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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Israel’s Olea Essence: Olive Oil & Natural Skincare

Olea Essence feat

Olea Essence tour Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

One of the places Stan visited during his Israel trip was a family-owned olive oil press in Qatzrin, in northeastern Israel. Founded by the Talmon family in 1997, Olea Essence is known for its high quality olive oils and sustainable farming and manufacturing processes. It was this ecological focus that led to the introduction of their 100% natural skincare line.

Olea Essence Skincare via @poorandpretty

Olive residue, a by-product of olive oil manufacturing, is harmful to the environment due to its excessive concentration of antioxidants. But the Talmon family found that this made an excellent base in cosmetics, especially for its anti-aging benefits. No wonder Israeli women have such beautiful skin!

Olea Essence tour ancient press Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

Stan (who hates olives but loves olive oil!) learned about the olive oil process from harvesting through pressing, including ancient and modern-day techniques. He also taste-tested Olea Essence’s different flavored olive oils and brought home a delicious bottle of Tabha Olive Oil, which I’ve been instructed to “only use for dipping good bread in.” And of course, he picked up a few all-natural cosmetics for me:

Olea Essence Skincare products via @poorandpretty

I was a little skeptical to try these at first, thinking they’d all smell strongly like olive oil, but they really don’t. The body milk is lightly scented with lemongrass, pine, grapefruit, and tea tree oils and absorbs very quickly into the skin.

Olea Essence Hand Cream via @poorandpretty

The hand cream is barely scented, and is more like a balm than a cream. It’s really good for Stan’s very dry, cracked hands. My hands usually don’t need as much attention, but I like using this on my cuticles.

Olea Essence Olive Wash and Exfoliate via @poorandpretty

Olive Wash and Exfoliate is mostly olive pulp and has an invigorating but light lemongrass scent. It’s a wonderfully gentle all-over body cleanser and exfoliator, and reportedly great at treating acne. I follow it up with the body milk or my whipped body butter.

Don’t worry: you don’t have to go all the way to Israel to try these! All of these products can be purchased online.

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DIY Beauty: All-Natural Homemade Face Wash

DIY natural face recipe wash via @poorandpretty

I have been testing my all-natural homemade face wash for about two months now, and I’m happy to say that it has performed better than any store bought product! Because it contains no harsh surfactants, it doesn’t strip away my skin’s natural oil. Rather, the jojoba oil and castile soap combine to gently remove dirt without drying out my face. It’s pretty fantastic, and perfect for those with sensitive or problem skin, dry or oily. See more details about each ingredient below.

DIY natural face recipe wash ingredients via @poorandpretty

You will need:

  • 1 8oz bottle — I recommend these.
  • a funnel
  • 1 cup castile soap — a very mild soap made from olive oil
  • 1 tbs jojoba oil — similar to our skin’s natural oils; it penetrates deeply without leaving an oily residue & is suitable for all skin types
  • 1 tsp rose floral water or rose hydrosol (they aren’t exactly the same thing, but pretty close) — works as an astringent to balance skin; fights acne
  • a few sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary — rosemary is an antiseptic and encourages cell regrowth
  • 11 drops of lavender essential oil — antiseptic, heals blemishes

DIY natural face wash via @poorandpretty

Place the funnel on top of your bottle and add the castile soap, jojoba oil, and rose floral water into the bottle. Remove the funnel and drop in your rosemary, then add the lavender. Shake it up!

DIY natural face wash with lavender and rosemary via @poorandpretty

And that’s all there is to it! Be sure to shake well before each use, as your ingredients will separate. As with any new body products, you will likely need to try this out for 2-3 weeks before your skin becomes acclimated to it. I’d love to hear what you think!

