beauty

DRAGON FRUIT

So we all know fruit & vegetables are good for us…but there are some more than others! One that’s been on my radar the last few months is Dragon Fruit (or Pitaya) and I’ve been researching just WHY it’s so good for us and why it’s classified as a Superfood. So, here we go… (more…)

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COFFEE BODY SCRUB

I’ve been reading a lot about different body scrubs and recently came across the ‘Frank Bod’ caffeine scrub. It claims reduced cellulite, reduced stretch marks and softer, tighter skin.

Well, I thought I might just need to give it a go myself. There’s something so satisfying about DIY. A bag of Frank is only $14, so yeah it would have been easy enough just to buy some, but I love making things (see my candle post!) And I like to personalise things to suit what I like or what my body needs. So I researched a heap of different body scrubs and their ‘effects’ and picked my favourite ingredients from each. Here is my recipe (and the reasoning behind them!) if you love the smell of Jaffas, then get scrubbing girl!

1 cup ground coffee beans – rich in antioxidants, so it’s a great anti-inflammatory. It also increases circulation so is great for the production of collagen and helps to make skin firmer. Also acts as an exfoliant due to its course feel

1/2 cup of oil (I use sweet almond oil or coconut oil) – they are super high in proteins, vitamins and healthy fats, so are amazingly moisturising for the skin

1/3 cup raw sugar – a second exfoliator, for silky smooth skin

1/3 cup sea salt or Epsom salts – another exfoliator and Epsom salts are amazing to soothe sore and tired muscles

3 drops of each essential oil of your choice (do some research to find out what oils your body needs most – there are so many to choose from and their benefits range from helping to firm skin and energising the body to relaxing the mind and helping you sleep!)

Examples:

Geranium Essential Oil – helps improve skin elasticity and tighten skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It also promotes blood circulation to the areas where it is applied, helping to heal bruises, broken capillaries, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, ringworm, and other skin conditions.

Lavender Essential Oil – helps you relax and your body adapt to stress, and has great benefits for the skin. It helps regenerate skin cells so is great for mature skin, sun spots, and scarring.

Myrrh Essential Oik – has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help improve skin tone, firmness, and skin elasticity, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Myrrh can also help heal sun damage, chapped skin, rashes, and eczema.

Bergamot Essential Oil – Is uplifting and relaxing, it is good for building confidence and enhancing your mood. It has a long history of use in skin care products for oily and troubled skin.

Grapefruit Essential Oil – Rich in the powerful antioxidant d-limonene, it is nourishing for skin. Like many cold-pressed citrus oils, it is a great companion when applied to target areas prior to exercise

Caffine Body Scrub recipe up now www.amirankin.com

EASY BEAUTY TIPS

I came across an article on BuzzFeed with some easy tips on how to look effortlessly polished.

I thought I would add a few of my own in as well.

And you know what they say…if you write it down, you are affirming it to yourself and are more likely to stick to it. So, here’s to smoother skin and easier beauty routines!

Easy, quick beauty tips www.amirankin.com

1. Press a serum onto your face at night before you moisturise
(I am dying to try SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s supposed to be the ‘holy grail’ of skin care, but is also quite pricey. It’s on my list of items to buy this  month!)

2. Use a matte primer.
This is a big one for me. I get up at 5am to workout before I have to quickly have a shower and throw on my makeup and outfit for the day and rush for the train. I spend 2 hours a day commuting in the harsh train air-conditioning plus 8 hours working in an office with over-used air conditioning as well. Needless to say, my skin gets a workout and my makeup needs to stay on for at least 11 hours until I’m home! I have rosacea so I have found the NYX matte primer and also NYX matte setting mist awesome!

3. Apply concealer under your eyes and in the creases of your nose.
Like I said, I have rosacea so I need a little bit of concealer sometimes. OVER THE TOP OF YOUR FOUNDATION!

