Pretty Natural

Dry Spell

I recently moved to Virginia; it’s beautiful, historic, and the winter is so much milder than a Maine one.

I’m told it’s a place for lovers, which is definitely true for me. Little did I know, however, that Virginia would become the driest place I’ve ever called home… meaning that my eczema-prone skin is causing a ruckus – especially in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep, or in the morning when I want to shower, or the middle of the day when I’m trying to wear clothes or… well, all the time.

Each person will react to eczema in a different way, so try these carefully and sparingly until you find what works best for you. Not lucky enough to be the one of five people in the country with this problem? These tips cure good old fashioned dry skin, too.



There’s a reason you bathe in it when you’re a chicken-pocked child. It’s soothing all on its own. A hand-full of oats in muslin or cheesecloth placed in a lukewarm bath (like you’re brewing tea) is so comforting.


Last night, I took a banana peel and rubbed it over every itchy spot before bed. It was more soothing than the Aveeno Anti-Itch cream I bought today. Honest. Banana portion on white

Coconut Oil

This natural remedy is easily found in the grocery store and good for every skin type – some even boast that it leaves wrinkles less noticeable… just food for thought. To aid itchy skin, melt it on the stove to give it an easier consistency to work with. Once it becomes a liquid, add the oatmeal. Take it off the stove, place it in a container, and you have a better cream than you could find at a store. Feel free to step up the recipe and add olive oil, like this blogger did.

Whatever you choose to do, remember to relax! Eczema flare-ups can be exacerbated by stress, so put the computer away and treat yourself.


go mango

I’m kind of a fruit addict. I find the natural sugars in fruit far more scrumptious than those in sugary candy. Maybe if I had developed this fine taste for fruit over candy earlier I wouldn’t have gotten circa 20 cavities. I guess we’ll never know.

Lately, people have been buying a lot of mangoes. I work at an enormous store whose name I will not divulge for fear of being visited by people, and that is where I do all my research. So you can trust me when I say that people are buying mangoes at an alarming rate. Maybe it’s because they’re exotic and you can imagine yourself in a warm, far-off place while you eat them. Or maybe it’s their rich iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E content (which is great for the skin, especially now that it’s getting colder).


Mango Mask: SO easy! 1/2 mashed mango, 1 or 2 tsp of plain greek yogurt (it’s thicker than regular yogurt) and some honey. Leave on for 20 minutes. Add sugar if you want it as a scrub!

Mango Body Butter: If you don’t make this, I will. And I’ll sell it. Because this sounds incredible.

(Taken from

2 oz mango butter
1 oz olive oil, almond oil, kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil, etc…
1 TBS(or more) cornstarch (to make it less greasy)
6-8 drops of Fragrance of your choice (try vanilla, lavender, or mix your own)

Melt the mango butter in a double boiler or you may use the microwave. When using the microwave, set the temperature on medium and check every 45 seconds. When the mango butter is completely melted, add oil and cornstarch and stir until it is a nice creamy consistency. Add essential oil or fragrance last. Allow your butter to set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

So, if you can keep yourself from eating the mangoes you buy to do these skin tricks, then whip up some of this goodness.

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:

post gym remedies

Now that my busy schedule has become a routine, I can get back to some of the things I love: blogging and going to the gym. I’ve been on hiatus from the blogging (yes, again) and from the gym (want these!) because I have to actually buy a membership now that I’m a grown up and can’t use the university gym for free. Bummer.

I’m not exactly a gym-lover, I just love the way a work out feels. I also love pretending to be good at running and always exit the gym with a tomato-red face while avoiding the pretty, skinny girls at the desk.

When I return home I promptly take a shower (even before speaking to people. I don’t want anyone to recognize me post- gym) and do a few things to restore my energy and ease the occasional muscle/joint pain.


DIY Ice Pack: So easy! Fill a heavy duty zip-lock bag with three parts water and one part rubbing alcohol and freeze it.


Salty sock: No, really. Heat as much salt as desired in a heavy pan and pour it into a clean, heavy sock. Tie the end and use it on strained or sore muscles.


I like to follow my work outs with a deep- cleansing mask because sweat and oil settle in pores to create blackheads and infections. Sometimes I use Korres Cinnamon Mask because it has unexpected ingredients and it’s not DIY so I can use it in a hurry, but if I have more time I’ll do this one: 1 tbs heavy cream, 1 tbs honey, and enough baking soda to make a paste.

Remember to replenish precious water lost from the body. I like to add lemon for extra cleansing or cucumber for even more hydration. I hope this entry inspires me to get a membership soon!

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!

salad dressing just got more action
June 3, 2010, 01:50
Filed under: beauty, cleanse, DIY, organic skin-care, vinegar | Tags: , , , , ,

Today a friend of mine came over for supper. We ate salmon burgers (my new favorite thing) and a salad which I promptly smothered in balsamic vinaigrette. This inspired me to enlighten you on the magic of the all powerful vinegar.

This elixir does more than wake up the flavor of food and potentially help you lose weight, it’s also a godsend to your skin. Vinegar regulates the pH of your skin, improves circulation to the face (think rosy cheeks and fresh skin-tone) as well as remove excess oil from the skin’s surface. All this action for much less than any cleanser or lotion at a drugstore. So grab some magic and use these tips!


Buildup remover: Yes, I boasted of vinegar’s magical skin-saving qualities, but it does wonders for hair that’s full of product build-up and it creates shine. Mix 1 part (apple or regular) vinegar and one part water and pour all over hair after shampooing. Rinse as much as desired.


Cleansing bath: Pour up to a cup of vinegar into bathwater. Relax and reap the benefits!


Vinegar washer: Cleanse skin with your regular face wash and follow with a mixture 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water as a toner.

Vinegar cooler: Make vinegar ice cubes and place on a zit in the morning to reduce swelling and speed up the healing process.