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How I made one change to stop wrinkles around my mouth

Tiffany Burns writes at

I’m 37 now. And two years ago, I started to notice wrinkles around my mouth. If you thought I was going to tell you about an all-natural cream or DIY face mask to reverse the signs of aging, I’m not. I used something much more immediately effective to stop wrinkles around my mouth from getting worse.

Actually, to be more specific, it’s mostly one line one the left side of my mouth that’s becoming deeper as I age. What?! I just kind of assumed that it wouldn’t really happen to me.

Wrinkles happened

Really? Tiff, you didn’t think you’d get wrinkles? Hey, I was young, and oddly enough, in terms of keeping me in a cloud of denial, it helped that my husband is five years older than me.

When we met I was only 18. Our circle of friends is older than me, mostly. I always looked much younger than the people around me. I was in high school. They were college grads. They were born in the 70s. I was born in the 80s. From their perspective, I didn’t even look like I was aging.

Looking younger became part of my self-identity. The young one. A kid. Youthful, glowing, young-looking skin. I didn’t think much about wrinkles. Didn’t need to, they weren’t going to happen to me.

Times change

But then, I noticed wrinkles on our friends, mostly around the eyes for the ladies and between the eyes for the guys. At first, I felt a combo of heartache and hubris.

(Hubris is just Latin for being a self-centered ego-freak jerk. I needed an “h” word to flow with heartache.)

Heartache because I don’t want them to look older. If our friends look older, that means we have to confront our parents getting older and all the things we still want to accomplish or we have to start settling for reality and we’re moving into a new phase in life and I was comfortable in the youthful phase and now our youth is gone and time is passing and you can never go back and ahhhh. Life is so short.

Hubris because deep in the back of my mind I thought, “better her than me.” What a jerk. As if I was so immune and not just five years younger. And, actually I also felt a little annoyed at my friends. Why wasn’t he taking better care of his skin? Why is he letting those creases get so deep? Lazy. After all, I had to look at his wrinkles and see my own mortality. And, shouldn’t looking at your friends’ face be all about you, anyway?

But then, pretty much the day after I turned 35, I saw this…

Fair skin mouth line wrinkle

There’s no filter or editing on that photo. My skin is that fair.

Little did I know, but noticing my first real wrinkle on the left side of my mouth started me on a process. If you’re older than me, maybe you are already further down this process than I am. If you are younger than 37, consider this a heads up.

Rationalizing aging

I started looking at older people, really noticing their wrinkles and wondering what they looked like when they were young and how they are coping with looking into the mirror at a face that shows time. How do they feel when they look at the lines on a loved one’s face?

Do they even see what I see? Do we all see our wrinkles differently? I don’t exactly stand in front of the mirror and try out all of my daily expressions so I know what they look like. Of course, a person’s perspective changes with age.

It’s more of a study now for me, a study of people almost like works of art. Art that shifts and changes every day. Interesting art. There’s a real beauty in aging. Isn’t there? You gain so much. You wear your life experiences on your face. You may resemble the people of the past – people you’ve lost – but you are your own. You get your own wrinkles. All yours.

What am I learning

Number 1, before you drive yourself crazy for no good reason…and before I give you any tips about how to stop wrinkles around your mouth, eyes or forehead, accept your wrinkles.

Find a place where you are ok with your wrinkles, your friends’ wrinkles, your parents’ wrinkles. And take the shortest road from here to that place.

Accept that you are growing older, like you did when you were a kid, like back when you viewed aging as moving toward something good not away from your youth. Worry about things you can really impact in your life, not the things that are inevitable.

I lost two cousins my age over the past two years. Most of us know someone who would gladly trade places with us and our wrinkle worry. Accept a wrinkle here and there and smile bigger. Make more laugh lines because you’re alive if you’re reading this.

Someone who has a real, serious health problem doesn’t have the luxury to sit around and ponder his wrinkles. Someone out there isn’t worried about one small wrinkle around her mouth because she’s got to face her mortality in much more painful or real ways.

Ok, that’s on the table now. Big reveal

Stopping my wrinkle

Alright so, you came here to find out the key step I took to stop the wrinkles around my mouth. I told you it wouldn’t be a cream or peel, and you know it’s all-natural because that’s my whole gig.

It was a pillow. A very specific pillow.

