When hosting Little Soap Schools, students often over awed by the number of essential oils available ask if they were to pick just one to buy, which would it be to start them off…? An EASY answer - Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is the most versatile of all essential oils. Several years ago we discussed in Daisy Green Magazine Why Lavender is the New Black and still now I sing it’s praises weekly from the rooftops!
We all know the fragrance is calming, relaxing and balancing – physically and emotionally, but there are many other uses for it too… I always carry a small bottle of lavender around in my handbag and there is always some in the bathroom and beside the Aga in the kitchen. It is like having your own personal first aid kit to cleanse cuts, bruises and skin irritations as well as a perfume and pick-me-up all rolled into one simple 5ml bottle to use home or away…
Here are some of the very many ways you can incorporate a bottle of lavender in to your daily life:
* We have teamed up with Cotswold Lavender down the road who are very kindly offering Little Fans a whopping 25% off their lavender essential oil. Simply go to their website and enter LAVENDEROIL (uppercase, no spaces) at checkout – this is valid until 01.04.13
As the dark nights draw in and the temperatures fall into Autumn, we’re reminded that dry, flaky, chapped-skin season is just around the corner. Don’t let the cold winds of chap and chafe you, instead stay smooth, soft, and supple with our essential autumnal skin top tips…
The lower temperatures, combined with low humidity and blustery winds tend to deplete skin of its natural lipid layer, which keeps the skin from drying out. On top, the dry air from car heating, central heating, open fires and such like also suck the moisture out of skin… so to prevent dry, cracked skin we need to rethink things: it’s not about lathering pot after pot of moisture to the skin, but to simply keep moisture in.
By getting back to basics we realise the simplicity of what goes into the lotions and potions we put on our skin by whipping up our own… both lip balms and body scrubs are one of the simplest and most cost effective treatments to make yourself, yet if you go to buy a ready made up scrub or balm from either a department store or spa they are extremely costly and sadly often anything but chemical-free….
- Tip 1: Scrub, Scrub, Scrub!
Sugar Scrubs polish and moisturize your skin, massaging off dead skin cells and rubbing away hard and flaky skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Scrub or polishing products usually include an oily base which moisturises and soothes your skin as it is scrubbed.
A scrub can be really invigorating as well, and improve the circulation of blood and lymph to the surface of the skin, helping to fight cellulite and improve your skin tone
Honey and Lemon Body Sugar Scrub: Ideal once a fortnight
2.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (smaller quantities available from all good online stockists such as Aromantics, Soap Kitchen, Of a Simple Nature etc)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh lemon ideal or Jif if desperate)
4 tablespoons honey (ideally runny honey)
4 drops lemon essential oil (if required for fragrance)
Stir the sugar into the sweet almond oil in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir again. Finally, add the honey and lemon essential oil and stir again to mix. Stand in the bath or shower and rub on in circular motions
And not forgetting your face as well which, during winter months is more exposed that the rest of your body:-
Basic Baking Soda Facial Scrub: Perfect for everyday use.
2 to 3 tablespoons of Baking Soda and a small amount of water.
Mix the ingredients into a paste. Tie hair back, wash and cleanse face. To open pores, steam face over hot water or press warm cloth to skin for a few minutes. After preparing scrub, apply it to face (and neck if desired) using a circular motion and gently scrub avoiding the eye area. If desired, you can use a facial loofah, sponge, or brush to maximize exfoliation but it is adequate to just rub in with fingers. Rinse off with warm water.
* Precautions – Scrubs and body polishes are suitable and safe for just about everyone. It’s not an invasive treatment. However, you should not have a scrub if you have cancer or if you have a fever. You should also seek expert advice if you are allergic to anything or have a skin condition of any kind. Anyone with fragile, broken or sun burnt skin is well advised to skip this treatment as well, as a very vigorous scrub may hurt more than heal.
- Tip 2: Keep water lukewarm, not hot…
As much as a hot bath feels synonymous with long crisp country walks, hot water robs the skin of moisture causing dry skin, so it’s best to bath and shower in lukewarm water, or at best, keep hot baths short. Hot tubs are also a no no as the temperature, combined with drying chemicals, is torture on dry skin.
The same rule applies to hand-washing: Wash hands in lukewarm, never hot, water (this is a rule I firmly abide by). If your skin turns red, the water is simply too hot.
- Tip 3: Choose you soap wisely
Commercially mass produced soaps can be drying, not to mention being crammed full of synthetics. Opt for a 100% natural vegetable soap, ideally handmade in the cold processed way or buy organic. A good soap is the foundation to all skin care and will help moisturize and lock in the goodness…
- Tip 4: Luscious Lips
Just like scrubs, after discovering the complete ease of making my own lip balm I have never bought it again and doubt you will either: The below recipe is simple, incredibly cheap (we are talking literally pennies per tin), 100% natural and good for your lips, especially around this time of year.
Or if you don’t want the faff of making your own lip balm and just want a quick fix before bed, rub your toothbrush in a circular motion over your lips to remove dead skin (do NOT pick them!) and then rub on a mixture comprising of half a tea spoon of sugar with half a teaspoon of honey.
