DIY Skincare: Make your own strawberry facial toner for oily skin

Monday, February 26, 2018

It's time for a DIY skincare project here on CHIC & GREEN. Look for these every Monday.

Today I am sharing a recipe for a product that I used to offer in my skincare line. It is so soothing for oily skin, but really helps balance sebum.

It is all natural and works well for almost everyone with oily, congested skin. I will give you the full recipe of the product I used to sell and then a simpler, but very effective version using fewer ingredients so you don't have to find the essential oils and extras if you don't have them handy.

I am including links to trusted websites for you to get your supplies. You can use others, but I really wholeheartedly recommend being picky about your essential oil supplier. I am 100% against the two big MLM oil brands and recommend Plant Therapy.

Apply with a cotton ball or put in a misting bottle and apply to skin after cleansing. Do not rinse off the toner. Wait a few moments and add moisturizer.

Ingredients Needed

2 cups of lavender hydrosol
1/2 cup aloe vera juice
1/2 cup witch hazel hydrosol/distillate (alcohol free)
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 T. vegetable glycerin
30 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops grapefruit essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
Large handful of strawberry leaves, chopped (save those leaves when you cut up your berries!)

How to make your toner

Combine the hyrdrosol, ACV, witch hazel and aloe juice. Steep strawberry leaves in the above mixture for several hours. Strain. Add glycerin and essential oils. Stir. Pour into a dark bottle, preferably amber or cobalt glass. Unpreserved, this will keep for up to a few weeks.

What are the benefits of these ingredients?

Strawberry leaves don't look like much of anything when you're cutting up your berries, but they actually have more than 4 times the vitamin C (in just the leaves) than a large orange! Strawberries also contain salicylic acid, also know as beta hydroxy acid, which is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate into the pores and help "de-gunk".

Lavender Hydrosol is very soothing and helps to keep the skin balanced. It is a humectant without adding oily. Many believe this can also help prevent ingrown hairs and clogged pores.

Apple Cider Vinegar in any form can be used. If you can find raw and unfiltered, buy it for this recipe. The raw, unfiltered kind doesn't look the same your usual Apple Cider Vinegar. It looks cloudy and has little pieces of what is known as the "mother" in it. The "mother" is all of the goodness of the vinegar before it is filtered out and contains an abundance of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous.

The ACV is great at neutralizing oily skin and can bring it back to a healthy pH level. It is a fantastic astringent when diluted.

The aloe vera juice is soothing and nourishing to the skin. It helps act as a gentle, protective barrier as well.

The witch hazel hydrosol acts as an antiseptic and can help ward off bacteria.

The grapefruit essential oil is a very refreshing tonic and helps to remove excess sebum from the skin and calm bacteria clogging your pores. This also is rich in vitamin C.

Tea tree essential oil is native to Australia and it has been used for years and years to prevent and treat acne, and maintain healthy and clear skin. It is often used to treat acne scars as well.

Lemon essential oil  is also part of this recipe, as it is both astringent and detoxifying and wonderful for oily and acne prone skin types.

The vegetable glycerin in this recipe acts as a humectant. It softens the skin and attracts moisture. This will not make your skin more oily. It will just help it remain soft.

Simplified, Essential Oil-Free Version:

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1 cup lavender hydrosol (or soak lavender buds in the distilled water)
  • 1 cup aloe juice (optional; otherwise add more water or hydrosol)
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • Handful of chopped strawberry leaves

The 5 Best Vanilla Skincare Products

Friday, February 23, 2018

Vanilla is one of my all-time favorite scents. In high school, my favorite perfume was the Body Shop Vanilla Perfume Oil. I just have loved the soft, comforting, and slightly sweet aroma for as long as I remember.

Even at fortysomething, I am still a vanilla fan. Today, I'd like to share my 5 most favorite vanilla skin care, bath and body products.

1. URB Apothecary Vanilla Body Butter is a decadent product that goes on like a rich balm and is ultra hydrating and truly pampers your skin with extra nourishment. The ingredients of this water-free product are stellar, from the vanilla bean-infused sunflower oil to the cocoa butter, mango butter, and more. A little bit goes a long way when applying, but your skin will be left feeling like satin. I am in love with the scent, which is all-natural. In addition to the vanilla bean, there is vanilla planifolia, vanilla oleoresin and vanilla bourbon. It is just intoxicating.

2. Seed Smoothing Vanilla Lip Oil is ALWAYS in my purse. I have worn this since it debuted and the vanilla planifolia is a beautiful touch. I rarely use lip balms unless I am sent them free for this blog because I love how smooth and soft my lips are without feeling heavy or coated with waxes. The only ingredients in this oil are 100% plant-based oils, including grape seed, jojoba, shea, apricot, and more.

