Four ways that cocoa can supercharge your health

You may not know it, but cocoa makes other so-called superfoods pale in comparison. That’s pretty sweet if you ask me!

Offering your health a titan of benefits, raw cocoa can supercharge your health in many different ways! Here are some top health benefits of cocoa.

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Four health benefits of cocoa

#1: Cocoa can save your skin

Dealing with problem skin? No problem – cocoa can help! Brimming with antioxidants that are fantastic for repairing skin cells and neutralising harmful free radicals, cocoa is suitable for treating just about any skin issue, according to dermatologist Ava Shamban.

#2: Cocoa crushes sugar cravings

Pass up on the sweet treats and take a whiff of cocoa instead. Cocoa powder has a rich, seriously indulgent aroma, so you’ll often be satisfied by simply smelling it, says founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation Alan Hirsch.

#3: Cocoa promotes heart health

Cocoa is fantastic for treating your ticker. The flavonoids in cocoa are linked to a number of cardio perks, from reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol, to lowering blood pressure, according to director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital Suzanne Steinbaum.

#4: Cocoa enhances your mood

Cocoa can make more than just your taste buds happy … it can make you happy, too! Containing more than 300 compounds, many of which enhance your brain chemistry, cocoa powder is the ultimate mood-booster, explains author of Eat Your Way to Happiness Elizabeth Somer. Some of these compounds boost your serotonin and endorphin levels, both of which generate a happy mood.

With all these amazing benefits, I don’t know about you, but I’ll sure be enjoying many mugs of hot cocoa this winter!

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Try this skin-saving cocoa and coffee mask

Beauty aficionados have been raving about the beauty benefits of cocoa and coffee lately – and when I tell you why, it’ll all make perfect sense!

When you use cocoa and coffee in combination, they brighten up your complexion, wake up tired eyes, decrease puffiness in your face, and even treat breakouts!

No matter your skin type, the cocoa and coffee mask recipe I’m sharing with you is sure to work wonders for you. I just love this mask because it’s simple to mix up, and only requires a couple of kitchen cupboard ingredients.

Cocoa and coffee are the staples of this chocolaty mask, but feel free to tailor the recipe based on your skin type and the ingredients you’ve got in your kitchen. For dry skin, add full-fat yoghurt. For oily skin, add lemon juice. Try it out!

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Cocoa and coffee mask recipe

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (your basic Nestle Cocoa works fine)
  • 4 tbsp finely ground coffee beans or espresso (instant coffee works too if you don’t have
  • your own grinder)
  • 8 tbsp dairy product (such as heavy cream, plain yoghurt, whole milk or nut milk)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey

How to make the mask:

  1. If you’re using whole coffee beans, finely grind them in your grinder. Make sure they’re super-finely ground so that they don’t scratch your skin! If you’ve just made coffee, you can use the freshly brewed coffee grounds. They just won’t contain as much caffeine (and your skin loves caffeine!)
  2. Combine the coffee with the cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  3. Add in your dairy product of choice and stir until you form a smooth paste. For a thicker paste, use less dairy.
  4. In a separate bowl, warm up the honey in a warm water bath or in the microwave, then stir it into the concoction.

How to apply the mask:

  1. Use your fingertips to apply the mask to your clean skin. You can use it all over your face and neck.
  2. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes or until dry.
  3. Wet a facecloth and press it onto your face gently to loosen the mask, then rinse the mask off with warm water.
  4. If you’ve got sensitive skin, avoid rubbing your face – the coffee grounds could potentially get scratchy!

You can store the leftover paste in your fridge for up to three days.

Three amazing “green” ways to treat breakouts

If you suffer from acne or regular breakouts, you may think that running to the pharmacy or your doctor is the easiest and best thing to do every time your skin flares up … but it really isn’t!

In fact, it’s the all-natural, homemade remedies that best treat acne in the long-term. This is because antibiotics and analgesics only help reduce symptoms immediately. In the long term, they can actually cause severe problems and side effects.

On that note, I’m sharing three super-simple ways to treat your acne the “green” way. Your skin is sure to thank you!

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Three all-natural breakout treatments

#1: Yoghurt, honey and cinnamon mask

Honey and cinnamon both pack impressive antibiotic properties, while yoghurt soothes irritation and reduces redness.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened full fat yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Small bowl

What to do:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients to form a paste.
  2. Apply the mask to clean skin and leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Wash the mask off with warm water and pat dry.

