Chicken Skin, or Why I Don’t Wear Shorts Ever

Hello and welcome to another edition of: Ashlee’s body is weird, and here’s why. Keratosis Pilaris or “Chicken Skin” is a fairly common skin disorder among humans (40% of adults worldwide, WTF). It is described as a genetic follicular condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough, red bumps on the skin. It most commonly can be found on the backs of the arm and thighs, although many other places on the body may become affected. It occurs when the body produces excess keratin (a natural skin protein) that then becomes trapped in the hair follicles, and causes the formation of hard plugs (read: rough, red bumps).

ANYWAY. It’s unsightly. And I don’t wear shorts because of it. And there is seemingly nothing that can be done about it. Mine waxes and wanes, but I can’t seem to figure out any triggers that make it worse. When I initially asked a dermatologist what it was, she was like, oh yeah, Keratosis Pilaris, just exfoliate and moisturize. So you mean, just keep acting like a human woman, is what you are saying. Thanks doc.

It wasn’t until today when I stumbled upon a little something something that suggested coconut oil for the treatment of Keratosis Pilaris. Oh, coconut oil, what CAN’T you do?! The site claims that coconut oil accomplishes the following: soothes inflammation, reduces redness, moisturizes and sanitizes. All the things that are good for treating ya chicken skin.

The author of this article also had a few other tidbits to share in things that may aid in the treatment:

  • Exfoliate – Just like the doctor ordered, you can loofah the coconut oil right in to your skin in the shower.
  • Moisturize – Apply small amounts of coconut oil to damp skin after shower and wipe away excess.
  • Avoid Trans Fats – This is a no brainer, because you should be avoiding excessively oily foods anyway. Also eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index have been shown to improve KP.
  • Take Omega-3 Supplements – Omega-3 deficiency can apparently worsen KP, additionally the author suggests ingesting 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. And honestly, that’s super easy to do because the shit is delicious. I put it on some toast with a little bit of salt, oh yeah, so good.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals – Basically avoid all the nasty chemicals in soaps and body washes, you know the things that we yell about in this blog. Personally, I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap in Rose. I have definitely noticed an improvement since I made the switch to it a few months back.

So looking at all of the above, I do essentially all of them. Except where coconut oil is concerned. Perhaps it is the missing link towards turning my chicken skin, into lady skin. I would like to wear shorts. I hear they’re in fashion during some of the warmer months.

You can use coconut oil straight up without a chaser, or you can whip it up into something fun. I made a “lotion”.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • one tsp of honey (as an emulsifier)

Here’s What You’ll Do:

  1. Furiously mix together until you inevitably give up and angrily put in whatever container you can find.

This ended in disaster because I could not for the life of me get it to blend. Like I tried most things, whisk, hand mixer, fork, coddling. The only thing I didn’t bust out was the stick blender, and honestly that’s because I was just really lazy and didn’t want to clean it. Given that the coconut oil is basically fine on it’s own, and by the smell of it some of the vinegar joined the party I just dumped the excess vinegar and used it as is.

I rubbed it into the affected areas after my shower, and I must say they look better already. I’ll include a before picture below, and follow up in a couple weeks after having used the concoction everyday and employing some of the other tips as well.

Also, to anyone who reads this and CAN get the ingredients listed above to emulsify into one homogeneous substance, please document, and share. I will send you a prize. Really, because I don’t think it can be done.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{this is a disaster}

{this is a disaster}

{this is my chicken thigh}

{this is my chicken thigh}

{this is my chicken wing}

{this is my chicken wing}

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When a Lotion Comes Along, You Must Whip it.

Well, it shouldn’t take long to realize what this post is going to be about. You guessed it (probably), whipped body lotion! Shea butter lotion to be exact. Oooooh yeah, this is some good business here. This is a super simple recipe that only has like 3-4 ingredients depending on your preferences. The one thing that it does absolutely require is a hand mixer. You know what else absolutely requires a hand mixer? Merengue, and probably all sorts of other stuff, like…um, buttercream?. So you know, go and get one if you don’t have one.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Here’s What You’ll Do:

