DIY Deodorant

I have been on a mission to be as clean with my body care products as possible. While it can be easy to find things like body wash and lotion that are free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic color /fragrance, one main item was harder to find: deodorant. A few times the natural deodorants still had the controversial ingredients, or they just didn’t work.

Luckily through some Pinterest hopping I found several recipes for homemade deodorants that had great reviews and testimonies. The recipe to follow is a sorta mash up of the common ingredients found in many of the recipes. I tweaked it to find a recipe that worked well with my body and skin. Many people (including myself) are sensitive to baking soda in large amounts. Use this as a guideline and don’t be afraid to adjust the amounts or proportions in the recipe to suit your body.

I have had great results with this recipe and it really does work!

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup cornstarch

2 tbs bentonite clay

1 tbs + 1 tsp baking soda

5 drops of tea tree oil

20 drops sweet orange e.o.

10 drops lavender e.o.

Directions: Melt coconut oil, if necessary, on low heat and place in a glass bowl. Add in clay, baking soda, and cornstarch in that order. Stir to mix well. Add in essential oils and stir again to combine. It should be a paste consistency that will vary in thickness depending on the temperature of the room.

To apply to armpits: Scoop a pea sized amount for each underarm with clean fingers. Apply in a thin layer.

The only essential oil I recommend you keep in the recipe is tea tree oil because of its deodorizing and antibacterial properties. The smell will be very strong when mixing it in, but on the skin the scent is barely noticeable.

Enjoy your clean, safe, and stank free pits!

Chocolate Covered Apple Slices

This sweet treat is perfect for anyone on a clean-paleo-gluten free diet. It is also good if none of that applies to your diet and you just hate cutting chocolate covered apples from the store. Here is what you’ll need:

1 medium sized apple

2 ½ oz. Baker’s Chocolate

½ Tbs. Coconut oil

Honey to taste

Pinch of Sea Salt

Dass it!!

Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Slice the apple into equal sized wedges removing the seeds and stem. Combine coconut oil and chocolate in a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between intervals. Stir honey into chocolate and coconut mixture. Dip the apple slices into the chocolate and lay flat on the baking sheet to set. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on ’em to help bring out the flavor. Place the baking sheet in the freezer to help the chocolate set faster, so you can eat them sooner!

A. Elizabeth’s Date and Nut Salad

While I like to think of myself as a woman with many talents, cooking is not one of them. I don’t like to cook, and therefore rarely if ever do it. Luckily I don’t usually have to considering I live with two great cooks who graciously share their meals with me. They can’t always feed me, however, and this recipe serves well for any one like myself inexperienced with cooking.

One evening while sitting on the couch lamenting about how hungry I was,  I came up with this delicious salad. After a quick survey of the fridge and cupboard I found a great way to combine two of my favorite foods: dates and BACON. (I feel like my love of all things with bacon demands that I type in all caps). Since it would be kinda weird to eat just straight BACON and dates I figured I would add in some spinach for health or whatever. Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients – Salad

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/3 cup cubed Asiago Cheese
  • ½ cup or handful of Peanuts
  • 5 Dates
  • 4 strips of Bacon (cooked in olive oil)
  • 3 Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Cucumber

Ingredients – Honey Lemon Vinagrette

  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • 3 tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tbs Honey
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

To Make Salad:

Place four strips of bacon in a pan with 1 tbs of olive oil on the stove over low heat. While bacon is cooking place three eggs in a pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Make sure there is enough water in the pot to fully submerge the eggs. While the bacon and eggs are cooking, slice 1 medium cucumber, cube 1/3 cup of Asiago cheese, and chop (to the best of your ability) 5 dates. Place two cups of spinach in a bowl and add chopped ingredients. Add a handful or ½ cup of peanuts. Once the bacon is cooked on both sides slice or crumble it into the salad. After the eggs have boiled and rested in the hot water with the stove turned off for ten minutes drain the water, rinse with cool water and peel while still warm. Slice the eggs or cut into wedges and place on top of the salad.

To make Dressing:

Place ½ cup of olive oil and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a bowl or jar. Stir in 3 tbs of Dijon mustard and 3 tbs of honey into the container. Mix throughly. If you are making your dressing in a jar shake vigorously to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and shake or stir again.

Favorites for April

A. Elizabeth’s Favs

*We are having some technical difficulties with uploading pictures : ( As soon as it’s fixed this post will be edited to include pictures.

