Friday, February 24, 2012

Bath Butter

Dry skin can be a real bummer and hot baths can be a major source of scales and flakes even though bathing in the winter is a must for most of us. In order to combat the negative side effects taking a bath can cause it's important to add a moisturizing agent into the water. There are many companies who sell a lotion or a butter for the bath, but today I'm going to teach you how to make your very own bath butter at a fraction of the price.

What you need:

½ cup of cocoa butter
¼ cup of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of jojoba, sweet almond, or olive oil
(Optional – A few drops of the essential oil of your choice)
The first step is to melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler (which is a special pan that can easily be substituted with a glass bowl in a large pot of boiling water). Once the solids are melted and in liquid form it's time to remove from the heat and add the jojoba, sweet almond, or olive oil and the scent you choose. Stir it to combine the ingredients for about 5 minutes or until it starts to cool. You can then pour the mixture into a jar or other container and leave on the counter undisturbed to finish cooling.

Once it's set up you can spoon it out and drop it into your warm bath water. It will melt and moisturize your skin while you soak. You'll want to keep your container somewhere cool and dark so it doesn't melt. You can also use this as a body butter if you desire by massaging it into damp, warm skin and allowing it to melt.

Gift idea – pour it into molds (once it's dry you can remove it and wrap it in cellophane) or gift tins and make small individual bath melts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Basic Brushes

If you wear makeup having the proper tools can make all the difference in the way you wear and apply your cosmetics. Makeup brushes are really important things to have at your fingertips but there are a lot of options out there. One of my readers (and good friend!) asked me what kinds of brushes she should have so I decided to do this brush guide. This is just my opinion on what basic brushes a girl should have. Keep in mind there are a lot of different brush sizes, brands, bristles, shapes and handles out there. The one thing I always look out for is cruelty free brushes.

Okay, let's get started. If you wear liquid foundation, cream foundation, or tinted moisturizer investing in a standard foundation brush is a good idea. It's a lot less messy than using your fingers and provides a more opaque base. If you want a sheerer look, you can dampen the brush first. I find foundation brushes a lot easier to use than sponges although all foundations are different so some may work better with fingers or other application tools. There are a lot of different foundation brushes but I really enjoy the standard, slightly pointed brush.

A big fluffy powder brush is essential for applying setting powder. I tend to think that the fluffier the better for powder as it will provide a lighter, more natural type of finish than a more dense brush would. It's also great for giving your face a very light dusting of bronzer to perk up the skin a bit.

For mineral or powder foundation, I like to use a more dense brush. It picks up more product so it provides more coverage. My favorite is not very large, and the bristles aren't packed as tightly as others but it is much more dense than the fluffy brush I mentioned. It's perfect for evening out the complexion.

If you like to have a slight flush on your cheeks then having a smaller blush brush is a great idea. I have various blush brushes but my favorite is a smaller slightly tapered blush brush. It's great for giving the right amount of color each time and it is easier to put the color right where I want.

Another brush I reach for daily is my angled blush brush. I use this brush for applying my contour (or darker, matte bronzer) to the hollows of my cheekbones. You can also use this brush to apply blush or highlighter (although I like to use a spare eyeshadow blending brush for my highlight).

Speaking of an eyeshadow blending brush – this may be the most important brush you can own if you wear eye shadow. Blending is your best friend! Nobody wants harsh, unnatural shadow swept across their lids. You can also use a fluffy blending brush to apply a wash of color all over the lid or to apply highlighter.

Next up is a flat eyeshadow brush. These brushes are used for applying shadow to the lid or packing on color. They pick up more color and lay down the shadow in a more precise way than the blending brush does.

The last must have eyeshadow brush is an angled brush. Angled brushes are used for applying shadow, cream, or gel to the upper or lower lash line. You can also use this brush to fill in your brows.

What is your favorite type or brand of brush?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Intensely Moisturizing Eye Treatment

I had a reader request for another eye cream/gel/serum recipe so here I am to share this amazing recipe with you today! If you have dry under eyes or are concerned with fine lines and wrinkles this will be perfect for you. In my opinion everyone should moisturize the skin under their eyes regardless of their age because the eyes are usually the first area to show signs of aging. Prevention is key!

What you need:

2 teaspoons of avocado oil
4 to 5 drops of jojoba oil
2 drops of carrot seed oil
2 vitamin e capsules

All you need to do to make this amazing eye serum is blend all of the oils together in a small container and apply directly to the under eyes. The oils are a bit heavy and give off of a shiny look so it's best to apply this only at night before bed. I really like to apply this while my skin is still a bit damp because I feel like it really locks the moisture in. Keep in mind you only need a very small amount per eye. These ingredients are very concentrated so a little goes a long way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Talk About It - (seed) Body Care

I'm so lucky to have found the perfect winter hand treatment and now I'm here to share it with you. Before the company so kindly sent me these products to try, my hands were looking more like old, cracked, dried out leather than healthy looking 24 year old mitts. I live in a very cold and harsh climate during the winter and my hands are always the ones who pay the price.

