From a star ingredient in DIY beauty treatments to a nutritious substitute for conventional cooking oils, coconut oil has more uses than we can count. Here are seven surprising uses for coconut oil you may not know about:
1. Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer
Instead of using dairy creamer, try using coconut oil. It’s a natural sweetener, and it could be good for heart health. So try a cup of Coco-Joe!
Heat coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish for 30 seconds.
Pour unsweetened coconut milk and castile soap into an empty bottle.
Add the liquid coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Shake vigorously to mix.
Shower and see the results for yourself!
4. Swap Out Unhealthy Oil with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a trans-fat-free and tasty substitute for conventional cooking oils, butter or shortening in recipes. Simply replace at a 1:1 ratio. For flaky baked products, use coconut oil at room temperature. To replace vegetable oil and butter, melt coconut oil and use it in its liquid state. Try using it in your favorite brownie mix!
A lot of people tend to shy away from the more brightly colored eyeshadows, but this type of look can work for school, the office, day or night! I’m going to show you how with this easy bright eye makeup tutorial.
Right now, I’ve been seeing a lot of bright yellow, green and red eye looks with the occasional pastel purple thrown in there. Colorful eyeshadow is a fun way to jazz up your look and can take your makeup from dull to effortlessly cool in a matter of minutes.
My personal favorite bright eye look right now that is a super trendy color for the summer is bright yellow. I actually wear it out a lot now on the weekends. I feel the yellow complements my eyes, then I swipe on a dark purple lipstick and the contrast of colors really makes the makeup look pop!
Complementary Eyeshadow Colors
Certain eyeshadow colors complement different skin tones and eye colors. I always refer back to the good old color wheel when looking for eyeshadow colors for a particular eye color. For blue eyes, try rich, warm browns, taupes, bronzey and champagne colors. You can always go for a gray color too if you’re more into cool-toned looks (like me!).
For all the brown-eyed girls out there, you’re in luck! You have the most options when it comes to complementing shades for your eyes, since brown is a neutral color. Go for browns, blues, greens, grays, reds, even purples. Seriously, any color!
Green-eyed gals, your best bet is to use deep, rusty browns and reds, darker purples, and even some peachy-pink colors can look great. But remember, makeup has no rules..so have fun with it!
Bright Eye Makeup Looks
When I’m prepping to do a fun, bold eye look, I like to keep the rest of my makeup minimal. Maybe use a BB cream or just concealer versus a full-coverage foundation, go light on the highlight and blush, and use a lighter lip color or gloss. It’s all about balance here!
There are also a multitude of different ways to incorporate a brighter eye look without covering your whole lid in bright green shadow. Many companies have come out with different colored eyeliners that can be applied to your lower waterline (or even the top of your eyelid for a cat-eye look), and you can keep your eyeshadow shade neutral. Or, if you’re a bit more comfortable with color, try smoking out your lower lashline with a fun color.
To start my bright eye routine, I’m going to begin by priming my entire face with the Emani Perfect 10 Primer Serum. I used this in my Minimalist Makeup Routine and raved about it then, but I’ll just reiterate it here: this stuff is amazing! Try it. You can always apply a little concealer or primer to your eyelids, which will make the color stick and provide a smoother application. (I highly recommend not skipping this step for bold, bright eye looks.)
Next, I’m going to go back into my J. Cat Beauty palette. There’s a bright yellow in here that I’m going to dip into for my bright eye look. I’m not using any transitions shades here, so this is a one color, easy look!
After I’m done blending everything, it’s time for some mascara. I’m going to use Emani’s Soy Mascara on my top and bottom lashes.
I’m going to keep my face pretty fresh and bare, so I’m going in with my Dr. Jart BB cream all over. You can use a sponge, brush or your fingers to apply. I’m going to use my Nu Sponge, because I’ve recently fallen in love with these silicone sponges to apply any liquid face product.
I’ll finish this look off with some Zao blush, which I’ll apply with my Eco Tools stippling brush using circular, sweeping motions and dragging the color back toward my ear. Then I’m going to apply a little bit of highlight to really tie this look together. I’m going to use a shade from theBalm’s Highlite N ConTour palette, using my Eco Tools tiny, fluffy brush to blend into the skin.
In today’s health- and wellness-conscious society, more and more people are taking a closer look not just at the food that they eat, but also the products that they put on their skin. This movement has made many people adamant about avoiding makeups that contain unnecessary chemicals in favor of more “natural” alternatives.
The quest for natural beauty products has led to a renewed interest in mineral makeup, which has a long and storied history. The first mineral makeups can be traced back thousands of years to ancient civilizations that ground up minerals to apply to their faces as decoration—think Cleopatra’s kohl-based eyeliner (1). But, for all intents and purposes, mineral makeup as it exists today first became commercially available in the 1970s.
Now, mineral makeup seems to be everywhere, available from high-end makeup counters and drugstores alike. But what is mineral makeup, and how is it different from all of the other types of makeup out there?
What Exactly Is Mineral Makeup?
Mineral makeup is typically composed of minerals like iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that have been ground into a fine powder. The fineness of the powder varies, depending on the type of makeup and the coverage it is meant to offer. The coarser the particles, the lighter the coverage.
