diy aloe spritz for sunburnt skin
having been hashtag blessed with the gift of fair, sensitive skin [that was sarcastic, incase you didn’t pick up on that] no matter how high the spf i wear or how often i re-apply sunscreen, i will always, without fail, end up with a sunburn if i expose my skin to the sun for over 30 minutes. if i’m being diligent about applying sunscreen throughout the day, usually my burn will eventually turn to a tan, but the transition from bright red, burnt skin to a healthy, bronze glow can be quite painful.
i’m headed to miami this weekend and in addition to the natural sunscreen i’m packing, i’m also bringing along this homemade post-sun aloe spritz. aloe vera is an obvious choice when it comes to soothing sunburnt skin, but i also added a little lavender essential oil, which has many healing properties, and eucalyptus essential oil, an anti-inflammatory, both of which can help ease the pain of a sunburn and speed up the healing process.
this aloe spritz takes about 15 minutes to make and will definitely be coming along with me on all beach trips from here on out. to make your own, you will need:
- 1 part pulp of aloe vera leaf [see steps 1-3]*
- 2 parts filtered water*
- 10-15 drops lavender essential oil [optional]
- 5-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil [optional]
*ex: if you are using 1/4 c. aloe vera pulp use 1/2 c. water.
to make the aloe spritz:
step 1: first, you’ll need to scoop the pulp from the aloe leaf. to do this, cut the bottom of the leaf off and prop it upright in a bowl/cup for about 10 minutes to allow the yellow resin to drain out. the resin can be a skin irritant, so make sure you don’t skip this part!
step 2: once the resin has been drained from the leaf, slice the skin from the inside of the leaf with a knife or a vegetable peeler, being sure to cut through to the gel-like substance that’s inside.step 3: with a spoon, scoop the desired amount of pulp from the leaf and place it in blender. it may have a pinkish hue to it – this is normal!
step 4: add the water and oils to the blender and blend until well-combined.
step 5: pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz onto sunburnt skin!
a couple of things to note: because aloe vera is perishable, this will only keep for about a week, so i don’t recommend making it in large batches. also, the mixture might settle and separate naturally, so shake it up a little bit before spritzing!
5 winter skincare tips you need to try immediately
the winter months can do serious damage to our bodies. the constant fluctuation of temperatures, the bone chilling winds, the dry air… not only is being cold literally the worst, the winter can also impact our mood, our weight, our appetite and finally, our skin.
i’m pretty lucky in the sense that my skin tends to run on the normal side. i don’t have to do too much to keep it clear and since i’ve switched over to an all-natural skincare regimen, my skin has looked [and felt] better than ever… that is, until the temperatures dropped. over the past few weeks, between the cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air in my apartment, my skin is freaking out in a way it normally doesn’t. i’m not surprised, as this tends to happen every year, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
sound familiar? if so, here are five things that i recommend you do every day to protect your skin from the elements and keep it looking fresh throughout the harsh winter months.
1. exfoliate. i cannot stress enough how important this is. exfoliating the skin will get rid of dead skin cells, help to remove dirt/makeup from your pores and reduce the size of your pores in general, helping to maintain a glowing complexion all year round. for my face, i swear by my clarisonic brush and highly recommend this to everyone. for the rest of your body, use a dry skin brush right before hopping in the shower!
2. cleanse with a cream cleanser. cream cleansers are a total game changer in the winter, as they help to add more moisture to the skin, while many standard cleansers just dry us out even more. a cream cleanser is also a great option for sensitive skin any time of the year. i recommend an all-natural cleanser, like this one from acure, that contains cocoa butter and argan oil.
3. moisturize. a sh*t ton. this may seem obvious, but you really can’t go overboard with this in the winter months. i slather coconut oil all over my body, including my face, every single morning and right before i go to bed. i know it sounds pretty counter intuitive to put oil directly onto your skin, as we’ve always been told that having oily skin is bad, but trust me, it needs it. if we strip our skin of natural oils, it will start to overproduce them and, trust me, you don’t want this to happen.
4. invest in a humidifier. as if battling the cold air wasn’t already enough, we also have to deal with the warm, dry air when indoors. one great way to do this is to invest in a humidifier. humidifiers add moisture to the air, which not only can help our skin, but can also help alleviate that dried out feeling we tend to get in our sinuses. i keep one on my desk that i run during the day and one on the floor next to my bed that i run while i sleep.
