A good DIY facial mask is one of my most popular “do you have a good recipe for a ______?” requests. For a long time I wondered why. Masks aren’t typically part of a daily skincare regimen. I used to respond with “why do you want to make a mask? Why not a cleanser or toner?” The most typical response to that was something along the lines of “Oh I could never make something like that. Masks look simple.” And that’s true–you can make a good DIY mask out of just about anything you have in your kitchen, pantry, or garden. You might just need to add a few little extras like clay or seaweed powder, but even those are optional.
Simplicity is definitely one of the draws of the DIY facial mask.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that the reason people love masks so much goes beyond simplicity.
Daily skincare regimens typically consist of cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. They are most often rushed upon waking in the morning, and performed sleepily at night. They are seen as more of a necessity to keep skin in check, rather than something that’s actually pleasurable.
The facial mask is different. There’s nothing rushed about it, since it needs to sit on the surface of the skin for a period of time before being removed. You can’t just slather it on and then run out the door because well, it’s usually green, gray, brown, or opaque white. You apply the mask at a specific time of a skincare regimen–after the cleansing, toning and maybe exfoliating, and before the moisturizer–so there it does require more of a ritual than a typical daily routine. You’ve got to plan for it.
The facial mask moves skincare past the daily regimen and into a self-care ritual.
That’s why people ask for it–it’s a subtle request for more self-care and pampering in their lives. Not everyone can indulge in a spa treatment or other typical pampering excursion on a regular basis, but we all need and deserve pampering. A DIY facial mask is the perfect way to give yourself a treat, an opportunity to slow down for a bit and enjoy some nourishment, and enjoy the lovely glow that follows.
My favorite way to make a truly nourishing DIY facial mask is to start with a freshly blended green or fruit smoothie or juice, and add clay.
Here’s one of my favorite DIY smoothie facial mask recipes:
- 2 cups baby spinach (rich in A vitamins and essential fatty acids)
- 1 cup diced pineapple (contains bromelain–an enzyme that promotes gentle exfoliation)
- 1 kiwi (Rich in Vitamins C and E)
- 1 avocado (Naturally moisturizing with healthy fats, and rich with carotenoid antioxidants)
- Juice from half a lemon (Vitamin C, citric acid)
- 1 cup of spring or filtered water (hydrating, also may contain minerals depending on the source)
- 1 tablespoon of mineral-rich Bentonite, Rhassoul, French green, or white kaolin clay (or a combination of clays–but use the kaolin if you have drier, or more sensitive skin)
Click HERE to read more about different clays and muds.
- Add all ingredients into a high speed blender, except the clay. Set aside 2 tablespoons of smoothie in a small prep bowl, and pour the rest into a glass or mason jar.
- Add your clay to the smoothie in the prep bowl, little by little, until you get an opaque, paste-like consistency.
- Apply it to the entire face and neck, avoiding the eye area and lips
- Leave it on for 15 minutes, and drink the remaining juice or smoothie while it sets
- Remove gently with a soft cloth and warm water.
- Tone, and apply moisturizer
I hope you try this smoothie facial mask recipe yourself!
Please leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.
Here’s a picture of me in my own DIY facial mask. I’d love to see yours! Post it on Instagram and tag me @rachaelpontillo 🙂
If you liked this recipe, click HERE for a similar one.
Also, if you want to learn how to up your mask (and other skincare product) making skills, check out my online course, Create Your Skincare!
*Image credits Rachael Pontillo.
Many things in our lives change as the seasons change–the clothes we wear, often the foods we eat, the temperature of our home environments, and the humidity levels in the air outside as well as the air in our homes and offices. These changes, especially the changes in air quality, temperature, and humidity can have negative effects on the skin. Skin that’s normally oily becomes more normal/combination; skin that’s normally normal/combination becomes dry and tight; and skin that’s normally already dry and tight becomes tighter, itchy, and even cracked and painful.
Change up your skincare regimen–both inside and out–to soothe dry skin naturally.
