Food For Your Face: Choosing the Best Facemask for your Skin

Facemasks are like ice cream; you can never choose just one kind. Facemasks are also treats for our skin like ice cream is a treat for our taste buds, but the similarities really end there. See, facemasks are healthy, detoxifying, glowy, nourishing “food” for our face and ice cream, well, let’s just say it doesn’t quite do all that for us.

Facemasks are truly wonderful tools to help us supplement our skincare health and daily routine. They help us zero in on, and target, our specific needs, and concerns. However, the most wonderful thing about facemasks is also the scariest (I use the term scary lightly here). You can never have too many masks; you really can’t. There are a hundred different masks for a hundred different uses and we can have them all, well, the ones we feel we actually need anyway. Let’s not get greedy. It’s useless and wasteful to buy a facemask, or really any skincare product for that matter, just for the sake of buying it or for the hype, the almighty and powerful hype. Because not every facemask is designed to help our skin, it can become very easy to go a bit crazy and one day find yourself staring at a shelf entirely filled with facemasks (this is a real-life example from my own life).

Facemasks fall under several different categories (Calming, Moisturizing, Detoxifying, Acne Fighting, Brightening and Anti-Aging) and I think it’s safe to say that having one mask in each category, or several masks that fall under multiple categories, is a reasonable, and dare I say, a sensible thing to do. It’s important to do some research and find the best mask for our skin type and needs. If we have sensitive, dry, or acne prone skin, etc., we need to take these factors into consideration when choosing a mask.

I will say that many masks have multiple functions and benefits. If we’re tight on cash, or just don’t want the clutter of so many products in our medicine cabinet, it’s easy to choose just a couple masks that have multiple uses and benefits. Multifunctional masks can be great, healing and combating multiple problem areas at once is both time efficient and smart. There is no one cure-all mask for anyone; we need to test and research to find the right combination for ourselves.

Advanced Hydration Mask – Josh Rosebrook

The Advanced Hydration Mask is a wonderfully hydrating mask that will nourish even the driest of faces with super hydrating ingredients including Aloe Vera (regenerates skin), mango seed butter (moisturizing and tightening), senna seed extract (hydrates and repairs) and blue tansy oil (calms irritation). This mask is like a cool drink of water for our parched face. It even looks like water with its blue color, from the blue tansy flower oil, and silky texture. Packed with rich plant oils and botanicals it helps replenish and retain skin cell hydration. The mask helps to lock in moisture, plump, condition and improve skin circulation, which protects and supports healthy skin function and slows signs of aging in the skin.

Nutritive Greens Mask – Aster & Bay

Aster & Bay describes their Nutritive Greens mask as a green smoothie for your face, and I think they hit the nail on the head with that one. This mask contains nutrient-dense natural herbs and superfoods like peppermint, matcha, spinach, and spirulina, which are all blended with French green clay and raw wildflower honey, creating a facemask that detoxifies, tones, and nourishes. Packed with chlorophyll and amino acids, the mask also helps fight free radicals, which can cause premature aging in our skin.

The raw honey inhibits bacterial growth and can help heal many skin conditions such as acne, inflammation, and redness. The honey also helps to nourish and protect skin, making it an excellent choice for all skin types.

Clearing Mask – Indie Lee

The Clearing Mask helps purify clogged pores and congested skin with its gentle, yet effective detoxifying formula. The mask leaves skin feeling tightened and firm, but still nourished. This is most likely due to the hyaluronic acid in the mask, softening the face and enhancing circulation.

The Clearing Mask is ideal for congested and acne-prone skin. The clay and fruit acid formula helps eliminate dead skin cells and removes toxins from our pores, helping to reduce inflammation and redness, while helping to promote healing from acne scarring.

The mask can also be used as a spot treatment for those stubborn breakouts we want to get rid of fast. The mask is both detoxifying and hydrating, so it won’t dry out our skin if we leave it on for several hours, or even overnight.

Clarifying Mask – Tata Harper

The Clarifying Mask is a great mask for almost any skin imperfection. This mask is great for helping our skin get back to looking healthy, balanced and clear. The mask has an enzymatic peel effect that helps reduce the appearance of breakouts, redness, and excess oil without drying or irritating the skin.

