Holistic Hair Therapy

hair oilThe gorgeous summer sun, has many benefits to your health and well-being, but can play a number on your hair, leaving it dry and coarse, instead of luscious and soft.

It’s not just the heat of the sun that’s to blame, but a combination of factors.

A daily swim in a heavy chlorinated pool can be detrimental to your hair – not to mention bleached hair! The main cause of damaged and dry hair in the summer is the need for a daily wash, which only strips your hair of its natural oils, creating an oil imbalance.

The more you wash, the more it seems to be greasy, yet dry. Which is why the whole process keeps repeating itself. Towards the end of summer you begin to feel confused (much like your hair), oily scalp, with very dry ends.

Getting your hair healthy again is fairly simple, yet requires a bit of patient pampering. Instead of jumping to a conventional store-bought hair product, that is in my opinion, full of chemicals and fillers, I urge you to try out some ancient Ayurvedic rituals using natural plant oils and extracts, combined with a scalp massage.

Unfortunately, you’ll also have to resist the urge to wash your hair for a couple of days as well, so that your oil production can balance out. Hard I know! Once balanced, you’ll notice you’ll only need to wash it every 3 -4 day’s or so, which your hair will thank you for!

Treatment Oil

Olive Oil – My favorite hair oil has always been olive oil – it’s a pantry staple that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, and always does the trick.

Castor Oil – My second favorite would have to be castor oil. Castor oil has growth properties and makes the hair shine. It’s a bit thick on its own though, and rather tedious to apply so I usually mix it with olive oil and use it as a scalp masque.

Argan Oil – I had the pleasure of going on holiday with my family to Morocco a few years back. We took a trip in the mountains and stopped in a few Berber villages on the way. There I discovered argan oil first hand. I saw them crush it into a fine sheep smelling oil (Yup, real virgin argan smells like sheep!) Most of the time when you buy a product with argan oil slapped in big writing on the front, you may be surprised to know you’re only getting 5% or so of actual argan oil, the rest is cheap mineral oils that are put in there to “dry” out the oil quickly upon application. I personally don’t see the point of wasting time and money on fillers. I prefer to use the oil straight up. Feeling it soaking in as I enjoy the ritual.

Avocado Oil – Avocado oil is similar to Olive oil, it’s rich, shares similar properties, and great for dry or damaged hair. The only difference is it can be hard to source in some countries, and may also be on the pricier side.

Coconut Oil – It’s a given that coconut oil works wonders not just for the hair, but for the whole body. The scent alone is to die for, making you feel like you’re on some exotic island, drinking cocktails and basking in the sun. Coconut oil has huge anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant properties – perfect for giving your scalp a good cleanse. Product build-up can lead to dandruff and unwanted dry skin. Using coconut oil on your scalp, helps to clean clogged hair follicles that could be the cause of the problem. It also works well against pesky lice!

Rosemary Essential Oil – Rosemary essential oil is great for stimulating hair follicles which will promote hair growth, and is often found in shampoo’s. It’s a very strong, potent oil, and wouldn’t be recommended for use on its own. Adding a few drops to a carrier oil, such as olive, castor, or coconut will make it safe and effective.

Lavender Essential Oil – Here is another amazing plant extract. It’s easy to find just about anywhere, and smells divine! Studies have found this refreshing oil to assist and improve conditions such as, alopecia (hair loss). It won’t give instant results, but with consistent use you will notice significant re-growth.

Scalp Massage

Combining a nourishing  treatment oil with a scalp massage is a match made in heaven.The act of kneading and rubbing increases blood flow to the scalp, stimulates the follicles, conditions the scalp, and enhances the strength of the roots.

I usually try to do a hair masque on the weekends, this way I can leave it in for a few hours, but I have been known to sneak in to school pick-up with it on, looking like I’ve been flipping burgers! Hey, no pain, no gain, right! A scalp masque works best if you wrap your hair in a towel to keep it warm, which is why I usually try to do it on the weekends, or evenings when I know I don’t have to dash out of the house.

