I was in the country for the weekend where summer seemed to be a distant memory with the temperature peaking at a brisk 63 degrees. Excited by the cooler climate, I whipped out my cashmere sweaters and Burberry wool blend coat (I highly recommend purchasing this slim-fitting, versatile black jacket to add to your fall wardrobe – I practically live in mine!). At last, I thought, fall has arrived.
Ahhhh. Not so fast. I returned to Los Angeles yesterday where the sun blasted me with her oppressive rays and the temperature hit 100 degrees. To say I was hot would be an understatement. I was melting… which got me thinking, how do we navigate these drastic weather differences — from city to city and day to day?
I turned to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, whose clients include Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Karlie Kloss, and Michelle Williams, to tackle this looming climate-slash-skincare crisis. When it comes to all-natural and DIY skincare, Vargas is one of the best in the business.
Here, she explains how to transition your skin – and your skincare routine – from summer to fall, and offers up a few of her favorite transitional products, plus a post-sun treatment mask that will have your complexion glowing (literally) within minutes.
Sarah Howard: How does skin change from summer to fall?
Joanna Vargas: At the end of the summer going into fall, the sunscreen that we’ve used is clogging pores, most people have suffered sun damage, and their skin looks dull and dehydrated, really clogged. Fall treatments for me include really great exfoliation. I like to have people do my Exfoliating Mask and even sleep in the mask overnight so it stays on the face for a long time to clean out the pores. Another great at home fall beauty mask is combining yogurt with honey.
SH: How should you alter your product regimen?
JV: Skin needs more TLC during the fall because the transition from humid to cold weather can be extremely drying. Dry skin is so fragile, and you have to do more to protect your lipid layer. I suggest adding a day cream to your routine that contains soothing Shea and cocoa butter – they melt at body temperature so they go right into the skin and stay there all day, so you don’t end up feeling dry halfway through the day. Also, another great ingredient to look for is avocado oil. It contains so many amazing vitamins for the skin and lymphatic system, so it will depuff, hydrate and soothe the skin.
SH: Add or subtract anything in particular?
JV: Fall skin is damaged, dry and in need of repair. The best way to start is to use a cleanser that can exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate collagen production. I would also consider doing a nice peel to really start fall refreshed. I like both fruit acids and enzymatic peels. Also, summer sun and pollution stress the skin and fall is the perfect time to repair the damage with an intensive moisturizer.
SH: How can you manage these at home?
JV: The best skincare tip I can recommend is something I learned when my son had excema as a baby. To this day it is my family secret for healing dry, sensitive skin. Boil a large pot of water with one cup of chamomile tea leaves and one cup of rosemary. Cook these for fifteen minutes. Then strain and add this water to your bath. Not only will you feel relaxed from your day, this potion will soothe your skin like nothing else. Dry patches and redness will disappear overnight!
Also, Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom. It will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing. For those who are afraid of the bacteria that sometimes can accumulate in a humidifier, you can even get a little one that attaches to a mini water bottle.
DIY TIP: A great at-home scrub would be 1/4 cup of almond powder plus 1/2 cup of olive oil- it’s so simple but scrubbing this on the skin for a few minutes in the morning will soften sun damage, exfoliate dead cells and actually calm the skin. Plus it adds a glow!
SH: What are your 5 must have fall skin products?
JV: I love the Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser for fall because it also doubles as an exfoliant. This cleanser contains rice bran which helps to remove the damage while the geranium acts as an anti-bacterial agent and seaweed stimulate the lymphatic system.
Eve Lom Cleanser is awesome for soothing and hydrating the skin while removing all traces of makeup on the face. It’s one of those classic products that everyone I know uses.
Wei White Lotus Moisture Rich Eye Blend is one of my favorite formulas because it’s gentle, but it’s also super rich. It contains peptides to keep the skin strong and the white lotus delivers minerals to chase away fine lines that have formed from summer stresses.
