Beauty Interview with Jennifer Nicole Lee

When I started this blog over 10 years ago, one thing I always wanted to do, but never had the chance, was interview people! I was interested in talking to models, makeup artists, product developers, photographers, and other beauty addicts, much like myself. At the top of my list to interview was Fitness Expert Jennifer Nicole Lee! I’ve been following her career for years, and over the past year, she and I have had a chance to connect and get to know each other. She’s created this amazing VIP group on Facebook that’s full of women from all walks of life. I recently attended her world conference and it was truly amazing! More on that in a future post.

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At the 2020 World Conference!

Always, always follow your dreams. I wasn’t sure if Jennifer would be as excited as I was about the possibility of collaborating to do this interview, but she was!

All you have to do is ask! Some of this interview took place over the phone, but most of it was done via email. We’re hoping to team up again in the near future either in person or on a video chat to share with all of you.

This was a lot of fun, coming up with these questions, and even more fun to read her answers! Read on, and enjoy!!

1.       You have naturally curly hair. What’s your secret/process to straightening your hair? I know how hard it can be to get it so smooth on that texture. Do you use a certain product, or is there a salon treatment that you get for lasting smoothness? Both! Heehee! I live in Miami, so with this humidity I need all the help I can get. I love Deluge shampoo, conditioner. My faves are the Argon Oil shampoo & conditioner. I am obsessed with their Mask, I use it every wash, even though it’s a mask. Just a touch at the end to seal in all the moisture. I also did a treatment called “The Apple Stem Cell” to make my hair smoother & shinier. Its not a Keratin Brazilian blow out treatment that can harm the hair. It actually is an anti-aging hair treatment to help it be stronger, grow longer and be shinier and more controllable.

2.      To clarify, you’re not getting paid to endorse any of these products, but I’d like to know and I think others would like to know, what products you can’t live without.  Love this question. One of our VIP sistas Andreea in Austria gifted me with an Hour Glass Highligher palette. I kid you not, I use it every day! On my cheeks and lids. It’s the Ambient Strobe Light Palette. I am also in love with the Natasha Denona Beauty Eye Shadow Palette! The Metropolis Palette is so bold! I also love the Gold Palette, great for brown eyes, as the greens in the palette make your eyes look like hazel. I swear by Katie B Cosmetics for her foundation and her Green Tea Mineral Baked powder. Been wearing those for years! I’m also in love with Tatcha Primer. It’s a little thick, so I blend it with one pump of Lancome La Base, to make it a little more pliable. That combo seals in my face from the humidity here in Miami. Its sweat and humidity proof!

3.      Let’s play Survivor. You are going to a remote island and you can only take 3 beauty products with you. What are they? Besides sunscreen, of course.  Great question. I love the Deluge Firm My Figure scrub, as it’s a 2 in one: exfoliant for face and body, and also a moisturizer. I would then of course do the Deluge Hair Mask. Not selling or plugging, I really love their products. And gotta look cute, so a super glossy fuchsia lip gloss that screams “tropical paradise”, my fave is Rimmel Stay Glossy 6 Hour Gloss in the color Candy Floss

4.      How old were you when you first started wearing makeup? Who taught you to apply it? TRUE STORY! I have two older sisters. My earliest memory of makeup is that my two oldest sisters put makeup on me for my first day at Kindergarten! I remember it clearly! I’m laughing now, but something didn’t feel right when I went to my first day at the big elementary school and all eyes where on me. Couldn’t figure out why I was getting all of the stark stares, but now I know! I had blue eye shadow on my lids and my lips were hot pink, with a swipe of blush on my cheeks. I was their “doll” I guess and I think they wanted me to make a “good impression” on my first day of Kindergarten! LOL!

5.      Favorite beauty trend? I have a lot! Highlighter! The more the better! I want to make sure the aliens see “glow” in outer-space.

6.      What’s a beauty trend you regret? Thin eyebrows! Geeze, looking back I think we were all taking out our stress on our eyebrows and plucking them to death.

7.      When you apply your makeup, do you start with face or eyes first? Why? Love this question. I always start with the canvas, the skin. I need to lock that down first, flawless. I know that some artists do eyes first and then “clean up” around any fall out of eye shadow with base, etc. I cant do that! Drives me crazy. I must do face first then move to eyes, and then lips are last.