  1. Use a double boiler to melt the shea butter and coconut oil until they are liquid.
  2. Stir in sweet almond and olive oil. Here’s where you can add some essential oils if you would like, but be warned, no matter what you do, this lotion smells like chocolate. Which is of course, not a terrible thing. However, it seems pretty difficult to get a scent to stick. We used some sweet orange which brings a nice citrusy note to the chocolate party.
  3. Allow to set up in fridge until lotion is almost solid.
  4. Whip it (whip it good) with hand mixer until stiff peaks form (maybe 1-2 minutes).
  5. Transfer to receptacle of your choosing.
  6. Butter yourself up.
{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{shea butter takes a while to melt, be patient and stir often}

{shea butter takes a while to melt, be patient and stir often}

{the fun part}

{the fun part}

{couldn't you just eat that with a spoon? yes, technically you could.}

{couldn’t you just eat that with a spoon? yes, technically you could.}

This is a great post shave/shower lotion. It’s luxurious and rich and a little certainly goes a long way. Happy whipping!

Funk Stick

So here is another product that we would assume you use everyday. But hey, if you don’t that’s cool too. The thing about deodorant is it’s like heroin for your armpits (yes, HEROIN). Our armpits are like “hey man, just give me another hit, or I swear I will go through the DT’s and RUIN YOUR DAY” So we give in to our junky pits and slather the stuff on. If you’ve ever gone through a bout of weening your drug addled pits off the hard stuff you might notice that in time, your body begins to figure out that lovely little balance of stank eating bacteria that will keep you stank and even sweat free. But of course, this may come with a bit of an adjustment period (some have it, some don’t, it depends on your body really).

I for one have the problem of TERRIBLE pit stains. I could literally be freezing my ass off in negative 30 degree weather and be sweating PROFUSELY through my pits. For this reason I have tended to gravitate towards the antiperspirant type of deodorant. However, even using that doesn’t really keep me sweat free, and as many of you know the way that it keeps you from sweating is by clogging up your pores with aluminum. Which has been linked to the development of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, aluminum is also the culprit that leaves the gnarly crud in your shirts caused by a reaction of the aluminum and salts in the deodorant. There are a few other unsavory products lurking around in your deodorant, I will spare you the rant, but you can read about them here.

Still, even after knowing about MOST of those things. I still find it difficult to not use conventional products, because a.) I am not-so-secretly addicted to the smell of man deodorants and b.) I, like most women, am embarrassed if I can smell myself. Recently I made the switch to Tom’s of Maine Natural Antiperspirant. It is unscented which surprisingly is fine, I don’t smell. However, it still contains aluminum. So there’s that.

Cristiana has been using her own deodorant for some time now, and I can attest to her smell, or lack thereof. Making your own is STUPID easy, and I am ready and excited to take the leap forward. Deodorant was basically the last thing that I had to give up in my quest to discontinue the use of all chemical laden hygiene products. I am looking forward to sending my pits to the morphine clinic kicking and screaming, they will thank me for it in the long run I am sure.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrow root or corn starch
  • 2.5 tbs coconut oil
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • Empty deodorant container (this is where you ask your friends like a creep if you can have their empties)

Here’s What You’ll Do:

  1. Put coconut oil in a microwave save container and zap if for about 15 seconds or until it’s completely liquid (or you can use the double boiler method).
  2. Mix together baking soda and arrow root or corn starch and mix in coconut oil. You should have a paste that is a bit crumbly, too much liquid and it will not apply well to your pits.
  3. Add in tea tree oil.
  4. Pack into your empty container and there you have it!

And of course you may be thinking, how does this even work? Mostly because baking soda is bad ass and it works to both absorb moisture as well as neutralize odors (instead of just covering them up). Arrow root and corn starch also work to absorb moisture. The coconut oil moisturizes and nourishes the skin. And of course, magical, medicinal, marvelous tea tree oil which is an: antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and immune stimulant! Huzzah!

Do it, you know you wanna.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{almost there}

{almost there}

{there you have it!}

{there you have it!}

{fill 'er up}

{fill ‘er up}

Disclaimer: There are two different types of deodorant packaging. Ones that use a screw (pictured above) and ones that use a plunger. The screw ones are a bit harder to fill because sometimes you can’t get the deodorant to pack as tightly around the screw as you would like it to. So, we recommend using a plunger type for maximum ease of use. 

Scrubbing Troubles

Whilst on a recent trip to Philly I purchased a book of lovely herbal cleaning recipes entitled “The Naturally Clean Home”. This book is chock-full o’ super easy natural cleaning recipes and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in ditching the heavy stuff in lieu of more natural alternatives.