Mineral makeup may encompass anything from foundation to setting powder to eyeshadows and bronzers. Some liquid makeups are also now including minerals for their perceived skincare benefits.
“Mineral makeup is similar to traditional makeup, but without the oils, binding agents, fragrance, preservatives and other fillers,” explains David Pollock, a health and beauty expert, beauty chemist and founder of JustAskDavid.com. Pollock notes that because mineral makeups are free of these components, it’s much lighter than many of the other makeups on the market. “It’s also less irritating to the skin and clogs pores less,” he adds.
What Skin Types Can Benefit from Mineral Makeup?
There are mineral makeups out there being marketed for all skin types, but due to its lack of fillers and oils, the product has a reputation for being particularly good for sensitive skin or skin prone to breakouts. Some dermatologists even recommend it to patients with rosacea and eczema (2).
Pollock adds that people with oily skin are perhaps best served by mineral makeup, because it does not add further oils or pore-clogging ingredients to their skincare routines. “However, those with dry skin or sensitive skin may benefit from the added ingredients in traditional makeup,” he notes. “I suggest trying both and comparing to find the right one. Keep in mind, it may not be a ‘this or that’ situation. Maybe your foundation or concealer end up being traditional, while some of the other steps like eyeshadow or finishing powder are mineral makeup.”
Mineral makeup isn’t just good for sensitive skin and avoiding breakouts, some also offer SPF. Users concerned about sun exposure should look for products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which protect against both UVA and UVB rays (3) . It won’t replace regular sunscreen on a sunny day, but it’s better than nothing if you’re going to work or running around on the weekend.
Finding a Good Mineral Makeup
Like most cosmetics, there are good mineral makeups and not-so-good mineral makeups. Pollock recommends looking for products with just a few ingredients, namely zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, mica and iron oxides. “While it’s comforting to see some other healthy additives or powdered extracts, they aren’t necessary and not worth spending a lot more for,” he says. “Facial skincare serums and moisturizers will contain higher levels and go on before makeup, so the benefits of additional additives in mineral makeup are minimized by the layering of skincare first.”
While mineral makeup does come with many benefits, there some drawbacks that come with the product. Some people find that mineral makeup powder accentuates fine lines and wrinkles, rather than hiding them. Pollock also notes that mineral makeup lacks the ingredients needed to help color adhere as well as traditional makeup. “Additionally, since it is missing some of the oils and humectants, it can be less hydrating or even drying to some,” he says.
Mineral Makeup Myths
Because mineral makeup has a reputation for being good for your skin, some people believe that you can sleep in it without causing any issues. Pollock is very clear, this is not the case. “Never, ever sleep in makeup. You should wash your skin every night before going to bed to remove makeup, dirt and even dead skin cells. All of these, including mineral makeup, can clog and enlarge pores and irritate the skin.”
Mineral makeup has also been said to clear up acne, but most dermatologists agree that the calming agents in mineral makeups won’t actively speed the healing of breakouts (1). However, it is less likely to clog pores and cause acne in the first place.
For people who are used to traditional makeup, getting the hang of mineral makeup application may take some trial and error. According to mineral makeup brand Mineral Fusion, perhaps the most common issue first-time wearers have is that they apply too much. “Because they are used to using makeup that has large amounts of filler and not a lot of ‘pay-off,’ they use the same techniques when applying Mineral Fusion,” the brand’s website describes (4). The brand recommends lightly building layers until you achieve the desired coverage.
Mineral makeup users should invest in the proper tools, which include brushes specifically made for this purpose. Because powders are so loose, having a brush with the right density and made of the right materials will result in a more even application. “You can alter the coverage by using the right brush,” Mineral Fusion writes. “The longer the hair is on the brush, the more coverage you will achieve.”
For people looking to create more elaborate looks, we recommend checking out YouTube tutorials.
Let’s get real—makeup and beauty products are expensive. In 2017, sales of prestige makeup in the U.S. totaled $8.1 billion, according to research by the NPD Group (1). That figure was up 6 percent from 2016. In fact, a survey conducted by Groupon revealed that women spend an average of $225,360 on beauty products in their lifetimes (2).
When shopping online or visiting cosmetic counters or specialty retailers, women are faced with a staggering amount of products and choices. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But before you empty your wallet to try that new contour powder or that trendy lipstick color, take stock of what you have and consider using your makeup in multiple ways.
The following seven beauty hacks will show you how to get creative and make the most of your makeup.
7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Makeup
Use Liquid Lipstick to Color Correct
Before you purchase a color-correcting product to combat dark circles, try using a red or orange-colored liquid lipstick. Dab a little bit of the lipstick under your eyes and blend it out, or use it over dark spots on your face to help balance out the darkness before you cover problem areas with foundation and concealer.
Liquid lipstick formulas are recommended over regular lipstick formulas because they dry down and won’t smudge and smear easily. If you’re using liquid lipstick to color correct dark circles under your eyes, make sure the formula is eye-safe.
Use Eyeshadow to Contour and Highlight
Sure, eyeshadow is meant to go on your eyes, but there are no rules that say you can’t use the powders on other areas of your face. Look for a matte-brown eyeshadow in your collection that is approximately two shades darker than your skin tone and use it to contour out your cheekbones, jawline, forehead area and nose. Make sure to blend it out so that there are no harsh lines, and look for a slightly cool undertone in the eyeshadow so that the shade doesn’t look too orange or warm on your skin.