It’s always important to change up your skincare regimen–both internally with diet and hydration, as well as topically with more hydrating, nourishing, and protective products. In the diet, it’s crucial to remember hydrate from within by drinking enough water on a daily basis, consuming hydrating foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups, and herbal teas. Adding a hyaluronic acid supplement, which binds water to the cells, is also a good idea. It’s also important to seal water and moisture in at the cellular level by adding plenty of good, healthy fats to the diet.
Topically, I recommend avoiding foaming cleansers and instead opting for the Oil Cleansing Method, cleaning lotion, or cleansing balm. Toners should be free of excess alcohol or acid–I prefer a blend of a hydrosol like rose or lavender and pure witch hazel extract. Moisturizers should contain both humectant (water-attracting and binding) and emollient (strengthening the skin’s barrier function and sealing in moisture) ingredients.
I don’t recommend any harsh exfoliants at all–just honey–and I don’t recommend masques made with drying or absorbing clays. Instead, choose non-drying, moisturizing masques, like my Winter Avocado Facial Smoothie. This is a recipe I’ve been using regularly for the past few winters and it’s really made a difference in my skin.
- 1/4 cucumber (with skin, which contains zinc and other skin-healthy nutrients!)
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger root (contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory)
- 1/2 avocado, skinned (high in protein and good fat)
- 1/4 cup yogurt (Soothing and hydrating–and Greek yogurt has extra probiotic benefits!)
- Optional: Juice from 1/2 a lemon (Adds a boost of Vitamin C which the skin needs to produce more collagen–also an antioxidant)
Place all ingredients in a blender (a NutriBullet works great for this), and pulse until you have a smoothie-like consistency. Pour into a mason jar or other container that closes tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Use daily as a morning cleanser and evening masque to hydrate, soothe, and protect dry winter skin! If using as an evening masque, follow these simple facial steps:
- Apply masque and let it stay on for 15-20 minutes
- Remove with a warm, wet washcloth
Watch me make this treatment here:
I was thrilled to share this recipe with my friend Donna Maria, the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, when she interviewed me about my book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself. Click HERE to read the full interview.
But what’s more exciting is that Donna Maria and I have partnered to offer you a fantastic giveaway! You have the opportunity to win a signed copy of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, a custom-written Spiritual Skincare Affirmation from me, PLUS a one-on-one success call with Donna Maria herself. Isn’t that awesome?
You can enter right HERE–and tell your friends!
The winner will be chosen Friday December 19.
*Image 1 credit: “Silvered frosty trees in winter wonderland Helsinki 5” by Pöllö – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Silvered_frosty_trees_in_winter_wonderland_Helsinki5.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Silvered_frosty_trees_in_winter_wonderland_Helsinki_5.JPG
Today’s post comes from guest writer, Cassie Brewer. I love how she tells it straight, and offers lots of delicious and nutritious options for adding superfoods into your diet and skincare regimen to enhance the skin, and one’s overall health. Check out her amazing infographic below too!
When it comes to beauty, skincare, and health, the old idiom holds true; what you put in is what you receive. If your diet is full of nutrient-dense, hydrating, fresh, organic whole foods, then the cells that form will be strong, hydrated, healthy, and well-functioning. However, if your diet is lacking–full of sugar, processed food-like substances, and other–well let’s just say it–garbage; then the cells that form will reflect that–they’ll be weak, won’t function properly, and might even mutate. Let’s face it, garbage in leads to garbage out.
It’s important to know that no amount of expensive moisturizers or intermittent cleanses can undo habitual unhealthy eating. Cookies, fried foods, and alcohol might be comforting and delicious for some; however, too much will wreak havoc on your complexion and waistline. Conversely, nutrient-rich, tasty, antioxidant-packed foods translate to glowing skin and fewer unwanted pounds.
When you first begin transitioning to filling your fridge with less processed foods and more fresh produce-packed, you might encounter some resistance. It might even seem boring at first; but soon you’ll be able to rewire negative thought patterns and banish old cravings.
