Tag Archives: banana

Sometimes You Gotta Mix ‘Em Up….

24 Mar

imageIn the glamour world, very few things stand alone. Oh sure, you can have that über gorgeous red carpet dress that turns the heads of every status photographer on the runway, but the fact remains that the hair, makeup, jewels and shoes all play a part in that outfit being a front page headline.

That simple fact can also play a part in everyday looks for anyone. Whether you are a 9-5 office worker, a stay-at-home mom, an ever-scouting fad writer or an out there/have-your-own-style tattoo shop manager, layering fashions, accessories, skin care ingredients and makeup items can move a simple daytime look into the WOW! category with a couple of easy steps.

Here are a few to get you started. Following the bouncing ball:

image**Skin Care**-Washing, treating and moisturizing are, nowadays, the bare necessities. If you AT LEAST do that? You’ll hold your ground. But why not combine a few skin-loving ingredients to treat your face to an experience that will multitask with just a few natural, easy to find things. Because my face tends to be a bit dry in the winter, I tend to make my own cleanser/masks to get moisture and anti-aging properties from natural ingredients for the best results. It’s actually simple…

1. Combine 2 tbsp of a mashed overripe banana, 1 tsp raw honey (local is best), 1 tsp heavy cream, 1/2 tsp instant coffee & 1/4 tsp white sugar. (This may sound like a lot, but think ahead: you can freeze extra overripe bananas in the freezer, buy the instant coffee once to use in other things as well, and substitute powdered milk for heavy cream for longer shelf life.)

2. Mix all your ingredients EXCEPT the sugar till the consistency is a bit thick and the coffee has dissolved. Then add the sugar last.

3. Begin to rub it onto your face in small, circular motions. Go over it a few times, adding a bit more each time.

4. After about 5-10 minutes, wash off with warm water & a gentle cleanser (like Aveeno’s Foaming Face Wash)

5. Pat dry.

Whala! Instant face treatment with a combo of fresh ingredients. Your skin is clean, moist, soft and treated. Easy mixing, right? Now, let’s think about what you just did: *Bananas naturally cleanses while hydrating & adding anti-aging vitamins into your skin; *Raw honey is a natural healer and will help heal fines lines due to small skin cracks and stretching; *Heavy cream is loaded with moisturizers and antibodies to fight infection and environmental skin damage; *Instant coffee has just enough caffeine to constrict blood vessels, even your skin tone and awaken tired skin; *White sugar is a gentle exfoliant that will remove dead skin cells and allow the other ingredients to work on the next active layer.

Kind of all makes sense, huh? It’s not a lot of work and if you refrigerate the leftovers you can use what is left daily for up to a week. There are so many ingredients you can add or substitute if you want other skin problems targeted. Tip: Don’t like the way the bananas turn brown in the fridge? Use Stage 1 baby food bananas. They last longer, don’t turn brown and the little bit of lemon juice that is in them helps even out your skin tone too. Baby peaches are good to soften skin. Oatmeal powder can reduce pore size. Yogurt has natural bacteria to help fight acne and breakouts. (Click here for other ingredients and recipes that can help your skin type.)

image**Mascara**-Any YouTube video will tell you that you should wear between 8-10 coats of mascara for drop dead looking eyes. Ummmm… no offense? I don’t have time for that. And it never looks like the pictures anyways. So what’s my layering trick for great, long lashes? It’s kind of simple and doesn’t need a lot stuff. But you will need 3 different mascaras:

1. Get a good mascara that has a great comb wand. This will enable you to coat each lash for length and keep them separated. Plus you can get the little innie lashes with a pointed brush. My go to brand? Benefit Cosmetics “They’re Real!” Mascara. (Sephora, $24)

2. Next, when mascara is completely dry, curl them with a eyelash curler. None specifically, just make sure you are comfortable using it and it doesn’t pinch your eyelid or pull out any lashes.

3. Another coat of mascara. This time use one that lengthens and keeps the separated but begins to add volume. Again, a good wand is important. A comb is good again but can be one whose “bristles” are tighter together. I really like Buxom Lash Mascara. It keeps them fanned with a bit of thickness. (Sephora, $19)

4. Last step? One coat of a thick foofy brushed waterproof mascara. Lock in that look and keep your butterfly eyes looking smudge-proof all day. There are always new ones on the market and I try them before mine dry out and get old, but I’ve always had great success with Lancôme’s Waterproof Hypnose Drama Mascara.

