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?

Nourishing whipped body butter

 

I’ve wanted to try this one for a while but it is a bit of a time consuming process. Since I’m enjoying the Christmas holidays and being off work I decided to finally give it a go. Not to mention that my skin needs some help to be dealing with current temperatures…

What is it I’m talking about? Whipped body butter! Certain things need more time to be put into practice. I think I bought an electric mixer, specifically for making cosmetics, or to be even more precise, whipped body butters, over a year ago. Or maybe even longer. Yes, I know. Hopeless, right?

Well, this week I decided to finally make it. I had a lot of spare time on my hands. So, ladies and gentlemen! Ta dah!

You need a few butters, oils and essential oils to make this beautiful butter but believe me, it’s worth it! And your skin will be grateful for your effort too.

The main ingredient in this recipe is shea butter and I am looking at it in much more detail here. You need 50g of shea butter, organic, raw is best, as always. You also need 10g coconut oil and 10g mango butter. Place these in a heatproof glass bowl and melt in a double boiler. I don’t use any fancy equipment. I boil water in a pot and place the bowl on top of the boiling water. Simple. Once melted add 10 ml each: sweet almond, jojoba and apricot kernel oil. Stir, take off the heat and leave to cool. And now the whole process begins.

Get your mixer ready. Make sure you always use separate equipment to make your cosmetics to avoid any contamination. I started mixing when the edges started to solidify. Just before you start mixing add your essential oils. I added 20 drops of lemongrass and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Mix for 10-15 seconds and leave it to cool. Keep repeating this process until the butter completely solidifies and becomes creamy and fluffy.

Spoon into a clean pot with a lid and enjoy!

Yes, it takes a bit of time so it’s best to make it when you have more spare time on your hands but it’s completely worth the effort. Feels lovely on my skin.

Beautiful neck oil

Do you ever have those days, or weeks, when everything you need finishes? This just happened to me last week. I had a long to-do list, waiting for the weekend. Face cleanser, toner, lip balm, body oil and more. I also decided to make a neck and bust oil as I haven’t used it for a while.

I always had issues when it came to my neck, even though I love it really (I think it’s long and sexy :)) But for as long as I can remember I had those lines across my neck and looking at the necks of other girls my age, and seeing how flawless they were, well… I wanted a neck like that too. I started researching my options. I even found some laser treatment when I was about 19 but never went ahead with it. I was always more into natural ways of dealing with things. One thing I found out back then was that wheatgerm oil was really good. Unfortunately I had no access to wheatgerm oil all those years ago. Luckily, I do now.

What is so good about wheatgerm oil? It is nutrients and vitamins packed. It is readily absorbed by the skin and acts as a very good moisturiser. Wheatgerm oil is rich in vitamin E which fights free radicals and supports collagen formation. Because of its anti-aging properties it helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Now, you probably heard that a typical woman looks after her face but tends to leave out the neck from the daily care routine. That’s why you can notice the signs of aging on the neck faster. Not to mention that the skin on the neck is thinner than the skin on your face so it would be logical to look after it even more.

The recipe I will share with you today is perfect for your neck. Apply it daily, best in the evening so the skin has all night to take in all the goodies. The ingredients you need are: wheatgerm oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, rosehip oil and the following essential oils: sweet orange, ylang ylang, geranium and patchouli. You also need a 100 ml glass dropper bottle, a funnel and measuring spoons.

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However this time I replaced half of the jojoba oil with rice bran oil (didn’t have enough of jojoba) and added a few drops of Coenzyme Q10 with vitamin E.

It’s simple (yet effective). Measure: 50 ml of wheatgerm oil, 20 ml of jojoba oil and 10 ml each of argan and rosehip oil. You also need 6 drops each: sweet orange, ylang ylang and patchouli essential oils and 9 drops of geranium.

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Pour everything into the dropper bottle, screw the top on and shake. And it’s ready to use. You only need about 5 -6 drops each evening, plus another 5-6 if you’r e using it on your breasts as well.

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Enjoy! Your neck will forever be grateful (and beautiful!)

