DIY Charcoal Mask for Acne-Prone Skin

It’s no secret that have struggled with acne for the greater part of my post-pubescent life. Although it’s been well under control for several years, I was continuously on-the-go and traveling over the summer, and both of those things tend to wreak havoc on my skin. Now that life has calmed down a bit, I’m attempting to get my skin back in check.

I’m sure most of you have at least heard about activated charcoal as the latest and greatest beauty hack. For those of you who haven’t, it’s most known for whitening teeth, banishing bloat, and attacking acne. I recently received a sample of a charcoal mask and absolutely loved what it did for my skin! However, when I researched the price of the full bottle, I was less than thrilled.

In an attempt to save a few bucks and ensure that my beauty products are as non-toxic as possible, I decided to make my own. While I won’t go into detail about the toxicity of most beauty products on the market, I encourage you to check out EGW’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to learn more. Keep in mind: our skin is our biggest organ, and it absorbs everything!

The ingredients that went into this mask were carefully selected, and here’s why:

  • Bentonite Clay
    • Due to its negative electrical charge, pulls toxins (which generally have a positive electrical charge) away from the skin
    • Unclogs and shrinks pores
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Contains alpha hydroxy acid that works to remove dead skin cells and reveal vibrant, healthy skin
    • Contains malic acid, which serves as a potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent that removes toxins from the skin
    • Balances skin pH, thereby balancing sebum production
  • Activated Charcoal
    • Proven to absorb thousands of times its own mass in toxins
    • Unclogs and shrinks pores
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
    • A potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent that removes toxins from the skin and prevents further clogging
    • Studies have shown that it is gentler, yet more effective than benzoyl peroxide
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring

You probably noticed that the ingredients selected have similar functionalities. This makes for a potent and highly effective face mask. As such, I recommend that this mask is used no more than two times per week, as overuse may lead to dried-out skin. Further, you’ll notice that the mask will tighten over the 10 minutes in which it is left on. This is to be expected. That sensation simply means that you are experiencing the bentonite clay and activated charcoal in action! :)

DIY CHARCOAL FACE MASK FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN

What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup bentonite clay
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup activated charcoal powder
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 40 drops tea tree essential oil
  • An airtight, 16 oz. container

What you’ll do:

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl; transfer to container using a rubber spatula 
  • To use, apply a quarter-sized amount to the face; leave on for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water; tone and moisturize as usual

DIY Dry Shampoo

Hellooooo, ladies! If you are an avid dry shampoo user such as myself, you will love this post! I am a dry shampoo junkie. I go through cans and cans and cans. Between work, school, maintaining a social life, enjoying hobbies, and working out, whose got time for daily hair washing and styling?! Quite honestly, I should have invested stock in Batiste a looooong time ago. However, as I’m on a mission to rid my apartment of all things toxic now more than ever, I almost fainted when I realized what goes into that aerosol can.

Upon researching how to make some dry shampoo of my own, I was blown away by how simple (and cheap!) it is to make. As an added bonus, I made mine with peppermint and lavender essential oils. They not only make the final product smell wonderful, but have functional benefits as well. The tingling sensation of peppermint on my scalp is also amaaaaazing! It’s truly incredible how much more I have incorporated essential oils into my life since joining the Young Living community. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and know that I have only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of what there is to learn.

Ingredients:

  • Corn starch: adds volume
  • Baking soda: cleanses
  • Peppermint essential oil: anti-itch
  • Lavender essential oil: anti-dandruff, strengthens hair, stimulates hair growth

What you’ll need:

  • A 4 oz. powder shaker with lid (I purchased this one from Amazon and it is perfect for this project!)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • Optional for brunettes: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to the shaker, apply the lid, and shake well
  • Shake the dry shampoo onto the roots of your hair and use your fingers to work it into your scalp; allow to sit for roughly 5 minutes
  • Once 5 minutes has elapsed, brush the remaining dry shampoo through your hair and style as usual

DIY Rosewater

A friend, Arielle, reached out to me to see if I had any good techniques for making rosewater at home. At the time, I had no idea, but being that I love rosewater in cocktails, I was up for the challenge. I researched a variety of techniques and am sharing what I believe to be the simplest, yet most effective method. This project requires only three ingredients and takes only 15 minutes from start to finish.

Aside from being super yummy in cocktails, rosewater can be found in a number of natural beauty products due to its countless benefits for skin and hair. To learn more about these benefits and for more ideas regarding how to incorporate rosewater into your beauty regime, click here

I must note that a 4 oz. bottle of rosewater spray that I purchased several months back had a price tag of more than $10. Meanwhile, the stunning bunch of spray roses that I bought for the purpose of this project cost me only $6. Even more impressive, those roses yielded a whopping 32 oz. of product. I’ll let you do the math. Needless to say, it is completely worthwhile to make your own rosewater.

What other uses do you know of for rosewater? I’d love to hear about any and all ways of putting this beautiful elixir to use!

