Shea butter

In my previous post here I shared a recipe for a nourishing, whipped body butter.

The main ingredient in this recipe is SHEA BUTTER. I have been using shea butter for a while now. Actually, this was one of the very first natural ingredients I bought when I was beginning my natural cosmetics adventure. I know some things about it but today I will look at it in more detail.

I’m one of those people who pays attention to what I buy. Now even more so, I read the ingredients on products I don’t even intend to buy just out of curiosity. Especially if something claims to be natural or contain natural ingredients. If you’re like me, surely you’ve noticed that most of those cosmetics do have a certain natural ingredient in their formula, unfortunately it is usually at the very end of the list which means there is very little of it in there. However, I have also noticed that shea butter is quite often used in products which are otherwise packed with chemicals. Probably that’s better than just chemicals but I do encourage you to always read the ingredients of what you buy. Doesn’t matter if these are cosmetics or food or whatever else it might be.

So…Shea butter. Where does it come from? What are the benefits and uses?

  1. ORIGINS

Shea butter (known as Karite) is pressed form nuts of the Shea tree (Butyrospermum Parkii) that grows in West Africa, in the Sahel region. Shea tree bears its first fruit at about the age of 20 years and reaches its peak production at the age of 40-50 years. It has been used in skincare for thousands of years, going back as far as Cleopatra’s Egypt. Its colour ranges from yellowish to ivory.

Today some of the Shea butter comes from Burkina Faso. It is nicknamed “Women’s Gold” because it is owned by women and the profits they make is the main source of their income.

2.BENEFITS

Shea butter is used for its moisturising properties, especially for dry skin. It also improves skin elasticity. Shea butter contains natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor). It isn’t high (approximately SPF 6) but shea butter has been used in Africa for centuries to protect the skin from the sun. It is also protective and healing, reduces blemishes and scarring, including stretch marks. It soothes the skin and has anti-aging properties. Shea butter also contains vitamins E, F and pro-vitamin A. Shea butter easily penetrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue or clogging the pores.

3. USES

Shea butter is used in  skincare for dry and damaged skin. It is also used in hair products designed for damaged and dry hair. It can stimulate hair growth and lightly relaxes curls. It is commonly used in body butters, creams and lotions, hand creams, face products and hair conditioners and masks. It is also useful in cases of acne, eczema and dermatitis.

SOURCES

To collate the above information I used the following articles/ websites:

https://www.aromantic.co.uk/home/products/butters-fats-waxes/shea-butter,-filtered-(organic).aspx

http://www.naturallythinking.com/shea-butter.html

http://sheabutter.com/shea-butter-history

http://www.sheabutter.net/hiofshbu.html

I do NOT receive any incentives from the above companies. I do however use the first two to buy the most of the ingredients I use.

Now we know a bit more about it let’s just enjoy incorporating it into the DIY formulas, shall we? It is really worth it. I’m nearly through the pot of the whipped body butter I made and shared in the previous post and my skin feels so soft, including the usual problem areas such as knees and elbows. Next weekend I will be making  another body concoction just haven’t yet got an idea what exactly. Maybe it’s time to try something new?

Beautiful body oil

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This is such an universal truth! Yes, sometimes you do get what you wish for, if you wish hard enough, if you believe it is yours already. But with certain things you just need to wish and work hard for what you want. And having beautiful skin is one of those. You simply can’t just sit there and wish for your skin to suddenly become beautiful, toned, supple and whatever else you’d like it to be. It takes the right daily care and the right (meaning natural and actually working) products. And one of those I will be talking about today. BODY OIL!

I know what you might be thinking. Oil? That is going to make my skin greasy and leave stains everywhere, right? Well, not quite. Not this formula. I have been making this one for a while now and not only that it made my skin look and feel much better altogether but I have also noticed a significant improvement in the up-to-now-dry skin on my elbows. It isn’t that dry anymore. It is actually beginning to feel like the skin on the rest of my body.