Vitamins For Hair

Just like our body, hair problems can also be related to diet, hormones, medication, or health issues. Being aware of adding a few more nutrient rich foods to your diet, or even taking a supplement can be beneficial.

There is absolutely no need to go for a “scam” hair-growing pill, as you can easily get nutrients from regular vitamin pill, or better yet from food. Below are a few idea’s.

Iron & Zinc – Iron carries oxygen to the hair follicles, and zinc is a good hair growth mineral. You can find both of these in egg yolks, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, and chocolate

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – Eat fatty fish like salmon once or twice a week for silky shiny hair.

B-complex – Biotin and niacin, are the more common B vitamins, and are good for thickening, strengthening, and restoring shine to your golden locks. They can be found in avocado’s, eggs, legumes, grains, poultry, banana’s, and seafood.

I hope this post has inspired you to take the time, to sit back, and give your hair a treat!
It is, after all, “The crown you never take off”:-)
xx Lara

5 Handmade Beauty Essentials #1. Carrier Oil/Base Oil

sweert almond oilNatural skin care is not only better for your skin, but costs less, is fun to make, and gives you the opportunity to be “chemical-free!” Convinced at all? I promise you that once you start on the path of natural skin care you will never go back! Of course there are plenty of products out there that are 100% natural for purchase (Layali Skin care is very good:-) — but if you’re like me and like a bit of DIY then here is my list of 5 Handmade Beauty Essentials to get you started. I’ll be posting them in 5 different posts so be sure to stay reading!

When compiling what my 5 essentials would consist of my list became larger and larger as there are so many that I find essential or that I love to use. I decided to narrow it down to what is easy to find in a local supermarket or in a basic health store.

 What is a Carrier Oil?

A carrier oil is both a base oil or vegetable oil. They help to dilute essential oils and absolutes so they can be safely applied to the skin. If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils and absolutes can cause severe irritation or reactions in some individuals even though they are natural. Carrier oils also provide nourishment for the skin if used 100% on its own, but are even more powerful and effective when blended with other ingredients.

Sweet Almond Oil

One of my favorite and also very popular carrier oils, is sweet almond oil – which is why this is on my list of 5 Handmade Beauty Essentials! Sweet almond oil is not to be confused with bitter almond oil…make no mistake! A fun fact about almonds is that they aren’t in fact a nut! The fruit from the almond tree has an outer hull with a hard shell inside, and inside of that you will find the seed — almonds! They come from the same family as peaches. Sweet almond oil suites pretty much all skin types, and can be applied safely at 100%.

Properties of Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis)

Sweet almond oil has so many benefits and is very popular in skin care and massage oils. Due to its popularity it’s easy to find in most health food stores. Here are a few benefits.

  • Has high levels of Vitamin A,B1,B2,B6 and Vitamin E.
  • Has protective and nourishing qualities.
  • High in mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids, (essential for the body to function).
  • Easily absorbed therefore it doesn’t feel oily or sticky, nor does it clog the pores.
  • Effective for a hair serum, treating split ends, dry hair, hair loss, or dull hair.

How To Use It

You can use it straight on your skin as is 100%, or you can add a few drops of essential oil to it for extra benefit. When used in combination with a butter and essential oil it will allow the consistency of your product to be thin or thick. (Basic body butter tutorial coming soon:-)

Next Post on 5 Handmade Beauty Essentials #2. Butter (barrier/emollient)

xx Lara

The “Luscious Hair Guide” – by Two Sisters

Here is a quick guide for hair maintainance or for those of you who may be trying to grow your hair out. Bad hair day’s aside, healthy looking hair can be obtained through natural, simple and easy steps.  Weak and brittle hair is often the result of health problems, poor diet and the overuse of chemicals, so you may be doing everything just fine on the outside, but as with anything if the inside is suffering chances are the outside will be suffering too.
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That blonde haired beauty is my gorgeous and eldest daughter Kiera! Her hair is fairly straight, and relatively thick. Yup, you guessed it…she gets called Rapunzel a lot!

lara

 This is me! I have thick wavy hair. Because it’s heavy I prefer to keep it quite layered and not too long because it’s heavy!

