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Monthly Archives

December 2013

Say BYE BYE Baggage!: 10 DIY Treatments for Under Eye Baggage + Dark Circles

Oh why dost thou PLAGUE us, under eye bags + dark circles?! We’ve all had those moments where we look in the mirror and shriek from horror at the puffy-darkness that has made a home under our eyes.

baggage

Under-Eye Bags and Dark Circles are most often a result of several factors:

  • Lack of Sleep
  • High Sodium Diet
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Stress
  • Genes
  • Fluid Retention
  • Alcohol/Smoking
  • Poor Circulation
  • Lack of Essential Vitamins

Like most beauty dilemmas, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to fix the problem. In fact, most of these natural cures can be done right in your kitchen:

1. Tea Bags: Simply wet two used or unused, caffeinated tea bags with cold water and place over eyes for about 10-15 minutes (cat nap, anyone?). The tea bags help to reduce under-eye baggage through the caffeine and tannins. The caffeine works to draw away any retained water, while the tannins work to tighten the skin molecules under the eye.   The coolness from the tea bag helps to reduce swelling. Our favorite teas include Green Tea and Black Tea.

2. Cucumbers: Cut 1 slice of cucumber in half. Apply one half slice under each eye for 15-20 minutes. The coolness and anti-inflamatory properties from the cucumber helps reduce swelling while providing essential antioxidants to the under-eye. An added bonus? Cucumber is full of Vitamin K. Vitamin K has been proven to be effective in reducing under eye circles by strengthening blood vessel walls, improving circulation and fading hyper-pigmentation.

3. Potatoes: Cut 1 slice of potato in half. Apply one half slice under each eye for about 20-30 minutes. The potatoes work wonders for dark circles because of the enzyme catecholase in the potato. This enzyme can actually lighten the skin under the eyes. For an added benefit, refrigerate your potato slices to help reduce puffiness under the eye.

4. Ice/Frozen Spoons: One of the oldest tricks in the book, ice or frozen spoons (or frozen anything) can provide almost immediate relief. If you suffer from under-eye bags, place the frozen spoons or ice under your eyes for a few minutes at a time. The ice helps to reduce inflammation by constricting the blood vessels under the eye.

5. Dried Basil: Boil 1 tsp of dried basil in 1 cup of water. After 2-3 minutes, remove the mixture from heat and allow to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Once chilled, soak 2 cotton pads (cut in half for easier application) with the basil and water mixture. Apply 1 cotton pad under each eye and leave on for about 10 minutes. 1 tbsp of dried basil contains about 64% of our recommended daily value of Vitamin K. As we learned from #2, Vitamin K is an important factor in reducing under-eye circles.

6. Milk: Cut 1 cotton pad in half and soak in milk. Allow to sit under eyes for 3-5 minutes.  The cold milk reduces swelling while the proteins, vitamins and lactic acid in the milk help to lighten the dark circles.

7.  Witch Hazel: Cut 1 cotton pad in half and soak in witch hazel. Allow the pads to sit under eyes for 10-15 minutes. The witch hazel does wonders for removing puffiness and dark circles. Much like tea, the tannins in witch hazel helps to tighten the skin molecules under the eye.

8. Limit Sodium Intake: A high salt diet means water retention. Water retention means under-eye puffiness. If you suffer from puffiness, chances are you may have a high-salt diet. Try limiting the amount of salt you consume by only consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and homemade meals. Processed foods and take-out tends to have ridiculously high levels of sodium.

9. No Rubbing: As hard as it is to resist during allergy season, avoid rubbing your eyeballs. The constant rubbing can actually break the blood vessels under your eyes which can result in dark circles. If your eyes are giving you a hard time, try rinsing with cool water. 

10. Sleep: Yes, it’s not easy. In fact, this might be one of the more difficult remedies for dark circles.  After all, how do we simply get more sleep? A lack of sleep can cause the blood vessels under your eye to dilate, AKA “say hello dark circles”. Try going to bed an hour earlier. Instead of 11PM, make it 10PM. The smallest difference will have the biggest effect. Struggle to fall asleep? Read this post for some fab tips to help you fall asleep quickly!

What is your favorite DIY treatment for under eye bags and dark circles? We’d love to hear them? The crazier the better!

-Zeena

 

Lifeless Curls: My DIY Fix

Happy Friday Coconuts! We hope everyone is having a fantastic Holiday season! As you may have noticed, we have concluded our Favorite Ingredient Friday series. With a new year approaching, Brown & Coconut is saying: “Out with the old and in with the new!” We will no longer limit our fantastic recipes to just Friday’s, and we will continue to bring you interesting, helpful, and relevant content throughout the week. Great, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about CURLS, lifeless curls that is…

My DIY Fix for Lifeless Curls

I recently noticed my curls were becoming  limp and lifeless. What gives??, I thought. After doing a little research. Ieggmask3 found that in my case, I needed a little more protein, both internally and externally. As you know, hair is made of protein. So, in order to have the necessary building blocks for your hair to grow healthy and strong, you need to consume enough protein everyday, AT LEAST ½ gram for every pound of your body weight.