Makeup

Maybelline Dewy+Smooth Fit Me Foundation

This has been the perfect transition into Spring foundation. The coverage, finish, and affordability make this a great everyday staple product. Read our full review here.

Take On The Day Eyeshadow Primer

This eyeshadow primer for Wet n Wild’s Fergie collection is the best ever. Period. Don’t fight me on this. It’s safe for me use on my sensitive skin, keeps my eyeshadow and concealer smooth all day, and makes everything show true to color. That’s everything you want in an eyeshadow primer right? Right.

L.A. Girl Pro. Conceal

Like I said in the mini haul, this concealer don’t play NO games. This conceals everything. Dark circles? Put some pro conceal to hide them thangs. Hyperpigmentation? Bye Felicia. Hiding from Sallie Mae? Put some pro conceal on your address so they can’t find you. (I don’t really know about that last one, but it couldn’t hurt right?)

Wet N Wild Max Volume Plus Mascara

Another cross feature from my mini haul. At first I was underwhelmed by this mascara. It didn’t seem to do much at first. But as the product loosened up my eyelashes started poppin! It volumizes very well as promised, but I don’t recommend this on its own if you have short eyelashes.

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in 940 Touchable Taupe

This is a great classic nude lipstick for woc (women of color). Not too pale, but not quite in the brown family, it is very uhh….taupe lol.

Skin Care

Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Body Lotion w/Avocado

This thick yet light on the skin body lotion contains everything in the name. It has light clean fragrance that comes only from the ingredients. This is another transition through the seasons product. For some one who suffers from severe ashiness like me, this is only strong enough in the spring and summer. If you have normal or combination skin you could probably use this year round.

Sonoma Naturals Marula Oil

This particular oil is having a moment in the spotlight, as it rightfully deserves. This is a great alternative for those like me who are allergic to Argan Oil. It absorbs quickly and is very soothing to parched skin.

Media and Entertainment

Music

2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole

This album has been in heavy rotation in the house and the car. J. Cole has produced what I predict to be a classic and iconic rap album. It’s fun and intelligent and the beats is fire!

“Classic Man” by Jidenna and “Yoga” by Jenalle Monae + Jidenna

An artist new to radio rotation, Jidenna is signed to Wondaland records founded by Janelle Monae. Both songs have great dance beats while giving you something to think about.

Television

Marvel’s DareDevil on Netflix

If you appreciate gritty action film noire with realistic yet compelling fight scenes binge watch DareDevil now. The show is based on the classic comic book by the same name, but you don’t have to be into comic books to appreciate it.

Missy Lynn Palette Review

Missy Lynn is a famous beauty Youtuber and makeup artist who has joined up with bhcosmetics to provide a beautiful eyeshadow and highlighter palette.

Packaging

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The packaging is fabulous. J. Michele and I (A. Elizabeth) have a love affair with anything purple. Its just so majestic! The chains and dog tag on the cover are a cool nod to Missy Lynn being an active member of the US military. The inside of the palette comes with a mirror and the flap cover has a magnetic closure.

Eyeshadows and Highlighters

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The palette has six eyeshadows and 2 baked highlighters. All of the shades are highly pigmented and have a smooth consistency. You also get a good amount of each eyeshadow. The pans are much larger than the standard quarter size. From left to right, row by row,the colors are as follows:

1 cream color, 1 bronze color, 1 matte cool grey-brown,

1 warm orange-brown, 1 true purple, 1 dark blue-purple,

1 rose gold highlight, 1 gold highlight.

Overall

This palette is great for everyday as well as more dramatic night time looks. Every shade is wearable. This is the only palette I own that I honestly use every shade with equal enthusiasm. Most importantly, and impressively, this palette is perfect for women of color and it is universally flattering. I really enjoy using this palette and recommend it for all skin tones and for any level makeup wearer. Whether you are a beginner or #teamcakeface you cannot go wrong with the Missy Lynn Palette.

L’oreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation Review

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In January I purchased L’oreal’s new pro-matte foundation in the shade soft sable. I have combination dry/oily skin and thought that this would be good to have when the warmer months came around to help keep me matte in the T zone. I got mine at Walgreens for 12.99 which is a bit expensive for a drug store foundation, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. So far I like it.

