Category Archives: recipe

$5 DIY Cleanser for Skin As Soft 'n Smooth As a Baby's Butt

Yesterday I ran out of my mediocre foaming facial cleanser — I use it because it was expensive and it removes my makeup pretty well, but frankly, it’s pretty much so-so. Well, in a pinch I used a little olive oil and a warm washcloth to remove my eye makeup last night. Aside from the obvious oiliness, I was quite pleased that my makeup came off completely and lickety-split, plus my skin stayed soft and supple around my eyes.

Today, instead of heading off to the department store in search of another high dollar, mediocre facial cleanser, I decided to make my own.

Based on the oil cleansing method — the gist of which insists that the best way to remove dirt and oil from your skin is to use oil (sort of like fight fire with fire?) — I grabbed some ingredients from my kitchen cupboard and bathroom medicine cabinet and got to work.

The result of my efforts was a cleanser than not only cleansed my face without stripping it but one that also made my skin super-smooth and soft.

Here’s the recipe and what I did:

In a kitchen mixing bowl, I threw in about 1/2 cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of liquid bath soap (castile or whatever you have is fine) two tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of plain glycerin (available at your local drugstore) and 1/2 teaspoon of Optiphen, a paraben-and-formaldehyde free preservative. Then I whisked everything together and poured it into my old facial cleanser bottle. That’s it.

I applied about a quarter-sized portion to my face and neck, massaged in circular motions for a minute and rinsed. Ah, clean, soft, smooth skin.

Total cost for my new fabulous facial cleanser? Because I typically buy organic stuff, my version may be a little pricier than yours’ll be. All told, I made 4 oz. of safe, pure, effective, anti-aging, skin-softening cleanser for about $6.

Optional ingredients:

Also quite inexpensive, these ingredients can be found at bulk soap-making/skin care ingredient suppliers, health food stores or handicraft stores. Warning: If you add any of these to your recipe, be careful around your eyes as they could irritate and sting.

  • Alpha hydroxy acid – I always have some lactic acid in my bathroom cabinet (I know, I’m weird that way). Used regularly and in the proper amount, AHAs are gentle and effective anti-aging exfoliants. Add a teaspoon or so to this recipe.
  • White willow bark extract – a great source of salycin or beta hydroxy acid, WWBE is one of the best, most gentle exfoliants available. Plus it helps keep pores clean and blemishes at bay. 1/2 to one tablespoon is ample.
  • Essential oil – I like lavender because it’s good for your skin for countless reasons, and it smells divine. Other good ones include heliochrysum, lemongrass, tea tree, Clary sage, rosemary, sandalwood, rose or chamomile. Add a few drops up to 1/4 teaspoon to suit. Start with just a little to be sure it doesn’t irritate your skin — you can always add more later if you want.

RECIPE: Newest Miracle Skin Care Ingredient…and It Works!

Beautiful, Young Skin Courtesy of Hyaluric Acid
Beautiful, Young Skin Courtesy of Hyaluric Acid

In Japan, it’s touted as the Natural Facelift. ABC’s 20/20 reported that it’s the “magical” ingredient that keeps skin young. And The Times newspaper in the UK says it gives “new life.”

What is this magical, life-giving, face-lifting ingredient?

It’s called hyaluronic acid. Also known as HA, NaH and sodium hyaluronate.

Naturally occurring in the human body, HA production declines as we age. This contributes to the loss of moisture; the skin becomes thinner and less supple. The loss of HA may also impair the skin’s ability to repair itself and possibly affects the synthesis and deposition pattern of other skin matrix components.

Hyaluronic Acid is found in all of our connective tissue. And recently, scientists have discovered that by supplementing it, our joints, hearts — and our skin — can benefit tremendously.

What does HA do? According to Ultimate-Cosmetics.com, “It helps to keep skin smooth and “plump” through its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It lubricates the joints and plays a critical role in the rapid repair of wounds and other skin conditions. Improves eye-sight.”

