cucumber gel serum

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

cucumber gel serum!


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.


  • 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



  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.




my favorite ingredient sources

hi loves! i hope you’re doing well. this is a quick post to help share some online, trustworthy, ingredient sourcing for at-home DIYs.

there are no affiliate links, no codes, no referrals, nothing. the companies don’t know i’m doing this. i don’t gain anything – just sharing the love!

please share your favorite sources in the comments below.


dried herbs

oils & butters




essential oils




DIY hydrating mists

we’re almost done with 2018, which means this blog is getting closer to going on a hiatus. dang.
ALSO – don’t forget to enter in the giveaway before the winner is announced on 12/31.

and now the post you were promised –

hydrosols, steams, and mists have been pivotal to my skincare routine. today i’m happy to share a few of my favorite hydrating mist blends, that you can keep in a spray bottle of your choice. to be clear – these are not hydrosols – hydrosols are steam distillations. these are simple decoctions, or potent “teas” you can easily make yourself and use.


all of these recipes call for 1% to 4% of a preservative of your choice – check with the manufacturer on the proper usage. i am partial to black currant extract powder used at 2% (not the fruit powder). if you’d rather forgo the preservative, please store in the fridge and toss after 2 days.

as with most of my DIYs, this can be used on your skin AND scalp.

if you don’t have a spray bottle, you can put it in a regular glass bottle, like the one pictured below, and use it with a washcloth or cotton pad. that’s what i do right now, and i think i might prefer it.

these types of hydrating ‘teas’ are the only thing i use to clean my face in the mornings, and i use it again at night before applying my Botanical Dew.

>> with any of these, i’ve found it’s easiest to use pre-made tea bags when possible. you can of course buy the dried and/or powdered materials, just strain the liquid before you bottle it. if you have a french press, it would make for an easy clean-up.


CAMU CAMU, HIBISCUS – anti-aging
benefits: camu camu is one of the most potent sources of natural vitamin c on the planet. i have 2 really nice vitamin c serum DIY blends here if you want to add/swap out for another vitamin c rich fruit powder. it’s an excellent partner to hibiscus, known as the botox plant, that’s full of AHAs and antioxidants. i’ve raved about it before here.
how to: make a cup of tea with 1 teaspoon camu camu powder and 1/4 of a dried hibiscus flower. any more hibiscus and those who are fair skin can expect a nice little pink stain. (don’t ask me how i know… i definitely didn’t turn myself into a strawberry.) use near-boiling water. cover and let it steep for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. transfer to your bottle and store in fridge, OR add preservative, transfer to your bottle, and store in a cool, dark area (cabinet).

GREEN TEA, JASMINE – anti-aging/de-puffing/softening
benefits: green tea, as we know, contains caffeine, antioxidants, and tannins, all helping to reduce puffiness, reduce appearance of fine lines, and leave you with soft skin and a nice glow. jasmine hydrates and softens your skin, while it relaxes you with its delicate aroma.
how to: in a small coffee cup or french press filled with hot (almost boiling) water, add your green tea & jasmine tea bag (i use Heath & Heather), cover, and let it steep for 12 to 24 hours. transfer to your bottle and store in fridge, OR add preservative, transfer to your spray bottle, and store in a cool, dark area (cabinet).

TULSI, DANDELION ROOT – clears blemishes/anti-inflammatory
benefits: tulsi has long been used for many things, but in this tea we are aiming for its blemish fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. combined with dandelion root, which is rich in minerals and ‘detoxifying’, this is a nice combo to smooth and even out problematic skin.
how to: because you’re using a root, it will need to steep a little longer than typical tea leaves. however, since we’re letting them steep for 12 to 24 hours anyway, this will be okay. so – using boiling water (because you’re using a root), stir in 0.5 tbs dandelion root and 0.5 tbs tulsi leaves, or 1.5 tsp of each if that’s the measurement you have on hand. cover and let it steep in a coffee cup or french press for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. transfer to your bottle and store in fridge, OR add preservative, transfer to your bottle, and store in a cool, dark area (cabinet).

ROSE, LAVENDER, CALENDULA – calming/anti-inflammatory
benefits: all 3 are fantastic for both skin and hair, so it’s no surprise they ended up on my list. all 3 are calming and hydrating. rose and calendula also target fine lines, and lavender is anti-inflammatory.
how to: in a small coffee cup or french press filled with hot (nearly boiling) water, stir in 1/2 tablespoon dried rose petals, 1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms, and 1 teaspoon dried calendula petals. cover and let it steep for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. strain out blossoms. transfer to your bottle and store in fridge, OR add preservative, transfer to your bottle, and store in a cool, dark area (cabinet).

and last, but not least – my favorite blend of all time: 1 bag of Heath & Heather organic jasmine green tea and 1/2 tablespoon rose petals. so dreamy! my skin is always feeling clean, soft, and hydrated afterwards. i follow up with my Botanical Dew and that’s it. super simple.

please share your favorite hydrating mist DIYs with the rest of the community below!


45 minute DIY (at home) full facial routine

happy self-care sunday!

today i’m going to share with you my favorite facial routine lately. it takes about 45 minutes and makes me feel so much better, even if my hair is on day 7.


this has 3 steps, but don’t let that deter you.

  1. jasmine green tea face steam
    • make a strongly steeped cup of jasmine green tea
      • green tea contains antioxidants, tannins, and caffeine, helping to reduce puffiness and improve skin texture
      • jasmine is said to provide a calming, relaxing experience – just what we need
    • while still hot, dip a washcloth into the tea, wring out, and place over your clean face until it cools
    • wipe your face in gentle circular motions all over
    • reheat washcloth in the hot tea again. steam your face again. gently wipe your face again
  2. papaya ice facial
    • using your pre-made blended frozen papaya cubes*, gently swirl all over your face until thoroughly covered and chilled. this will stimulate blood flow and brighten your complexion. a slight tingle is okay, as the papaya contains natural fruit acid exfoliants
      • *i posted about this on instagram (@alexraye_ae), but it’s super easy: cut 1/3 to 1/2 of a ripe papaya in chunks, keeping the skin on, and blend until smooth. drop a small spoonful into each ice cube pocket in a silicone tray. freeze and use a cube at a time as needed.
    • let sit 15 to 20 minutes
    • wipe off with the jasmine green tea washcloth you used before
  3. hydration & moisture
    • after you wipe off the papaya, you’ll want to hydrate AND moisturize
    • you can do a two-step process for this, by misting with your favorite hydrosol and while your face is still damp, applying a few drops of your favorite oil – OR – you can use a generous amount of your Botanical Dew (it hydrates and moisturizes in one step)


enjoy your soft, glowing skin!

would you want to see a hydrating mist DIY? i have a few favorite recipes i’d be more than happy to share. let me know.

what are your favorite tea steams?