cucumber gel serum

welcome back! today’s formula is super simple. it’s a lightweight, hydrating treat, perfect for hot weather.

cucumber gel serum!

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this recipe is fully customizable, as usual, so get creative!

note the links provided are not affiliates and i do not benefit in any way. they’re provided only to help you find good quality ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • cucumber hydrosol
    • deeply hydrating, calming, and conditioning
    • fresh and earthy smelling
    • gentle enough for all skin types
  • xanthan gum
    • gelling agent; used in miniscule quantities
    • found in your local grocery baking aisle
  • aspen bark powdered extract
    • water-soluble preservative
    • skin-conditioning
    • high in salicin
  • optional – a lightweight carrier oil
    • suggested: prickly pear seed oil or amaranth seed oil, both great for all-things-“eye”
    • note: xanthan gum can hold about 1% oil without needing an emulsifier, but it can separate over time
  • optional – water-soluble colorant

FORMULA

HOW TO

  1. in your bottle of cucumber hydrosol, sprinkle in your aspen bark powder and shake well.
  2. in the same bottle, gently and evenly sprinkle the xanthan gum across the top of the hydrosol. let sit for a few hours until the gum is fully swelled/hydrated. you can shake it after a few hours to make sure, but not before (or else you will get clumps called “fish eyes”)
  3. add up to 1% of your oil. shake well.

apply to clean skin before any creams or oils. store in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight. toss if the smell or color turns.

BONUS: you can easily turn this into a hyaluronic acid serum, since it’s mostly hydrosol. if you opt for that, omit the xanthan gum.

enjoy!

XO, ALEXRAYE

hibiscus 2.0 – hair & skin tonic

if you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll remember i first posted on the hibiscus flower for beauty uses about 3 years ago. now that i live in mexico and hibiscus, or ‘flor de jamaica,’ is abundant here, i’d thought i’d give a little update post for this wonderful flower.

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hibiscus can be used both internally and externally, for a multitude of purposes.

when used internally, it’s been touted for cholesterol level and blood pressure maintenance, to help nausea and promote appetite, and to calm nerves. when used on hair, it increases shine and softness, and decreases hair fall. when used topically, hibiscus, a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids, known to promote cell turnover, gently polish/exfoliate, increase elasticity, even skin tone, lighten spots and blemishes, control break-outs, and balance oils. it’s quite the power plant!

there are various parts of the plant that can be used and prepared differently. if you’re wondering whether you could benefit from incorporating hibiscus into your diet, please consult a certified herbalist and also conduct your own research.

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for this post, we’ll make a really strong hibiscus tea that you can store in your fridge for a few days. this tea can be applied directly to your scalp and hair to help with dry/itchy scalp, dandruff, and dullness.

you can also apply it to your clean face before bed for a nice dose of vitamin c and AHA acids that will gently polish and brighten your complexion. it’s a powerful anti-aging flower and will help with fine lines, spots, and increasing elasticity.

HOW TO:

start with a large coffee mug, enough water to fill it 75%, and a handful of whole, dried hibiscus flowers. big bags of these flowers are at my local grocery stores, but i used to buy them from Mountain Rose Herbs. i’m sure amazon would carry some, too.

put your flowers in your mug,  boil your water, pour the boiling water into the mug, let steep, and let it cool to room temperature. done! keep in a sealed bottle or jar in your fridge. use nightly. discard remaining liquid (or drink it – it’s tangy and delicious!) after 3 days.

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please note that if you are fair-complected or have light colored anything in your bathroom, hibiscus can leave stains.

bonus: blend the leftover flowers up really finely and apply as a face pack for a gentle flower acid exfoliation. moisturize after.

have you used hibiscus for any beauty recipes? do you drink it? it’s such a popular drink here in CDMX, usually served iced and slightly sweetened.

XO, ALEXRAYE