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DIY Beauty: All-natural bright & fresh strawberry face mask

DIY Strawberry Honey Mask poorandpretty

How about starting off the new year with a bright & fresh face? This is yet another easy mask, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Strawberry & Honey Mask ingredients 1 poorandpretty

Bright & Fresh Strawberry Honey Face Mask. This should make 4-5 applications, which you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

Ingredients:

  • 4 strawberries — rich in vitamins A & C, contain salicylic acid, which rids the skin of dead cells and heals & dries acne
  • 1 tbs unsweetend coconut milk — high in antioxidants, removes dirt build-up, replaces moisture in dehydrated skin
    • I highly recommend using coconut milk (you can use the rest to make these coconut cupcakes!), but you can use soy or regular milk as substitutes if you need to.
  • ½ tbs honey — antibacterial, great humectant (it rehydrates skin by drawing on moisture from the air)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - cut strawberry leaves - poorandpretty

Step One: Cut off the strawberry leaves. But don’t throw them away! You can boil the leaves and use the water as an astringent after you rinse off your mask.

Strawberry & Honey Mask - mash up strawberries 2 - poorandpretty

Step Two: Mash up the strawberries in a blender, food processor, or with a fork if you need to get some aggression out ;)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - finished - poorandpretty

Step Three: Add in the coconut milk and honey, and mix well.

Step Four: Apply to your face with your fingertips, carefully avoiding your eyes. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, until dry. Enjoy the Fruit Rollup scent.

Step Five: Rinse thoroughly, massaging the strawberry mixture over your skin gently as you rinse. This gives your face a little extra exfoliation.

Follow up with an astringent and your favorite moisturizer. Enjoy your deliciously-scented, super smooth skin!

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Winter skincare tips & top picks

Remember my Summer Skincare Tips post? I thought I’d do another for winter. I know it isn’t officially winter yet, but since we saw our first snow fall earlier this week, I’m thinking it’s close enough. Truthfully, many of the tips I shared in my summer post are relevant for winter skincare, but given how dry the air is, it’s even more important to stay hydrated and moisturized. Here are my favorite ways to do so…

winter-skincare-faves-poorandpretty

1. Drink lots of water or coconut water. Some people aren’t big on the taste of coconut water, but if you can get past that, it really is an amazing hydrator — some say it hydrates even better than water because it’s choc full of electrolytes. It’s also rich in potassium. Try adding it to smoothies if you don’t like the taste.

2. We’re all tempted to take hot baths or showers in the winter to stay warm, but this can actually dry out your skin. So if you do take a bath, try to keep it warm rather than hot and add some milk and honey to your bathwater. As celebrity esthetician Catherine Ianelli says in her milk and honey bath soak recipe, “milk makes the skin soft, is rich in AHA’s (alpha hyroxy acids), which promote exfoliation, and gives the skin a glowing complexion.”

3. Just as it’s important to exfoliate your face, it’s crucial to exfoliate your body, too, especially in the winter. My homemade vanilla coconut sugar scrub is my go-to body scrub. The sugar gets rid of dry, flaky skin and the coconut oil swoops in to moisturize. I’m also partial to my Jar of Frosting, a whipped soap body scrub made with jojoba beads to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.

4. My Coco Body Balm packs a super-moisturizing punch because it’s made from cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil. Liquid lotions tend to contain chemical preservatives, whereas my Coco Body Balm is entirely natural, and therefore entirely good to your skin. I use it on particularly dry patches of skin like my elbows, knees, heels, and slather it on my hands before I go to bed.

5. Whether or not you’re prone to dry skin, it’s better to use a natural bar soap for your face in the winter. Not just any bar soap, of course, you’ll want one specifically formulated for the sensitive skin on our face. Why? Because natural facial bar soaps are made with skin-loving oils that provide your skin with more moisture rather than removing it. Most liquid face washes contain surfactants (also in household cleaning products!) which strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving your face too dry. I like this oatmeal & lavender facial cleansing bar from Blissoma.

6. Hopefully, if you’ve followed all of the above steps, your skin will be well-moisturized, but if you need a little extra help, you’ll want to keep a face serum handy. Facial serums can be pricey, but they are packed with rejuvenating oils, so you only need a few drops for your whole face. The best serums — like this Organic Face Serum from Antho — contain Rosehip and Argan oils, loaded with powerful antioxidants and natural essential vitamins.

What do you do to keep your skin soft in the winter?

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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