I’ve put together a list of 10 things that I do and don’t do when it comes to my hair and my daughters hair. I like the ease of keeping it natural and simple, using little to no chemicals and only trimming the ends every couple of months.

My 10 Simple Rules For Natural Hair Care:

  1. Scalp massage – I like to give my scalp a nice massage once every week or every other week using natural oils (coconut, olive, castor) and hair masks (egg, avocado, honey).
  2. Minimize or eliminate heating toy’s – Straightening or curling with a hot iron should be the exception as it really does some serious damage to the hair. When I do use a straightener (I probably use it 1-2 times per year!) I make sure my hair is totally dry or better yet after a couple day’s of washing this way it has some natural oils to protect the hair from the heat.
  3. Natural hair dye’s – Bleaches and permanent dye’s are so bad for the hair not to mention the chemicals the body is absorbing through them. I personally use henna every several months mainly to give the color a bit more life and vibrancy as it can tend fade a bit with the sun. Semi permanent dye’s are also a better option then permanent, and the same goes for choosing highlights as opposed to bleach.
  4. Rinse with cold water and vinegar rinse – Vinegar restores ph balance, and rinsing with cold water gives it a nice healthy shine! It also helps eliminate a dry scalp.
  5. Air dry – I always let my hair “air dry” only pulling out my hair dryer occasionally when it’s freezing cold.
  6. Use hairspray occasionally – Hair sprays are terrible for the hair not to mention breathing it, so I only use it when absolutely necessary or for special occasions.
  7. Wash maximum 1-2 times weekly – Not washing your hair too often allows a balance of natural oil production, avoiding  greasy or dry hair.
  8. Don’t use conditioner on scalp – Conditioner on the scalp creates product build up, which can interfere with hair growth. If your hair is curly or very dry, opt to use pure coconut oil instead of conditioner on the scalp.
  9. Choose a natural shampoo – Low foam means natural, don’t worry your hair doesn’t need suds to get clean!
  10. Feed your hair from the inside – Eating a healthy diet full of minerals, vitamins, and proteins will have a huge impact on your hair health and growth.

jennie

This is my sister! Check out those luscious locks…need I say more!!

My Sisters Tips for Curly Hair:

  • There are only 3 things I use on my hair – conditioner, shampoo, and a wide-tooth wooden comb.
  • Curly hair should be washed about once a week (twice at most) – That squeaky-clean look is actually very detrimental to your hair as it means that you’ve stripped it of all natural oils and outer protective layer. Not a good idea in the long run.
  • Never brush your hair—ever! Only use a comb when washing.
  • When washing, use two types of conditioners –  The first one is actually what you will use as a protective “pre-conditioner” for your hair, that way when you get down to shampooing it you won’t wreck it as much. The second is a “leave in” conditioner, which leaves a protective layer around it.

 How I Wash My Curly Hair:

Step 1 Get your hair wet. It’s easier said than done. 🙂

Step 2 Put a small amount of conditioner on the scalp (coconut oil) and the part of the hair closest to the scalp. Massage for a minute and then rinse out.

Step 3 Shampoo your hair ONCE and once only. Rinse well.  DO NOT, I beg of you, squeeze, wring, or dry your hair with a towel. I know you think you should be doing that, but you are only wrecking your hair and preventing it from growing. Let your hair drip dry all the way.

Step 4 Take your “leave in” conditioner, one that is ultra moisturizing and dedicated to curly, frizzy, or very dry hair. Take your time and experiment on the amount you need for your length of hair. It’s better to err on the side of too much than too little. Trust me, you need way more than you think. Put a good amount of conditioner on all your hair except for the scalp. This is very important as you won’t be rinsing this conditioner out, and you really don’t want product build-up on your scalp.