Don’t get scared away by my suggestions of department store brands. I have had great success as well with drugstore brands such as Rimmel’s Scandal’Eyes Show Off Mascara, Lash Sensational Mascara from Maybelline, and L’Oreal Power Voluminous 24hr Mascara. Each is easy on the wallet but still layer-able to get the look you want.

image**Lips**-Maintaining a good, even lip tone with color, gloss, or both will take a little getting used to. The fact is, I don’t have time all day to constantly reapply an entire color routine on my lips. And between chatting all day and drinking coffee, it stays everywhere but on my lips. It has taken some time to get a good routine down, to maintain a lip look that will only need a touch up now and then. But you’ve got to trust me to play with this till you get the look/color you want. Ready?:

1. Exfoliate your lips with 2-3 drops of olive oil and a pinch of white sugar. Dab it on your lips then roll them back and forth so the oil penetrates and the sugar takes off any dry skin. Wipe off excess sugar with a tissue and blot excess oil.

2. Outline your lips with a neutral lip pencil. A great find is Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lasting Finish Pencil Lip Liner in Nude or Avon’s Glimmersticks Lip Liners in Simply Spice or Pink Cashmere.

3. Next time you are shopping, hunt and find a packet of unsweetened Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid and/or Cherry Kool-Aid (if you find other flavors, grab them. They are pennies and can be combined for great shades.) Using a Q-tip, dot a little bit of the powders on your lips, combining to achieve the color you want. If you have to add a drop of water to the other end of the Q-tip to help blend, that’s fine. Just add evenly so you don’t have one lip one color, one lip another. When done, let sit & dry for about 5 min. (If you prefer to just use one flavor, that’s fine too.)

4. Using a lip brush, apply a small amount of a good balm or gloss to keep lips soft. I prefer a balm, as glosses can get oily and transfer more easily giving your color less stay power. My fave right now? Chapstick’s Cake Batter formula. Yum! If you like a bit of frost to your shade, Nivea has a “Kiss of Shimmer Radiant Lip Care” which tops off for a nice, long-lasting sexy frosty shade while keeping lips soft & smooth.

5. Carry a gloss with you that matches today’s Kool-Aid shade in case of early fading or blotchiness or for an extra hint of colored shine.

If a stain isn’t your thing, try to find a ONE STEP lipstick with mega-stay power to keep your lips bright & soft. It won’t last as long but will buy you time in between lip breaks. A good find for me? New York Color Expert Last Lipstick. I find it lasts longer than any tube lipstick I own and the price is a steal.

So there you have it. Layering to get the look you love and the stopping the clock of aging. (Okay, not really but we can sure try to slow it down!) Good luck with these suggestions and please–PLEASE!–share if you have any of your own!

Next time? I think we will tackle eye liners, sweaters and….let me think on it.

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The Kitchen Facial….

28 Jan

If you’ve ever been in a Macy’s, Bloomingdales or Sephora, then I’m sure you can see how someone could easily spend hundreds of dollars trying to keep themselves looking young. Between cleansers, moisturizers, toners, masks, scrubs, firmers, softeners, lifters, tigheners, and everything in between, the world of skin care and glamour is enough to make any consumer crazy… and bankrupt! Are all of those funky ingredients necessary when it comes to keeping you looking your best? Depends. Some people swear by the “’what’s new & what’s hot” mainstream products. Others, like myself, find that the more involved a product is, the more likely my sensitive skin is to flip out from it.

After a nasty breakout from an anti-aging night cream last winter, I researched online what I could use to calm my skin down. I made a homemade mask of specific kitchen products, slathered it all over my blotchy face twice a day, and watched as my skin went from raging red to peaceful pale. This triggered me to look up other natural items and recipes that might help keep my appearance at an even keel. The information I found would change my skin care routine forever.

Since my troubles mainly occur in winter because the cold temperatures, dry indoor heat, biter winds and the nasty snow glare turn my face into a dry flaky mess, this is when I put away my department store cosmetics and start hitting the refrigerator and cabinets for the goodies that help me the most. The recipes?… Simple. The cost?… pennies. The results?… priceless.

Here is my skin care regime from now until further notice:

breakfast1Cleanser/Mask: “Breakfast In A Jar”

½ banana mashed, 1 tbs. heavy cream, ½ aloe leaf pulp, 1 tbs. finely ground oatmeal, 1 tsp. honey.