When I’m running low on time and energy, it’s easier to give into emotional eating than make smart nutritional choices. That’s why I’ve compiled a handy list for you to consult while grocery shopping. Here are my favorite super foods, as well as some easy tips for implementing them into your meals. And remember–this doesn’t have to be a complete fridge overhaul all at once, and please don’t consider this “dieting;” it’s a delicious “lifestyle change”–a new adventure in eating. As a bonus, I’ve added some easy ideas for creating DIY beauty treatments using the healthy foods in your pantry. Enjoy!
Yogurt: Breakfast (and grooming regimen) of champions
There’s a reason experts are always reiterating the value of a healthy breakfast. Skipping the most important meal of the day might save you time, but it also encourages you to overeat later in the day. Plus, running out the door on an empty stomach can contribute to fatigue and even mood swings.
Breakfast really can be light, delicious, and supply you with important nutrients. Try starting your morning with greek yogurt! Add blueberries, chia seeds, and a small splash of organic maple syrup or honey. The greek yogurt provides vital protein and contains probiotics to keep your digestive tract healthy.
The blueberries are packed with Vitamin C, fiber, and additional antioxidants. Finally, a spoonful of chia seeds has more calcium in a tablespoon than a glass of milk! Pair your refreshing breakfast with a cup of tea to prevent free-radical damage, and you’re off to a fantastic start. Don’t tolerate dairy? No problem–enjoy the same benefits with unsweetened almond or coconut milk varieties.
If you have any left over, consider using yogurt as a beauty treatment. The yummy staple also makes for great at-home hair and skin care. Use it to achieve shiny, healthier strands, as an acne-fighting agent, and even as a weekly facial mask. Click here and here for recipes and tips.
Healthy, inexpensive lunchtime superfoods
One of my favorite mid-day meals is avocado toast. I keep a loaf of organic bread in the freezer at work and a small jar of coconut oil stashed in a nearby cabinet.
During lunch, I toast a piece of whole-wheat bread (gluten-free and sourdough varieties are great too!), smear on some coconut oil, and chop up half an avocado. I pair it with the chilled quinoa and have a filling, inexpensive, and healthy lunch. The quinoa contains magnesium and can ward of headaches, and the avocado is a great “good fat” for your hair, skin, and nails.
You can also use avocado as a deep-conditioning hair mask and a facial pack. (Big brands like Kiehl’s even sell avocado under-eye treatment.) Make your beautifiers at home for a fun, inexpensive alternative.
Other Foodie, Beauty Buys
Use coconut and almond oil in cooking and as a moisturizer! Both are great when applied to hair to soften dry ends or employed as a leave-in shower mask. And you can use them for oil pulling and as shaving gel.
Consider strawberries and baking soda for all-natural teeth whitening. And if you aren’t vegan, egg whites make a great skin-firming facial mask. Get creative and nutritious with what you put in and on your body! You’ll look and feel like a brand new you!
Check out this infographic for more great ways to use superfoods.
How do you use superfoods in your own diet or skincare regimen? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
About the author:
Cassie Brewer is a journalist in Southern California. She is passionate about helping others look and feel their best and finds that one of the best ways to accomplish this is through the foods that we eat. You can follow her on Twitter.
**Image 2, “Fruit, Yogurt, Honey” credit Celeste Lindell
Rules. Some people like rules, others feel constrained by them and like to break them. There are rules everywhere–some are quite concrete like laws, while others are more vague like social mores and a society’s concept of decorum.
In health, nutrition, and skincare, I’m sure you’ve read lots of rules. You can’t eat this after 7pm, you can’t put that on your skin if it’s oily, etc…and then you’ll likely hear the opposite as a “rule” from someone else. Sound familiar?
Personally I don’t necessarily like general rules, but I believe that each of us have our own unique rules for what our minds and bodies want and need to be healthy and well. In order to learn what those rules are, we go through a period of trial and error–most of which involves following–and breaking–certain steadfast rules.