Step 5 After having slathered a generous amount of conditioner on your hair, take out your wide-tooth wooden comb and—starting from the BOTTOM, work your way up slowly and gently a bit at a time. Enjoy the feeling, because that’s the only time you will be combing it until your next wash hair wash. Take a nice large towel to drape on your shoulders as your hair air dries.

Freshening Up Your hair:

While everyone else gets to take a brush to their hair to make it look good, I’m afraid you and I have a bit more hassle than that. It’s either wash your hair, or wet your hair just a teeny bit, put a small amount of conditioner on your palms, and then gently squeeze your hair all over. In other words, get your palms “wet” with conditioner, place them at the bottom of your curls, and scrunch them up to near your scalp. Think accordion. Do this in different places until you are satisfied with the overall look. That’s it. Enjoy and revel in your curly hair—others will. 🙂

More to come on hair do’s and cuts!

Beauty Benefits of Including Coffee in your Skincare Regime

This post comes from a personal “motherhood-tips-and-tricks” department (but it’s equally beneficial for anyone interested in anti-ageing, anti-cellulite, anti-sagging, etc).

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It’s no secret that your body changes after having a baby either from pregnancy or breastfeeding. As a proud mom of 3 gorgeous children…

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Kiera 8yrs, Kaitlyn 3 yrs, Ethan 1 yr

…I wouldn’t exchange it for the world!  It’s something that we as women just have to deal with and it’s a constant struggle to find the right balance of “mommy life” as well as taking care of our body, dealing with exhaustion, while also re-discovering the new “us”.  To be very honest I can’t say I enjoy pregnancy very much…not that I ever had any complications, my complaint would be that all 3 of my children were rather XXL “buns in my oven”!

Here’s what I mean by big (yes all born naturally!)–

Baby #1= 4.46 kg

Baby #2= 4.42 kg

Baby #3= 4.92 kg

Post Pregnancy Challenges:

Having mentioned the above sizes you can imagine how stretched out my very protruding belly got each time.  I felt so heavy from the 2nd trimester on! I love my exercise and the freedom to move around freely and quickly, so pregnancy (especially at this caliber) proved each time to be a rather tedious task for me. After having a baby my focus is not really to lose weight quickly, as that all comes into place with time and breastfeeding, etc. I like to take my time getting to know the baby and allow my “insides” to get back into place before engaging in any heavy-duty exercise. Rapid weight-loss is another cause of stretch marks, so it’s a good idea to give yourself about 3 months to get back to pre-pregnancy weight instead of looking to shed the kilo’s immediately. I try to be extremely cautious on healthy eating while pregnant to avoid unnecessary weight gain and stretch marks, as well as very religious about applying plenty of Belly Butter to my hips, bumps and thighs! While I don’t get stretch marks (there may be one or two subtle ones towards around the bellybutton area) my rather large balloon deflates and leaves a bit of the dreaded “sag”! 

I’m sure there are other women out there who are experiencing these very same challenges, whether it’s from having babies, or from rapid weight-loss, or even just concerns of sagging aging skin. Whatever the case may be, my story is what lead me to write up a post on the different things to do to minimize the appearance of sagging skin! I’ve narrowed them down to 3 things.

 3 Tips to Minimize Sagging Skin:

  1. Exfoliate: Tummy, legs, hips, thighs…basically all over the body. (While we’re at it lets not forget gentle scrubbing on the face and neck area).
  2. Do muscle toning exercises: Lots and lots of crunches for the stomach area, and core building exercises for the whole body. Building muscle under the skin allows the skin to have something to stick to after losing weight preventing the extra “sag”.
  3. Apply a skin firming cream/oil: Below is a tutorial for a natural skin firming oil or salve using only 2 or 3 ingredients–coffee, oil, and beeswax.