L’oreal claims That the finish is demi-matte, now this I don’t agree with, to me it is a completely matte foundation and if you put on too many layers it can start to look a bit cakey.

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That it can last up to 24 hours. Now I don’t know about 24 hours, who wears their makeup that long? But what I do know is that it has lasted well over 10 hours in humid rainy weather. By the end of the day I was still mostly matte with a little shine coming through in the T zone area, but nothing greasy looking nor was the foundation breaking down. A little powder and I would have been good to go.

L’oreal claims that this foundation is medium coverage, I would agree with this. It’s medium leaning towards the side of full coverage. However, it’s not the best foundation for building coverage it can get a bit cakey and cling to dry patches on the face.

And lastly that the texture is air-light. This is 100% true it feels like nothing is on the skin when you have it on.

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Overall I like this foundation but I’m not in love with it. It works well as long as my skin is well moisturized and I use a primer underneath to help insure that it does not cling to any dry patches I may have around my face. I love that it comes in a plastic squeeze tube. You don’t have to worry about pouring out too much product or it being messy. However a major downside to this line is that it does not come in enough shades for women of color. If you are not a lighter skinned women of color it will be hard to find your shade. soft sable is not my exact match, but the next shade up cocoa which is the darkest shade would be the wrong undertone. So I usually use a little tinted moisturize to get my correct color match. Overall the feel, finish and coverage is nice but I wouldn’t recommend this product for women of color. It just is not enough color selection, especially for 12.99. Or for women who have dryer skin it will accentuate the dry skin.

Flaxseed Gel Recipe

As a member of #teamnatural for over a decade now I have been through my fair share of hair products. As many as I have purchased over the years the best things for my hair hair have always been homemade.

I found out about flaxseed gel about five years ago from my homegirl-in-my-head Whitney, more commonly known as @Naptural85 on YouTube. The first time I tried to make it I was repulsed. Not only was it visually disgusting, it was awkward to work with. No matter how much I rubbed it between my hands it seemed to always clump back up. However, the healthy omega fats and no crunch firm hold won me over And I eventually figured out how to get the best results with the easy to make gel. Below the recipe will be a few tips that I use to help me achieve a twist out for the gawds hunty!!

This recipe produces approximately 3 ounces of Flaxseed gel

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbs of whole flaxseeds

Directions:

In a small or medium sized pot place the water and flaxseeds in a pot over medium high heat.

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Stir the flaxseeds to distribute throughout the water. Let the mixture rise in temperature and stir occasionally for the first few minutes. When the water starts to boil, stir frequently to gauge that the gel is being released from the seeds. You can tell its working by holding the spoon you use to stir the mixture with above the pot and watch how long the gel takes to drip from the spoon.

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For a thicker gel with firmer hold, boil till the mixture is very thick and barely drips from the spoon. After you have reached the desired thickness for your gel remove from the heat and strain the gel from the seeds. You can strain the gel either through clean pantyhose, or through a mesh strainer and into the container you will keep your gel in. Let the gel sit with the top off of the container to cool for five minutes.

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Once cooled keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. It should last for two weeks if kept in the fridge.

A few notes about this here gel:

  1. You must keep it in the fridge between uses. This has a very short shelf life and will grow mold quickly since there are no preservatives in it. Throw it out after two weeks if there is still some left.
  2. For reason number one, mark on a calender or the container the date that it was made. This will help you know when to make fresh gel and not be surprised on wash day with moldy flaxseed gel.
  3. Many recipes say to add essential oils, aloe vera gel, or oil to your gel. By all means try this if it intrigues you. I find that this gel works best for me when it is in its purest state.
  4. Use the flaxseed gel as a sealant/styling gel. Place it on you hair as the last product before styling and after all of your leave ins and moisturizers have been added to your hair.
  5. Use a small amount of gel per twist and/or section. A little goes a long way with this stuff.
  6. Place a glob (for lack of a better word) of the gel near the roots and rack down the hair shaft with your fingers. The gel spreads easily through your hair but not between your palms

*Bonus: This gel keeps your twist out nearly tangle free making detangling on wash day a breeze.

NYX Eyebrow Gel Review

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With Spring and Summer quickly approaching I wanted to get a new brow product that would work well in the warmer months. As someone who sweats a lot and easily I wanted to make sure that whatever I got was waterproof and long lasting. Oh, and also budget friendly. About a year ago NYX came out with an eyebrow gel and I decided to give it a try. I purchased mine about a month ago at my local Ulta in the shade espresso for $7.99. The brow gel claims to be long lasting smudge-proof, and waterproof. So far I really love this product it’s long lasting highly pigmented, a little goes a long way and is easy to use. I use my MAC 266 angled brush to apply it and it goes on effortlessly. It’s the perfect shade for someone with very dark brown or black hair that wants there eyebrows dark enough to match their hair but not black, and not too red so as to create auburn brows.

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NYX definitely delivered on all three promises with this product.

Smudge proof: Absolutely, I never have a problem with my eyebrows becoming smudged throughout the day even if I run my fingers over my brows.

Long lasting: Yes, I have worn it more than a few times for well over 9 hours and at the end of the night my eyebrows looked as if I have just filled them in.

Waterproof: Definitely, in fact it is so waterproof that if you don’t have a waterproof makeup remover, I think you would have a very hard time getting it off. In fact when I tested it on my hand when I first purchased it, I tried to rub it off with water and a tissue and it was impossible to get it off once it dried.

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It is an amazing product and I highly recommend it, especially for anyone who may be worried about sweating away their eyebrows during the hot months to come. It will definitely have your eyebrows on fleek no matter the weather.

Maybelline Fitme Dewy+Smooth Foundation Review

This foundation is a relaunch of the original Maybelline FitMe foundation with two new finishes: Matte and Poreless and Dewy and Smooth. The latter is the subject of this review.

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Formulated for normal to dry skin, this new formula says it, “ Hydrates and smoothes skin texture,” and provides a, “Natural luminous finish.” It is water based, and comes in an 1 ounce glass bottle with a screw on lid.

I purchased this foundation from Target for $4.99. Yes, that was the actual price! For a penny less than 5 dollars this product really delivers a what you want from a drugstore everyday foundation.

Texture

The consistency is very watery and thin. Which can make it a little tricky to pour out the right amount, but the thinness makes it easy to apply to the face. It dries down quickly when applied – it doesn’t maintain the very watery consistency when you begin to blend it, yet it still remains very blend-able. It applies better in thin layers. Applying it this way allows for focused coverage where its needed yet it blends seamlessly into the areas with less coverage.

Coverage

FitMe Dewy and Smooth has medium to full coverage. If applied thinly it provides medium coverage that easily builds to full with a second layer. It feels very lightweight on the skin. Even after applying several layers it remains lightweight. It delivers what it claims and is definitely a dewy smooth finish. It does take a minute for the finish to develop, so when you apply it, it does not look instantly dewy. It has no oxidation and remains true to color throughout the day. The color is neutral and makes it very flexible to adjust with powder or concealer to match the your undertone.

Longevity

This, along with coverage, is probably the makeup wearers most important feature of any product. This foundation lasts the standard 4-6 hours before it starts to look a little funky. On normal skin it becomes very dewy after 4 hours. This is a great foundation for dry skin because the dewiness doesn’t cause any flaking that dry skin can experience with matte or velvet finish foundations. It doesn’t break up or wear off throughout the day and is very easy to remove with your preferred form of makeup remover.

Overall this is a great foundation, and for the price and accessibility of the product I would say its fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Mini Haul

I recently picked up some new makeup and decided that you needed to know about them!

Missy Lynn Palette

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A team up between Youtuber Missy Lynn and bhcosmetics, this palette is everything.

With six beautiful wearable shades and two highlighters, this is a new go to palette.

Order it here: http://makeup.bhcosmetics.com/search#p=R&w=mis&url=http%3a%2f%2fmakeup.bhcosmetics.com%2fsearch%3fw%3dmissy%2520lynn%2520palette%26ts%3dajax&rk=1&uid=224031145&ts=rac&rt=racsug&rsc=plBxyar0DYJbkZJ0&asug=missy&apelog=yes

Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus Mascara

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I am always looking for a volumizing mascara and for 3.99 why not give this one a try. Plus the tube is really cute.

L.A. Girl Pro. Conceal High Definition Concealer

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This concealer is no joke. L.A. Girl means it when they say h.d. So far I have only swatched it but it is extremely opaque. The color in the picture is GC980 Cool Tan. My sister and I have been lamenting about not being able to find this concealer in stores near us. Our mom surprised us an order it from ladymoss.com Thanks mommy!