Honey, I’ll Never Stray Again

This winter was rough, and my skin is still paying for it.

Sometime in January, I started experimenting with facial cleansers that aren’t honey. I think I was just going through some sort of weird phase. It got really cold this winter, so I started cutting my nighttime routine short. Our house is super cold, and spending any unnecessary time with water (waiting for it to warm up, rinsing forever to get all the honey off) makes me hostile. The entire honey experience felt exhausting (which I realize sounds super whiny). In an effort to make my face-washing routine quick, I tried some other products.

Now, I don’t normally like to call out products I don’t like — my aim isn’t to dissuade others from trying something that might work for them — but that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. This post isn’t even about me not liking these products, it’s about the lesson I learned from this experience. I’ll explain that in a minute. Here’s what I tried…

Seventh Generation Facial Cleansing Cloths and Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Wipes
I usually hate facial wipes, but I had purchased the lavender-scented Seventh Generation wipes for camping, and I got the Yes to Blueberries ones in my Birchbox. I kind of figured I should use up my sample, so I started using them, and they were so easy! After removing my makeup with either olive or sweet almond oil, I’d wipe my face with one of these, and then rinse with warm water. It didn’t take long for my skin to start drying out and looking dull. I was getting unnecessary zits. Not such a great idea after all.

Wild Honey Apothecary Sweet Cream Alpha Hydroxy Cleanser
Since the wipes didn’t work and I had some Birchbox points to burn, I bought this. Maybe this cleanser would work as well as honey, but be less of a pain in my ass? It’s made by small company based in Wisconsin, which immediately appealed to me. I looked at the ingredients, and they all sounded amazing (I mean… it has honey in it), so I immediately ordered it. While I appreciate this company for what it is and believe their other products have serious potential for awesomeness, this did not work for me at all. Shame on me for not seeing that the first ingredient is castile soap! Honestly. It dried the hell out of my skin. I started massaging my face with sweet almond oil before using the cleanser, and that helped, but not enough for me to keep using it.

A few weeks ago I thought to myself, “Oh man, remember when my skin looked so good because I used honey? That was awesome.” Yeah. Duh. So I’m back on honey now. In just over a week, I’ve seen a serious difference! My skin is no longer super dry. I’ve stopped breaking out, the blemishes I had started healing quicker, and my skin feels better. It’s not 100% better, but it’s getting there.

How I use honey to wash my face:
I use olive oil to remove my eye makeup, massage sweet almond oil all over my face, and slather honey all over on top of the oil (I’m using the same local brand of honey I started using last January). Sometimes I rinse it off right away, and sometimes I leave it on for a few minutes. I make sure to put it all over my lips and keep it away from my hairline. Then I rinse well with warm water, towel dry, spray with toner, and apply serum and eye cream.

This post is a way to remind my future self of the lesson I learned here: I should never use anything other than honey to wash my face on a regular basis. Is it OK to use something different every now and then? Sure. But on a regular basis, it should always be honey. Always.

Future self, take note.

Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara

Annnnnd, once again, it’s been a while. I hope I’m back for real this time. I’ve been slowly getting into a routine now that I’m a working gal again. I’ve been at my new job for about two months. I’m still in a training period, and I think I’m going to love it once I get properly up and running. My coworkers and boss are awesome and I love the organization. So far so good!

I was thrilled when Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara became available last year, so naturally I had to get my hands on some. I’ve tried a few Juice Beauty products and liked most of them. This is only the second mascara I’ve tried that’s been on the cleaner side of things (I tried 100% Pure’s last year). As I’ve mentioned before, I love drama when it comes to mascara. Most days I like my lashes thick, long, and as large as possible.

Image credit: dermstore.com

Image credit: dermstore.com

The reason it’s taken me so long to write a review is because I hoped this mascara would get better the longer it was open. 100% Pure definitely improved with time and air exposure, but this did not. I wasn’t wowed by what it did for my lashes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expected major drama and volume. The formula was thin and liquidy, which was very hard to layer. No matter how many coats I put on, my lashes looked the same. It seemed to perform well otherwise, lasting all day and not flaking off. I think this mascara would be perfect for someone who has a more natural look. It just wasn’t enough oomph for me.

I plan on trying more clean mascaras when I get around to it, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’m still using dirties like Too Faced Lashgasm, Benefit They’re Real!, and the semi-dirty Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes. I just can’t help myself!

DIY Rooibos Facial Toner

I’m back with another toner recipe! It’s almost exactly the same as the toner I previously made. Maybe not the most exciting post, but I like it, so I thought it would be worth sharing. I have a deep love for rooibos tea. Not the chai or flavored kind, just the plain stuff, which is what I used in this recipe.

I started by brewing just a few ounces of tea with distilled water for about 10 minutes. I let it cool before I mixed up the toner.