One of the best moisturizers I’ve found is Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm. It will reduce inflammation, help to regenerate tissue and will address uneven pigment that you may have from summer months. I like it because it restores the moisture barrier for the skin and reduces redness.
My own Joanna Vargas Rejuvenating Serum is the perfect serum to sleep in. It repairs the skin, and because the formula contains jojoba oil, it’s great for all skin types, even oily skin. This serum will help to soften sun damage from the summer and make all those fine lines disappear.
SH: Do you have a DIY treatment for post-sun skin?
JV: I would do this mask:
2 tbsp almond oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warmed honey
1/4 organic yogurt
The almond and olive oils are anti-inflammatory and will soften any damage from summer. The honey hydrates the skin and the yogurt calms and exfoliates the skin. Mix together and leave on the face for 20 mins. Your glow will be amazing when you are done.
Winter may be a memory of the past, but skin can suffer greatly in spring and summer, too. Sure, a dry, cold climate produces dehydrated, chapped skin, but hot weather creates the need for processed air (a.k.a. air conditioning), which leaves the skin just as parched and cracked, if not more. While there are plenty of amazing body butters on the market to soothe your sad skin, sometimes it’s more fun – and rewarding – to do it yourself.
This DIY whipped coconut body butter is amazing! It’s relatively simple to make at home, and the results rival the prepackaged creams. Plus, you can cater the ingredients to suit your specific skin concern, and you can’t beat the fresh and natural coconut scent that literally smells like summer in a bottle. Dispense the body butter into a mason or jelly jar or similar container, slap a homemade label on it, maybe even a pretty bow (or a strand of twine), and you’ve got yourself a lovely – and reasonably priced – homemade gift!
What You’ll Need:
2 Cups of Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil (buy it here)
1 TSP of Almond Oil (buy it here)
1 TSP of Vitamin E Oil (buy it here)
10-20 Drops of Essential Oil, like Peppermint, Lavender, or Lemon (buy them here) (optional; for fragrance)
Mason or Jelly Jar or this container
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Coconut Oil – A natural moisturizer that quickly absorbs into the skin; contains 3 fatty acids – capric , lauric, and caprylic acids which help kill certain fungal infections (read 10 Unconventional Uses For Coconut Oil, here).
Almond Oil – Contains vitamins E and B and essential minerals; aids in repairing sun damage.
Vitamin E Oil – Extremely moisturizing antioxidant that boosts collagen and cell rejuvenation.
I read online that whipping hard coconut oil (you cannot heat or melt it first) has a similar effect as doing so with shea butter, which is the base for most DIY body butters. So, this recipe makes a killer whipped body butter without any shea. Whipped is actually much easier to apply, and it has a fluffy, light consistency as opposed to the hard-as-a-rock consistency of its solid counterpart.
To whip your coconut oil, mix the solid coconut, almond, vitamin E, and essential oils into a bowl. According to Living The Nourished Life, using an electric hand mixer will get things whipped up, but a Kitchen Aid Classic Stand Mixer ($25), will really do the trick — and quickly. Whip to desire, but no more than 8 minutes, as you don’t want to completely liquify your butter. After 4 minutes, try a dollop of body butter on your hand to test for consistency and smell. If you want more scent, add additional drops of essential oil now and continue mixing.
Once you’re butter is whipped to your liking, remove and place in a mason or jelly jar. Store in a cool, dry place. This stuff will last awhile, but I suggest making a new batch every month.
*Accompany your whipped body butter with this DIY Lemon and Sugar Scrub.
We all want perfect Gisele-beachy waves (well, I do at least). Isn’t it baffling how thick and full and perfectly messy your hair looks when you step out of the ocean? Well, you can make your very own “ocean in a bottle” with ingredients that you likely have in your beauty and kitchen cabinets. This simple, DIY beachy wave spray requires only 4 ingredients and about two minutes of time. Gisele hair is closer than you think…
Benefits of the ingredients:
Sea Salt – Activates curling and texture.
