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Sensuous Body Massage Oil : Make your own

June 11, 2011

Massage is sensual and

if you are using a sublime oil to smooth on your skin…

it’s pretty close to a spiritual moment!

Here’s your recipe:


Makes 100ml

40ml Jojoba oil – a great ‘oil’ for all skin types as it mimics the skin’s own sebum and corrects imbalances
20ml Sweet Almond oil – nourishes and soothes dry skin.  If you suffer from nut allergy, substitute soyabean oil here.
15ml Safflower (thistle) oil – high in omega 6 & 3 essential fatty acids.  Easily absorbed by the skin.
24ml Coconut oil (liquid fractionated) – gives softness and nourishment to the skin
1ml Vitamin E (you can use capsule contents from the health shop) – fights free radicals and boosts the production of new skin cells

Essential oil blend: (use half the no. of drops of essential oil as the volume of your oil e.g. if you make up 100ml of oil, use 50 drops in total of essential oil blend

for women: Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang, Black Pepper & Sandalwood

(example for 100ml blend would be 20 drops sandalwood, 7 drops jasmine absolute, 8 drops Ylang Ylang, 15 drops black pepper = total of 50 drops)

for men: vetiver & mandarin (example for 100ml blend would be 10 drops vetiver, 40 drops mandarin = total 50 drops)

If you have a sensitive skin, drop the total number of essential oil drops to 20.

Put it in a gorgeous bottle and find a massage partner!

Obviously, this is not suitable for use on children!

Step-by-step: Honey & Oatmeal face balm

August 3, 2010

Rough day at the office?  Bad night’s sleep?  The perfect antidote –

Dissolve your make up and cares away by applying this exfoliating, hydrating balm and then removing with a lovely warm, , clean, fluffy flannel (I like my flannel quite hot but obviously not too hot, especially if you have broken veins).  It takes off my eyeshadow, my mascara and makes me feel great🙂

To make about 60ml, you will need:

5ml/g beeswax
44ml/g oil (I used 15g poppy seed, 5g shea oil, 24g calendula oil)
5ml oatmeal
5ml honey
1ml/g vitamin E (you could use vitamin E capsules)
wooden or other stirrer
essential oils (I used 6 drops geranium, 7 drops tangerine, 5 drops orange, 7 drops myrrh)

Put enough water in a saucepan to reach half way up the ceramic/glass bowl that you will use to heat the beeswax. Your glass/ceramic bowl should be big enough to hold both the beeswax and the oil.

Heat gently until beeswax has melted. Then add your oil. If it all congeals, don't panic, just keep heating until it looks like the mix in this pic.

Remove from heat and transfer to glass bowl. Add vitamin E, oatmeal and honey (one at a time) and stir together until well blended. Add essential oils and stir well.

Decant into a clean, sterilised jar and enjoy!

Natural ways to reduce skin pigmentation

July 25, 2010

The key to success is perserverance and it ‘s no different when it comes to age spots.  Tackling these untimely, oversized freckles is possible without paying a fortune but you have to apply your potions regularly.  What the two have in common, i.e. costly over-the-counter preparations and the more natural approach is that, if you stop applying the potion, the offending age spots will darken your face/hands/neck [or wherever] again!  However, please keep your expectations realistic, both natural and commercial remedies fades pigmentation but will not eliminate it!

Some ‘quick and dirty’ remedies from…

The humble Onion
Use once a day
It makes sense to use one that you’re going to cook with anyway, as you’ll only use a tiny piece – I like the centre bit, as it’s nice and juicy. Take your piece of onion to the nearest mirror, squeeeeeeze it between your fingers and rub the juice on your age spot(s).  Obviously, if you have loads of age spots, and don’t want to make people cry every time they see you🙂,  it might be better to try one of the other remedies, but the humble onion certainly works for me and, amazingly, I don’t pong of the raw stuff, which could be something to do with the fact that I’m only treating two of the crittery, freckly things at the moment.  Use it regularly and this remedy works!

