product review: block island organics sunscreen + special offer
i always love trying out new products that are organic, all-natural and don’t contain any harmful ingredients to find out what actually works, so when block island organics reached out to me and asked if i would like to try out their sunscreen, i was obviously onboard. i decided that reviewing products the same way i review fitness classes was probably a good idea, so we’ll be following the same “banana system” seen here, here and here.
i don’t think i need to go into detail about why you should be wearing sunscreen because, let’s face it, it’s 2015 and that type of thing is just common knowledge these days. unfortunately, sunscreen is one of those things that everyone knows they should be using, but still decide to go without … for a variety of reasons.
and i’m definitely guilty of this. i hate how sunscreen tends to be super greasy and difficult to blend into my skin, leaving a weird, uncomfortable film of lotion on my body that gets on my clothes, into my eyes, and makes my hair look as if i haven’t showered in a few weeks. the spray sunscreens, which are supposed to make life easier, do just the opposite. they are equally as messy and don’t offer even coverage, which can cause weird, streaky tan/burn lines. a girl seriously can’t win.
[we should all make sunscreen one of our beach necessities.]
luckily, block island organics solves all of these #firstworldproblems with their natural mineral sunscreen. it’s still a lotion, but it’s not super thick or greasy, so it doesn’t leave an oily layer behind. it’s easy to massage into your skin, which ensures even coverage and this stuff is seriously sweat-proof. i put it on before i biked about a mile and then took an intense 90-minute vinyasa flow yoga class where i got mega-sweaty. only in the last 15 minutes of class did i start to notice that i was sweating off the lotion just a tiny bit. not only does it work, it’s made in the USA, vegan, gluten-free and all-natural … free of parabens, dyes, phthalates, and all of that other sh*t we don’t want to be putting on our bodies. the verdict?
4/5 bananas for block island organics!
want to get your hands on some of this stuff for the last few weeks of summer? i’m sure your skin could certainly use some t.l.c.! from today [august 12th, 2015] until august 18th, 2015 at 11:59pm eastern time, the block island organics family is offering all bananas + bellinis readers 15% off their entire purchase at www.blockislandorganics.com! just use the code “kelsey” at checkout! [this cannot be combined with any other offer.]
please note that while this post was made possible by block island organics, all opinions expressed here are my own!
5 tips for glowing skin all year round
well, summer is almost officially here and one thing [of the many, many things] i love about summer is how easy my skincare and makeup routines become because… let’s face it… everyone looks better with some color! don’t you wish you could carry around that summer glow all year round?
well, i have good news! you can! here are my tips for glowing skin, even after summer is gone.
1. slather on the sunscreen. okay, this is a no-brainer. i don’t think i really need to elaborate. it’s summer. if you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, just wear you’re effing sunscreen. please and thank you.
2. go natural with your skincare regimen. when it comes to taking care of your skin, less is more. not only in the number of products you use, but in the ingredients that are in the products you use, as well. i recommend finding an all-natural, toxin-free cleanser, making your own toner from a few simple ingredients and moisturizing with coconut oil. that’s all you need! if you do find yourself needing a spot treatment for those pesky breakouts, tea tree oil works wonders.
3. wear less makeup. makeup… while it does make us look good [in most cases, not all] and many of us can’t imagine going without it, it’s pretty terrible for our skin. foundations and concealers can clog up our pores and make it hard for our skin to breathe and people with sensitive skin will sometimes break out because they are using too much makeup. the summer is a good time to start experimenting with wearing less makeup because, like i said, everyone looks better with a tan! use the next few months to start feeling comfortable leaving the house without being plastered with makeup and if you are going to wear it, invest in high quality, toxin-free products. i personally love just about everything from both tarte and josie maran.
4. start skin brushing. i’ve talked about the benefits of skin brushing before, but there is no better time to start doing this than in the summer, when more of our skin is exposed to the elements than usual. check out this post for the full scoop!
5. eat right. believe it or not, what you put into your body is just as important as what you put on your body when it comes to taking care of your skin. experts recommend eating lots of berries [the antioxidants make our skin look younger], tomatoes [loaded with lycopene, which fights hormones that cause breakouts] and kale [loaded with both a + c vitamins, known for helping to firm the skin up] to fight dryness, redness and breakouts.
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
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!
relax with a detox bath
well, it’s finally friday. after a particularly brutal week, when the clock hits 5, i plan on heading straight home and just relaxing. i know we all have those weeks where friday night = sweats, couch, seamless, netflix. i’ll be honest, this is how most of my friday evenings are spent these days. friday night is the perfect time to unwind, put the week behind you and head into the weekend on the right foot. if your friday night relaxation routine could use a little something extra, a detox bath might be just the thing you need.
a detox bath is a great way to cleanse your system, reduce the physical and mental manifestations of stress and stimulate the metabolic process by draining toxins from your system, replenishing important minerals and re-balancing your pH. ready to [literally] jump in?! you will need:
- 1 c. epsom salt
- 1/4 c. sea salt or natural, organic bath salts [i use this one]
- 1/4 c. baking soda
- 1/3 c. raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil [i love lavender or lemongrass]
draw a bath as hot as you can stand so that you can sweat all the toxins out [i like mine super hot] and pour all of the ingredients into the tub. swirl the water around with your foot a few times to make sure that everything is evenly distributed. light a few candles, put on some relaxing music, [optional: pour yourself a glass of wine] and soak for 30-45 minutes. i like to rinse off in a cool shower after i soak, but this isn’t necessary. also, make sure you drink plenty of water before and after to avoid dehydration.
photo courtesy of green chi cafe
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