I also decided to try an egg-mask. I’ve heard great things about using egg in your hair, but have never tried it.

eggmask2After washing with a clarifying shampoo, I headed to the kitchen to mix 1 egg (for protein) with ¼ to ½ cup of honey (for moisture). I let the mask sit for 20-30 minutes, then rinsed my hair thoroughly and conditioned normally. I won’t lie, my hair had an odd oder afterward, not bad, just weird, so I would recommend using this treatment on a day you are not going anywhere, or use styling products with a strong fragrance.

The results? My curls were alive again!

If your curls are lookin’ a little limp, then perhaps try a protein treatment. Eggmask1Use a clarifying shampoo or rinse with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) beforehand to get rid of any build-up on your hair. Then try this egg-protein mask, or your favorite protein conditioner and watch your curls come to life!

 

My top 3 Favorite Protein Treatments:

What’s your favorite remedy for lifeless curls?

~ Letisha

Don’t Worry…Be Happy | It’s Good for Your Health

What is happiness? Better yet, what is happiness to you?

This question was probably very easy for some to answer and then rather difficult for others to answer.happy man

It’s no secret that life is hard. It’s full of negativity, conflict, struggle, sorrow, pain, death (I don’t think I need to go on..), but you can hardly be surprised when life in general begins to weigh on you. It seems only inevitable right?

I believe mental health is equally as important as physical health and so we should dedicate equally as much time to our mental health, as we do our physical health (or even physical appearance).

If you struggled to answer what happiness was to you, I urge you to invest some time in figuring out what makes you happy. Even for those who could answer with ease, reflection can be a powerful thing. It helps you to answers questions you didn’t even know you had.

Take a moment, grab a pen, some paper (or your phone, you cellphone addicts..) and write down 20 things that make you happy. I know what you’re thinking, TWENTY?!? That’s too much! I can’t think of 20 things that make me happy!

Well, look at it this way, I bet you could very quickly come up with 20 things that you hate, or that piss you off, or flat out stir some type of negative emotion in you. So, we have to teach ourselves to be more positive. Focus on the good, the great, the amazing. So, I am going to write out my list for you. Here goes nothing (wait, be more positive.) Here goes something!….(jeopardy music)…

  1. My Family
  2. My sisters and everything about them
  3. My two closest friends
  4. Spending time with my boyfriend
  5. Running
  6. Baking
  7. Listening to a song/music that touches my soul
  8. Warm summer nights
  9. Listening to crickets
  10. Holidays with my family
  11. Watching the ID channel and pretty much any crime  show
  12. Watching romantic comedies
  13. Painting my toes!
  14. Writing for Brown & Coconut of course!
  15. Shopping, or even just window-shopping. (something about being around so many new things!! 😀
  16. Drinking a hot cup of black coffee on a saturday morning
  17. Listening to rain/thunderstorms
  18. Spending quality time by myself
  19. Summer cookouts
  20. Sleeping (a lot)!!

Phew!! Okay, I did it! I can’t lie to you guys, I banged out the first 7 with ease, then I had to think for a second, but was able to get another 7 pretty quickly. Once I hit 14 I was STUCK! How bad is that??? Some deep thought got me 3 more, but the last 3 were quite a struggle!

You see why this needs to be done! Because we so easily forget what makes us happy. We focus on the negativity so much that the happiness gets pushed to the back of our minds, or even worse, out of our minds altogether! That negativity will gradually translate into physical problems, and what was once just in your mind, is now affecting your body.

So, I want you guys to make your lists. After you’re done, go check off each thing that you do regularly. How many checks out of 20 do you have? I have 10/20 — 50%, eh, that’s not so good. While some of these I can’t help, like if we go through a drought, well I clearly can’t listen to the rain, but what this means is that I need to find MORE things that make me happy that I can do regularly. I need to add more positivity to my life.

So, go make your lists! Don’t worry, I’ll wait…. *elevator music*

How did they come out?? What’s on your list?? How many of your list items do you do/experience regularly out of 20?? Comment below!!

