Avocado Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing with AvoPure

As you may recall I received a pouch of AvoPure avocado powder for the purpose of creating DIY beauty recipes.  While I was creating my DIY Avocado Pre-Poo Treatment, I thought “hmmm this would probably make a good salad dressing” and I was determined to find out.

I use a basic balsamic dressing recipe whenever I am making a salad for dinner and my typical salad includes nice chunks of creamy avocado.  I used my balsamic dressing recipe as a base and simply added a bit of the AvoPure avocado powder.  My imagination did not let me down. 20151220_133442

Avocado Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/2 c Safflower oil (or a mild flavor oil)
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp AvoPure avocado powder

Add all ingredients, except the oil, to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.  Then slowly add the oil while whisking quickly to incorporate thoroughly. This will yield a medium viscosity creamy dressing.

for the Garden Salad

  • 1 head of green leaf, red leaf or Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 6-8 Campari tomatoes (or one large tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 ounce blue cheese crumbles (optional)

Rough chop the lettuce discarding the core or base and place in a large bowl. Quarter the cucumber and add to the mixing bowl. Quarter your Campari tomatoes, or slice your regular tomato into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.  Slice your avocado in half, removing the pit. Then make vertical and horizontal slices into the flesh to create bite sized piece and add to the bowl. Sprinkle in blue cheese crumbles.  Add your dressing and toss. Yields four servings.

I serve this salad several times a week and it is very easy to make.  I like the Campari tomatoes because they have a low acidity and aren’t filled with tomato goo. They are also small which makes them easy to use.  Do not use iceberg lettuce, in fact don’t even eat that crap. It is the just solid water with no nutritional value and no taste. I love blue cheese and it belongs in this salad, but it is just as good without it.

For the dressing you can substitute pretty much anything. I use whatever I have on hand. If I am out of honey I will use maple syrup, agave nectar or even brown sugar.  For the mustard you need it to act as an emulsifier so do not exclude it.  This dressing also makes a great marinade for chicken or beef. You can make it ahead of time and store in your fridge if you like but it is very easy to make on the fly.

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Avocado Pre-Poo Treatment with AvoPure

If you are like me you love a good DIY treatment for your hair and skin. There is something lovely about making your own products that cater exactly to your beauty needs. One of my favorite natural ingredients to use in my treatments is avocado. It is a beautiful nutrient rich superfood that is just perfect for getting your life together.  However there are a few setbacks in the use of avocados: outside of living in California they are never picked fresh and you have to catch them within that ripeness window, out of season they can be pretty pricey, and they don’t lend themselves to partial use. AvoPure

I was contacted by AvoPure, a New Zealand based company that specializes in avocado powder.  This foodgrade powder is perfect for use in nutricosmetic applications such as face masks, hair conditioners, soaps or balms.

From their website:

Avocado is often called a ‘food for the skin’. Nutrient dense, it has superb natural moisturising and anti-ageing properties.  And with AvoPure avocado powder, you can harness the goodness and health benefits of premium New Zealand avocados in your personal care and cosmetic products.  Being 100% pure, with no additives, fillers or manufacturing residues, AvoPure avocado powder can be combined with other ingredients without risk of chemical conflict.  The light weight, soft and incredibly fine powder provides a highly flexible base medium for cosmetics and personal care products.

Needless to say I was happy to get my hands on the packets and start playing around with recipes.  The advantages to using AvoPure avocado powder over actual avocados is that you can use as much or as little as you want, you don’t have to worry about spoilage, and it is much easier to incorporate the powder into your treatments.

DIY Avocado Pre-Poo

  • 3 oz Safflower oil (or your favorite oil)
  • 1 Tbsp AvoPure avocado powder
  • 2 oz conditioner
  • Color applicator bottle (example)

Gently warm the oil, I popped mine into the microwave for a few seconds then pour into the color applicator bottle. Add the AvoPure powder and shake until well mixed. Add your conditioner of choice then shake again.