(seed) body care was started by a husband and wife team who discovered the dangers lurking in everyday products while trying to start a family. Detoxing their household and personal care routines meant getting rid of anything with questionable chemicals listed in the ingredients. As many of you know, the road to a greener and healthier life can often times be confusing, so they embarked on a journey to find new brands, some of which they liked and others they did not. Using his love for wine they started developing a line of products made with natural byproducts of the winemaking process. (seed) was born after a microbiologist confirmed the benefits of grape seeds.

(seed) Therapeutic Hand Scrub and Healthy Hand Cream have made a huge difference in the health of my hands and they are 100% natural and highly effective. In fact, I've never found a better scrub or cream for my skin. Their products are all paraben, gluten, dairy, phthalate, and cruelty free. They also never use artificial colors or fragrance, which means their products are completely safe and healthy.

Their Therapeutic Hand Scrub is a superb gentle exfoliator that helps get rid of dead skin cells while prepping the skin for hydration. Since the scrub has Grape seed oil and Shea butter it also helps condition the skin. It also contains coconut oil, apricot seed powder, grape seed powder, safflower oil, aloe vera, soybean oil, and pink grapefruit. The grapefruit gives it a very light, inoffensive citrus scent. You can use this scrub on wet or dry skin, but I prefer to use it on damp hands. It leaves hands feeling softer and smoother while looking brighter right away. It never irritates skin and is the perfect first step in maintaining healthy hands. I use this twice a week.

(seed) Healthy Hand Cream has an amazing ingredient list featuring Grape seed oil, vitamin E, Sunflower seed oil, Jojoba oil, Shea butter, coconut oil and other natural ingredients. They are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. I'm very picky when it comes to lotions and creams and this cream intensely moisturizes without feeling greasy, it's truly wonderful. My skin drinks it in almost instantly and lasts for hours and hours. I especially love to put it on at bedtime because I wake up with soft, younger looking hands. It's very soothing and makes my hands feel instantaneously better and keeps them nourished all day. I have the Simply Fragrance Free version but they also offer this formula in Invigorating Citrus and Relaxing Lavender. A small amount of this hand cream goes a very long way.

(seed) products can be found at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Hannaford,, Kinney Drugs and You can learn more online at

(FTC: These products were so generously provided to me for review consideration by the company. I am not being compensated to write this review. All thought and opinions, as always, are my own and honest.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All About Oils

I talk about oils for beauty use a lot and I swear by them but I've never really gone into detail about the differences and best uses for each type. I figured today would be the perfect day to do just that!

Jojoba Oil is the one that I have used the longest. I absolutely love this golden, odorless oil (which is actually a liquid wax) and I think it's the perfect addition to any beauty pantry. Jojoba oil is the closest thing to skins own sebum so it doesn't aggravate, irritate, or clog our pores. It makes a wonderful addition to any homemade beauty product but it's also great on its own! It's non-allergenic, non-comedogenic, and it works great on any skin type including sensitive. I highly recommend Jojoba oil for those of you with really oily skin since it helps regulate sebum production by breaking down the sebum plugs in pores. It helps plump up the skin and helps rejuvenate. It also has a very long and stable shelf life. It is completely safe and can be used full strength, unlike some other oils which must be diluted prior to applying to the skin.

Grape Seed Oil
is my new favorite carrier oil. Much like Jojoba oil it is very light, odorless, and quickly absorbed into the skin. It works well for any skin types but since it's slightly astringent it's best for normal to oily skin types. It does work well for me though and I'm more on the dry/sensitive side of the spectrum. It's chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It helps battle acne, wrinkles, and damaged skin. It can be used at full strength as well.

Olive Oil is a really great skin conditioner. It does have a bit of a heavy feel on the skin as it's a very thick oil but it is outrageously hydrating. It does have a scent, like olives. It is high in Oleic acid and is good for helping to regenerate cells. Olive oil attracts moisture to the skin so it is very hydrating and smoothing. It allows the skin to breathe while creating a protective, moisturizing barrier. It acts as an emollient and relives dryness and guards against damage. It can work for all skin types but is very heavy so nighttime only use is recommended and those with very oily or acne prone skin may want to skip this oil. A

vocado Oil
is one of the most moisturizing and easily absorbed oils out there. It's perfect for dry, damaged, and/or aging skin. It's very soothing and smoothing. It goes deep into the layers of skin to help heal and rejuvenate. It actually helps reduce damage from sun exposure and scarring. It also increases the level of collagen produced. It does not have a non-greasy feel though. It is very thick and heavy so it is best suited for night use. This oil should be mixed with an oil like Jojoba to dilute it.