You can also use a metallic or foiled eyeshadow as a highlight. Look for high-shine gold, light pink or champagne shades in your collection and dust some on the tops of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and your cupid’s bow. Avoid using shadows with too much glitter, as these will emphasize texture on the skin.
Use Concealer as an Eyeshadow Primer
There are tons of eyeshadow primers on the market that are meant to help your eyeshadows last longer and resist creasing. But what most cosmetic sales associates won’t tell you is that concealer works just as well to create a smooth surface and prime your eyes. Make sure to use a light application, blend it evenly across your lids, and set the concealer down with a translucent powder before applying your eyeshadow.
Use Eyeshadow to Create Your Own Lip Gloss
You can create a unique and personalized lipstick shade by combining your favorite eyeshadow or pigment with some clear lip gloss, balm or petroleum jelly (or a petroleum jelly substitute). To do this, lightly scrape the eyeshadow with some tweezers so that it becomes a loose powder. Scrape it over a small mixing bowl or use the back of a mirror or makeup palette as a mixing area.
Once you have about a dime-sized amount of powder, add your gloss, balm or jelly and use the end of a makeup brush to mix it together with the eyeshadow powder. Use a lip brush or your finger to apply the color to your lips.
Use Lipstick as Blush
There’s no need to go out and buy cream blush if you already own some pretty lipstick shades. Lipstick can easily be applied to your cheeks to create a natural flush. It’s best to use semi-matte shades that have a little bit of sheen, since matte formulas may look chalky on the skin. The easiest way to apply lipstick as blush is to sweep your finger across the product, warm it between your fingers, and dab the product onto the apples of your cheeks. For a more natural look, use a damp makeup sponge to sheer out the color. If you’re using lipstick as blush, apply it before you apply powder to ensure a smooth finish.
Use Mascara as Eyeliner
Since mascara is already eye-safe and formulated not to smudge and smear, it makes a great eyeliner if you’re in a pinch. Use an angled brush and dab it onto the mascara wand until the flat side of the brush is covered. Then use the brush to create a wing and drag it along your lash line. You can also smudge it out to create a more smokey look.
This is an awesome way to get more use out of colored mascaras that you may not use on a daily basis.
Use Eyeshadow to Fill in Your Brows
Makeup store shelves are filled with brow powders, gels and pomades, but if you’re in a hurry and need a quick way to fill in your brows, eyeshadow works just fine. Make sure to use a matte shade—without any shimmer or shine—and find a color that complements your skin tone and hair color. If you have blonde hair, use a warm taupe or light brown color. If you have brown hair, stick to a medium brown shade. Redheads should use auburn brown eyeshadows, and those with dark brown or black hair should use deep, chocolate brown colors or even matte black shadows.
Use a small angled brush and dip it into the eyeshadow powder, making sure the end is coated. Then take the tip of the angled brush and apply the powder into your brows using short, quick, upward strokes. Repeat this motion until your brows are filled in and look full. You can clean up the edges with concealer if you need to. Set the powder in place with a clear brow gel or a clear mascara so it stays put throughout the day.
Grandmothers are known for their folksy fixes—some of which are more legitimate than others. Have a cold? Chicken soup may actually reduce inflammation, so go ahead and take her up on a nice big bowl. Have a fussy baby? Think twice before opening the “magic teething whiskey.” Have a bad hair day? Start taking notes, friend.
Yes, grandmothers are the original beauty hackers—from skincare shortcuts to blowout-saving secrets, they know a thing or two about looking good for less. Here are seven simple, straightforward and thrifty vintage beauty tricks the experts (and, likely, your grandma) still use today.
7 Beauty Tricks You Need to Know
Don’t tell your gloss, but shine-free lips are having a moment. The low-key matte look, which first surfaced on Instagram and runways, is now officially out in the wild. If you’re not quite ready to trade in your favorite cream shades, try the trend using this old-school trick from Elizabeth Johnson, co-owner of Delaware-based cosmetics boutique Houpette.
“After applying the lipstick, place a tissue over your lips and let it stick,” she says. “Then, brush setting powder on top of the tissue over your lips. It will mattify the lip color and make it more long-wearing.”
These days, a brow pencil is a beauty basic. But before beauty megastores and one-click shopping, a little repurposed eye shadow did the trick just fine. Despite the hundreds of options available in 2018, Johnson still finds herself subbing in shadow when she wants to perfectly match a client’s hair color.
“There are so many more shades available!” she says. “Take an angled brow brush and apply the eye shadow starting in the middle of the brow arch, working back toward the start of the brow and then, finally, through the brow to the ends.” (Eye shadow is messier than a pencil, so make sure to tap any excess pigment off the brush prior to applying.)
Have unruly brows? Skip the specialized brow gel and use Johnson’s quick fix: lip balm. Take a small amount on your fingertip, dab through your brows, then comb through gently with a clean spoolie brush.