5. wear spf. even on those overcast winter days, our skin can still be damaged when exposed to the sun and using a daily moisturizer with spf is highly recommended [i’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this]. like i mentioned before, i use coconut oil, which just so happens to be a natural spf, to moisturize daily, so you can kill two birds with one stone here.
bonus tip: sometimes, even if we do everything imaginable to take care of our skin, we can’t avoid a breakout. when this happens, i suggest using organic tea tree oil as a spot treatment. it’s a natural antiseptic, so it works quickly to zap out the bacteria and reduce the appearance of blemishes. just put a few drops on your finger and apply directly to the breakout after you’ve gone through your regular skincare routine!
do you have any other trusted methods/products for combatting the cold weather?
avocado hair mask for healthy hair
in an effort to eliminate harsh chemicals and other nasty products from my beauty and self-care regimen, i have started experimenting with making my own products here and there. i make my own facial toner and eventually want to try the d.i.y. option for pretty much everything i use on a daily basis. it’s so much safer and actually really fun, fairly easy and allows me to know exactly what i’m putting on my body on a daily basis. if i’m careful about what i eat, shouldn’t i be monitoring what i put on my body as well?
i’m kind of obsessed with my hair [what girl isn’t?] and try to make sure i’m taking really good care of it so that it looks, feels and most importantly actually is healthy. i’ve started using natural shampoos and conditioners and through trial and error have found a company the works for me, but sometimes i still want my hair to have that smooth, silky, just-left-the-salon feeling without all of the harsh chemicals that are typically used to achieve that. this avocado hair mask does just the trick. you only need three ingredients and about 30 minutes… you’ll be blown away by the results. the benefits of this avocado hair mask look like this:
- avocado: avocados are loaded with healthy fats, so they act as a moisturizer when applied to the hair, promote hair growth and prevent hair loss
- egg: a natural source of protein, the egg will help to strengthen your locks and help prevent split ends and broken strands
- coconut oil: i’ve talked about coconut oil before, but here, it will help to heal damaged hairs and leave your hair super shiny
for one avocado hair mask you will need:
- 1/2 of an avocado [at the same point you would eat it at]
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil [melted, so that it’s in liquid form]
crack the egg into a bowl and whisk the coconut oil in, adding the avocado last and mashing all three ingredients together with a fork. apply the mixture to damp hair [really work it in there, the same way you would with shampoo/conditioner] and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. it’s a little bit messy, so i wrapped my hair up in an old towel to prevent the mask from dripping everywhere. after the mask has had some time to sit, hop in the shower and wash your hair the same way you normally would. if possible, allow your hair to air-dry instead of using a blowdryer.
voilà! silky, shiny, strong and healthy hair sans chemicals!
healthy lifestyle staples: skin brushing
the healthy lifestyle staples series here at bananas + bellinis is something that i think is really important. not only do i get to give you a glimpse of some of the things i do/use on a regular basis, i also get to show you how easy it can be to incorporate healthy habits into your day-to-day life.
today, i want to add another item to my list of healthy lifestyle staples: skin brushing. skin brushing is known to have many health and beauty benefits, such as reducing cellulite, stimulating the lymphatic system, aiding digestion and detoxification of the body, increasing energy and circulation and exfoliating the skin.
the skin is the largest organ in the body and its job is essentially to protect us from anything that might be harmful [toxins, germs, viruses, bacteria, etc]. if the skin is not well taken care of, it’s ability to protect us decreases. skin brushing is an easy way to keep the skin in tip-top shape as a part of your regular skincare regimen.
so, how does it work? by stimulating the skin, you’re essentially getting a bunch of the other systems in your body working. it’s best to do first thing in the morning before showering when your skin is dry and your system is relaxed. you should always brush in the direction of your heart, as this is the way the lymphatic system naturally flows. start with the soles of your feet [the nerve endings there are connected to your entire body], working your way up your legs, over your stomach, booty, hands, arms, chest [ladies, be sure to avoid the ladies, if ya catch my drift] and down your back [see the diagram below]. because you’ve just exfoliated, showering after skin brushing is the best way to go so that you can wash away all of the the dead skins cells. apply some lotion [or coconut oil!] after your shower to soothe the skin and moisturize. you should notice a difference in how your skin looks and feels almost immediately.
a few things to keep in mind when skin brushing:
- don’t brush too hard, you don’t want to irritate the skin
- skip over any cuts, rashes, irritations or varicose veins
- leave your face and neck alone since the skin there is so sensitive
ready to give skin brushing a try? you can buy a skin brush at most drug or health food stores for under $20. you can always order one online, too!
