Retinol 101: Do’s & Don’ts

Model: Shawna Patruno
Photographer: Margaritaua Photography
Agency: Orange Models
All Rights Reserved

Retinol, also known as Retina A, is such a hot topic for its anti aging properties, keeping pores at bay and helping you keep a clear, blemish free glowing complexion.

Dermatologists talk about it being the gold standard of anti aging ingredients. Retinol helps boost your cell turnover. It helps produce collagen, it’s important as we age to keep our collagen in tact so we can look youthful longer. Collagen depreciates for everybody at about the age of 25. In order to trick the hands of time we can add retinol into our skin care routine and encourage rapid cell turnover so your skin acts younger.

If you are using retinol you’ll need to be using a minimum SPF 30 (the higher the better up to SPF 60) be sure to apply every 3 to 4 hours to protect your new cells and prevent photo-aging (a.k.a dark spots).

Do not apply a retinol in the day time. In all my research and trainings I was told that is a big “no no”. Instead apply at night and allow it work while you sleep. Trust me you will thank me for this tip alone.

Another major tip is to start slow. Start once a week to avoid massive peeling and thinning of the skin. Less is more until you build up.

The seasons and the weather also need to be considered with retinol use. Do not start the use of retinol in the summer months to avoid unneeded sun exposure. Trust me I learned this the hard way. This simple mistake will cost you hundreds of dollars in corrective measures.

Make sure you are using the right moisturizer, you may need to switch for the duration of your retinol routine. Also you’ll need to use a great exfoliator in tandem.

Keep the basics such as a cleanser, toner, moisturizer with SPF 30 to 60 and exfoliator. It’s important to note that retinol is an added tool, not a replacement.

Be careful when applying it and avoid the eye area. The skin around your eye is way too thin and sensitive for this concentration of retinol.

Check with your doctor if you are on any medication that could make your skin thin or sensitive to burning and tell your skin advisor if you have any illness that impacts your skin.

Lastly, create a plan with a professional, don’t go in blind! Most likely you will get pink and when you increase your usage you will peel, this is completely normal.

Beauty Expert Review! OxyGeneo, the Best Facial in the Greater Toronto Area?

Shawna Patruno,
Oxygeneo Facial,
Skin Care Review,
Beauty Expert,
Toronto Model,
Beauty Expert,
Reawakening Beauty,
Model Management,

My most recent beauty find was the OxyGeneo Facial at Allure Medical Spa in Hamilton Ontario. This is a three-in-one facial in which Allure uses medical grade ingredients to ensure you achieve the best results. 

Facial Assessment

When I first arrived at Allure I was treated to a skin assessment and cleansing. This process was completed to ensure they found the best beauty treatment for me. They assessed my skin under six different lighting settings allowing them to assess skin damage in all forms including; photoaging, inflammation, texture pigmentation, redness, and fine line wrinkles. 

Shawna Patruno Beauty Expert. Skin Consultation.
Skin Assessment from Allure Medical Aesthetics

OxyGeneo Facial

An OxyGeneo Facial is a treatment that uses 3 steps to renew and anti age the skin using exfoliation, infusion and adding oxygen into the skin resulting in a beautiful glow.

The ingredients in the facial are said to be vegan, natural and paraben free, which I am a large advocate for. For those who don’t know, parabens can disrupt your hormones and lead to health issues.

The best part about this facial is that it is customizable to suit your individual needs such as balancing, brightening or revitalization (this is the one that I did). It uses red algae to help reduce fine lines, improve texture and give you refreshed hydrated skin. They come in individualized pucks with unique benefits.

Facial Process

The facial is completed in three different steps which are detailed below: 

Step 1: Exfoliate

This process removes the topical layer of dead skin. It reminded me of wet microdermabrasion with a bit of a kick. It felt kind of spicy, almost like a chemical peel, which I personally do love. While it was being performed I did however wonder if I would end up looking like a tomato afterwards as I am very prone to redness. Surprisingly I did not!

Step 2: Oxygenate

This uses something called the bohr effect which results in a natural body process that oxygenates blood cells. This process will help your cells to function younger and healthier resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Step 3: Infusion of Serum

During this process things like hyaluronic acid are added for hydration, vitamin C for brightening or anti-aging ingredients like peptides to help increase collagen production. 