8.      What’s in your beauty bag? Reach into the purse closest to you, grab your bag, dump it out if you’re feeling ambitious, and tell us what you’ve got! Oh Lordy! I’m scared! Ready! A powder puff for my powder application (that I really need to wash!) sugar free gum, breath spray, Katie B Cosmetics Mineral Baked Powder. Too Faced Born This Way Concealer, Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder, and a Wet Brush (Even though I wont use it while my hair is wet, I love how easy it is on my hair)

9.      What’s your favorite high-end makeup brand? Great question! Depends! Natasha Denona for eye shadow. Lancome for Mascara, Tatcha for Primer, Chanel for Perfume, Greek Goddess Lashes for false eyelashes.

10.  What’s your favorite drugstore brand? Geeze! A lot! I love Maybelline, Cover Girl, I have worn them all! Actually Wet n Wild has gotten really good! Great prices too.

11.  Do you like trying new skincare products or do you stick to a routine? I love to try new products! I feel like your skin can always use a “JOLT” with new products and trying new things that can either work or be a dud! You never know until you try. And companies now are always doing so many give-aways. That’s the fun part.

12.  If you could create a makeup or skincare product, what would it be? WOW! Love this fantasy. It would be the VIP Line! For women who dare to push the envelope. Bold colors. Striking lips, lids, cheeks. Power looks for sure. We both remember the 80’s, I think that was the best hair and make up! Bigger the better! Twisted Sister anyone? Heehee! I loved watching Ru Paul and he really was over the top in his hair and make up. I love me a good drama look. Smokey eyes, red lips. 80’s all the way! Of course we would do a “Wedding/Natural Look Division” but it has to be glam in some type of way.

13.  You’re known for being a fitness expert, and a wonderful coach! Training women all around the globe on how to be the best version of themselves. What’s your best non-beauty related beauty tip? Confidence, I know that when you rock your confidence, no matter what you are wearing, or what type of make up you have, you have that “it” factor. Not being cocky, or highfalutin, but just a warm spirit that invites others in to also feel genuine in their skin. A smile always works! That little twinkle in your eye of pure joy and happiness. Those are my every day must-do beauty tips to evoke that feeling of being beautiful no matter what!
THANK YOU BROOKE FOR THIS INTERVIEW!

Here are a few more pictures from the conference. It seemed like any time there was a microphone nearby, it was in my hand! I need to host my own entertainment/beauty show!!

I hope you enjoyed Jennifer’s answers as much as I did! Thanks for checking in, and if you would like to be interviewed for my blog, reply to this post and let’s work something out!

As always, You’ve Been Beautified!!

P.S. Looking for something to read? Check out the first 2 books in the Heart & Soul series by yours truly!!!

Healthy Scalp Equals Healthy Hair

For all your beauty advice…

If I had a dollar for every time I told someone, in order to have the healthiest hair possible, you must have a healthy scalp, and they looked at me cross-eyed…I’d have a lot of dollars right now. It’s funny how people generally think that hair is alive. It’s not the hair that’s alive, it’s the root of the hair. Think about it…it hurts to get your hair pulled, because the root is being tugged, but it doesn’t hurt to get your hair cut. If the shaft of the hair was “alive”, hair cuts would hurt…and those screaming kids would have a reason to fear their first hair cut. Amazing how people come up with their own myths. My favorite one: “Oh, we shaved his head when he was a baby, so his hair would grow back thicker and darker.” Don’t even get me started on that one…even though I brought it up. Bottom line: Healthy Scalp=Healthy Hair.

All the products we use can build up over time and leave unseen residue on your scalp, blocking your hair follicle from breathing. When this happens, your hair can become weaker, it can start falling out, and it can stop growing because your scalp isn’t getting the proper nourishment. Remember when Neutrogena came out with their clarifying shampoo years ago? The concept was to use it for a week, once every month or so, and after the week was up, your scalp and your hair would be shiny and new…a blank canvas. Clarifying shampoos are a great way to get rid of build-up, but sometimes we need a little something extra. Scalp treatments are a great way to feed your follicles. You can buy them already mixed together, or you can make them at home.

Phyto makes a great scalp treatment oil, they call it Universal Elixir. It contains Rosemary, Lemon, and Eucalyptus, and it is a really good product that offers many benefits. It’s suggested for any unbalanced scalp, whether it’s oily, dry, itchy, or irritated. It offers nourishment and helps clarify the hair follicles. It’s also expensive! It’s $32.00, and it’s in a very small bottle. As amazing as I think it is, it’s definitely an investment.

Clarifying shampoo has come a long way. Just a few days ago, I wrote about Feed The Root shampoo and conditioner by Tara Smith. This is a great duo that offers many of the same benefits as the Phyto treatment, but without the sticker shock. Use Feed The Root shampoo and conditioner to keep your scalp healthy.