The sweet  Lemon
Use once a day

This one’s just as easy.  Squeeze a bit of lemon juice onto either a cotton pad or bud and dab on the age spot(s).  Don’t use more than once a day and wash the lemon juice off after 10 mins or so.

Onion, cider vinegar and lemon juice are worthy and economical home remedies for this problem.  Personally, I find the vinegar a little drying but if you have an oily skin, this may not trouble you as much.

Lemon laced Almond cream
Special treatment

  • A little more time consuming and, of course, NOT for those with nut allergies (duh!).  Grind 5 almonds and mix with 1 teaspoon of fresh cream plus a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this paste to the face and neck. Leave on for about fifteen minutes and wash gently away.  Your skin will feel fresh and youthful.

Especially during Spring, avoid unprotected exposure to the sun as it will darken pigmentation.  The ozone layer is at its thinnest so your SPF will be under pressure.

Strawberry Mask for Age Spots
Use daily on normal / oily skins   or   twice a week on dry skin

A gentle, yet effective treatment for lightening age spots, aided by Frankincense essential oil which stimulates cell rejuvenation.

1 fresh strawberry
2 teaspoons plain, whole milk  yoghurt
2 drops frankincense oil
1/2 teaspoon cosmetic clay – buy it here

1.  Mash strawberry and mix approx 1 teaspoon of the juice with the yogurt, frankincense and clay.
2.  Apply mixture to skin with small cosmetic brush or artist’s brush (clean please!).
3.  Leave potion in place for 20 mins then remove with a warm, wet cotton pad.

Bedstraw Ointment
Use twice daily
1 good handful (don’t worry about the size of your hands!) of dried ladies bedstraw
125ml oil (e.g. sweet almond, jojoba, sunflower, olive)
12g grated or thinly chopped organic beeswax

1. Put oil and ladies bedstraw in saucepan and heat on LOW setting (you don’t want the pan bursting into flames!)
Stand next to your saucepan (enamel or ceramic – avoid metal please) for 10 mins and periodically squash the herbs down with a wooden spoon so that they are mostly covered in oil.

2.  Turn heat off when 10 mins are up and remove pan from hob.

3.  Put lid or cover with paper towel and allow to stand for a few hours or so.

4.  Strain oil through muslin or new J-cloth into suitable container.  Strain again, if there are still bits floating around, and then put 120ml of the strained oil into clean jug or ceramic bowl.  If your oil does not make up 120ml then add fresh oil to make up to requirement.

5.  Stand the jug/bowl in a larger pan (larger pan can be metal) and place on stove.  Carefully pour water into larger pan until water level is just below level of oil.  Bring water to gentle boil and then turn heat down.

6.  Add beeswax and simmer until all has melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden lolly stick or those wooden stirring sticks you find in coffee bars🙂

7.  Remove jug/bowl from larger pan (not with bare hands please ‘cos it will be hot) and allow ointment to cool a little.

8.  When ointment-to-be starts to go a little cloudy pour into container

9.  Allow to cool completely and put lid on.

10.  Voila!  Your ointment is ready for use – apply a dot on your pigment spot after moisturising and before make-up and then again at bedtime daily.

Calendula Juice
Use several times a day

To make the juice, wash a small handful of fresh calendula stalks
and run them through a juice extractor (or liquidise and strain)
Apply juice to affected areas several times a day.

Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) Sap

Cut houseleek leaf up lengthways and apply sap directly to the pigment spots.

Step-by-step: ‘Hayfever eyes’ soothing balm

May 20, 2010

I am a big fan of balms.  Made from quality oils, free from preservatives and easily assimilated by our skin, they make the perfect choice.  Cream is fast becoming third best in my beauty bag.  Recently, a work colleague [hi Carolyn!] asked if I could help her out by making something for her ‘hayfever eyes’. Each evening , when she got home from work they itched and itched and were driving her nuts!