Brewing the tea

Brewing the tea

The other stuff

The other stuff

In a 1-oz. spray bottle:
Fill the bottle up halfway with rooibos tea
Add rosewater, leaving a little bit of room at the top
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
Add a few drops of essential oil (lavender is always my favorite)
Shake well before each use

I like this toner better than the one I made with plain water. It hasn’t made any difference in my skin, but the tea helps neutralize the ACV odor a bit, so it smells more pleasant. It’s still quite cheap to make, too!

Schmidt’s Deodorant

You guys, I’m such a slacker! It’s been way too long since my last post. I can’t really blame the holidays or job hunting for this, because the truth is that I just haven’t had much interest in blogging lately. It’s not that I don’t want to share my experiences with others (I do!), it’s just that I don’t have much to say. I haven’t been trying as many new products because of my current employment status (which I like to refer to as “funemployment”) and I haven’t really done anything new or different. I’m hoping this is about to change, though, because I start a new job next week! Huge relief. I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in my professional life. As much as it sucked to lose my job, I’m finding that it’s one of the best things that happened to me in 2013. I was so unhappy, and life is too short to not enjoy something you do 40 hours a week. I’m sure that as I get into a new daily routine (and start receiving a regular paycheck), I will have new things to share. Thanks for bearing with me during this time of transition.

Onto the topic at hand: Schmidt’s Deodorant. I’ve been waiting to voice my opinion about it because, as many of you have probably experienced, sometimes natural deodorants stop working after using them for a few weeks. I didn’t want to jump the gun and recommend it if it didn’t hold up. But it does! I’ve been using it for maybe 10 weeks now (and have about a week’s worth left) and it still works quite well. I ordered this because it’s less expensive than the beloved Soapwalla ($14 for 2 oz.; Schmidt’s is $9 for the same amount).

Image credit: schmidtsbeauty.com

Image credit: schmidtsbeauty.com

Schmidt’s is firmer in texture than Soapwalla. Though you can’t really scoop it with your fingers, it comes with a small plastic spatula that fits inside the container. You scoop out a pea-sized amount, warm it in your hands, rub it into your pit, and the repeat the same process on the other pit. It holds up all day and was effective through all the job interviews I had (though I did still sweat, there was no stink). I ordered the lime+bergamot scent and I love it. It’s fresh and zesty, and you can barely smell it once it’s rubbed in. Two of my friends ordered some with me so we could split the shipping. My friend S ordered lavender+sage, which was lovely as well. My friend J ordered fragrance-free because she’s a sensitive gal. S and I have enjoyed our deodorant and will order more. J says that while this deodorant is effective, it’s a bit more irritating for her than Soapwalla. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that Schmidt’s has more baking soda in it (it’s higher on the ingredient list anyway). So, this product might not be the best for someone who’s more sensitive, especially to baking soda in particular. It’s also worth noting that I’ve never used it right after shaving (and would never try because I’m sure my pits would get super angry), and I always use coconut oil underneath my deodorant. I feel like it boosts the effectiveness of any deodorant.

Unless this stops working (which I can’t see happening at this point), this is my new default (and favorite) deodorant! It’s effective, less expensive, it comes in a reusable glass container, and I like having different scent options. I’m trying to decide between ylang-ylang+calendula and cedarwood+juniper for my next scent. I intend to try them all, because why not?

Have you tried Schmidt’s? What’s your favorite scent?

DIY Facial Serum

I’m back with more DIY fun!

I really love evanhealy’s Rosehip Facial Serum in Rose. However, it’s a bit on the pricey side, given that I still haven’t found a job and the bottles only last about 6 weeks. I decided it was time to try my hand at making my own.

The ingredients are pretty straightforward. Rosehip seed oil, carrier oil, and some essential oils. Vitamin E is added mainly as a preservative, which makes sense when you’re a manufacturer, but since I use it immediately after mixing it, I didn’t find it necessary. I have plenty of carrier oil at home, and a good assortment of essential oils. The only ingredient I had to buy was the rosehip seed oil, which was about $15 for 1 oz. I simply used the small glass container from the evanhealy serum, which holds .5 oz.

Ingredients for Facial Serum

Ingredients for Facial Serum

DIY Facial Serum
Fill container about 2/3 full with rosehip seed oil
Fill container the rest of the way with carrier oil (I used argan), leaving just a bit of space at the top.
Add 5-10 drops of essential oil (I used lavender, chamomile, and geranium). You’ll need to adjust this depending on the size the container you’re using.
Shake well to mix, and shake before each use.

Looks good, huh?

Looks good, huh?

My main goal here was to spend the least amount of money possible. This was cost-effective for me, but only because I already had most of the ingredients at home. Had I purchased all the ingredients at once, it would have cost way more than just buying the evanhealy serum (about $26 for .5 oz.). For someone who DIYs a good amount of beauty products, this totally makes sense (for someone who doesn’t, I’d suggest just going and buying the serum).