3. Carol's Daughter makes one of my most favorite vanillas ever, the Black Vanilla Conditioning Hair Set. I use the entire haircare line. As I type this, the whole set of 3 full sized products is on sale for $32.40. The shampoo is sulfate free, yet leaves my hair feeling clean and bouncy. This is my go-to winter haircare regimen and smells divine!

4. Frankie & Myrrh The Thrilla of Vanilla is my go-to vanilla spray. It is a 100% natural spray with pure vanilla absolute and vanilla CO2 extract. It is not cloyingly sweet at all and is just "me." I adore this one and find this brand to be upbeat, quirky & lots of fun to shop with.

5. Mission Grove Madagascar Vanilla Sea Salt Scrub from the Soap & Paper Factory is another favorite in my shower. It has a more mature vanilla aroma, thanks to the addition of cedarwood, but it still blends well with my other products. I also love that this one is a salt scrub instead of my usual sugar blends.

How Chocolate Benefits the Skin

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Could your favorite sweet treat improve your skin?

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if something most of us find irresistible could possibly make our skin look younger? I don’t know about you, but if you give me permission to indulge in a bit of chocolate, I am more than happy to oblige.

Could it be true? Yes! While it may not turn back the clock, chocolate--especially dark chocolate-- is highly beneficial to the skin. Why is chocolate so good for the skin?

  • Dark chocolate contains an abundance of flavonols. You may have heard about these antioxidants commonly found in red wine. They are also present in dark chocolate and provide many benefits. Flavonols have been shown to reduce inflammation and protect the skin from UV damage. We know now that UV damage is one of the leading causes of aging, so this is one reason to reach for some chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate consumption helps to lower the amount of stress hormones such as cortisol. When your body produces excess cortisol, collagen breaks down. This collagen breakdown causes fine lines and wrinkles. Chocolate, though, reduces stress hormones which may help to prevent collagen from breaking down in the first place.
  • Dark chocolate is rich in nutrients believed to improve skin clarity and texture. You’ll find Vitamins A, B1, C, D, E, iron and calcium in dark chocolate.

Eating chocolate isn’t your only option when it comes to reaping the skin benefits. There are many products on the market with antioxidant-rich cocoa and dark chocolate to help improve the appearance of your skin and reduce the signs of aging. I am particularly drawn to the new wave of chocolate-based masks to reduce the signs of aging. All of the ones mentioned below are free of harmful chemicals. Let’s take a look at some of my tried and true favorites.

1. The Best Chocolate Face Mask to Brighten the Skin

Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask

This rich mask may resemble a decadent ganache, but it feels like heaven on your face. It’s thick and a bit sticky, but you will adore how fresh and renewed your skin looks once you have tried it. Josh Rosebrook has crafted a truly spa-worthy facial product in this little jar. Your skin will drink in the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, bladderwrack, grapeseed oil, and essential fatty acids. Skin is left plumper, brighter, and nourished.

2. The Best Chocolate Face Mask for Dry Skin

Eminence Organics Chocolate Mousse Hydration Masque

Available at many spas for purchase, Eminence Organics is a Hungarian skin care line used by estheticians. This mask is ideal for women with parched, dehydrated skin in need of serious moisture. Made with macadamia nut oil, almond oil, and multiple vitamins, cocoa is the key ingredient in this treatment.

3. The Best Chocolate Face Mask for Oily Skin (Plus, it is the best bargain!)

Lush Cupcake

This dessert-like gem wins the best mask for oily skin, and it is also the most affordably priced. First of all, it smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream and is my favorite summertime mask. My skin tends to go from one extreme to the other -- super dry in the winter and an oil slick in the summer. I love how the Lush mask is cooling (thank you, Peppermint Essential Oil) and I am a big fan of the mask's #1 ingredient: Rhassoul Clay. This clay is gentle, yet effectively draws out excess sebum.

4. The Best Chocolate Face Mask for Aging Skin

Perricone MD Cocoa Moisture Mask

This higher-end facial mask features many anti-aging and firming ingredients, including DMAE. It contains abundant antioxidants, nourishing hyaluronic acid, and squalane. I have tried this one and it does feel like a classic spa treatment. If you'd like to splurge, grab this one. Know, though, that there are other budget friendly options that work beautifully.

5. The Best Chocolate Face Mask Overall

FarmHouse Fresh Sundae Best Chocolate Softening Mask

Rich and decadent, this mask from FarmHouse Fresh is my favorite of the bunch. It is great for mature skin, as it contains Carrot Seed Oil, Ginseng, and Royal Jelly, which soften and help reduce the look of fine lines. It also is rich in Bentonite and Kaolin Clays to help draw out any "junk" from the pores. It feels luxurious and skin is left smooth as a baby's bottom.

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