diagram courtesy of healthy lifestyle choices 101
3 reasons you should start oil pulling
oil pulling is one of those things i had known about for a really long time before taking the plunge and trying it out for myself. i mean… who wants to swish a tablespoon of oil around in their mouth for 20 minutes? not me… or so i thought.
after doing more research and reading about all of the amazing health benefits of oil pulling, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give it a try. oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that is said to rid not only the mouth, but the entire body, of harmful toxins while restoring balance throughout your system. as you might have guessed, once i started oil pulling, i became obsessed with it.
basically, all you do is pick an oil [i recommend coconut oil because of it’s strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and mild taste], swish around a tablespoon of it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach and spit the oil out into the trash can, not the sink. it was easiest to work into my daily routine by taking a spoonful of oil right before brushing my teeth and hopping in the shower in the morning. here are three reasons you should make it part of your day-to-day routine, as well!
- it improves oral health. after just a few days you should notice whiter teeth and better breath. over time oil pulling will also build up the strength of your teeth and gums.
- it can reduce the symptoms of allergies. this includes sinus congestion, mucus build up in the chest and that terrible dried out feeling you sometimes experience in your sinuses.
- it can improve skin issues. because oil pulling rids the entire body of toxins, many have experienced clearer skin and reduced severity of eczema after oil pulling regularly. this can be super helpful even if you don’t experience severe acne, especially in the cold, dry winter months.
other reported benefits of oil pulling include reduction of sleep issues, elevated energy levels, reduced inflammation, improved kidney function, correction of hormone imbalances and, my personal favorite, alleviated symptoms of a hangover.
i recommend trying this out for at least a week to see what kinds of changes you notice before making a decision about it one way or another. the first few times can be kind of rough [swishing around a spoonful of oil in your mouth is definitely something that takes time to get used to] and if you can’t make it through the entire 20 minutes at first, don’t worry! you’ll slowly get used to it and once you start seeing and feeling the benefits, you’ll probably wonder how you ever lived without it.
image courtesy of green med tv
miracle hangover cure: milk thistle extract
as you probably know, one of the recurring themes here at bananas + bellinis is balance, simply because i believe that in order to live a healthy life, you have to live a happy life and happiness doesn’t come from deprivation, restriction or self-inflicted punishment or criticism. i know from personal experience that depriving yourself, obsessing over your food intake and criticizing yourself for your appearance, weight, financial status, life choices, etc. does not lead to happiness… at all.
one thing that i’m not afraid to share is my love for going out and enjoying myself over a few drinks. cocktails, beer, wine… i like all of it. i believe that in moderation, having a drink or two… or three… is perfectly fine and nothing to feel bad about. now, with that being said, there is one kinda out there, health nut thing that i do to give my liver a little prep and that is incorporating milk thistle extract into my supplement regimen the day of an event I know i’ll be drinking at.
milk thistle extract is something that i was introduced to when i was doing a 30-day mind-body cleanse last january and it has seriously changed my life. milk thistle is a plant and the extract that comes from its leaves is known for its ability to detoxify and protect the liver and its vital functions, so obviously this stuff has a place when it comes to the prevention/cure of hangovers.
you can purchase milk thistle extract in tincture or pill form [i prefer the tincture] and take it during the day when you know you have a happy hour or a birthday party to attend. you can put a dropper full in your water or tea as much as you would like throughout the course of the day [the taste isn’t strong] or directly into your drink while at the event. the morning after a night of drinking, especially if I’m not having an #iwokeuplikethis moment, i’ll also put a dropper full into a glass of ice cold water and before i know it, i’m back to 100%.
of course, this trick is much less effective if you drink a lot, a lot or if you start mixing alcohol [that’s never a good idea and I can’t help you there], but give this a try the next time you go out for a few drinks and I promise you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
images courtesy of the glamorous housewife
happy halloween + healthy candy recipe
halloween is tomorrow and over the last few years, it’s become one of my favorite holidays. i usually know what i’m going to dress up as months and months ahead of time and I’ve gotten really into making/building my own costumes rather than buying something pre-packaged at the Halloween store… it’s more fun that way!
