previously felt. The disconnect between my body and emotions started to disappear, and I just felt...okay. Every massage I've had since then has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, and leaves me walking away feeling a little happier with myself.

Communicating with the service provider giving your massage is crucial. The more feedback you give them about pressure and areas that need more work, the better you will feel. As a type-A, tightly wound stress case, it takes me a while before I can relax into my massage; but once I do, it's almost a transformative experience. My intention is not to make it sound as if massages transport me into some other realm where all I see is stars and swirls and love, because that just doesn't really sound credible. However, there is a sense of peace and self-love that I feel during a massage that I just don't feel anywhere else. It's hard to articulate the exact sentiments that I feel, but all I can say is that a massage heals my heart and soul as much as it does my body. With all the stress in this world, it's rejuvenating to take a step inwards and get lost in yourself. For me, this is what a massage does.

If you haven't tried a massage before, I highly recommend one! Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Some colleges offer massages to students as part of various events or ongoing stress buster activities (I've found that often times these occur in conjunction with eating disorder awareness or a body image event).
2. See if there are any spas or massage therapy offices near your school (sometimes they offer a student discount and massage therapy students might need someone to practice on!)
3. If you really want a healing experience, find a spa that is secluded (i.e. mountains, beach, etc)- the focus is taken off of the hustle and bustle of city and college life and placed on YOU
4. It sounds obvious, but spa gift cards are easy holiday/birthday gifts! Save them up and treat yourself to a day at the spa

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wonders of a Spa Day/Hair Salon Tips

Part of the serenity on your way to Tall Grass Aveda Spa and Salon in Evergreen, CO
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page

I have to say that there is nothing quite like a day at the spa. Being greeted at the door, changing into a comfortable, plush robe, and then being pampered by wonderful service providers who want you to feel like a queen for a day...who doesn't want just want to live at a spa?

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune of being able to treat myself to a day at the most wonderful spa in Colorado and one of the best spas in the country. Tall Grass Spa and Salon quietly sits up in Evergreen and is surrounded by enchanting mountain scenery. On my drive up into the mountains I was greeted by deer, gracefully wandering around the trees next to the road, a beautiful, bubbling mountain stream that meandered through the pine trees and fields of grass, and snow capped mountain tops that seem to be strategically placed just for Tall Grass guests to marvel at on the huge comfy chairs while sipping a refreshing glass of cucumber water. Tall Grass is certainly worthy of many superlatives, but for me this particular spa is permeated with a healing energy that allows me to just focus on taking care of myself and leaving the rest of my worries behind. I believe that a day at the spa is much more than a luxury; it is a unique opportunity to heal your body, mind, and soul.

The properly entitled Great Room at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

**Check out the website for Tall Grass Spa and Salon:

My spa day included three services; an aromatherapy massage, a haircut and color, and a pedicure. My next two posts are going to focus on massage (stay tuned for a great guest post from an absolutely amazing massage therapist!) and nails, but for now I'd like to focus on hair salons and hair treatments. Everyone loves a day at the salon and a new haircut and color can really put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. However, it takes effort to maintain what a great stylist has done so here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way!

Part of where the hair magic happens at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

When making an appointment:
1. Do some research! Many women have their favorite stylist that they have been going to for years, but at times, it's nice to have a change of pace and an injection of fresh ideas. When looking for a new hair stylist, talk to your friends, coworkers, or check out different salons and see if you like what's going on. It sounds a little weird to spy on a salon, but see if you like the set-up, the hairstyles, and the products.

2. Bring pictures!! Don't be shy about getting pictures of hair styles, cuts, and colors that you like and bringing them in as inspiration. Being direct with your hair stylist and giving them an idea of what you want will help them create a look that you love, as opposed to just giving them free reign of your hair and then being upset with the end result. The same goes when getting an updo for a special event. If you don't like what a stylist is doing, pause and let the hairstylist know what you like/don't like so you will be happy with the end result. I've spoken to many stylists who all concur that they would rather have a client be upfront and honest about what they want than one who keeps quiet and becomes unhappy. By the way, I've even used pictures of Miley Cyrus as inspiration for my hair-- have no shame :)

3. Don't be afraid to ask the stylist for tips on how to style or maintain your look. They are there to help you love your hair! Use their recommended products (ESPECIALLY when it comes to shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments). Styling products are a personal choice and obviously no styling product is absolutely necessary to the health of your hair, but the shampoo, conditioners, and hair treatments that can help seal in color to newly color treated hair are worth the investment.

