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Archive for the ‘Ingredients’ Category

Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

As I’ve been talking about acne a lot recently, I thought June’s skincare recipe would be along those lines aswell. So this month we’ve got a recipe for Marigold, Lavender and Geranium Acne Gel.

Bright orange pot marigold (calendula officianalis) flowers contain salicylic acid which is used in many over-the-counter acne treatments. They also contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic substances, which make calendula a popular ingredient for many skin conditions.

Used over a period of weeks, this gel can significantly alleviate the appearance of acne, and reduce discomfort.

This is a great recipe for June because all the flowers used are popular in many gardens and should be in flower now.

Ingredients

10 geranium flowers, with leaves and stems

8 calendula flowerheads

20 lavender flowerheads

200ml water

1 sachet vegetable gelatine

2 tsp aloe vera gel

5 tsp vodka

20 drops tea tree essential oil

Method

  1. Roughly chop the flowers, leaves and stems and place them all in a large glass bowl.
  2. bring the water to the boil and pour it over the flowers to make an infusion. leave to infuse for 10 minutes, or until the water has taken on the colour of the flowers.
  3. Place the infusion and plant material into a blender and blend. strain the mixture through a piece of muslin into a clean bowl.
  4. in another bowl, dissolve the gelatine in 2 tbsp of cold water. Gradually add the flower infusion, stirring to separate any lumps. Add the vodka and tea tree oil and aloe vera, stirring until a gel is formed.
  5. Using a funnel, pour the gel into a clean, sterilised pot.

To Use

  • Apply to affected areas twice a day, or as frequently as needed.
  • Store in the fridge for up to six weeks.

Variations

  • If you have dry skin, you may wish to leave out the vodka as alcohol can be drying.

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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Let’s get a torch and magnifying glass and take a good look at what’s lurking in the corners of your toiletries cupboard…

Today we’re taking a closer look at some of the ingredients manufacturers put in the “skincare” products you use every day.

First up, lets take a look at some of the well-known ingredients…

Mineral oils (found on ingredients lists as parafinnum liquidum, petrolatum) – these form a layer on top of the skin that doesn’t allow the skin breathe. They are skin irritants, allergens, and potential carcinogens (substances that cause cancer).

Mineral oils are found in face and body lotions, baby oils, lipstick.

Detergents (sodium lauryl sulphate, cocamidopropyl betaine, ammonium lauryl sulphate, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA) – cause skin irritation. They can promote the formation of cancer-causing substances known as ‘nitrosamines’ in products during storage.

To look at Sodium lauryl sulphate in particular, it was originally created for industrial use. When rinsed from the skin, the product will have cleaned the area, but will also have taken moisture from the top layers of the skin. In addition to this, when SLS gets into rivers and ponds, it can affect ducks and other water foul by ‘cleaning’ the natural oils from there feathers. This causes the feathers to lose their waterproofing, which can cause the birds to sink and drown.

Detergents are found in shampoo, body wash, shower gel, bubble bath, liquid soaps.

Fragrances (parfum) -parfum is a mixture of dozens of synthetic chemicals that are linked to asthma, skin irritation, nausea, mood changes, depression, lethargy, irritability and memory lapses.

These fragrances are found in most fragranced products.

Preservatives (parabens {methylparaben, ethyl paraben, butylparaben, propylparaben, etc.}, formaldehyde quaternium, methylisothiazolinone) – cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Can be neurotoxic. Some, like parabens, are suspected hormone disrupters; they mimic the oestrogen hormone, and have been detected in breast cancer tissue, and in a 2004 UK study, they were found in 18 out of 20 breast tumours.

Preservatives are found in most, if not all (except natural products, of course!), cosmetics and toiletries.

Now let’s delve a little deeper, into the less well-known ingredients…

Bacteriocides (triclosan, benzalkonium chloride, chlorohexidrine) – kill bacteria, but can also react with water to form chloroform gas. If inhaled in large quantities this can cause depression, liver problems and cancer. Can cause skin irritation.

Bacteriocides are found in anti-bacterial face wash, toothpaste and mouth wash.