Following my 35th birthday, and the aforementioned appearance of the wrinkle that started it all, I spent a month or so doing internet searches, trying stuff, buying stuff, and asking people what they do to stop wrinkles. I studied my laugh line during different parts of the day, before wine/after wine, before/after coffee, and before/after sleep.

During that time, it become more about educating myself than scrutinizing my face or my vanity. It started to become a personal experiment on my little wrinkle guinea pig.

Making some switches

After a month’s worth of research, I was pretty well convinced that satin should be part of the equation. A general lack of sleep, not drinking enough water and sleeping with my face all scrunched up on the edge of my foam-rubber pillow was making the wrinkle worse, but research suggested a smooth, gentle satin pillowcase would at least help with one of those things.

Plus, every morning when I woke up, I noticed the wrinkle was deeper and would smooth out over the day. Yet, at night I could feel myself getting into a cozy position with my face scrunched up on the wrinkle, like folding a piece of paper in half and running your finger down the crease. Every night.

How I stopped wrinkles around my mouth

My super secret find to stop wrinkles around my mouth was actually this x-shaped satin pillow.

I put this x-shaped satin pillow on top of my cozy, squishy foam rubber pillow every night. I even travel with it, and this one, all-natural, inexpensive trick helped stop my wrinkle in its tracks.

The criss-cross shape let’s me rest my chin and forehead on the satin and my cheek in the space between. My skin stays flat or slightly taught all night instead of scrunched up on the edge of my old cotton pillowcase.

As a result, my wrinkle is still 35 even though I will be 38 next month.

x shaped satin pillow to keep wrinkles at bay

And still…

My perspective is better. Left-side-of-my-mouth wrinkle will get deeper over time. And, I will smile at it. We’re cool now. I’ve grown accustomed to the small shift in my appearance since that wrinkle happened.

Not to mention that I realized the one slightly crooked tooth I have on the bottom will influence my smile and probably keep my future wrinkles pretty asymmetrical around my mouth. Ok. No problem. Sounds structural and I like my crooked mouth, it is jaw-droppingly similar to my great, great grandmother’s smile. Nice connection to the past.

Was that the only thing?

No. But, I do think the x-shaped satin pillow was the most impactful change I made to stop my wrinkle. The results were almost immediate. When I woke up the first morning with my new pillow, the line wasn’t any deeper.

That said, at least three other small, all-natural changes I made in recent years probably helped, too, but this post is long enough, don’t you think? I’ll cover those another time.

While I put those posts together, I have a few other skincare posts you might enjoy:

Natural skin and hair care

Skincare advice from 80 years of glowing skin

DIY coconut sugar scrub feels like you’re on vacation

Two common diy skincare ingredients you should think twice about

My clothes are selected by an online stylist at Stitch Fix. I pay a styling fee. They ship me boxes of clothes to try on. I send back what I don’t want through the USPS and pay for just the items I keep. Love it. Get a box every month.

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DIY coconut sugar scrub feels like you’re on vacation

Three ingredient DIY coconut sugar scrub

What was the first thing I did on vacation? Made this DIY coconut sugar scrub! My all-natural, homemade scrub for face and body uses only three ingredients to keep your skin soft and exfoliated.

Every December my dad, husband, kids and I fly to the Florida Keys. We love the swimming, restaurants, dive bars (this one’s kid friendly), and surprisingly rich history of Key West. Did you know the tiny island has three Civil War era forts? But, sun, fun, salt water, chlorine, a/c and long walks on sandy beaches can dry out your skin. Especially, delicate New Englander skin that has been protected under layers of clothing for three months.

Benefits of a sugar scrub

Sugar scrubs are all-natural and work better than just constantly slathering yourself in store-bought lotions. They can be used in the shower to help lock in all-day moisture. It depends on your skin and climate, but for some people, a sugar scrub in the shower replaces the need for face cream and body lotion. It could be an all-in-one.

My DIY coconut sugar scrub is vacation-themed and uses three simple ingredients you can pick up at the corner drugstore, small market or grocery on the first day of vacation. I did! Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, you can easily pack these ingredients in a carry-on or pre-make the DIY coconut sugar scrub before you travel.

Most of us have used body lotions without reading the ingredient list. Well, even if we stopped to read the ingredients, would we understand them? I am an avid reader of skin care ingredients, and I am always encountering some chemical or preservative that’s new to me. DIY body scrubs are made with simple ingredients you can pronounce…and probably already have on hand.

Is coconut oil safe?

