Internet Beauty Test Subject: DIY Spa Body Treatment

DIY Body Treatment 2From top to bottom: Coffee from here, Honey from here, Oatmeal from here

Hi guys! I’m back testing a spa body treatment that you can whip up in your own home. I found the concoction on the Real Beauty website, which also features other amazing at-home spa ideas. This body treatment recipe caught my eye because it has coffee grounds in it – which at first glance is kind of odd. But! This little trick helps your skin in two ways: by acting as an exfoliant and helping to fight cellulite. How, you ask? Well, the caffeine increases blood flow and reduces the effects of fat cells under the skin (keep your old coffee!!).

Hypothesis: You can get a spa body treatment in your own home with just a few ingredients.

Prediction: After reading about the benefits of using coffee grounds on your skin, I’m excited to try it. I think my body will feel silky smooth.

Test: 
Ingredients:
Some of your own body wash (I used my vanilla body wash)
A handful of oatmeal
A tablespoon of honey
Some olive oil
A tablespoon of powdered milk (I used regular milk)
A half scoop of ground coffee

I substituted regular milk in my mixture because I didn’t have powered milk. I also left out the lavender essential oil and just used olive oil (but feel free to use it if you have it – or any other essential oil!).

I mixed the ingredients together and took the mixture into the shower with me. I applied the mixture with my hands in circular motions from head to toe and left it on for about a minute. Then, I rinsed off with warm water.

Analysis: Right away – while still in the shower – I noticed my skin felt lovely. Also, I’m a sucker for coffee, so I thought it smelled pretty darn good too. Then, I noticed all of the oats and coffee grinds in my tub (uh oh).

Ratings:
Cost: About $10.00 if you don’t have all of the above ingredients.

Time Consumed: 5 minutes preparation time, 10 minutes in the shower.

Pre-Event Feasibility: This would be a great idea for an “At Home Spa Day” with friends (or by yourself) before the Big Day. It’s a great way to pamper yourself if you don’t have the money to spend the day at the spa.

End Result: I thought this spa body treatment was nice; it left my skin smooth and rejuvenated. However, it was kind of a mess. I was cleaning oats and coffee out of my tub for a few minutes. The next time I try this treatment I will probably leave out the oatmeal and keep the coffee grounds.

Have you tried any at-home spa treatments or heard of any you’d like to try out? Leave a comment below!

~Sarah

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Internet Beauty Test Subject: DIY Lip Scrub

lip scrub

The long Winter months can bring dry skin, static-y hair and chapped lips. Sounds lovely. We often exfoliate other parts of our bodies with scrubs and loofas, why not scrub our lips to keep them soft and healthy? This is where I come in. I am back at it to test a DIY lip scrub that you can make with ingredients from your own kitchen.

Hypothesis: Exfoliating your lips with a scrub can keep them looking and feeling healthy.

Prediction: I think my lips will be soft and hydrated after using the scrub (and maybe I won’t have to apply medicated lip balm every 3 minutes.)

Test: I decided to use this DIY lip scrub as my inspiration and put my own spin on it.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar (I used white sugar)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablet of vitamin E
a small bowl
a container to put the scrub in

After I combined all of the ingredients in the bowl, I dampened my lips with a warm washcloth and applied the scrub to my lips in a circular motion for about 1 minute. Then, I washed the scrub off with a towel and applied some lip moisturizer.

Analysis: This lip scrub is incredibly easy to make and to use. I had vitamin E tablets in my cabinet, so I decided to add one to the mixture, because vitamin E is pretty much amazing. It helps your skin by speeding up cell regeneration, it prevents aging, and helps the healing process. Yay vitamin E!

Ratings:
Cost: I had all of the ingredients in my cabinet, which will probably be the case for most people (except maybe the vitamin E). Either way – all of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive.

Time Consumed: 5 minutes.

Pre-Event Feasibility: Have a party coming up? This scrub is a great treat for your lips, it also makes a great DIY gift idea or party favor. You can also have fun with it – try new flavors, add food coloring, or use different essential oils. Go crazy!

