How to Naturally Lighten Your Hair

How to Naturally Lighten Your Hair

Hey Ladies! This week’s “tip of the week” is a beauty tip! Since summer is in full swing I’ve been spending every second I can in the great outdoors. My favorite outdoor spot like most people is…the beach! I am a beach bum through and through. The best part about summer is soaking up some vitamin D and…not having to always do my hair! During the months of June through August, I use minimal heat on my hair. I constantly wear my hair wet and in braids. Then I comb it through and add a little, okay a LOT, of dry shampoo to achieve beachy waves for my night-time look. I also, don’t cut or color my hair until after summer. Why? Heat can damage your hair and since I’m heat free for three months my hair grows long and strong naturally. In addition, I don’t color it because the sun naturally lightens my hair. Sometimes I’ll color it at the beginning of may and let the sun touch up my roots. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help aid the process. My all time favorite hack is…lemons! I LOVE LEMONS! I put them in my water, use them to marinate chicken and fish, and even in my beauty routine! Just apply some organic freshly squeezed lemon juice to your hair, hit the beach, and enjoy! You can brush it through, toss it in a bun, etc. There’s really no wrong way to do it. Growing up I remember a lot of girls using the sun-in spray. But I never used it because it turned every girl’s hair orange. So I took to the internet to find a natural solution and tada…the secret was something I already had in my fridge. The more consistent you do this treatment the lighter your hair will become. Of course, it’s not a dye so it won’t dramatically alter your original color. So if you have black hair, a drop of lemon juice won’t make you blonde. However, hair that naturally lightens from the sun, i.e. light brown or blonde will benefit from this hack. The overall effect is natural highlights and face framing lighter shades for a sun kissed look. It’s a gradual effect so don’t be frustrated if you don’t see a dramatic change after a one time use. Let me know how this tip works for you!


Enjoy your summer!

City Girl Riss

Step by Step Halloween Makeup Guide

Step by Step Halloween Makeup Guide

It’s almost Halloween! Which means by now you’re putting the final touches on your costume…or in a panic because you still don’t have a costume. Let me make your life a little easier with this Step by Step Halloween 2016 Makeup Guide I wrote for CBS. Makeup artist Vito Palazzolo breaks down how to do some of the trendiest looks this Halloween for the ultimate costume. Here are some more Best Halloween costumes for Fall 2016 to check out as well! You can read the full makeup article here.

Step-By-Step Halloween Makeup Guide

Happy Halloween!

8 Reasons to Bring Coconut Oil on Your Next Vacation

8 Reasons to Bring Coconut Oil on Your Next Vacation

As a girl, I find it hard to travel anywhere without my makeup bag. On a recent trip to London, my heart was broken when airport security made me fit all my liquids into one zip bloc bag. I said goodbye to a lot of valuable travel sized liquids that day. Since the idea of paying for a checked bag makes me cringe, I started becoming more resourceful with the products I choose. I found one product in particular that I used for almost everything, coconut oil! I’ve posted a beauty hack using this product before but I figured it was so incredible that it needed its own article. I only use organic extra virgin coconut oil and an old essential oil bottle or plastic bottle to carry it in. To melt the oil back into a liquid, place it in a mug and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until the oil is completely melted. If you’re short on time, Shea Moisture sells a travel size available for purchase at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.


Here is a list of 8 things to replace with coconut oil…

  • Lip Balm
  • Make Up Remover
  • Moisturizer
  • Tanning Oil (In addition to regular SPF sunscreen)
  • Deep Conditioner
  • Cuticle Cream
  • Toothpaste (Oil pull, I do this in addition to regular toothpaste)
  • Detangler / Heat Protection

Any other uses I missed? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.


Happy Traveling,

City Girl Riss


Tip of the Week: Beauty Hack

Tip of the Week: Beauty Hack

Packing can be so stressful. I always question the weather, what I really need, and how I’m going to fit everything in a carry-on! The less I can bring with me the better! Recently I ran out of makeup primer and was frantic to find an alternative using something around the house. I hate putting makeup on my skin without it because I tend to break out and get oily. You could say my skin and I have a love hate relationship. After a little research I came across this great find…Aloe Vera! Turns out it’s actually been the answer to my prayers. If you’ve read some of my other blogs then you know how much I love to use all natural products. The less chemicals the better in my opinion. The Aloe Vera certainly didn’t disappoint either. I’ve been using it religiously and I always bring a travel size with me on vacation because nothing puts a damper on your holiday like sunburn! Now I don’t have to spend a ton of money on primer and I get to save room in my makeup bag!