Then, there are the fun homemade recipes that you can customize for your own needs. I didn’t want to spend $32.00 on Phyto, so I made my own scalp treatment! Vitamin Cottage is probably the most affordable place to get essential oils. So, I headed there and got Rosemary oil, Peppermint oil, Lemon essential oil, and Lavender oil. Oils are expensive, and I probably ended up paying more than $32.00, but with the amount you get, I probably have enough to make 5 bottles of the Phyto treatment. I put a little bit of each oil into a bottle with a dropper, then I took the dropper and added small drops of the treatment onto my scalp. This process can get kind of messy, so put your hair up after you’ve applied all the oil. If your hair is too short, wear a shower cap until it’s time to rinse. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes and then shampoo and condition as you normally do.

I wrote about a homemade scalp treatment in one of my posts, not too long ago, but I’ll share it again. Take about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and one tablespoon of olive oil and mix them together. Apply directly to your scalp after shampooing, working the mixture in circular motions. Rinse out the mixture when you’re done styling, your scalp will feel so good!

With all these treatments, and shampoos, it’s important to massage the products into the scalp. A good scalp massage not only feels good, but it increases circulation, and circulation can promote hair growth.

What are your thoughts on a healthy scalp? Is it something you pay attention to, or have you never really thought it was important?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Homemade Hair Masks

For all your beauty advice…

In this week’s Q&A Monday, I featured a question from someone asking me about hair masks. It occurred to me that with the family spa nights I like to write about, and the homemade facial recipes I featured, I have neglected to share some ideas for hair mask recipes. It’s fun to get a little messy and have a spa night with friends, kids, and loved ones. Spending a lot of time in the sun, or the pool, can really dry out your hair, so can heat styling, and chemical treating. So I wanted to share with you a few hair mask recipes that will moisturize dull, dry locks, and add lots of shine!

Coconut Oil Hair Mask: Coconut oil is an excellent treatment for your hair to add shine and bounce to dull, dry hair. Treating your hair with coconut oil is easy, and pretty inexpensive when you look at the oil treatments in stores. You can buy coconut oil at most grocery stores, and health food stores. It’s solid at room temperature, so scoop out a few tablespoons and place them in a cup. Place the cup into a pot with enough warm water to cover the bottom of the cup and allow the coconut oil to slowly melt. You can personalize this to your liking with other oils like lavender or rosemary. Or you can just use it as is. Rosemary can help with scalp conditions such as dandruff, and lavender can be used to help relieve stress. Comb your hair out making sure all tangles are gone; you’ll be applying this treatment to dry hair. Start with applying it to the scalp and work it through to the ends of your hair. Put on a shower cap, or use plastic wrap and leave it on for at least 15 minutes. Longer for really dry hair…you can even sleep in this treatment for maximum moisture. Use a gentle shampoo to cleanse; you may have to shampoo twice to get all the oil out. Chances are, you won’t need a conditioner when you’re finished with this treatment.

Brown Sugar/Olive Oil Scalp Treatment: Healthy scalp=healthy hair (full article on that, coming soon). If you have clogged hair follicles, or build up from too much product on your scalp, your hair won’t grow. It’s important to keep your scalp healthy so the follicles stay un-clogged and nourished. A very easy, and wonderful feeling, scrub is made with two simple ingredients. Brown sugar and olive oil. Take about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and one tablespoon of olive oil and mix them together. Apply directly to your scalp after shampooing, working the mixture in circular motions. The side benefit of this is, massaging your scalp improves circulation, and circulation can help promote hair growth. Rinse out the mixture after you’re done massaging for a few minutes and style your hair as usual.

Olive Oil/Honey Mask: Honey is great for your skin, and it’s also great to use in a hair mask. Honey is a humectant and it will seal the cuticle of the hair and make it shiny. Olive oil is very moisturizing, so the two together will give you soft, shiny hair. Who doesn’t want that? Take three tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of honey, mix them together and apply to your hair. Top with a shower cap, or plastic wrap and leave on for 15-30 minutes, shampoo as usual, rinsing well.

I suggest trying these treatments at night, or on a day off. The point is to take your time and relax. One thing you shouldn’t try? Mayonnaise. I tried this as a mask on my hair once and it smelled like fish for days! Yuck, I know. The things I do in the name of beauty.