Great question. If you have never used coconut oil in your skin care routine or are unsure if you have an allergy to it, test a patch of skin before you slather yourself in coconut oil.

For the vast majority of people, coconut oil is safe and wonderful for your skin. However, there are some people who develop a skin allergy to coconut oil. I know several of them personally, which is why I wrote this other post to encourage people to be mindful even when using natural ingredients in their skin care routine. Test before you slather.

Is coconut oil safer than a lotion that’s full of chemicals? I think so. There’s always one person in a group who says something to the effect of “chemicals are delicious” or “I prefer the chemicals.” But, most of the people who spend time at natural lifestyle blogs are not ‘that person’.

Three ingredient DIY coconut sugar scrub

DIY coconut sugar scrub recipe

60% granulated cane sugar
40% unrefined, organic coconut oil
(optional) squeeze of real lime juice

Why am I showing the recipe as a 60:40 ratio of sugar to coconut oil? If you are on vacation, you might not be able to measure exactly. I want to emphasize that it’s more sugar than coconut oil. That’s key to any sugar scrub. It’s usually a lot less oil than people imagine.

Unrefined coconut oil is less processed, which is why I recommend it. With less processing, more of the original properties of the coconut meal are retained, including a bit more of the sweet scent of coconut.

The acid in the citrus adds a little extra exfoliating, helping to clear away old, dead skin cells and bring out fresh cells underneath. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to skip the lime. As always, test your skin’s response before you rub your whole face with the scrub.

Need some ingredients? Want them delivered conveniently to your house while you are out living your life? Consider using my affiliate links for even more convenience. When you click on these links, you support this blog at no additional cost to you:

Safe storage

If you are going to keep a sugar scrub in your shower, please use a plastic container. I know glass is more eco-friendly, but reusing plastic containers is a smart way to store your sugar scrubs in the shower. Glass is dangerous in a tiled bathroom. Broken glass in a shower – with all those tiny, invisible shards – is a nightmare. Be careful.

Any other warnings?

Hummm, I’m guess I’m a cautious person. Just looking out for you.

Let’s review:

1) Test coconut oil on your skin first
2) Use plastic, not glass for safer storage
3) Be careful, the shower floor could get slippery

On that last point, in our old house, my shower floor used to get slippery all the time when I used homemade sugar scrubs. For some reason, my shower floor doesn’t get slippery in our current home. Maybe it’s different tile surfaces?

Either way, be careful to check and see of your shower floor gets slippery from the oil in the sugar scrub. If it does, just put a little soap in your hand and rub it over the floor to clean it a bit after you use the scrub. Warn anyone who might go into the shower after you that the floor could be a bit slippery.

Enjoy your soft skin

In a few quick steps, you’ve made an all-natural DIY coconut sugar scrub that should make an instant difference in your skin.

With daily use, your skin should be softer and better moisturized. And, your wallet should be healthier too. No need to spend any additional money on expensive, store-bought lotions!

Posted on 13 Comments

Two common diy skincare ingredients you should think twice about

hand holding coconut oil sugar scrub

Did you ever have an unexpected reaction to a natural ingredient? Probably. People do all the time. The way a person’s system absorbs…or rejects…the compounds it comes in contact with is unique. While natural ingredients are wonderful, they are not risk-free. I can speak from experience. Here are two common diy skincare ingredients that are usually but, not perfectly, safe and how I found out.

It’s not all that surprising that we all process things differently. Think about your own family. You’re genetically related; yet, your Aunt says onions don’t agree with her. Grandpa avoids lactose. Your niece has a nut allergy. Your sister feels great since she’s gone gluten-free. One of your twin cousins is up all night if he drinks coffee, the other can down an espresso and crash on the couch for 12 hours. Or some similar scenario. You’re all processing natural foods differently.

The same is true when it comes to the natural ingredients you rub on your skin.

I mentioned that I had my own experience with this. Yes, me. Even a natural lifestyle blogger had to tone down my usage of a certain essential oil, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here I am highlighting some of the dangers of two super common all natural ingredients you will see everywhere. Don’t avoid them, just think twice before you use them. Test them on a patch of skin. Be mindful when you use them. Be aware of how your skin reacts and that changes can occur over time.

The first occasionally-allergenic ingredient is…

Coconut oil

Cue the gasps.

The darling of the natural skincare world. Coconut oil is the base ingredient in an unbelievable number of Pintrest skin care pins. It might actually be the most common natural skin care go-to.