The mask also contains chlorella, which nourishes and hydrates the skin; it also gives it a vibrant green color. When washing off the mask, warm water activates the effect of quartz sand crystals in the mask, which exfoliates and soften our skin as we gently massage it off of our face. This is an amazing added bonus that I really love; it leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft as well invigorated.

3-Minute Flash Mask – Ursa Major

The 3 Minute Flash Mask is a gentle but effective “flash” enzyme face treatment that quickly exfoliates dead skin built up on the surface of our face. It also helps to accelerate skin cell turnover, enhancing the appearance of skin tone, brightness, elasticity, and firmness.

This mask is very gentle and gives the same amazing effects as an intense scrub or light chemical peel without the irritation. The gel-like texture and amazing tropical pineapple and orange fruity smell only help to elevate the amazing benefits of this mask.

This mask has really helped to brighten my skin and gives me a wonderful glow, thanks to brightening ingredients like pineapple and hibiscus. Other natural ingredients that work wonders in this mask are pomegranate enzymes that help remove dull, dead skin cells, leaving behind smoother softer and brighter skin.

The Flash Mask is gentle enough for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin that might be a bit wary of an enzymatic mask should give this one a try.

Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish – African Botanics

The Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish is an amazing and gentle facial polish that deeply exfoliates and purifies the skin by lifting off dead skin cells leaving skin clean, soft and radiant without irritation.

A combination of dried Buchu plant and crushed Baobab fruit are combined with healing micro-algae and fine granules of volcanic minerals to improve texture and soften the look of fine lines and dark spots by buffing away dead skin.

The polish is also loaded with papaya and pineapple enzymes to clear pores while minimizing their appearance and improving radiance. Essential oils of Bergamot, Rose Geranium, and Tea Tree are stimulating and soothing, which helps to detox and calm the skin with their anti-inflammatory properties.

I love using this polish in the shower; you only have to leave the mask on for around 5 minutes to reap all the amazing benefits. I massage it into my face right when I get in and wash it off after I finished all of my other shower tasks. Multi-tasking in the shower, while getting a smoother, plumper more radiant complexion all at the same time, that’s what I call a true win-win right there folks.

Healing Manuka Mask – La Bella Figura

This hydrating Healing Manuka Mask works wonderfully for dry, irritated and mature skin conditions. The mask is formulated with mineral rich manuka honey, which nourishes and calms the skin with its antibacterial properties. Manuka Honey can also help fight acne and acne scarring and reduce redness and inflammation in the skin. The mask also contains Aronia berry extract, an excellent source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, as well as rosehip seed oil that helps in speeding up skin’s regenerative process which can help combat the signs of aging.

This is a hard-working and powerful mask that has a very potent formulation. While this is wonderful for revealing radiant and fresh looking skin, it can cause a strong reaction and therefore isn’t recommend for those with sensitive skin.

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Fresh Faced: Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

I am very picky about my cleansers. Well, if we’re being honest, I’m very picky about everything. But cleansers are an integral step in our skincare routine. We start and/or end our days with our cleanser. We are counting on them to remove dirt and grime from the day and to wipe off the makeup we rocked all day long and are now desperately ready to free ourselves from. They need to clean our face and make us feel fresh and invigorated. It’s a tough gig, but I think I found the gal for the job.

The Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil by One Love Organics is my holy grail of cleansers. Do I have an entire shelf filled with other cleansers in my bedroom? Maybe. But, do I reach for this one 90% of the time? Totally. This cleanser removes dirt and impurities while also restoring skin’s natural moisture barrier, which is one reason why I love this oil cleanser so much. So does my dry and acne prone skin. The Vitamin B cleanser contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps to exfoliate and soften. It also contains a natural Vitamin B complex to detoxify and tone.

It may seem like a foreign concept to some out there, but oil can be a great combative to both oily and acne prone skin; crazy but true. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh, dewy and clean. I’m not a huge fan of that squeaky-clean feeling left behind by some cleansers. If you do that’s great, but maybe shy away from an oil cleanser. The oil moisturizes and cleanses the face all in one, which is wonderful for me. As an added, awesome bonus, the Vitamin B cleanser is killer at removing makeup; yes, even that pesky eye makeup. We just have to use a little extra product to get all the mascara off our eyes, but it definitely works. I use 1 pump when I’m just cleansing and 2 pumps when I’m trying to remove makeup as well as cleanse.