4. Use a translucent powder.
If you really need your makeup to set for the day, sweep over a translucent powder once you have done your foundation and concealer. I use a large Napoleon fluffy brush and Australis translucent powder (which lasts foreverrrr!) I also tap it onto my skin rather than ‘brushing’ so it sets properly.

4. Swap foundation for a CC or BB cream.
When possible, if you don’t need as much coverage (or at least on the weekends so you can let your skin breathe) these creams help to fight against un-even skin tone, blemishes, dry skin and fine lines. I have the Rimmel matte BB cream and I love it! It’s just like a tinted moisturiser, only better! Or, go one better and opt for  an organic & vegan tinted mousturiser.

5. Apply a neutral nail colour.
It makes hands seem ‘daintier’ and finished.

6. Fill in your brows!
I can not stress this enough, it really finishes off your makeup look. I’m lucky and have never really had to even shape my brows, but a thin swipe of colour and a quick brush really can shape your whole face!

7. For a super easy eyeshadow look, use 2-3 natural/taupe shades blended with a tapered blending brush into the crease.
My all-time favourite beauty blogger is Lauren Curtis and she really has this down pat in her ‘Prom Makeup Tutorial‘. I have this down to a minute in my beauty routine (obviously not as precise and detailed as her) but it amps up any makeup look quickly!

8. Continue blending the above makeup look slightly under the bottom lashes for an easy ‘smokey eye’

9. Have a spare 2 minutes? Curl the front 10cm of each side of your hair outwards spray with hair spray and then flip your head upside down and run your fingers through the curls. It literally takes 2 minutes and will shape your face nicely with a soft ‘Victorias Secret’ wave that’s not too over-the-top.

10. Always carry a sheer lipstick in your bag.
It can brighten up ANY outfit. And sheer is more subtle, for those days you want to dress up casual shorts and a loose tee. My favourites are Essence from Priceline (yes, it’s only like $3!) colour 44 ‘Almost Famous’ is my go-to.

– Image from another one of my favourite bloggers, Notes By Nicola 🙂

M A K I N G C A N D L E S

How to make candles on  www.amirankin.com

I really love candles.
Since I was little, my Mum has burned tealight candles under essential oils to make the house smell lovely, and my Sister lights a candle nearly every time she walks into her room. Even if she hasn’t been in her room over the weekend, you walk in and it smells of Lotus Flowers.
I decided to see if I could give them a go myself and tried making them. I love the idea of being able to pick your own fragrance, and being able to make so many different ones yourself. I also love being able to give them as gifts, it’s something I am proud of because I made it, and I know the ‘gift recievers’ are going to really enjoy them.
I posted a picture on instagram & facebook a while back and asked if anyone would be interested in knowing how to make them also, and the response was huge! So…here we go!

What you will need:
(Left to right, clockwise) jars, scales, a saucepan (or 2 or 3 depending on how many scents you are going to make), soy wax, a spoon, a candy thermometer, scents, wicks (mine have the silver tabs already attached) and tab stickers – to stick your tab and wick to the bottom of your jar.

How to make candles on  www.amirankin.com

STEP 1
Measure & weigh your wax. It is a general rule that 1g or wax makes 1mL of melted wax. So, to figure out how much wax I need for each jar, I fill the jar with water and then pour that water into a measuring jug. If it holds 250mL of water, I need 250g of wax. (a little bit less is ok, because you have to allow for the scent to be added in as well)

STEP 2
Put the weighed wax into a saucepan and put the saucepan on your stove on high to melt and heat to 80-90 degrees. If you are only doing around 500g or less of wax, it won’t take long at all for it to melt. Be careful, because once it is melted it gets hot VERY quickly and it can pop and spit just like oil does. You need your candy thermometer to check the temterature. (Candy thermometres are made from glass and can withstand very high heats)

How to make candles on  www.amirankin.com

STEP 3
Once the wax has heated to around 80 degrees, turn off the heat and let it cool to 60 degrees.
While you are waiting for the wax to cool, stick the sticky tabs to the silver tabs attached to your wicks. Then, stick your wick to the middle, inside of your jar.