Widespread popularity is precisely the reason I am introducing the idea that coconut oil is not 100% fail-safe. The absolute worst time to learn that you are allergic to coconut oil is immediately after you just slathered yourself in a coconut oil body scrub.

Most people will tell you to use coconut oil on your skin and your baby’s skin, and everything is wonderful. Yet, I personally know two people with an allergy to coconut oil.

Coconut oil allergies are uncommon but do occur. They are not the same as tree nut allergies. If you were thinking that you would not be sensitive to coconut oil because you are not allergic to tree nuts, well, it turns out that those two allergies are not related.

What should you do?

The vast majority of people reading this post are not allergic to coconut oil; however, some of you will find that coconut oil clogs your pores or causes mild breakouts. And a few of you will realize overtime that you are so sensitive to coconut oil, it’s probably actually an allergy.

If you are not allergic to coconut oil, consider yourself lucky. It’s a wonderful, mild moisturizer that makes wonderful body scrubs and DIY skincare. If you haven’t tried coconut oil in your everyday skincare routine, test a patch of your skin to be sure you’re not allergic, and then, try my favorite, simple DIY recipe…

My favorite coconut skincare recipe is just unrefined, organic coconut oil mixed with sugar. In a pinch, you can use baking soda as well. If you have lime essential oil or a fresh lemon or lime, squeeze in a few drops. It smells delicious, and citrus and sugar make a natural glycolic acid. You can use this simple, effective coconut scrub on your face and body everyday in the shower. I find that it keeps my skin smoother than any store-bought product.
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Coconut oil with a coconut

Lavender essential oil

Oh this is not going to go over well. What could I possibly have against lavender essential oil? It is the world’s go-to miracle for sleeplessness and healing burns. Yeah, I know. It’s a wonderful oil. It’s gentle enough to be in tons of baby products. I really do like it. But, remember how I mentioned earlier that I had my own unexpected reaction to a natural skin care remedy?

My sister started selling essential oils about five years ago. Click here to visit her essential oils site. She told me a million times I had to try them. She said I’d love them. She couldn’t believe I didn’t already have a cabinet full of essential oils. It’s so up my alley. All true.

She studied the benefits and uses of each essential oil better than she ever studied for a class. She flew with her infant across the country to attend a conference. She was serious. And, she really enjoyed learning about the lesser-known uses for essential oils and sharing those with her friends and family.

DIY skincare warning

Lavender is often used in face oils for anti-aging. It’s a common ingredient in face creams, both DIY and store-bought. One of the lesser-known tips my sister found claimed that you should put a drop of lavender essential oil in your mascara to make your lashes grow long and lush.

I thought it was all great. I added lavender essential oil to my face creams and mascara. It made even the cheapest drug-store mascara smell like a luxury product. And my eyelashes…fell out. The exact opposite of what was supposed to happen.

At first I thought it was a fluke. I did not make the connection between my use of lavender on my face and eyes and the shedding of my eyelashes. To confess, it took me months and several delusional re-tries with the lavender in my creams and mascara to figure it out. But, the same thing kept happening. First, my lashes became patchy. Then, with continued use, I lost 40% of my eyelashes. It was noticeable.

selective focus photo of bottle with cork lid
Photo by Mareefe on

What did I do?

Mascara didn’t do me a whole lot of good when I was missing eyelashes. But, it still took me more than a year to be 100% sure why my eyelashes were falling out. How was I sure? I changed everything about my routine. I stopped using the face cream. And then, I switched to a new mascara, no additives.

My eyelashes slowly started growing back. It turns out, the only thing less attractive than missing eyelashes, is the spikey regrowth.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone will lose their eyelashes if they use lavender in their face products. In fact, you probably won’t, and if you do, it’s not serious…unless you’re an eyelash model, in which case you should put your resume together.

Back to my example of genetically-related people experiencing natural ingredients differently. My sister does not seem to lose her eyelashes when exposed to lavender essential oil. It’s just me. I am the only person I know who ever connected eyelash loss with lavender. Go figure.

Would you like to test fate?

Don’t avoid coconut oil or lavender.

Just don’t take for granted that they are safe because they are natural.