4. Check for deals for college students. Some salons around college campuses will have either a discount for college students or a special deal once a month or once every few months. Keep an eye out for flyers posted on campus, or ask around at different hair salons you might see.

Color Treatments:
Color treating your hair can be a lot fun, but it also comes with some extra responsibilities if you want to keep your hair healthy. When choosing a salon to color treat your hair, whether it's an all over color or just a few highlights, try an Aveda Salon (Aveda's colors are less damaging to hair) or one that offers some kind of healing hair treatment as well. Color treatments can damage and dry out your hair, so some kind of protein wash or intensive hydrating hair treatment is a good idea to help protect your locks.

To seal in your color, use a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for color treated hair. Aveda's Color Conserve is great and I have seen the difference between women who use it and those who don't. It's meant to be used 14 times after your treatment and if you use it correctly, your color will be shiny, healthy, and vibrant! Be careful not to use a dandruff shampoo (like Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders) right after a color treatment- the chemicals can dry out your hair and impact the coloring. They are ok to use sparingly with color treated hair as long as you make sure to wash them out really well.

Product to try: Argan Oil
Back in March I did a post about Argan Oil, which had been used as a post-color treatment/pre-styling product. It made my hair lusciously soft and silky smooth and ever since I've been on the search for a less expensive alternative. Most of the Argan Oils I have found run anywhere from $20 to $40, but I have found a fantastic drug-store alternative that is both natural and cruelty-free!

The product I found is called Hask Argan Oil Treatment. I happened to stumble upon it in Wal-Mart of all places. For $5, I got a package of 3 18 ml (less than an ounce) ampules. I am so excited about this product because it contains Moroccan Argan Oil that isn't tested on animals, is inexpensive, and has made my hair silky, shiny, and incredibly smooth for the last three weeks!! The product label reads, "Argan Oil Treatment: Silky Smooth Exotic Shine with Keratin enhancers to add strength and repair damaged hair". Keratin is the protein that makes up both our hair and nails (so if you are giving yourself an at home manicure, soak your nails in a mixture of water with a squirt of shampoo to soften them!).

The first time I used this product I used it as an intensive repair hair mask because I had just had my hair highlighted. Now I mix it with any of the style products I use to either straighten or curl my hair and it locks in shine and softness without being greasy. I absolutely love this product for both the price, cruelty-free aspect, and how I can already see a change in the texture of my hair. It is much softer and not as dry as usual, and my hair just feels healthier!

Try the Hask Oil! I promise you won't be sorry!

**Stay tuned for a special guest post on the benefits of massage therapy!!**

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lotion Candle

If you've ever been to a Renaissance Festival, you know that there is an assortment of people, food, clothing, and souvenirs to be seen. Yesterday I made my usual trip to the Colorado Renaissance Festival with some family friends. It's been a long standing tradition and we've been going every year together since I was probably about eight years old. Now what on earth does this have to do with anything beauty?

Well, the Renaissance Festival is home to a variety of vendors from all over the country, offering everything from cinnamon almonds to dried rose necklaces, and the newest item I saw was a Lotion Candle! Intrigued by the name I had to see what this was about and wandered into the store to find scents such as Cool Water, Mango Breeze, Dragon's Blood, White Tea and Ginger, Chocolate Raspberry, Angel Wings, Peppermint Vanilla, Patchouli, and my personal favorite, Paradise.

