Two great DIY books: Stunning Braids and Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

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

Stunning Braids

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.

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids

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.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

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.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

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

Keep that beach body with Phytomer Morpho Designer and Phytoceane Bora Bora Sensory Bath

Phytomer and Phytoceane

Phytomer Morpho Designer and Phytoceane Bora-Bora Sensory Bath

Beach bumming days may be winding down but that’s no excuse to lose that beach bum experience…or your beach body!

Phytoceane

Travel to Bora Bora with this Phytoceane Bath Oil

Travel to Bora Bora with this Phytoceane Bora Bora Sensory Bath

Phytocéane recently sent me both a message AND a bottle with their luxurious BORA-BORA SENSORY BATH ($33). If you are a bath person be sure to check out this bath oil because it is to die for. It’s a hypnotically vivid blue and the fragrance…WOW. The delicious combination of almond and vanilla waft around you like a warm Bora-Bora breeze. The oil creates a soft, milky foam in the bath that is wonderfully moisturizing. Ingredients include trace minerals and elements from seawater concentrate that rejuvenate skin while melting away muscle knots and tension. I may not be at the beach, but I end up feeling as relaxed and happy as I do seaside.

BORA-BORA SENSORY BATH is available for purchase at select spas in the United States and at www.lespausa.com.

Phytomer Morpho

Phytomer Morpho

Since I am dreaming I’m on the beach with my Bora Bora Sensory Bath, I always follow it with the Phytomer MORPHO DESIGNER Contouring Crystal Emulsion ($110) because when it comes to a beach body I need all the help I can get! Morpho Designer is part of the contouring collection and, let me tell you, this body lotion makes an immediate difference. The lotion sinks right in without heaviness or greasiness. It leaves my skin super soft and smooth…even in areas that are a little, ahem, bumpy.

How does it do this?  Formulated with exclusive ingredient ADIPO-3, it launches a three-pronged attack on fat cells to weaken the structure of existing fat, prevent the natural production of new fat and strengthen and redensify the skin’s support tissues. A duo of marine algaes activates micro-circulation and draining for a firm and energized body, free from excess fat. It has liquid crystals that sort of melt into the skin, not only breaking up existing fat but also preventing new fat from forming. The effectiveness is not just in my mind – take a look at the results Phytomer reports:

Perfecting Effect in 28 days: REFINED silhouette – centimeter loss Volume of the thighs: -20%* Volume of the silhouette: -11%* *Average percentage of variation in the volume of the silhouette of 22 women using BodyScan®

While Morpho Designer doesn’t take the place of good nutrition and exercise, it definitely helps out my beach body cause while leaving my skin lightly scented with the pretty lily of the valley fragrance. Used daily and consistently it really works.

MORPHO DESIGNER Contouring Crystal Emulsion is available for purchase in select spas and at www.lespausa.com.  – Lisa

*received for editorial consideration

Phytomer MORPHO DESIGNER Contouring Crystal Emulsion is not for use on women who are pregnant or nursing. Not suitable for people sensitive to iodine. Key Ingredients: • ADIPO-3 – derived from the aromatic resin of the Pistacia Lentiscus tree, this highly active oil captures the adipocyte in all its forms. • ADIPO-DIET – weakens the structure of fat, facilitating the process of lypolysis. • ADIPO-BLOCKING – blocks the expression of nine enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis. • ADIPO-STRENGTHENING – reactivates the synthesis of collagen and fibrillin. • Halopteris scoparia – brown algae with firming and reshaping properties. • Palmaria palmata – red algae that promotes microcirculation for a draining effect.

Bathing heaven…Rituals Hanami Heaven Milky Bath Oil

I think shower people are different from bath people. Shower people tend to be busy, with lots going on and a ‘let’s get ‘er done’ attitude. Bath people, on the other hand, go slower and enjoy purposefully lengthening the cleansing ritual. Of course, there are also people like me who thoroughly enjoy showers, but also absolutely crave baths when there is extra time.

Rituals Hanami Heaven Milky Bath Oil

Regardless of whether you are full-time or a part-time bath person, a line you want to get to know is Rituals. Every time they send us products to test I am just blown away by their delicate, thoughtful packaging that makes me immediately feel peaceful.  I recently tested their Hanami Heaven Organic Rice Milk and Cherry Blossom Milky Bath Oil ($19), a bath oil that truly transports me to bathing heaven.

Rituals Hanami Heaven

photo from murraymitchell.com

photo from murraymitchell.com

‘Hanami’ is a Japanese tradition of enjoying flowers, particularly cherry tree blossoms, while they are in season. The beauty is stunning and the scent is amazing, but the blooms are soon gone. Parties are common under the trees as everyone lives in the moment and enjoys the stunning beauty while it lasts.

Rituals Hanami Heaven Bath Oil

The Hanami Heaven Milky Bath Oil transforms bath water into soft silkiness that envelops your body as the essential oils permeate the air. The essential oils are so soothing, and the beautiful cherry blossom fragrance is transporting.

After a long, soaky bath with Hanami Heaven Milky Bath Oil my skin is incredibly soft and hydrated. It makes for a calming, peaceful bath that will please any bath lover.

The whole gorgeous Rituals line is available online at www.rituals.com, as well as at Barneys and www.barneys.com.  – Lisa

*received for editorial consideration

Get ready for your Heart Throb…Lush for Valentine’s Day

Lush Heart Throb

I am in love with an absolute heart throb. No, not Joe Manganiello…he has Sophia Vergara now so I have moved on. My new love is Lush’s Heart Throb Bubbleroon. It does indeed make my heart go pitter-patter with all that seductive red and glittery gold…not to mention the promise of a super sudsy bubble bath that will leave my skin soft, moisturized, and gleaming. $8.95 is a small price to pay for this big heart that makes for four fabulous bubble baths.

Lush Heart Throb

Lush Heart Throb

Lush Heart Throb

Lush Heart Throb

Inside this beautiful heart hides tons of shea butter to pamper skin, as well as ylang ylang and geranium oils. This is one heart I am happy to break!  I twist it in half, break it apart, then break it into more pieces – four in all – and one piece turns my bubble bath a seductive orangey red with golden shimmer and lots of bubbles. The scent is fabulous, a soft floral that is just beautiful.

Who needs Joe when I have this Heart Throb? Pick this up at Lush for a fabulous Valentine’s Day treat for yourself!  – Lisa

*PR sample for editorial consideration

Yeah, In Your Dreams! Lush LE Valentine Collection

Oh yes, the latest wrapped collection from Lush for Valentine’s Day called In Your Dreams ($23.95) is definitely dreamy. It looks like it is sold out online right now, but my local Lush still has some in stock. Read this review then go pick up a few of these while you still can!

Lush In Your Dreams

Lush In Your Dreams

I think of Valentine’s Day as a day to show some love to anyone…my little girl is thrilled to get a little something special as a reminder of how much I love her. My husband is more of the ‘show me’ than ‘give me’ type, so I always take the pressure off him and get myself something special too.

I know I can’t go wrong with Lush, because they always do Valentine’s Day right. It’s heaven for bath and body products and In Your Dreams is a flirty, fun, fabulous gift that will thrill any bath lover.

Lush In Your Dreams

Lush In Your Dreams wrapping paper

The funky cool wrapping paper envelopes an entire Valentine’s Day story:  t’s a prince on a unicorn, coming in for the big kiss!

Lush In Your Dreams Unicorn Horn

Lush In Your Dreams Unicorn Horn

Unicorn Horn is the most spectacular bubble bar I have ever seen. This big bar has everything:  a pastel rainbow of colors, colored candy stars, sparkles, and essential oils. The bath water turns a beautiful silvery pink…exactly what every good unicorn would want. It smells sooo good, like a peppery pink forest. I can’t even begin to guess how many baths you can get out of this big hunk of magic. Pure love in a tub.

Lush In Your Dreams The Kiss Lip Gloss

Lush In Your Dreams The Kiss Lip Gloss

The Kiss Lip Gloss is wonderful. I think this is the smoothest pot gloss I have ever tried from Lush. It leaves just a hint of pink sheen on lips along with a wonderful slip. It tastes like yummy almonds and vanilla, and the shea and cupuaçu butters really moisturize. It even has a bit of guarana seed powder to plump up your pucker. This is LE so get it while you can.