It’s the anti-aging effect on the skin we’re concerned with in the here and now, and the effect HA seems to have on the skin is at the level of promoting the formation of collagen, the fibers that firm the skin.

So where can you get hyaluronic acid? There are a couple of natural ways to get HA into your diet. The first is from starchy root vegetables like yams, potatoes, carrots. The other way is to eat animal parts known to contain a lot of hyaluronic acid: bones and connective tissues (yum. not.). By boiling down fish and animal bones, joints, sinews and tendons, then adding a few root and other vegetables, you can create a healthy, nourishing soup. Easy, right? Well, perhaps for some, but not me. Call me anything, just not a cook…or an eater of fish bone/root vegetable soup. Another, more palatable source of HA is through supplementation. Most grocery and health food stores sell HA supplements.

But these aren’t necessarily the best ways to deliver HA to your skin. What is, you ask? Simple. Use skin care products that contain hyaluronic acid, and lots of it. Better yet, make your own.

Hyaluronic acid is available in a cosmetically-safe powder from many bulk skin care ingredient companies. And HA mixes fairly easily. You can make a simple HA serum or a gel to mix into your existing skin care products.

Here’s a recipe for a great hyaluronic acid (HA) serum that you easily can make at home.

  • Pour 1/2 ounce of distilled water in a small glass container, preferably the one you will use to dispense your serum. A 1/2 ounce or 1-ounce glass pump bottle is ideal.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of hyaluronic acid powder into the water.

NOTE: the powder and water will not incorporate right away.

  • Cover and leave the mixture to set for 4-8 hours, overnight if possible, in a cool, dry place. After setting up, the mixture should become a gel.
  • Once the mixture is set, add preservative (Germaben or your choice, as long as it’s safe for water-based cosmetic mixtures) and mix well.

Use this serum twice daily by spreading a small amount (dime size or smaller) over your face and neck, after you cleanse and before you moisturize. In four to six weeks’ time, with regular use you should see a reduction in wrinkles as well as firmer, plumper skin overall. Sans fish bone soup.

Acne Myths and A Recipe to Clear It All Up

Acne in plain English …

  • Myth: Washing your face more often will help clear up acne

Reality:  Zits aren’t caused by dirt. Contrary to what you may have seen in advertising, pores don’t get blocked from the top down due to “impurities”. Rather, the walls of a pore stick together deep within the skin, starting acne formation. Far from keeping acne at bay, frequent washing may actually irritate pores and cause them to become more clogged. A washcloth can add even more irritation. The best bet is to wash your face gently with clean, bare hands, and only wash twice a day.

  • Myth: Stress causes acne

Reality: Stress may have an effect on hormones and theoretically can promote acne. However, an effective anti-acne system is more powerful than a bout of stress any day. Some medications may cause acne as a side effect, but stress itself is no big deal (for your skin, that is). Your time is better spent determining the right course of acne treatment rather than feeling stressed about stress.

  • Myth: Masturbation or sex causes acne

Reality: This totally antiquated notion, originating primarily to dissuade young people from having premarital sex, is just plain wrong. Don’t believe the hype. ‘Nuf said.

  • Myth: The sun will help get rid of acne

Reality: The sun may work in the short-term to hasten the clearing of existing acne while reddening your skin, thus blending your skin tone with red acne marks. However, a sun burn is actually skin damage. It’s important to prevent damage to your skin while trying to get rid of acne. Sun exposure causes irritation which can make acne worse. People will often notice their skin breaking out as it heals from sun damage. The sun is a short-term band-aid which will often bite back with more acne in the weeks following exposure. Having said that, I don’t want to give the impression that the sun is evil. It’s not. We get our vitamin D from the sun. Limiting sun exposure on acne prone areas of your body is prudent, but some exposure from time to time is not only unavoidable, but is perfectly okay. Just wear a good sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

Acne Cream Recipe

  • 1 ounce of Sea Kelp Bioferment
  • 1/4 tsp. of White Willow Bark extract (Salicylic Acid)*
  • 1/2 tsp Rosehip Seed Oil**

Dissolve willow bark extract in sea kelp, add rosehip seed oil and mix well. Leaves skin velvety soft! Best of all: it’s soooo inexpensive and effective.