The store had several candles lit and one of the ladies who worked there, dressed in a corset of course, did a demonstration of how the candles work. The candles themselves are entirely lotion and made of natural ingredients (soya, shea butter, jojoba, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and essential oils). She had us hold out our hands and then she dipped a few fingers into the melted lotion jar and put the lotion right on our hands and rubbed it in. I was a little weary at first because I assumed the lotion would be too hot to put directly on the skin, but much to my surprise it was not even as hot as a paraffin treatment and so the temperature was quite comfortable!

Usually I am very picky about lotions. For some reason, I am one of those people who gets annoyed by thick hand creams and lotions and I don't like anything oily or greasy on the palms of my hands, and so often times I don't use anything. I was hesitant to try the lotion itself because I didn't want to go over to ye old privie (that's what they call the toilets there, I didn't make it up) to wash off this candle gunk. HOWEVER, I was incredibly surprised to find that despite the presence of numerous oils in the ingredient list, the lotion gave my skin a touch of moisture without the grease!

At the end of the day, my family friends (knowing how much I love beauty products) surprised me with my very own Paradise candle :) They even got me the largest size, which lasts two years! The candle itself (while it doesn't list the specific blend of essential oils) has hints of passionfruit, mango, and possibly guava, and overall smells like a Hawaiian tropical smoothie!

When trying this candle at home, it's important to take lotion closer to the edge of the candle rather than right next to the wick (where it will be the hottest temperature). If you get too close to the wick you might burn your finger a little bit but the wax doesn't get that hot since it is really just solid lotion and doesn't have a high melting point.

I can't say that I will be using this candle on a regular basis because it is not the most practical of objects and open flame is prohibited in the dorms, so I don't think I'll be bringing this to school. It will however be a nice treat to return home to and I'd love to use this at a spa night for my friends. Either way, it is sure to get some love and last me for a long time!

The candle store had three different sizes of candles: a 3 month candle, a 1 year candle, and a large 2 year candle. The 3 month candle was $15, and for such a tiny jar I would not have bought it. Truth be told, it is not something I would purchase again just because of the price ($35 for the 2 year but it was on-sale for $25), but it would be a fun gift for someone who either loves candles, lotion, or a hybrid of both!

To find out a little more about this candle company, you can visit their website: It is not a very extensive website and only features the fragrances and contact information, but if you are looking to place an order or find out if they are coming to a town near you, check it out!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday! I'm off to take a Ylang Ylang and Vanilla scented aromatherapy bath and unwind from a very busy weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ice Cream Sandwich

Bonjour mes amies!

I’m sorry for not posting in quite some time; it has simply been a very busy summer ever since finals ended. I do however have numerous product reviews that I’m looking forward to sharing with you for the rest of the summer, so without further ado, let’s get started!

I'm very excited about this post, because this is one of my all time favorite accessories! About a year ago, one of my aunt's went on a weekend trip with her girlfriends to a spa that specialized in "chocolate pedicures". They used cocoa products in the bath salts and lotions, and all the ladies were served chocolate sundaes while they had their pedicures. One of the products they sold there was something called an Ice Cream Sandwich foot pumice, and it is truly a treat!

There are two sides to the circular pumice; a pink and a white side. The pink side is the coarse side that is meant to rid your pieds of any rough spots and dry skin. Flip it over to the white side afterwards to use the finely grained, smooth texture to soften the skin. This is by far the best foot pumice ever! In my opinion, it works better than the "cheese grater" types, the wooden handle types with the black sandpaper looking material on one side, and regular foot pumices that are available. More than once during a pedicure have I been asked if I had just had a pedicure, because my feet were so soft because the Ice Cream Sandwich.

At $8 a pop it's not a bad buy at all, and it lasts for months! I would however recommend that you be very careful to dry it out well after showers. Leaving it in a wet and humid environment can cause it to eventually create some mold inside the porous side of the sandwich, but that advice goes for any other shower accessories (such as exfoliating body gloves).

Me! Bath is the company that makes this excellent product, and they feature very creative "treat inspired" products, such as Ice Cream bath balls, which I have yet to try, but would be willing to do to my love for the Ice Cream Sandwich. Here are just a few pictures from their website of their products...they look good enough to eat don't they?!