3 Beauty Benefits of including Coffee in your Skin Care :

Many high-end skin care ingredients for skin firming or anti ageing contain caffeine. (Bear in mind some of them may be a synthetic version) You can easily make a product that is safe and effective by using a few of the ingredients from your kitchen. My kind of thing!

  1. Antioxidant: Coffee is full of antioxidants which is why it’s fantastic to prevent premature skin aging.
  2. Anti inflammatory/Dehydrator: Great to put under puffy eyes! Similar to how it works for puffy eyes, it also helps sagging skin by drawing out excess liquid from the skin leaving it firm and smooth.
  3. Exfoliator: Lastly it makes a gentle and effective exfoliator for all over the body (except the face)–good way to recycle those used coffee grinds!

Here is a Tutorial for an easy Coffee Oil or Salve for your Skin:

You will need:

  • A sterilized dry jar (a trip in the dishwasher will suffice)
  • Your choice of carrier oil: olive, sunflower, almond etc.
  • Fresh ground coffee
  • Beeswax (You can buy this at your local health food store. It will probably come in a little block so get out your grater!))

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To make an infusion:

Instructions:

To get your Coffee Oil or Salve you’ll first need to make a coffee oil infusion. There are two ways to do this. Start off with about 1 cup of coffee grinds for 2 cups of oil.

Option #1 Put both ingredients in your clean jar and leave for 1-2 weeks shaking once or twice a day.

Option#2 If you really can’t wait 1-2 weeks you can put both ingredients in a Ban Marie/double boiler (glass bowl OVER a pot of water on the stove) on VERY LOW HEAT. You want the water to barely simmer, ensuring the oil doesn’t get too hot losing all it’s important properties. Leave it there for about 15-2o min until you see the oil change color.

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This is option #1

I personally would go with option #1 to just let it take it’s time to form a potent concoction! When infused strain with a cheese cloth or coffee filter.

At this stage, it would be your Coffee Oil that you can go ahead and apply to your skin as is –or you can make it into a Salve if your able to find a bit of beeswax.

For a Salve:

In a ban marie/bouble boiler melt:

  • 1/4 cup of strained infused coffee oil
  • 2 tsp beeswax

Stir well until the wax is completely melted. Allow to cool slightly (but not too long as it will get solid pretty fast) before pouring into your jar.

7 Easily Available Super Foods for the skin

Who doesn’t want beautiful glowing skin? And why do we always think that it’s attained solely by slapping on some cream and make-up? (lots of make-up at times;-) Sure that works temporarily, but the secret to good skin starts from the inside. By adding a few “Super Foods” to our daily or weekly diet we can in fact attain more long-term glowing and healthy looking skin. Water is of course a given and a good place to start. It’s free and readily available!

I like to be practical in order to achieve my goals without excuses, so I’ve put together a list of “Super Foods” that I think are on the more economical scale and easy to find just about anywhere. 

7 Easily Available Super Foods for the Skin:

spinach

Spinach

High in Vitamin C and E, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. Full of iron to help cleanse the body allowing a clearer complexion.

blue berries

Blueberries

High in antioxidants, Vitamin A and C. Helps skin suffering from acne, broken capillaries or splotchy skin. The Vitamin A helps to neutralize or normalize the skins production of sebum (oil) while the Vitamin C helps to strengthen the blood vessels.

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Almonds

Rich in flavonoids and Vitamin E, helps to ward off free-radicals keeping the skin vibrant and clear. Good source of protein assisting clear skin. 

sardines

Sardines

Rich source of Vitamin D3 and high in omega 3 fatty acids. Could call it the “affordable” salmon. High levels of protein which contributes to maintaining youthful skin. It may help maintain skin thickness and elasticity keeping sagging skin and wrinkles away. 

red pepper

Red Pepper

Contains high amounts of Vitamin C boosting collagen production. Great for weak hair that splits easily (usually means a Vit C deficiency). Full of antioxidants.   

www.LayaliLifestyle.com

Chocolate 70% +

Protects the skin against sun damage, and increases skin density and hydration. Research has shown that levels of MED (minimal erythemal dose–basically the minimum amount of UVB rays needed to cause sunburn) doubled after eating dark chocolate over a steady period of time.

oats

Oats

Contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and B. Its lubricating fats and proteins encourage the “natural protective layer” on the skin, protecting it against harsh chemicals and skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea etc. Brilliant for those  suffering from stress and tiredness. 