Benefits of Aloe Vera

  • Antioxidants
  • Antibacterial
  • Accelerates healing of burns
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Increases collagen production
  • High in Vitamins and Minerals
  • Natural Astringent
  • Hydrating and Moisturizing
  • Softens Skin
  • Reduces inflammation

AND MORE! Have you tried it? Did you like this tip? Let me know in the comments below!


Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

TIp of the Week: Beauty Hack

TIp of the Week: Beauty Hack

As I realise that summer is coming to an end, I start to reflect on all of the great experiences I’ve had in 2015! I’ve also made the revelation about all the great tips that I’ve been keeping secret! Okay, maybe not keeping a secret but just oblivious that some of my summer rituals are actually beauty hack GOLD! Or worth a try in my opinion. If you didn’t know, I’m a bit of a health nut. I try to eat as clean as I can and I try not to drench myself in toxic chemicals. I struggle between being super strict and lazy! I want to be the healthiest person I can be but some days its just WAY easier to go to the drugstore and pick up whatever I can get my hands on. This hack, however, is super simple. I recently became aware that most sunscreens are toxic and chock full o’ chemicals. NOT COOL. So I went on EWG*, a non-profit organization dedicated to educate people on the cleanest produce and consumer products, and looked up clean sunscreens. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to all of the great sunscreens this website recommends but I was shocked to find out that banana boat was one of the most toxic products available! I’ve been using banana boat for years! My favorite product was ALWAYS their tanning oil SPF 4. I did some more research on safer alternatives and came across using coconut oil! TA DAAAAAAAAA!! The answer to my prayers! It naturally deflects some of the suns rays and works just as well as any other tanning oil I’ve ever used. Not to mention that it’s extremely moisturizing so that my legs feel silky smooth after the beach and not like sand paper. It’s perfect for summer and it makes you smell good enough to eat! So go to your grocery store and buy extra virgin organic coconut oil right away! You won’t be sorry!

If you get around to trying this hack, leave a comment! I’d love to hear your feed back!


As always,

Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

Burt’s Bees: My favorite products in memory of Burt

Burt’s Bees: My favorite products in memory of Burt


I just recently became informed that Burt Shavitz, the creator of Burt’s Bees, has recently passed on. I am a huge advocate for organic and au’ natural products and Burt’s Bees is one of my favorites. Although Burt Shavitz hasn’t owned the company for some time, now owned by Clorox, his love for bee keeping has paved the way for natural products in the common drug store.

A little about Burt…

Burt is a fellow Manhattan native who moved to Maine and found his passion for bees as a source of income. His partner Roxanne Quimby began making candles from bees-wax and then later their signature lip balm! You can watch the documentary about Burt called Burt’s Buzz to learn more!

Here are my favorite Burt’s Bees products….


Lip Balm, tinted of course! A great subtle color and super moisturizing.


Face Wipes, an after gym essential


Intense Hydration Eye Cream, the BEST eye cream! Immediately gets rid of puffiness in the morning.


Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub, great for when your skin needs a SOS!


Herbal Blemish Stick, with tea tree and other essential oils this stick is the best blemish zapper I have ever used and I’ve tried almost every drug store product out there.


Lemon butter Cuticle Cream, a winter must have! Will make your manicure last forever and keep your nails looking hydrated.


Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme, great for winter or after a day at the beach. Super moisturizing.

Do you have any other favorites worth mentioning? Comment below!


Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

How to Protect Your Hair from Pool and Salt Water

How to Protect Your Hair from Pool and Salt Water

I’ve just spent the weekend in beautiful Portugal where I was able to tan and soak my feet in the amazing turquoise water! My days were filled with water parks, kayaking, and the beach, naturally. Sadly, all that chlorine and sea salt was not very nice to my hair. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to remember to come prepared! With these tips, I was able to maintain my hair from looking like it was a sea monster, a stack of hay, or a sad attempt at dread locks. Blonde hair is easily the most susceptible to fall victim to green, brassy dry pool hair. So I can say with confidence that I’ve personally tested all these theories since childhood. Here’s what I’ve found to be successful…


1) Wet your hair before going in the water – Simple enough. If you wet your hair in the shower your strands will soak up all the fresh water leaving little room for chlorine and salt water to wreak havoc. In addition with this step add step 2…


2) Add an oil or silicone-based hair product – Like conditioner! Leave-in conditioners are my favorite products because my hair gets tangled! A small amount of coconut oil or olive oil is also a great hair saver and a favorite of Lauren Conrad! Not to mention coconut oil is a natural sunscreen and will protect your hair from harmful rays! I use


Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner, Ulta, $10.99



1) Detangler – When you get out of the water make sure to spray your strands with a detangler. I like to use leave-in conditioners, because my hair can always use some extra moisture. I’ve used detanglers like suave for kids, loreal for kids, and pantene’s detangler but they all left my hair rather dry. I usually find myself going straight from the beach to lunch or a gathering with friends so I personally like to use It’s a Miracle 10. It’s a 10 Miracle leave-in product repairs dry damaged hair, adds shine, smoothes & controls frizz, seals & protects hair color, detangles, prevents split ends, stops hair breakage, protects, etc. Although, I’m slowly making a conversion to natural products, I plan on trying this DIY Detangling Spray from EWG’s (Enviornmental Working Group) pinterest page.


It’s a Miracle 10, Ulta, $36.00


DIY Detangling Spray

2) Brush It – Don’t just use any brush…use a Wet Brush! I didn’t believe all the hype until I tried it! This brush was recommended to my mother from a hair stylist. It detangles your hair without breaking or damaging your strands. This is important because your hair is the must susceptible to breakage when brushing, if it’s wet. So naturally, having hair that gets very tangled this brush has become a holy grail for me!


Wet Brush, Ulta, $11.99

3) Deep Condition – Easy enough but often forgotten! In the summer I wash my hair with deep conditioner 1-2 times a week! It’s recommended to use once every two weeks but I spend a lot of time in pools and in the ocean so it’s a necessity for me. I personally really like the Shea Moisture products because they are natural, cruelty-free, and super moisturizing! Recently, I have purchased Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Treatment and have been loving the results. Natural hair masks can also be used by everyday items in the kitchen like coconut oil!


Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque,, $11.99


Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist, Target, $5.99


Every So Often:

1) De-brass/green, and clarify – If you’re blonde like me your hair can collect some funky colors thanks to chlorine! Even if you don’t swim a lot, tap water can contain small amounts of chlorine and can over time cause a brassy effect to your hair. That’s why it’s important to use a clarifying shampoo or mask. Now this should be used once a month, or even once a summer, as it can strip your hair of nutrients. If you have color treated hair it can also lighten the color, but shouldn’t be confused as a way to lighten your hair. If you use some of these products your hair could turn grey or white which is why it’s only recommended to be used once or twice. EWG also recommends a DIY recipe for an au’ natural option, which I always recommend! Apple cider Vinegar I hear also makes a great clarifying solution. As a kid I used Clairol Shimmer Lights but this is a harsh chemical shampoo that should be used only once a year.


Clairol Shimmer Lights, sally beauty, $7.99


Moroccan Oil Clarfying Shampoo,, $25.20


DIY Green-Be-Gone Hair Mask



– DO NOT go into the water without brushing your hair first

– DO NOT color your hair after going in a pool without washing your hair.

– DO NOT over use clarifying shampoos


Thanks for reading,


Tip of the Week: Beauty Hack

Tip of the Week: Beauty Hack

One of the most valuable tips I can give to my fellow female travelers out there is actually a make up hack!

In the past month I have traveled from NYC to Florida to the Caribbean back to NY and then to Europe. It all started when I went cruising with one of my very best friends to the Bahamas. After the cruise I went to visit one of my other very best friends in Orlando! Had the most amazing vacation drinking rum punches and laying in the sun. I’ve now settled into my home in Germany and have just returned from another great vacation in Croatia! Needless to say I’ve had A LOT of sun!

I don’t know how you all feel about it but I LOVE being tan! The only draw back about being tan….is that I just picked out the perfect foundation and tinted moisturizer and now its to light! Don’t get me wrong I go make-up free A LOT. However, if I’m going out for drinks with friends or to a nice dinner with my boyfriend I want to look nice and put some makeup on.

Not to worry…I’ve got a perfect solution. In the summer I tend to only use tinted moisturizer (especially because it has SPF) but for occasions where I want to look extra flawless I use double-wear foundation. I buy them to match my au’ natural color. When I need to bump up the color to match my new tan I use St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow Face Lotion. Just mix a small pea size amount into your foundation of choice. It looks completely natural and will wash off with the rest of your makeup without altering your color or leaving you streaky in any way! I also recommend the foam self tanner if you are looking for more color! Great line of products!


Here is the tinted moisturizer and foundation I use:

Lauren Mericier Oil-Free Tinted moisturizer


Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Foundation


Having some trouble posting links! Sorry!

Oh and Happy Traveling!

City Girl Riss