And for those of you who are concerned about animal testing (as you all know I am), Me! Bath does not test on animals! :)

Check it out for yourself at

Stay cool :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coffee Coconut Body Scrub

Hi Everyone,
Sorry for my lack of postage the past month, but I'm here to make it up to you with a recipe for a super moisturizing and exfoliating body scrub! This scrub is very easy to make and although some of the ingredients are a little pricey, you will get A LOT of scrub out of this!

Turbinado Raw Sugar or Sugar in the Raw

Coconut Oil (you can use extra virgin, virgin, or pressed, but the more pressed, the less coconut scent)

Apricot Kernel Oil (or Jojoba or Sweet Almond)

Step 1: I didn't really measure out the ingredients precisely, because I made it to fit the only container I had, and there's no real science to this, so just eyeball it :) The first step is to get your coffee grounds started- either make a cup of coffee and get your caffeine jolt or use left over grounds from your morning joe.

Step 2: Pour the sugar into your container and break up any clumps if necessary. Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Coconut oil is more of a solid than it is a liquid, and it comes out in clumps if you get anything but extra virgin.

Step 3: Put your coffee grounds in. If the grounds are hot, it will very quickly melt the coconut oil making it very easy to stir together.

Step 4: Add more sugar if necessary (and if I had cocoa powder, I would use that here because it's a great skin detoxifier and works great in scrubs).

Step 5: Put in a few squirts of Apricot Kernel (or other oil) and stir together. And there you go! A moisturizing, quick, and effective body scrub!

You can also use all the ingredients for other things as well. The sugar has obvious uses as well as the coffee, but coconut oil is indeed edible. You can put it in smoothies or use it for baking- but if you want an actual coconut smell go for the extra virgin (which means it's only been pressed once). The more it's pressed, the more it loses its coconut scent, but also the cheaper it is. Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer, and melts into your skin. The apricot kernel oil has a lot of vitamin E and can be used as a moisturizer all over your body, on cuticles, or I'd even use it on my hair. If you like aromatherapy, it can be used as a carrier oil so that you can make safe bath blends.

In case you were wondering what the cost of these products are, here they are:
1. Whole Foods 365 Raw Sugar- $3 for 32 oz
2. Coconut Oil expeller pressed- $8 (compared to extra virgin which is 12 to 15)
3. Apricot Kernel Oil- $4.69 for 4 oz
4. Coffee- up to you :)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning Part 1: Pumpkin Shampoo and Shikai Conditioner

Happy late St. Patrick's Day and almost weekend everyone! The weather here has been so unbelievably gorgeous and it means that spring has finally arrived!! Although the weather might not be this beautiful everyday, I think we can take it as a sign to go ahead and start that spring cleaning...and I don't just mean your dorm rooms!

Based on the seasons, my beauty products/interests tend to change. In the fall I try to transition from my gold and copper summer tones to the more cranberry tones of autumn and winter. In the winter I'm preoccupied with remedies for dry skin and how to keep my makeup and beauty regime fun and festive, but come spring we have a fresh start! I think that spring is an excellent time to clean out your old makeup, revamp your hair products, and start getting ready for summer!

For my next few posts I'm going to do a "Spring Cleaning" series for your beauty products, and start talking about all the things you can start to do to complement your spring (and even summer!) wardrobes and looks.

One of the most refreshing ways to start spring is to get out of that "winter mentality". It's always about this time of year when I decide to change up my hairstyle and over spring break, I was lucky enough to do exactly that. Changing your hair color via highlights, lowlights, or complete color is a great way to add a little spice to your look! As you know, there are numerous ways to do this, either through products you can use at home, or professional spas and salons.

**A few money saving tips! If you want to have a professional do your hair, do a little bit of research about salons that offer same day discounts or cheaper prices during the weekday. Also, many salons around college campuses will offer student discounts or specials which can be very helpful! Don't be shy to ask or do a little digging. A few minutes on the phone or on a website can save you some money!! Also, if you are willing to let a student do your hair, you can often get your hair done for free or really low prices if you go to some kind of a beauty or cosmetology school. The teachers will be there to assist the students but for something as simple as an all over color, they get the practice and you get the deal!