Hair Gel – Gives added texture and hold.
Coconut Oil – Naturally adds moisture and leaves hair soft to the touch. Smells like the summer.
Mix warm water with sea salt into the spray bottle. Start with 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every 4oz of water. Add more salt for thicker waves. Choose your favorite hair gel and squeeze a dollop into the spray bottle. For drier hair, add in one teaspoon of melted coconut oil. Shake all of the ingredients and spray away.
Will last for up to one month.
Coconut as a beauty ingredient is nothing new. We’re all aware of the many benefits of this super fruit… hydration, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal to name a few. Every spring/ summer, coconut oil seems to be on the minds, lips, and faces of all beauty enthusiasts. And, once again, coconut oil is EVERYWHERE! It’s as if every day there is a new, innovative use for coconut oil in our beauty routines. And everyone is talking about it. From Khloe Kardashian to Emma Stone (who each have a unique use for the fruit), we’re here to prove that coconut oil is the cure-all of all cure-alls.
We’ve scoured the web – and our personal DIY recipes – for the 10 best ways to use coconut oil in your beauty routines:
Psst… You can purchase a big tub of coconut oil from your local grocery. Make sure that it is extra-virgin, organic, and pure for best beautifying results (like this one here).
1. Makeup Remover – Emma Stone and Miranda Kerr are both fans of the oil as an all-natural makeup remover. This is one of my favorite uses, too. Apply to dry skin, work it in, then towel off. I always wash my face after with a cleanser, but if you’re not prone to breakouts, you’ve effectively washed your face as well!
2. Lip and Body Scrub – Because coconut oil is so moisturizing, it’s the ideal base for your DIY scrubs. Just add sugar.
3. Shaving Cream – This is one of my favorite ways to use the oil. It is a highly moisturizing, effective, and safe alternative to bottled shaving creams. Slather on legs, under arms and bikini area, then shave.
4. Cellulite Treatment – Because coconut oil is so hydrating, it pairs wonderfully with a dry brush to aid in breaking up fat pockets, releasing toxins, and increasing circulation. Recipe for the best DIY cellulite scrub here.
5. Nail and Cuticle Hydrator – Rub the hardened coconut oil onto nail and cuticles to prevent hangnails.
6. Eyelash Strengthener – We already know that coconut oil is a great makeup remover, but keep it on your lashes overnight to strengthen and condition.
7. Deodorant – Just add cornstarch and arrowroot powder and within 5 minutes, you’ve got a healthy, safe, aluminum-free deodorant. DIY recipe here.
8. Hair Treatment – Khloe Kardashian has said that she uses pure coconut oil as a hair mask — and so can you. Apply to dry hair and leave on for at least 15 minutes, then rinse. Want serious results? Sleep with the oil on your ends (just make sure to cover your hair with a shower cap).
9. Oil Pulling – Very on trend in the beauty and dental arenas, oil pulling is the newest all natural way to promote oral health. I’ve tried it and it takes a bit of getting used to, but the results are quite amazing. What is oil pulling? Just take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, daily. Here’s a great article on this ancient practice.
10. Brush Cleaner – Use liquified coconut oil to clean your hair and makeup brushes. The oil will protect and nourish the bristles while still getting out the grime. Follow with a quick rinse with baby shampoo and water.
If you’re still a bit apprehensive about the super ingredient in its raw form, you can find a plethora of pre-made and packaged products that include coconut oil (and its awesome scent).
Favorites: Lavanila Vanilla Coconut Healthy Deodorant; RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream (a favorite of Kerr’s); the entire Yes To Coconut line – the Body Scrub and Ultra Light Spray Body Lotion are a bathing treat that you will not soon forget; Promise Organic Nourishing Coconut Oil for hair, face, and body.
