Watch the Video:

Update: You may notice some separation in the product. Just shake it before each use.

Before I started using natural products I found that toners and astringents can be very drying. Over drying your skin with alcohol-based products can actually increase the amount of oil your skin produces. Not only do these products not help but they’re also filled with toxic ingredients that aren’t safe for you or the environments. With some research I found that you can make your own toner with things you probably already have in your kitchen. 

Do you ever wonder why people put cucumbers on their eyelids at the spa? Well, cucumbers have soothing properties that reduce inflammation and puffiness on the skin. Cucumbers are also 95% water so they are a great hydrating product; especially in warm weather. Tomatoes are the key ingredient for this toner. Tomatoes have antioxidants that fight against cells that can damage your skin. Tomatoes are also acidic (don’t worry the level is safe for consummation and application) so it does a great job in tightening the pores that produce excess oils. It’s important to understand that you will never be able to close your pores and your body will always excrete oils, sweat, etc. It’s just that the larger your pores are the more oily your skin can get and the easier it is for your skin to be prone to breakouts. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin A, C and K. Vitamins A and C are commonly found in acne products but they're added with a bunch of toxic ingredients so the purpose can be defeated. Now that you know about the health bit let’s get into the actual DIY!

 Ingredients (Sizing depends on how much you would like)

1 handful of grape tomatoes, ½ of a tomato or 2-3 slices of a tomato

3-4 slices of cucumber

½ cup of green tea (from a tea bag- don’t use a Snapple or Honest tea)

½ cup of apple cider vinegar

½ cup of water (to dilute the acidity levels)

½ teaspoon of lemon [or lime] juice*

These ingredients are customizable. Feel free to add rose water, tea tree oil, essential oil or witch hazel for a different effect. *optional

Directions - With A Blender

1.      Add wet ingredients into a blender and blend!

2.      Transfer into an oil bottle (mine is an old jojoba oil bottle from Trader Joe’s. You can also use a mason jar, soap dispenser, water bottle or anything else that can hold your toner.)

Directions -Without a Blender

1.      Diffuse cucumbers in 1 cup of water overnight. Because of this step you won’t need to add the ½ cup of water that I mentioned above.

2.      Add green tea bags into cucumber-water and warm. Let it cool down completely before moving to the next step. It should not be above room temperature at all

3.      Squeeze tomato liquid into the cucumber-water (if you have a strainer use that to avoid the seeds getting into your toner but it’s not a big deal if you don’t have one).

4.      Add ½ of apple cider vinegar and mix it all together (You can add any of the optional ingredients that I mentioned above)

5.      Transfer into a holder and enjoy!

Gross; I know but I wanted to show you guys that it really does a great job in removing excess dirt from your face even after you've washed it.

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Green Beauty: Tomato Toner for Oily Skin

Update: I recommend using this product and then exfoliating after. I've noticed that all of the product does not come off with just water. Working on some new variations to combat this. 

About a year ago I bought my first charcoal-based product. I didn’t do any research on it but all I knew was that it was supposed to detoxify my skin. It was natural too so I was sold. I purchased the activated charcoal face scrub from Onyae Naturals and although I haven’t repurchased in a while I absolutely love this product. I noticed that my skin would clear up when I used it about twice a week and it was then that I decided to do some research into activated charcoal (Onyae Naturals Activated Charcoal Face Scrub Review).

For one, this is not a new or innovative material. Activated charcoal has been around for centuries which shouldn’t surprise us folk that like raw materials. Just know that any natural or earth-based material has been around for ages and that our generation or the one before are not the first to find out about it or incorporate it into our lifestyles. According to this article activated charcoal can be made from bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal, lignite coal, coconut shells, wood, etc.  More from this article:

Activated carbon is defined as carbon that has been heated or otherwise treated to increase its adsorptive capacity.
The key property of activated carbon is adsorption, which allows gases and chemicals to adhere to millions of microscopic pores on the internal surface area of the material. Adsorption should not be confused with absorption (spelled with a B). Adsorption is the adhesion of molecules from a gas or liquid (adsorbate) to a surface of a material (adsorbent). Absorption is the process in which a molecule (the adsorbate) permeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid (the absorbent). So Adsorption is a surface adhesion phenomenon while absorption utilizes the total volume of the material to capture the absorbent.
“Activating” carbon is the process of making the carbon high in surface area to facilitate adsorption.
Adsorption opens a world of opportunity for industrial applications. Activated carbon is used to filter water, purify gas, and is even used as an ingredient in prescription medicines.

I know for a fact that I will be creating variations of these masks but I wanted to start off with something very simple.