Getting your hair cut is also a great way to add a spring in your step. Look through magazines and websites to find hair styles that you like. Don't be shy to bring in a picture of someone who has a cut that you would want. One of the most frustrating things for a hair stylist is a client who is not specific or does not give them any feedback. At the end, when your stylist asks you how you like it, if they can do anything else, let them know! They'd rather have you tell them what they can fix instead of calling and being upset later on. The more specific you are and the more communication you have with the stylist, the better off you are going to be!

When I was getting my hair cut and colored last week, the stylist used some Argan Oil before blow drying my hair. I was very interested because I had seen the product at the front of the salon, but had never really heard of it. I was shocked at how soft this product made my hair and so I had to do some research on it.

Argan Oil comes from the kernels of the Argan tree, which is native to Morocco. It is a lightweight oil that has numerous benefits for skin and hair!! A few of these benefits include helping with split ends, promoting hair growth, adds shine and softness (obviously any oil is going to moisturize your hair), reduces scars and wrinkles, and helps protect skin from environmental damage and pollutants. One interesting fact about the sourcing of Argan oil is that it is done primarily by women, and thus acts as a source of income and economic stimulation for women in Morocco.

The product can be used before shampooing as a hair treatment, or before styling, to help keep moisture in and add shine and softness to your luscious locks. Had the oil not been so expensive ($35 for a few ounces), I would have pounced on it, but there are several retailers that can be found online who sell Argan Oil at varying prices and quantities. I know this is an oil I'm going to try and get, so when I find a good one, I'll be sure to post about it!

(picture from the Sephora website where you can find Argan Oil products)
After being more than satisfied with my new do, I decided it was time to switch up my shampoo and conditioner routine. I usually change my shampoo and conditioner after I finish a bottle, because I am never extremely satisfied with any product. That might have just changed. This last round, I was using Organix's Coconut Milk shampoo and conditioner, which smells heavenly but was not moisturizing my hair enough and was also leaving my scalp quite dry. Yesterday afternoon I went on a hunt to find a good drug store shampoo that would also be good quality and hopefully on the natural side. I always have trouble finding cheaper shampoos because I rarely feel comfortable purchasing a product from a company who I know tests on animals (so no Aussie brand, Pantene, Garnier Fructis, etc). I also didn't really want to spend $20 on shampoo this time, but I found this small little drink looking bottle that had the word "pumpkin" written on it. I looked a little closer and found it is a product by Sexy Hair that is a Pumpkin Detoxifying Shampoo. This little baby smells like a pumpkin pie and for around $8, I had to get it. I couldn't however find a good conditioner, so I headed over to the Vitamin Shoppe to look for some Luna bars and found they actually had quite a variety of natural and organic body care products. I happened to find a conditioner by the Shikai brand, which uses natural ingredients and doesn't test on animals. I know people who have used this brand before and really loved it, and for $7.50 I couldn't pass it up.

I was so excited to use these new products and I was in shower heaven last night! The pumpkin shampoo created a really rich lather from minimal product. Many hair stylists will recommend using a detox shampoo once or twice a week to stimulate the scalp and remove buildup, which can happen if you never change your shampoo. While the whole shower was an aromatherapy experience after using this shampoo, and my hair was fairly soft, I feel the only downside to this product is that it is not stimulating enough for my scalp. I could remedy this by adding a few drops of an essential oil, such as the tangerine oil pictured on the blog last month. Overall, it is not a bad buy for a delicious smelling hair treat!

Next up was the Shikai Conditioner. From the moment I put this on my hair, my hair felt silky smooth and soft and I knew I had found a winner. I usually leave my conditioner in for about 5 minutes or more and when I rinsed it out, my hair was the softest it has been in months (minus the Argan oil experience). For the price and quantity of this product, and the fact that I couldn't stop touching my hair, I may have just found a conditioner that is here to stay.