I recently broke one of the food combining rules.
As I mentioned in a recent post, “food combining simply defined is the act of eating certain foods alone or only in combination with other foods in order to allow the body to release the correct type and amount of digestive enzymes, acids, and gastric juices needed to properly digest those foods.”
While I was going through the therapeutic stage of my diet–losing extra baby weight and healing my skin–food combining is something I tried that I noticed really helped me a lot. I was less bloated, more regular, was quickly losing weight, my skin was clearing up, and I felt energized.
Most of the rules of food combining made sense to me, except for one: the one that says that melon should only be eaten alone or with other types of melon (but not with other fruits or in a smoothie) because of the high sugar content. I reasoned that other fruits have high amounts of sugar too and don’t have specific addendums to the food combining rules applied to them. But I followed the rules anyway since they were working so well.
Fast forward a few years…
I’m now past the therapeutic stage of eating in that I have a really good idea what my body wants and needs to maintain a healthy weight, not get sick, and have clear skin. I don’t always follow food combining rules anymore and sometimes I notice feeling bloated or tired when that happens. What happened last week is a prime example of that.
I decided to experiment and see what would happen if I added melon to my smoothies. I know, I’m such a rebel. My kids wanted honeydew, and Whole Foods had organic ones available so I bought one. It stared at me each day from its shelf in the fridge every time I went to get my morning smoothie ingredients. Finally I decided to throw all care to the wind, be a conscious rule-breaker, and make a smoothie with spinach, kale, pear, banana…and GASP…honeydew.
Well, for one thing it tasted amazing (of course it did–it was sweet!). I had smoothies with honeydew every day that week and you know what I noticed? I was bloated, irregular, and tired. I even gained a couple of pounds. Everything else in my diet was the same so I can only point to the honeydew in my smoothie as the culprit.
I made my smoothies without it (and added extra kombucha) for the next few days and everything went back to normal so I know it was the honeydew without a shadow of doubt.
Will this be the case for you?
Maybe, and maybe not. Because your body has different rules than mine does. And that’s a beautiful thing. Food combining works great for some people, but it’s not necessary for others. People don’t like when I tell them that, because even though food combining can be a challenge, it is a pretty well laid out structure with a definitive set of dos and don’ts–and many people do well with set, black and white like that. Fortunately and unfortunately (depending on your perspective), there are a LOT of gray areas in holistic skincare and nutrition.
So while I don’t believe all “rules” apply to everybody I do feel it’s important to learn what your body’s rules are and try to follow them to avoid feeling yucky. Being aware and in tuned with how you feel after eating and combining certain foods at certain times a day is a great way to do that.
You asked, I’m answering…
After I published and shared my last post on this topic, I received a comment and a few emails asking me to create a sample meal template of properly combined meals. Of course I’m happy to oblige! Keep in mind that this is a generic example just to help further break down food combining rules–it’s not by any means a comprehensive diet plan.
- Breakfast is a fresh green smoothie or green juice with a spinach omelet (no cheese) or bowl of overnight oats or multigrain porridge.
- Lunch is a warm Brussels sprouts and tomato salad with veggie risotto.
- Dinner is a fresh arugula salad with my Raw Marinara sauce as a dressing, a veggie stir-fry and grilled chicken.
Was this helpful for you?
Leave a reply in the comments below and let me know!
*Image 2 by Church of emacs (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
**Infographic image credits, Justin Smith, Helen Genevere, Peter Pesta, Holistically Haute LLC
I did something some might call crazy last week. I did a detox. Now on the surface that doesn’t seem so crazy for me–I like to do a detox a few times a year. But last week in particular was a bad week to do it. First of all, I started it the day after Thanksgiving. Detoxing during the holidays seems crazy, right? I mean what’s point of detoxing after one feast when there are still two holidays with heavy foods and sweets to go? Well, believe it or not, it’s not a bad idea.
Here are 3 reasons why it’s good idea to detox during the holidays.
