DIY Herbal Infused Oils for Beauty & Cooking

Infused Vanilla and Lavender Oils feature via @poorandpretty

Infused Coffee Vanilla and Lavender Oils via @poorandpretty

When I began creating products for my 100% natural Apothecary line, I realized quickly that my fragrance options were pretty limited. Because I only use essential oils, I can’t easily achieve apple pie, cucumber melon, or vanilla frosting scents. I was not willing to give up on vanilla, but Vanilla Absolute (the closest thing you get to vanilla essential oil) is CRAZY expensive — sometimes around $100/oz! I knew there had to be a less expensive alternative. That’s when I discovered I could make my own oil infusions. You can do this with all kinds of herbs and flowers, and it’s cheaper than buying essential oils. 

DIY Infused Lavender Oil supplies via @poorandpretty

Depending on the types of oil and herb, flower, or bean you use, your infused oils can be used in beauty products or cooking. Next week, I’m going to share how I used mine to make body sprays! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get infusing!

Basic Infused Oil Recipe

  • ¼ – ½ cup herb, flower, or bean
  • 1 cup of oil

These are approximations. For some oils, you’ll want to use more of the herb you’re working with, and some you’ll use less. See my “herbs to infuse” section below for details.

Infusing Lavender Almond Oil via @poorandpretty

Double-Boiler Infusion Method  — the fastest method!

  1. Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with water. If you don’t have a double boiler, fill a medium saucepan with 1 ½ cups of water.
  2. Add your oil and herbs, flowers, or beans to the top pan of your double-boiler. If using a saucepan, put the oil and herbs into a heat-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and place gently into the saucepan.
  3. Warm on low heat for 2-4 hours, checking every so often to make sure your water hasn’t evaporated. If it starts getting low, add more in.
  4. Strain the oil/herb mixture through cheesecloth, a fine mesh strainer, or a coffee filter into a jar and close the lid tightly.

Infused Vanilla and Lavender Oils via @poorandpretty

Tips & Tricks for Infusing Oils

  • Use oils that have a long shelf life — Jojoba, Olive, Sweet Almond, and Avocado oils are best. You can buy them here.
  • For the most part, you’ll want to use dried herbs and flowers to prevent bacterial growth and mold.
  • Straining through a coffee filter took a long time. If you’ve got cheesecloth or a fine mesh filter, use that instead!

DIY Infused Oils via @poorandpretty

Herbs to Infuse + Where to Buy Them

  • Calendula (Marigold) – One of the best, most versatile infusions. Calendula soothes dry & damaged skin and irritations. Use it alone or in a salve or lotion to heal sunburn and rashes. It makes a great baby oil, too. Use up to 1:1 calendula to oil ratio. You can buy calendula here.
  • Chamomile – If you want something relaxing, but you’re not a fan of lavender, chamomile is a close second. It’s not as strongly scented as lavender. Use ½ cup chamomile per cup of oil. You can buy chamomile here.
  • Coffee Grounds – This oil will tighten skin, fight free radicals, stimulate blood flow, and reduce cellulite. Ever notice that eye creams tend to have coffee in them? That’s because coffee reduces puffiness and gets rid of under-eye circles. Use ¼ – ½ cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of oil. You can buy coffee grounds at your local supermarket.
  • Lavender  – You know the drill. Lavender is great at reducing stress and inducing relaxation and sleep. (Learn more about why I love lavender here.) Use ¼ cup of lavender buds per cup of oil. You can buy lavender buds here.
  • Orange Peel – A lovely brightening, cheering scent, I love using powdered orange peel in my Orange Sugar Scrubs. Dried orange peel can also be used to make an infused oil. You can make dried orange peel yourself by peeling oranges and letting the peels cook in the oven on very low heat for a few hours or you can skip that (it’s kind of a pain) and buy dried orange peel here.
  • Peppermint – Awakens the senses and soothes sore muscles. A peppermint-infused oil would be great on its own as a sore muscle massage oil. Use fresh peppermint, which you can buy in your local supermarket. I love combining rosemary + peppermint for cold season remedies, like in this DIY Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub or my Mint + Rosemary Bathing Salts.
  • Rosemary – This can make a great culinary or beauty oil. Use it as a rub for muscle pain or as a treatment for dry, itchy, flaky scalp. It’s also great in recipes for roasting potatoes, pasta sauce, etc. I used about 2 tbs of dried rosemary in 1 ½ cups of olive oil. Because I will primarily use this for cooking, I left the rosemary in the oil. You can buy rosemary in the spice aisle of your local supermarket.
  • Vanilla Beans – This smells incredible! I use vanilla-infused jojoba oil in my Vanilla Sugar Scrubs. Slice up 3-4 vanilla beans per cup of oil. I like the tiny seeds mixing in with my sugar scrubs, so I don’t strain this oil. You can buy vanilla beans in most supermarkets or natural food stores.