Disclaimer: Activated charcoal powder is very fine and light making it the perfect product for a huge mess so be careful when opening the bag and transferring the charcoal. In case of a spill, hard surfaces will be fine after a quick wipe down with a non-toxic cleaner or plain water but fabrics can be trickier

Activated CharcoalAmazon
            Eye measurements: Use the amount you want depending on how many uses you want. I store mine for two weeks so I use about 4-5 spoonful’s.
Tea Tree Oil* – Whole Foods but can be purchased here
            1-2 drops
Sea Salt*
            A Pinch
            Eye measurement but pour liquids in gradually. You should have more dry products than wet to avoid a very water-y consistency

Mix it all together and enjoy!

Green Beauty: Activated Charcoal Mask with Minimal Products

Hey Guys!

I know I’ve been gone for a while – school got the best of me and right after I jumped into an internship, an on-going job search and volunteer activities like Curlfest. I am so happy I got the chance to be a part of the event. There is something so satisfying about seeing the evolution of a project you’re working on. I was part of the first shift which worked from 6am to 1pm. I helped set-up, prepare awesome gift bags and decorate and pitch in wherever need be. I think the best part of me were the goodies. Now if you don’t know, natural hair products can be a pit pricey and it doesn’t help that my hair likes the fancy stuff. I was already low on products so a swag bag filled with Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter and Mane Choice were just what I needed. I even got to meet Alba (Sunkissalba) who is litter my favorite non-toxic lifestyle blogger. Check out the video I made and a bunch of the pictures I took below! See you next year CurlFest


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CurlFest 2016

Shelcy Joseph

 I recently completed my undergraduate studies in Neuropsychology at Hunter College. I moved to New York almost 6 years ago and I love living in such a fun city. I am always on the lookout for inspiration and New York City abounds with that. I am very creative, adventurous and outgoing. During my free time, if I am not reading or blogging, I like to wander through unknown places in the city, try out new restaurants, visit art galleries and museums, engage in conversations with new people and capture moments with my camera.

Christy Joseph

I'm an International Business student at York College. I moved here from Haiti about 6 years ago and I've been pursuing my passions since. I love photography, filmmaking and fashion video blogging. I'm also a brunch and tea addict. I find inspiration everywhere and on my free time I like to explore New York City and try new things. It could be anything from going to the opera to eating at a new restaurant.

1. What are your favorite stores or places to shop?
S: I usually check out Zara, H&M and TopShop first. I have a few favorite online stores like Missguided, She Inside and Asos. But lately I’ve been really into thrift shopping. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can really find some unique pieces there. Best part is that they’re a much better alternative to regular stores because of their price.

C: My favorite store is TopShop, but some items can be pricey so I also like Zara, SheInside and H&M.

2. If you could have anybody's closet, who would it be?
S: It would be a mix of Kendall Jenner and Song of Style. I love how effortlessly sophisticated these two are.

C: Jen from Clothesencounters. She wears whatever she wants and can put together items that seem unmatchable into a chic outfit.

3. What is your "go-to" fashion piece or pieces?
S: When in doubt, a basic tee always works. I love accessorizing a gray basic tee with a bunch of necklaces and layers. Simplicity is always best.

C: I love a black pair of ripped jeans. They can be styled with anything.

4. What are your essential fashion items?
 S: A hat, a statement necklace and a pair of booties.

C: A pair of ripped black jeans, a pair of Oxford shoes and a dainty dress.

5. What's your current favorite fashion trend?
S: I am loving lace dresses, specifically the ones Zimmerman and Mr. Self-Portrait design.

C: I'm really into Zimmerman and Valentino's dresses. They take simple concepts and add a touch of eccentricity to capture the feminine side of fashion.

6. How would you [or others] describe your personal style?
S: Versatile! I draw inspiration from everything and I’m not afraid to try new things. I never thought I would like wearing culottes until I put together an outfit with them and I fell in love. On most days, I’m either edgy or casual chic, and on special occasions, I can be all classy.

C: Unexpected. It changes a lot. I can easily go from edgy to classy to bohemian. I love that it is so versatile. My sister and I are the same in that sense.

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Fashion Feature| Shelcy & Christy

Hey guys! My name is Taylor and my last name is super embarrassing so let's not. I'm a 17 year old aspiring model and makeup artist. I love eating and flickin’ my life away on Instagram. I'm currently a dance major at Repertory High School for Theater Arts.

1. What are your favorite stores or places to shop?
I love thrifting because vintage pieces are the dopest. Metropolis, Search and Destroy, and L Train Vintage are my fave thrift stores. I also love American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville.

2. If you could have anybody's closet, who would it be?
This is so tough. It's a tie between Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner.