*Do not use this recipe if you’re allergic to aspirin.

**If you’re afraid of the oil, FEAR NOT. Rosehip seed oil is one of the best things you can put on your face, oily skin or no. If for whatever reason you experience breakouts as a result of using this cream, mix up another batch without the oil.

all ingredients can be purchased from Bulk Actives (www.bulkactives.com) and NCN Professional Skincare (www.ncnproskincare.com)

Beauty Q&A with GirlPaint: Free Advice for A More Beautiful You

Q&ARecently I became a member of MakeupTalk forum. I LOVE posting on forums, and not because I want to promote myself or my blog (although that’s a nice benefit if other members like my posts), but because I really, honestly like giving advice, tips, tricks and product reviews. It’s the reason I started blogging in the first place. I was working in an industry that cut me off from the beauty world, and I desparately needed to connect to my makeup-loving sister (and brothers).

Following is a condensed Q&A excerpted from my MakeupTalk forum posts.

Q. I’m African American and have desert hair that desparately needs moisture. Recommendations?
A. Coconut oil, definitely. And use a deep conditioner (recommended: Mizani Fufyl) when you shampoo.

Q. Should I tip beauty school students?
A. You should tip 10%. If they do an especially good job, you can tip more than 10%, and be sure to find out where they’ll be working when they fiinish school. If you split the tip, tip 10% of the TOTAL, and split it between the students based on the work they did.

Q. I’ve heard Bio Oil is good for your skin, but I don’t like the feeling of oils on my face. Can you recommend on something to put under my mineral makeup that will not clogs pores or cause break outs?
A. Try Korres Pomegranate Moisturizer. It’s light formula is made for people with oily/acne-prone skin, plus it contains SPF (bonus!).

Q. How do I get rid of dark circles under my eyes?
A. Lessening (NOT getting rid of) dark circles can happen, but it takes time. Many good products are out there to address the issue, but you’ll need to use them consistently (that means at least once a day…twice is better) for 3-4 months. I’ve been using Skin Actives Scientifics Bright Eye cream for over two years. It contains the best active ingredients known to help fix the problem, plus it’s only $17.50 and the .5 oz. jar lasts forever (for me anyway). I believe in SAS Bright Eye 100%, but realize that dark circles are, in large part, hereditary and you may still have to use undereye concealers if you want to camouflage them.

Q. Does anyone believe the Clarisonic Brush is worth it?
A. I’ve used a Clarisonic Brush myself, and on top of my own “thumbs-up,” I’ve also heard rave reviews from just about everyone who’s used one. But $200 is a lot to shell out for a face cleaning appliance. QVC offers a payment plan ($40/payment) that might be the way to go. Either that or purchase one locally and that way, if you don’t like it, you can return it (be sure you check out your retailer’s return policy).

Q. (Non-beauty related) When sending out resumes, should i put my cover letter and my resume all in the body of the email? Or should I send the cover letter in the body and attach the resume?
A. Send ONE email with the cover letter at the top and then copy and paste your resume underneath the letter. NO ATTACHMENTS unless the company specifically asks for them. Always send your resume in the body of the e-mail message, not as an attachment. Put the resume right in the message so the recipient will see it as soon as he or she opens the message. This technique also helps you get through e-mail systems that reject all attachments in this day of rampant computer viruses.

Q. Optical Illusion Dresses – Yea or Nea?

A. Optical Illusion Dresses look perfect….if you have a PERFECT body. Consider yourself warned.

Q. Did anyone else absolutely hate Bare Minerals?
A. I’ve never been a fan of BE/BM — too orange-y for me, plus it’s cakey on me. I make my own mineral foundation. It’s soooooo easy and sooooo inexpensive. I literally mix a little titanium dioxide w/ red oxide mineral powder with a mortar and pestle. You’d think it would be too pink, but those two ingredients work perfectly for me, plus the titanium dioxide gives me added sun protection.