Lush In Your Dreams Prince Charming

Lush In Your Dreams Prince Charming

Ah, the Prince Charming Shower Gel is delightful. Not only is it pink and shimmery, it smells AMAZING. The fragrance is an intoxicating blend of pomegranate juice, Fair Trade vanilla pod infusion, and almond oil. This LE shower gel definitely a dream come true. By the way, if you need to travel light, Lush shower gels make a great shampoo.

This is one dreamy gift that is going fast, so run to your nearest Lush to pick one up for your sweetie. While you’re at it, pick one up for yourself, because In Your Dreams is a limited edition gift that won’t be around much longer.  – Lisa

*sample for editorial consideration

Lush In Your Dreams opened

Aveeno + National Oatmeal Day = a great giveaway

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/national_oatmeal_day

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/national_oatmeal_day

Yes you’ve seen this sign before because I recently reviewed Aveeno’s wonderful Soothing Bath Treatment that contains 100% Natural Collodial Oatmeal, a signature ingredient of Aveeno. I’ve relied on Aveeno Collodial Oatmeal for years and years so writing about it has been a pleasure.

Aveeno Bath Treatment

Aveeno Bath Treatment

In honor of National Oatmeal Day Aveeno has graciously offered a giveaway for 2 Beauty Info Zone readers. If you win you’ll receive a box of the 8 packet Soothing Bath Treatment as well as the Daily Moisturizing Lotion (also fragrance free) that I wrote about. These are products that are wonderful for the whole family.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, fragrance free

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, fragrance free

This giveaway is open to US subscribers only through November 11th. The prize will be sent by Aveeno. If comments close early, comment on our FB page or to [email protected] Lots of luck! — Marcia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aveeno reminds us that Oct. 29th is National Oatmeal Day

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/national_oatmeal_day

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/national_oatmeal_day

Now if it’s up to me, this is how I’m going to celebrate the day: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. It’s National Oatmeal Day! Oatmeal is an extremely healthy, versatile food that can be eaten any time of day. It is both filling and low in calories, which makes it the perfect breakfast or snack. Oatmeal is also delicious baked in cookies. (from punchbowl.com)

http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-raisin-cookies-302163

http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-raisin-cookies-302163

What I’d love to do after eating those cookies is go upstairs to take a bath using the AVEENO BATH TREATMENT. Right now my skin is super dry because I’m unable to get to my bathroom for proper bathing. Aveeno sent a box of 8 fragrance free bath packets and I’ve been eyeing them since they came.

AVEENO SOOTHING BATH TREATMENT is a colloidal oatmeal skin protectant that is dermatologist recommended. I’ve used this in the past with my own kids since one of them had a lot of allergies that included itchy skin. If it was good enough for him, it’s great for me.

Aveeno Bath Treatment

Aveeno Bath Treatment

This soothing bath treatment for itchy, irritated skin is made of finely milled 100% pure ACTIVE NATURALS® Colloidal Oatmeal—an ingredient long recognized for its ability to relieve itching. When dispersed in water, this powder forms a soothing milky bath that works as a natural cleanser, provides temporary skin protection, and relieves irritation and itching.

1 of 8 packets in the Aveeno Bath Treatment

1 of 8 packets in the Aveeno Bath Treatment

Aveeno Bath information

Aveeno Bath information

All the ingredients in this are derived from nature and uniquely formulated. The Colloidal Oatmeal used in this is for skin protection.  No matter what day or season it is, this soothing bath product can help. In warmer weather use it for insects bites, prickly heat, sunburn, and reactions to poison ivy/oak/sumac. All year round use this for rashes, eczema, hives and diseases like chicken pox. When your skin is overly dry use the Soothing Bath Treatment to get rid of the dry skin and then follow up with one of the many Aveeno Moisturizing Lotions. I’ve been using the fragrance free version of Daily Moisturizing Lotion with success.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, fragrance free

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, fragrance free

Some people have a Bucket List, I have a bathroom list and the Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is way up on there. — Marcia

*Beauty Info Zone is an Aveeno Ambassador and as such we occasionally receive products to use and for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own.