beauty · food

5 Ways to Enjoy Tea Without Drinking It

If you enjoy tea as much as I do, you will probably find yourself with quite a tea collection at some point. It’s also inevitable that, the more teas you try, the more likely you are to come across a tea that you don’t enjoy. Whether it’s too bland, too bitter, too strong, or just not very tasty, getting a tea that you don’t enjoy drinking is always a bit disappointing. And let’s face it: some of us just don’t enjoy the flavor of tea.

That being said, I have good news! All hope isn’t lost when you purchase a “dud” tea, or when you find yourself the proud owner of a tea that you won’t be drinking (whether you purchased it or it was gifted to you). In fact, it’s possible to use tea in quite a few different ways around your home and within your beauty routine. Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to the ingredients: certain teas shouldn’t be used near your eyes or allowed to sit on the skin unless you don’t mind having some discomfort (“hotter” tea ingredients, like ginger and cayenne come to mind). As always, use wisdom and discretion with any of these recommendations.

Without further ado, here are five ways that you can re-purpose tea leaves. Enjoy!

Bath/bath bomb additiveIf you make bath bombs (like I do), you can add some dry tea leaves to your recipe before you put the mixture into molds. It adds a little additional fragrance and beauty to your bath bombs. If you don’t make bath bombs, you can always just add the leaves directly to your bath. Certain teas, like mint and lemon balm, have invigorating scents and can be a refreshing addition to your bath. These teas can also be mixed with epsom salt for an especially relaxing soak.

Herbal facial steam – Similar to baths, you can use tea to make an herbal facial steam. Some teas (like rose and lavender) are known for their relaxing and beautifying properties. Do a little research on your tea and see if the ingredients are suitable for a face steam. Keep in mind, simple black, green or white teas (without added herbs or florals) are perfectly fine for most skin types. Of course, always proceed with caution, even when using “safe” teas.

Face tonic – Just like herbal facial steams, you can steep the tea in hot water then use it as a toner. Camellia sinensis (the scientific name for tea) is generally considered an astringent natural product. The tannins in it constricts body tissue, making it perfect for pore-tightening and giving the face a very toned appearance. The higher the amount of tannins (generally, these are more numerous in cheaper teas), the more astringent the tea will be. Try using a full strength tea tonic on your skin, then, if you find it is too strong, add water to reduce the potency.

Oil infusion – This is actually my favorite way to use teas that I don’t want to drink. Infusing tea into oil can create a luxurious natural product that can either be applied to the skin, the hair, or added to vinegar or another acidic item (like lemon juice) to make dressing. Infusions are simple: add herbs to as many ounces of oil that you want, let it sit in a dark (preferably cool) area for at least four weeks, and shake the mixture occasionally. Personally, I love adding inexpensive chamomile tea and other herbs to coconut or olive oil, then letting them infuse over a month or two. Once these are infused, I strain the oil, put it in a lovely bottle, then apply it to my hair and skin.

Hair rinse – Certain teas are great for rinsing the hair. You brew the tea as normal, then pour the cooled tea onto the hair after shampooing and conditioning. Chamomile is great for lighter colored hair, while sage is fantastic for dark hair. Also, teas that contain rosemary and lavender can be beneficial for dry, itchy scalp, so keep that in mind. You can also just add dried rosemary and/or lavender to the tea that you’re brewing, then you get the added benefit of those herbs for scalp health.

These are some of my favorite ways to use teas that aren’t so tasty. Do you have any recommendations for re-purposing tea leaves? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

beauty

May Empties

It’s time for another empties post! I’m still committed to using all of my excess/duplicate products and documenting my progress in minimizing my “stuff” and only replacing items as I completely use them up.

Yesterday, I discussed the Pixi Rose Tonic that I enjoyed, so that empty won’t be discussed here. However, there are several other empties that I’m going to mention today, as some of these are items that I will purchase again, while others are items that have been discontinued or that I don’t need to replace.

I’ll start off today’s post with a supplement that I’ve been using for several weeks now. I’ll be discussing this supplement in this week’s Fibro Friday post, but for now, just know that I have already purchased another bottle of chelated magnesium. Magnesium is essential for normal body functions and nearly 70% of the population are magnesium-deficient. I have enjoyed using this supplement to support my fibromyalgia relief regimen.