Grease Be Gone
Dry shampoos are a great way to freshen up your hair between washes. But, as your grandmother would be obligated to point out, the main ingredients are baby powder and corn starch—both of which were used to extend expensive salon blowouts long before dry shampoo (and hand-held hair dryers) hit the market. Simply sprinkle some powder or starch at the roots, comb through, and be on your way.
Dark circles have never been in style. Although there are endless illuminators (and, ahem, filters) on the market, take a cue from Old Hollywood makeup artists and try using red lipstick to brighten things up. Johnson recommends opting for a coral shade and dabbing a tiny bit under the eye where the purple undertones are prominent, keeping the application light and sheer. Then, top with your usual under-eye concealer and setting powder. “Voila—dark circles no more!” she says.
Something to Smile About
Before modern teeth whitening treatments, Hollywood stars turned to their kitchen cabinets for a brightening boost. Baking soda, which is still used in many whitening toothpastes, releases free radicals that break down stains on tooth enamel. Brush it on a couple times a week, rinse thoroughly, and smile often.
The Magic Eraser
Grandmom used petroleum jelly for everything—including removing her eye makeup. As strange as it sounds, petroleum jelly swipes off makeup like magic, and at a fraction of the cost of specialized makeup removers.
However, petroleum jelly can easily clog pores and lead to acne, depending on your skin type. And, as a byproduct of the oil refining industry, it’s an unsustainable resource with varying degrees of purity. For a gentler, more Earth-friendly alternative, try coconut oil, suggests Philadelphia-based makeup artist Deanna O’Hanna. Simply whip the coconut oil in your palms to get it to an almost liquid state, then gently rub onto your face, paying special attention to any areas that have more makeup (such as your eyes). Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and say goodbye to those wasteful makeup wipes.
A Freezing Facial
Legendary screen queen Joan Crawford was known for her high-maintenance beauty routine. While we wouldn’t recommend her “secret” to a sculpted jawline—chewing gum, constantly, to strengthen the muscles—her DIY facial stands up today. After removing her makeup, Crawford would splash her face with ice water 25 times to reduce puffiness and tighten skin. Model Kate Moss still swears by the trick and takes it one step further, filling a sink with ice cubes and submerging her face for a quick refresh.
They say you can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. And these days, that worries me.
For starters, although I sometimes forget I’m not 25, my eyes don’t—they remember each and every one of their 33 years, and have some pesky fine lines to prove it. There’s a little extra damage thanks to a history of fake-bake tans (forgive me—I went to prom in 2002) and one Legitimate Wrinkle that I blame on a super-stressful “Game of Thrones” finale (I call him Jean-Luc—he’s actually kind of charming once you get to know him). As for the puffy dark circles, I suspect those have something to do with my 10-month-old daughter, who has endless amounts of energy despite napping once every other week.
I do what I can. I get the occasional facial, moisturize on the regular, mask on the weekends, and recently bought a very expensive “miracle broth” lotion from a very expensive-looking French woman. That said, there’s plenty of room for improvement—which is how I ended up with a jade roller.
What Is a Jade Roller?
The latest gadget to hit Instagram #selfcare vanities, jade rollers are hand-held facial massagers crafted from their namesake gemstones. Although the origin story is hazy, according to Internet beauty lore, women in China have been using them since ancient times to promote circulation, increase lymphatic drainage, and stimulate anti-inflammatory properties in the skin. More recently, celebrity makeup artists began name-dropping jade rollers a couple of years ago, citing the tiny tools as the secret behind bright, youthful eyes (see also: Botox). Fast-forward to 2018, and they’re on the beauty VIP list.
These days, you can buy a jade roller pretty much anywhere with a decent assortment of skincare products. Big-box stores sell versions for under $10, while higher-end department stores stock models that run close to $75; I chose a mid-priced $25 roller with impressive online reviews. Made from natural jade, it promised to “help reduce fine lines, minimize pores, and tighten the skin” as well as “assist the lymphatic system by helping drain lymphatic fluids and toxins.”
Putting the Jade Roller to the Test
I’ll try anything once—especially for $25—so I was excited to put it to the test. The instructions recommend using it in the morning and evening for up to 10 minutes per session, which is a little longer that I usually devote to skincare (as in, 9 minutes longer). But in the name of science—and Jean-Luc—I resolved to commit to the routine for a week.
First things first: I washed my face and applied my usual eye serum and moisturizer (some say jade rollers massage these in deeper so your skin soaks up the benefits). Then I got to rolling. Starting at my neck, I rolled upward and outward as recommended using gentle pressure. Allegedly, this motion best stimulates circulation and toxin removal, but toxins or no toxins, common sense dictates that you never want to pull down the skin on your face—especially in your mid-30s.
Although 10 minutes was a bit of a stretch, I immediately bonded with my new jade roller—as it turns out, my face has been begging for a massage. My skin didn’t look any different after one session, but my entire face felt refreshed and relaxed. Even my forehead and eyebrows—which are always conspiring to furrow—took it easy for the morning.
About halfway through the week, I began popping the roller in the fridge, as many advanced beauty buffs advise. The idea is that the cool stone will better treat puffiness, similar to how ice reduces swelling. While I can’t say that I noticed any immediate difference, it did feel amazing, especially in the morning, and my jade roller earned a permanent spot next to the orange juice.