Tips for smart, safer use of natural skincare:
1) Test a patch of skin before you slather yourself
2) Be honest with yourself if you have a reaction (don’t live in disbelief like I did)
3) Pay attention over time because you might develop a reaction

Pick up some ingredients

If you want to make a sugar scrub with coconut oil, you can pick up the ingredients pretty cheaply at the grocery store or buy them on Amazon. I recommend unrefined, organic coconut oil. It is the least processed and preserves more of the natural properties of the fruit. (Yes, coconut is generally considered a fruit.) Use cheap granulated cane sugar. Turbinado aka raw sugar is too rough. If you have baking soda in your kitchen, you can substitute that instead of sugar.

Keep scrolling to use my quick links and have the ingredients shipped directly to your house.

If you have a little extra disposable income, you can try adding in a few drops of lime essential oil. It’s pretty expensive though. You can just squeeze in a drop of lime juice from the real thing. Just warning you, the scent will be absorbed into the coconut oil for the most part.

Lavender essential oil is also a wonderful product. I still use it. I just use it more carefully than I did before.

You might also enjoy this article on why I prefer to use sugar in a scrub rather than coffee grounds.

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DIY coffee scrub

Coconut and coffee body scrub

A few days ago, I wrote about how I feel about coffee scrubs. In the post, I suggested that you make your own, try it out and decide for yourself what your feelings are about coffee scrubs. It’s only fair that I give you some directions about how to make a DIY coffee scrub if I’m going to suggest you try it!

Body scrubs, in general

Scrubs like these can be made with a sugar, salt or coffee base and are blended with natural oils to exfoliate and soften the skin. It’s basically food for the skin, as all good natural skincare should be.

I make body scrubs for my friends – both men and women – on a regular basis. My kids like them so much, I use the promise of a shower scrub as a way to talk them into taking a shower.

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Not really a DIY-er? No problem. You can skip to the punchline here by just buying a ready-made coffee scrub from a verified handcrafter. It is a great gift idea for the coffee lover in your life!

But, if you want to put in the effort, it should be pretty easy to make your own scrub. I recommend you use it in the shower. As I have written before, coffee scrubs can be messy, and it’s best to keep it contained.

One major caveat: some people are allergic to coconut. If you are not sure if you have a coconut allergy, don’t slather your body in coconut oil.

If you are not allergic to coconut, check your kitchen. Do you have coffee grounds, coconut oil, sugar and vanilla? If so, let’s go.

Coconut oil on a white marble countertop

DIY coffee scrub

1/2 cup coffee grounds (used or unused but why would you not get a cup of coffee out of this?)
1/2 cheap brown sugar (Cheap white sugar will do, too. Don’t use Turbinado raw sugar, it’s too rough)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
(optional) 10 drops of essential oils, like lime, wild orange or peppermint

Dump the ingredients into a shatter-proof bowl and mix until well blended.
That’s it. Easy, like I like it.
Some directions online recommend warming the coconut oil for 20 seconds in the micro before mixing. If you do that, it’s best to add the sugar after you blend the oils and coffee together. The sugar melts a little otherwise.
There will likely be lumps of coconut oil left in your blend. Don’t worry about it. They are like little bursts of moisture.
I do not recommend you store your scrub in a glass bowl if you are going to use this near stone countertops or tile floors. Broken glass is a scary proposition for a shower.
Wet your skin and rub it with the coffee scrub.
Let it soak into your skin for a minute if you have the time.
Rinse off.

You might never look at used up coffee grounds in quite the same way after you shower together.

Coconut and coffee body scrub

How to store coffee scrubs:
In the fridge, coffee could grow mold if you don’t use it right away.
In an ice cube or silicone mold in your freezer, then in your fridge in adorable little single-use cubes.

When should you use the scrub?

You can use a body scrub in the shower everyday. If your skin seems irritated, it might be too much exfoliation for you. Just skip a few days. My skin is pretty average, and I am able to use body scrubs in the shower everyday with incredible, skin-smoothing results.

My review of coffee scrubs is controversial. I love that they are natural and reuse coffee grounds that would otherwise go into the trash or compost pile. But, overall I think they are just ok.

How often do I use coffee scrubs?

I do make them on occasion, but most of the time, I use sugar scrubs.

Olive oil and sugar scrubs are not as messy as coffee scrubs and are easier to use on your face. I don’t recommend using coffee scrubs near your eyes. Sometimes those rough little coffee grounds end up inside your eyelid. It’s an unpleasant experience.

Do I have to use it in the shower?

You can use it in any sink, if you are just looking to use it on your hands to counteract the drying effects of soap; however, coffee grounds can be sludgy and messy. I only use it in the shower. A sugar-based scrub is likely a better choice to keep near your bathroom or kitchen sink for after-soap skincare.