Aluminium (aluminium chlorohydrate, aluminium zirconium) -is a neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease. May also contribute to heart and lung disease and fertility problems.

Aluminium is found in deodorants and make-up products.

Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate {DBP}, diethylhexyl phthalate {DEHP}) – these are hormone-disrupting plasticisers that ‘fix’ a product to the skin. Can cause damage to the liver, lungs and kidneys. May affect fertility and foetal development.

Phthalates are found in hairspray, nail varnish, and perfumed products.

A report from scientists at the institute of Child Health at University College London found that using body scrubs and strong soaps on the skin could be behind a recent rise in eczema, asthma, hay fever and rhinitis, because they strip natural oils from the skin.

I’m sure you’ll agree that its all very alarming! But don’t think you can avoid the chemical onslaught simply by washing them away.

Typically, women use around twelve beauty products and toiletries in a day… cleanser, toner, moisturiser, soap/shower gel/exfoliating scrub, body lotion, foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lip stick, blusher, etc, etc… This can expose you to up to 175 different chemicals. It has been estimated that women can absorb around 2kg of chemicals through their skin each year!

Watching what you put on your skin is absolutely as important as watching what you eat! I found a study once that proved that eating lipstick would be better for you than putting it on your lips. That way, at least you have the digestive enzymes to help absorb it.

Maybe it’s time for you to clean up your act and turn over a new leaf. Ditch those potentially harmful products in favour of Mother Nature’s gorgeousness!

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

This month we’ve got a recipe for Lavender Bath Bomb.

I’m sure you all know the wonderful and varied effects of lavender by now!

But here’s a little round-up anyway…

Lavender has long been known as giving effective relief from insomnia. The pain-relieving qualities of lavender deal effectively with muscular spasm, and can be useful for sprains, strains and sharp rheumatic pains. Lavender is valuable for most skin types and conditions, since it promotes the growth of new cells and exerts a balancing action on sebum (the skins natural oil). It has a pronounced healing effect on burns and sunburn, and can be helpful in cases of acne, eczema and psoriasis.

For this recipe you will need some sort of mould. There are many purpose-made moulds available for making bath bombs. However, you could use many items you already have in your home, such as cookie cutters, ice cube trays, yoghurt pots, etc.

Ingredients

40g bicarbonate of soda

20g citric acid

5 – 6 lavender flower heads

10 drops lavender essential oil

water or rosewater (in a spray bottle is best)

Method

  1. To dry the lavender flowers, heat the oven to around 180 C. When it has reached the temperature, turn it off. Place the flower heads in the oven and leave for around two hours. Alternatively, you can leave them somewhere warm (like an airing cupboard) overnight. When the lavender has dried, remove the flowers from the stems.
  2. Ensure the bowl and your hands are completely dry, or the mixture will start to fizz.
  3. In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid together. Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly with a metal spoon. Now add 1tsp of the lavender flowers and stir to distribute them evenly through the mixture.
  4. Now we add the water. This is where the spray bottle comes in very handy! Spray the mixture with a little water and mix well. Keep adding water, little by little, until you have a mixture that holds together well. (see below for testing the consistency)
  5. Put the mixture in your mould(s). Depending on the size of the mould, you may make more than one bath bomb. If you are using a cookie cutter, place the cutter on a piece of baking paper. Press the mixture firmly into your mould using the back of a spoon.
  6. The water now needs to evaporate away from your bath bomb. Leave them to set for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.

To test for the right consistency, press a small amount of the mixture onto a teaspoon, if it crumbles easily it needs a little more water added. If the mixture is fizzing and frothing all over the place you’ve added too much water!

To Use

  • Store in an air-tight container to keep out moisture.
  • Add the bath bomb to a bath of warm water
  • Lie back, relax, and enjoy!

Variations

Why stop at lavender?!

This basic recipe can be adapted to include any scent you like.

You could try;

  • sage and marjoram for relief from aching muscles
  • calendula petals with orange essential oil for a healing and reviving bath bomb
  • peppermint and rosemary for a bit of get-up-and-go

The possibilities are endless!

I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe! Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you think others would like this, please share via twitter or facebook, also below.