This is definitely one of the easier DIY recipes… but it’s also one of the most effective; especially for a good pore cleansing pre-summer. Acneic skin types will find the DIY Honey Nutmeg Cinnamon Mask beneficial as a bi-weekly (everyday for 10 minutes if you’re skin is super congested or scarred) treatment to reduce acne bacteria, swelling, and scars. For normal skin types, this is a great monthly or bi-monthly mask to deep cleanse and exfoliate, especially before a special event or holiday party. Results are immediate: If your skin isn’t glowing, you’re doing it wrong.
While there are several variations of this mask online, we’ve added a pinch of lemon and, that has made all the difference!
What You’ll Need:
1-2 TBSP Honey (organic)
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1/2 TSP Cinnamon
1 Lemon Wedge
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Honey – A natural humectant that locks in necessary moisture to keep skin hydrated and soothed while antibacterial properties benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts and healing current flair ups.
Nutmeg – An antifungal, antibacterial, and anit-inflammatory ingredient that reduces swelling and clears up infected skin.
Cinnamon – Aids in blood circulation and oxygenation; Plumps the skin; Dries out pimples and blackheads.
Lemon – A natural source of Vitamin C; an ingredient commonly used to lighten sun and age spots and even out skin tone; A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion.
Instructions: Mix equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon into a bowl (between 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp). Add 1-2 tbsp of organic honey and mix into a paste. Squeeze your lemon wedge into the paste and mix some more. Massage onto clean skin and chill out for 20-40 minutes. Watch an episode of 2 Broke Girls. Peruse the web for Funny or Die videos. You could always FaceTime with your boyfriend, but not recommended – this mask looks a little cray-cray on the face. When you’re ready to rinse, remove by gently rubbing the mask off in circular motions (hello, exfoliator!). Add water to remove entirely.
Extras: You can also spot treat inflamed zits with a mixture of honey and nutmeg. Leave it on the affected area for a couple of hours. Rinse off, and repeat until the pimple has subsided.
Make a new batch for every mask.
*Note* Cinnamon can irritate some skin types, so test on a small patch of skin before applying to your entire face. If you feel itchy or irritated, wash off immediately.
It’s bananas how great bananas are for the skin (see what I did there?)! The delicious fruit is chock-full of vitamins A, B, and E, so it’s no surprise that the banana face mask is particularly popular as a DIY complexion corrector. With only 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes prep time, you can concoct a face mask that will rejuvenate, exfoliate, and hydrate. This mask is perfect for post-sun skin care (hello, spring break vaca), or a tired and dull complexion.
*This mask is very similar to the Strawberry Honey Acne Mask (directions here) except it is more hydrating and a better alternative for all skin types including sensitive skin.
What You’ll Need:
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of Quaker Oats rolled oats (optional)
Benefits Of The Ingredients:
Banana – Rich in vitamins A, B and E, bananas are a great natural anti-aging ingredient (Vitamin A increases cell turnover while Vitamin E soothes and moisturizes). Acids from the banana also exfoliate dead skin.
Honey – A natural antibacterial, great for acne-prone skin. Honey – The antibacterial properties in honey benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts and healing current flair ups. Also a natural humectant meaning it locks in necessary hydration.
Lemon – A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion (because lemons are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants).Also an ingredient commonly used to even out skin tone (good for minimizing the appearance of acne scarring).
Oatmeal – A natural, gentle exfoliator. It also soothes a variety of itchy skin conditions like eczema and insect bites by relieving dryness. Overall, great to brighten dull or sensitive skin.
In a bowl, mash up the banana, removing any major chunks. Add in 1 TSP of honey and 1 TSP of fresh lemon juice. Mix together, apply to clean skin. Keep it on for 15-20 minutes, rinse off. Do not save any leftovers. Make a new batch each time you plan to use this mask. *If you choose to add oatmeal for more soothing properties, mix in 1/4 cup of rolled oats and let them soak in the mixture for a good 10 minutes before applying to the skin.