Now, I need to give credit where credit is due. It is not my formula. It comes from the website I have been using a lot for ideas, inspiration, recipes and ingredients (for those of you who are UK based). Aromantic! And the body oil recipe can be found here. The only change I do sometimes is swapping the essential oils from the recipe to sandalwood essential oil, 20 drops.

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Now, let’s look at the individual ingredients to see what benefits they provide.

  1. Eco silk makes the body oil feel less greasy.
  2. Oat oil is quickly absorbed by the skin which also helps to make the texture of the body oil less greasy. It locks in moisture in the skin, it’s rich in vitamin E and Linoleic acid which help to maintain the skin natural balance. It’s also ceramide rich which also helps to absorb and retain moisture in the skin.
  3. Apricot kernel oil is high in vitamin A. It’s good for dry, irritated and prematurely aged skin. It also has great moisturising and softening properties.
  4. Castor oil has many benefits: heals inflammation, helps to reduce acne, moisturises the skin, reduces blemishes and pigmentation, prevents stretch marks and fights signs of aging.
  5. Broccoli seed oil has a light consistency therefore reduces greasiness of the body oil and is softening and hydrating.
  6. Vitamin E oil has healing and skin cell stimulant properties. It is an antioxidant – protects the skin from free radicals.

As you can see this body oil formula has amazing benefits so what are you waiting for? Try it out!

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P.S. This port contains some associate links which means I am earning a small commission on products bought through them. However I would never recommend products I don’t use or love myself!

Black gold

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Ok, so my boyfriend inspired me to formulate this face scrub. As you know, I love scrubs. Of all kind really. He likes face scrubs 🙂 One day he told me to try his current one out because he loved how it made his skin feel. It made him feel that his skin was really clean and gave him the feeling of freshness. Plus it was quite rough. So me being me, I looked at the ingredients to identify what was responsible for it. Well, the feeling of freshness to be precise. MENTHOL! I have actually never used it as an ingredient before and had no idea how to use it. But because I wasn’t very fond on quite a lot of ingredients in his scrub I decided to experiment to make him something natural that gave him the same feel. And guess what? It took three tries and I got it, improved it slightly as well. And it’s T again who inspired me (thanks!) because another ingredient that he loves is activated coal. I used to buy this face wash with activated coal that he loved. Used to as it seems to be discontinued, unfortunately. But the coal, together with menthol, found their way into the scrub.

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You have to forgive me for not sharing the formula this time round. That’s because I am thinking of this scrub being part of my range I am beginning to work on (yes, I want to have my own natural cosmetics business).

How to use MENTHOL

As for the ingredients however, I can share one tip about using menthol. It comes in crystals (I use this one). This was part of the problem and why I needed three tries to get the scrub right. Dissolving the crystals is a bit tricky. I read that they can be dissolved in the room temperature in e.g. base oil. But I think I didn’t give it long enough the first time round. You could feel it but not as much as I wanted. So the second time round I decided to add it during the cooling phase of making the scrub. And this time I think the scrub was still too warm so you couldn’t feel menthol at all. The third time round I decided to dissolve the crystals in Eco Silk that I added in the last phase and BINGO! It worked. It dissolved completely and it gave the feeling T was looking for.

Activated Charcoal

Now, why COAL you may ask. The colour definitely scares people away, thinking it will stain the skin. No, it does not! I tried. And it is worth using, especially if you have oily skin.

Activated charcoal (this is the one I use. It is in capsules so take care when opening them as it can get quite messy), due to its adsorption power, helps you to get rid of toxins, impurities and dirt from the skin pores. It draws the impurities to the surface of the skin and it helps to fight acne. It is used in face masks but you can also use to whiten your teeth! I know, right? It does not seem quite logical to be using black powder to whiten anything but here you go. All you need to do is to deep a wet toothbrush in the activated charcoal and brush your teeth as you normally would for 2 minutes. Spit it out, rinse and voila! I’m not saying it will work the first time round but give it some time and you will surely see the results.