Have fun with these, add essential oils and even some fruit. Add some banana to the Olive Oil/Honey Mask to give your hair strength and volume. The great thing about making your own hair masks is, you know exactly what’s going in your product and you can even buy all organic ingredients for a fraction of what you would pay for an already packaged, certified organic product! Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite homemade recipes to treat your hair?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Scrub A Dub Dub

For all your beauty advice…

Just like I love a good shower gel/wash, I also thoroughly enjoy a good body scrub. It feels good to lather up, that’s for sure. But, it also feels good to get your hands in a salt, or sugar, scrub and exfoliate the heck out of your skin! This doesn’t mean you should take a Brillo pad to reveal new skin, but it does feel good to get that top layer off and feel how soft your skin is underneath it all. I’ve been suds-ing and scrubbing for years, so I wanted to share with you my favorite scrubs. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s a hand scrub, or a body scrub…bring of the exfoliation!!

I love the sugar scrub that Bliss makes. It gives your skin a nice, gentle exfoliation and leaves your skin feeling soft after you use it because of the sunflower oil in the ingredients. It smells amazing! It comes in the scent Blood Orange and White Pepper. I know that sounds like a strange combination, but it’s one of my favorite scents. This scrub is a multitasker because it foams too, so you get suds with your scrub. Not to get all “Hannah Montana” on you, but it’s the best of both worlds! (Yeah, sorry, that song will be with you all day now!) It’s on the pricey side at $36 for 12 ounces, but it’s pretty awesome.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Satin Hands collection by Mary Kay. I’ve used it for years, and I always go back to it. I haven’t had the pleasure to use it in a while, though, so anyone out there who sells Mary Kay…feel free to send me some!! The hand scrub in this collection is one of the best hand scrubs I have used. Unlike a lot of hand scrubs that are oil based and are supposed to leave your hands feeling moisturized (translation: greasy) after you rinse off the scrub, this one isn’t like that at all. The best way to describe it is like a lotion that has a grainy texture. You wet your hands with water, add a little hand scrub, massage for as long as you want and rinse. It rinses off clean and leaves your hands feeling like, well, satin. Follow up with their hand cream, which is also amazing. Mary Kay is changing all the time, so I’m not sure what the price on this is now. But, it’s easy enough to find a consultant if you don’t have one, just ask around. Everyone knows someone who knows someone, etc.

Being the mother ship of all cosmetics, Sephora has a great body scrub in their signature collection. I love using this scrub before I shave my legs…it helps you get a clean, close, shave. It comes in a lot of different scents to choose from, my favorites being Apple Pomegranate and Coconut Cream. It leaves your skin soft after using it and moisturizes with Macadamia Seed Oil. The tube it comes in is just under 7 ounces and it retails for $16, but the Sephora Collection is almost always on sale, so you can usually get it for a lot cheaper than that.

These are all great scrubs, and as easy as it is to pick one up, it’s also pretty darn easy to make your own at home. I love creating treatments with recipes from my kitchen. Sugar used as the exfoliating property will give you a more gentle scrub. If you want something that feels a little more aggressive, use coarse salt. Take about a cup of sugar, or salt, and add a cup of oil. I would suggest almond oil, or sunflower oil. You can use the olive oil you have at home, but if you’re putting this in a jar, olive oil tends to stink after a while. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice, and you just made your own body scrub. Homemade scrubs make great gifts, and they’re so easy and inexpensive. Your best bet is to pick up your ingredients from Vitamin Cottage. You won’t spend as much there as you might at other natural stores.

What are your favorite scrubs? I know there are many others I could have mentioned, and I probably will at some point, but these are some of my favorites right now. Looking forward to your response!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Facial Mask Recipes

For all your beauty advice…

It’s no secret I’m a fan of homemade spa treatments. I get asked a lot about do-it-yourself skin care, especially masks. It’s great to know that so many secrets to beautiful skin can be found right in your kitchen…or a few blocks away at the grocery store. So, I thought I would share some fun facial mask recipes for everyone to try.

One of the easiest, and one of my favorite, masks to make is one made from yogurt, honey and oatmeal. These three ingredients are good for moisturizing, nourishing, cleansing, and exfoliating your skin. I believe this is a good one for all skin types. Start with plain yogurt. If you have normal to dry skin, choose a yogurt that is higher in fat content for added moisture. Combination to oily skin should choose low-fat or non fat yogurt for this mask. Start with about a cup of yogurt, add in 1/4 cup of ground up oatmeal, and warm up a few tablespoons of honey in the microwave, just enough to thin it out some, and drizzle into the mixture. Oatmeal is very easy to grind up; throw it in a blender or food processor, or break it up with a spoon. Mix all ingredients together and apply to clean skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse. As you rinse, use circular motions and the oatmeal with gently exfoliate your skin. If you want a deeper level of scrub, you can use ground up almonds in this recipe as well as, or instead of, the oatmeal.