Country Life Chelated Magnesium

Next, I FINALLY finished off this ancient jar of moisturizer LOL! I found this unopened jar of Far Away by Avon among my mom’s old products and decided to use it and see if it was still fresh/uncontaminated. The product worked just fine and I used it up in less than a month. I typically do not like Avon fragrances but due to the age of this product, the scent had faded tremendously and I enjoyed the much lighter concentration of the fragrance.

Avon Far Away Perfumed Skin Softener

Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in the shade Almond was my go-to face product in 2016. I loved how it looked on my skin and I really liked the fact that a little product went a long way. While I love the product, I won’t be replacing it soon, as I already have a TON of foundation and concealer that I need to use before I justify an additional purchase. However, in the future, if I decide to get another stick or cream foundation, this is the one I will purchase.

Hourglass Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Another Avon product that I found in my mom’s old product box was the Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in the Strawberry & Guava fragrance. I loved this light, fresh fragrance and I really enjoyed the fact that it didn’t leave my skin feeling too dry and stripped. I don’t know that I’d go as far as calling it “hydrating” – I didn’t feel that significantly added moisture to my skin – but I feel that it worked well and didn’t aggravate my somewhat dry skin. This isn’t an item that I’d seek out to use again, but it was fine and performed as expected.

Avon Naturals Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in Strawberry & Guava

Finally, I used the last of my Mary Kay (MK) Timewise Night Solution. MK has changed their product lineup and this item is no longer available, but since I enjoy using gels and serums, I continued to include it in my routine along with my many products from The Ordinary. I like how it kept my skin hydrated overnight without making my skin feel greasy. If it ever becomes available again, I’ll certainly repurchase it.

Mary Kay Timewise Night Solution

Those are my May empties! I’ll be back next month with a whole new bunch of empties to discuss. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

This post contains affiliate links.

beauty

Review: Pixi Rose Tonic

I will be showing a bunch of my May empties tomorrow, but today, I wanted to spotlight one noteworthy “empty”. This is a product that I’m certain I will purchase again.

The Pixi Rose Tonic is a refreshing product that I tried for a few days in May. For those that have been here for a while, you all know that I use a slightly modified version of the Korean ten-step method, which calls for a toner (to balance the skin and remove any traces of makeup or cleansing product) and an essence (to add additional nourishment to the skin). So this rose tonic was intriguing to me: I wanted to see whether it was more like a toner or if it was more similar to an essence.

Pixi Rose Tonic

This gentle, alcohol-free product combines the features of a toner with some of the benefits of an essence. Yes, it is a toner: it will help to balance the skin, neutralize the skin mantle (this prevents the mantle from being compromised, which can result in damaged, more sensitive skin), and remove any remnants of makeup or previously applied skin products. However, the product contains aloe vera, chamomile, elderberry, tea extract, and the extracts of several different rose variations (including Rose of Damascus and dog-rose). These act as skin soothers to leave the face feeling clean yet hydrated and nourished.

One of the ingredients in the tonic is dog-rose essence

My bottle was a sample size, so I didn’t have enough product to use for longer than about 10 days. However, I LOVED the way that this made my face feel. My skin felt hydrated and not stripped at all. I also love that this product didn’t conflict with any of the other products that I use on my face.

My sample was teeny-tiny but I was still impressed with the product

Would I recommend this? Absolutely! I intend to purchase another bottle as soon as I’m done with my current toners. I looked at a few vendors to see who had the best price, and the cost on the Pixi website is significantly less than Amazon, and a bit less than Ulta. This is NOT a sponsored link, so if you’re curious about the product, please know that I’m endorsing it without any personal motivation LOL!

That’s my review on Pixi Rose Tonic. Have you tried this product before? I’d love to hear all about your experience with it!

beauty

April Empties: A Quick Review

 Happy Monday, friends! I have never reviewed my product “empties” (products that I’ve used up completely) but since I’ve been trying to be mindful about my consumption, I have far more “empties” than normal! Instead of buying products out of boredom or curiosity, I’m far more focused on buying products as I actually need them.

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Most of the products I’ll discuss are very inexpensive, while one product (in particular) is mid-range price. I love that I’m able to share some inexpensive empties that I can highly recommend!

Without further ado, here are my April empties.

I love the Dermasil Oil-Free Daily Retinol Cream. I used this moisturizer on my face at night, and I love how it doesn’t make my skin feel oily. It also didn’t clog my pores or cause breakouts. The best part? This cream is only $1 at your local Dollar Tree! If you are unable to get to a Dollar Tree, or if you are unable to locate this product at your local Dollar Tree, then it can be ordered in packs of 3 on Amazon for a reasonable price.

