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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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How to Lighten & Brighten Skin Naturally

Most people suffer from some type of unwanted skin darkening at some point and there are many reasons why this can happen: friction, chafing, skin irritations from hair removal, sun exposure/damage (freckles, hyperpigmentation), scarring from injury, acne, skin allergies or rash, contact spots (knees, elbows, back of ankles), or simply genetics, etc…

Skin darkening can be annoying, bothersome, or even embarrassing… luckily, there are ways to reduce or even eliminate those darkened areas.

You can invest in skin lightening or bleaching creams, serums and over-the-counter specialty treatments, or go to your dermatologist for medical remedies.

You can also choose the natural method, using simple and affordable ingredients at home. Natural methods work more gradually than synthetic, chemical, or medical treatments; which can be more beneficial for your skin/health, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Important Note: If you are someone with a naturally deeper skin tone,  due to your ethnicity or race (i.e. African American, Hispanic, Indian, etc.), always consult your doctor and dermatologist before attempting any at-home full body skin lightening or whitening, whether over-the-counter or natural.

Now, onto the easy, natural process of lightening and brightening your skin..

  • If looking to lighten certain areas on your skin, you can choose to do this everyday or 3 times a week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Once your desired skin tone is reached, you may wish to maintain it by repeating the process on a routine basis.
  • If looking to brighten your skin, this can be done once a week, bi-monthly, once a month or simply when your skin needs a boost.
  • For face lightening: I recommend that you do not apply this more than 3 times a week, as your facial skin is more sensitive than your body, and you can over exfoliate resulting in dry skin.

This is a three part method, but you can choose to use one, two or all aspects.

Part 1: Exfoliate with Pure Baking Soda

  • Pure Baking Soda is sodium based, pH neutralizing, gentle exfoliant
  • It will help to loosen the  dead skin cells and prep the skin for the next steps
  • Create a paste, usually 2:1 baking soda to water ratio works
  • Gently massage the paste on the darkened skin areas for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity, and rinse off
  • Bonus: Since it is pH neutralizing, this exfoliant can help with acne and should not cause any irritation
  • NOTE: Since Pure Baking Soda is essentially salt, please take caution if you are on a strict low sodium health regimen, and while you will only be applying it for a couple minutes at most, what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body
  • NOTE: Exfoliate only once a day with the Baking Soda paste
  • FOR FACE: Do not apply to face for more than 30 seconds – avoiding the eye area, and at most once a day, 3 times a week

Part 2: Apply Lemon Juice or Papaya on clean, exfoliated skin

  • Apply an antioxidant- vitamin rich – alpha hydroxy acid, like lemon juice or papaya
  • Alpha hydroxy acid rich fruits, like lemon and papaya, naturally exfoliate skin
  • They also fight free radicals and help with new skin cell growth and turnover
  • Lemons, rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, help lighten skin
  • Papayas, which contain an enzyme call papain, help with hyperpigmentation
  • Slice fresh lemon or papaya (removing seeds) and rub slices over skin, coating the areas with the juice
  • 100% Lemon Juice from concentrate on a cotton pad/square/ball can be substituted
  • Allow to sit and dry on skin for 10 minutes, no more than 20 minutes, rinse with luke warm water
  • For very dark problem areas or spots, apply slices directly onto area and leave for no more than 10 minutes and rinse with luke warm water
  • If using papaya, it may help to dice and create a pulp
  • Remember, this is an acid treatment, meaning your skin can dry out if you fail to properly moisturize
  • NOTE: When treating with an alpha hydroxy acid always use an SPF lotion, as your skin is more sensitive
  • NOTE: Apply no more than twice a day, and if you have sensitive skin, opt for using a diluted lemon juice
  • FOR FACE: Avoid eye area, leaving juice or pulp on skin for no more than 15 minutes  then rinse with luke warm water

Part 3: Use oil to lock in moisture, brighten, help with skin renewal and anti-aging 

  • Oil is a great option for locking in moisture, and keeping skin soft and supple
  • It also helps in loosening dead skin cells, as opposed to a regular moisturizer
  • Antioxidant rich oils help against free radicals, sun-damage, and helping with anti-aging and skin tone
  • Massage the oil into all your skin, concentrating on the darker and more drying areas, up to 3 times a day
  • Remember to choose a light, gentle, non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) oils
  • I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate on my face nightly and Neutrogena Body Oil
  • I also recommend Grapeseed and Evening Primrose oils, both of which I use/have used in the past and loved
  • NOTE: Using oil does not make your skin more oily, in fact it has the opposite effect and can help resolve oily skin
  • FOR FACE: Oil is usually applied in the evening for your face. Using 2 to 4 drops of oil is enough for the face and you can apply your normal nightly moisturizer after a few minutes.