By the end of the week, I had to admit what I had begun to suspect: the aesthetic difference was minimal. I did notice a slightly more even skin tone immediately after rolling, but that didn’t seem to last into the day. My eyes may have appeared a little less puffy, but an extra hour of sleep probably would have done a better job.
To confirm, I asked my boyfriend the question that every man dreads: “Do you notice anything different about me?” He panicked, took a long scan of my face, and told me my hair looked great. Was it a bad answer? No. But it wasn’t a great endorsement for my jade roller, either.
Despite the time commitment, I enjoyed jade rolling—so much so that I only missed one session, which is more than I can say for every other step of my haphazard skincare routine!
Eyebrows frame your face. They’re one of the first facial features people notice when they look at you, so it’s always nice to define or highlight them. I want to share with you a really natural, easy eyebrow tutorial that you can’t go wrong with. Let’s get into it!
The first thing you want to do is use a spoolie to shape your eyebrows and brush them into place. I like to feather mine a bit in the front, because I find it makes them look more natural. This will also show you where you have holes in your eyebrows. This is where you want to fill in with an eyebrow pencil.
I’m using my Saint Cosmetics eyebrow pencil in Tantalizing Taupe. Start in the front of your brow and wiggle the pencil around, filling in any bare spots and creating your shape. Keep in mind, you want to use very light brush strokes.
Follow the growth of your eyebrow hairs to get the most natural look. If you have thinner brows, you can extend the tail of your eyebrow out a bit with your pencil. I don’t usually do that because I am doing pretty good in the eyebrow department, if you see what I mean!
If you do have bare spots, you can go back in with your spoolie and lift up to see if there are any other areas you’d like to add more product to.
As a basic rule of thumb for a nice eyebrow shape, you want to follow this little guideline. The front of your brow should line up with the inner corner of your eye. The arch, or the highest point of your brow, should line up with the outer edge of your iris. And the tail end of your eyebrow should match up with the outer corner of your eye. You don’t have to follow this exactly, but it’s definitely a great reference when you’re just starting out. (Makes me feel like I should have paid attention in math class when they taught arcs and slopes in geometry!)
Once you’ve filled in your brows, you can go back in with your spoolie again to make sure everything is flowing nicely. If you want a more precise, polished brow, you can add a little concealer underneath. If you’re not in a time crunch, you can always follow up with a clear brow gel to help hold them in place. It’s literally like a hairspray for your eyebrows!
And that’s it! I hope this leaves you with a great set of eyebrows. These are going to stay on all day and make you look great!
What natural or vegan eyebrow products do you love right now? Let me know in the comments below!
Hawaii becomes first state to ban sunscreens containing harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate
Legislators hope this move will protect endangered coral reef
Remembering to slather on some sunscreen is vital when you are going to be exposing your skin to sunlight for long durations. While the importance of sunscreen has been well-researched by scientists for years, leaders in Hawaii are hoping recently-passed legislation will make the products safer for the environment.
Though sunscreen helps to protect the skin from melanoma, skin damage and an array of other conditions, many brands contain dangerous toxins that can have a seriously negative impact on the environment. In Hawaii, where tourists and locals alike use copious amounts of sunscreen, the chemicals have found their way into the water.
In recent years, researchers have discovered oxybenzone and octinoxate, two active ingredients in most sunscreen brands, in the water surrounding the chain of islands. Worst of all, oxybenzone and octinoxate have been linked to causing serious, lasting damage to coral reefs(1). According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coral reefs around the world are dying from a number of human-related causes. Without an active coral reef, the ecosystems surrounding Hawaii will fall apart and lead to serious issues with local flora and fauna, and even run the risk of damaging Hawaii’s tourist scene.
By banning sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, Hawaii legislators hope to undo some of the damage and become the first state to make lasting change on this front. “Everyone has come together to support this legislation, from local nurses and doctors, to resorts and airlines, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of new sunscreen companies to supply reef-safer products,” Craig Downs, the executive director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, told TheNew York Times.
With summer around the corner, many consumers will be purchasing sunscreen in the coming months. To remain a smart shopper and do your part to protect the oceans, you want to opt for brands that do not contain harmful agents like oxybenzone or octinoxate. Use a discerning eye to find brands that contain chemical alternatives like titanium oxide or zinc oxide. It can also be helpful to educate yourself on ways to protect your skin with natural sunscreen.
Dry, flaky skin on your face and around your mouth can cause irritation and discomfort. If you’re suffering from this condition, medically referred to as xerosis, you’re not alone. According to research from the International Society of Dermatology, over 40 percent of Americans claim to have dry or sensitive skin (1).
“Dry skin is characterized by an impaired skin barrier, which allows increased water evaporation from the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Mara Weinstein, assistant professor of dermatology and dermatologic surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “A regimen tailored to nourish dry skin should involve protecting and replenishing the skin’s lipids.”
Dry skin is caused by a variety of factors including aging, changes in the weather, and certain skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, which are characterized by flaky, red patches. If you want to boost moisture levels and effectively heal dry skin on your face, follow these simple steps.
Dry Skin Roadmap: Essential Steps to Take
1. Use an oil- or cream-based cleanser. “I advise people with dry skin to start with an oil-based cleanser,” says Dr. Kachiu C. Lee, assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University. “It is less likely to strip your skin of natural oils compared to a water-based cleanser.”