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As for face masks I found this DIY mask with activated charcoal (I actually have it on my face right now :)) I think it’s awesome. The three main ingredients provide so many benefits. I added 3 drops of teat tree oil for its anti-bacterial properties. And for the fragrance as you know I love when cosmetics smell nicely.

According to this post that is quite comprehensive, activated charcoal:

  1. Helps to bind dirt and impurities and draws them out of the pores, leaving skin cleaner and the pores less visible.
  2. Helps to balance oily skin by pulling out the excess oil from your skin.
  3. Helps to treat acne due to its impurities and oil drawing out properties.
  4. Helps to deep clean your skin but it’s best not to use it daily in order not to draw out all the oil from the skin as it’s needed for its proper functioning.
  5. Helps to heal cuts, irritations and bites. Mix it up with enough water to form a paste and apply on the affected skin. This should lessen the pain and reduce swelling.
  6. Helps to get rid of toxins from your hair when added to your regular shampoo.
  7. Helps to add volume to your hair
  8. Helps to reduce scalp conditions such as dandruff, redness and oily and itchy scalp.

With so many benefits what else can I say? Happy experimenting!

P.S. This post contains associate links which mean I earn a small commission on the products bought thorugh them. However, I would never recommend anything I don’t personally use and love!

Oh lovely lime!

     PEOPLE WILL STARE.MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE (1)

I love the smell of lime. It’s so refreshing. So I decided to make a lime body scrub today. Not to mention that I had a dose of lime a bit earlier in the day when I enjoyed an amazingly relaxing back massage. If it lasted any longer than half an hour I would have fallen asleep. Ally, who has her little massage studio near me makes her blends on the spot, depending on my mood and preferences. And today it was… Yes, you guessed it. LIME!

Body scrubs are not at all complicated to make and surely cheaper and more skin friendly than the shop bought ones. After all, what do you need the body scrub for? To buff away all those dead skin cells, right? You don’t really need fancy ingredients, or a lot of them for that matter, as the scrub doesn’t stay on your skin long enough to benefit from them. The best body scrubs for me are those rough ones that moisturise your skin and you don’t need any body lotion or butter afterwards.

So I have collected my few ingredients and utensils I needed: fine sugar (you can replace it with salt, depending on what you want to achieve, read this post here), coconut oil (left in by the window so that the sun would melt it), lime and lime oil (like this one here). Plus a bowl, a spoon and a grater. That’s all. Simple, right?

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I was considering using virgin olive oil but decided against it purely because it would give my scrub this greenish colour and the lime zest wouldn’t show as nice. Oh, yes! You will also need a container to hold your scrub of course.

I measured half a cup of sugar, poured it into a bowl and then measured about 1/3 of a cup coconut oil and added it to the bowl.

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I stirred it all up to make sure that the sugar is coated in oil. Then I added 15 drops of lime essential oil and a zest of a lime, finely grated. Stirred it again and voila! My very own lime body scrub!

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Benefits of lime essential oil

What benefits does the lime essential oil actually have? I chose it based on my smell preferences but I promised myself, and all of you, my dear readers, to learn along the way so here we go. Lime essential oil is antimicrobial and has calming properties (hmm…maybe that is why I felt so sleepy during my back massage? Although I am pretty sure that was due to Ally’s fantastic skills and me generally loving massages). But also an uplifting aroma. It is also said to improve cognitive performance. Lime oil can be used on acne-prone, greasy and problem skin and it acts as an antioxidant which may help with reduce the dark spots that appear due to aging (I have just read it here, and because I have noticed some darker patches on my face, not sure if it’s already because of aging or something else, it is definitely good to know). However, a word of warning! Lime oil, as well as most of the citrusy oils, is phototoxic which means that if applied on the skin and then exposed to the sunlight it may result in severe burns. So it is best to avoid it during sunny days. If you want to know even more, read this post here. Very comprehensive!

And as for me, I am off to scrub away those dead skin cells with my beautiful lime body scrub!

Luscious Lime Body Scrub

P.S. This post contains associate links which means I earn a small commission on the products bought through these links. However, I would never recommend anything I don’t use and love myself!