Today, I decided to tackle the dreaded bathtub. I have few enemies in this life; however, one of them, I have to admit is the bathtub. And I don’t just use it to shower; I bathe, regularly, so the fact that I don’t clean it very often is both embarrassing and gross. But here’s the thing: one cannot adequately clean one’s tub, without being in the tub. And furthermore, one cannot adequately clean one’s tub without water and some sort of cleaning agent. So where does this leave one? Mostly naked and marinating in a plume of toxic chemicals. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, personally I don’t like soaking tits deep in a bucket of god knows what. Also, I have a dog, and while she is a sweet, supposedly smart Border collie, she is an idiot who likes to lick EVERYTHING. So that leaves having to close the bathroom door while cleaning the tub, also not ideal.

Enter: All Natural Tub and Tile Soft Scrubber.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • ¼ cup liquid castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 2 vitamin C tablets, crushed
  • 3-5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • Water

Here’s What You’ll Do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl except for water (if you were doubling or tripling the recipe I would say use a container that can be sealed and stored, since this recipe only made enough for one application I just used a plastic half pint container).
  2. Stir together and add just enough water until a paste forms.
  3. Apply paste to the gnarly areas of your bath and sink that you are embarrassed to look at and leave to sit for a few minutes.
  4. Take off clothes and climb on in.
  5. Scrub with sponge and rinse clean.

I always like to go into these recipes with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I was truly amazed by how well it worked. Not only is my tub BLINDINGLY white, but it also smells delightful.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{if you don't have a mortar and pestle just put into a plastic baggie and whack liberally with rolling pin}

{if you don’t have a mortar and pestle just put into a plastic baggie and whack liberally with rolling pin}

{bubbly cleaning paste of the Gods}

{bubbly cleaning paste of the Gods}

{the sink: before}

{the sink: before}

{the sink: After}

{the sink: after}

{the tub: before}

{the tub: before}

{the tub: after}

{the tub: after}

Please note: the the lighting in my bathroom is terrible. I wish that I could adequately show a before and after in a way that BLOWS YOUR MIND HOLE as much as mine was blown. In the meantime, you will just have to take my word for it and then go forth, and clean thy tub.

Happy scrubbing.

No ‘Poo for a New You!

This is likely going to be the tide dividing post for most of you. It was all fun and games until we told you to stop using shampoo and conditioner. Homemade lotions: delightful! Borscht: delicious! No shampoo/conditioner: what kind of granola crunching freak do you take me for?!

I get it; I was a bit skeptical at first myself.  However, I am going tackle this particular lifestyle change from three angles:

  1. Good for your wallet
  2. Good for your body
  3. Good for the Earth

I can almost promise you that once I am done with you, you will get on the no ‘poo train immediately and NEVER LOOK BACK. Or try it, decide that it’s not for you and get back on the train to Shampooville. No judgment here.

Ok. A little background on the No ‘Poo, it basically consists of three things: Baking soda, Apple Cider Vinegar and Water. The idea is that baking soda is mixed with water and used as “shampoo”, and a dilution of apple cider vinegar and water is used as “conditioner”.

Are you with me so far?

Yes? Good.

Now from here we will have to part with a few things in our life:

  • Lather. Yeah, say goodbye. Also you probably would want to say goodbye anyway if you knew why your shampoo lathers.
  • Froofy (should be a word, you get me) smelling shampoos and conditioners. Those artificial scents are lovely, and addicting, but they don’t really last through the day, and they are also achieved by a bevy of nasty chemicals made by poor souls who have likely lost all olfactory perception.
  • The respect of your roommates and or significant other. They will scoff, they will puzzle, but you can just sit them down and say: “it’s not you, its shampoo”. They will learn to deal, and who knows, perhaps you can even convert them in time.

Now you may be saying to yourself: but Ashlee, I don’t want to smell like a pickled egg all day. Really? I mean, I do. But I don’t and neither will you. The vinegar dilution obviously smells like vinegar while you are applying it. However, it quickly dissipates once you rinse it away and as your hair dries. Nobody has to know, unless you want them to of course. In which case, say it loud and proud hero.

All right now that we’ve waded through the nitty and the gritty, lets get into the nuts and bolts:

Good for your wallet:

For this little math equation to work we are going to have to assume a few things:

  1. You buy moderately inexpensive shampoo and conditioners (around $4.50/bottle),
  2. You have shorter hair and use approximately ½ tbs per shower.
  3. You shower/wash your hair everyday.

If this doesn’t apply to you, you can extrapolate from the following information.