I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say. 🙂

~ Letisha

Beauty Find: Rosehip Oil

Once again, Brown & Coconut was on the look out for another fabulous natural product that will do wonders for the body without breaking the bank or be chalk full of chemicals (yuck!). So word on the natural streets (yes, I know that’s not a real phrase but we can make it one?…) is one product that I keep hearing about: Rosehip Oil. Now, I know Rosehip oil is not new to the scene and is definitely  in many of the natural products we use,  but never purely by itself.

trilogy-certified-organic-rosehip-oil

What is Rosehip Oil?

Rosehip oil is the oil extracted from a rosebush seed, a plant typically grown in South America. The highest quality oil is cold pressed from the seed to produce an earthy, yellow tinted oil that smells similar to olive oil.

Rosehip oil is full of so many amazing ingredients that’s hard to say no!:

 – omega- 6 fatty acid

– omega-9 fatty acid

– omega-3 fatty acid

– antioxidants

– beta-carotene

– lycopene

– vitamin C

 

If you are not sold yet, let me explain the incredible benefits of using this super oil:

– Reduce redness

– Reduce wrinkles and fine lines

– Moisturize skin

– Absorb easily

– Calms inflammation

– Reduce scarring

– Improve/reduce acne

 

After researching Rosehip oil thoroughly, it was hard to pass up! I decided to order a bottle from Amazon.com. I purchased the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil for $20.00. I can’t wait to try it out and I’ll be sure to let everyone if it lives up to the hype!

Have you tried Rosehip Oil yet? Comment below!

Peace, Love and Coconuts!

-Nalani

Shampoo Bars!

So, I have heard the words shampoo bar being thrown around on many natural hair care forums, but never gave it much thought until Zeena and I were browsing a local naturally based food & body care shop.

Of course when we entered the shop, we B-lined it for the hair-care section like the true addicts we are, and there they were shampoo bars.jpg*cue the music*…the shampoo bars!

Zeena and I immediately got all googly-eyed and snatched a bar off the shelf to take a look. After some long and careful consideration (more like 2.5 seconds) I was SOLD and threw it in my basket to buy!

I purchased my bar for about $6 and busted that baby out as soon as I got home. First things first, that little sucker is SLIPPERY. As soon as it got wet, I couldn’t pin it down, it was sliding all over the shower! With that being said, I have never experienced a shampoo product with that much slip! Fabulous for my curls! The shampoo bar lathered wonderfully and worked through my hair with ease. After a nice massage with my finger tips, I rinsed. The shampoo rinsed out easily and left my hair feeling clean, but not stripped and straw-like! AMAZING!

When my hair dried, it was shiny, curl-licious, bouncy, and soft!

Will I purchase a shampoo bar again? You bet your bottom dollar! In fact, I don’t think I will be going back to regular shampoo…

Quick Facts:

  • Great latherShampoo Bar
  • Great slip
  • Neutral smell
  • Cleanses hair well
  • Non-drying

I would definitely recommend going for the natural/organically based shampoo bars and steering clear of the shampoo bars made with chemicals or other unnatural substances.

Are you new to shampoo bars? Read this to help you get started.

Have you tired shampoo bars but seem to experience negative results? Read this to find out what may be going wrong.

Want some help choosing the right bar for you? Click here. This site offers samples at a reduced price!

Have you tried shampoo bars? What do you think of them?

If you haven’t tried them, would you consider it?

~ Letisha

DIY Holiday Bow

With the holidays right around the corner, now could not be a more perfect time to start wrapping those fabulous gifts for your loved ones. The perfect addition to any gift is the ever-so-appealing bow that’s placed smack-dab in the middle. Bows just make a gift scream “Open me!”. Well, before you head out to purchase any bows right this minute, check out an awesome way you can make your own bows right at home!

main

You’ll Need:

  • Recycled Bags or Newspaper (for the gift wrap)
  • Recycled Magazine or Newspaper (for the bow)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

bow 1

Okay, now that you have your supplies gathered from wherever (don’t worry-no judgement here!), it’s time to start cutting the strips that are going to make up the bow.

bow 2

STEP 1

Start by cutting 3 strips (1 inch wide) out of the magazine. Yup, it’s that easy. Don’t worry about using a ruler (ain’t nobody got time for that). Simply eyeball your measurements, making sure the 3 strips aren’t too wide. These 3 strips are essentially the “full size” of the magazine page in terms of length.

STEP 2

Set those strips aside so you can begin cutting the next 3 strips. This is where it gets tricky. Just kidding. Again, cut 3 strips out of the magazine. This time, you are going to shave a bit off the top. Cut 1 inch off of each of these 3 strips so they are 1 inch shorter than the first 3 strips from step 1. Phew. That was a mouthful.

STEP 3

Set those strips aside. Now you are going to cut just 2 strips from the magazine. These strips are going to be trimmed down by 2 inches. Run those 2 strips under cool water. Just kidding. Don’t do that. It will ruin the strips.