1. It’s a great way to cut cravings. I may be a health coach but I’m still human–meaning I still get cravings. Sweet cravings, in particular, especially this time of year. There are many reasons people get certain types of food cravings, but a big one is that the body remembers what it’s had most recently, and it often craves more of that. This time of year, between Halloween candy and pecan or pumpkin pie, there’s often a lot of extra sugar in our systems. So once the December holidays roll around, it’s the sight, smell, and mere thought of candy canes, cookies and more pies, and chocolate santas that make our mouths water. Plus, the holidays can be emotional and stressful, which is likely to make people crave larger quantities of these foods. So a strategically timed detox is a great way to get excess sugar out of the system and also ensure smarter food choices during the next holiday.
2. Get glowing holiday skin. Sugar is part of the Skin Trigger Trifecta (find out the other two culprits in my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself), which is a main cause of skin conditions like acne, and flare-ups of rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Cleansing the body of excess sugars and built up yeasts is a great way to make sure the skin looks its best for the holidays.
3. Set yourself up for successful socialization. When you do a detox, your body doesn’t only release physical toxins–it also releases built-up mental and emotional toxins like stress and negative thinking patterns. Think about it. As you prepare to visit with family, attend holiday work functions, and potentially meet new people, would you want to go as a ball of stress and negative energy? Wouldn’t it be better to approach from a more balanced, peaceful, level-headed, and positive mental and emotional perspective?
See now holiday detox doesn’t seem so crazy, right?
But that’s not what makes my detoxing last week crazy. Here goes. A big part of this particular cleanse is 5 days of liquid fasting. Which I planned for during the week last week.
I already told you that my husband, Chef Joe, and I are writing a new cookbook, right? Well Saturday was the photo shoot for all the sauces and dishes that will be featured in the book (and the pictures are AMAZING–can’t wait for you to see!). So I spent every day last week preparing different sauces and planning the foods that each sauce will be featured with on the plate. Since I was fasting I had to rely on Chef Joe and the kids to taste each sauce. When you detox, it’s common for your senses to become heightened…particularly your sense of smell. Let me tell you, the amazing aromas that wafted throughout my entire house the entire week were absolute torture! Plus I had to make a few extra trips to the grocery store for extra ingredients–being around food while fasting is never fun.
My kitchen the morning of the photo shoot
The good news is that I was able to break my fast on Saturday, so after the shoot, we all got to eat the food. And it was all delicious.
On the topic of the cookbook…
It has a title! My email subscribers were the very first to know, and this is the first official public announcement. Our cookbook will be called…drumroll please…
The Sauce Code: 7 Combinations to Unlock Exciting New Flavors in Your Favorite Foods.
We got the idea to do a book about sauces, because in our household, adding different sauces to our favorite staple foods is the key to getting ourselves out of food ruts. You know…the food rut is what happens when you learn a few good basic recipes that you end up preparing over and over again each week until the kids start saying “didn’t we have that last night?” By adding a colorful and flavorful sauce, you can make your favorite foods taste exciting and new again–something the whole family will appreciate!
Each sauce in the book is also super-versatile, and can be used on many different types of foods in many different ways: as a salad dressing, a dip, a marinade, a spread, on meats, in side dishes–so one sauce can get you a good variety of meals and healthy snacks. Oh yeah…and they’re all good for you! Each sauce in the book is gluten-free and vegan–though we do show some of them on meats and fish. Are you as excited as I am? Stay tuned for more saucy updates (subscribe for exclusive updates), and get a preview in Chef Joe’s post on Dad Men Walking.
Does a holiday detox sound like a good idea for you?
Like I said, detoxing during the holidays has a lot of benefits. But detoxing…especially when fasting is involved…should not be done lightly and is BEST done under professional guidance. It’s one of my specialties, and the way I do it is different from how other coaches do it. If you think it sounds like it might be a good idea for you, check out my 90 Day Reset & Recharge program. If you have specific questions or aren’t sure if a 90 day program is right for you, I can put together a program that will fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. If this sounds good, let’s Hash it Out together.