End Result: The next day my lips still felt soft and smooth and I don’t feel like I have to apply my lip balm as often.

 Have you made your own lip scrub? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!

~Sarah

Internet Beauty Test Subject: Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner

photo (4) updateIf you’re like me, you Google everything. One thing I found during one of my many Google searches is that Apple Cider Vinegar (the good stuff – with the ‘Mother’) has many unbelievable health and beauty benefits. I started taking it about 6 months ago as a health tonic, however, I recently found out that ACV and water make a great facial toner. Vinegar has malic and lactic acid which help to clear acne, exfoliate and soften your face. ACV also naturally balances the pH of your skin. A few weeks ago I decided to make the facial toner using Bragg’s ACV, and here’s what I found:

Hypothesis: Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water makes a great facial toner.    

Prediction: Because ACV is more acidic, it naturally balances the pH of the skin, therefore I think it will at least help to dry out my skin (or make it less oily).

Test: First, I found a small mason jar to use as a container (you can find them here or at any grocery store). Then, I added the ACV to the jar and mixed it with filtered water. I started with a 1:1 ratio of ACV to water (but feel free to adjust to your skin type) and used a cotton round to swipe all over my face, avoiding your eyes. I let the toner air dry and applied a small amount of moisturizer.

Analysis: After my first application of the ACV toner I immediately noticed that my face was brighter. Now, 3 weeks later, my face feels softer and I don’t have as many breakouts. But beware! It does have a strong smell. I mean, it stinks. And it may make your eyes burn for a second (from the fumes I guess?) so close them while you’re applying the toner. The good news is, after a few uses you won’t notice the smell as much.

Ratings:
Cost: You can buy Bragg’s ACV at your local grocery store (I found mine at Stop & Shop) for approximately $4.00 for a 16 oz. bottle.

Time Consumed: It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and use the toner. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Pre-Event Feasibility: If your planning a wedding or party then you’re probably looking for ways to save money on other things. This is an inexpensive way to get the natural glow while clearing up your skin! It’s 2 for 1 day at Sarah’s Beauty Emporium!

End Result: I really believe that everyone should at least give this a try. This is my new facial toner. I no longer spend money on the fancy stuff.

Have you tried the ACV facial toner or any other strange beauty trick? Leave us a comment below!

~Sarah

Internet Beauty Test Subject: Highlighting and Contouring

Hey guys! I’ve been seeing a lot about highlighting and contouring your face on the internet lately. So, here I am again, testing this technique for everyone out there that may be afraid to try it.

So, what is highlighting and contouring? It is essentially emphasizing your features with the use of light and dark colors.

Question: Will highlighting and contouring accentuate my better features and help hide the imperfections?

Hypothesis: By using a bronzer and highlighter I will be able to make my best features really stand out – while simultaneously hiding some of my not-so-fabulous features.

Prediction: After doing a bit of research, I think highlighting and contouring will sculpt and bring some dimension to my face (or just give the illusion of it!)

Test: First, I watched a “how-to” video on highlighting and contouring your makeup (you can watch it here). Then, I went out and bought the Hourglass Illume Creme – To – Powder Bronzer Duo in Bronze Light.

I started by applying my makeup as I normally do, cover-up (I use loose powder) and a little bit of bronzer. Then, using my fingers, I applied the highlighter under my eyes, on my T zone, and right under my eyebrows. Next, I applied the bronzer under my cheekbones, down my nose, right under my hairline and on my jaw line (see pictures below). Then, I applied my loose bronzer above the line I made on my cheekbone with a brush. Blend!

Women's Health Magazine Sculpt Your Face: Contouring Tricks

Women’s Health Magazine
Sculpt Your Face: Contouring Tricks

Analysis: I thought this technique was pretty easy once I became more comfortable with it. I really like using the creme-to-powder because it is easy to blend with the bronzer. It also gives your face a dewy look.

Ratings:
Cost: The Hourglass Illume compact I used cost about $40.00 at Sephora, but you can really use any foundation/cover-up as a highlighter and bronzer or brown matte eye shadow as the contour color.