The list could go on and on with incredible “Super Foods” from all over the world. These are just a handful of ingredients that most people are probably already eating or that are easily available at an affordable cost — my kind of thing! 

What’s inside that jar?

Many a skin care product would claim its product is superior quality to it’s competitor’s, offering you infinite youth and wrinkle-free beauty! You would be happy to spend any large sum on such priceless beauty especially if it promised to wipe away those wrinkles that have been creeping in. But does it speak truth? Or, is it all just a big marketing ploy? Fancy wording, shiny packaging, and scientific “claims” have us believing anything.

Sadly, there is hardly any substance you can smoother onto your face that will reverse wrinkles and the signs of ageing. One which doesn’t require an injection or surgery, that is. Most of the time it will only give the skin a 12-24 hour fix, all the while feeding your skin a bunch of nasty chemicals and synthetic substances, whilst speedily emptying your pockets! Proper diet, plenty of water, and a basic moisturizer all play in the game of keeping the skin hydrated and healthy. Not much rocket science there!

The Humble Moisturizer: For centuries many people have had perfectly healthy skin that needs no more care than simply keeping it clean and protecting it from the sun and harsh weather. Gentle cleansing and protection through a simple and natural moisturizer.  I personally prefer to use natural oils and butters to moisturize and protect my skin. They will not only save me loads of money but also avoid my skin having to be attacked with harsh chemicals and preservatives.

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Know Your Ingredients: Knowing your ingredients is crucial when it comes time to choosing a skin care product. If there is a long list of ingredients, especially ones that are hard to pronounce, then they will likely be some synthetic substance that would be doing you more harm rather than good. As far as I’m concerned the only list of names that should be hard to read are the Latin translations (a requirement in labeling). For example: Prunis Dulcis (sweet almond oil). It will usually be written as the above, or with the Latin name in brackets. For example: Sweet Almond Oil (prunis dulcis).

Another good thing to look for is the order of ingredients. The item first on the list is the highest percentage, down to the bottom being the least percentage. So if your cream boasts “Natural/Organic etc…check to see if it’s the ingredient on the bottom of the list or the top. If it say’s for example: Organic Coconut Butter on the top of the list you know you’re buying quality. If your Organic Coconut Butter reads at the bottom of the list with all the other ingredients that are hard to pronounce at the top, then you may as well just throw your money away. Just saying :-)!

100% Natural & Handmade Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Good: Just because it’s expensive it doesn’t mean the product is superior. Branding is often the result of high prices and can fool you into thinking it’s superior to a more unknown brand name or simpler looking container. What’s inside is way more important, and this is where knowing your ingredients will help you make an informed decision on whether the product is worth your pretty penny or not.

Shelf life & Preservatives: In the world of skin care, generally speaking, a preservative would be required for any pot of cream, soap, or liquid that contains water. Without it the product would only last a couple of day’s or weeks without going bad, growing fungi and microbes. This is how the world of preservatives began. Little did we know that what was killing the bad stuff to help preserve that product and give it a “shelf-life”, was also going to give us a plethora of other skin problems and health issues.

An anhydrous (contains no water) product, usually in the form of a natural balm or oil serum, would not need a preservative and would most likely have a shelf-life of about 6-12 months. When in search of a product with shelf life, I believe in going for the one that does well “naturally” instead of the one that has to be filled with chemicals.

As the rule is with food, “Fresh is Best”. Shelf life, should only be till its natural “sell-by-date”, otherwise it shouldn’t be put in the body or on the skin.

What’s in your pot of cream?