STEP 4
When the wax has cooled to 60 degrees, you can add your fragrance. Be careful not to add it before now, some scents have certain oils in them that expand or  can explode when heated too highly, usually at about 70 degrees. The normal amount of wax needed is between 6 – 10% of the whole candle. I try to stick to 10% because the maths is easier! So, a 300mL candle needs around 30mL of fragrance. A 1L candle needs 100mL of fragrance.
Note – I have found ‘garden type’ scents are perfect at 10% fragrance, but ‘sweet’ scents like vanilla, caramel, cakes etc. are quite strong so would only need 5 or 6% fragrance. It really is trial and error and you just need to use your judgement and ‘go with your nose’ haha!

How to make candles on  www.amirankin.com

STEP 5
Turn your oven on low, around 50-100 degrees and put the jars on a tray in the oven for about 5 mins, while you’re waiting for the now scented oil to cool down a little more. This heats up the glass so that it doesn’t crack when you pour the hot wax into the jar. Keep in mind heating the jars will also slightly melt the wax that your wick is covered in, so I don’t cut my wicks to size until after the candles have hardened overnight, otherwise the wick will fall into the jar when it is in the oven.

STEP 6
Now, your wax should be cooled to around 40-50 degrees, and your jars should be warm. Take your jars out of the oven and place them on a heat resistant surface. I like to place them on newspaper as well so if I spill some wax it doesn’t damage anything. Pour your wax slowly into your jar. Place your jar(s) on a flat surface, somewhere out of the way where they won’t get knocked or spilled. You need to leave them to set overnight, or for 24 hours.
Note – To keep the wick straight, I place a chopstick on either side of the wick.

STEP 7
Come back to your candle the next day. You can tell if it has set, because the wax will be hard and not clear anymore. I then remove the chopsticks and cut the wick about 3cm from the top of the candle.
If your candle has cooled un-evenly, you can heat the top with a hair dryer and it should smooth itself out.

 How to make candles on  www.amirankin.com

Notes:
It is important to choose the right wicks, so that your candle burns evenly. If you want to use bigger jars, you need thicker wicks to ‘throw off’ more scent and burn your wax evenly.

Every candle is trial and error. I realised the first few candles that I made, my maths was wrong and I was only using about 3% scent (der!!) Don’t let it get you down if one or 2 candles don’t work. Every scent is different. I have a notebook that I have written every scent I have used, and at what percentage. After I have burned the candle, I make a note of if I think I needed to use more, or less fragrance, or if it was just right.

Don’t let ‘triple scent’ candles fool you. Yes, a lot of the popular brands of candles say they are triple scented, but after googling and reading a heap of articles on the topic, I have found out that wax is like a sponge. It will only hold a certain amount of fragrance until it can’t hold or soak in anymore and the excess floats on the top. This is just wasting your fragrance (and money), and you will probably find you don’t need to use more than around 10% anyway!

Do your research! My favourite websites are Aussie Candle Supplies and Natural Candle Supplies. Both are Australian, and both have great articles and tips and candle making. My preference is Natural Candle supplies for the scents, but that’s just me!

To make sure your candle burns evenly and doesn’t ‘pillar down the middle’ the general rule is that you need to burn your candle for at least a few hours the very first time you light it. Wax has a ‘memory’ and if you only burn your candle for an hour the first time you light it, it will only pool a small circle. Then, every time you light your candle, that is how it will burn. So, if you have a wide candle, expect to need to burn it for 3 or so hours to start off with!

Try out smaller bottles of fragrance first (30mL) , before you buy the bigger ones (100mL+). Some of the fragrances I thought sounded amazing actually smelled like old school toilet freshener when I recieved them. It’s all about the smells and scents that you like, and unfortunately the internet isn’t scratch’n’sniff just yet! So don’t read a description and think it sounds amazing and spend your money on a big bottle of it. I personally love the floral scents like Gardenia, Jasmine, Peony, French Pear and Coconut and Lime and have found them to be the most true to scent