Facial Results

The Oxygeneo Facial will produce immediate results making your skin baby soft and glowy. As time passes you will begin to see improved texture in your skin and will notice that your products work more effectively. This is the part that I loved the most as normally my skin looks best immediately after a facial, but with the Oxygeneo Facial my skin continued to improve even two weeks after the treatment. 

I would recommend booking an appointment with Allure and having them personally assess your skin, and if you choose to do the OxyGeneo Facial ….. Get ready for the ultimate facial experience!


For other beauty expert finds in the Greater Toronto Area click the links below

The Best Anti-Aging Treatment in Canada for your Skin and to Boost your Confidence

Hi, in case you are new to Reawakening Beauty my name is Shawna Patruno. I review the best skin and body treatments so that you don’t end up wasting your money. I provide you with health hacks to look beautiful, have healthy skin, boost your brain health and feel confident from head to toe.

A while back I was very stressed and so I took a vacation to Blue Mountain. While there I had the opportunity to visit the famous Scandinavian Spa where I got a massage and did the circuit of the baths including; hot tub, cold plunge, sitting by the fire and back into the pool. My amazing friend joined me and I am so glad she did because we rocked the cold baths so much that a man asked if we were training to become a Navy Seal. I told him we weren’t, we were just seeing how far we could push our mind and body into submission. The answer for me was five minutes sitting in a tub filled with freezing cold water.

At this moment you’re probably thinking, that sounds completely unenjoyable, but I assure you after five rounds of doing the circuit your body is forced to relax and you’re submerged into the present moment. The only thing I didn’t love was the locker size and the fact that you had to be completely silent.

“Scandinavian Baths and Hydrotherapy circuits have many benefits including cleansing the body, stimulating blood circulation and releasing of endorphins.”

It’s all about the eyes, making aging beautiful!

Tip Tuesday for aging around the eyes! Last week we spoke about how aging doesn’t need to be scary and I educated you on collagen loss…

Well this week we are going to talk about your eyes, aka the window to the soul … The skin around your eyes is very thin and it’s the first place you age along with the lips.

However we can prevent this, woo hoo! So listen up …

An eye cream in your 20s, 30s and 40s is essential, but be careful because if you pick the wrong one you can develop Milia, and that is not fun. Milia are small cysts that can develop around the eye area. They are not pimples and attempting to pop them can cause further inflammation, damage and scarring.

How about we let your fresh eyes make everyone wonder how you’re aging so well (or hardly aging at all)! I use a vegan luxury eye cream. This gives all skin types a youthful glow while reducing the appearance of puffiness, fine lines and dark circles thanks to a special combination of caffeine = isn’t for everyone

I use a vegan retinol alternative that has been better tolerated by the skin. This anti-aging eye cream formula also features Plant Stem Cell, vitamin C, Peptides and Vitamin B3 to improve the appearance of skin tone around the eyes for an overall healthier, younger-looking appearance that all skin types (including sensitive) will love. This product is allergy tested, dermatologist-tested.

Beauty Expert Review! Mesotherapy, Healing the Skin with Vitamins!

The goal when doing mesotherapy is to allow your skin to work in tandem with the vitamins to heal any issues, boost collagen and the elastin production.

Mesotherapy uses multiple micro injections of minerals, plant extracts, amino acids, vitamins, and other ingredients like hyaluronic acid that are put in the skin in order to help the skin heal. It helps with pores, scars, hydration , fine lines, lack lustre skin, loss of elasticity and premature aging.

The procedure takes about 30 mins and can hurt a little if your face isn’t frozen completely. Through the treatment you’ll be enduring multiple micro needles injected all over the face. You’ll bleed for sure, as it’s going into the skin and you’ll be left with little dots of solution which will dissolve within a day.

They have different types of mesotherapy, some are just cocktails of vitamins and other have more hyaluronic acid to help with lost hydration or volume.

A mesofacial depending on the concern can very from different vitamins and can range anywhere from $125 to $500 dollars depending on what you choose to heal your skin with.

It will not freeze the skin movement like Botox or fill your face like a filler, it will just make the foundation of the skin to be stronger, allowing your face to look more youthful and hydrated & Over time the issues you were concerned will dissolve.

I do it once a year at most, as my skin is pretty healthy and I maintain my skin at home. However, if you are correcting issues you may need to do it more frequently.

