Natural Skin Care // Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

IMG_9943 copyWe’re in that strange transitional time of year, where most of us are trying to soak up every last drop of summer while also longing for our favourite hallmarks of autumn. I’ve heard the words “pumpkin” and “chai” thrown around a lot lately – just saying. Myself, I can’t stop thinking about warm apple mixtures bubbling in pie tarts. But I’m not quite ready. Not yet.

Something that happens without fail when the seasons start to change, is my skin gets a bit flaky and wants to slough off in the shower. Kind of gross, right? A homemade sugar scrub is the perfect solution. It only takes a couple of minutes to mix one up and not only will its gentle exfoliation leave your skin silky smooth, but they smell divine.

This coconut lime combination is a bit tropical and seems perfect for savouring the last of summer’s tastes and smells. If you’ve already mentally switched seasons, check out the brown sugar scrub I shared on Angie’s blog.

IMG_9945 copyCoconut Lime Sugar Scrub
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil*
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
grated zest + juice of one lime
1 tsp vitamin e oil (optional)

Mix together thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

*for maximum benefits to your skin, make sure you get unrefined, virgin coconut oil.

To use: massage into skin, resist urge to lick it off (although, technically, you could), and rinse well. Massage any leftover oil into your skin – you may find you don’t even need a moisturizer.

How are you making the most of the last days of summer? And let me know if you give this recipe a try!

Happy scrubbing,

You’re 2 Ingredients & 30 Seconds Away from Making Your Own Dry Shampoo

dryshampoo1I only recently discovered the wonders of dry shampoo while traveling this past fall. When you’re crashing in hostels sometimes there isn’t the time or facilities to properly wash and dry your hair. Enter dry shampoo. A simple application means you can stretch the amount of time between regular washes.

This is also very useful for us chicas with technicolour tresses. Semi-permanent dyes fade quickly so minimizing the number of times you wash your hair is crucial. Usually I can get by with 2-3 washes a week, but not right now. I don’t know about you, but where I live it’s so hot right now. Brain meltingly hot and the humidity is out of control. Needless to say, I’m a sweaty mess.

So, I’ve turned to my new friend dry shampoo. But when the bottle of Batiste that I picked up in England ran out, I decided to see if there was a homemade solution without the toxic chemicals & perfumes you find in the commercial variety.

dryshampoo2It turns out there is and it really couldn’t be any easier. I’m even willing to bet that you already have these two ingredients hiding in your pantry. So, here it is…

Homemade Dry Shampoo
1/4 cup cornstarch
2T baking soda

Mix ‘em together really well and add a few drops of essential oil if you’d like. Seriously, that’s it.

Use in between washes by sprinkling along your roots and brushing well. It’ll attract and stick to a lot of the dirt and oil so that you can brush it out.

Since my hair is so monstrously thick, I like to apply in two segments to make sure it gets all the way through (see photo above).

dryshampoo3Style your hair as desired and you’re good to go. You’ve beaten that sweaty hair for another day; you go girl!

Do you use dry shampoo already? What do you think of trying this homemade version?

Stay cool!


Making the Switch to Natural Skincare

1I’ve gotten so much wonderful feedback from people who have enjoyed my natural skincare recipes and I really enjoy sharing these beauty secrets with you. I have many simple tips and tricks to share with you, as well as more fun recipes for you to slather all over yourself. But before that, I thought I’d write a little bit about why I think it’s so important to make the switch to natural alternatives and how you can start the transition without getting overwhelmed or breaking the bank.

When it comes to the why of natural skincare, the long and short of it is: your skin is your body’s largest organ and it’s porous. In other words, anything you put on your body ends up inside of it.

With that in mind, studies showing that the average woman uses 14 skincare/cosmetics products containing over 100 chemicals (many of which are carcinogenic) before breakfast is downright scary, because it’s all being absorbed into your body.

But without a degree in chemistry to decipher the labels on beauty products and no government regulations requiring companies to even declare everything they pack into those enticing little tubes (let alone make sure it’s safe for us to use!), what’s a girl to do?

Okay, deep breath.

2Take it slow. Keep it simple. Don’t worry, you don’t need to toss out your carefully curated collections of make-your-eyes-pop shadows and perfect-for-you lipsticks. Try implementing one step from my natural skincare routine every week for a month. When you run out of a product, try replacing it with a more natural alternative or see if it’s something  you can make at home. Taking baby steps toward a more natural skincare routine can help prevent you from feeling too overwhelmed or thinking it’s too expensive to make the switch. Even if you never give up your favourite Mac lipstick (I still haven’t!), you’re still drastically reducing the toxic load on your body.

Make it fun. Put on loud music and sip on a glass of your favourite bevvy while you bop around the kitchen while you whip up a batch of poison-free deodorant. Slather a chocolate face mask and eat bonbons while you watch a sappy movie. Gather a group of gal pals and have a spa day before going out for a nice dinner together. Adding a sense of occasion and luxury is an enticing way to give these “hippy-dippy” ideas a try. ;)

Arm yourself with information. It can be overwhelming to weed through all of the competing claims about what’s “natural” and safe for our skin. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep database allows you to search for a product to learn about the health impacts of its ingredients and they have a 1-10 scale to determine the safety of a product. If you’re still in doubt, Nadine Artemis’s article on Deciphering Cosmetic Codes is a must-read before hitting up the cosmetic counter.