I am always seeing products that are enhanced with vitamin C and grape seed extract, and they cost a fortune. It’s no secret that the acids in fruit are great for your skin. I like to make fruit masks with whatever I have lying around. There really aren’t exact measurements, you just mash, smash, mix and apply! I like to use kiwi and banana as a face mask. It’s refreshing, it tightens pores, and the kiwi seeds are little exfoliators to polish up the skin and make it look like you spent a day at the spa. One note of advice: test any fruit based mask on kids before putting the entire mixture on their face. When I tried this mask, my family wanted in on the fun and I put it on my 9-year-old and her skin was very sensitive to all the acids. She looked gorgeous when we took it off, though! See? Beauty equals pain!! You can add yogurt to your fruit mask for moisture and it will help thicken up the mixture and stay on your skin better. Again, 10-15 minutes, then rinse.

Avocado isn’t just for guacamole! It is a great moisturizer for your skin. Simply take half an avocado and a few teaspoons of olive oil and mix together. This is great for dry skin and mature skin. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and your skin will feel soft and moisturized. Sprinkle the other half of the avocado with a little garlic salt and enjoy while you’re masking.

For oily and acne-prone skin, try an egg white mask. Simply remove the yolk from an egg, add a little lemon juice to the egg white and beat until you have a dense consistency. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse. This will help clear up blemishes and control oil on your skin.

There are so many different variations of homemade facial masks. Really, there are no rules, so get creative with what you have! You don’t NEED the honey in the yogurt face mask, so if you’re out it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of yogurt on your skin. It’s fun to play with your food! I can almost guarantee, if you start mixing ingredients together for a mask, pretty soon the whole family will be involved. Any time I’ve tried to make a mask for just me, within minutes the kids, and even my husband, are all wanting to join in the fun. Getting beautiful and bonding at the same time? Priceless! 

What are your favorite homemade masks and skin care recipes? Can’t wait to hear!

Email me with your Q&A Monday questions at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

The Perfect Pedicure

For all your beauty advice…

It’s officially sandal season! That time of the year when we break out our cute shoes that show off our cute toes. Unless you’ve neglected those toes all winter long, then it’s time to hit the spa and get a pedicure. What’s that? You can’t afford to get a pedicure?? Join the club. The good news is, you can easily give yourself a spa-worthy pedicure right at home. The bad news…well, I don’t believe in bad news, so it’s just good news all around. Just follow the steps I’m going to give you and your toes will be sandal-ready in no time!

Start by removing your old nail polish. You know, the stuff that’s been on your toes since last September and is now just a dot of polish on your big toe. Even if you don’t have any polish on, give your toenails a good swipe to get the surface rid of any oils. Trim toenails with a clipper, but don’t go too short, that hurts! File nails straight across (this looks best on toes and helps prevent ingrown nails) making sure to file in one direction…don’t saw back and forth with the file, that isn’t good for your nails.

Now comes the best part. Fill a foot bath, or container large enough to soak your feet, with warm to hot water, depending on what you prefer. You can put in your favorite shower gel and soak in bubbles or you can put a few tablespoons of baking soda in the water to help soften your feet as well. Enjoy this part! Like I said, it’s the best part. It’s actually the only part of a pedicure I like, I am so ticklish I have a hard time letting others do this for me. Sit back with a magazine or a good book and soak away. Let your feet soak for 5-10 minutes to soften cuticles and to prepare your feet for the exfoliation process.

Next, use a scrub on your feet to slough away calluses and to soften your heels. You can also use a pumice stone in this step to concentrate on rough heels and other spots that a scrub won’t take away. Put your feet back in the water to rinse the product off your feet; get your hands in the water to really rinse away any of the scrub left behind between your toes and on your nails. Now that your cuticles are nice and soft, apply cuticle remover to your nails and take a cuticle pusher to gently push them back. If you’re not afraid to do a little trimming here, use a cuticle nipper to cut away the cuticles, but be careful not to cut too close. Rinse your feet again and get ready for the massage.

You can do this step yourself, or bribe someone to do it for you, but moisturizing is very important. I know a lot of people do a home pedicure and skip this step because they don’t have time. Like soaking, you can make this part as short or as long as you like. Use a foot cream, or any moisturizer you like, and massage into your feet and calves. You just took away all that dead skin to expose the new skin, so it needs to be treated and have that moisture put back. Once you’re done massaging, clean the surface of your toenails again with a quick swipe of alcohol or polish remover. If there is any residue left on your nails, the polish won’t dry or it will look lumpy…don’t you just hate it when you polish your nails and you see bumps in there?