I started doing mesotherapy because I wanted to prevent wrinkles and keep my skin young. Based on my results I do enjoy it and I know it does help to maintain my youthful skin.

If you would like to work with me personally to find unbiased skin care advice please email me and I’ll set up a consultation

Vitamin shot, yes please

Beauty Expert Review! Is Cryotherapy worth the hype?

What standing in a literal freezing chamber pretty much naked can do for your body, mind and health for only 3 minuets and why it was one of the first things I did when things opened up from covid.

First off the definition of Cryotherapy is a treatment of extreme cold temperatures, using liquid nitrogen on the body to go anywhere from -160c to -196c in an enclosed space for 1 to 3 minutes. You are simply in your undies with knee high socks, gloves and slippers to protect yourself. It’s a great look!

Cryotherapy tricks your body to go into survival mode. These frigid temperatures trick your body into thinking something extreme is going to happen. Making your major organs the prime focus and therefore your mind sends signals to redirect all you blood to protect your organs. Once completed and you leave the chamber, your mind realizes it’s “safe” again and starts pumping new oxygen rich blood throughout the body. It decreases toxins with the extreme blast of cold.

Its said to decrease inflammation, help produce collagen, detox the blood, boost metabolism, heal injuries faster, improve sleep, hair and elevate your mood and it did all these things for me.

After 5 treatments I noticed a significant decrease in the swelling in my knee, a decrease in pain for up to 4 to 6 hours afterwards, I slept like a peaceful baby that night, my skin looked more toned on my face and body. My water retention also decreased. I noticed an elevation in my mood and my hair is shiny and more manageable, which is rare for me. The results are temporary at this point.

I have done over 50 treatments ish in total to see if the results are long term and honestly this treatment rocks and I’m addicted to my skin looking firmer, and my eyes looking brighter and pain management. You do have to keep up with it so I go at least twice a month now ✨

I would invest in cryotherapy if you are in pain or your an athletic person with aches and pains. It would be highly beneficial if you are jet legged from travelling, as it instantly gives you a jolt of energy. There are skin benefits, but I can’t say if they are long lasting at this point. I’ve been doing it for two years and it has been such a help. However be careful where you go as you need someone experienced.

I would say it’s worth a shot at least once and decide for yourself, however, i f you have heart problems or health issues check with your doctor before proceeding.

Now go freeze your ass of literally 😉 Seriously it burns extra calories too 🌿

How to find happiness in the chaos!

Everything happens for a reason: the good, the bad, & the ugly…

I know this is a cliche you have heard many times. How bad do you want to punch me in the face this second? Here’s the thing no one likes struggle, but what if I can switch up your mind set and shake up your world. Give me until the end of this blog post to do so.

This statement was born because every time I forced something to be different was when I suffered. It was always chaos, heartbreak, illness and I am not saying give up, but I am saying accept it. Two very different things.

When I accepted what my reality was and moved in fluidity to this I was gifted something better out of chaos and rebel. It was like a dance where you let life lead and you are gifted a new blessing from your demise.

My life was not a cookie cutter life, we moved around a lot, I was poor, bullied and constantly felt alone. My mom was ill and was in and out of hospitals. She did her best, but People judged us and I learned fast to act happy and to be whatever I needed to be to survive.

I would often wish for friends, a mom who wasn’t sick, a stable home, to travel and was constantly trying to change everything. Force, force, force which resulted in pain, pain, pain!
However, I surrendered and accepted some huge pain points, such as, I can’t learn the same way as before because of brain aneurysm and accepting that I had a severe ED and moved through it. I was gifted with a real best friend and some amazing blessings.
I grew stronger from the ashes and that paved the way for friendships, love, a purpose and authentic relationships.

When I pushed for what I thought was right, I was often scorned. When I fought for friends they often betrayed me. When I fought for my moms approval my eating disorder got worse & when I fought for anything it often blew up in my face. Trust the process, let it go it’s not for you… Surrender!