These are just a few of the oil infusions you can make! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. On Monday, I’ll share how to use these infusions to make body sprays.

Disclosure: I was provided some of the supplies shown in this post by Bramble Berry, because I totally love them and they love me too! This post also contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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DIY Mineral Foundation & Tinted Moisturizer

DIY Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty feat

DIY Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty

In the 5 years Poor & Pretty has been around, I’ve shared a lot of DIY hair & beauty tutorials, but I’ve shied away from makeup. Homemade makeup seemed more than a little daunting and I never used to wear much of it anyway. Lately, I’ve been wearing more makeup which naturally meant I had to learn to make my own. Enter Bramble Berry’s Mineral Makeup Foundation Kit.

Bramble Berry Mineral Makeup Kit

It’s got everything you need to make three jars of natural mineral foundation (about 4oz total), plus have leftovers for experimenting with eye shadows, bronzers, and blushes. It also comes with an instruction booklet (much needed for newbies like me!) and a super soft kabuki brush. And it’s only $40! I bet you spend more than that on your favorite store bought foundation, right? I used to!

Sami with and without makeup via @poorandpretty

Here’s a little before & after for you. The photo on the left is of my face freshly cleansed and moisturized. On the right, I’m wearing my tinted moisturizer and mineral foundation, as well as blush, eyeshadow, and lip gloss that are not homemade. (But don’t worry, I’ll be tackling those too in the next few months!) As you can see, the mineral foundation doesn’t change the color of my skin, but rather evens out my skintone and offers light coverage. It isn’t caky or flaky.

Making more mineral foundation via @poorandpretty

I will tell you: it takes a lot of patience and trial and error to find the right mix of micas, oxides, and clays that make up your perfect match. I finally found mine on the 10th batch! But it was totally worth the few hours I put into it because now I have a go-to mineral foundation that I can make at home and not have to worry about whether or not it’s got hidden toxins in it.

Making mineral foundation via @poorandpretty

The instruction booklet has basic recipes to give you a starting point, but it really is all about throwing things together, trying it on, and seeing if it works.

A few tips:

  • Have makeup remover wipes handy!
  • Keep your routine consistent for each trial. Because my skin runs on the drier side (especially after this winter), I applied moisturizer before every application, otherwise I knew the mineral makeup would be way too dry and flaky.
  • If you’re working near a porcelain sink (or maybe rinsing tools off in one), keep a bathroom cleaning spray handy. Micas and oxides tend to run wild and will stain if you don’t clean them up properly. I use Method’s Tub + Tile Cleaner.

Bramble Berry Mineral Makeup Guide

The back of the instruction book has a section to record your recipes, so be sure to take good notes while you’re mixing up batches. If a batch is too light, dark, or doesn’t offer enough coverage, write it down!

DIY Mineral Foundation via @poorandpretty

My Perfect Combination Mineral Foundation (that’s fun to say!) was this:

  • 1 tsp Sericite Mica
  • ¼ tsp Titanium Dioxide
  • ¼ tsp Kaolin
  • ¼ tsp Tapioca Flour
  • ½ mini scoop Yellow Mica – not included in the kit, but can also be purchased from Bramble Berry here.
  • ½ mini scoop Brown Oxide
  • 2 ½ mini scoops Honeyed Beige Mica

Making tinted moisturizer via @poorandpretty

I also had some of Bramble Berry’s Aloe Lotion Base on-hand, so I decided to give making a tinted moisturizer a try. The result looks very dark, but actually offers very little coverage. I wouldn’t use it on its own, but it does make a nice foundation for layering on the mineral makeup.