I love a good beauty hack (but then again, who does’t?). From multipurpose products to household items that work just as well – if not better – than expensive store-bought products to application tricks that cut down on your getting ready time, beauty hacks are indispensable to a well-rounded, efficient beauty routine.
While we all have our go-to beauty tricks, here are 10 of the very best beauty hacks for hair, skin, and body:
1. Baby Powder isn’t just for babies. While baby powder has been widely used as a substitute for dry shampoo (a little on the scalp, rub in, flip, and go), it’s also an effective way to curb sweat – from underarms to between your legs (especially in hot and humid climates when your thighs tend to chafe).
TRY: Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder for a natural, healthier baby powder alternative.
2. Is your hair plagued with frizz and flyaways? Take a good old fashioned dryer sheet from your laundry room and gently run it over your hair to tame the frizzes. Works like magic.
TRY: Seventh Generation Natural Fabric Softener Sheets. All-natural is always a better option.
3. Want beachy curls while you sleep? The SoCal Curls contraption will give you better waves than a curling iron. And it does it all while you’re getting your snooze on. I do recommend watching the tutorial first (here).
4. Mascara makes a marvelous liquid eyeliner. It’s true – you’ve got a great, pigmented formula for the taking! Just dip an angled brush onto the mascara wand and apply to your lash line. Use the same mascara on your lashes for a perfect pairing of color and consistency. The waterproof mascaras work like a charm.
TRY: Benefit’s Bad Gal Waterproof Mascara with Make Up For Ever’s Angled Eyeliner Brush.
5. For an all-over, dewy, model-like complexion, mix a dollop of liquid highlighter in with your face moisturizer. If you want coverage and dewiness, combine the highlighter with your favorite foundation, BB cream, or tinted moisturizer.
TRY: Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid (seriously, the best).
6. I’ve raved about my obsession with lipstick as blush here and here (video included). But did you know that if you add a very small amount of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream to your cheeks prior to rubbing on the lipstick (or any cream blush for that matter), it’ll actually blend much better – without all of the pulling and tugging. And 8 Hour Cream leaves a gorgeous glow on the skin, so it’s really a two-for-one. You can also use the excess on your lips and a dab on the eyes gives that glossy lid look.
7. Setting your lipstick really does work, especially when going for a bold, colorful hue. And the same trick is applicable to transitioning a glossier formula to that which is more matte. Here’s how you do it: place a tissue over your lipstick-painted pout. Using a brush and a translucent powder, gently dust the powder over the tissue. And voila! Mattified, long lasting color. Use the powder on the rest of your face to set your makeup as well. Just make sure you’re choosing a colorless formula.
TRY: Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder
8. Coconut oil is good for everything, from makeup remover to body moisturizer. But one of my absolute favorite uses for the all-natural oil is as a healthy shaving cream. It actually works better than the store-bought ones! And while you have your tub of coconut oil in the bath, apply to the ends of your hair as a DIY treatment (a favorite of Khloe Kardashian).
TRY: Garden of Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (it’s organic!).
9. If you’re a fan of hairspray – I’m all about L’Oreal’s Elnett Satin Hairspray (if you don’t own a can, you’re seriously missing out) – then use it to keep unruly brows in place as well. While brow gels are effective, uncooperative brow hairs like mine need something stronger from time to time. Hairspray is the answer. Spray onto a spooly and brush onto brows in an upward motion.
10. If you’re wearing a bold lip – red included – chances are, color will end up on your teeth. And this is a beauty no-no. So ensure that the color stays off by using these two quick and easy post-lipstick steps. 1 – Put your finger in your mouth and pull it out. You’ll be amazed how much lipstick ends up on the inner part of your lip (which would undoubtedly have ended up on your pearly whites). 2 – Coat your teeth with a thin layer of vaseline or Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream (yet another use for the multipurpose balm). Misplaced lipstick will slide right off. Plus, this professional trick is a red carpet favorite as the coated teeth actually glisten when you smile.
Have a genius beauty hack… Let us know in the comments below!