I love how it made my hair easier to style and straighten (a necessity with my very curly hair) and it really moisturized my hair more than any other conditioner I have tried within the last year. This is probably due to the shea butter and glycerine found in the product, and the sunflower oil that helps to extend the life of color treatments makes this product worth every penny! I've seen this conditioner online, in Whole Foods, and in the Vitamin Shoppe. Pretty much any place that sells natural/organic body products would carry it, but I would especially recommend this for anyone with dry, coarse, and/or color treated locks!

I hope you all have a great evening! Good luck with your studies!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Origins Modern Friction

Hey Everyone! I think I could stay on Spring Break forever! I'm down in Georgia visiting family and having a great time just chatting and sleeping and eating and shopping...'tis the life!

For today's post I thought I would introduce you all to a fabulous Origins product called Modern Friction.

The concept behind this product is basically a gentler alternative to Microdermabrasion, a very harsh procedure that is basically sandblasting your dead skin cells away, and can result in extreme irritation and damage to your skin. Origins' Modern Friction is a FABULOUS exfoliating product that should be used a couple of times a week. It is a very sticky, grainy paste consistency so here is how to use it:

Step 1: Put a little dab of the product on your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead and rub it into your dry skin (so don't wet your face first). Rub it in all over and don't worry about the product not foaming, that will come in Step 2.

Step 2: Get your hands wet and start rubbing your face again to get the product foaming. The more water you add to it and the more you massage your face, the more the Modern Friction will foam, cleanse, and exfoliate.

Step 3: Rinse your face and be sure to remove all the granules. Your skin will be SO soft, and I promise you will become addicted to this product. It is such a powerful exfoliator though that you don't need to use it more than twice a week, because you don't want to irritate your skin (because you are all using a daily exfoliator too, right?)

The Origins website describes the product as having "Skin-refining Rice Starch, cushioned in cream, shows real affinity for rapidly removing sluggish cells, uneven patches and signs of skin damage and discolorations. Lemon Oil kick starts the process of illumination. Another age-sweeping action: skin-menacing molecules are mopped up. All while Aloe keeps skin calm and comfy" ( I adore this product because it does a great job of making my skin so soft and smooth, and helps clear out my pores. It is incredibly gentle and non-abrasive, so even those of you with sensitive skin can feel good about trying it!

A 4 oz jar retails for about $37.50, but you will absolutely get your money's worth! The product lasts months (probably about 6 or 7) and you might even be able to get away with a jar a year. This is also a really great gift idea for moms, aunts, and even your grandmothers, because women in those age groups are generally the ones who go out for the harsh Microdermabrasion procedures.

For those of you who are just going on Spring Break, I hope yours will be as relaxing and restful as mine has been!! I have one more full day with my family and then unfortunately it is back to the grind! Although I am going back with a new hair cut and highlights, and hopefully I'll snag some new makeup tomorrow evening, so I can't wait to show y'all!! (Oh dear, I am becoming Southern...)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Travel Beauty!!

Happy Almost Spring Break/Weekend everyone!

I don't know about you, but I am just aching (literally) to get some respite from school and work!! Instead of packing for my trip down to the good ol' south, I thought I might share with you all some of the travel beauty tips I have discovered. Airplane travel can cause a little bit of havoc with hair, skin, and makeup, so here are some things you can do to combat that!!

Night before your flight
The two things I focus on the night before a trip are my skin and my hair. Because my hair tends to get weird combination of greasy and dry/brittle on flights, I like to make sure I keep it healthy by doing an oil treatment or a hair masque the night before. The reason I do this is to keep it soft and smooth and just add a little extra moisture to it so it won't get so distressed on the plane. Now I know that usually the night before a flight, I'm busy packing (because I procrastinated of course) and trying to get everything together, so I've included a few easy remedies that you can use if you find yourself in the same predicament:

1. Aveda's Beautifying Composition- You will see me talk about this product a lot on this blog, but that is because I truly feel it's a beauty wonder. This works best if you have shorter hair, because the product doesn't come out in huge quantities. If you have short hair, shake out or let about a dime or nickel size drop form in your hand. Work this through your hair and let it sit there for 10 to 15 minutes before getting in the shower. If you really want to boost the effects, wrap saran wrap and then a warm towel around your head (this technique works for all masques and treatments). If you have longer hair but still want to use this product, don't put it on the crown of your head, and use about a quarter size.