Please scroll down a bit and leave a comment to let us know what you think about coffee scrubs. How do they work for you?

Looking for holiday gifts? Amazon has a secret marketplace dedicated to handcrafted items all designed by small business sellers. Here’s a link.

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3 reasons I just cannot get into coffee-based body scrubs

Coffee and coconut body scrub for the shower

Maybe you’ve heard of sugar scrubs and salt scrubs (a.k.a. sea salt scrubs or dead sea salt scrubs). I love them. Sugar scrubs are my favorite only because salt will burn if it gets into your scrapes or eyes. I pretty much use a sugar scrub every time I shower, and I make them for my friends (half of the people who ask me for one are guy friends). There’s another option that’s popular for natural body buffing and polishing: coffee scrubs.

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Feel free to leave a comment and disagree with or confirm any of the points I’m making in this article. Your ideas and opinions are welcome. You may even end up doing an experiment yourself. I would encourage you to try a coffee scrub DIY or buy one and make up your own mind about them.

Typically, these coffee scrubs are made from a blend of coffee grounds, brown sugar and coconut oil. Lovely ingredients as long as you don’t have a coconut allergy, and I don’t have any allergies. No, allergies are not one of the reasons I can’t get into coffee scrubs.

I love handmade soaps. Some handmade soaps have coffee grounds blended into them to produce a more exfoliating experience. I do like those soaps. Bars of handmade soaps are very different from oil and coffee-based shower scrubs.

You will see these beautiful photos of coffee scrubs online and on social media. For the record, I don’t have anything against coffee scrubs. In fact, I will likely continue to use them on occasion. Coffee scrubs exfoliate your skin and hold skin-softening oils well.

Once I ran into an old friend on a flight to Chicago. We sat together (Southwest open seating). It was wonderful. She mentioned she loves coffee scrubs. She strongly preferred them to sugar scrubs. It sparked my interest so I went home and made a coffee scrub that weekend. It was just ok.

Why I just can’t get into coffee scrubs

Three reasons why I just can’t get into coffee-based body scrubs:

  1. If you use them on your face, you may end up with rough coffee grounds in your eye.
  2. They leave brown coffee muck under my fingernails.
  3. The coffee grounds get all over my shower.

Coffee in your eye

How did I find out that you might get coffee grounds in your eye? The hard way. Twice.

You can avoid this one if you don’t use the coffee scrub to wash your face or scalp and are careful not to rub your eye before you’ve washed off every single ground from your hands. But, I am looking for the easiest approach to natural skincare. If there are too many restrictions on a product, it’s just not easy enough for me. Plus, pretty much the only time I wash my face is when I’m in the shower. Using a sugar scrub after washing my face adds instant moisture and polishes my skin. I want something I can use from my head to my toes.

Coffee muck

When you rub your body with a coffee scrub, it leaves coffee residue on your skin. It’s a lot like the sludge you may see at the bottom of a coffee cup or carafe. Now, that’s not such a big deal, especially if you only use the scrub in the shower. It only takes an extra 20 seconds in the shower to wash the coffee sludge off your skin.

The thing I don’t like is that after I use a coffee scrub, it leaves bits of muck and coffee grounds under my fingernails. Dirty fingernails might not be such a big deal. Gardeners don’t generally mind dirt under their fingernails all that much. I don’t use gardening gloves, and during gardening season, there’s always a little dirt under mine.

It’s more the discomfort of having coffee grounds under my nails that I dislike. Ok, I’m sure I could use unused grounds instead of brewed coffee grounds, put them through the grinder and make them much finer.  But, now we’ve exceeding the amount of effort I want to put into making a body scrub, especially since I use them every day. I want to be able to blend up a scrub quickly in the middle of checking other stuff off my hectic working parent To-Do list.

Grounds up the wall

I have used body scrubs in the shower for years and plan to use them for the rest of my life. Usually, the only thing I am worried about is leaving a bit of a slippery sheen on the tiles. I do not want to worry about leaving coffee grounds or sludge splattered all around my shower tiles.

Coffee grounds on white marble shower tile

If you’re a bit of a clean freak or you don’t have children, you probably clean your shower more often than I do. In between major cleanings, I don’t want to do much more work than a few sprays of mildew remover.

When I use coffee scrubs in my shower, I end up having to fill a cup with water and splash it on the walls over and over again to clean every speck of coffee off the tiles. Ideal effort level exceeded again.