When choosing a cleansing product for dry, flaky skin, avoid foaming cleansers and gel-based options. “Foams and gels tend to be alcohol-based,” says Weinstein. “Foaming cleansers contain detergents, which strip our skin of its normal lipids.”
2. Wash with warm water. Turning the faucet to a hot-water setting is not conducive to treating dry skin. Instead, make sure the water is mild before cleansing your face. “Hot water removes your natural skin oils more quickly,” Weinstein says. “Warm water is best.”
3. Use an antioxidant-based facial oil. Lee suggests applying a facial oil every morning as an important step before moisturizing. “I recommend facial oils that contain vitamins C and E since these antioxidants also help to protect against sun damage,” she says. “The key is to seal in these oils with a moisturizer on top.”
4. Choose your moisturizers carefully. The most important step in any dry-skincare routine is to moisturize in the morning prior to applying makeup and at night before going to bed. But not all moisturizers on the market will work for dry skin. Dr. Rebecca Tung, chair of the division of dermatology at Loyola University Chicago, recommends looking for moisturizers that contain natural oils such as argan oil, coconut oil and shea butter. Other natural ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and plant-derived glycerin can also help the skin retain moisture, she says.
Make sure your daytime moisturizer contains SPF, or apply sunscreen prior to applying makeup. This simple step will “slow the development of fine lines and wrinkles and prevent premature aging, brown spots, blotchiness, and uneven skin tone,” Weinstein says.
At night, your best bet is to find an emollient-rich moisturizer with ceramides, which are natural lipids found in the skin. “Ceramides help to repair our skin’s lipid barrier and also put some moisture back into the skin,” Lee says.
5. Use Vaseline for tough-to-treat dry patches. “If your moisturizer isn’t working and you have persistent dry patches, Vaseline can help to heal the dryness,” Lee says. It’s especially helpful if you have flaky, peeling skin around the mouth or extremely chapped lips. If your mouth area is dry, Lee suggests using Vaseline as an overnight treatment. Just make sure to apply it sparingly, she says, since Vaseline can lead to clogged pores.
Precautions When Treating Dry Skin
If you have dry skin or suffer from eczema, there are certain skincare ingredients you should avoid. “I would not recommend highly fragranced [products] or those with high concentrations of exfoliants, such as hydroxy acids, because they may actually bring out dryness and inflammation,” says Tung.
And be extra cautious when choosing anti-aging moisturizers and serums, because ingredients such as retinol can further dry out your skin. “Tread lightly with anti-aging products,” she adds. “If you have dry or sensitive skin, some products your friends rave about may be too irritating for you and can actually inflame your skin rather than making it appear more youthful.”
Finally, with any skincare routine, it’s important to closely monitor how your skin is reacting to different products and ingredients. “If you’re breaking out with acne, rashes or redness, it’s time to switch up the routine,” Lee says. “You may be over-stressing your skin with too many products, clogging pores or causing irritation.” If problems persist, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to find a solution that works for you.
Though trends in the world of health and beauty might come and go pretty fast, there are some products that can withstand the tests of time. Castor oil, for example, has been used for so long that there is a ton of anecdotal evidence suggesting Egyptian ruler Cleopatra regularly relied on the oil to keep her skin and face fresh (1). Whether you’re presiding over an entire nation or you’re simply looking to get rid of some acne before a date, castor oil might be a great fit.
Take a look at some of the exciting ways you can incorporate castor oil into your daily routine. The more you learn about its benefits, the easier it will be for you to grab yourself a bottle and see for yourself.
1. Heal Your Skin
To begin, let’s look at the example of Cleopatra. In order to keep her face moisturized and protected against the harsh climates of Ancient Egypt, the ruler was said to have used castor oil regularly. There is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that this would have been a very sensible move for anyone living in this region at the time. The fatty acids found in castor oil can do wonders for dry, irritated skin (2). The fatty acids keep the skin moisturized while simultaneously helping to heal any wounds or abrasions on the skin’s surface.
Several studies also suggest that castor oil can help to reduce inflammation of the skin. By using castor oil on your face, you might be able to reduce the odds of an acne breakout by reducing inflammation and encouraging healthy skin cell growth (3). For best results, rub a small amount of castor oil on your face before you go to bed. You can wash it off right away or leave it on until the morning. Some health experts suggest using a warm cloth to open the pores on your face before applying castor oil to see the best results.
2. Protect Your Hair
Your hair can also benefit from a bit of castor oil. As with your skin, the fatty acids found in this oil can help to keep your hair hydrated. These same fats reinforce hair follicles, making it far less likely you’re going to see breakage or feel like your locks are in an unhealthy place (4). You can also expect your scalp to benefit from using a bit of castor oil when you wash your hair. Some studies have suggested that you can lower the odds of developing dandruff by using a little of this oil (5).
The best way to use castor oil on your hair is as a conditioner. After washing, apply a small amount of the oil on your hair and vigorously rub it in. Start with warm water and slowly switch to a cold rinse. The colder water at the end helps to lock the oil into your hair. For best results, be sure to condition in this fashion two or three times a week.