2. Olive Oil Treatment- Personal anecdote: When I studied abroad in Greece last semester, we took a trip down to the island of Crete where we went to an olive oil factory. We watched an hour long video of all the uses of olive oil, and although I'm not sure I needed to know that Greek men use olive oil in place of viagra, I did learn how moisturizing and good for you it is- both on the inside and outside. If you want a hot oil treatment, you can heat up some olive oil in the microwave, but not to the point where it's scalding (it will go on your head after all) and you can work this through your hair and then brush or comb out your hair. Then follow the same procedure as mentioned above (rinse off in the shower).

If you really don't have the time or extra product, just use extra conditioner in the shower and let it sit in your hair. Any of these will help protect your hair while traveling!

For your skin: It's not the first time you've heard me say it, and I will say it again, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE. The reason why this is so important is that it will remove all the dead, dry skin cells. The cabin air on airplanes will dry your skin out, which is often why you'll notice your makeup looks cakey and crumbly or your skin just doesn't feel right after a flight. Exfoliating the night and morning before will remove that layer so that you can properly moisturize and keep your skin looking dewey and gorgeous for your travels!

Use a facial buffer with your favorite cleanser to get the job done! This one from The Body Shop is great and can be purchased online or in stores!

Although I try to support companies who don't practice or promote animal testing, I know that the higher quality brands are more expensive and as college students, we often have to keep our budgets in mind. When I'm running a little low on my beauty budget, I turn to Neutrogena for effective products that won't break the bank!

The Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Scrub has a nice texture that removes makeup and exfoliates gently with rounded beads. It also lends a great cooling sensation so you really feel like your skin is clean. I just wish they wouldn't test on animals so I would feel comfortable using more of their products!

Morning of your flight: After cleansing and exfoliating again, use liquid concealer (if necessary) to give more coverage to certain areas that you might need, and then use tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizer is the best travel makeup because it is a 3 in one product: sun protection, moisture, and color so it evens out your skin tone. It is also easy to reapply with clean fingers, brush, or sponge and will hydrate your skin on your flight. Feel free to add some liquid blush to brighten up that complexion. When applying makeup, it is best to stick with the same consistency of products i.e. liquid foundation = liquid blush, powder foundation = powder blush or bronzer, etc

I usually try and just keep my flight makeup simple; a little eyeliner and some colored mascara (blue or plum generally). Colored mascara is great when you don't wear eye shadow because it adds a slight bit of color, and when the light hits your lashes, it will bring out the color in your eyes! Blue is great for every eye color, and purple works wonderfully for ladies with green or hazel eyes!

Don't forget the chapstick or lipgloss in your quart size bag! It's very old school, but I love Strawberry or Pink Lemonade Lip Smackers gloss on flights. It's moisturizing, inexpensive, and lends that glossy shine with that nostalgic flavor!

In flight: Remember that dry cabin air I was mentioning? One great way to combat this is to take a travel size bottle full of your favorite facial toner and spritz it on your visage during the flight. It will hydrate your skin just enough without ruining your makeup and keeping it looking it fresh! Also, keep a travel sized hand lotion with you and use it on your hands and cuticles! I don't know about you, but I try to avoid airplane bathrooms at all costs (total germophobe here!), and I always keep hand sanitizer with me at my seat, along with gum or mints. By the way, if you are looking for a fun spring break gum, try Orbit's new Sangria mostly tastes like strawberries but that and the mojito flavor is enough to transport me to a mental beach vacation!

After the flight: Can you guess? It starts with an E and ends with xfoliate and moisturize that night!! You may even want to opt for a facial masque that evening, as it will really help clean out your pores and will really refresh your skin.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, and safe spring break...unless you are still in school in which case hang in there, your spring break will be right around the corner!