Picture from Credo Beauty, online

I love giving my face a massage while applying the cleanser. It feels great and helps to get circulation flowing, which helps tighten our skin. Say goodbye to all those annoying wrinkles we’re all convinced we have. Obviously, this doesn’t happen overnight, but a face massage every night over the course of a few months, to a year,  will definitely improve our overall skin tone. Also as an added sense of pampering and luxury, it smells fantastic.

I apply the cleanser to my hands and rub them together to evenly distribute the product. I then massage it into a dry face anywhere from 30 seconds up to 1 minute. When it comes to removing the cleanser, it can be done in several ways. We can simply remove it with warm water, then pat dry with a washcloth. But, if we’re looking for a deeper clean, and a small amount of exfoliation, just saturate a washcloth with warm water and press it over your face, holding it there until the cloth loses most of its heat. Then repeat this process, but this time gently rub the cloth to remove the rest of the oil, hence the light exfoliation. This technique helps the cleanser to enter deeper into our pores, creating a deeper and more effective cleanse. However one decides to use the cleanser, it’s sure to be effective. I highly recommend checking it out!

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DIY: Natural Toothpaste

We’re probably all guilty of not really thinking too much about what is in our toothpaste. We squeeze it onto our toothbrush and 2-3 minutes later we’re done, with minty fresh breath and a set of pearly whites to show for it. However, a lot of ingredients used in conventional toothpaste can be harmful to our bodies and our health.

The Tooth About Conventional Toothpaste

Most conventional toothpaste is filled with artificial colors and sweeteners, like aspartame. Do we really need to have red and blue stripes swirled into our toothpaste? I don’t think we’re getting any marks for patriotism there.

These conventional pastes also contain fluoride, which can cause tooth discoloration and stomach problems. The FDA actually requires a warning label on every tube of toothpaste sold in the US that contains fluoride, true story folks.

So, you know that rich foamy/bubbly lather you get when brushing your teeth? That stuff is made possible by Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is a surfactant that is used in a range of products from industrial cleaners to toothpaste, its main purpose is to provide a foaming lather. The problem with SLS however, is that it may cause canker sores, mouth ulcers, stomach issues, and cancer.

Call me crazy, but something that we are putting into our mouths upwards of two times a day, and inevitably ingesting, shouldn’t be dangerous to our health, right? This is why I switched over to natural toothpaste several years ago, and eventually started making my own, because ain’t nobody got money to pay $5 for a tube of toothpaste that you can make for less than $1. Can I get an Amen?

Brush It Off

If DIYing just isn’t for you, here is a list of natural toothpaste recommendations. These toothpastes are all from respected and trusted natural brands. Number 5 on the list is actually the toothpaste I used and loved before I started making my own.

Anyway, I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram just about a year ago now, when I came across a post from SW Basics, where they shared a simple, and boy do I mean simple, toothpaste recipe. When I saw this I thought to myself, shit I can do that, so I did. And I’ve been making a slightly modified version of their toothpaste recipe ever since.

Here is the recipe I found:

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 20 drops peppermint oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients into a paste, store in a sealed container. It will last up to six months.

In my version, I omit the salt altogether as the baking soda has enough of a salty taste to me and I didn’t feel the need to add it in; the taste just wasn’t as appealing to me. I also use around 25 drops of peppermint essential oil, to boost the minty flavor of the paste. I am a huge peppermint fan, but if you aren’t there is no need to add more, 20 drops is sufficient in helping to freshen your breath reduce bacteria and mask the majority of the baking soda taste.

It’s always important to remember too that a simple recipe like this can easily be adjusted and modified to fit the needs of each individual person. Add a little more, or less of each ingredient until it has the consistency and taste you like best. It is your toothpaste after all; you should make it how you want!

I will say it did take me several weeks to fully adjust to the new taste and texture of my new homemade toothpaste. This stuff doesn’t foam and bubble, nor does it have a fake overpowering spear-minty flavor. It may not taste great to you at first, but trust me you will get used to it, and let’s be real for a second, does our toothpaste really need to taste good? As long as it freshens our breath and gets rid of plaque and bacteria we’re all good, and this stuff definitely does that.

So, please guys, let’s get brushing and give this stuff a chance. I promise your teeth, health, wallet and the environment will be thanking you! And the satisfaction you’ll feel from making your own health/body care products is such a great feeling in and of itself.