Gorgeous solid perfume

beginners-challenge

 

Sometimes things have a way of working out a bit weird, don’t they? I had this plan to eventually learn how to make perfume using essential oils but I know pretty much nothing yet about creating my own blends at this point so I didn’t even attempt making any perfume.

I was chatting to a friend the other day about nothing related to cosmetics and then he told me that T was complemented on his perfume by everybody. At first I wasn’t sure why I was told that but eventually it became clear that he thought I made the perfume. I laughed to myself and replied that I wished I knew how to make perfume, especially smelling like the ones T was wearing. And then, the next day guess what happened…I followed one of the recipes I had written down from somewhere to make a face cream and the fragrance just amazed me. It was gorgeous! I couldn’t stop smelling the cream. I realised that I accidentally discovered a fragrance made using essential oils that I would actually love to wear. So the next day I made this solid perfume.

Now, solid perfume is very easy to make as long as you know the oil blend you want to use. If you’re not good at making your own blends (yet) just wait for a miracle to happen, like in my case, or try out different blends recipes you can find on Pinterest and other websites. I am going to share my find with you.

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You only need a few ingredients: jojoba wax, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil, geranium essential oil, grapefruit essential oil and sweet orange essential oil.

Melt 1 table spoon of jojoba wax in a double boiler (or like me in a Pyrex jug placed in the pot of boiling water). Remove from the heat and add 15 ml of jojoba oil. Stir.

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Add 30 drops of grapefruit oil, 14 drops of geranium and 5 drops of sweet orange oil. Stir and and pour into a glass pot.

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Let it cool completely and it’s ready to use! Apply small amounts where you’d normally apply perfume, e.g. neck, behind ears, wrists, collar bone.

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Now, I was so eager to make these that I couldn’t wait for a smaller pot so don’t make the same mistake as me. You would be better of with a smaller one (this one is 30 ml I believe) as it is easier to access the amazing perfume 🙂

Happy experimenting!

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

Beautiful body oil

is-turning

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

beauty-begins-the-moment-you-decide-to-be-yourself-coco-chanel

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!

My big WHY

If you want to be more powerful in life,educate yourself.It is that simple.

 

Ok. So I realised yesterday that I haven’t really told you WHY.

WHY I have started writing this blog. WHY this interest in cosmetics. And WHY I have started making my own products.

So…. Well, I can’t really answer why I have such an interest in cosmetics. I always did and I still do. However my interest shifted from owning to making and as a result I own less. I now usually have one pot or bottle of each product I use instead of a few different ones like I used to.

But I know exactly WHY I started writing and making my own products. I am very curious and I like learning. About anything that catches my interest really. And because of my interest I obviously was reading a lot about new products on the market, what they promise to do and so on. And then something caught my attention.

I noticed that a lot of brands started writing on their products that they were “eco” or “natural” or containing argan oil or other natural ingredients. By then I was already used to checking the ingredients in the food I was buying so my natural reaction was to look at the ingredients of all those “natural” cosmetics. I also already knew that the ingredients list is written up in the descending order of the amount of the ingredient used and what did I see? Well, you probably guessed it or know it already. All those natural ingredients were at the very bottom of the list. Usually. Which obviously meant there wasn’t much of them used. And so I started to investigate other ingredients and the Pandora box opened…

The more I was reading the less I wanted to be buying and using all those mainstream cosmetics. I always kind of hoped that at least the more expensive brands used better ingredients but it wasn’t the case. Preservatives, parabens, mineral oils (yeah, I know, it sounds like something that is actually good), PEG and the list doesn’t obviously end here. Everything was full of chemicals and I was using it for so long.

This knowledge lead to me trying to make my own products, starting from very simple body scrubs and food based face masks (I had a collection of recipes from all sorts of magazines). And then I came across Karen Gilbert’s book and you know the rest. Or if not you can read it here.

So my big WHY in all this is to educate myself more. To know about all those harmful ingredients so I know what to avoid. To learn about all the good, natural ingredients: what they do, where they come from and how to use them. And to share all this knowledge with you so we can educate as many people as possible, so they live happy and healthy lives, looking good for longer 🙂

 

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!