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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
I love the smell and taste of oranges. They’re so good for your body, and as it turns out, they’ve got a lot of beauty benefits too. Here are just a few:
1. Treat dark spots. The vitamin C in oranges helps reduce dark spots, even skin tone, and get rid of blemishes. Did you know that orange peels actually contain more vitamin C than the fruit itself? That’s why I use orange peel powder in my Orange Sugar Scrub.
2. Dry out & heal acne. Citric acid blasts away pore-blocking dirt and bacteria to deep clean and kill any existing acne.
3. Detoxify. You can thank dietary fiber for giving orange peels super detoxifying powers. By ridding the skin and body of harmful toxins, fiber helps prevent acne breakouts.
4. Skin-firming. Not only does vitamin C improve your skin’s texture and color, it also restores collagen to firm and prevent premature aging of your skin.
5. Rejuvenate dull skin. The combination of vitamin C, citric acid, and dietary fiber in oranges work together to exfoliate and revitalize lackluster skin.
Orange you glad I shared these tips with you? Grab an Orange Sugar Scrub for yourself or someone else who could use a little relaxing & pampering right here.
Five years ago, I was just starting to read ingredient labels and ask questions about all of those unpronounceable things in my cosmetics. Today, I’m making products with only natural (and pronounceable!) ingredients in them in hopes of ridding bathroom shelves around the world of nasty chemicals. I thought I’d share some of the amazing natural ingredients I use in my products, and a few reasons why I use them. Let’s start with lavender, the most gentle and useful essential oil.
1. Beauty sleep. Lavender is best known for its ability to relieve stress and induce sleep and relaxation. If you’re suffering from insomnia or find yourself restless, place a lavender sachet into or near your pillow, or take a bath before bed with my Lavender Bathing Salts.
2. Fights acne. Because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender essential oil fights bacteria that causes acne infections and reduces swelling and redness. It also works great as an astringent because it helps normalize oil production. For spot treatment, you can apply lavender essential oil can be directly to acne blemishes with a cotton swab.
3. Renews skin. As an antioxidant, lavender essential oil aids in the skin cell renewal process, making it a champion at firming skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also protects against and relieves sun damage. Another great reason to use my Lavender Sugar Scrub — which can also be used as a facial scrub.
4. Heals burns, wounds, scars, and chapped lips. Aside from fighting acne, Lavender’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory attributes make it beneficial for relieving pain and healing burns, wounds, scars, and chapped lips.
5. Promotes a healthy scalp. Lavender improves blood circulation, treats dandruff, and reduces hair loss, making it a great addition to a hair rinse or conditioner. And, it kills lice! It’s especially effective when paired with tea tree oil.
Say hello to my new lineup! Poor & Pretty Apothecary is a line of vegan, 100% natural sugar and salt scrubs, bathing salts, and whipped body butters. At this point, I have added almost everything to my Etsy shop. Here’s what you’ll find:
Lemon Sugar Scrub (available in 4 oz and 8 oz jars) and Lemon Bathing Salts (12 oz). Aside from Vanilla (which actually has no pure essential oil), lemon is my favorite essential oil. It combines so well with the fair trade certified & organic cane sugar, coconut oil, and jojoba oil in my sugar scrubs and Dead Sea and Epsom Salts in my bathing salts. Lemon is a mood-booster, detoxifier, and energizer. Perfect for blasting away the impending winter gloom.
I couldn’t resist making Lavender Bathing Salts, too. Organic lavender essential oil teams up with lavender and chamomile floral powders to relax your body and mind while Dead Sea and Epsom Salts soothe sore, achy muscles and re-mineralizing your skin.
Himalayan Salt is the most sought-after bathing salt because it restores the natural chemical balance of the skin, helps heal psoriasis and eczema, eases muscular aches and pains, and reduces stiffness.
It’s also ideal for exfoliating scrubs because it improves circulation, and re-mineralizes and detoxifies skin. Add to that the cell regeneration, mood-elevating, and aphrodisiac qualities of rose essential oil, and you’ve got a beautiful thing. So skip the beauty nap and take a beauty bath!
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of mint. I’ll occasionally have it in tea and it’ll sneak its way into chocolate or something, but I usually try to avoid it. There are a lot of mint lovers out there (including Stan), so I made Mint + Rosemary Bathing Salts, and I’m really glad I did! Mint and rosemary essential oils are fantastic at clearing up sinuses and stimulating the mind, and both have antiseptic and astringent properties. Ever wonder why mint is always in foot creams? That’s because it cools and deodorizes. So if you’re looking to take a soothing bath after a rough workout, this will be your new best friend.
I saved the best for last: my 100% organic Whipped Body Butter. When I whipped this together the very first time a few months ago, I thought I had somehow gained magical powers. This stuff is phenomenal. Made with certified organic cocoa and shea butters, and coconut and jojoba oils, this soft and creamy body butter is ultra-moisturizing.
You only need a little bit, so this baby will last you a while, although it smells like chocolate so it is pretty addicting. (I actually had to pause typing so I could use some.) And it absorbs pretty quickly and doesn’t make your skin greasy. This is great for anyone because it’s so amazing, but especially for those with sensitive or dry skin. It comes in a 4 oz or 8 oz jar, but I sold out of my 4 oz jars at the Hartford HodgePodge, so I only have 8 oz listed on Etsy. Hopefully I’ll have time to whip some more up this weekend!
… And hopefully you’ll grab some of my new products and have yourself a spa night (or month). ;)