For someone who loves playing with makeup, I am not much of a do-it-yourselfer. I can’t get into scrapbooking, I’d rather buy a jar of tomato sauce than make my own and my Pinterest boards are full of projects I know I will never undertake. But I was sent two books that inspire me every day to do something with my hands, and my little projects always turn out great.
Stunning Braids: Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occassion from Work to Weddings ($17.95) was written by Monae Everett, a fabulous hairstylist/blogger who has worked on lots of celebrities and has been featured in major publications like the Huffington Post and Redbook. Her book is fantastic for those just experimenting with braiding, although seasoned braiders will find lots of great styles to try as well.
The book starts with the basics, including specific product recommendations for everything from hair spray and serums to flat irons and hair dryers. Monae starts with braiding prep, and includes tips for creating styles like loose romantic waves and flat iron curls. Then she gets down to braiding business.
Each style has a large photo of the finished product, step by step photo instruction, plus additional tips and tricks. It starts with the basic three strand braid, ‘the mother of all braids’, and goes all the way through complicated knotted updos. It also has a great section for African-American hair.
This is one of the best braiding books I own. It’s amazing for working on someone else – my poor daughter is my guinea pig way more often than she would like – and it’s clear and simple enough for working on your own hair. Stunning Braids is a great staple book to keep right on your vanity.
Another super fun book that I don’t use daily but that makes for some awesome weekend fun is Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs ($14.95) by Kate Bello. This book has 300 recipes for luxurious soaks. While you might have some ingredients around the house like baking soda, coconut oil, and cornstarch, there are other ingredients to plan for like essential oils, Himalayan sea salt, rhassoul clay and flower petals.
There aren’t pretty pictures inside, but there are tons of easy to make recipes that address ailments like fevers, asthma, and cystic fibrosis. There is a section of recipes for skin and beauty concerns like acne, oily skin, and sensitive skin; plus recipes to use for meditation, chakra cleansing, and aphrodisiac baths. There are even recipes for men and for pregnancy, plus a cool section with recipes for baths from ‘around the world’. Here is one that I have made several times that I just love:
Clary Sage Uplifting Salt Soak
2 cups Himalayan salts
1 cup of coarse sea salts
1/2 cup of baking soda
1 cup rhassoul clay
5 drops of clary sage essential oil
5 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops of benzoin essential oil
I get a lot of my ingredients, including essential oils, from Whole Foods. Another great online source is Mountain Rose Herbs. I tend to go for the bath salt mixtures, but there are also great recipes for bath bombs and scrubs in this book as well. All of the creations make terrific gifts and Kate has suggestions for packaging and storing your creations as well.
Both of these books are terrific fun and I highly recommend them! They are published by Ulysses Press and can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Pick them up for some DIY that you will actually enjoy! – Lisa
*received for editorial consideration