To use: This is a pre-shampoo treatment.  Section your hair into four – six workable sections. Apply the mixture to the hair from root to tip massaging gently into the hair. Cover with plastic cap and allow to penetrate for 10-15 minutes. Shampoo and condition hair as normal. AvoPure Avocado Prepoo

For me my hair felt both soft and strengthened after using this pre-poo treatment as compared to my weekly shampoo and condition regimen.  I had wore my hair out in an afro for most of the week so it was very dry and tangled.  The pre-poo treatment really helped melt the tangles away and made quick work of my detangling session.  I am going to incorporate the AvoPure avocado powder in future skin and hair treatments and report back my findings.

 

 

Springtime Salt Scrub

Spring is officially here and what better way to bring in the season than to scrub away Winter?  When I think of Spring thoughts of citrus and jasmine are the first to my mind so those are the essential oils I selected. This DIY salt scrub is easily customizable using ingredients from your local grocer or health food store.

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Springtime Salt Scrub 

  • 1/2 cup fine Dead Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Safflower oil
  • 5 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 3 drops Orange essential oil

In a medium size bowl pour in sea salt.  Next stir in safflower oil, continue stirring until well incorporated. Lastly add essential oils and stir once more.  Pour mixture into airtight container and store away from sunlight.  When ready to use lightly dampen skin with water and apply scrub in a circular motion all over the body avoiding the face paying special attention to elbows, knees, hands and feet.  Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a towel.

How to Make Whipped Fluffy Body Butter

Whipped Fluffy Body Butter

You asked, I finally got around to posting this video on how I make my whipped fluffy butter. This is a basic recipe that is very customizable. You can experiment with interchanging the different butters and oils like swapping mango butter for shea butter or substituting olive oil and castor oil instead safflower oil.  This butter behaves differently at different temps, for example my coconut oil is a liquid in the Summer and Fall but more of a soft solid in the Winter and Spring. You can help balance this by using harder butters to make a firmer product.  I throw in whatever I have on hand, never making the same butter twice and have never had an issue. 

My recipe is different from others because it is a moisturizing or wet butter. It contains aloe vera gel (or juice) and glycerin to add moisture. You will notice a difference in how your skin feels after using.  I do not use any preservative ingredients, but the butter will last for 30-45 days in a room temp environment without mold. We normally use up the entire batch within this time frame and then I simply make more.

In my home this is used primarily as a body butter. I have gifted this to friends and family who use it as a beard butter and as a hair butter.

Whipped Fluffy Body Butter Recipe

  • 2/3 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 oz cocoa butter
  • 2 Tablespoons glycerin
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel (or juice)

Combine oils and butters and gently heat over a double boiler until just melted.  Allow to cool to room temperature then add glycerin and aloe.  Whisk together ingredients and pop into refrigerator.  Allow the mixture to cool until it is a firm set but not too hard. Use mixer starting on low, then increasing in speed to whip the mixture until it doubles in size.  Store in airtight containers away from heat and direct sunlight.

DIY Coconut Avocado Sugar Scrub via @the_WildSeed

Yesterday while talking about my skincare regimen, one of my tweeps @The_WildSeed chimed in commenting that she makes her own exfoliant and was kind enough to allow me to share her recipe.  I like to exfoliate my skin (face included) one to two times a week. Such a small gesture can have wonderful effects on your skin.

diy sugar scrub

@The_WildSeed’s Coconut Avocado Sugar Scrub

What You’ll Need:

  • glass jar with lid
  • coconut oil
  • avocado oil
  • essential oil
  • sugar

Mix equal parts of coconut oil and avocado oil with a few drops of essential oil (I like lavender) set aside.  Place sugar into glass jar then add the oil and mix. As a rule, you want just enough oil to coat all the sugar, you still want the exfoliating properties of the sugar.  Add a couple drops of tea tree oil if you suffer from severe skin issues (eczema).

Haley’s Notes: When I make a scrub I use about a 1:1 ratio of liquid to exfoliant.  Start with 1/2 cup which should be enough for a few applications. You can use any kind of sugar. I suggest using a fine grain if using on your face or a coarser grain for feet/elbows.  You can use any type of oil you like or have laying around. Exfoliate your skin by massaging the scrub in small circles for several minutes then wash and rinse as normal.

