Pretty Natural

one a day

It’s that time again. Although after today’s 80-degree weather I’m not sure what season it is. Whatever the temp, though, it is autumn again and I couldn’t be happier about it. I love chilly mornings and sunny, temperate afternoons.

I also went apple picking for my first time ever last weekend. I mostly stood in a 45-minute line for apple cider donuts, but I DID pick one apple! I let my little brother climb trees and fill our paper bags with apples from Walingford’s. So, this week we’ve had two apple pies, a few apple dumplings, an apple crisp, and the most amazing apple strudel muffins.

And here’s what I’d do with the apples left over.

Apple Mask: Oily skin? Grate one apple and mix with a teaspoon of honey. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with the coldest water you can stand.

Wrinkle Mask: Grate one unripe apple and leave on wrinkly skin for skin for thirty minutes.

Time consuming  but worth it (taken from

“Autumn Magic Facial Mask
This formula soothes and nourishes skin and nerves, and provides gentle exfoliating action.


1/4 cored apple, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon rolled oats
1 teaspoon cream
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Apply to clean face, massaging gently, and allow mixture to remain on skin for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Read more:


great fruit

I love citrus fruits. They have so much vitamin C and they’re always so refreshing. Even when someone is peeling an orange or digging in to a grapefruit in the next room, you can smell it and it wakes you up.

My favorite citrus is probably pink grapefruit. Yes, it’s tart to the point of being bitter, but I just love it! Remember, vitamin C is only good from its natural source, so why not try these tips? Here are some easy ways to include the pink lady in your skin care routine.


Good morning: This one is so elegant, I feel pretty instantly. It’s easier to do this if you have a spray bottle (you can get them anywhere empty travel-sized bottles are found). Make some rose water and pour the cooled liquid into your spray bottle. Now juice a grapefruit or two and pour that in with the rose water. Store in the refrigerator to cool and keep it there when not in use. Shake before spraying on as a toner every morning. Uplifting, anti-aging toner!

Good morning scrub: This one is excellent and smells like heaven. There are easier, more chemically enhanced ways of smelling this good and being this clean, but it’s so much fun to make yourself – and so easy. Just squeeze some juice from a grapefruit into some raw sugar and make a paste. Scrub on and rinse off. Delicious.


Fun Monday: 1 cup of club soda and as much grapefruit juice as you want. This is very cleansing and a good way to start your week. Rinse hair with the mixture in the shower after you shampoo and before you condition.


I love kiwis – the fruit, the animal and the people. But the fruit in particular is  delicious and packed with vitamin C, which, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, is best used straight from its natural source.

There are a lot of great tips for using kiwi for skin care and there’s a good reason for it. Aside from being one of the biggest sources of vitamin C, the kiwi fruit is full of alpha-hydroxy acid, acids which exfoliate and brighten skin as well as control shine. Here are some tips that are especially great if your skin is tired and dull from a long work week.


Green scrub: Make a scrub using raw or brown sugar (I personally prefer brown sugar because it makes a better paste) and the pulp of as many kiwis as it takes. This mix contains three exfoliators: the seeds from the kiwi, the AHAs and the sugar. And is smells so fresh – kind of like this.


Manicure prep: Use 1 kiwi pulp and 1 tbsp olive oil. Leave on for up to 20 minutes – this is exfoliating and moisturizing.


Mashed: Just mashing the pulp of a kiwi and letting it sit on your face makes for a perfect mask. But adding extra ingredients depending on your skin type can heighten the experience. Add olive oil for dry skin and honey for combination skin. If you have oily skin, I would stick to just kiwi because it already has everything you need!

ice cold

Today it’s supposed to get close to 100 degrees F and there is no beach or pool in sight. I will be correcting papers and generally doing tasks that allow me to sit very still.

Lately my skin has been suffering from the heat. I can’t seem to get my creams and lotions applied before I begin to perspire so it’s causing a bit of disruption on the skin’s surface. I’m also so sick of running around campus in the beating sun. So today, I will relax with a few of the easiest tips I know!

Use ice! Not just to cool down, ice helps tighten the pores and can be good in this heat because your skin needs a break! These tips are very simple and will make you feel so much cooler.


Before you go freezing regular ice cubes and running them over your face (which is an ok idea) try these more creative tips.

Rose cubes: Make an infusion of rose water – as easy as boiling rose petals in water and letting it cool- and make ice cubes from the infusion. Rose water is a light astringent so it gives the skin a healthy look.

Cucumber cubes: This one is my favorite. Cucumbers have a naturally high water content so just freezing cucumber slices on their own would be sufficient. They are also so great on puffy eyes, so make sure to use these cubes early every morning when you haven’t had enough sleep. I would keep cucumber cubes available all year long if I remembered to do it! To do: let sliced cucumbers sit in water for as long as desired. Then pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. You can choose to remove the pieces of cucumber from the cubes or even leave them in. These cubes are also delicious in a glass of water!