Sweet Almond Oil
is perfect for all skin types, non-greasy, easily absorbed and very moisturizing. It's really great for skin that is dry, inflamed, and/or itchy. It works well to help combat the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a solid oil that is especially helpful for dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. It's great for burns, bug bites and other skin conditions. It is non-comedogenic, easily absorbed, and non-greasy. It is wonderful in hair products as well as lip. It helps the skin plump up and look more supple.

Hempseed Oil is gaining popularity because of its richness and skin healing properties. It is especially good for dry and mature skin, although I have never tried this since I have an allergy to hemp. It resembles skin's natural lipids and is high is essential fatty acids. It is easily absorbed, non-greasy, and extremely moisturizing. It is a super wrinkle reducer. It can be used at full strength.

Apricot Kernel Oil is perfect for mature skin because it helps fight fine lines and wrinkles. It's easily absorbed by the skin even though it has a very rich feel to it. It also works well on sensitive and dry skin types.

Macadamia Nut Oil is a lot like Jojoba oil because it is similar to human sebum. It helps to protect and lubricate the skin in the same way sebum would. It absorbs quickly and helps regenerate the skin. It's great for dry and damaged skin.

Hazelnut Oil
is particularly good for oily, acne prone skin types. It is a light, non-greasy oil with astringent properties that helps tighten and tone skin. It has a very high level of essential fatty acids. It helps stimulate circulation and cell regeneration. This should be diluted to use on the skin.

Sunflower Oil is perfect for all skin types. It's light, non-greasy and packed full of vitamins A, D, and E. It is easily absorbed by the skin and provides more nutrition that most oils.

Rosehip Seed Oil has a scent but it works really well on normal to dry and mature skin as well as scarring. It has vitamin C and A which helps reduce signs of aging by speeding up cell regeneration. This oil does not work with acne prone or oily skin. It should only be used as an additive.

There are many other oils out there but these are some of the most popular. I'm also a huge fan of argan oil but I'll be doing a separate post on it in the future. Leave me a comment telling me which oil is your favorite. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who Am I?

Hello there, beautiful! I just realized that I've been blogging for almost a year now (woo-hoo!) and I still feel as though I haven't really introduced myself to you. You've caught small little glimpses into who I am here and there, but you don't really know me yet. I'm here today to change that! Let's start with the basics. I'm 24 for a couple of more months (I'll be turning 25 in April). I'm a very simple person who sees the good in everything and everyone. I'm childlike and sometimes I'm very easily distracted. I believe in the power of kindness and compassion. I also believe that nothing matters more in life than family. My family consists of my parents, my two dogs, and my cat – all 5 of them mean the world to me. I'm lucky to have parents who are also my best friends.

Two years ago I got sick and my life completely changed. When I first became ill, I could never have guessed that getting sick would have changed my life in so many positive ways. Despite having bad days, being sick has given me so many new opportunities and I'm thankful for that. I'm closer than ever to my family, I know exactly who I am and what I want out of life, and I'm doing something that I'm passionate about (blogging). Sometimes good things come of really bad things. The worst part about getting sick was that I had to give up my dreams, (hopefully not forever), so I started Beautiful Basics to give myself something to look forward to doing every day.

I can honestly say that creating and maintaining Beautiful Basics has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. I've been writing ever since I can remember and have written more short stories and attempted novels than I care to mention. I even went to college for journalism. Now I'm using my skills to write about another passion of mine, beauty. Writing Beautiful Basics brings me more joy than you can probably even imagine. It has given me purpose and I've gotten to try so many new amazing products because of it. I've also made new friends!

This blog sort of took on a life of its own and led me down the path of being green. When I started this page it was just supposed to be an outlet to share some of my favorite do-it-yourself recipes and has since turned into so much more. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I accept each and every challenge that comes my way.

I'm so glad that you're here and I hope you stick around for years to come because I know there are so many amazing things in store for us.

Friday, February 3, 2012

DIY Body Butter

Butter for your body is a wonderful treat for your skin all year round. Moisturizing is essential and body butter is lavish and perfect for fighting the inevitable dry winter flakes. There are a million companies who make and sell body butter, some natural and some not. Why buy it when you can make your own? Today I'm sharing an incredibly simple recipe for making your very own body butter.

What you need:
¼ cup of cocoa or shea butter
2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
2 teaspoons of jojoba oil or grape seed oil (which is my new favorite!)
1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil

If you want a fragrant body butter you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or extract. I prefer my body butter without any added scent though.

You'll want to take all of the oils first of all and melt them together on a very low temperature setting. If you melt them too quickly the heat will change their properties so low and slow wins this race. Once melted together, remove from the heat and mix in the aloe vera gel. Pour your mixture into a jar or container and use when your skin needs a little pampering. Keep in mind that it can harden in cold and melt in heat so store accordingly.