Time to polish! Pick a fun color for your toes…it’s sandal season, make them bright! I think using toe-spacers are a must. Keeping the toes separate helps you apply the polish evenly and helps them dry. Start with a base coat to prevent the polish from staining your nails. Apply 2 coats of nail polish and let them dry. Once they are dry, apply a top coat for a layer of protection, and some added shine. There you go! An at-home pedicure to get your feet ready for the season. Easy enough to do on yourself, right?

You can pick up the supplies you need just about anywhere. Sally Beauty Supply is going to be the best place to get what you need, but most of us probably have everything we need for a home pedicure already.

Do you do home pedicures or do you splurge and get them done at a spa? What’s your favorite part of a pedicure?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Two For Tea, Tea For…Your Tub

For all your beauty advice…

Tea has many healing properties. It’s been used for ages to heal illness, skin conditions and even aid in weight loss. I have seen products that are tea bags designed to place on your eyes to fight the signs of fatigue and reduce puffiness. But Tub Tea? I’ve never seen that before, until now. When I first saw Tub Tea, I thought I was looking at an oversized tea bag…you know, the kind you see for making large jars of sun tea. But, then I asked myself what’s sun tea doing mixed in with bath products? Then I figured out it’s not sun tea (I guess the words Bath Tea on the string should have tipped me off), it’s Tub Tea. Hmmm…What is Tub Tea?

Tub Tea packets are oversized sachets, or big tea bags, filled with dried herbs, flowers and citrus peels. Available in many different blends, if you can find them to begin with…it’s not like they’re popping up all over. But they should! I love unique, natural bath products and it seems the only place to find these little gems, is in a specialty gift shop and those seem to be a thing of the past. Thank God for the internet, you can find all kinds of unique products by searching online.

The benefits of Tub Tea are many. Think of an herbal wrap when you go to a spa. All those different ingredients seeping into your skin to soften you up, treat skin conditions and relax your muscles. You will get the same benefits from soaking your body in the same herbs right at home, and the cost isn’t near what you would pay if you went to a spa! Soaking in Tub Tea can also relieve stress (I think most baths do that on their own; water is very soothing), anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. They can also restore your energy.

But, you don’t have to use your Tub Tea only in your tub. Used in the shower, the sachets can be squeezed onto the skin and freshly washed hair for a light scent to your skin. They can be used in a foot bath, which is great for someone with aching feet. And, before you use them, they can be used as a drawer sachet for a light scent to your clothes. They really do smell good, not too heavy on fragrance at all. A little on the sweet side, but very light on your skin when you’re dried off.

So, where can you find them? Like I said, they’re not as easy to find as a bubble bath or a shower gel, but they are around. Check Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, etc. Natural grocery stores and specialty (special-tea…ha ha) shops are going to be your best bet. You can find a lot of different Tub Teas to choose from online as well. TerrAmazon makes some great scents to choose from and Romanza Gifts has some good choices, too.

If you want to do a Family Spa Night, get the whole gang involved with making Tub Tea sachets. It can be as easy as taking the ingredients and putting them in coffee filters, tie the filter at the top and drop in the bath water. Or, you can really get into it and pick up loose tea bags and fill them with dried herbs, mixed with some essential oils, and salts. There are tons of recipes to find online of how to make your own Tub Tea. I came across a great site that has some great recipes and they show you how to make Valentine Tub Tea bags. Very cute, and something we’ll be trying for our next Family Spa Night.

I love the idea of Tub Tea, what a great way to relax your muscles, treat your skin and unwind from the day. What about you? Have you tried a bath tea? If so, what are your favorite brands, what benefits did you experience and where did you find the product? I look forward to your response!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Baking Soda For Beauty

For all your beauty advice…

Baking soda for beauty. Seriously. I’ve used baking soda in the past to absorb odor in my refrigerator, relieve heartburn, and to clear up a blemish or two on my face. I love to research natural remedies and recipes I can make at home with my family, and baking soda keeps popping up in my finds. So, I delved a little deeper. Come to find out, baking soda is extremely versatile in what it can do; from household fixes, to beauty fixes.

Baking soda can be used as a face wash. Just mix the soda with water to form a loose consistency and massage onto your face. Because it’s a very watery mixture, it’s going to be a little messy, but it will gently exfoliate and remove makeup, dirt and oil. If you want to exfoliate on a deeper level, on thicker skin like your elbows and knees, mix baking soda with water, but be a little heavier with the baking soda so it forms a thick paste. Apply to the area you are exfoliating in circular motions and rinse. Your skin will feel soft and smooth.