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Shopping Locally: Invigorating Espresso Scrub

I’ll admit it; I’m a die-hard coffee junkie. The smell, the taste, the color, all the possibilities, I want them all and I want them now. So, it’s only fitting that I would be in love with an espresso scrub. I received this scrub from Terra Luna Beauty, as a gift, quite some time ago, and I have loved it from the moment I saw it, I guess love at first sight is real, who would have thought.

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You’ll be begging for a coffee break with this scrub! The gritty espresso grounds are a great exfoliant and the peppermint oil is a refreshing surprise for your skin. With the harshness of the scrub the peppermint really helps to soothe your skin, along with the shea butter and Aloe Vera. This scrub is loaded with an abundance of hydrating, soothing and repairing ingredients.

  • Green tea
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Jojoba oil

Just to name a few, there are plenty more where that came from, in the small jar packed to the brim with this amazing scrub. I say small because the jar is only 9oz. However, it has lasted me forever; I have had it for almost a year now and it doesn’t even look like I made a dent. This may be because I only use the scrub on my face once a week. I’m sure if you used it more frequently or as a body scrub, you would run out much faster than me, but I have found that I love using it as a facial scrub and personally, once a week does the trick for me.

Another reason I love this scrub is because it comes from a local and ethical company. Terra Luna Beauty is a Detroit based skincare company. I love supporting my local stores, even if I don’t live there any more I know that my money is going towards a great company and I try to support local brands and companies wherever I am.

Their products are cruelty free and mindful to our bodies and our environment. All of their products are guaranteed to be:

  • Organic 
  • Cruelty-Free(certified by the Leaping Bunny Program)
  • Fair-Trade
  • Handmade
  • Paraben-Free
  • Vegan(All products are 100% plant based)

Terra Luna donates 10% of their profits to independent animal rescue programs. I love companies that give back, because then I feel like I am also helping to support those charities and programs as well by buying from a company that supports them.

This month I challenge you to find at least one locally made product, wherever you may be, that you love. It can be beauty, skincare, or even food! Anything that can help to support our local businesses, and feel free to share them with me too!

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DIY: Coffee and Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Lately I have been loving making/trying to make my own beauty products. Not only is it cheaper to make my own products, it also gives me a feeling of accomplishment that I am making something that is healthy and good for me.

Another reason I really like making some of my own products is that it is helping me with my goal to start living a more zero waste lifestyle. Since I am not buying these products anymore, I am not throwing away the packaging that these products come in. Sure you can recycle, but most packaging cannot be recycled and not having any paper or plastic packaging at all, whether recycled or thrown away, is still and will always be the best alternative.

Now, I am not making every single beauty product that I use, nor am I going to for a while. This is true for multiple reasons, one of which is that I don’t know how to make all of them right now, and because it is a lot of trial and error to figure out what recipes you like and what works for you. You may have to go through quite a few experiments until you find the right one that works for you.

At the moment I am just enjoying getting my feet wet and trying out something new. Who knows, in the future I may be making all my own health and beauty care products and selling them at the local farmers market, or I may still be making a select few personal items and buying the rest. The point is that I am trying, and that I’m having some fun in the process.

One of the easiest and best things, in my personal opinion, to start making first is body scrub.

Body scrub can get to be really expensive and they all seem to come in small plastic squeeze bottles that you can never quite get all the products out of, and are not recyclable, by the way.

They are filled with artificial and unhealthy fragrances and perfumes. Not to mention the ones that are psychedelically colored, to be a rad blue or a gorgeous green. Hello, nothing is actually that color. Also when they smell too good to be true, and you all know what I mean, they probably are.

I love the smell of coffee, so naturally I decided to make a coffee body scrub and seeing as that I am a bit lazy, when it comes to making things this is super easy too.

What you will need:

  • 1/2-cup olive oil
  • 2/3-cup brown sugar
  • 6-Tbsp. coffee grounds (fresh or used, it really doesn’t matter)
  • 1/2-Tsp. cinnamon

What you do:

  • Mix all ingredients until well-combined and then place it in a reusable jar, such as a mason jar, then store it in your bathroom or shower.
  • Yes, I promise it is that simple.

If you like the smell of coffee and having skin as soft as a baby, I highly recommend that you try out this scrub. I love it and I hope you do too.

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