*Image 1 from trazomfreak
Remember the days of holidays past when you waited with anticipation and excitement for the holiday season? I have fond memories of trips to upstate New York to see aunts, uncles, and cousins I only got to see a couple of times a year.
We had snowball fights, made snow angels, organized everyone’s gifts under the tree into piles while secretly trying to guess what ours were (this was before online Wish Lists, when most of the time we really had no clue what was in those gift boxes)…sure we ate, but we were so busy playing and visiting that we really didn’t eat that much–well at least not until dessert 🙂
Fast forward a couple of decades when we’re the ones actually buying and wrapping those gifts, braving holiday traffic and bad weather to visit out of town family, unpacking (and re-packing) holiday decorations, cleaning house and planning holiday menus and parties, etc. While we might still see some of our favorite family members, it’s likely that new members of the family have entered the picture either via marriage or divorce, and maybe these obligatory holiday parties aren’t as relaxed, laid back, or fun as they used to be.
“I mean, what will Aunt Myrtle say about the holiday decorations?”
“I can’t believe Granny noticed that cobweb in the corner…I went over every inch of this house!” “I hope Cousin Ethel won’t serve THAT side dish again.” “Why must Uncle Herbert insist on arguing about politics around the dinner table?” You know what I mean.
Of course the kids are probably oblivious to all of this just like we were when we were children. Lucky them. But the grown ups are likely not that lucky. So we eat. And drink. And pray for it to be over. Repeat.
Now I’m not saying every holiday in every family is like this, but in general, holiday season is the time of year when people feel the most stress, AND gain the most weight. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. Last week I presented a webinar with the same title of this post:
5 Ways to Stress Less and NOT Gain Weight During the Holidays. And here they are:
1. Set limits–it’s OK to say NO!
- On portion sizes—how much of each item you will eat
- On budget—travel, gifts, parties, food, outfits, decorations
- On time—at each function, with individuals, time cleaning and planning
- On alcohol consumption—this is one major cause of weight gain and stress! Not to mention hangovers and broken capillaries.
2. Focus on gratitude
- “It’s not happiness that brings you gratitude…it’s gratitude that brings you happiness.”
- “When eating a fruit, be thankful for the person who planted the seed.”—Vietnamese proverb
- “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and never giving it.” –William Arthur Ward
3. Pre-program your mindset
- Create and repeat positive affirmations for yourself
- Set realistic expectations for who and what you’re bound to encounter at each function, what the topics of conversation will be, what kind of food will be available
- Plan ahead—have a plan B
4. Bring something healthy–this way you’re bound to have at least one healthy thing to eat
- Side dishes–check out my mashed cauliflower recipe HERE.
5. Focus on what you can control
- Eat really healthy all other times–have a green smoothie for breakfast before a holiday luncheon and for an afternoon snack–you can even freeze them and pack them to go with you on trips!
- Add fitness when you can–use yoga and fitness apps on mobile devices, do jumping jacks or planks, run in place or do squats…even a little bit helps
- Start day right—lemon water, ginger tea
- Bring vitamins and probiotics–the probiotics will help break down hard-to-digest foods and excess sugars. Digestive enzymes might help too.
- Be compassionate of others—they’re probably stressed too! Most people aren’t intentionally mean or critical. It’s often a defense mechanism or effort to compensate for their own feelings of stress, envy, inadequacy, or other negative emotion. It likely has nothing to do with you.
- Pause and think before you react to others–consider carefully if your gut reaction is worth the response from the other person. Is the person irrational or drunk? Or both? You can’t reason with a person like this, or someone who is distracted by their own holiday psychoses. It’s OK to just smile, nod, say “yes, OK, I see”…and move on. You can always pick up the conversation (or argument) at another time if it’s really that important…and you’ll likely find that it’s not.
Do you need more healthy, happy holiday tips? Schedule a one-on-one, 45-minute Hash it Out phone or Skype session. I’ll give you personalized strategies during the call and after in a follow up email 🙂