This serum feels the same as evanhealy. My skin feels moisturized and healthy after using it. I use it at night, smoothing it on while my face is still damp from toner. The benefits may differ, I suppose, due to the different essential oils I used as compared to evanhealy’s version, but I can’t tell the difference! It’s fun playing around with different scents too. Some people can be very sensitive to essential oils, so also be sure that whatever you’re using is something that agrees with your skin.

I’m now on my second batch of serum, and I still love it. I may treat myself to evanhealy every now and then after I get me a job — only because I don’t think I can replicate the smell of the Rose serum, which is delightful — but otherwise I think I’ll continue to make this. So easy!

Thyme Honey

My very first blog post was about using honey as a facial cleanser. It’s still my most-viewed post, and I’m excited to be posting about it again!

It’s been almost a year since I started washing my face with honey, and I still love it. I’ve been using the same local honey I started with, which is available at the co-op near our house. I’ve read about and have wanted to try manuka honey, which, unfortunately is way too expensive for me. I started looking at other types of honey and got some ideas and inspiration from one of Rebecca’s posts on No More Dirty Looks (along with all the comments — LOVE the NMDL community!). I didn’t realize there were so many types of honey out there! I looked a bit locally but didn’t find anything special or seasonal, so I took to the interwebs to see what else was out there to purchase. I finally settled on Wedderspoon’s Thyme Honey (which I ordered from iHerb since I needed to order some other stuff too).

Wedderspoon Thyme Honey

Wedderspoon Thyme Honey

This honey is definitely different from my usual honey. The stuff I usually use is light yellow in color, fairly solid with a gritty feel, and it smells… well… like honey. Thyme honey is more brown in color, very dense, and reminds me a lot of caramel. I would describe thyme honey as dark, fragrant, earthy, and intense. The scent and taste are noticeably different, and I’ll be honest and say that neither one is very appealing to me.

I follow the same routine with thyme honey as I do with regular honey. First I remove my eye make-up and massage sweet almond oil all over my face, including my eyelids. Then I’ll take a finger-scoop of honey and slather it over the oil. Thyme honey is more difficult to spread, so I’ll often add water to help the process along. Sometimes I wash it off immediately, and sometimes I’ll leave it on for a few minutes. Then I rinse everything off with warm water, and follow with toner, serum/moisturizer, and eye cream.

I’ve finally gotten used to the different smell and texture, and I’ve enjoyed using thyme honey on my face. My skin feels more moisturized and the season change hasn’t been so rough on my skin. I’ve also noticed that because of how dense it is, I don’t need to use as much. I’m really appreciating this; the thyme honey is $22 for around 18 oz. and the regular honey is $12 for more than twice that amount, which is quite a price difference. I’m on the fence about whether I’ll buy more. I won’t stop using my usual honey because I love it too much and the price is right. Thyme honey might be something I keep incorporated in my routine on an as-needed basis. I may save it for days where my skin feels more dry, or for season changes. I haven’t really decided yet. So overall, I like it, but not enough to use it all the time.

Have you tried washing your face with honey? If so, I’m curious to know what type of honey you’re using. I’d also like to know if any of my fellow Minnesotans (or Wisconsinites) have found any other types of raw honey that might be more rare or seasonal. I’d love some tips on where to find these different types of honey.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

DIY Facial Toner

Oh hey! It’s been a while.

I’ve been officially unemployed for almost two weeks now. There were some things I wanted to get done around the house, and now that I’m pretty much finished with all that, I can focus on more job hunting, and blogging! So hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me.

The recipe I’m sharing in this post is for a facial toner. Ever since I started using hydrosol almost a year ago, I can’t imagine not spritzing my face with something after I cleanse. It’s just so refreshing and it makes my skin feel great! Rose hydrosol is my favorite, but the one I usually buy is a bit on the spendy side (Veriditas Botanicals, about $18 for 4 oz.). With this whole jobless situation, I’m trying to make whatever I can instead of buy it. I figured toner would be easy to do, and cheap. The only thing I had to buy to make this was the rosewater, which was about $8 for 8 oz. I had everything else already.

Here’s my “recipe.” You’ll have to forgive me, I just sort of eyeballed it, so I don’t have exact measurements.

In a 1-oz. spray bottle:
Fill the bottle up halfway with distilled water
Add rosewater, leaving a little bit of room at the top
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
Add a few drops of essential oil (I used lavender)
Shake well before each use

I purposely used a small bottle so that if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be stuck with it for too long. So far I’ve gone through about half the bottle. I use 6 spritzes just after I wash my face, morning and night. It does a good job and my skin feels great, but it’s not my favorite toner I’ve ever used. My main gripe is that it’s a bit stinky, thanks to the ACV. Once it settles in and dries, I don’t smell it again unless I get really warm or sweat. I’m sure I’m the only one that can smell it. No worries here though, there are a few other toner recipes I’d like to try, and I’ll definitely be reporting back on those. There are lots of great options for making toner on a budget!

Stay tuned for more recipes and reviews! I promise I’ll try and be better about posting more often. :)