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In our next Ingredient Profile we’re looking at Peppermint.

Peppermint – latin name Mentha piperita – is actually a naturally occurring hybrid plant that is derived from the crossing of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint grows widely in many places in Europe, Japan, and North America. Apparently the best type is from Britain as it favours the damp conditions!

It is a perennial plant and can grow up to 40 inches in height. It has narrow, toothed leaves and a short spike of purple flowers. It reproduces chiefly by means of underground stems and rooting branches.

Like many herbs, peppermint was known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The Romans crowned themselves with peppermint at their feasts – possibly they were aware of its detoxifying properties! Peppermint was also used as an ingredient of wine.

Peppermint has a cooling nature which seems to relieve states of anger, hysteria, and nervous trembling. It is excellent for mental fatigue and depression.

Peppermint is commonly drunk as tea, and is believed to have many health benefits. Its action on the digestive system is well-known. It can have a relaxing and slightly anaesthetic effect on stomach muscles, apparently beneficial against food poisoning, and deals well with vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation, flatulence, colic, and nausea as well as travel sickness.

The cooling and pain-relieving action of peppermint seems to ease headaches, migraines and toothache. It is an excellent remedy for aching feet.

By removing toxic congestion, peppermint can be beneficial to skin conditions such as dermatitis. Due to capillary constriction, it is cooling in action and can relieve itching, inflammation and sunburn. It also softens the skin, helps to remove blackheads, and is effective on greasy skin and hair.

At Freyaluna, we use a blend of peppermint, spearmint and lime in our Mint Mojito skincare range. You can find these, and all of our products on our website.

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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

This month we’ve got a recipe for Bare Skin Mist…

This is a lightweight fragrance that contains no alcohol, so it can be sprayed and spritzed all over your bare skin. You can even use it on your face and hair to refresh yourself throughout the day. It contains orange flower water, whose scent is from the bitter orange tree. This scent is also called neroli and is popular in many commercial products because it is believed to reduce stress.

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60ml) orange flower water

1/2 cup (125ml) distilled water

1/2 tsp light sesame oil

1-2 drops essential oil

Method

1. Stir together all of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

2. Pour into a clean spray bottle.

3. Label and date.

To Use

Shake bottle well before use. Lightly spray the body mist all over your bare skin.

Suggested Scents

This is a very refreshing recipe, just perfect for these spring days as the weather is getting warmer. I would suggest that you keep this in mind when choosing an essential oil to use in this recipe.

A few recommendations are; peppermint, lemon, geranium, or bergamot. However, scent is a very personal choice so use your own judgement.

I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe! Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you think others would like this, please share via twitter or facebook, also below.

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You may think that knowing your skin type is a really basic step to planning your skincare routine, and you’d be right; ‘diagnosing’ your skin type is a fundamental step towards good skincare. But, this is the one beauty mistake that around 80% of us are making.

Just as we want to believe we’re a size smaller than we actually are, a lot of us like to think we have a certain skin type. It may be the ‘stigmas’ seemingly associated with each skin type – the teenage angst of “oily”, the guilt of “sun-damaged”, the neurotic connotations of “sensitive” – that put women off accepting their true skin type.

If you are one of these women (and I hold my hand up! I was in this position not too long ago), then you’re only cheating yourself out of great skin.

Your skin type changes with age, and not only that, the needs of your skin change depending on the weather, season, etc. Recent research has found that most women in their mid-thirties think they have the same skin type as when they were in their teens, and that on third of us have never changed our skincare. The research also found that many of us – up to 70% – have bought a product and used it only once before discarding it because it was wrong for our skin type.

Even if you do have money to burn, where’s the sense in that?

So what happens when you buy the wrong product for your skin type? Well it’s problematic; it means the products you buy aren’t working properly. They can also cause damage to the skin – making it redder, wrinklier (is that a word? Well it is now!), spottier.

For example; when used on oily skin, a thick heavy cream designed for dry skin, can create a oxygen-less environment, which means pores can get blocked and spots develop. Many women in their forties experience late-onset acne, and it could simply be due to to much heavy product.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you think you have oily skin and it isn’t, the products will strip the skin of natural oils and take out too much moisture, thus increasing dehydration and exagerating fine lines.