Q. (Follow-up question) Where do you buy the ingredients to make your own mineral makeup? Does it provide any better coverage when you make your own?
A. Do a Google search for “mineral makeup ingredients” and “mineral makeup recipe.” You’ll find tons of info. And the mmu coverage can be customized, so you can make yours with light, medium or full coverage…or one of each!

Skin of a Goddess: A Simple Salt-Scrub Recipe

Goddess Salt ScrubHere’s a lucious recipe for a classic salt scrub that’s especially luxurious, feminine, but not childish. Bolivian Pink Salt looks gorgeous in the scrub, but you can use your favorite fine-to-medium grain salt.

Cherry Kernel and Mango Oil give this scrub a moisturizing-yet-light base; Sweet Almond Oil, which can obtained at your local health food store, will do just fine though if you don’t have these exotic oils on hand. Scented with Rose and Sandalwood, the recipe is exquisitely goddess-like. In fact, the finished product is fit for the gods!

Recipe:

1/2 cup Bolivian Pink (or your favorite) Salt, Fine-to-Medium grain
1 ounce Cherry Kernel Oil
1 ounce Mango Oil
30 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil *
15 drops Rose Otto Essential Oil *

*For a more wallet-friendly version of this scrub, 3/4 teaspoon of Sandalwood Fragrance Oil and 1/4 teaspoon of Red Rose Fragrance Oil can be substituted for the essential oils and Sweet Almond Oil for the Cherry Kernel and Mango Oils.

Recipe and image courtesy @ The Natural Beauty Workshop blog

Blushing beautifully: A recipe for cherubic cheeks

This morning I was getting ready for my day with a simple, clean daytime look and, even in with enormous collection of blushes and cheek tints, that I couldn’t find that “just right” color to set off my clean eye makeup including simple almost-black liquid liner, perfectly groomed brows and neutral lids. I’m sure you can relate…no?

Face Atelier Ultra BlushAfter digging for about five minutes, I finally found the right color — Face Atlier’s Ultra Blush in Pink Satin — but in a powder, which, for me, doesn’t last through the day. In fact, I’m lucky to make it to lunch without looking sad and sallow. To top it off, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to refuses to touch-up.

My solution? Being a hope-to-die DIY’er, I would craft my own long-lasting cheek tint!

Which is precisely what I did…with perfect results at that.

My recipe? Simple.

Into the lid of a leftover mineral makeup sample (I have so many…seriously), I added about 1/8 teaspoon of plain glycerine, which I always have on hand (great for a quick ‘n easy moisturizing “sheen”). Then, using a sterilized metal nail file, I scraped a little of my lovely Face Atelier blush into the glyercine. Then I mixed, mixed, mixed. If I was to guess, I’d say I all in all, I added a little over a “dash” of blush powder. BTW, in cooking terms a dash is a little more than 1/16 teaspoon and less than 1/8.

Models present creations by Belgian designer Veronique LeroyWhat I ended up with was a rosy-pink tranlucent liquid gel. I was tempted to keep adding more blush scrapings, but I resisted and tested the mix.

Guess what? Perfection!

I had a lovely pink glow. My faced looked like I’d just taken a brisk walk through snowy Central Park.

And did my glow last? Only all day and then some.

So there you have it. A lovely, simple, quick and oil-free cheek tint recipe, practically guaranteed to last and last.

PS – Pink lips and cheeks are VERY hot this Spring and into Fall and Winter ’09, so get the look while it’s still pipin’.

If you can’t find FACE Atelier in your area, GirlPaint recommends LORAC Blush in Pink

Blusher image courtesy Face Atelier. Catwalk image depicting creations by Belgian designer Veronique Leroy as part of her Fall/Winter 2009/10 women’s ready-to-wear collection for French fashion house Leonard courtesy REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The Two Magic Ingredients for Lighter, Brighter Face

The latest studies show…

How many times have we heard that? Countless, I imagine. But guess what? Those “latest studies” are actually pointing to some real, actual results (this time).