Tinted Moisturizer:

  • 1 4 oz jar
  • 4 oz Aloe Lotion Base
  • ¼ tsp Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil – a beautiful and uplifting sweet, citrusy scent that also treats acne!
  • 5 mini scoops Honeyed Beige Mica
  • 1 mini scoop Brown Oxide
  • 1 mini scoop Yellow Mica

DIY Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty feat

Mixing the micas and oxides into the lotion was a little challenging, but I found it worked best if I mixed them into the Litsea Cubeba essential oil first, then into the lotion. Combine these with an immersion blender if you have one, or by hand if you don’t.

Homemade Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty

If you are interested in making your own mineral foundations, eyeshadows, and blushes, I highly recommend picking up Bramble Berry’s Mineral Makeup Foundation Kit. It’s perfect for beginners and has very clear, easy-to-follow instructions. I will definitely be using this kit in the near future to make blushes and eye shadows, so stay tuned!

Disclosure: I was provided many of the supplies shown in this post by Bramble Berry, because I totally love them and they love me too! This doesn’t change how I feel about the mineral makeup kit, which is awesome. This post also contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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The Hunt for the Perfect Tinted Moisturizer: The Results!

natural tinted moisturizers and beauty balms feat

Now that I’ve spent a few weeks trying out some of the best-rated, most-recommended natural tinted moisturizers and beauty balms, it’s about time I share my findings with you, right?

natural tinted moisturizers and beauty balms via @poorandpretty

First, a quick note about ratings. Mine are based on a scale of 0-5, 5 being the best and 0 the worst. I evaluated them on toxicity, color, coverage, texture, absorption, scent, and price. And it of course should not be tested on animals. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and the Think Dirty app rate toxicity from 0-10, with 0 being the least toxic and 10 the most toxic.

1. derma e BB Crème, Light Tint. My Rating: 0/5
I had to remove this because it did not absorb well at all! It was very streaky and made my skin look dry. It has a medicinal sunscreen scent, which I attribute to the high presence of zinc oxide.

  • EWG Rating: 2/10
  • Think Dirty Rating: N/A
  • Vegan? Yes.
  • Price: $39.50 (2 oz) = $19.75/oz

2. Andalou Naturals All-In-One Beauty Balm Sheer Tint SPF 30My Rating: 5/5
My initial reaction when I squeezed this from the tube is that it was a little thick, but it spreads well and absorbs very nicely. It smells citrusy, and I could see some people being turned off by that, but I like the smell, similar to my favorite sunscreen. I can see others being bothered by the scent though. It gives my skin a nice summery glow, which I love! Plus, it’s very reasonably priced. Definitely my favorite. It’s also gluten-free for those with gluten intolerance.

  • EWG Rating: 1/10
  • Think Dirty Rating: 3/10
  • Vegan? Yes.
  • Price: $20 (2 oz) = $10/oz

3. Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer, Ivory. My Rating: 3/5
This didn’t offer much coverage; it acts more like a sunscreen than a tinted moisturizer. It was a little more difficult to spread and absorb, probably because of the zinc oxide. Maybe a darker tint would have different results, but it probably would have been too dark for me.

  • EWG Rating: 1/10
  • Think Dirty Rating: 0/10
  • Vegan? Yes.
  • Price: $29 (2 oz) = $14.50/oz

4. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer, Creme. My Rating: 4/5
I want to love this one so much — it absorbs well, offers great coverage — but it’s too orangey! I love that it’s tinted with fruits rather than micas.

  • EWG Rating: N/A
  • Think Dirty Rating: 4/10
  • Vegan? Yes.
  • Price: $35 (1.7 oz) = $20.59/oz

5. Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB CreamMy Rating: 2/5
This was a little too dark for my skin, but spread evenly and offered decent coverage. But wowza! — rated 7 in Think Dirty! Pacifica does not disclose their fragrance ingredients, they just say “fragrance (all natural)” which makes me a little skeptical. If it was natural, I’d think they would disclose the essential oils used.

  • EWG Rating: N/A
  • Think Dirty Rating: 7
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Price: $16 (1 oz) = $16/0z

So there you have it! I hope this will help out anyone else looking for the right all-natural tinted moisturizer, but please keep in mind that your skin is different from mine and therefore you may experience different results.