Next morning, my daughter asked if I had anything for her eyes – they were swollen, red and itching like crazy.  Immediately, I thought of the balm blend I had made over the weekend to help me when I had trouble sleeping.  It had all the right essential oils in it:

  • Roman Chamomile (anthemis nobilis) – helps to soothe and calm inflamed skin
  • Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) – heals, calms, soothes and eases skin and feelings.  Suitable for all skin types.
  • Petigrain (citrus aurantium var. amara [fol]) – excellent skin oil and also useful for stress and itchy eyes cause stress!

Could these wonderful oils help hayfever eyes?

I scooped up my little white balm pot and pressed it into my daughter’s palm.  She zoomed off to her room and applied a small amount over the affected eyelid – avoiding the eyelid rim, as it is not desirable if  the product migrates into your eyes!  10 minutes later she emerged, announcing that the balm had worked – her eyes had actually stopped itching.  Now I was excited!  My balm works!  The very next day, a small pot was despatched to my colleague.

Here is how to make the balm for yourself and a friend:

Makes 25ml

2.5g organic shea butter
3.5g organic beeswax
19g carrier oils of your choice (I used a mixture of jojoba and sunflower)
1 or 2 vitamin E capsules
Essential oils of Roman Chamomile (1 drop), Lavender – make sure it is Lavandula angustifolia – (18 drops) & Petitgrain (1 drop)
I use Neal’s Yard or Aromantic essential oils because I trust them

Melt beeswax in double boiler
Add shea butter and when it has melted, add the oil
When it has all melted, removed from the heat
Stir for about 10 minutes, then add contents of vitamin E capsules
Stir for a few minutes more then add the essential oils and pour into your pots
Put lids on when balm has cooled (otherwise you will get condensation)
I usually get one of those long coffee stirring sticks  (*_~) and stir next morning too, just for good measure

You can buy nice little balm pots from Naturally Balmy.

BONUS:  This balm can be rubbed into your pulse points or temples at night to help with a restful night’s sleep!

Brain bytes: The importance of health maintenance

May 16, 2010

I have been studying towards a Diploma in Aromatherapy & Essential Oil Science at Neal’s Yard for about 9 months now; I have learned a lot and  enjoy the Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) modules of the course as much as learning about essential oils and massage.

As an overview of A&P, I have learned this:

The human body is a chemical soup, continually striving to maintain a state of homeostasis.  Each and every chemical that we ingest, abosrb or inhale has, for better or worse, an effect on our cells.   There are ingenius body mechanisms in place to take care of foreign invaders – white blood cells, stomach acid, cilia and fine hair but, if our immune system is suppressed by hormones produced as a result of long term stress, these body mechanisms find themselves working under compromised conditions and things sometimes begin to falter.  We get ill.

As we get older, cell regeneration slows and the DNA copying machine begins to run out of ‘toner’; our DNA cell copies become less clear and some bits cannot be ‘read’.  Illness and degenerative conditions begin to take hold.  Depressing picture, huh?  Maybe, but there is a limit to what we can do, at the time of writing this article anyway,  although …..

We can optimise our chances of staying healthy by:

  • eating fresh organic food, where possible.  Growing your own veg, salad leaves and herbs is good and easy
  • exercising at least 5 times a week from now until you die – using your muscles maintains their tone and flexibility and ensures your organs & cells are infused with oxygenated and nutrient rich blood – just what they need to stay happy
  • watch what you put on your skin – read those labels!  Avoid over-exposure to the sun and other forms of radiation
  • it is hard, I know, but do your level best to ingest and use as few man made chemicals as possible
  • work hard to de-stress.  Ask your partner or friend how they can tell you are stressed.  Long terms stress does, without doubt or exception, suppress your immune system, letting those nasties creep in.  Massage and touch are great ways to de-stress.