So let’s just say you buy a 10.1 ounce bottle of shampoo and conditioner at $4.50 a pop.  10.1 ounces contains approximately 40 washes, or a little over a month of everyday washing. This means that over the course of the year, you would spend around $108 on shampoo and conditioner.

Now if that doesn’t seem egregious to you, let’s consider the alternative:

One 16 ounce package of non chemically treated baking soda (like Bob’s Red Mill), costs about $3.30 (mind you all of these are estimates and far cheaper if bought online). One package of baking soda will net you about 64 shampoos or around 9 weeks worth of everyday washing.

One 32 ounce bottle of organic apple cider vinegar will cost $6.70 and net you a whopping 64 weeks worth of conditioning, or 16 months worth of everyday washing.  Now this means that over the course of the year, you would spend roughly $27. That is a savings of $81! Which over a ten-year period is over $800! Shoot girl, treat yo’ self.

Moving right along.

Good for your body:

We’ve all seen the commercials: leggy beauties with long bouncing hair, alongside some sort of weird follicle graphic which is meant to convince you that you have damaged strands which are practically begging for the latest in shampoo innovations. I’m over it. All shampoos are made up of the same basic ingredients:

  • Water: Over 80% of your $4.50 is just plain ol’ h20.
  • Surfactant: A detergent that cleans by trapping dirt and oil so they can be rinsed away.
  • Foaming Agents: Fancy chemicals like cocamide and coamidopropyl betaine. And guess what, these chemicals do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, save for providing us with the lather that we the consumer, expect.
  • An Acidic Ingredient: Sodium citrate or citric acid is used to maintain the proper pH level in the shampoo.
  • Silicones: Polymers that coat the hair to create shine and smoothness. I dare you to look at the Wikipedia page for silicone. Yeah, that photo is gross.
  • Polyquaternium: Say what? This acts like a fabric softener for your hair, depositing conditioner and fighting static.
  • Pathenol, Fatty Alcohols, and Nut Oils: Used for moisturizing and locking in hydration.
  • Midazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl, Isothiazolinone, and Sodium Benzoate: My spell check right now is like, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?! “Anyway, these are all preservatives that keep your shampoo from growing mold or bacteria.

I’ll spare you, and my spell check all of the ingredients in conditioners, but they mostly contain a mixture of moisturizers, lubricants, and oils all with a lot of “z’s” and “x’s”.

Then of course your have your colors and fragrances. No matter how shampoo companies try to market, they are all basically the same. Why are some shampoos $4 while others are $14? A really good branding company, that’s why.

Now I’m not going to delve into all of the harm that many of these chemicals may cause, BUT, I have found a very well researched thesis that does address many of these issues. Light reading? No. Informative? YES.

So as we did before, let’s consider the alternative:

The basic principle is that the baking soda and vinegar routine achieves all of the same outcomes as traditional shampoos and conditioners, just without all the extra stuff. There are some people who rally (quite vehemently) against this method citing that since the pH of baking soda is so high, it actually can cause damage to hair and bring about breakage. Which yes, if used on it’s own, probably would. Which is why you should use it in conjunction with the apple cider vinegar, which not only conditions but balances the pH down to a safe level as well.

Furthermore, you have to find a routine and combination that works for you. And remember that your hair and scalp will have to adjust to these changes.  And I urge you also, not to just take our word for it. Do the research, and decide if you think it might be for you. Cristiana has been on this train for far longer than I have, and has sworn by it for years. I on the other hand, am new to it, but so far, so good. We do recommend combining it with other once in a while hair treatments in the form of oils and or masks (I made one the other day using one egg, one teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar). This recipe was for a facial mask, but I thought, what the hell, lets slather it on the head too.  Needless to say, it was great for both.

And lastly…

Good for the Earth:

It’s hard to quantify certain aspects of the production and transport of various products and their effect on the Earth (mostly because there are few independent governing bodies who study and regulate cosmetic and personal hygiene products, but that is for ANOTHER post). However, there are a few things that we can say with some certainty:

Plastic bottles take more energy, chemicals, and oil to make and ship. Glass, and paper packaging while still obviously need to be shipped use far less harmful chemicals and energy to produce. Furthermore, they are more easily recycled and reused.