Baking soda can also take care of your hair. Add about a teaspoon of it to your shampoo and it will help remove build-up and residue from products, so it’s a great clarifying treatment. It can also be used as a dry shampoo. If your hair feels dirty or oily, sprinkle some on your scalp and let it absorb for a few minutes, then comb it through and shake any excess out. I’ve tried this with cornstarch and didn’t have much luck, but I know it works for some. It’s also good as a dry shampoo if you overdo it on product. Put some on your hands and work it through your scalp and shake any excess out, it will absorb too much gel or mousse and give you a little boost in volume.

Looks like it’s a good treatment for nail care as well. Add some baking soda to a brush and scrub your fingers and/or toenails and it will soften up the cuticles for healthy looking nails. Add 2 tbsp. baking soda and 1 tbsp. salt to a foot  bath and soak your feet. This mixture will help clear up dirt and grime for your feet. Keep a little extra soda on hand for after you soak and make the exfoliating paste to give your feet a nice scrub. Rinse with your foot bath water and moisturize and you have a nice and fast pedicure.

Want to clear up some blemishes? Don’t we all? We’ve all tried the old toothpaste trick for clearing up a zit fast, but did you know that baking soda can help this as well? Yes, it can. I’ve tried it and it does work. When I’ve used it, I use it as a spot treatment. Again, make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the blemishes. Let it sit there for 10-20 minutes. I know that’s a long range of time, but keep it on there for a shorter time if you have sensitive skin, but if it’s not bugging you, keep it on for as long as 20 minutes. You can also use it as a weekly mask for oily, acne-prone skin. Make enough paste to cover your face and keep it on for about 10 minutes, rinse and moisturize as usual. Use it consistently over time and you may notice your skin with less oil, fewer blemishes and acne scars fading because of the exfoliating properties of the baking soda.

Brush your teeth with baking soda and water for a brighter smile, and if you gargle with baking soda and water, it acts as a natural mouth wash…without the minty aftertaste. That makes sense. If baking soda absorbs odors in our refrigerators and freezers, why wouldn’t it absorb odors in our mouths? Kind of gross to think about, but sometimes the process of becoming beautiful is not always pretty!

And, of course, if baking soda can clean your skin and various household items, it can clean your brushes and combs. Remove any hair from your brushes and soak your brushes and combs in a bowl of warm water with a few teaspoons of baking soda. Just like baking soda will remove oil and residue from your scalp, it will also do this for your styling tools.

Wow, one little orange box, endless possibilities! Have you used baking soda in your beauty routine? Tell me how you used it. I love feedback from my readers!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Family Spa Night III…Chocolate Facials!

For all your beauty advice…

In the past, chocolate has gotten a bad rap. It’s bad for your skin, it’s unhealthy as a part of your diet, etc. Well, this once forbidden food is now one of the popular kids! Dark chocolate is now considered a healthy food. It’s good for your heart and loaded with powerful anti-oxidants. This is good news! So, what if we want to make a face mask out of it and put it on our faces? Ever heard of the Hershey Spa? It’s located in Hershey, PA…where else? They offer luxurious chocolate themed services. (Note to my husband: We are SO going there one day!!!) It seems like chocolate in skin care is becoming a trend in spas all around.

I started to do some research on the benefits of chocolate skin care and there’s a lot of interesting information. Chocolate can be very  nourishing and moisturizing when made into a mask for your face. That’s good for all skin types. Chocolate has powerful anti-oxidants to fight aging and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. That’s good for more mature skin. I was liking what I was reading and it seemed safe for young skin, so I put some things together and we had Family Spa Night III with chocolate facials!

I wanted to make enough for 4 people, so my whole family could do it. Yes, I made my husband do this with us. As always, he was a good sport and got in on the fun. Here’s what we used: 1 cup of powdered baker’s chocolate, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/4 heavy cream, and 1/4 cup of ground oatmeal. Honey used in masks is a great antiseptic and helps gently cleanse the skin; oatmeal is a great exfoliant.

Once the ingredients were mixed together, it looked like brownie batter. Since it has all natural ingredients in it, I couldn’t keep my kids from sticking their fingers in the bowl trying to get a taste. I did add a few more splashes of the cream to loosen the mixture up; it was pretty thick. The smell was amazing!! The wonderful aroma of chocolate was all around us.