Click here for more DIY hair and body recipes. 

DIY Laundry Detergent

Here is a great money saving idea. A lot of us are going back to making products in their own home.  A while back I reviewed a natural soap bar, Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap, as part of my bar soap challenge where I tested different bar soaps.  I have been a fan of Kirk’s  ever since and they recently posted a recipe on how to make your own laundry soap. The recipe is very simple so I wanted to share with all of you. This recipe is for a powder (dry) laundry detergent mix.  There is another recipe for liquid. Happy mixing.laundry-detergent

Kirk’s Powder Laundry Detergent Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar of Kirk’s Coco Castile Soap, grated
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/3 cup OxiClean

Mix ingredients together well. You may opt to add to a blender or food processor to mix thoroughly.  After mixing store transfer to an air tight container for storage.  Add two Tablespoons to each laundry load for washing.

This is just a basic recipe. You can experiment with different levels of cleansing agents.  You can also add essentials oils to make this smell nicely.  You will still need to pre-treat your clothes for stains and use bleach for whites.

DIY Pineapple Beauty Treatment

Pineapple is a tropical plant who’s fruit and juice is used in cooking all over the world.  Pineapple contains a natural enzyme, bromelain, which is an exfoliating enzyme that digests dead skin cells.  You can use pineapple in your beauty regimen to remove dead skin cells, balance the skin and even overall appearance.

When using pineapple in skin care remember fresh is best. If you cannot get fresh pineapple opt for canned pineapple in its own juice with no added sugar or pineapple juice with no added sugar.

Pineapple Juice Toner

Apply pineapple juice to clean skin using cotton ball, allow to sit for 5 minutes then rinse thoroughly with water.

Pineapple Restoring Mask

Blend pineapple flesh on pulverize/puree setting until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and add a few teaspoons of honey.  Apply mask to face, massaging in circular motion and let sit for 5 minutes.  Rinse skin with warm water and pat dry.

Grab fresh pineapple, mash it up mix with a little honey to help form paste apply to skin. No rubbing required.

An here is a little tasty libation a la Lola Zabeth: Drunken Sponge Bob

  • 6 ounces fresh pineapple (or 1/3  can of pineapple in juice)
  • 2 ounces rum
  • sparkling water

Place pineapple into freezer until cold.  Blend pineapple flesh and rum on pulverize setting until smooth.  Spoon pineapple mixture into glass, add sparkling water and stir.  Sip and enjoy.  This also makes a delicious drink sans rum, but in my opinion everything is better with rum :)

Lola Zabeth has great recipes on her site including this one for a pineapple scrub.

DIY Protective Style: Havana Twists

Since posting this picture last December I have received so many questions about this style “Where can I get this done?” “Where can I buy this hair?” “Can you show me how to do this?” While we know that this style originated from Afrigenix Salon in New York and that the style is just really thick kinky twists the question remains for those of us outside NY how to achieve this look. Well you are in luck because all of these question and more have been answered!

Fingercomber.com retailer of the Havana Twists bulk hair has put together a tutorial on how to create this style at home.  To achieve Havana Twists, you need Havana hair which is different than the hair used for puffy twists, kinky twists, or marley hair.  From the website:

Havanna Hair is a soft, yet highly textured man made hair fiber that is created to blend well with a broad range of natural hair textures. It is created to be long lasting and re-usable. It should be washed and treated in the same manner of natural hair, and it benefits from the application of natural oils, co-washing and water-spritzing. It can be used to create a variety of natural hair styles, but it is most popularly used to create “Havana Twists”. To create Havana Twists, you will need between 5 and 7 packs, depending on the thickness of your hair, and the desired density and fullness of the look you are aiming to achieve.

So once you have ordered the hair you need to install it.  The installation method is the same as other twist extensions used for yarn twists, kinky twists, etc. but if you are not familiar you can check out the tutorial here with full pictures. This style is definitely on my list of protective styles to try during the fall/winter months. What about you, are you feeling these Havana Twists?