And that’s just the outside of the bottle. What about the inside? Well, all of those Z’s and X’s aren’t great for the planet either. The Environmental Working Group developed a website called SkinDeep. In which they have compiled a vast database of cosmetics and personal hygiene products, and given each product a rating. The ratings range from low to moderate or high human/environmental hazard. You can search for products and see where they rank, and which ingredients are of concern and why. While this website is primarily used to show the impact on humans, it’s not hard to extrapolate from the information onto a larger picture. If the products and chemicals are harmful to us, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to infer that they are not great for other animals and plants as well.

Are you so sick of me yet?

No? Good.

Phew, anyway. I think I am about done here. Once again, with this and any of our posts we just want to present you with facts, science, and healthy alternatives to the norm. Giving up shampoo for no ‘poo might not be for yoo (I AM LIKE DR. SEUSS). However, if any of these other reasons struck a chord with you, perhaps you can investigate other ways to make more natural choices for yourself and the planet. Also, saving a boatload of money is also nice too. Times are tough ya know?

{the no 'poo}

{the no ‘poo}

Cristiana Vs Ashlee’s No ‘Poo

While Cristiana and I both have a no ‘poo routine, we do thing a little differently. For one, she has long hair, I have short. She doesn’t shower/wash her hair everyday, I do. She is a nurse who, through the course of her career, will likely have to take blood from countless patients; I would literally vomit everywhere and black out. So you see, we’re different!

Ashlee’s Method (for short hair/everyday washing)

Around the shower:

  • 1 ball jar of baking soda
  • 1 squeeze bottle of diluted vinegar and water (with the ratio marked on the bottle for easy refilling) Ratio: 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water.
  • 1 tablespoon (for measuring the baking soda)

The method of the madness:

Once hair is wet I scoop out half of a tablespoon of baking soda into my hand and mix with a little bit of water. From there I apply it to my head, scrub it into my scalp real good like, and rinse.

As for the vinegar, I just squeeze it over my head until I am satisfied. It feels like a lot more than it probably is. I likely use about ½ a tablespoon to 1 tablespoon at a time. Once I’ve applied the vinegar I give it a good rub in and then rinse off.

I use the same dilution of vinegar on a cotton ball as toner once I am out of the shower. (You may want to adjust to a more watered down dilution for toner if your skin is really sensitive)

Cristiana’s Method (for long hair/not everyday washing)

Cristiana uses pretty much the same method. However, she has been doing things for longer, and just eyeballs it. Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a measuring freak. I measure EVERYTHING. When I watch cooking shows and they “eyeball” tablespoons of liquid I die a little inside.

Anyway, before getting in the shower, she scoops about a tablespoon of baking soda in a jar and brings it in with her. When ready to wash her hair, she mixes it with water until it looks like watered-down milk, pours it on her head, scrubs it in, and rinses it out.  Concentrate on massaging it on your scalp; the mixture cleans the rest of your hair well by just running through it as it rinses out. Then she uses the same jar to add a splash of vinegar, adds about a cup of water to it, pours it on her head, makes sure all hair is saturated, then finally rinses it out.

A few things to keep in mind: if you don’t want your baking soda to accidentally come in contact with water, leave it somewhere near the shower where it is within reach but not at risk for becoming inundated with water. Also, organic apple cider vinegar should be kept refrigerated once it has been opened. I leave my dilution for the week next to my shower, but keep the rest refrigerated.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, congratulations! You’ve won! We hope to have at least tickled your curiosity. Give the no ‘poo a try sometime! Also, if you come up with a more attractive name for no ‘poo, you should really trademark it immediately, because let’s be honest, it’s kind of a gross name.

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

All of Your Beeswax, now with 100% more food recipes! So Cristiana and I had a very lovely (and long) drive back to NYC from Ohio, and we talked a lot about what we wanted the blog to include. We decided that we should include some recipes every now and again, because really, treating your body right goes beyond what you put on your head and face. What goes into your mouth is equally if not, more, important.

A little background on this recipe: My dear friend Chloe is studying to become an acupuncturist, and anytime I’m home (which is unfortunately not very often), I like to prod her with questions about why my body is weird, and then I let her prod me with needles. It’s a good time. It has been determined that I have a blood deficiency. It’s fairly common in women, and it causes a whole bevy of issues. So we talked about what sorts of things I can start eating to get my blood and body back on track. I’ll spare you all of the FASCINATING science of Chinese medicine (because I could ramble on for days and still probably not do it justice), however, I highly recommend seeing an acupuncturist at some point in your life. They really can tell you a lot about your body, and especially if you are just feeling kind of in a funk, it’s good to reboot your chi every once in a while.