Note: I used spray roses because they are half the cost of regular roses, but yield the same amount of petals that a bouquet of regular roses would. Either variety will work perfectly. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch of spray roses
  • 4 cups of distilled water
  • 2 tbsp. of premium vodka to preserve freshness (optional but recommended)
  • A quart-sized mason jar

What you’ll do:

  • Remove the petals from the stems and place into a colander; rinse thoroughly
  • Add the petals and distilled water to a medium pot; simmer on low to medium heat for approximately five minutes, or until the petals have lost their vibrant color
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth; discard the cheesecloth and petals
  • Stir in the vodka, pour into a quart-sized mason jar, and store in the fridge for up to one month

Simple Pleasures Sunday, Part III

Waterlogue. I'm usually against purchasing apps, but I'm obsessed with this particular app and would pay the whopping $2.99 again in a heartbeat. In a nutshell, it takes one of your photos and transforms it into a stunning "watercolor" in a matter of seconds. I love having art in my living space, but seeing the same prints everyday gets old. Because the cost of getting one of these images printed should cost no more than 10 bucks, you can regularly switch them out and not feel guilty about spending the money. I can't wait to get some of these masterpieces printed, as it will be an easy and super affordable way to freshen up my decor.

Waterlogue. I’m usually against purchasing apps, but I’m obsessed with this particular app and would pay the whopping $2.99 again in a heartbeat. In a nutshell, it takes one of your photos and transforms it into a stunning “watercolor” in a matter of seconds. I love having art in my living space, but seeing the same prints everyday gets old. Because the cost of getting one of these images printed should cost no more than ten bucks, you can regularly switch them out and not feel guilty about it. I can’t wait to get some of these masterpieces printed, as it will be an easy and super affordable way to freshen up my decor.

Spiky plants. I would like to introduce you to the newest members of my plant fam (yes, plants are people). Aloe vera plants not only look cool, but also serve a practical purpose in that they have medicinal properties. Now I'm just waiting for a good, old fashion sunburn...in October. Air plants, more properly known as tillandsia, are fascinating because, aside from also looking cool, they have no roots and require infrequent waterings; thus, as the name indicates, they essentially survive off of the air.

Spiky plants. I would like to introduce you to the newest members of my plant fam (yes, plants are people, too). Aloe vera plants not only look cool, but also serve a very practical purpose in that they have medicinal properties. Now I’m just awaiting a good, old-fashioned sunburn…in October. Moreover, air plants, more properly known as tillandsia, are fascinating because, aside from being awesome-looking, they have no roots and require infrequent waterings; thus, as the name indicates, they essentially survive off of the air. I simply placed mine onto the sand of my dry terrarium, and I must say, it made for a lovely addition to my dainty desert. Check out my dry terrarium how-to here.

Officially being a CSA member. I've had an interest in investing in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share for a while now, but I finally took the plunge. What ultimately gave me the push was when a friend and her husband graciously gifted me one of their shares while they were away over the summer. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Unfortunately, I tend to stick to the same old fruits and veggies when I hit up the produce section at Whole Foods. As such, I love the idea of being forced to incorporate a variety of fresh produce into my diet, as each haul is completely different from the next. I also love the idea of supporting local farms. There are several organizations that offer CSA shares in Philadelphia, but I ultimately went with Greensgrow Farms because they have an amazing reputation and offer winter shares. Sign-ups for winter shares are still underway. If you're interested, you can find more info here. My roomie, Domenica, and I are going to split a share, and we're super excited for the first pickup on December 6th!

Becoming a CSA member. I’ve had an interest in investing in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share for a while now, but I finally took the plunge about a week ago. What ultimately gave me the push was when a friend and her husband graciously gifted me one of their bi-weekly hauls while they were away over the summer. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Unfortunately, I tend to stick to the same old fruits and veggies when I hit up the produce section at Whole Foods. As such, I love the idea of being forced to incorporate a variety of fresh produce into my diet, as each haul is completely different from the next. I also love the idea of supporting local farms. There are several organizations that offer CSA shares in Philadelphia, but I ultimately went with Greensgrow Farms because they have an amazing reputation and offer winter shares in addition to summer shares. Sign-ups for winter shares are still underway. If you’re interested in becoming a member yourself, you can find more info here. My roomie, Domenica, and I are going to split the share, and we’re super excited for the first pickup on December 6th!

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In plus Keratin. This stuff really and truly is the perfect 10 in the realm of hair products. My mane is wavy and unruly; the strands are thin but there are lots of them, meaning that it becomes easily tangled and therefore extremely difficult to brush - especially when fresh out of the shower. However, thanks to this product, I no longer dread brushing my hair, as it now takes me about 5 minutes to brush rather than upwards of 15 (no joke). Additionally, the keratin reduces frizz and significantly reduces the time I spend blow drying. I was reluctant to try it out for a while given its price tag, but it is totally worth the splurge and then some. Plus, a little goes a long way.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In plus Keratin. This stuff really and truly is the perfect 10 in the realm of hair products. My mane is wavy and unruly; the strands are thin but there are lots of them, meaning that it becomes easily tangled and therefore extremely difficult to brush, especially when fresh out of the shower. However, thanks to this product, I no longer dread brushing my hair, as it now takes me about five minutes to brush rather than upwards of fifteen (no joke). Additionally, the keratin reduces frizz and significantly reduces the time I spend blow-drying. I was reluctant to try it out for quite some time given its pricetag, but it is totally worth the splurge and then some. Plus, a little goes a long way.

Fall candles. I recently made a batch of pumpkin-soufflé-scented soy candles and they smell divine. If you're interested in making your own, check out my how-to here. I used pint-sized mason jars and spruced them up with bakers' twine, wrapping paper, and a friendly message - "happy fall :)" - stamped in metallic ink.

Fall candles. I recently made a batch of pumpkin-soufflé-scented soy candles and they smell divine. If you’re interested in making your own, check out my tutorial here. I used pint-sized mason jars and spruced them up with bakers’ twine, wrapping paper, and a friendly message – “happy fall :)” – stamped in metallic ink.