Not only does this cleanser work great for removing makeup but it also smells great and softens the skin. The bananas and heavy cream are rich in protein and fat which helps moisturize and smooth the skin. Aloe pulp has healing properties and is an anti-inflammatory. The oatmeal has soothing properties to calm any redness or irritation. And the honey? Honey naturally moisturizes, is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and contains a natural acid which helps the skin’s cell renewal. Once you mix all of the ingredients together, you put the “goop” in a jar or small Tupperware cup and keep it in the refrigerator till ready to use. The bananas will cause the top layer of the cleanser to turn dark after a couple of days, but that doesn’t mean it is spoiled. Scrape it off, and keep using it. I suggest you make a new batch every 7-10 days to keep it fresh. To use: put mixture all over your face, let it sit for a minute or two, Rinse with cool water. Use morning and evening. (FYI—sometimes it is easier to buy a small jar of organic bananas baby food. It’s easier to work with and mixes smoother.)

brown-sugarExfoliate: Brown Sugar

Sugar is a natural and inexpensive way to include alpha-hydroxy acids in your skincare program. Usually to get the benefits of alpha-hydroxy acids, you have to schedule appointments with a dermatologist for various types of peels. By getting sugar into your routine at home, you will experience all of the benefits without the inflated price. Brown sugar is a gentler grain sugar and is not as rough as regular table sugar. To use: once a week in the evening, put a small amount (½ tsp.) of brown sugar in the palm of your hand then add your “Breakfast in a Jar” cleanser to it. Rub together then gently apply to your face in a circular motion. Rinse with cool water.

tea1Toner: Chamomile Tea

A toners main purpose is to remove any last traces of cleanser and makeup. Many cosmetic lines add alcohol to their toners which is a disaster to dry skin. A winter toner should be gentle, refreshing, soothing and still do its job. Chamomile is the perfect herb for that. Take an all-natural decaffeinated chamomile tea bag and let it steep in ½ cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove bag (do not squeeze it out) and discard. Keep cooled tea in the refrigerator and use on a cotton ball after cleansing or whenever a clean face needs a little soothing. Make a new toner once a week.

olive-oilMoisturizer: Olive Oil

Nothing fancy here. Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer because it attracts and holds moisture close to the skin and forms a breathable film to prevent loss of internal moisture. And its anti-oxidants help to prevent dryness and wrinkles. Go to the supermarket and buy a bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil, put some in a little jar or bottle and leave it on your bathroom counter. Apply dots of it all over your face, paying special attention to your cheeks and neck. Avoid the eye area with excess oil, but any you have left on your fingers that isn’t absorbed can be dotted under the eyes. If you are thinking, Don’t worry about your pores clogging. Olive oil is non-comedogenic, and the extra virgin variety is actually very light on the face.

The one thing that I didn’t mention is that no matter how natural you make your skin, you must-use a sunscreen. There are many on the market that are combined with other ingredients that can make your face red and irritated. Products containing PABA or padimate A and O can be a problem to people with dry and sensitive skin. Benzophenones, cinnamates, dibenzoylmethanes, and others are also irritating and can cause an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis. Although sunscreens known as physical blocking agents can be good for people known to get allergic reactions, they can be very heavy and don’t absorb well into the skin. Products that are titanium dioxide- or micronized zinc oxide-based seem to be the best for people with sensitive skin. A good thing to know is most mineral foundations have these ingredients. If you already use a mineral foundation, you may not have to add an extra step for sun protection. Check your foundation’s ingredients to see the ingredients and how much sun-protection is in them. Another great natural sunscreen is by Burt’s Bees. It’s heavier than some, but don’t need a lot. I find it absorbs quicker than most. I have also found a foundation primer that contains an SPF which I use from time to time. (Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF15 w/Dermaxyl Complex, $36)

Even if you had to purchase everything you would need to pamper your face this season all at once, you probably would still come out spending less than if you were to buy one high-end department store age-fighting moisturizer. Plus you’d still have enough ingredients to whip up about 10+ more batches (at least!). You can see how the savings would quickly add up.

If you aren’t sure if what I’m using would be good for your skin type, or if you’d like to add a couple of ingredients for other specific problems, take a look at these great websites. They give you a list of various ingredients and their benefits as well as some great recipe ideas. Cook yourself up an inexpensive homemade facial and take those savings to splurge on something fun (like a killer purse!)

Homemade Facials—Ingredients and Recipes: http://umibrahim.tripod.com/id26.html

Natural Ingredients for Inexpensive Skin Care: http://www.emzblendzsoap.com/ingredients/ingredients.htm