There you have it… A LOT of info, but I hope it helps. Oh…and remember, fundamentally, 2 of these steps are salt and acid – so take precautions if you have cuts, sores or any type of unhealed wound – it will sting! Pass the info on to those you know who could benefit from this – no one should have to feel insecure about this issue 🙂

Oh and of course, remember good hydration – drinking plenty of water – is the best option for keeping your skin healthy! 


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CleanUp Time: Make-Up Brushes & Sponges

Is your skin looking not-so-hot? Do you use make-up brushes or sponges? Did you know that they may be why your skin is in a funk?

Well, it is true, if you are not cleaning your make-up tools often enough or properly. Brushes and sponges not only accumulate product residue, but also bacteria, which without proper cleaning, means that you are spreading that days old product residue and bacteria onto your face. Eeek!

Based on how much and how often you apply make-up, brushes should be cleaned thoroughly once a week to once a month. I would also recommend using a daily anti-bacterial brush cleaner in between proper cleanings.

The exception to this would be if you have enough brushes to use some for a limited time and move onto using more clean brushes.  The only issue with this – when you run out of clean brushes, you will have A LOT to clean at once! Not fun – I know 😦

So onto how to clean your brushes (according to me and what I have learned)…

Cleaning make-up brushes:

Step 1: Gather your brushes and take them to a flat surface with plenty of space, either on a bathroom/kitchen counter or table.

Step 2: Grab a medium size bowl (or partially fill your bathroom sink) with warm water.  Doing this wastes less water.

  • Depending on how dirty your brushes are and how many, you may have to empty and refill the water once or twice.

Step 3: Wet the bristles of the brush, doing your best to avoid wetting the brush handle.

  • Wetting the brush handles, especially if wood, can damage them – as water makes the wood expand, when it dries, the handle can crack.

Step 4: Add a small amount of brush cleaner/soap to your palm and swirl the brush into your palm, sweeping back and forth.

  • Do not push the bristles down – the forcible spreading of the bristles outward can/will damage the brush density and form.

Step 5: Rinse under clean cool water and repeat Step 4, in the bowl of water, until the brush is clean of make-up.

Step 6: Gently squeeze the bristles, ridding the brush of as much water as possible, and re-form the brush to its smallest density.

  • When squeezing the brush, do so downward – from the brush handle towards the end of the bristles.

Step 7: Dry the brush handle with a clean towel, if necessary, and allow the brush to dry – brush head end down.

  • If the brush is not dense enough to support the weight of the brush, meaning the bristles bend when placing the brush bristle end down, then lay the brush down on a clean towel to dry overnight.

The brush shampoo I currently use:

Sephora Purifying Brush Shampoo 

The daily brush cleaner I currently use:

Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner

(spray after use and allow to dry – no rinsing required)

When I don’t have my Sephora brush shampoo:

I use a 2:1 ratio of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Dial Gold Antibaterial soap. Works just as well.

I have mentioned this in a previous post, but to those new readers or in cased you missed that post, make-up sponges should be cleaned after each use. Since sponges absorb more product and absorb the product deeper than brushes do after one use, proper daily cleaning is important.

Cleaning make-up sponges:

Step 1: Take the sponge(s) to your bathroom/kitchen sink.

Step 2: Do NOT wet the sponge

Step 3: Grab some oil (yeah – I did just said oil, grape seed or olive, or even baby oil)

Step 4: Pour the oil on the more stained areas and work the oil into the sponge well.

  • The oil breaks down the cosmetic ingredients and separates the makeup from the sponge better than regular soap.

Step 5: Squeeze the dirty out! Then squeeze some more.

  • Repeat Step 4 until the stains are gone.

Step 6: Grab some of your brush cleaner, gentle facial cleanser or some baby shampoo/antibacterial hand soap and wash out the oil.

Step 7: Squeeze all the water out using a clean paper towel and check for any oil residue.

  • Check for oil residue by pressing the sponge onto your clean, dry hand – you will be able to feel/see on your hand if there is still oil.
  • Repeat Step 6 until you have rid the sponge of the oil.

Step 8: Allow the sponge to dry or use it right away – if you prefer using your sponge damp.

Side Tip: Wash your pillow cases often too.

  • Why? 1. Sebum (Face “Oil/Grease”) 2. Sweat 3. Product Residue 4. Bacteria

Have fun cleaning your way to good skin!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Chloe + Isabel boutique and spread the word! You’ll love it and I’ll love you for it!