Have you tried Layali Natural &Handmade Skincare?:-) 

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Christmas Gift DIY

I’m a big fan of DIY…in case you haven’t noticed by now. Even more of a fan when it comes to little gifts. Maybe it’s because I get a bit confused when going shopping for a gift. The big dilemma always is, “what on earth should I get”? ( I blame that on my indecisive side:-)) Or maybe it’s because I’m looking for that unique kind of gift…a bit of DIY with a personal touch!

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The Gift

As I’m into natural skin care I’ve made this little treat for my friends in numerous occasions…and I’m pretty sure they liked it:)  It’s gorgeous, easy, plenty of variations…and makes your skin feel so soft! It’s a Sugar Scrub. You can also do a Salt Scrub. I normally would add this to a gift package of other natural skin care items from my Layali range, but you can also give it on its own if it suits the occasion. Sometimes you may want to just bring a token gift, maybe when going to a friend’s house for a cuppa, or as a gift for your child’s teacher (your child could even assist you in making it), or when attending a dinner party. Or better yet, why not throw a dinner party and send your guests home with one each. The hostess with the mostess! Just saying!

Salt vs Sugar

Some things to take into consideration when choosing to use salt or sugar. Both are fabulous for exfoliation and offer great results. Sugar is a bit more gentle on the skin especially when it comes to dry or sensitive skin. Caster sugar mixed with Olive Oil is my personal choice for a face scrub. Brown cane sugar smells amazing in a hot bath leaving you feeling ever so indulgent!

Salt is excellent in removing dry skin and removing toxins and impurities from the body. It can however be a bit harsher on the skin and dry the skin out a bit.( Not a problem for oily skin.) It has good anti-inflammatory properties, and soothes tired, stressed or cramped muscles. (to name just a few benefits.)

My personal preference is to use salt when soaking in a bath, and sugar when I want to exfoliate my skin. You can use just sugar with oil, or for a bit of decadence add some essential oils, honey to add more moisture to the skin, some lemon or orange rind (a nice festive touch), and a few flower petals for the Cleopatra style!! You can even add a bit of ground oats for added softness. As I said, the variations are endless.

What you need for a basic Sugar Scrub Gift:

All you need is:

  • A jar
  • Your choice of sugar or salt ie: raw, brown, cane, white, caster, granulated sugar or epsom, Himalayan, sea salt.
  • Your choice of carrier oil ie: olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil.
  • Your choice of essential oils
  • Honey (optional)
  • Flower petals (optional)
  • A wooden spoon (optional, but a nice addition)
  • Gift wrapping. Plain raffia or a ribbon will do! (not optional…lets remember this is a gift!!)

How it’s done

You’ll be chuffed at how easy peasy this basic sugar scrub is to make. You can get real fancy and creative with your ingredients…here are the basics.

Step 1

Take your jar and fill it 3/4 full with your choice of sugar (I’m using raw cane sugar here)

Step 2

Fill it up with your choice of oil (I’m using Extra Virgin Olive Oil). You want to make sure there is plenty of oil to make it nice and juicy! Remember to mix before using as the oil will settle to the bottom.

Step 3

Add a tablespoon or two of honey

Step 4

Add your choice of essential oil (I’m using Vanilla Oil here) and add your petals if using petals. Lavender is an excellent choice when using a white sugar with some Lavender essential oil. It looks gorgeous as well.

Once done give it a good mix.  Why not add a wooden spoon or spatula for a nice touch. You could include a label with the ingredients and instructions and wrap it in a bit of raffia for a rustic look. Job done!

(You’ll probably want to keep a nice big jar of this for yourself!)

Honey…how hippy are you willing go?

  “Honey…how hippy are you willing to go,”…my husband replied when he asked why I was taking a bottle of honey into the shower with me! I had told him I was planning on washing my hair with it! Strange, I know. I too was a bit skeptical when first reading that you could use it to wash your hair. You ask me what led me to this crazy idea? My scalp suddenly seemed to be in a phase of “distress”, ( I blame it on the hard water we have over where I live) and conventional shampoo just seemed to be making it worse.

