DIY Beauty: Green tea exfoliating mask

Happy Labor Day! Let’s take a minute to appreciate our skin today, which works so hard to keep us pretty. ;)

DIY green tea and baking soda exfoliating mask - poor and pretty

This is a mask you can easily whip up in seconds. At the core of it is one green tea bag (dry, not steeped!) and one tablespoon of baking soda. Rip open the tea bags and mix with the baking soda, then store this mixture in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use the mask, take one teaspoon of the dry mixture and combine with one teaspoon of the following, depending on your skin type:

  • water – for oily skin
  • milk – for normal/combination skin
  • olive oil – for dry skin
  • honey – for all skin types; raw honey is a great humectant (it rehydrates skin by drawing on moisture from the air).

I like to think of this as a “choose your own adventure” mask. Remember those books? I always seemed to choose poorly. Lucky, you can’t do that with this mask because no matter which liquid you choose to mix in, your skin is still going to be exfoliated. Win!

Tip: Always apply masks after you’ve cleaned your face with your favorite facial cleanser. Masks are not a substitute for cleansers.


Summer skincare tips & top picks

A few of my friends have asked me for tips on getting rid of acne or basic skincare maintenance. Skin is either too oily or too dry; there’s almost never a happy medium. We all have this problem (even me!), and of course it varies with the seasons. I thought I’d share my summer skincare routine with you, along with some of my go-to products.

summer skincare tips and top picks - poor and pretty

1. I notice my skin is the clearest when I wash my face at night. Right now, I’m using a cream cleanser I’m developing myself, but my favorite retail cleanser is the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. It’s made entirely from natural ingredients and doesn’t include harsh chemical detergents that cause your skin to dry out.

2. I always, always, always follow up with my homemade rosewater and witch hazel astringent. I used to be terrible at using astringents, but now that it’s a part of my routine, my skin stays much cleaner. It’s super easy to make — you can find most of the ingredients at your local health food store, or online. After using your cleanser, put a few drops of the astringent on a cotton ball and swipe over your face (avoiding your eye area, of course). I sometimes use the astringent throughout the day to freshen up.

3. Exfoliate at least twice a week. Admittedly, I’m still working on this one. When I do remember to exfoliate twice a week, I get less acne. My favorite exfoliating masks are both homemade: DIY strawberry mask (strawberries contain salicylic acid, which fights off acne-causing bacteria) and DIY oat & cornmeal exfoliating facial scrub & mask (this one’s easier to keep on hand).

4. Traveling is no excuse not to take care of your skin! If you need a good on-the-go cleanser, try the Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes. Infused with aloe vera, cucumbers, and green tea, these babies remove makeup, soothe, and clean your skin. Plus, they smell great, too!

5. Now that you’ve got the cleaning part down, don’t forget to moisturize, even if your skin is typically oily. One of the biggest reasons why skin becomes oily is because we wash it with all of these harsh cleansers, strip its natural oils, then we don’t bother replacing any of those oils. This makes our skin work extra hard to compensate for those missing oils, pumping them out and resulting in shiny, slick, yucky skin. Gross, right? So always replenish those oils — just like you would drink water after sweating. My favorite moisturizers are both from DressGreen: Purifying and Blemish Controlling Face Serum (best for drier skin) and Calming and Clarifying Face Cream (better for oilier skin). Like most people, I have combination skin, so I use these interchangeably. They’re both 100% natural and free of toxic chemicals.

6. Of course it’s Summer, so we can’t forget the sunscreen. Dermatologists suggest wearing sunscreen on your face daily because our facial skin is most susceptible to sun damage. My natural sunscreen of choice is Naked Bee’s Face & Body Moisturizing SPF 30 Sunscreen, which contains 70% organic content and is enriched with Vitamin C. It smells lovely and has no Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Laurel/Laureth Sulfates, or alcohol.

Be safe, don’t forget to drink lots of water and share your Summer skincare tips in the comments!

Bonus: want naturally beachy hair without going to the beach? Try making my DIY sea salt hair spray!

This post is a part of Independent Fashion Bloggers Project #104 Summer Essentials.


DIY Beauty: Vanilla coconut sugar scrub


DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub via Poor and Pretty

This is a luxurious twist on my classic sugar scrub recipe, using coconut oil instead of safflower oil, and adding a dash of vanilla essential oil for a decadent fragrance!


  • 1⅓ cup all-natural cane sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • a few drops of vanilla essential oil

DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub via Poor and Pretty - grind sugar

I always like to grind up my cane sugar in a mortar and pestle first, so it’s not as rough on your skin. You want it to be a little rough so that it gets rid of dry skin, but you don’t want it to scratch you! This step isn’t strictly necessary.

DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub via Poor and Pretty - add coconut oil

Add your sugar to a bowl, then add the coconut oil and vanilla essential oil. Note: Coconut oil is funky in that it is solid at room temperature, but melts at about 76º F. Unless you live in a tropical region, you will probably need to melt down your coconut oil first {I just put it in the microwave for 30 second intervals until it melts}.

DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub via Poor and Pretty - mix

Mix all of your ingredients together! Do it fairly quickly, before the coconut oil solidifies again.

DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub via Poor and Pretty - put in container

Put it into a jar and use it within 6 months! :) Because cane sugar is pretty rough, I wouldn’t recommend using this on your face.


DIY Beauty: oat & cornmeal exfoliating facial scrub & mask

DIY oat & cornmeal exfoliating facial scrub mask Poor & Pretty

Did you know we should be exfoliating our faces 2-3x per week to get rid of dead skin? Imagine making a mask every time you were going to exfoliate. I don’t have the time, do you? This is the easiest facial scrub/mask you’ll ever make, and it lasts forever! Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 tbs cornmeal
  • mortar & pestle {or a sealable plastic bag & meat tenderizer}

grind oats in mortar & pestle Poor & Pretty

Grind up your oats with the mortar & pestle. I grind up the oats in thirds so that oats don’t fly everywhere as I smash them.

ground oats Poor & Pretty

The end result should look something like this.

ground oats & cornmeal Poor & Pretty

Add the oats to a small container, pour the cornmeal on top, pop the lid on, then shake.

oat & cornmeal exfoliating scrub Burt's Bees deep cleansing cream Poor & Pretty

And there you have it! Use about half a teaspoon and add a little bit of water or milk and you’ve got yourself a facial scrub or mask. I keep it my container next to my shower and mix it in with my favorite cleanser. Shake it up before you use it because the cornmeal settles to the bottom. Don’t forget to scrub your throat, and always follow it up with a moisturizer. Happy exfoliating!


Manic Friday + Making Sugar Scrub on Better Connecticut!

Boy oh boy was yesterday a fun day for me! I started the day off by teaching Scot Haney and Melissa Cole how to make sugar scrub on Better Connecticut:


Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

Then, I headed down to Make & Mingle in Westport, where I dropped off some of my Cupcake Soaps, Coco Body Balms, and Jars of Frosting. It’s such a wonderful little boutique + creative space, where fabulous owner Alexcia Patterson hosts all sorts of awesome DIY classes.

I stopped at home briefly to change into ripped jeans and an old hoodie, fully expecting to get paint all over myself at The Golden Button’s Drop-In Ornament painting. Gladly, I escaped with only a brush stroke on my left hand, and these three supercute ornaments!

The ever-crafty Krissy & Dennis of Kleiner Eisbär {and their adorable niece!} also popped in to decorate a few ornaments. They’re teaching a crash course on book binding today at sugarplum USA in Southington, at 3pm and 5pm.