Have you incorporated any natural skincare in your routine? Do you have any tips for making the switch?


Natural Skincare // A Simple Beauty Routine

naturalskincareMaybe you’re already convinced of why you should ditch your toxic skincare products (even the supposedly “natural” ones are full of iffy ingredients more often than not), but you don’t know where to start or you deplore that you just don’t have time to dedicate to concocting lotions and potions (I call shenanigans on that excuse by the way, most recipes are so simple that you could whip up a few in less time than a trip to the cosmetics department takes). BUT, I know any transition takes time and it’s usually best to start slowly, so here’s a simple way to give this whole natural beauty thing a try without risking any expensive ingredients on your alchemy skills.

This simple skincare routine requires no measuring, or mixing, or tempering, just straight-up ingredients applied straight to your skin. You kind find all of them at the grocery store and most of them are likely lurking in your kitchen cupboards already. Perform this routine (minus the exfoliation) twice a day for naturally clean, glowing skin.

honeyCleanse Your Face
I only recently started washing my face with honey on the recommendation of a friend (hi, Jessi!) and had a “how did I not think of this?!” moment. I knew that honey is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial (helps fight acne), as well as incredibly moisturizing, but the more I looked into it the more benefits I found. Honey has just enough drying power to combat any pimples you already have, its gentle but effective enough for any skin type, and it is packed with enzymes that helps repair acne scars and has some anti-aging benefits. It may seem counterintuitive to rub something sticky on your face to clean it, but trust me, it works.

Wash your face of makeup (I use olive oil soap) before warming up approximately 1/2tsp of honey in your hands. Massage over your entire for for a minute or two and then rinse off with warm water.

If you’re vegan, I’d recommend giving the oil cleansing method a try (more on this another time).

Apple cider vinegar makes a great astringent because it will remove any remaining dirt, minimize pours, and fight acne-causing bacteria. Pour a liberal amount on a cotton pad and rub over your face and neck. Orange blossom water and rose water are great alternatives, but more expensive and also more difficult to come by.

Maybe one day you’ll want to foray into the world of making fancy whipped face moisturizer, but it’s really not necessary. I always come back to using pure plant oils. Whether it’s jojoba, coconut, olive, sweet almond, avocado, or castor, you’ll just need a few drops (this article is helpful when choosing the right oil for your skin). Massage thoroughly into your face and neck. Without the emulsifiers used in commercial moisturizers, it will take a few minutes to soak in, but I promise, this is not going to make your face oily and you can apply makeup directly over top.

In keeping with the theme of simplicity, I only exfoliate once or twice a week, any more is irritating for my skin but hey, everyone’s different. Perform this step after cleansing and before toning/moisturizing as needed to keep the pesky flakes at bay. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto a cotton pad and sprinkle 1tsp. of sugar over it. Massage the pad over your entire face and neck in circular motions for 1-2 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Once a month or so you might want a more vigorous exfoliation. Mix 2-3tsp. with 1tbsp. baking soda (you want to create a thick paste). Using your fingers or a clean makeup brush, apply a thin layer of the paste over your face (there should be enough to share with a friend). Allow to dry for 15-20 minutes (it may itch a little, that’s normal). Wet your fingers and massage the baking soda into your skin. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

And that’s it! No impossible to pronounce ingredients, no fancy techniques or equipment, no excuses. Let me know if you give this routine a try and what your results are like.

What’s your skincare routine? Do you have any natural beauty tricks up your sleeve? I’d love to hear!

xx S.

Images 1, 2, and 3.

Natural Skincare // Brown Sugar Body Butter


Perhaps my poison-free deodorant and chocolate face mask were a bit too out there for you – I hear what you’re saying, a little too hippy dippy if you’re used to stopping by Shopper’s Drug Mart or a department store to take care of your skincare needs. So I’ve got something sweet today to tempt you away from that toxic load and entice you to give this whole natural skincare thing a try.

This body butter is rich and creamy and oh-so sweet. It smells like the fudge my mom used to make at Christmastime when I was growing up – perfect for someone like me who alternates between wanting to smell like a birthday cake and a rose garden. Mix up a batch yourself and I’ll guarantee you’ll be wanting to give it a taste. But with the moisturizing power of coconut and sweet almond oils, and the moisture-locking power of beeswax and vanilla, it’s also going to keep your skin smooth and soft. Here’s the recipe…


Brown Sugar Body Butter

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sweet almond oil*
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp beeswax (grated)
1 tbsp vanilla**

1. Melt beeswax, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil in a double boiler. Remove from heat.
2. In a separate saucepan, mix together brown sugar and water over medium heat. Stir until combined.
3. Add water-sugar mixture to oil mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk until thoroughly combined before adding the next tablespoon.
4. Whisk in vanilla extract.
5. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Whisk for 30 seconds.
6. Cool for an additional 30 minutes until spooning into a jar. Use as a daily moisturizer.

*Substitute plant oil of choice. Many people have good results using olive oil, but I find it too heavy for my skin.
**Be sure to use pure vanilla extract and not the artificial kind. Otherwise you won’t get the full vanilla aroma or the beneficial properties for your skin. This brand is my favourite.

I hope you’ll give this heavenly smelling body butter a try. Let me know what you think if you do.  And if you’ve got any natural skincare secrets of your own up your sleeve, I’d love to hear!

xx S.


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