3. What is your "go-to" fashion piece or pieces?
My look is very “80’s soccer mom” so maybe a fly crew neck.

4. What are your essential fashion items?
Some dope sneakers. What's on your feet will always boost your outfit. You'll also never catch me without my Virgo necklace!

5. What's your current favorite fashion trend?
Faux fur coats! Especially the pink ones.

6. How would you [or others] describe your personal style?
Very vintage and spunky. I'm not scared to take risks with what I wear.

Fashion Feature| Taylor

1. What are your favorite stores or places to shop?
My favorite place to shop, because I love treasure-like hand me downs, is this local thrift store in my city Lowell, MA called St. Vincent. Or just any thrift store really. Although a good portion of my clothes are from there Forever 21, Target, Marshalls and Journey's (for shoes) are my other go to spots.

2. If you could have anybody's closet, who would it be?
It'd be a mix between Solange, Alexa Chung and Will Smith/Tatyana Ali (fresh prince era)

3. What is your "go-to" fashion piece and/or hairstyle?
It's hard to have just one go to hair do. I'm always switching my hair up whether it's box braids, my natural hair or weaves. When my natural hair is out I always do Bantu knot twist-outs and sport a cute fro. My favorite fashion piece would have to be my older sister's big faux pearl earrings that's she's never getting back (ha ha).

4. Based on the fashion, if you could live in any era [or any place] which one would it be?
A mix up between the elegant 50s-60s looks and the expressive 80s -90s looks.

5. What are your essential fashion items?
High-waisted bottoms!! You don't have to worry about a crack slip and they aligned nicely with curves.

6. Fashion advice or favorite fashion quote?
In whatever we wear I believe we should have J Alexander's voice in our head "walk like it's for sale and the rent is due tonight." Be comfortable in all things you wear, own it.

7. How would you [or others] describe your personal style?
If I had to describe my style I'd say it's a relaxed tomboy chic look. Comfort is a priority. Others say I dress pretty boyish. If I really think about it, more males ask where I get my clothes from rather than females which I'm not bothered by at all because after all I shop in the men's section and have borrowed my older brothers' clothes ever since I could dress myself. Growing up I was like Donny from The Wild Thornberry’s. Free. So that kind of stuck with me in a fashion sense.

8. Favorite thing about
What I love most about is the free expression that it contains. The elephant in the room kind of topics are discussed such as race, sex and natural hair. This blog is very insightful and altogether a good read.

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Fashion Feature| Diamond

Who. What. Woke is a mini-series I created on my blog to shine a light on creators who use their artistic talents to spread awareness on social issues in the world.

Meet Candace Reels. A 26 years old Los Angeles native and the founder of Female Collective. She graduated college in 2010 with a BA in Business Marketing and has a huge interest in intersectional feminism, fashion, food, Aziz Ansari, and puppies. Some things she do without are misogyny and ignorance.

How did you come up with the name, The Female Collective?

The name Female Collective came about when I was just playing around with ideas of names that would represent the message I wanted my company to represent. As we all know collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together to achieve a common objective. Female Collective’s mission is to build a community where us, women promote female empowerment and girl power. A community where we celebrate, empower, uplift, and support each other.

A little background on how and why you started The Female Collective.

I started Female Collective because I was seeing so a lot of girls hating on other girls online and it bothered me so much. We shouldn’t be going against each other, we’re so much better than that. So one day I decided to just start an Instagram account that would celebrate, uplift, empower, and support women.

Your passion is feminism. What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism to me means the social, political, economic equality of the sexes. Feminism includes all genders, races, and sexualities.

Why is it important that you spread feminism?

I think it’s important to spread feminism because I believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. I want young girls to love who they are and know that they can achieve anything they set their mind to, because that’s how I was brought up. Feminism to me is a great thing that we should all promote not just for young girls, but for young boys too. There is nothing wrong with believing in equality.

What's the best part of owning a brand? The most stressful?

The best part of owning your own brand is you create your own schedule, you play by your own rules, and there is always something exciting going on.

The most stressful part is that it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. You have these amazing days where all of these awesome things are going on and then you have days where nothing is going your way. But life’s all about the journey and I’m just here for the ride.

There are other brands targeted towards feminism already out there. How is yours different?

I love all the brands out there that are about feminism, I feel like you can never have enough people promoting female empowerment. I guess mine is a little different because I have a very sarcastic, humorous side to me that I like to share within my brand Female Collective.

Out of everything you could have created, why apparel?

I have always had a passion for fashion; despite how corny that sounds it’s true. I’m a quite shy person who has always expressed myself through my clothing. I’m able to express my feelings about society through the graphic tee I make and that’s why I choose apparel. I would absolutely love to eventually expand into more products this year, but as of now I’ll stick with graphic tees. I love them!


Who. What. Woke| Female Collective by Candace Reels

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