What else would you like to see me test?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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5 Beauty Benefits of Green Tea

Green Tea Beauty Benefits feature

Hello, I’m Sami and I have a tea addiction. Black, green, white, oolong, herbal… you name it, I’ve got it. I drink it straight or make chai lattes in the winter and matcha green tea ice cream in the summer. Studies have shown antioxidant-rich teas can help prevent a boatload of health issues from cancers to heart disease, and they have some pretty great beauty benefits too!Green Tea Beauty Benefits via @poorandpretty

1. Reduces puffiness. Don’t have cucumber slices handy? You can use leftover green tea bags (chilled) for the same eye de-puffing effect.

2. Revives tired skin. The natural catechins (antioxidants with killer free radical-fighting powers) found in green tea promote healthy cell turnover to restore UV damaged or dying skill cells.

3. Prevents wrinkles. In addition to revitalizing skin cells, catechins also prevent cell damage before it begins by blocking enzymes that cause skin wrinkling.

4. Tightens pores. Apply cold green tea to your face with a cotton ball (or a spritzer) to shrink large pores and give your skin a healthy glow.

5. Toner. Green tea on its own makes an excellent toner because it tightens pores (see above), moisturizes, and provides an antioxidant boost. That’s why green tea extract is an essential ingredient in my Rose & Tea Facial Toner.

Rose Tea Facial Toner 2

Want to get more green tea in your beauty routine? Try my Rose & Tea Facial Toner and Green Tea Salt Scrub.

Green Tea Salt Scrub 8oz teacup

Available in 4oz or 8oz, my Green Tea Salt Scrub combines green tea extract and matcha powder as a powerful antioxidizing and anti-aging duo. Paired with Dead Sea and Epsom salts, this lightly scented scrub exfoliates and remineralizes skin and soothes eczema. When used on the face, it tightens pores and diminishes puffiness and redness.

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February Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Review

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box February feat

With all of the beauty testing I’ve been doing over the years, I decided it was about time I signed up for a beauty box. After lots of research, I chose the cruelty-free Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. Here’s a peek into my first box and a few of my thoughts:

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box February numbered via @poorandpretty

1. Phenomen-all Skin Repair by Alexandria Professional. I used this at night after washing my face before bed. It’s very oily and took a while to absorb so I don’t think it will work well under makeup. The smell was a bit of a turn-off for me (I’m not a fan of sesame oil), but it did seem to keep my skin well hydrated during the end of this rough New England winter.

2. Scalp Detox by Balanced Guru. This one is a bit of a mystery to me. My scalp had never been a problem before, but it’s been pretty dry and itchy this winter. So, I decided to try this out. The directions on the bottle are pretty vague, and the website provided no additional information: Use dropper to apply directly onto scalp and gently massage with finger tips. No need to rinse. Okay, but how much do I use? Should I use it when my hair is wet or dry? Is it better for an itchy/dry or oily scalp? Even Googling around for other reviews produced nothing! It does smell incredible though, lemony and herbal. I’m not sure it’s had any effect on my dome, but other reviewers say that it’s been great for those with normally dry/itchy skin or eczema on their scalp.

3. Fresh – Mild Rice Facial Cleanser by Blissoma. Filled with nourishing ingredients like Apricot Kernal Oil, Brown Rice, Willowbark and Marshmallow extracts (plus way more), this is a great mild cleanser for those with particularly sensitive or dry skin. I’ve enjoyed using it on my unusually dry skin these past few weeks of winter.

4. Organic Sweet Chair Lip Scrub by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques. This smell, on the other hand, was amazing. It’s like fall in a tiny jar. It smells just like a delicious chai latte and tastes sweet and cinnamon-y. It exfoliated my dry lips and left them smooth and supple.

5. Audrey Lipstick by Red Apple Lipstick. I love this color! It’s the perfect mix of pink and red. I don’t wear lipstick often, but I have been wearing this quite a bit because it gives my lips a nice color without being too loud (see below – top photo is me without anything on my lips and the bottom photo is me wearing Audrey). It stays on well and really does moisturize! Not only is it vegan, it’s also free of gluten, soy, parabens, and allergens.

Red Apple Lipstick in Audrey via @poorandpretty

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my first box. It exposed me to 5 brands I hadn’t previously heard of and products I may never have tested out if they weren’t in this box. I can’t wait for this month’s!

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? Where do you go to find cruelty-free nontoxic beauty?

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