Orange cubes: I cannot stress enough the benefits of vitamin C from its original source. However, try not to get lazy and use orange juice. A lot of times the juice is concentrated and just not as fresh. To do: Juice an orange and mix with water. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. Voilà – Orange juice for you and your skin in the morning.


Shiny Hair: Ice cold water is a great way to seal hair’s cuticle and make it shiny. Use any of the  water recipes (except the orange cubes), chilled in the freezer but not quite frozen, and pour all over hair.


Ice bath: Of course you could pour any one of the ice recipes into a bath but I’m not sure I would want to get quite that cold…

scrub the day away

It’s Friday and I really couldn’t be happier about that. This Sunday will mark my third week at this job, which means only five weeks left! And next week I actually begin teaching, so I’ll be needing some time to relax at the end of the day. Here’s how I’ll make my bathroom feel like a spa using sugar.

There is nothing better than a good scrub* to remove the top layer of dead skin cells on the face, body, feet and hands. It smoothes skin and makes everything seem brighter and cleaner. The best part is that you can make your own and they’re better than the ones you can buy because a) they’re all natural (and you have the option of making them organic) and b) they’re much cheaper this way. The best thing about these scrubs is that they last for a long time,  so make a batch and store it in a mason jar in the shower for weeks!


New Hands Honey Scrub: I use this every time I give friends a manicure and they can attest to how incredibly soft their hands feel afterward. It’s like getting new skin! I mix 1 tsp honey with just enough sugar to make a paste and apply it with small, massaging circles. It rinses off easily!


Brown Sugar Body Scrub: Unlike this, the homemade one doesn’t cost $65 and it’s customizable. I make mine with honey, vanilla extract (for an even sweeter smell) and of course, some brown sugar.


Olive oil & sugar: I usually use the honey scrub on my face in the summer, but days that are dry call for this recipe. 1 tsp olive oil and as much sugar as needed to make a paste with. This scrub is very moisturizing so it is best for dry/aging skin.

*You may have heard that crushing almonds makes a good scrub, but this is not true – especially for the skin on your face. The uneven edges can make tears in your skin that take a long time to heal. Don’t do it!

Independence Day Series :: BLUE
July 5, 2010, 06:00
Filed under: anti-aging, antioxidant, blueberry | Tags: , , , ,

[My Independence Day series is a three-day event where the posts will revolve around a red, a blue, and a white ingredient. All of these ingredients will in some way help sunburned skin but will also be good for other things. Happy Fourth!]

Come on. You knew it would be the blueberry. And truly, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to it. Blueberries are ranked at the top for antioxidant power which means more benefits for your skin. It’s also loaded with vitamin C. Really, you can’t complain when it’s that good.

I’m not the biggest fan of eating them (they’re always a little too tart for my taste) but I think they’re beautiful, and aesthetics are important to me. I also love the simplicity of the recipes that have blueberry in them. Because when the ingredient has so much power, you don’t want too much else in it.


Leaves: I’ve heard that blueberry leaves can relieve eczema symptoms. Steeping the leaves in hot water and using the water in creams is said to work wonders and many believe in this treatment. I have not tried it myself, but it’s good to throw out there, in case someone wants to.


Blue facial: 1/4 cup blueberries and 1tsp each olive oil and honey. Mix in a blender, apply and leave on for 20 minutes.

Blue and white: 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/4 yogurt in a blender will do great things if you spent your weekend outside.

tea for me

I haven’t blogged lately because I had a very busy birthday week full of outings and celebration. When I finally had a free day, I sat and watched TV and drank tea. Tea is a great remedy for so many things. If I’ve had a bad day, I console myself with tea. If I’m sick, I drink tea to counteract the stuffed, trapped feeling my head is experiencing. On a cold, rainy day, nothing beats a cup of chai.

And, as you’ve probably guessed, tea is also great when you combine it with your skin-care regimen. Since green tea is a powerful antioxidant it can have several benefits such as strengthening your SPF and helping to slow the aging process. Try some of these simple tips for hydrated, energized skin. And brew a cup for you!


Lavender anti-dandruff rinse:  This one’s easy – brew some lavender tea and pour it in your hair. Rinse after 15 minutes for shiny strands. I like this one at night, since lavender is a great de-stressor.


Antioxidant bath: So many people forget the skin on their bodies, but taking care of yourself is easier than you think. Grab the thinnest washcloth you have (cheesecloth is best but it’s not common in all kitchens) and wrap different tea leaves inside. I suggest some green tea, chamomile tea, and white tea. Secure the cloth around the nozzle of the bath and run warm water as usual. This way your bath is a big cup of tea without being messy.


Tea toner: Freeze green tea in an ice cube tray and use them as a daily dose of toner.

Extra SPF: Add some green tea to your sun-screen for added protection – only if your sun-screen is made with zinc oxide, though! The tea can break down other chemicals.