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I regularly cleanse my face with Mary Kay products, though I occasionally use African black soap to switch things up. I recently finished off my last bottle of Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser. MK has recently updated the cleanser formulation, so I’ll be trying the new formula to see if I like the changes that have been made.

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My consummate favorite, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% +Zinc 1% serum, is an inexpensive skincare option to treat skin blemishes. I use this daily so I go through the bottles quickly. I’m thrilled that The Ordinary is now selling this product in a larger bottle (60 ml), so I can purchase the bigger size and create less waste.

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For my hair, I actually enjoy very inexpensive products, so long as they are effective. There’s no greater thrill for me as a wise shopper than to buy a product for a pittance and then that product over-delivers on its promises! This Softee Coconut Oil Hair & Scalp Conditioner is a hair grease that I massage into my hair to protect the ends and seal in moisture. This product can usually be purchased for less than $5 a jar, and it lasts a long time. I’ve had this jar for a few years, but I used it sporadically. With weekly application, a 12-ounce jar could last me at least 6 months.

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Finally, I’m featuring another Dollar Tree product. Lustee’s Olive Oil Hair Sheen is actually not an oil-based product but, rather, a water-based moisturizing spray. It is great for the “L” step of the LOC method (there are many hair gurus that can explain the LOC method far better than I can). It was also just $1, so it was a great buy. I was unable to find this product online, but I’ve seen it at every Dollar Tree that I’ve visited, so you should be able to find it with ease.

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That’s it for my April empties. I’m excited about sharing some new empties with you next month, as I continue to focus on using what I have and only replacing items when I need to. Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

 

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

beauty

Shelter-In-Place Skin Care

While sheltering-in-place, it can be tempting to “let ourselves go”. After all, the only people that are seeing us regularly are our families and friends that we choose to either 1) quarantine with or 2) video chat with regularly.

But while I’m inside, I’m amping up my skincare. Why? Well, *one day* in the not-so-distant future, I’ll be going outside again. And when I do, I want to look great! I want to look good and feel good when life returns to “normal”. So my skincare isn’t taking a break while I’m at home: in fact, I’m learning new ways to improve my skin.

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I’m still doing a version of the Korean 10-step skin care regimen, but I felt like my skin could use a little more care than normal. So I looked up different beauty treatments for the face and body. I created a fabulous coffee & brown sugar scrub using this recipe from Living Chic on the Cheap. I love using this on my body to soften my skin. I prefer to use this after I apply and rinse my soap off while showering. That way, a light layer of coconut oil (one of the scrub’s ingredients) will remain once I leave the shower. However, I have noticed that it helps to use a dark towel after using the scrub: some of the coffee color can remain on your skin if you use the scrub as the last step.

Next, I found this great video showing how to give yourself an at-home facial. I am a HUGE fan of gentle skin care, but there are times where a little more “elbow grease” is required to get the results that you want. This video shows you ways to gently extract impurities from the skin, and how to effectively steam your face. I’ll likely add a relaxing, inexpensive herbal tea to my steaming water, just for the aromatherapy benefits. Also, instead of using a mechanical scrub, I’ll employ a chemical one (I bought one from The Ordinary that I’ll review once I’ve used it a few times).

 

This week, I’ll be using my coffee scrub as well as doing my at-home facial. I’m going to give my skin the extra TLC it needs and deserves!

That’s all for today. I hope you all are doing well! Take care.

life curation

This Week’s Happenings . . .

Despite these difficult times, I’ve been making the most of things. This week, I’m focusing on BALANCE, both internally and externally. I’ve taken some mini-breaks from social media to help keep my spirits high, and I’ve also been doing some other things that I’ve found beneficial.

I have made it a point to avoid in-person shopping as much as possible. I’m extremely thankful for grocery pickup services offered at local grocers such as Kroger. I fill my virtual cart, select a pickup date and time, pay for my order, then get it when it’s ready. It’s fantastic! I also love that I’m able to give cash tips to the person that brings the groceries to my car. I’d like to think that if most of the customers gave these hardworking people some sort of gratuity, it could help make up for the fact that they are generally overworked and underpaid. Besides, we can all use a little kindness during this time.