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Vitamin A Pumpkin Glow Loaf

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Pumpkin Loaf, Pumpkin Vitamin A Loaf, Glow Recipe, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Vitamin A Pumpkin Glow Loaf


  • Wet Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup Organic Pumpkin (canned or mashed)
    • 1/4 cup Organic Apple Sauce (no sugar added)
    • 1/4 cup Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Dry Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup Krisda Erythritol Sweetener
    • 2 cups Almond Flour
    • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
    • 2 tsp Cinnamon
    • 2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
    • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
    • 1 tsp Maca Powder
  • Final Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips


Serving Size: 8-12

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix all the wet ingredients first, mash pumpkins and mix well. In another bowl mix all the dry ingredients well. Afterwards slowly add the wet and dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Add in chocolate chips. Lightly grease a loaf pan with organic unrefined coconut oil, transfer batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Optional: Top with 2 tbs of unsweetened vegan chocolate chips, sliced almonds or organic pumpkin seeds.

Benefits: Pumpkin has beta-carotene which transitions into vitamin A that can help to strength your immune system. One cup of pumpkin has 245% of vitamin A!

Follow Reawakening Beauty and Reawakening Beauty Podcast for more skin tips, self care tips and recipes.

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more healthy skin tips.

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Reawakening Beauty: Strawberry Vegan Glow Froyo Bowl

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Strawberry Vegan Froyo Bowl, Strawberry Bowl, Vegan Bowl, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Strawberry Vegan Bowl


  • 2 scoops Vegan Vanilla Clean Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Strawberries
  • 3/4 cup Ice
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk (unsweetened)


Serving Size: 1

Blend all ingredients together! Top with your favourite toppings, I do 2 sliced strawberries, chia seeds for added magnesium, 2 tablespoons gluten-free granola and mint to garnish. I love strawberries because they’re loaded with vitamin C and in my experience vitamin C really helps improve the skin as it helps to boost collagen and elastin.

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**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more healthy skin tips.

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Reawakening Beauty: Healthy Skin & Gut Lemonade

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Lemonade, Lemon Aloe, Lemon Aloe Lemonade, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Lemonade


  • 1 tbs Organic Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbs Organic Aloe (with inner fillet) *get the one in a glass bottle
  • 1 cup Filtered Water
  • 1 drop Stevia French Vanilla


Serving Size: 1

Mix all the ingredients together!

This is really easy to make 🙂 I take this whenever my skin or stomach acts up or when my skin is looking a little red. Your skin is directly linked to gut 🌿

Be sure to drink water throughout the day to ensure the aloe can move things along and also help calm the stomach.

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**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more healthy skin tips.

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Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Strawberry Banana Bread Glow Recipe

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Bread, Strawberry Banana Bread, Vegan Banana Bread, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Strawberry Banana Bread


Wet Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/4 organic apple sauce (no sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Krisda stevia sweetener
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbs sea salt
  • 1 tsp maca powder

Final Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup strawberries (finely chopped)


Makes 8-12 servings.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix all the wet ingredients first, mash bananas and mix well. In another bowl mix all the dry ingredients well. After slowly add the wet and dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Add in strawberries. Lightly grease a loaf pan with organic unrefined coconut oil, transfer batter into the loaf pan and bake in for 45 to 50 minutes.

Optional Variation: substitute strawberries for 1/3 cup of unsweetened vegan chocolate chips and top with 2 tbs sliced almonds.

Benefits: Strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C for collagen and elastin reduction.

Follow “Reawakening Beauty” for self care tips, skin tips & recipes

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more healthy skin tips.

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Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Glow Raspberry Protein Chocolate Pudding

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Vegan Glow Raspberry Protein Chocolate Pudding

Base Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Coconut Vegan Yogurt
  • 2 scoops Chocolate Vegan Protein
  • 1/4 tsp Cacao


See Reawakening Beauty blog for the recipe


Makes 1 serving.

Stir vigorously all ingredients in bowl right before serving.


Add 1/4 Raspberries (or my Vegan Keto Cookies) and Mint as a garnish

Protein helps with muscle formation keeping you full

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**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more about my healthy skin program.

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Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Strawberry Cacao Glow Chia Seed Pudding

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Parfait, Strawberry Cacao Chia Seed Pudding, Vegan Pudding, Strawberry Cacao Pudding, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Strawberry Cacao Glow Chia Seed Pudding

Base Ingredients

  • 6 tbs Chia Seeds
  • 2 cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cacao
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries
  • 1 tbs Gluten Free Oats


  • 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries (chopped) or other fruit
  • 3 tsp raw cashews
  • 1-2 tbs Non-Dairy Milk (to make it creamer if desired)


Makes 2 servings. Add 2 cups coconut milk with other base ingredients in blender on low setting for 3 minutes, put in a large mason jar, cover and put in the fridge. Stir after 1 hour and then leave overnight. Stir vigorously right before serving.