another thing i love about Halloween? the candy. duh. unfortunately, the typical halloween candy that you find in stores and probably remember eating as a kid is just… sh*t. sorry, there’s no way around it. so, instead of buying yourself an industrial sized bag of absolute garbage this weekend, you should try making your own healthy candy! the recipe below is incredibly easy to follow, takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is customizable based on what you have on hand/what you like. i can’t stand milk chocolate because a] it tastes like wax and b] it’s terrible for you, so I used dark chocolate [which actually has some health benefits when eaten in moderation] to make my own healthy versions of crunch bars, almond joys and chocolate turtles… with some other variations in there, as well!
for about 24 pieces, all you need is:
- 1 bag of vegan dark chocolate chips [i used these from enjoy life]
- your choice of fillings [i used pecans, almonds, and brown rice cereal]
- your choice of toppings [i used pepitas, coconut flakes, goji berries, caramel sauce, and fleur de sel]
there are just a few, really easy steps to this:
- line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
- place your fillings in little piles on the cookie sheet in whatever arrangement/combination you would like.
- using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until fully melted and smooth.
- drizzle the melted chocolate onto your fillings, covering the piles completely and then add the toppings.
- place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before devouring… and be sure to share!
what are your halloween plans? what are you dressing up as?! i’m off to new orleans for the weekend… i’ll be sure to share the details of my trip [and my costume] next week.
first image courtesy of cute autumn
fall favorites: healthy pumpkin spice latte
the pumpkin spice latte has gotten a lot of attention recently. it’s a fall staple and a seasonal favorite of a lot of people [myself included]. this year, starbucks made it available a few weeks earlier than usual [well before fall officially started], but along with the hype has come quite a bit of negative press, especially among the health and wellness community. why? well, it turns out that a starbucks pumpkin spice latte actually contains zero pumpkin. yep, you read that right. there is no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.
sooo, what is? about 50 grams of sugar [double the recommended daily intake], caramel coloring [made with ammonia], artificial flavors [made with petroleum], g.m.o. milk, preservatives, sulfites, and pesticide residue. the diagram below from food babe breaks it all down.
so, should you cut the p.s.l. habit quick? yes. is there an alternative? who do you think i am? of course there’s an alternative. and i think you’ll be pretty satisfied with it! using ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health and real pumpkin, you can make a healthy pumpkin spice latte right at home. for one latte, you will need:
- 1/2 c. brewed coffee, hot
- 3/4 c. almond milk [or other non-dairy milk of your choice]
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. 100% pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- place all ingredients, except coffee, in a blender and blend until slightly frothy [about 2-3 minutes].
- transfer mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until hot. do not boil.
- combine with coffee and serve hot or over ice. enjoy!
there are also some health benefits that come along with consuming real pumpkin, including weight loss and immune support, a boost in your mood and a reduction of cholesterol levels. with this healthy pumpkin spice latte you can still indulge and enjoy your favorite fall pick-me-up, but you won’t need to worry about what you’re actually putting into your body and the impact it may have on your health. you’ll probably also save some money if you’re not running to starbucks one, two, maybe three times a day to get your fix.
it’s okay, you can thank me later.
diy all-natural facial toner
one of my favorite things to experiment with these days is all-natural beauty products. conventional beauty products, even high-end ones, are full of harmful chemicals that can cause a variety of health problems, so over the past six months, i have slowly been transitioning my self-care and beauty products to all-natural options and along the way i’ve started dabbling in making my own.
a quick, easy to make all-natural facial toner has become a staple in my morning and evening skincare routine. toner is used to soothe the skin, remove oils and tighten pores and since i’ve stopped using my store-bought toner and making my own, i have noticed a major difference in how my skin looks and feels. there are only three ingredients, all of which are 100% natural and safe, and a small amount goes a long way, making your skin feel clean, refreshed and just all-around amazing [you know, it gives you that healthy, effortless glow]. you will need:
- 1/4 c. organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 c. filtered water
- 10-20 drops therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil
all you have to do is mix these three ingredients together and store the toner in some kind of an airtight container. that’s it. i put just a little bit of this on a cotton pad and gently swipe it over my face and neck after i wash my face and before i apply moisturizer each morning and before bed. the apple cider vinegar helps to even out your complexion and unclog pores, while the tea tree oil acts as an anti-bacterial and and anti-inflammatory, zapping away acne that might be hangin’ around. oh, and don’t worry about the smell! i promise that within a few minutes you won’t be able to tell that you just wiped vinegar all over your face.
i want to share more of these beauty recipes with you guys in addition to all of the other recipes i post, so you can expect to start seeing more posts like this one going forward! what are your all-natural beauty go-tos? what products would you like to see me experiment with and post recipes for? as always, i would love to hear from you!
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