Time Consumed: This process took me about 15 minutes. Remember! It doesn’t have to be perfect – it will look funny at first, but I realized that the idea is to BLEND.

Pre-Event Feasibility: Do you have a big party coming up? Are you doing your own makeup for your wedding? Highlighting and contouring is a great trick that makeup artists everywhere have been doing for a long time – but the best part about it is that you can do it yourself (with a little practice).

A few weeks before your party start practicing on yourself. Watch youtube videos. Try different techniques. First try a natural look, then go with a dramatic smoky eye and bold lip color. See what works for you.

End Result: I had fun with highlighting and contouring. My makeup routine had become boring and repetitive. This was a chance to experiment and change up my look.

Photo on 2013-01-15 at 20.08

Photo on 2013-01-15 at 20.24

Do you have any makeup tips or tricks? I’d love to hear about them – leave a comment below!

~Sarah

Internet Beauty Test Subject: DIY Body Scrubs

In the winter my skin can always use a little extra lovin’, whether it’s exfoliating with a loofa or one of those fancy body scrubs. Why not try and make a body scrub with ingredients from your cabinet? Why not try and make TWO body scrubs?!

I found two great DIY body scrubs from Corrie’s Kitchen Spa: the first one is a Brown Sugar Scrub (sounds heavenly, eh?). The second scrub is a Citrus Salt Body Scrub.

Question: How can I make those lovely body scrubs in my own home?

Hypothesis: With ingredients found in your own kitchen, you can make a body scrub that you could find in a swanky body shop.

Prediction: With one look at the ingredients, I thought: this should be awesome. Vitamin E? Heck yes. Honey? Oh, it’s party time. All of these things, with exfoliants such as brown sugar and sea salt, are amazing for your skin.

Brown Sugar Scrub:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E (from a capsule)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey

In a medium bowl mix the olive oil, vitamin E (extracted from capsule) vanilla and honey, add the brown sugar and mix well.

The only difficult part about making this scrub was finding a way to get the vitamin E out of the capsule. Things got a little dangerous when I tried to use a knife. Here’s how to do it in a safe and efficient way.

Ingredients for the Brown Sugar Scrub

Brown Sugar Scrub Ingredients

Citrus Salt Body Scrub:
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup sweet almond oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, making sure that the bowl is dry (the salt will dissolve if there is any water in the bowl).

Ingredients for the Citrus Salt Body Scrub

Citrus Salt Body Scrub Ingredients

Test: I decided to make both scrubs at the same time in two different bowls. The recipes seemed easy enough. Once both scrubs were finished, I brought the bowls into the bathroom with me and set them right next to the shower. I used the Brown Sugar Scrub on one side of my body and the Citrus Salt Body Scrub on the other (why not, right?). I got out of the shower and gently dried my skin.

Analysis: I suffer from a mild case of Keratosis pilaris, which is just a fancy name for little, itchy bumps on my arms. Therefore, I’m always looking for ways to keep my skin exfoliated and hydrated. After using both scrubs on my arms last night, my skin feels amazing today. I didn’t notice a difference between the two scrubs, they both made my arms and legs feel very smooth.

Ratings:
Cost: $10.00 (depending upon what you have in your cabinets)
Time Consumed: 20 minutes (prep time: 10 minutes, shower time: 1o minutes)
Pre-Event Feasibility: This is an easy and inexpensive way to get soft, glowing skin without going to the spa. In my opinion, the Brown Sugar Scrub works better in the winter months because of it’s warm and luxurious scent. The Citrus Salt Scrub, with it’s refreshing scent, would be great in the summer to give a nice glow to dull skin.

End Result: Just put the scrubs in a mason jar, add a ribbon and a personal label and voilà! You have a great gift idea for the holidays or a fun gift for your bridesmaids! You could also use these as a favor for a bridal shower or a spa party. Or you could hoard them and use them yourself.

photo

Do you have a body scrub that you can’t live without? Are you giving any as gifts this year? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below!

Check back in next week for another post from yours truly, the Internet Beauty Test Subject!

~Sarah