How-to: Homemade Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

With Labor Day now behind us, it’s official—Summer is coming to an end, and boy is it about time! As you were attending outings with friends this weekend, I was creating my perfect ending to the season: a moisturizing, homemade exfoliant to slough off that dead, dreary skin and brighten my epidermis for Fall.

Ingredients + Supplies:

  •   Coconut oil
  •   Sugar
  •   Vanilla Extract (optional)
  •   Glass jar (b/w 6-10oz, mine was 8oz)
  •   Measuring cup
  •   Bowl + spoon (not shown)


  1. Pour water into your clean, empty jar. Once full, pour that water into a measuring cup to see how much your jar can hold. Your ratio for the mixture will be 2 parts sugar to 1 part oil. I.e. since my jar was 8oz (1 cup) I was able to divide it into 1/3 cup oil to 2/3 cup sugar.
  2. Once you’ve measured out your sugar, pour into a cereal bowl. Dribble in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or a few drops from an essential oil of your choice if you’re opting for a more scented scrub. If you’d rather forgo these additions, keep reading.
  3. Pour in the appropriate amount of coconut oil to achieve that 2:1 ratio. Stir mixture until all sugar granules are saturated in the oil. If you bypassed the scent additions in step 3, no worries—coconut oil is quite fragrant on its own. If you added scent, make sure that these are well-mixed-in too.
  4. Now that everything is thoroughly blended, it’s time to transfer your new scrub from the bowl to your jar. Literally as easy as spooning it in! (see me doing it below)
  5. NOTE: in picking a jar, be smart about it. Don’t choose anything too tall and narrow—you won’t be able to fit your hand to the bottom to use the last of your homemade product! Think of some that are more round and stout—think jars that hold jam or marinated artichoke hearts :)
  6. Enjoy your amazingly moisturizing new scrub in the shower, or slap a gift-tag on it and give it to a gal pal!

If you’d like to experiment with scents and oils I’d love to hear about your concoctions! Leave a comment with any variations or personal spins you put on your exfoliants.

Photos via my Instagram

How to Look More Awake & Bright Eyed

So your weekend proved to be a bit more exciting than restful, and your eyes are a dead giveaway on Monday morning. Instead of trying to avoid social contact, pop in some eye drops and try this makeup trick to brighten your face…but be sure to grab a cup of coffee, because this how-to won’t lift your mood, only your bags.

To start creating this look, apply an even layer of foundation to have a fresh face as your canvas:

1. MAC Paint Pot (Shown in Painterly) $18.50

2. MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Coverage Concealer (Shown in Light Beige) $32

3. NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eye Liner (Shown in Rue Bonaparte) $24

4. Givenchy Mister Bright Touch of Light Pen (Shown in Dawnlight) $34

5. Revlon Eyelash Curler $5.29 + Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara (Shown in Glam Black) $6.59



1. bareMinerals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush $20 NOTE: Only use if applying powder/mineral foundation or concealer. For shown concealer, use your finger tip

2. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush $26

3. SEPHORA Collection Classic Crease Shadow Brush #73 $16

  Apply concealer under your eyes by dabbing it repeatedly until blended. Dab quickly and lightly—smearing with your finger tugs on the gentle skin around your eyes and doesn’t blend as well.
  Using the crease brush, buff the primer into your lid from lash line to brow bone. This will even out the skin tone on your lid and mask any visible veins.

  Using the light liner trace along the inner 1/3 of each eye, subtly blending to the middle of each.
  Though the highlighter has a brush built in, opt for a finer brush for more precise application. Twist the bottom of the pen to push more opalescent product to the top and using your precision brush to apply over the area where you drew the liner and continue about 1/4 inch more towards the bridge of your nose. The reflective nature of the highlighter will bounce light, illuminating the skin around your eyes masking your tiredness while brightening. NOTE: I’m using a brush by Tarte that I’ve had for years and is no longer available for purchase. The Laura Mercier one shown above is similar.

  Using your finger dab a bit more highlighter onto your brow bone
  Curl your lashes in three places to “open” your eyes: 1. The base, along your lashline, 2. The middle of the lash, 3. The tips of the lashes
  Finally, coat your lashes with a lengthening mascara. I prefer plump lashes, so I opt for a volumizing + lengthening formula, but apply your preferred mascara. Apply one coat for simple definition, and pencil in your brows if needed (like mine). Voila!