So, I assume you’re here to hear ’bout the good-results studies on the two magic ingredients. Okay, here goes…

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, real, actual results from honest-to-goodness studies — Harvard, even — point to the effectiveness of glucosamine combined with niacinamide to reduce hyperpigmentation of the skin, especially in those with UV damage.

What’s this mean? In laymen’s (or laywomen’s) terms, using a topical combo of  glucosamine and niacinamide in the right amounts and, in time, you should see lighter, brighter skin.

Hey! That’s great!

But wait. Where do you find these magic ingredients? What is the “right” amount? And how long will it take before you get the glow?

Hold still, I’m not finished.

1. You can get glucosamine (in the effective form of N-acetyl-glucosamine, best known for helping treat arthitis prior to the skin care studies) and niacinamide (a vitamin B derivative) at most any bulk skincare actives retailer: Bulk Actives, Garden of Wisdom, The Herbarie or LotionCrafter. Just mix them into your favorite (non-active) facial moisturizer for a custom blend.

If you’d rather not DIY (do-it-yourself) your skincare, you can also find them together (ah, how sweet) in Olay’s Definity line.

2. The amount of each active, at least the amounts noted in the “studies,” suggest that 2% glucosamine and 4% niacinamide should do the trick.

3. How long must you wait to experience the magic? Try four to eight weeks.

Not bad, eh?

And guess what? The news gets even better. How, you ask? Glucosamine and niacinamide are both shown to be effective for all skin types (hear that, Sensitive Sally?), plus they’re inexpensive. Expect to spend about $6 (or less) for each active if you buy in bulk — doing so, you should have enough to last several weeks or more. And Olay is asking about $25 for their Definity complex.

Bottom line: light on your pocket book, bright on your face. Gee, sometimes those studies ARE right … and bright.

30 Days to Healthier, Younger-looking Skin

On Memorial Day, it’s appropriate to remember your skin, no?

Last post, I gave you a recipe for a youth-inducing serum.

This time, we’re going to add some active ingredients to the Fountain of Youth Serum to bump up it’s healthful qualities and increase your skin’s ability to maintain its youthfulness…and maybe even take a few years off.

First, use the recommended quantities. Period. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients.

To 1-2 tablespoons of plain vegetable glycerin, add

  • pinch Ellagic Acid - antioxidant, cancer preventive, anti-inflammatory, helps improve discoloration
  • pinch Ferulic Acid - cancer preventive, protects the skin against UVB-induced erythema, skin lightener, increases stability of vitamins C (MAP) and E
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Coenzyme Q10 - topical application restores mitochondrial activity, increasing energy production plus minimizing energy needed to make new collagen; antiaging, antioxidant, stimulating active, it will push your skin into “high gear”

Mix thoroughly until all actives are dissolved. If you have difficulty dissolving, microwave for 10-15 seconds and mix, mix, mix. Set aside.

Next, to the Fountain of Youth serum, add:

  • 1/8 teaspoon Alpha Lipoic Acid** - (aka ALA) essential for youthful cell function; our bodies’ own production dimishes as we age
  • pinch Beta Glucan - anti-aging, cancer-preventive
  • pinch Carnosine - accelerates and improves healing. Prevents wrinkles and loss of elasticity brought about by aging and exposure to sunlight, .also an antioxidant and seems to improve immune response
  • 1/8 teaspoon DMAE** - antioxidant, increases firmness and overall appearance of aging skin
  • pinch Green Tea ECGC - antioxidant, repair of damage done by UVA radiation, cancer preventive
  • 1/4 teaspoon Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate - (aka MAP) the “real” ester-C, a stable and soluble form of ascorbic acid, stimulates collagen synthesis, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-acne, skin brightening, decrease appearance of sun spots
  • 1/8 teaspoon Niacin - relieves itching, controls sebum products, skin lightening effects

Last, add the glycerin-active mix to the serum. Mix thoroughly. Put the mix into a glass dropper-top bottle or other non-reactive liquid dispensing container.