#2: Face steaming

If you’re looking for an easy, non-invasive way to loosen oil and dirt that’s clogging your pores and causing your breakouts, look no further than face steaming. Steam is an excellent immediate cleanser, and practising it regularly can help improve your skin health in the long term.

You’ll need:

  • 1 pot boiling water
  • Handful of organic mint, basil or lavender
  • 1 fresh towel
  • Large bowl

What to do:

  1. Pour the boiling water into a heat-safe bowl and toss in the herbs.
  2. While you wash any make-up or residue off your face, let the water cool.
  3. Carefully hover your face about 15 cm above the surface of the water and drape the towel over your head so it catches the steam.
  4. Steam your face for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to breathe deeply to inhale the herbs you’ve added … they’re a great source of aromatherapy!
  5. When you’re done, pat your face dry.

#3: Honey and lemon toner

Both honey and lemons are antibiotic, so this is a powerful combination to help deep-clean your pores and treat any blemishes you may have to prevent future breakouts.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • Small bowl

What to do:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add in the honey, then stir to combine.
  2. With clean hands, carefully apply the tone to your face, gently massaging it in as you go.
  3. Leave the toner on your skin for five minutes, then gently rinse it off with cool water.

Share your top natural breakout treatments and tips with me in the comments below!

My ten-minute morning make-up routine

I don’t know about you, but between finalising my outfit for the day and scrambling to make breakfast, I never find myself with loads of time to spend on primping in the mornings!

If you can relate to this everyday struggle, you’ve come to the right place. I’m spilling some of my best make-up secrets to get you prepped and pretty in less than ten minutes!

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Apply foundation

Who’s got time for prepping and priming their skin in the mornings? I know I don’t! That’s why I skip that step and head straight to applying foundation. I use a stipple brush to apply it because they get the job done fast and evenly.

Add a dab of concealer

If your skin still needs a bit more coverage in some areas, add a dab of concealer using your fingertip. It’s also a good idea to apply to under your eyes to brighten up tired eyes in a snap.

Brush on some blush

Using a large blush brush, apply just a dusting of a neutral tone blush to the apples of your cheeks, down your nose and the centre of your chin to give your face some dimension.

Set your brows

Filling in your brows with a pencil or powder can take serious time out of your morning, so opt to simply brush a tinted gel through your face-framers to get them looking chic instead. A brow gel will also set your brows to keep them in place all day.

Apply mascara

To perk up your eyes even more, apply mascara to your upper and lower lashes. If you’re a fair-toned girl, you may want to use a dark brown mascara instead of a black one to go with the rest of your toned-down look.

Add a touch of lipstick

Make your lips the star of your look by applying a bright or bold lipstick. If you’re not a loud lip kind of gal, you can choose to apply a clear lip oil or tinted lip balm instead.

Do you have any quick and easy steps to add to my morning make-up routine?

Beat Dry Skin With BioNike PROXERA Intensive Face Serum

Dry skin isn’t so pretty, is it? I’ll admit that I struggle with a dry skin type, which can often be very frustrating to handle and treat. If you can relate to this skin issue, you’ll be ecstatic to know that I’ve found a single product that can help you beat dry skin in a heartbeat – say hello to BioNike PROXERA Intensive Face Serum!

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Both affordable and locally available (you can pick a tube up at Dis-Chem Pharmacy at R235 a pop), this silky smooth serum exploits the properties of hyaluronic acid, which it combines with a number of fragments to prevent water loss and help hydrate even the deepest layers of your skin.

The serum also helps normalise the cell renewal process, and protects your skin from damage caused by external agents. The result? Improved elasticity and tone – voila! Plus, it’s designed for “dry to very dry skin”, so you can bet that it will work its magic on even the driest of complexions.

When I first came across this product, I had no idea it would work this well. I apply it both day and night after cleansing my skin. My skin drinks it up quickly and within an hour of applying, usually looks and feels fresh and plump. Plus, a little goes a long way – two generous dollops are all you need to moisturise your entire face.

Since I started using this magical product just over a month ago, I no longer suffer from severely dry or flaky skin. Not even in the areas prone to dryness, such as my forehead, chin and nose. Instead, my face feels fresh and hydrated, and I feel confident about my skin!

If you suffer from dry skin, I highly recommend you try this product out. Even if you don’t, remember that winter’s coming up. What I’m saying is that during the colder months of the year, everyone’s skin is prone to dryness, so you might find this serum very handy. Let me know your thoughts!