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I’m not doing any leisurely grocery shopping trips right now

I haven’t done much online shopping, except for items that I actually needed to restock. I bought some inexpensive acne cream and cotton pads from Amazon, since I was running low on both.


A new acne cream that I’m trying for the first time: Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment (updates will be posted soon!)


Always necessary: cotton pads (Bellacotton Premium Cotton Rounds)

I also bought a couple of things from The Ordinary. I recently watched a YouTube video demonstrating how to do a facial at home (more about that tomorrow!) and I bought a chemical peel for when I decide to give my face a treatment. All the details will be in tomorrow’s post.

I’ve been using yoga and gentle stretching to help calm my mind and ease any physical pain. I have tried several different yoga videos on YT, but I haven’t gotten a “favorite” video yet. Once I have my “favorite”, I’ll be sure to share it here.

That’s what’s happening with me this week. How are things where you are? I’d love to hear all about it!

Disclaimer: this post has affiliate links.

beauty

Rest in Peace, Brandon Truaxe

A few days ago, the founder of The Ordinary, Brandon Truaxe, passed away. Truaxe’s brand is brilliant: it finally brought professional grade skin care to the masses at affordable prices. The Ordinary’s powerful, effective serums and solutions have been a staple in my routine for quite some time.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BskBx68HkNQ/

Truaxe experienced a tumultuous year, and was eventually ousted from the company that he started. Aside from the controversy surrounding his company, I suspect that he was deeply troubled and experiencing many personal struggles as well. I hope that he is able to finally rest in peace.

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(Photo courtesy of DetailOrientedBeauty.com)

beauty · style

8 Easy Ways to Look Luxurious

Happy Tuesday, folks! Despite some unseasonably warm weather yesterday, I’m still fully aware that winter is upon us and we’d do well to not let our beauty routines lapse. Sometimes, a little warm weather will make us less diligent when it comes to our cold-weather routines – don’t fall for the trap! After all, we only get one body: we have to take care of ourselves.

Along with caring for our bodies internally (diet, exercise, caring for our mental, spiritual and emotional health), we must care for them externally, too. And after we care for our external selves, we may find that basic care just isn’t enough to put a little pep in our steps. Let’s face it: usually, the basics aren’t enough to make us feel luxurious. It doesn’t matter if your face cream costs hundreds of dollars or if you’re using SPF2000: basic care isn’t always enough to make you “sparkle”.

luxury

However, enhancing your sparkle is easy! Here are 8 simple ways you can look more luxurious on a daily basis. Keep up with these, and you’ll be glistening effortlessly in no time!

  1. Groomed brows – I selected this as the top item because it’s so easy to neglect our brows in favor of other body parts. However, well-groomed brows create a gorgeous frame for your eyes, and can instantly make your whole face look more polished and refined. Groom your brows to instantly see a more luxurious you.
  2. Moisturized skin – Dry skin will never be luxurious. Using a good moisturizer that leaves your skin soft, supple and non-greasy instantly enhances your look. Walking the fine line between glowing and greasy is tough, so you may have to sample a few different formulations to find a good one. It’s worth the effort, so start looking now so that you can be well on your way to a more luxurious appearance.
  3. Freshly manicured/painted nails (on hands and feet) – Polished, cared-for nails and feet make a world of difference when it comes to cultivating a luxurious look. Nails that are even, polish that has no chips, lumps or gashes, and cuticles that are trimmed and moisturized quickly give hands and feet the appearance of luxury. This takes a bit more time than some of the other luxurious enhancements mentioned, but it’s worth the investment.
  4. Clothing made from all natural fibers – This can be challenging, since we live in a world full of polyester, spandex and other unnatural fibers. Natural fibers require more maintenance but look infinitely more luxurious. All within reason, though – everyone must consider their personal budget and level of investment when deciding what kind of fibers to purchase. However, cotton is inexpensive and feels great next to the skin, and more expensive fabrics (like leathers, silks and cashmere) can be purchased at a discount if you are a wise shopper. For a truly luxurious look, keep in mind your personal ethics (leather isn’t for everyone!) while shopping for all natural fibers for your wardrobe.
  5. Red lipstick – Perfectly applied red lipstick can immediately make a face look more luxurious and polished. Red lipstick in the perfect shade for your undertones and complexion is a powerful tool to make any ensemble look more glamorous. Red lipsticks are available at all price points, so this luxe accessory is truly available to anyone!
  6. Whitened teeth – A bright, white smile can do wonders for enhancing your overall appeal. And, whitened teeth are very luxurious looking. Whitening formulas can be as simple as baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide, or as elaborate as a few rounds at the dentist’s office. Whatever it takes, make sure to remove as many surface stains as you can from your teeth, so that you can have your brightest smile.
  7. Large sunglasses – Give a nod to Jackie O, one of the most elegant women ever, by throwing on a large pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are practical – who ?doesn’t want to protect their precious eyesight from the suns’s harmful rays – and mysterious. They shield your eyes in the most stylish way. The right sunglasses add a level of polish to any look. Try on a few pair and see for yourself!
  8. Gloves – An oft-forgotten accessory, gloves are another one that is truly practical and still adds a stylish, luxurious touch. Most people won’t reach for their gloves until the cold months, but lightweight cotton gloves are great for protecting hands from the sun when you’re out and about during the warmer seasons.