NOTE: Why didn’t I do this trick using white eyeliner? Because it’s often over-applied and can make your eyes look farther apart instead of more awake. But if you want to try using white liner instead, by all means give it a shot. Just leave Cara’s look for the runways:

Model photos via, via, via

Summer’s Makeup Trend: Bright Pink Lipstick (How-to)

This trend has been around for the past few seasons, and best of all it’s functional now through the Fall. Of the many Summer/Fall beauty trends on display, this is by far the easiest to achieve. Per us, I headed to Sephora to get the low down on how to recreate it. I opted for a true pink variation: not pastel, neon, nor reddish-pink. That way, this post is applicable for readers of all skin tones. To start creating this look, slough off any dry, peeling skin from lips with a warm wash cloth or a toothbrush. Apply a thin layer of lip balm to soften lips and ease cracks. Have a fresh face as your canvas:

 

The idea of applying a beige pencil to your lips may look a bit ghoul-ish, but it provides the perfect canvas to allow the lipstick to really pop. NOTE: this is actually a long-wearing eye pencil, but my friend at Sephora swears by it for the staying power and I have to agree! If you’d like a toned-down version, skip this step.

  1. Using the eye liner and a steady hand, trace the defining line of your lips, being careful not to veer over onto your skin. Fill in all of your lips with the liner (both top and bottom).
  2. Apply the pink lipstick to your lips, however you normally would. Once your lips are drenched in color, make sure there is not a distinct beige line around your lips–a sign that you didn’t follow your natural lip line or you need to apply more lip stick. Add another coat of color for ultimate saturation.
  3. As your last step, clean up around the edges for any remaining product that may have smeared.

Voila!

Collaged photos made by me, taken via 1,2

The Answer(s) to My Workout Woes

Spring has sprung! Well, sort of. As the temperature slowly creeps towards upper 50′s here in D.C. (and elsewhere) you may find your motivation to work out dwindling, but maybe that’s just me. Spring fever normally makes me want to lounge outside with friends or walk around downtown, no sweating involved. My lack of motivation and outright dislike for going to an actual gym inspired this post. Maybe you share the same sentiment: Do you drag your feet when going to the gym? Hate working out in front of other people? Don’t like feeling watched while doing reps? Irritated by membership fees? If not, then continue attending your gym. If you share any of the above feelings with me—I have a few solutions for you.

When I want to be active, I don’t want to face all that comes with the gym. Personally, I am about to rant a bit:

  • ∞  Detest the amount of travel time it takes to get to the gym
  • ∞  Hate the possibility of having to delay your routine to wait for a machine
  • ∞  Am irritated by the membership fee (I never feel like it’s worth it)
  • ∞  Am grossed out by dudes staring as I stretch or do lunges
  • ∞  Never feel like going to the gym is convenient enough for me to consistently do it

Yet, I still want to work up a sweat, raise my heart rate, and tone my muscles as much as possible in as comfortable of a manner as possible. My solution? Working out in my living room to audio and video workouts. I’m well aware this may not work for many people, but I’ve found it to be my perfect solution. For now, anyway. I aim for a slender toned body with no bulky muscles—my high school track days are behind me. To achieve this I stick with yoga and ballet-like toning exercises. My favorites are 20-Minute Yoga Sessions from Yogadownload.com (via iTunes podcasts) and Ballet Beautiful.

The yoga podcasts offer something for everyone at any given level, and at 20-30minutes each there’s no excuse not to do it. Ballet Beautiful is a bit more of a commitment since you actually have to pay to subscribe or order the DVDs, but my oh my is it worth it! The creator, Mary Hellen Bowers, trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. She whoops your butt in shape and you feel that burn all while looking graceful. I get in my cardio by simply not owning a car and living in a city.

 Here are a few of my favorites for each:

  • Yogadownload Podcasts:
  •      ∞  Core Yoga #1: Do this 3-4/week and see results after 2-3 weeks
  •      ∞  Morning Flow #1: The perfect routine to gently wake you up in the a.m.
  •      ∞  Lunchtime Flow #1: Sometimes I sub this one for a morning routine, but great as an afternoon pick-me-up
  •      ∞  The Place in the Middle: I use this routine when I’m stressed. There are a series of spinal twists and hip openers that really aim to calm you and put your mind at ease.
  • Ballet Beautiful Sets:
  •      ∞  Bridge Series: Best not to do with boys around, this series is 5-6 targeted variations on your typical pelvic thrust. No bum muscle will go unworked.
  •      ∞  Leg Series: Targets your inner and outer thighs to achieve those long ballerina stems. Expect to feel the burn within the first 5 minutes or so :)

 

What are some of your signature routines or moves to achieve the body you want?

Photo via

How to Look Good Without Makeup On

Above: models from the Louis Vuitton F/W 2011 show, all without makeup. This was a bold move for the fashion house: while these are just a sampling of 10, the brand’s website boasted all models they casted for that show sans makeup (how many do you recognize from above?). Many women find refuge behind a mask of makeup; I fit into that category only until very recently within the past two years. It takes courage and confidence to wear no makeup when we’re often told and shown images of women made exceptionally beautiful by makeup. Today’s post is for the ladies who are wanting to take that initial step into the makeup-free abyss, but aren’t sure how.

Today is the start of Hell Week for those of us in undergrad. At my school, today is the last day of Fall classes; Final exams start Monday. This was an incentive for today’s post: While in the midst of finals, who has any time or energy to do their makeup? It’s pointless to “put on your face” just to type papers and spend what seems to be endless hours in the libs…I mean, the library. Below are a few tips that make going au natural easier than any exam you’re studying for! ;)

1. Shape Your Brows

Your eyebrows essentially frame your eyes as well as your whole face. Keeping them maintained is one of the easiest ways to look groomed without cosmetics. Whether you opt for a bold, strong brow or a simple groomed arch, make sure they’re defined. No bushiness or stray hairs. You’re simply not wearing makeup, you haven’t stopped caring!

2. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate

I’m not encouraging you to scour your face, but I recommend sloughing off dead skin at least twice a week. I’m now in the habit of scrubbing every night simply as an effective way to get my makeup off, but it has more benefits than that. When you exfoliate, you’re removing the top layer of dead skin cells to ensure that your “new” layer of skin has the chance to give you that glow. Without exfoliating, dead skin can give you the look of ruddiness, dull complexion, and make dry skin look even dryer. I also find that the smoother your skin is before you moisturize, the better the moisturizer maintains that smoothness.

3. Moisturize

It goes without saying that you should be moisturizing everyday. Whatever your routine is, make sure you’re maintaining it—think of one day without moisture like one day without water. Your skin is parched! This is the best way to ensure for that dewy glow you’re looking for. To accommodate my extra dry skin, I’ve bumped up my winter routine by adding 3-4 drops of avocado oil with my moisturizer in my hand before I apply. I’ve been doing this for just under a month now, and I have not had a flake on my face since!

4. Brighten Your Whites

There is no better way to look awake (without the help of mascara) than by ensuring that the whites of your eyes are their brightest. Simply use 2 drops for each eye in your morning routine, and you’re good to go. Brightening those pearly whites will also make people stop and stare. In a sea of chain smokers and heavy drinkers, you’ll sparkle when you flash your newly whitened teeth on exam day. Many college kids don’t think about their teeth, but think of how much you talk, smile, laugh, and have people looking at your mouth. Let’s make sure it wows them when your makeup isn’t there to. Opt for an at-home whitening kit (you can wear them while studying in your dorm room!) unless you have the cash to get a professional job (or you scored a deal on LivingSocial recently).

5. Hydrate from the Inside Out

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it, but a healthy complexion starts with your diet. I’m not going into detail about foods you should/shouldn’t eat, I’m simply encouraging you to drink more water. It’s a huge challenge I face too, but when I do it I fall in love with the results. It minimizes blotchiness, reduces redness, and makes you have this plump radiance that you noticeably are lacking on days you don’t drink gobs of water.

6. Confidence

No, this isn’t something to apply, smear, or blend. This is something you need to wear all day to rock no makeup. If you are self conscious while not donning foundation, don’t do it! You’ll feel uncomfortably insecure all day—I know, I’ve been there. You have to ease yourself into less makeup if this is new for you. Maybe start with no eye makeup, only foundation, and progress from there with whatever you’re comfortable. If you’re ready to rock a fresh face then hold your head high. Let people see the real you. If someone says, “Oh, I didn’t realize how many freckles you have,” or “I never noticed that birth mark before,” thank them. They’re finally seeing the true you.

 

As you begin studying and spending endless hours under fluorescent lighting just remember, some of the women we most adore actually do go without makeup on occasion, too. It’s just that the photos aren’t often seen. Below are some of the biggest models in fashion. 1. Heidi Klum, 2. Gisele Bundchen, 3. Adriana Lima, 4. Kate Moss, 5. Cara Delevingne, all sans makeup (click on each for enlarged images):

 

Good luck to everyone on exams! I hope to see your radiant makeup-free faces on campus!

 

Banner photo via, model photos via 1,2,3,4,5