Looking to the past is usually scoffed at but I can think of many good reasons to emulate some of the practices of 50 years ago – selectively, of course!  One example springs to mind –  don’t let those ads persuade you that you are a bad mother if you don’t use anti-bacterial sprays all over your kitchen surfaces – your children need to evolve an efficient immune system.  They didn’t have those ads or sprays in the 50s and – hey – people are still living!

Also, do you really need to work overtime for that Gucci bag………..? 🙂

Buy Local

April 24, 2010

Not only am I enthusiastic about making natural skin care products but I am a firm believer in the concept of Buy Local and Buy from Small Producers and Crafters.  Where I live, some very enterprising people have taken the produce they grown on a community farm and sell it at Hackney station so that busy, disorganised, tired office workers [well I am one of them] can stop and buy fresh, organic veg to take home and prepare.  It’s called …..

Small producers truly have the interests of the customer at heart – they talk to their customers – not via adverts but face-to-face – and are able to accommodate, within reason, personal preferences or exceptions and create bespoke products for their customers.  How many times have you been into a big store and been treated like an annoying fly or, worse, not even looked at or acknowledged as you pay for your goods, putting your hand out for the change to be slammed into it along with a crunched up till receipt that you often don’t even need?

A local producer, on the other hand, can give you first-hand knowledge of links in the product’s chain, ingredients and production methods. The other week, at my local Farmers Market, a customer asked the stallholder if he had a meadowsweet plant to sell.  “No”, he replied, “but I can get one for you and bring it along next time”.  If that was the ‘big shops’ you usually get told “if it’s not there, we don’t have it” and that is the end of the transaction.  I am generalising, of course, as there are also some very helpful ‘big shops’ out there who will go the extra mile to meet their customer’s requirements.
Buying Local also makes sense environmentally.  Often the producer has sourced local products in order to avoid additional expense and complications like import licences etc.  As an example, the jars I use for my creams and balms are manufactured by a small company in Bristol and I am very pleased with them.  I could source them from someone re-selling Chinese stock and sometimes I am forced to do this, as small businesses are often ‘closed out’ by suppliers who are influenced by the ‘big boys’ and sweetly offer you 25,000 product items.
“Whaaaat, I am still building my customer base – I can order 500 at a push…. hello…. hello….bye”.  Not an easy one.
If there are any manufacturers or suppliers out there that are willing to supply to smaller businesses, please get in touch – I shall compile a database and let it be known to other small suppliers.

Ebay is a great source of hard-to-access supplies but this can work out more expensive as you are often paying the next supplier in the chain and it becomes increasingly difficult to sell the product competitively.  It takes spirit and determination to get through and I am experiencing the process. (>.<)

I have a vision of an eBay-type marketplace for small producers and crafters.  BigBarn are doing a great job of providing a marketplace for small – medium scale local national producers.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could get together local allotment societies, smallholders, organic farmers, soap and skin care manufacturers – my vision is expanding – a combo of Etsy and Big Barn.  What do you think?

Homeopathic and natural remedies next in line of EU fire – pay up little brother or else…

April 18, 2010

New rules
European and UK regulations are in the process of changing, so that in the future no-one will be able to practise as a herbalist unless they are registered with the central body. The specific details are still under discussion.” [extract from]

Registered with a central body??? What they really mean to say is YOU MUST PAY THE CENTRAL BODY FIRST then you can do what you always have.  Political muggers and extortionists!

EU mafioso are not stopping there …..

Weleda are now fighting for the right to use natural substances and not synthetics in their products and have set up a campaign for use of natural products”.  An online petition that can be signed by all those concerned about the threat to natural products.  Weleda have joined forces with companies such as Biodynamics, Demeter Foods and Wala to form Eliant, who are campaigning to ensure, in view of growing European Integration, legal safeguards for various aspects of anthroposophy and to maintain the diversity of alternative lifestyles. Further information and the petition can be found here.

Help STOP the Eurocrats from ruining our freedom to trade and the freedom of the customer to choose!   A petition worth signing.

This should be the EU’s slogan: