Sugar Scrub

In my continuing mission (or little project) to determine which bath products can be efficiently made at home, I decided to take a shot at the exfoliators.  After making hand soap, it seemed like it would be simple enough to find a decent formula and my aesthetician says it will help with leg waxes if I exfoliate more often.

The ones I have used are generally based in some kind of oil and use either sugar or salt in various concentrations to slough off dead skin in the shower.  After spending some time on Pinterest, I found that it really is that I already have all of the ingredients for a basic formula in the house:

Coconut Oil

Sugar – Plain white granulated

Essential Oils

Obviously, there are plenty of fancier ones, with Vitamin E and other types of oil, or raw sugar, but this was good enough for a first try.  I’m sorry I can’t tell you exactly how much oil I used with the sugar, because it was a bit of a “whatever is left in the jar” experiment.  But since I like my scrubs more grainy and less oily, I’m sure it was more that 50/50 in favor of the sugar.

So I stirred the sugar into a bunch of coconut oil..  The biggest trick was to break up the clumps of coconut oil without touching, and therefore melting it.  When it was good and blended, I dropped in some scented oils.  Two parts lemongrass, one part orange, if I remember correctly – citrusy goodness.  Gently stirred it a bit longer and then spooned the mixture into my containers.  I had a small mason jar handy and also washed out an old travel sized scrub container from The Body Shop.

Result:  my mother loved it, but suggested that if we used a bit of Castile Soap in the mixture, it would feel less greasy.  Yeah.  Danger of slipping if used in the shower straight up.

Other recipes I have seen use honey, or lemon/lime/orange zest in the mix.  Some have even used coarsely ground coffee beans.  But this was a good enough start that I don’t think I need to buy this stuff commercially anymore.  Win.

Product: Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo, I had the day off of work.  I was on puppy training duty and had several errands to run before I went out that evening.  And I had an appointment for a facial.  While the aestheticians try not to get soap and oil and stuff in the hair, it doesn’t always work.  On the average day, I don’t much care. But again, I was going out that night and wouldn’t have time to shower again.

In a bag of samples from somewhere, I had a small bottle of bigsexyhair dry shampoo.  Seemed as good a day as any to try it.

The instructions are to spray it at the roots, wait two minutes and brush it through.

Now, I didn’t have big expectations.  I didn’t try to do my hair for real after using it.  But for what I needed, which was to take the oily look out and freshen it up, it was great.  The scent was rather strong, such that I wouldn’t ever use it and then walk right out the door.  But since I was going outside with the puppy regularly, by the time I left for the night I was in great shape.

Another Totally Unpaid Product Endorsement Aid created these awesome bandages specifically for blisters.
My feet were pretty torn up after Day 1 at Disney last week.  I used one of these on my little toe and walked over 24,000 steps the next day with no pain.  The fair warning is that I hadn’t properly covered the entire toe, so the blister expanded in a direction I didn’t expect.  But I felt no pain.

These are meant to last several days.  I don’t like to go more than two.  By the time you get through Shower #2, the bandage gets a bit funky.

So here I am in Washington DC, the only city in the U.S. where one is I am likely to do more walking than Orlando.  And my toe is just fine.

If only I could do something about my work shoes.

Note:  I am still using these Amazon Associates boxes, even though Amazon has killed its contract with Illinois bloggers.  They don’t want to mess with the Internet tax laws established by the state.  I will not be receiving any compensation if you make a purchase with these links.  I just like them because they are easy access to pictures of whatever I am talking about at any given moment.  You don’t really want my cell phone pictures of Band Aids, do you?

The Eyebrow Thing

In a funny twist, after I wrote about botching an eyebrow wax, my friend Fluffycat asked me to post about home waxing.  I do not want anyone to learn technique from me.  However, I am happy to talk about product, so as to save some time and money.

When I first started, I bought one of those roll-on waxers.  It seemed to me that something with an applicator would be easier to use than freehand with the popsicle sticks.  I thought I would be able to control the amount of wax better.

Wrong. I could not control the flow of the wax.  And, as Marilyn reminds me all the time, you either have to keep the head of the roll on really, really clean – or replace it after each use.  So I went to the next level.

Still not convinced that I wanted to invest in the whole shebang, I bought Gigi’s microwavable creme wax kit.  (I still have the box because I keep my cut muslin strips and popsicle sticks in there, as it fits really nicely on my medicine cabinet shelf):

This kit includes everything one needs to get get started and worked just fine. It retails at Sally Beauty Supply for $18.99 Once I was confident with the tools, I bought the full sized stuff:

Obviously, one isn’t required to use all of the products in the line.  In fact, most people just use astringent to cleanse their faces, baby powder to prep and baby oil to clean up the skin.  and Marilyn isn’t all that impressed with the Gigi wax – she prefers Satin Smooth products.  But I am satisfied with this stuff, particularly because I shop at Sally and it is all right there.

Here are my tips:

  1. Go conservative.  The reason I have been making mistakes lately is that I’ve become lazy about taking the time with tweezers to clean up loose hairs in the brow line.  Don’t be lazy.
  2. Keep everything clean.  Use the collar on the wax warmer.  Use the cover when not in use.  Keep the applicator sticks and muslin strips clean and dry.  If bacteria starts to grow on supplies and equipment, the very least that will happen is that your skin will start to break out.
  3. Don’t get fancy.  One reason I decided I could do this at home is that I am not interested in the artistic shaping.  I want my brows to be symmetrical, with clean lines and just a bit thinner. 
  4. You are not committed until you tear off the strip.  If you applied the wax badly, or even if you just have a bad feeling about it, you can use the oil-based stuff to remove it and start over.  It’s better than botching it.
  5. Have the appropriate cosmetics handy in case you botch it.
Because I refuse to make a video of myself, I spent a good hour on YouTube looking for the best demo.  (You would not believe some of the people they have demonstrating this.  Teenagers.  Ugh.)  This is the best one I saw in that the demonstrator, Ms. Judith, is so conservative with her wax that she literally cuts the strips in such a way to minimize mistakes.  Her technique is way better than mine.

The first year or two, I would do two or three waxes at home and then go to the salon once just to get another perspective.  It wasn’t really necessary, but it made me feel better.
That ought to get you started.

Girl Thing Redux interrupt this program for a totally unpaid product endorsement:

I believe I have mentioned that I wax my own eyebrows, as opposed to having them done in the salon. There are two major benefits:

1. Not having to pay $12 – $15, plus tip, every time I have it done.
2. Being able to do it any time I want to, because sometimes, it seriously has to be done right now.

Marilyn, my aesthetician who is so good that people hire her to teach classes on the subject, added a third: I know just exactly how sanitary (or not) my stuff is.

 You can’t trust every random place that does waxing.

There is, of course, a major downside:

I am not a professional and sometimes screw up. Hence the point of the story.

A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally waxed too much. A loose drop right in the middle of my eyebrow. I have had minor accidents in the past, but this was major. There was no way to even it out so as to look natural.


However, I prepared for this contingency. Bare Minerals has an eyebrow powder that is absolutely fabulous. It comes with a sealer in a mascara tube to make it look less powdery and, theoretically, set it. I didn’t think it would hold up the way I needed it to hold up. So I tried using the powder with the Weather Everything eyeliner sealer, about which I have raved before.

You have to be careful, because the stuff is strong and rather sticky until it dries. But it worked like a charm. Worked so well that I started to understand the women that permanently rid themselves of eyebrows and pencil (or tattoo) them in.

Not that I’m going there.

P.S. My natural brows have (half) recovered now, so don’t bother staring at me.

More Girl Stuff

Yesterday, I was in Target and in need of nylons.  I grabbed Hanes Solutions Silky Sheer for $5.49 to wear to work today.

After work, I had a meeting at the Library.  Walking in, my heel caught on a cobblestone and I fell – scraping my ankle and banging my knee pretty badly.  I was fine, but there was a lot of blood.  Here’s the thing:  the nylons didn’t tear.  They snagged a bit at the ankle, but I have shoes that can snag nylons worse than that.  I couldn’t believe it.  I would have taken a picture, but that’ know..unattractive. 

The Pumice Stone

Like half the women in Chicagoland this weekend, I got a pedicure this morning.  I only mention it because because the nail tech gave me some advice that I thought, for better or for worse, I should pass on.  Guys, you might want to move along now…

Anyway.  She asked if I used a “razor” on my feet.  It was confused for a second, then realized she was asking if I used a callus remover on the soles of my feet.  You know, to remove dead skin.  I confirmed that I do.  It’s just faster than exfoliating, ok?

She said she thinks that it just exacerbates the build up of dead skin, and it is much better to use a pumice stone or salt scrub. (Do you believe that Amazon sells these?  I am never going to have to take a product picture again.)  I can’t imagine why this would be true, unless it is that if you remove the dead skin without moisturizing, the new layer of skin is just going to dry out faster.  Anyway, I think I might have to try this, since the last nail tech wasn’t crazy.