5 Beauty Benefits of Cocoa Powder + New Chocolate Face Mask!

5 Beauty Benefits of Cocoa Powder feature via @poorandpretty

Like we needed any more reasons to love chocolate, right? You know I’m a big fan of putting my favorite kitchen ingredients into beauty products (green tea, oranges, vanilla, etc.), so it was only a matter of time before I started slathering cocoa powder all over my face. And you can too! Today, I’m introducing my all new 100% natural Chocolate Face Mask, just in time for Mother’s Day. But first, let’s talk about why cocoa powder is so awesome for your skin:

5 Beauty Benefits of Cocoa Powder via @poorandpretty

 

1. Repairs skin. Pure cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, which fight off free radicals, heal damaged skin, and reduce lines and wrinkles. You can see why I decided to make my new Chocolate Face Mask!

2. Prevents sun damage. Polyphenols — a type of antioxidant found in cocoa powder — absorb UV rays and help ward off skin cancer. Polyphenols are best absorbed through drinking, so add a spoonful of cocoa powder to your coffee or make natural hot chocolate. But please don’t slather yourself in cocoa powder! It is not a replacement for sunscreen.

3. Firming. The caffeine and theobromine found in cocoa powder break down fats and drain fatty cells which firms skin and reduces puffiness.

4. Reduces cellulite. Caffeine and theobromine also make cocoa powder an effective natural cellulite treatment.

5. Healthy hair. The sulfur in cocoa powder promotes shinier, softer hair. It can also be used to naturally darken hair.

Chocolate Face Mask top 2

In my Chocolate Face Mask, I’ve combined the antioxidant-rich, certified organic cocoa powder with dehydrated coconut milk and kaolin clay to gently exfoliate, smooth, and hydrate your skin. Pick one up for you — or your Mom! — here.

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DIY All-Natural Body Sprays & Perfumes

Make Your Own Body Spray feature @poorandpretty

DIY Body Spray via @poorandpretty

I have been on a roll with tutorials lately! It must be the return of spring. :) As part of my ongoing partnership with Bramble Berry, I thought I’d share with you a few ways to make all-natural body sprays and perfumes. I’ve made perfume in the past, so I wanted to try a lighter body spray this time, especially now that I’ve got a few homemade infused oils! Before we dive in, let’s talk about the three main all-natural body spray bases:

Oil Base:

Water Base:

Alcohol Base:

DIY Perfume via @poorandpretty

Remember the DIY Perfume I made last year? This is an example of an alcohol-based perfume or body spray. Although it contained a man-made fragrance oil, the vodka base itself is natural and can be used with essential oils instead. In today’s post, I’ll cover the Oil and Water based body sprays. If you want a stronger perfume, check out my alcohol-based perfume tutorial here.

DIY Vanilla Sandalwood Moisturizing Body Spray via @poorandpretty

I love any excuse to slather myself in vanilla-scented goodness, so my first body spray was an oil-based one, using my vanilla-infused jojoba oil. I combined it with a few drops of sandalwood essential oil for a sensual, woodsy appeal.

Vanilla Woods Oil-Based Body Spray

This is a great after-shower spray, and can be used in place of lotion for dry skin because jojoba oil absorbs very quickly, without a greasy feeling.

DIY Citrus Body Spray via @poorandpretty

I’m also a big fan of citrusy fragrances, and I’m in love with the Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil I picked up from Bramble Berry. It’s like lemon with a little bit of pine. In this water-based body spray, I mixed it with Orange Essential Oil and Rosewater, which produced a lovely citrus-meets-bubblegum fragrance. It reminded me of lemon sherbet, tea cookies, summer carnivals, and relaxing on the porch with a good book.

Almost Summer Water-Based Body Spray

 This is a very light fragrance that won’t stick around forever, but offers a lovely light pick-me-up scent.

 DIY Body Spray - using a funnel @poorandpretty

Tips & Tricks for Making Body Spray:

  • If you can, use amber or cobalt (blue) bottles rather than clear. They filter light, preserving your fragrance for longer.
  • Use a funnel when pouring your water, oil, or alcohol into your bottle to avoid spills!
  • Optionally, you can add aloe vera, glycerin, and/or Vitamin E to your sprays for extra moisturizing benefits.

Make Your Own Body Spray via @poorandpretty

Have you ever made your own perfume or body spray? I’d love to hear what worked for you, and what fragrances you’ve mixed up!

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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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5 Beauty Benefits of Orange

Beauty Benefits of Orange via @poorandpretty feature

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:

Beauty Benefits of Orange via @poorandpretty

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 Sugar Scrubs_600

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.

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