Master the dewy glow with Beauty Fix

Make-up setting sprays have been getting lots of praise in the beauty community lately … have you noticed? I’ve been using a setting spray to set and freshen up my make-up for a good while now, but it wasn’t until last week that I discovered Beauty Fix Radiant Make-Up Finish – the hydrating and nourishing mist made with divine all-natural ingredients like rosewater, aloe vera extract and cucumber extract.

Beauty Fix is a lightweight make-up setting spray that’s suitable for all skin types due to its gentle, skin-loving ingredients. All you do is mist the product over your face after you’ve finished applying your make-up for a gorgeous, radiant glow. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes catch my skin looking too powdery, and it’s until I tried this specific setting spray that I no longer had the “cakey-ness” issue.

 

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Here’s the description of the product taken from Beauty Fix’s website: “Look and feel fresh with radiant make-up finish. This superfine mist blends make-up revitalises the skin. It provides a gentle breeze of clarity and calm, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple. Each spritz releases the luxurious scent of a bouquet of roses.”

When this spray hits your face, your skin feels wonderful … it’s especially refreshing when your skin is feeling dry and tired or hot and flustered. The amazing thing about it is it locks in all of the product that you have on your face and makes everything blend in well together.

Any colour on your face is instantly intensified – in a good way, of course – whether it be your highlighter, bronzer, blush, eye shadow or eyeliner. I fan my face for about 10 to 15 seconds to let the spray dry, and the result is dewy, flawless make-up! You all know how stunning a fresh and dewy complexion looks, right?

The product’s nozzle design makes the spray come out in an extremely fine mist … did I mention how fabulous it feels? Plus, the fresh flowery scent is just luxurious! It really does smell just like a bunch of fresh roses … and what girl doesn’t love roses? When spraying, I hold the bottle about 20cm away from my face and spray three times – once directly from the front, and twice from the sides of my face.

I prefer using the spray when I’m done doing all of my make-up, but you can also use it as a primer on clean skin before you start applying your make-up, or just after your foundation and powder application. What’s more, is this spray is also great for freshening up your skin during the day … the cute little bottle is conveniently handbag-sized for touch-ups!

Beauty Fix Radiant Make-Up Finish has definitely crossed over to my Holy Grail list. I’m actually pretty mad at myself for not trying it sooner! It’s really impressed me … the difference in my make-up is astonishing! It brings everything out and makes my skin look and feel super-healthy! To locate your nearest stockist of this must-have beauty buy, go here.

Top five BB creams for summer

A darling of the beauty world, beauty balm – or BB cream for short – brings tons of skin correcting benefits. In the summer, I use this product as an all-in-one replacement for my moisturiser, face sunscreen and foundation. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be caked up during the hot months of the year? Here are my five favourite BB creams for flawless, radiant skin that are perfect for wearing in the summertime!

 

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#1: Revlon Photoready BB Cream (SPF 30)

If you’re looking for just the slightest amount of coverage, this BB cream is your perfect fit. The formula actually feels more like a tinted moisturiser than a BB cream, so it evens out skin tone without making your skin feel weighed down or sticky. It’s also budget-friendly!

 

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#2: MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact (SPF 30)

As you now know, I’m a massive BB cream fan … but some can be really messy to work with! This fabulous version by MAC comes in a super-sleek compact with an applicator sponge, so you don’t have to worry about getting product all over your fingers.

 

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#3: L’oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB

This BB cream packs incredible colour-matching technology! It actually pretty fascinating. The product goes on white, but then transforms to match your skin’s undertone and shade perfectly … how cool is that? If you struggle finding a BB cream to suit your skin tone, this product will save your life.

 

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#4: Bobbi Brown BB Cream (SPF 35)

Despite the high sun protection factor, this BB cream by well-loved brand Bobbi Brown provides totally light coverage! This range of BB cream is unfortunately only suitable for fair-skinned ladies, as it only has relatively fair shades available. It does, however, have a wider range of undertones than a lot of other brands.

 

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#5: Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream (SPF 35)

All BB creams blend easily to match your skin tone and lend your complexion a touch of radiance … but Shiseido’s is by far the best at it! Though it has a higher sun protection factor than most other BB creams on the market, it won’t feel heavy on your face. It’s also super-hydrating, making it the perfect choice for dry skin types.

 

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What’s your favourite BB cream?