Monday, October 3, 2016

A Black Forest Chocolate Cake Facial Mask Recipe & The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty (Book Review, Recipe & Giveaway)

Make the kind of decadent facial masks you see at LUSH, right in your own home. Here's a recipe for a Black Forest Chocolate Cake Facial Mask & a review of The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty, with amazing vegan recipes for skincare and cosmetics that are safe for you and animal-friendly!

I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years and my interest in healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle products has developed over that time period. I confess, however, that I have still relied on a few conventional products over the years. For example, I finally got tired of struggling with rosacea and took a prescription from the dermatologist for some (no doubt toxic) mess that did eventually clear up my rosacea (in about three months).

I'd rather always use products that are healthier for humans and completely friendly to animals. That's why I have been absorbed in The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty: 125 Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free Makeup, Skin and Hair Care Products. This new book, from Sunny Subramanian and Chrystle Fiedler, is fun even just to browse through. But browsing is sure to lead to recipe-making in this case, because the recipes are so exciting and intriguing.

My 11-year-old daughter and I have made several of the recipes. She even made me a facial mask for my birthday using fresh ingredients like avocado from our kitchen. She put it in small jars and tied ribbons around the tops. How sweet is that? She and I have made a couple of trips to LUSH recently and we admired all of the edible-looking facial masks there. Now we can make our own versions.

Thankfully the publishers of The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty have given me permission to share a recipe here. I chose the Black Forest Chocolate Cake Facial Mask recipe because it's made with luscious ingredients like cocoa powder and ripe cherries. It will be just the perfect treat to indulge yourself and your skin with as we head into the busy holiday season. And the book's creators tell us that cocoa is a superstar ingredient - it's antioxidant-rich, so it helps neutralize harmful free radicals and repair skin cells.

Read on to enter to win a copy of this fun book!

How many of you have struggled to find a natural deodorant that works? I certainly have tried my fair share over the years. So I was eager to whip together a batch of Keep-It-Dry Deodorant Paste. It's a combination of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch), baking soda (or kaolin clay), coconut oil and essential oil. I used the arrowroot powder and a few drops of lavender essential oil. The recipe was quick and easy to mix. Then came the real test. Would it work?

My answer is yes...and no. It was kind of hot and humid the first day I tested this deodorant and I did not stay odour-free for the whole day. I think you would have to reapply this formula throughout the day. The good news is, you can use it to kill the odour once it's already there. I have this argument with my son - he thinks you can skip the shower and put on deodorant. In this case, I think you could, because the combo of ingredients kills odours too. The deodorant dried fairly quickly once on my pits, but it did leave some baking soda granules on my clothing. They were easy to brush off though.

I'm not going to say it's necessarily more affordable to make your own vegan, diy beauty products. For the Gentle Rosewater Cleanser, I had to purchase all of the items - aloe vera gel, rosewater, vegetable glycerin and witch hazel. It wasn't cheap, however you can make more than one batch once you have these ingredients handy.

The rosewater gives this cleanser a pleasant scent - very natural and refreshing. I found the cleanser came out pretty thin. I ended up applying it with a cotton pad. Also it has to be kept in the fridge and it is only meant to last about two weeks. I shared it with my daughter and we hadn't finished using it in two weeks.

I usually would wait until she had run down to get it from the fridge before I'd wash my face. Then I'd return it to the fridge when we were both done. My daughter really likes this cleanser though and I'm happy knowing she's using an all-natural, homemade cleanser on her fresh young skin. I'd probably make half the recipe next time to ensure it stays fresh.

Up next was the inexpensive Pore-Shrinking Basil Toner. We had fresh basil in a pot on the deck. Other than that, the recipe just takes boiling water and lemon juice, so this is a great recipe to start with when you're not yet stocked up to make all your diy skincare and cosmetics. My daughter and I enjoyed making this one too. It also has to be stored in the fridge, but we were able to use it up within two weeks. I joked that we smelled like pizza, but she didn't find that funny. I don't know if this formula shrinks my pores (which are rather large now according to my son) but it is pleasant to use and didn't irritate my sensitive (rosacea-prone) skin.

I think the recipes in this book make for great gifts, as well as a potentially perfect theme for a preteen birthday party - have the girls make some of the products, put on a facial mask while enjoying a movie and popcorn and then send them home with their own cruelty-free, homemade, healthy skin and hair products!

There are lots more recipes in The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty that I want to try - including homemade all-natural mascara and tinted lip balm! Author Sunny Subramanian runs the website Vegan Beauty Review, where she writes about cruelty-free products, fashion and food.

Have you ever made any diy beauty products?

Black Forest Chocolate Cake Facial Mask

by Sunny Submaranian & Chrystle Fiedler
  • 3 large ripe cherries, pitted 3
  • 1 tbsp kaolin clay 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp almond milk 15 mL
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder 10 mL

In blender, purée cherries, clay, almond milk and cocoa powder until smooth. Spoon into a small bowl.

Using fingers, spread mask all over damp cleansed facial skin. Let stand on skin for 10 minutes.

Rinse face with warm water and pat dry with a towel. Follow with your favorite toner and moisturizer.

Cover and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Courtesy of The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty by Sunny Submaranian & Chrystle Fiedler © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. Image credit: Michelle Cehn

Enter to Win a Copy of The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty

Residents of the US and Canada may enter to win using the rafflecopter widget below until October 24th.

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*I was supplied with a book for review purposes. All opinions are authentic and my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. I do make some of my own cosmetics. I usually base them on witch hazel, virgin coconut oil and vitamin E oil.

  2. I've only made lip balm before.

    1. I made some lip balm too, but I chose lavender and my family didn't really like it. :(

  3. I've made my own lip balm (easy) and deodorant....that was a mess!

    1. Haha...some attempts work out better than others right? ;)

  4. I've never made my own, but I'd like to.

    1. It's a lot of fun. Could become your new hobby. ;)

  5. Trying to be healthier and would love to make my own makeup.