Can you think of anything else that makes you look or feel luxurious? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

It’s been AGES since I did a mud mask on my face. I used to use clay- and mud-based masks regularly for my oily skin, but as my life got busier, I just didn’t have as much time to wait for a mask to dry, then all of the extra time needed to rinse it off was more than I wanted to commit to . . . So I let mud masks go.

This past week, though, I had a little extra time. AND, I had a trial size of Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying in one of the Sephora Play boxes that I ordered. So I decided to give it a whirl. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be when I was younger, but I figured this would still be a fun treat for my combination complexion.

So shiny, so silver: it looked more like an eyeshadow than a beauty treatment

The product is described as being made with ” with zinc, copper, and white clay”, and it’s supposed to “cleanses and purifies pores, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces the appearance of blemishes without overdrying. Skin is left clean, matte, and soft after each use.” I figured that, with all of those promises, I should give it a try.

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When first applied, it’s a dark grey hue

I applied a thin layer after washing and drying my face. The consistency of the mask was smooth overall but there were a few lumps (I’m not sure if it was just my sample or if that’s how it usually looks). The smell isn’t too strong, but definitely noticeable. I let it dry for about 15 minutes.  I then rinsed off the mask: it came off easily and quickly. In fact, this is the only mask I’ve ever used that rinsed totally clean without needing a washcloth to assist in removing the product in stubborn areas.

When dry, it’s chalky white (left to right: partially dry and fully dry)

My skin felt very clean and more matte but not stripped. My skin felt very soft but balanced. I skipped my hydrogen peroxide toner and followed the remaining steps of my skin routine.

This mask retails for $20 and I would definitely purchase it and use it again. It’s difficult to find a mask that rinses clean and doesn’t strip all of the moisture out of my skin. I also liked the smell: I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it had a very clean essence that is familiar and (fortunately) not cloying. This one gets a thumbs up from me!

beauty

Beauty Review: L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother

Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Triple Power Intensive  Overnight Mask (actually, I’m still a fan, I just need to restock for the upcoming cold months). One time, when I purchased a jar of it, I got a free sample of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother. The product – a combination of a primer and “finisher” – claims to minimize skin imperfections and leave the face smooth and velvety.

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With those claims, you know I had to try it.

So I’ve been using this for over a year, but I hadn’t done a review until now. Let me tell you that I still reach for this, after all this time, because it WORKS. Now, I’m not going to claim that it will fill every line, wrinkle or pore to perfection, but it does a great job of “smoothing” the face a bit. I’ve worn it as a finisher (with no makeup on top of it) and as a primer (as a base for my foundation), and I’ve been impressed in both instances. Particularly, I like how my foundation lasts all day when I apply it as a primer.

My face after applying this primer: a soft finish but not shine-proof

Now, here’s a warning: I didn’t find that this product kept my face matte all day when used as a primer. In fact, I am invariably blotting throughout the day when I wear it under my foundation. For full disclosure, I generally don’t wear a powder over my foundation. But, since this is supposed to be a primer that leaves your skin matte, I thought that would translated into a non-shiny face after a couple of hours. I guess my skin’s oils are just too strong. On the other hand, when I wear it as a finisher, I don’t look especially shiny.

This primer is $25 on Ulta’s website. A little product goes a long way, so it may be a good value for you. However, if you’re an oily girl, you ma want to try a product that delivers more on its mattifying promises, since this one falls short. Would I use it again? Sure, but only if I got it on sale.

Enjoy your Saturday, friends! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow.