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We’ve all heard things throughout our life that we then stick to because we believe they’re true. In our Beauty Myths Busted series we’re going to look at some of these myths in depth to see if they are really true.

Beauty Myth

Taking long hot baths is bad for your skin.

Beauty Fact

Well, yes and no. There are really two parts to this myth…

Firstly, the “hot” part. This is true. If you have the water too hot (like when you get in it physically hurts!), it can damage your skin. The hot water removes too much oil from your skin which means your skin is left dry. I know it sounds strange that too much water can dry out your skin, but it is true. Very hot water is also terrible for the hair, and can cause serious damage.

Secondly, the “long” part. There is advice ‘out there’ that you should only stay in the bath for about 10 minutes. That’s not a bath! That’s just a little dip. To me, a bath is a chance to wind-down and relax. Who can relax in ten minutes? You’ve just got in and it’s time to get out again! I love those baths where you completely lose yourself in distant thoughts, and have absolutely no idea what time it is when you finally emerge from the bathroom.

I find baths so much more relaxing that showers. After a nice bath I tend to sleep better too.

To make your bath a little more healing, and to stop your skin from drying out, you can add a bath oil or bath melt. These contain natural oils and butters and so will moisturise your skin as you bathe. They also contain wonderful essential oils to add a healing aspect.

So, to sum up, my advice is to have a bath with comfortably warm water, for maybe not longer than half and hour or so. I would strongly recommend using a bath melt or oil to prevent moisture and natural oils being stripped from the skin.

Now, lie back, relax and enjoy!

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment below, and share it on Facebook or Twitter (below) if you think others would benefit!

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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.

We Just Can’t Win

Recently, Nigella Lawson was spotted on Australia’s Bondi Beach sporting rather more than your average beach-goer. Yes, that’s right, she was wearing a so-called “burkini”, the modesty-saving outfit designed for Muslim women.

Quite frankly, I am amazed by the fuss this simple family day at the beach has caused!

Naturally fair-skinned, like many of us Brits, Ms Lawson is quite right to be taking care of her skin when out in the sun. Judging by the continuing rise in skin cancer cases in the UK, perhaps more of us should be following her example. I’ve written about the risks of sun damage to your skin in previous posts, so won’t go into it again here. Just to say that you really need to be careful (I know you know that already, I just thought I’d say it again for good measure!).

I too have fair skin, and so understand the fears of skin damage due to over-exposure to the sun. I try to stay covered as much as possible, as well as plastering on the factor 30!

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’d go so far as wearing a burkini to the beach, but then, I don’t have the luxury of holidaying in the sort of hot countries that would warrant it.

There are those who say that she wore the burkini in order to draw attention to herself.

Erm… hang on a minute…

Where once a woman had to wear as little as possible (with bikinis now consisting of practically non-existent, barely-there scraps of fabric) to gain attention, now the same can be said of covering up completely?

It would seem we have come full circle!

But let’s think about it a different way…

If Nigella Lawson had worn the de rigueur itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini, we all know what would have happened; images of the curvaceously lovely Ms Lawson would have appeared in certain glossy magazines (you know who you are!) high-lighting each and every wobbly bit and ‘imperfection’.

So, if anything can be gained from this whole blown-out-of-proportion incident, it is the proof that women just cannot win!

To put it simply; we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

We’ve all heard things throughout our life that we then stick to because we believe they’re true. In our Beauty Myths Busted Series we’re going to look at some of these myths in depth to see if they are really true.

Beauty Myth #1

Eating excess sugar causes wrinkles

Beauty Fact

Sugar isn’t a direct cause of wrinkles.

If you were to eat a predominantly sugar-based diet, I very much doubt that it would be the actual sugar that would cause wrinkles, more likely it would be due to the fact that there weren’t any healthy, antioxidant-rich foods in your diet.

Similarly, a poor diet brought about by crash-dieting, or a fat-free diet can lead to premature wrinkles because of the evaporation of fat cells in the face, which give the skin its plumped-up feel and appearance. This can leave you with sagging jowls and dark circles under the eyes.

Now, I’m not saying you need to stop eating cake. I love cake!

Mmmm!… Cake…!

Sorry, I got distracted… where was I?

Oh yes, so what you need is a good all-round balance in your diet. Not a detox of cutting out lots of types of food, and not a diet which involves a lot of sugar. Rather it should be a balanced diet with everything in moderation, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

But i know you know that already!

Haven’t we had some glorious weather just lately?! It’s been absolutely gorgeous. I keep having to remind myself that it’s only April and not the height of summer. Who’d have thought we’d be in t-shirt and shorts, picnicking in the park in early April? Just wonderful.

But, there is an important message to this post, and it’s this…

Soaking up the sun is all well and good, but are you being careful about it?

Everyone wants a tan, right? We think it makes us look healthy, more attractive, and sexy. A tan can hide acne, cellulite, and make the skin look smoother. Who wouldn’t want that?

Well, maybe that’s true, but what are you willing to pay for you’re your tan?

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, there has been an alarming rise in the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer. In the UK, more than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually, making it the most common cancer. Of these, more than 10,000 are melanoma. There are over 2,300 deaths from skin cancer annually in the UK.

Research released at the British Association of Dermatologists annual conference in Glasgow in 2009 found that men are twice as likely as women to not protect their skin in the sun, despite more men dying from melanoma than women. In just 30 years, cases of melanoma across Great Britain have quadrupled in men and tripled in women. It also found that people in their teens and early twenties are less likely than any other age group to use sun protection, despite increasing numbers of melanoma being diagnosed in this age group.

One in ten of those surveyed (10%) take no protective measures at all against sun exposure, compared to 8% in 2000.

Most people surveyed (70%) use sunscreen as their primary method of sun protection, despite warnings from dermatologists that shade and clothing should be the first line of defence against sun damage, with sunscreen offering additional protection.

We humans are hard-wired to enjoy the feeling of sun on our bodies. It has been found that sunshine boosts the brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels – the body’s natural happy drugs – and helps to release certain neurotransmitters and hormones, like epinephrine, that regulate mood.

So I can quote all the numbers and statistics under the sun (no pun intended) at you, but you’ll still want to be out in the sunshine. And I’m there with you! I love being out in the sun.

But what I will ask of you, or rather plead with you, is to protect yourself. Think of your long-term health (I know it’s difficult when you’re in the here and now, but you’ll be glad of it down the line), get yourself a decent sunscreen (SPF 25 or above) – remember sunscreen needs to be re-applied generously and frequently. When the sun is at its hottest (between 11am and 3pm), please cover up or sit in the shade. To be honest, I really don’t know how anyone can stay out in the sun when it’s so hot! I literally feel like I’m baking/melting and have to seek refuge.

Most importantly, check your skin for damage and signs of cancer. For more information on what to look for, check out ultimateskincare.org.

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.

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.