Chop your cashews & set aside. To toast the coconut, heat the coconut in a dry skillet over high heat. Heat till edges are lightly browned then set aside. Add chia pudding to parfait glass or bowl. Stir some or all of the coconut right into the pudding or just lay on top. Top with strawberries along with any more toasted coconut and cashews.

Optional: Add other 1/4 kiwi skinned and chopped for more vitamin C

Follow “Reawakening Beauty” for self care tips, skin tips & recipes

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more about my healthy skin program.

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Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Baked Sweet Potato Gorgeous Glow Fries

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Baked Sweet Potato Fries


  • Olive Oil (for tossing)
  • 3-4 Sweet Potatoes (peeled & sliced into 1 inch long slices then 1/4 inch wide strips)
  • 2 tbs Salt
  • 1/2 tbs Pepper
  • 1/2 tbs Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika


Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with house seasoning and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 mins.

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more about my healthy skin program.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Chocolate Coconut Healthy Glow Smoothie

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Chocolate Coconut Protein Smoothie, Vegan Chocolate Smoothie, Protein Smoothie, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Healthy Glow Smoothie


  • 1 scoop Chocolate Vegan Clean Protein
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Vegan Clean Protein
  • 1 tbs Raw Organic Coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Raw Shredded Coconut
  • 4 oz Coconut Unsweetened Milk
  • 4 Ice Cubes (1/2 cup ice)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Water


Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached.

BENEFITS: Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial. Coconut water has electrolytes which is great for the skin.

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more about my healthy skin program.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

3 Important Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert to keep your Skin Healthy and Glowing

We are going to be talking about some really easy tips that you can do to find good skincare, protect your skin in every season and kind of some basic tips that you might be overlooking. So we’re going to start off with something that is highly important when you’re buying your products. Do not store them in a warm place that gets too hot. This is something that a lot of people do, they often want to keep their products in the bathroom where the temperature is changing from hot to cold, but because of the shower humidity it tends to get hot. It actually sometimes can oxidize certain products, especially if you’re opening up the jars and stuff like that. So I personally don’t like to leave my skincare in the bathroom, which is funny that a lot of people actually do. Tip number two, which is often kind of overlooked and something that I would highly recommend, is the expiration dates on your product. So every product will have an expiration date on it. So you want to look, it’s sometimes on the bottom, and it could also be on the top of your products. You want to make sure that you’re looking at the expiration dates and not using your products past the expirations dates. So there’s a few natural skincare products, and it’s great if you’re using natural products, but if these products have natural acids in them, what happens is if the acids expire, I’ve actually heard of it burning people’s skin. So you want to be really careful when you’re using certain products that it won’t do that. It’s not the brand that I work with, but it’s another brand so be mindful of the expiration dates. There’s a reason why there is an expiration and DIN number on each product, and that’s to just keep your skin is happy and healthy. Tip number three to avoid acne, and it’s so basic. And by this way, this is from cupping. Don’t touch your skin. I had a really bad habit and I still do sometimes, you’ll see in my videos that I’m actually just touching my face. So you don’t want to be touching your skin. Especially right now in the times that we’re living in with COVID and all of that, you’re touching things that have bacteria and dirt and oil and then you’re putting it on your skin. It’s not beneficial. It can cause acne, it can cause other irritations. You don’t want to be transmitting bacteria and that kind of thing towards the skin.

Reawakening Beauty Podcast

Listen below to hear the entire Reawakening Beauty episode.

Reawakening Beauty: Extreme Strawberry Glow Protein Smoothie

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Strawberry Protein Smoothie, Vegan Strawberry Smoothie, Protein Smoothie, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Strawberry Protein Smoothie


  • 2 scoops Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Fresh Strawberries
  • 5-7 large ice cubes
  • Optional
    • For added skin benefits add in a vegan probiotic and 1 tsp rose powder


Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached.

Optional: Top with mint and a sliced strawberry. I love to top with 1 tbs of chia seeds or raw organic coconut.

BENEFITS: Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C for collagen and elastin formations.

**Feel free to message me if you would like to learn more about my healthy skin program.

If you love roses and gorgeous skin, check out this recipe.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card