3. Ease Stomach Troubles
Castor oil is also useful by the spoonful as a laxative. No matter how much time you dedicate to cultivating a healthy diet, there are plenty of surprises that can come along. When you find yourself feeling constipated, it can make you feel terrible and prevent you from going about your routine with the same vigor. Castor oil is perfect in this situation. The oil itself is a fantastic natural laxative, helping to encourage muscle movement in the intestines (6).
While there is a ton of evidence out there suggesting that castor oil can relieve constipation, there are also some drawbacks to stay mindful of. Using castor oil might actually be too much of a good thing when unblocking your system and cause diarrhea. If you go from being backed up to being in the bathroom every five minutes, you might want to reduce how much castor oil you’re using or try another method.
4. Dental Health
You might not like hearing it, but your mouth is swarming with bacteria (7). For the most part, the germs that lurk in the mouth are safe. Some simply exist on the tongue and teeth to encourage healthy digestion. Of course, you also want to get rid of most of this bacteria when you brush. Some substances that grow in the mouth can lead to serious dental issues like plaque. By swishing some castor oil around in your mouth before brushing, you can clear our some of this bacteria in an effective manner (8).
Castor oil is a simple product with a ton of uses. When you want to add an extra level of protection to your teeth, hair, and skin, this is definitely an option worth your consideration!
Known for its cult following among beauty bloggers and Whole Foods shoppers alike, Aztec Secret is a bentonite clay that has been used to “beautify and refresh” the skin for centuries, according to its packaging.
“Bentonite clay comes from volcanic ash and gets its name from Fort Benton, Wyoming, where several volcanoes are present and the clay is still harvested today,” says Stacey Rex, creator and owner of Pure Stella Skin Care in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Bentonite clay is known to have an abundance of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, iron and potassium.”
A specific type of bentonite is found in Death Valley, California, and is the clay used in the famed Aztec Secret (not-so-secret) product. When combined with a liquid, like water or apple cider vinegar, the clay becomes a powerful—and cheap—detoxifying mask.
“It is a great mask to deep cleanse the skin, draw out impurities and tighten the skin while delivering minerals that nourish the skin,” says David Pollock, a beauty industry chemist and founder of justaskdavid.com. “It is a bit old school, but there is a reason it is a classic: It works and it’s affordable.”
To use the clay, mix the original recipe—equal parts clay and apple cider vinegar combined into a face mask—or try one of these five other ways to use it.
As a Hair Treatment
Bentonite is traditionally used to help draw dirt, debris and excess oil from the skin, says Crystal Baldazo, an esthetics master educator at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Chicago, but it can also be used as a treatment on the hair and scalp.
“I have a friend who uses this to detox her scalp and hair as a clarifying treatment—she swears by it,” Baldazo says. “As a clarifying treatment, mix it up in the same way as the face mask and apply it to the area, [then] let it sit for 20 minutes [before rinsing].”
Silica, another mineral found in bentonite, is known to build strong hair and nails, Pollock says.
As a Spot Treatment
The beauty of the clay is that it can be used as a mask anywhere you need it—even as a spot treatment for breakouts and newly-formed blemishes. As a spot treatment, mix the clay as you would a face mask (just use less), then dab a small amount onto the affected area and leave it on overnight before rinsing off, Pollock says.
As a Bath Soak
Part of the reason the clay works is that, when added to a liquid, it takes on an “electric charge” that allows it to absorb and remove impurities and chemicals from the body, Rex says. This is how the clay brightens your complexion.
If you’re looking to level-up your bath, Rex recommends adding 1/4 cup of the clay to bath water for a detoxifying soak.
To Treat Bug Bites
Bentonite’s ability to draw out toxins (what doesn’t this stuff do?) also makes it perfect for taking the sting out of insect and mosquito bites, Rex says.
She recommends combining the clay—again equal parts liquid and clay—in a small silicone bowl, mixing with your fingers, then dabbing onto bites to lessen the pain.
As a Mask Mix-In
Although the clay is beneficial enough on its own, adding a few ingredients can enhance the benefits of the mask and makes for an easy DIY, Pollock says. Here’s one to try:
1 tablespoon of manuka honey
2 tablespoons of bentonite clay
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons of purified water
1 teaspoon of activated charcoal (optional)
Mix the ingredients together into a paste, then apply and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing, he says.
“Let [the mask] sit until fully dry so that it can draw out impurities and tighten the skin,” he says. “Follow with a serum and moisturizer.”
Because the clay can be a bit drying on its own, consider mixing it with Greek yogurt, honey or a combination of water and jojoba or a non-comedogenic face oil, Rex says. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil to the mix for aromatherapy benefits, she adds.
Keep in Mind
Because the clay is stimulating (the Aztec Secret label proclaims, “FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE!”), expect your face to be pink or red when you take it off, Baldazo says.
“The pulsating lets you know that your blood flow to the area is increasing and increased blood flow to the face helps with oxygenating the skin, making it look more youthful and giving it a glow,” she says. “The redness or pinkness of your skin after the removal is an indication of the same.”
Be sure not to leave the mask on too long, Rex adds, as the clay can begin to extract moisture from your face if it becomes too dry.