Three reasons I prefer sugar scrubs to coffee scrubs in my shower

One more thing

Even if you use yummy coconut oil and vanilla (I recommend Mexican vanilla) and elegant essential oils in your coffee scrub, it still leaves the faint scent of cigarette ash on your skin for the first 15 minutes or so after your shower. It may stay on your skin a little longer than that, but I don’t seem to notice it after 15 minutes.

Why would coffee ground residue smell like cigarette ash? I’m not sure. I am not a smoker, but my Gram was. She smelled of Nivea face cream, Maxwell House and Pall Mall cigarettes. She also died of cancer so please don’t take this as an endorsement. But, after I use a coffee scrub in the shower, it reminds me of the smell of my Gram. If I used Nivea after my coffee scrub, I’d be having serious childhood flashbacks. She would be so mad at me for telling you she smelled like cigarettes.

What do you think?

Ok, before I annoy my late Gram any more, I’ll turn this over to you.

Have you experimented with coffee scrubs? Can you connect with any of the points I’ve made? Maybe you wrote a totally contrary post about how much you love coffee scrubs. I respect that. Please scroll down to share your comments or questions.

Posted on 5 Comments

Skincare advice from 80 years of glowing skin

skincare advice nice skin beauty natural oils

There’s a lot of wisdom in skincare advice from a woman who had beautiful, glowing skin all her life.

Back in the 1990s, I bought oil-free face wash and shampoo that made my skin and hair squeaky clean. Hair so clean, it…literally..squeaked when you ran a strand between your fingers.

I was almost hyper about getting the oils out of my skin and hair. Moisturized, yes. Natural oils, no. No way. I wouldn’t tolerate even a glimmer of natural oil in my t-zone.

black and white close up eyes face
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My Babci (Polish for grandma, close enough pronunciation “Bahb-chie”) scolded me about how ridiculous it was to remove natural oils from my skin and hair. She argued they were there for a reason, to keep my skin healthy. Why would I believe some over-blown TV commercials over thousands of years of mother nature?

TV commercials are a powerful force. Advertisers have shaped plenty of our modern-day beliefs. Teenage me ignored her and tried my best to combat a mildly oily t-zone (and not-at-all oily hair) with the best knowledge I could find in magazines and on store shelves.

I thought her advice was so old-fashioned I couldn’t possibly take her seriously. My mother was her youngest child. By the time I was born, Babci was already an old lady, born in 1918. She never owned pants. I’m not kidding. My grandmother was born two years before women could vote in the United States, and she wore dresses day and night for her entire 80 years. An approach to ladies’ fashion that was straight out of the 1850s. Besides, every one of my friends and, yes, every model on TV, was using oil-free everything. I really thought those young models and modern advertisers could teach Babci a thing or two.

Oil-free face wash, oil-free soap, oil-free toner, oil-free cleanser, oil-free lotion, oil-free conditioner, oil-free everything…and rice paper to blot my nose just in case there was possibly a speck of oil left on it. Of course, after I used all those anti-oil products, I spent hours at the store, pouring over the well-written promises on the bottles of face creams and conditioners to put even better synthetic moisturizers back into my  skin and hair.


Babci was right.  I didn’t believe her at the time, but now, I embrace her message. Natural oils are good for your skin. You shouldn’t strive to remove them completely. Instead, find a good balance between clean skin and embracing natural oils. Make sure you remember that we are seeking balance, not a full pendulum swing toward over-dosing our skin with oils.

Embrace natural oils in your skincare and work with what nature gave you.

Proof is in the pudding. My Babci avoided stripping her skin of oil, and she had beautiful, glowing skin for all of her 80 years of life.

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Quick Tips: Buying Safer Cosmetics — The Natural Beauty Blog

My favorite thing about this post from The Natural Beauty Blog is the link to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmestics Database. When I started making my own skincare from farm-fresh ingredients, I got really into reading cosmetics labels. That said, I would and do still buy some skincare products that are mass-produced. I’m not judgy about it. My favorite face scrub is Biore right now, and I only use it a few times a week. Still, I thought this was worth reposting. It gets you thinking about the topic a little bit.

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It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to buy safe cosmetics and skin and body care products. There are so many ingredients to avoid, things to learn, and different ways to you choose healthier products for your body.

via Quick Tips: Buying Safer Cosmetics — The Natural Beauty Blog