Another common problem is women in their twenties and thirties using anti-aging products designed for women in their fifties – this can cause over-sensitised, red, patchy or acne-prone skin.

If you have combitation skin, there is no reason why you can’t use different products in different palces. If you have an oily T-zone, use a lighter product there, and then a more hydrating cream on your cheeks.

So, what skin are you in?

  • To see if you have OILY skin, you should clease your face, leaving it free from moisturiser overnight. On waking, run your finger down your nose. If it slips easily and feels greasy, it’s oily.
  • Sensitive skin can be easily irritated. Typical reactions are itching, burning, chafing and stinging.To be truly SENSITIVE, your cheeks will be constantly hot to the touch.
  • Pinch your cheeks. If vertical lines show up, you have DEHYDRATED skin.
  • DRY skin is characterised by dry and flaking patches, tight closed pores and prone to broken capillaries/red patches.
  • COMBINATION skin is just what it says. Generally those with combination skin will find they experience an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin area) and dry cheeks.

Four things your skin needs to know…

  1. Those with highly pigmented skin should avoid using anything too abrasive, like scrubs, as this could cause an inflammatory response and thus more pigmentation.
  2. Don’t buy the same cream over and over. Lifestyle changes, medication, and weather all affect your skin and the products it needs. Reassess your skin regularly.
  3. Stop being so heavy-handed. We’re all in such a rush, we apply far too much product to our faces. Be sparing and just put the cream where it’s needed.
  4. Take time to cleanse properly; it’s the most important part of your routine. Cleansing properly with the right product means any skincare you follow with will penetrate better.

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These days, most of us check the ingredients lists on pre-packaged food before we buy; who knows what harmful additives the manufacturers might  have included.

Perhaps we should be doing the same with our toiletries and cosmetics.

Most of know about the dangers of bacteria living on old mascara wands, but many people believe that we are at risk of a range of conditions, from eczema to cancer, due to the chemicals present in cosmetics, toiletries and make-up we use.

One of the main concerns is the use of parabens. These are preservatives used in many, and most, products such as moisturisers, deodorants, body creams, etc. Parabens mimic the oestrogen hormone, and have been detected in breast cancer tissue, and in a 2004 UK study, they were found in 18 out of 20 breast tumours.

It is known that long-term exposure to high levels of oestrogen is linked with a hightened risk of breast cancer. Researchers say they suspect that using deodorants containing parabens could have something to do with the development of the disease, but a definate link hasn’t yet been established.

Let’s take a look in your toiletries cabinet…

Triclosa, used in soaps, body washes, etc. kill bacteria, but can also react with water to form chloroform gas. If inhaled in large quantities this can cause depression, liver problems and cancer. A staple ingredient of most nail varnishes are phthalates, chemicals that can cause severe birth defects. Shampoos typically contain propylene glycol, and a build-up of this in the body can cause liver problems.

So far, its all very alarming. But don’t think you can avoid the chemical onslaught simply by washing them away. Typically, women use around twelve beauty products and toiletries in a day… cleanser, toner, moisturiser, soap/shower gel/exfoliating scrub, body lotion, foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lip stick, blusher, etc, etc… This can expose you to up to 175 different chemicals. It has been estimated that women can absorb around 2kg of chemicals through their skin each year!

A report from scientists at the institute of Child Health at University College London found that using body scrubs and strong soaps on the skin could be behind a recent rise in eczema, asthma, hay fever and rhinitis, by stripping natural oils from the skin.

Personally, I wouldn’t use a product containing parabens and other chemicals. While they may provide quick benefits now (such as moisturising, deodorising, or whatever it is), the long term effects are just too much of a risk. And anyway, there are plenty of natural products, which don’t contain parabens, that can do just as good a job! So why risk it?

At Freyaluna, we don’t use any harsh chemicals or preservatives. Instead, we use ingredients such as essential oils and vitamin oils, which also have wonderful skincare benefits. Find a full list of our products on our website, where you can also sign-up to receive my Top 10 Tips for Great Skin.

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