As with starting on any natural cleansing method, it’s by no means a “conventional” way to wash hair, but I would have to say it sure did soothe my terrified scalp! Will I continue using it as a hair wash? Yes, I think I will definitely will add it to my monthly “hair pampering regime!”

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Properties in Raw Honey: 

Raw honey has anti-microbial properties that protect the skin and promote healing. Its antioxidant properties are known to help slow down the aging process. Along with that it is antibacterial, anti fungal, and works to protect and moisturize.  Rather importantly it is a humectant — a substance that draws moisture in — just what we want to keep our bodies largest organ hydrated and fed. What more could you want in this miracle substance created by little but very busy – buzzing creatures!

Some Common Benefits & Uses of Honey:

  • To Eat: Honey is a tasty and healthy alternative to sugar. I put it in my porridge, in herbal tea’s, over pancakes, in yogurt etc. My soon to be 3 year old loves it as is on a piece of toast…she’ll take that any day over butter and jam! When my kids are sick I do exactly what my mom used to do, I give them a spoonful of honey with Vitamin C powder. It’s cost effective — and much healthier in my opinion then the flavored jars you find in the kids sections. Honey and cinnamon eaten on a daily basis has been known throughout the centuries to have huge health benefits and can help against colds, heart disease, cholesterol, indigestion…etc.  Numerous studies even suggest eating locally produced honey to attack seasonal allergies.
  • For The Hair: As mentioned above it makes a great “hair pampering” treat or a simple shampoo and conditioning. Simply mix a few tablespoons of honey with a bit of water, apply it to the scalp and wash as you would with your regular shampoo. Watch your hair shine after this one! (more to come on my favorite and economical hair treatments).
  • For The Face: You would be surprised at how nice a honey facial feels. You can apply it straight on and leave for 15 minutes. Or alternatively can mix it with a bit of crushed oats and use it to exfoliate. (this is one of my favorite face scrubs!)

Oil Cleansing

oil cleansing What is “Oil Cleansing”?

      Oil cleansing is a gentle but very effective way to cleanse the face. Our bodies produce to oil to help moisturize, heal, and protect the skin. Mainstream products are filled with chemicals, soap, fragrances,… etc, that “strip” the skin of  its natural oils, resulting in our largest organ (the skin) having to work overtime to repair itself by producing more oil to replace the oil that’s just been stripped away. The result is often an “over production” of oil.

 How can we restore balance?

      We can restore and maintain a balance of oils through the ‘Oil Cleansing Method’. By using an oil to cleanse our face we’re allowing the sebaceous glands to produce the correct amount of oil for the skin on its own.  Oil isn’t our enemy, our skin naturally produces it because it needs it to moisturize and protect the skin so it can function properly.

 How does oil cleanse the face?

     Oil dissolves oil. As you gently massage the oil into your skin it will dissolve the hardened impurities trapped in your pores. Once massaged in the steam from your facecloth will open up the pores allowing dirt and grime to be removed from your face.

 How do I “Oil Cleanse”?

     Apply the desired amount of oil onto the hands and rub it between the hands to warm it up a little. Proceed to gently massage the face working the oil into the skin. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve rubbed it in enough you can begin to prepare your facecloth by soaking or running it under warm water.  We’re not looking for “hot” water, just warm enough to produce steam. Carefully place the warm wash cloth onto the face and let the steam work its magic! Once there is no more steam start to wipe the grime, make-up and impurities of the day off of your face, repeating the procedure once or twice more if you like. Your skin will not only be cleansed but it will glow!

     Your evening spa is now complete! Simply follow with a Nourishing Night Serum or moisturizer of your choice.  You can use this deep cleansing method on a daily basis. Once a day is sufficient working best in the evenings as you need to cleanse your face from the grime you picked up during the day.