We applied the mask on our faces. It was pretty cold at first, but it warmed up nicely. Just a little tip: this is a pretty  messy process when you’re standing in a kitchen and not lying on a facial bed, just keep in mind that dogs like to try to eat whatever falls on the floor and chocolate is not good for them! Also, since it can make a mess, wear a shirt you won’t care if it gets stained.  After about 10 minutes, the masks started to really warm up with our skin and we started to melt! The kids wouldn’t stop giggling and licking the masks off each other and themselves. Right before we rinsed, we rubbed the mixture into our skin to get the exfoliating benefits of the oatmeal. Then it was time to rinse.

The rinsing process takes awhile, especially if you have facial hair. I am referring to my husband, not myself. Warm wash cloths and many splashes of water later, our faces were chocolate-free. It took my kids much longer to rinse the masks off because, honestly, I think they went into the bathroom and ate what they could before they rinsed! Once we were done, we all had very soft skin and we could still smell the chocolate…nice! This was a fun family spa night! It’s always a good way to get away from the TV or computer and get the family together and have a good time. We always have fun whipping up masks in the kitchen, but this one really brought out the silly in us!

So, what about you? Have you tried any chocolate skin care? Or even better, have you been to the Hershey spa?? What homemade masks have you tried? I can’t wait to hear some ideas!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Family Spa Night II

For all your beauty advice…

I love Tuesdays…the day when I get the ads in the mail for Sunflower Market, Sprouts and King Soopers. The sales they advertise on produce are great and I look forward to seeing what I can get for a steal every week. Dork Alert, I know! We tend to favor Sunflower Market and really stock up on their fresh produce. I’ve noticed lately that the sales have been so good, we end up getting way more than we can ever finish and within a week or so, that fresh produce isn’t so fresh anymore and it ends up in the trash. I try to encourage everyone in the house to grab fruit when they want a snack, but sometimes potato chips seem so much more appealing than an apple! I love looking at recipes for natural skin care online and trying them out. There are tons out there to try, and the benefits of fruit on your face are about as good as fruit in your body.

I was sick of wasting fresh fruit so I thought I would get creative and see what I could come up with for some fun spa treatments. Once my family knew what I was doing, they were all in…husband included! Here is what I had left in the fruit bowl. 4 kiwi fruits that were starting to resemble raisins, 3 pears that were so soft if you tested their firmness, your finger ended up inside the fruit, 3 lemons, and 6 grapefruits! That was a lot of fruit we were going to have to toss. I juiced the lemons and the grapefruits and put them in separate cups. After doing some research on grapefruits I found out how awesome it is for your skin (brightens and exfoliates) and I made a toner. I took 1 cup of fresh grapefruit juice and 1/2 cup of distilled water, mixed it together and put it in the refrigerator for an after mask and every day toner. This can be done with lemon, too.

The mask I came up with was pretty cool. I pureed the kiwi and the pear together with a little bit of water and refrigerated it. I let it sit in the fridge for about an hour. When we were ready to mix the mask, I added a very small amount of the fresh lemon juice…maybe half a teaspoon. Then I added a 1/4 cup of yogurt and a drizzle of honey. We mixed it all together and applied the mask. Applying this was fun because we were all painting this mixture on each other’s faces, but what really had us going was how cold this mask was! It was certainly invigorating after being refrigerated for an hour. Warning!! This mask is pretty intense for young skin, with all the natural acids in the fruit, and my 9-year-old said hers was burning within minutes of applying this. Please do a small test patch on your, or your child’s skin, to make sure they don’t react…oops! We made sure to have her rinse right away. My 11-year-old has dealt with blackheads and breakouts on her nose and around her hairline so I thought this would be good for her. The rest of us could feel it working and left it on 5-10 minutes. My kids have fun licking it off their faces, too! When we rinsed we used the kiwi seeds as a scrub for a more intense clean.

After we had the mask rinsed off, we applied the grapefruit toner I had made earlier, and moisturizer to follow. All of us were amazed at how soft our skin felt after this mask. The next morning, my 11-year-old daughter’s skin looked amazing! Any breakouts she was having seemed to have diminished in appearance and redness and she had a beautiful glow about her. I have used the toner every night since I made it and I have noticed my skin looking brighter and feeling a lot softer as well. If you make this toner, keep it refrigerated, it should last about 2 weeks.

These were some simple, yet fun ideas for a mask and a toner. It was fun to get everyone off the couch and into the kitchen helping out. Some homes have family game night…this house has family spa night. Stay tuned for more kitchen ideas and please feel free to tell me about your skin care recipes! I would love to try them and tell you about my experience!

You’ve Been Beautified!