ANYWAY.

For blood deficiencies there are a lot of helpful things you can eat, for example: leafy greens, red meat, whole grains, etc… Chloe also mentioned that really, anything red is good for your blood. As she said in a caveman voice: “Red food good for blood”, wisdom of the ancients. So I set out to make something red. Furthermore, for people with blood deficiencies they should eat things that are warming, so I naturally thought soup. I went to the store and bought some red stuff: red cabbage and beets. I also got some leeks and had a sweet potato and some garlic lying around at home. I thought: how revolutionary! Cabbage, beet and potato soup, what a thing I have invented! Well as it happens, I did not invent this. It’s called borscht (my apologies to mother Russia for thinking that I made this up).

Now, I didn’t look up a recipe because soup is kind of one of those foolproof things that you can just sort of wing. That being said, I am typing this as it is cooking, so we will see how much of an asshole I am in about an hour.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium beet (peeled and cut into big chunks)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and cut into big chunks)
  • ½ of the white part of a bunch of leeks (so precise right?)
  • ½ small head of red cabbage (cut into chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Enough stock or water to cover vegetables (I used organic beef stock)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Oil
  • Crumbled goat cheese for garnish (optional)
  • A stick blender, food processor or blender

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Heat a bit of oil in heavy stock pot (I used a small dutch oven)
  2. Sautee leeks in oil until soft (2-3 minutes)
  3. Add cabbage, garlic, beets, potato
  4. Cover with stock
  5. Bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer until all vegetables are fork tender (about an hour, it’s ok if the beets are a little hard still, they’ll blend).
  6. Blend. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in more stock or water to thin to desired consistency.
  7. Add crumbled goat cheese if you’d like (adds an amazing creamy finish and goat cheese and beets are a match made in heaven)
  8. Eat. Enjoy!

As I sit here and eat the fruits of my labor it is most decidedly not a failure. The sweet potato adds a nice sweetness that balances the acidity of the cabbage and beets. It is a hearty, heart-warming soup that is sure to make your mouth and blood happy. Also, don’t be alarmed if your pee is red. These things happen.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{sweat them leeks}

{sweat them leeks}

{I love how beets appear to have a wood grain, so lovely}

{I love how beets appear to have a wood grain, so lovely}

{just look at all those chunks!}

{just look at all those chunks!}

{the finished product, the color is ever so delightful}

{the finished product, the color is ever so delightful}

Pore Strips!

For being tiny little pieces of paper, pore strips can cost a pretty penny. Some can even cost you over 50 cents, PER tiny piece of paper. Ours cost you basically nothing, and are stupidly easy to make. The only downside: they smell AWFUL. We aren’t going to sugar coat this one for you, gelatin has a pretty pungent odor, and when you mix it with milk, and then add heat, well…it’s just bad. We tried a few variations, and you can make the one that suits your gag reflex.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1.5 tsp milk or water
  • a few drops tea tree oil (to combat the stank, and to add a lovely tingly antiseptic feeling that is great for acne prone skin)
  • parchment or regular ol’ paper (if you would like to make your own strips)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Mix together gelatin and milk (or water), if using tea tree oil add a little less liquid and add tea tree oil before heating
  2. Heat in microwave for 15 seconds
  3. Slather it on wherever you desire clean pores, let dry and peel off. You can also spread in on parchment or regular paper, cut into strips and apply to face.

After trying a few variations there are a few things we know for sure: the mixture with just the gelatin and milk worked the best. We don’t know if it’s the lactic acid or an embodiment of the phrase “pain is beauty”, but that one really works. The water mixture works fine as well, and anything with the tea tree oil was just better smelling and fresher feeling. The nice thing is, this is so cheep to make in tiny little batches that you can experiment with what works for you.

{there's a whole lotta pore cleaning to be had in this little box}

{there’s a whole lotta pore cleaning to be had in this little box}

{at this point, it doesn't smell, wait for it}

{at this point, it doesn’t smell, wait for it}

{gags}

{gags}

{apply liberally to strip of your choice}

{apply liberally to strip of your choice}

{or just put straight on your face, so fun to peel!}

{or just put straight on your face, so fun to peel!}

{on a post-it}

{on a post-it}

{oh, so stylish}

{oh, so stylish}

Let us know if you come up with any variations that you like! Or if you somehow find a way to extract the funk. Happy peeling!

-Cristiana & Ashlee