STEP 4

Set those strips aside. Woo! Almost done! Cut 1 last strip. I promise this is the last one. This strip is only going to be only 3 inches long.

STEP 5

Now it’s time to make the “loops”. Starting with the longest strips, “twist” the ends into the middle. Hold each end down with a small piece of tape or with a staple. Work your way through all the strips, except for the 3 inch strip. You’ll need that later.

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

Happy little family of loops.

STEP 6

Fold the last 3 inch strip into a ring. This will be the center of the bow.

loop

Now the fun begins!

STEP 7

Layer each loop in a criss-cross pattern; a few this way, a few that way.

layer 1

layer 2

STEP 8

Hold each loop in place with a small piece of tape. Place the small circle in the middle. Wallah! You’re done!

bow final 4

bow final 2

bow final

To make the gift extra special, use a recycled newspaper or grocery bag as your wrapping paper. DIY bows and wrapping paper are good for the environment and economical! 🙂

Happy Holidays!

 

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

-Zeena

DIY Fix for Broken Nails

Wait! Before you do something irrational, let’s talk about this… I know how you must feel but there is a way we can fix this!

One broken nail doesn’t have to be the end to your nail growing success! So, before you take out those nail clippers to clip, clip away, hear me out.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to preserve a broken/split nail is by way of the “tea bag method”. This method uses the cloth-like material of the tea bag as a “band-aid” for your broken nail, holding the pieces together until the nail can grow out.

So, if you’ve broken a nail just before a big day, DO NOT PANIC! This simple method takes only about 15 minutes and will have your nails looking as long and classy as before the break!

Ready? Take a deep breath. Here’s what we’re going to do:

broken nail fix

  • Start by cutting a piece of the tea bag to cover the nail split plus some extra surface area. For example, if your split is as big as a dime (then it’s time to say goodbye) you’re going to need a nickel size piece of tea bag.
  • Cover the broken nail with your favorite base coat. Mine happens to be Sally Hansen’s Triple Strong Base Coat. This acts as a glue to hold the tea bag down.
  • Apply the tea bag piece over the wet polish. Gently paint another coat over that nail.
  • Once dry, gently buff the edges so you can’t tell where the nail and tea bag meet. Make sure to gently buff the top of the tea bag, as well. This helps it look natural/non-existent. Be careful you don’t buff the tea bag so much that it actually becomes non-existent! We still need it!
  • Once the buffing is done, apply one last coat of the base coat. This seals the deal.
  • When that coat is dry, your broken nail is as good as new and ready for the big leagues!

For more tips on how to keep your nails strong and long, click here!

Have you tried the tea bag method for your broken nails? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful!…

…but the humidifier’s so delightful!

Winter weather

 

If you’ve ever lived in a cold/dry climate you certainly know how harsh winter-like weather or dry climates can be on our bodies inside and out.

Whether it be a region that is always cold and dry, or a region that experiences winter seasonally, when that chill hits, you know what to expect.

 

Many people can experience the following:

  1. Dry skin
  2. Chapped Lips
  3. Increase in fine line & wrinkleswinter
  4. Breakouts
  5. Dry/scratchy throat
  6. Dry Hair
  7. Nosebleeds
  8. Greater risk of respiratory infections
  9. Greater risk of illness from viruses

Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to many of the above. No, not magic, but a humidifier. Plain and simple.

Using a humidifier in your home, bedroom, or office is a great way to keep your body in tip top shape when the air gets dry.

As someone who suffered from chronic nosebleeds during the winter, that would last for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, let me tell you, sleeping with a humidifier in my room has been a LIFESAVER.

Using a humidifier during the Winter or in cold and/or dry climates can help to:

  • Keep your skin & lips happy and hydrated so they stay radiant and supple,
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles — no need to spend money on expensive creams & serums!
  • Prevent weather induced breakouts because your skin doesn’t dry out and then overproduce oil to compensate (over production of oil contributes to breakouts.)
  • Keep your throat hydrated nixing that dry scratchy feeling caused by dry air
  • Hydrate your lovely locks.
  • Keep your nasal passage moist so nosebleeds will be dramatically reduced, if not sopped altogether
  • Help protect you from respiratory infections. Your lungs and nasal passage work best when they are lubricated. In a more humid environment, the tiny hairs in your lungs and nose can do a better job of fending off respiratory illnesses.
  • Offer some protection against certain viruses. For viruses that thrive in  cold dry air,  warmer/humid environments are not a place these nasty germs can survive thus, reducing your chance of infection.

Sooo, what are you waiting for??? Go out and treat yourself to a humidifier!! You’ll thank me! 🙂

~ Letisha