Some of the actives may never dissolve completely, but they will release their active ingredients continuously. If the undissolved ‘grit’ bothers you, strain your serum using CLEAN muslin, cheese cloth, nylon or any fine-sieve strainer.

DIRECTIONS: Use this super-active serum once or twice a day, after cleansing your skin, before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen, and after 30 days, you will see smoother, brighter, clearer, younger-looking skin.

If you experience ANY irritation…

  • either your skin doesn’t like one (or more) of the ingredients–in which case you should stop using it altogether and toss it
  • OR your mix is too concentrated–dilute it with some distilled water until your skin can tolerate it
  • OR your skin is simply adjusting to one or more of the ingredients–use your serum only once a day when you are not using any other products and if the irritation doesn’t subside after 3-4 days, stop using it and toss it

COSTS: The active ingredients is this serum are exactly the same as those found in the most exclusive, expensive skincare products on the market today. What you’ll spend: $87.00, plus shipping. If you don’t have glycerin, you can find it at most pharmacies or grocery stores, about $6 for 4 oz.

BONUS: You’ll have LOTS of the active ingredients leftover, which you can add to most any moisturizer (NOT sunscreen, NOT already-active cream…plain Eucerin, Olay, et al are okay) to make your own super-active skincare cream–way better than the high-dollar stuff at the department stores. Whether you use your mix on your face or body–or both–is completely up to you. But keep in mind with all these actives: A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY.

**Many people experience mild stinging with Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE, especially when they first start using them. However, if the stinging is intense or if you experience ANY redness and irritation, OR if the stinging occurs for more than a few days, STOP USING THIS SERUM.

NOTE: If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, or if you want to avoid the irritation issue, DO NOT USE Alpha Lipoic Acid or DMAE.

AS ALWAYS: When mixing, take extra precautions to wash your hands and be sure to use sterilized mixing, measuring, straining implements and containers.

Fountain of Youth for less than $35

DIY (do-it-yourself) Skincare can be fun, easy and best of all, work wonders on your skin…plus, it costs WAY less than those ultra-expensive beauty products, most of which are a bit of a rip-off (and some of which are a complete scam).

The following Fountain-of-Youth serum is one that can be used by itself but it can also act as a base for other active skincare ingredients. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients. Distilled water (a must…no tap water, please) can be bought at your grocery store:

Optional ingredients include aloe vera juice (substitute 1/2 tablespoon of water) and plain vegetable glycerin (add up to 1 teaspoon).

Seakelp bioferment is a kelp extract containing vital nutrients that feeds your skin. It’s the “magic” Miracle Broth ingredient in Creme de la Mer.

Hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronate or hyaluronan), produced naturally by the human body, is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. It’s been nicknamed the “key to the fountain of youth” because it has been noted that some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages and also because it provides volume and fullness to the skin.

To mix: stir together the water and hyaluronic acid first and let it set for a few hours to overnight. This mixture will thicken (you can add more or less hyaluronic acid depending on the consistency you prefer), then add the remaining ingredients, adding the preservative last. If you use another preservative, be sure to use one that is water-based or will work in a hydrophilic solution — and that you use the proper amount.

Directions: Apply to your face and neck after cleansing your skin, 1-2 times per day. Moisturize and apply sunscreen over the top of the serum.

Costs: $32 (plus shipping for the actives and Germaben II) depending on what distilled water costs at your grocery store.

Bonus: LOTS of leftover Seakelp Bioferment, distilled water and Hyaluronic Acid that can all be used in other youth-inducing skincare mixes you make yourself.

Please note: When mixing ANY products you put on your face or body, take extra care to wash your hands and use sterilized implements and containers (mixing sticks, bottles, droppers, etc.).

Next time, I’ll recommend different active ingredients to add to the base serum. Each active or group of actives will address different issues, i.e., free-radical protection, collagen building, firmness, and so on.

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