Most importantly, while some people (i.e., celebrities) extol the benefits of consuming bentonite clay internally, you must find a food-safe clay version before trying to eat or drink it, Rex says. Speak with a doctor, esthetician or dermatologist if you have questions about food-safe clays.
Need a minimal, quick, out-the-door makeup look? I’ve got just the routine for you.
All of these products are either from a cruelty-free makeup brand or 100 percent vegan. This routine is really simple and easy to do and will have you looking great in no time. I love doing a routine like this for work or weekend errands to get that “no-makeup makeup look.” Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Primer
I always start any makeup look by priming my face. For this look, we’re using Emani Perfect 10 Primer Serum. This 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free primer will prepare your skin for makeup, absorb excess oils in your T-zone, and help minimize pores, all while moisturizing your face!
I love this primer because it creates a great base for makeup and helps it last all day. Like, I’m talking I fell asleep with my makeup on and it hadn’t moved when I woke up the next morning! (I also do NOT recommend doing this! Whoops.) To apply, massage one to two pumps on your face with your hands.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here about these sponges: wet them! It makes for the easiest application ever, because it helps spread the product evenly on your face, quickly. It also absorbs a smaller amount of product, which is great for your wallet!
You can also apply a bit of concealer between your eyebrows, on your chin and on the bridge of your nose to brighten up your face a bit.
Step 3: Blush
After that, you’re going to apply some Zao makeup blush. This blush is wonderful! I love that you are very in control with it, meaning it’s very buildable. You can go really subtle for work or build it up for a night out.
Every cosmetology book under the sun will tell you to smile to find the “apple of your cheeks,” and this is where you apply blush. Not me! I like to start there and drag my Zao blush brush up and back for a more natural, diffused look. Brush in circular motions also so you don’t get a line of color across your cheek.
Step 4: Mascara
Next, go in with some mascara to give your eyes a more “woken up, alert” look. theBalm’s Mad Lash is a great cruelty-free mascara (and look how cute the packaging is!).
The curved wand will give your lashes volume and the mascara won’t flake all over your face or give you those ugly marks around the eyes. Wiggle the applicator back and forth on your lashes to help separate and lengthen them.
Step 5: Lip Gloss
To finish off this look, let’s apply a lip gloss. Zao beige lipgloss is light and shiny and can go with any look.
This gloss is great because it’s not sticky or tacky like most lip gloss products, making it really comfortable on the lips. Another reason I love it is, it can be paired overtop of a lipstick to give a shiny, wet, glossy look to any lipstick color.
That completes our minimalist makeup routine. I hope you found it helpful and stress-free! I’m slowly trying to incorporate more natural and chemical-free products into my makeup bag, so leave me your recommendations below!
Healthy hair can totally transform how you feel each day. When your locks look the way you want in the morning, you’ll feel more confident to face whatever challenges await. The winter tends to dry out hair follicles, making it more difficult to give your hair the style you desire. To counteract the damage the season has done, try using a homemade coconut milk shampoo! The recipe is simple and the results will leave you with hair that feels nourished and alive.
The above are the only ingredients you actually require to make the shampoo. The next ingredients are to add some extra benefits to the experience. Feel free to explore other combinations than what is listed here, as you can get quite creative and discover some lovely results. Essential oils might add an extra scent component you find appealing.
Place 1 tsp of coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 30 seconds. If you do not have a microwave, just heat the oil over the stove for a few minutes until it liquefies. Do not let it get too hot.
While the oil is heating, add the coconut milk and castile soap to the bottle and shake it up to mix the ingredients.
Add the liquid coconut oil and vitamin E to the mixture and shake vigorously.
Shower and see the results for yourself!
For the best results, use roughly one or two tablespoons in your hair each time you wash it. Shampoo will last roughly two months before it should be replaced.
Coconut oil is so great that you can literally make dozens of different personal care products with it. If you are willing to try it out, here’s an easy-to-make DIY recipe for a coconut oil liquid hand soap.
Making your own liquid soap has two great advantages. First, you can be 100 percent sure there are no iffy ingredients in a product that you and your family will be applying to your hands and skin on a daily basis. Second, you can save money, as making your own natural liquid hand soap is actually cheaper than buying conventional soaps.
All you need is a jar of coconut oil, one natural unscented soap bar, essential oils (your choice), a cheese grater, and a large pot for water and soap. You will also need liquid soap dispensers and a large mason jar for refills.
1. Grate the entire bar of soap with your cheese grater and put it in a pot. Add 10 cups of water over the grated soap and two tablespoons of coconut oil.
2. Heat the soap, coconut oil and water on medium heat until all the soap and coconut oil have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
3. This part is optional. If you want to have unscented soap, jump to step 4. If you want to add essential oils for fragrance, add between 20 to 25 drops of your favorite essential oil into the mixture.
4. Let it sit and cool. Stir every hour and you may add an extra cup of water to improve consistency. After five hours, the soap should be ready!
5. Pour the soap into the dispenser and you can start using it right away. You may try different essential oils for new scents every time you make new soap.
Keep skin, hair, nails and joints healthy with LuckyVitamin’s Pure Collagen. It provides your body with essential building blocks for tissue growth and repair so you can look and feel your best. This flavorless powder easily mixes with water, coffee, juice or your favorite smoothie!