The wonders of the internet enables us to have the most stunning oils delivered, often next day to our doors…which has opened up a whole new playground of possibilities when it comes to using oils – be they home grown or exotic – in homemade recipes.
Now, you can substitute whatever essential oils you have on hand (or prefer). So, for instance, this recipe calls for peppermint essential oil: Feel free to leave it out completely or substitute it with a soothing essential oil like rose, sweet orange, chamomile, vanilla, or carrot seed.
This recipe also uses honey, which gives the balm a heavenly taste. Just be careful not to lick your lips TOO much. That’ll just dry them out, which of course is the opposite of what we’re trying to do!
This recipe I tend to make every autumn and it makes enough to last me (and several friends) throughout the winter.
Lip Balm Recipe
1/2 oz. (approx. 3 tsp.) grated or roughly chopped beeswax
1 oz. (approx. 6 tsp.) coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. lanolin
3/4 tsp. vitamin E
2 tsp. hard honey
optional 3/4 tsp. peppermint or lavender essential oil
Cosmetic screw top tins (or reuse old cosmetic jars)
In a small pot over medium low heat melt beeswax, coconut oil, lanolin and vitamin E. Use a chopstick to stir. Ideally measure out on cosmetic scales but the approximate tsp measurements make it more user friendly.
Remove from heat and add honey and peppermint oil. Whisk well with chopstick and try to distribute oil throughout the mixture – this is tricky. Pour quickly into tins or jars (easily available online or reuse old tins). Let this cool on counter till hard and do not touch until at least 3 hours is up!
Those of us who apply makeup will benefit from applying a coat of lip balm before putting on lipstick. This will prevent dryness and chapping. It will also help to protect the lips from the chemical content of the lipstick and is also beneficial to use lipsticks with a moisturizer base but don’t use too much of lipstick as this can block the pores and have an adverse effect.
Wrap up warm!
By EMMA HEATHCOTE-JAMES founder of the Little Soap Company and Little Soap School which provides 100% pure, natural handmade soaps and organic soaps to local Waitrose, Tesco, National Trust, health food and farm stores as well as internet orders nationally. Little Soap School days offer one on one or small group luxury days in the workshop in the North Cotswold workshop teaching you how to make your own soaps and natural lotions and potions.
6 Tips for Sumptuous Summer Skin!
At long last we can leap in the air and say that summer is here – the three months of rain is behind us (hoping!) which means we are all spending a lot more time outdoors.
With the summer holidays upon us we have holidays in the sun, lazy weekends gardening, walking or being outside… what’s not to love? Unfortunately, the soaring temperatures and summer sun are less than kind to the largest organ of your body: your skin. So, we thought we’d give you a few tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing all summer long…
1. Exfoliate your body
During the summer, it’s important to exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and improve blood circulation to the face and body – even more so than the rest of the year. Choose from any of the organic cosmetic scrubs available or, even better so you know what’d gone into it, make your own!
2. Luscious Lips – but go petroleum free…
Many lip balms use petroleum as their moisturizing base, any of you who have been on a Little Soap School Creams and Balms course will have heard this speech over and over again….. basically, it is the same crude oil used to make gasoline. Despite the common myth, petroleum isn’t absorbed by the skin so it doesn’t moisturize lips like natural plant-based oils, so stick to beeswax and other natural oils to soothe and moisturize dry lips… if in doubt stick to anything with organic on the label…
3. Know your sunscreen: Chemical Vs Mineral
We all know the sun’s rays are strongest during the summer months and having not seen it here in the UK for quite a while it’s very easy to forget this and whip our white legs out for belated catch up time! Just remember to use a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 or higher.
There are two main types of sun cream – chemical and mineral. The main difference is that chemical sun care products contain UV filtering ingredients that take time to be absorbed by the skin – so need 20 minutes to absorb before sun exposure. Mineral sunscreens contain inert UV protective ingredients such as zinc oxide and form a protective barrier on top of the skin, so have immediate effect. Some who suffer allergies or sensitivities to chemical UV filters find that mineral SPFs do not irritate their skin – zinc is also anti-inflammatory and does not block pores…
As ever, always read the label. For a quick reference guide avoid sunscreens that contain: parabens, PABA, benzophenone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, padimate O and homosalate.
4. Keep your skin moisturised
Your body tends to lose a lot of moisture in the summer, so it’s important to regularly replenish the H2O. Drink a lot of water and liquids and your skin will stay soft and moisturised as well…
5. You are what you eat
Minimize sun damage by eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which includes dark leafy greens and brightly coloured veggies…
6. Cleanse your body without sulfates
Sulfates, particularly sodium lauryl sulfates, are harsh detergents used in many soaps that strip the skin of essential oils leaving your face feeling taught and your body dry. Try not to use strong abrasives on your skin and instead cleanse with warm water and mild pure soap (see the benefits of our handmade soap below) or, again, if in doubt – opt for organic.
As for handmade soap, you can make it, or buy it completely free from synthetic ingredients such as fragrance and colour, the two main ingredients that can be extremely irritating to the skin. Also, it retains the glycerin that is natural to soap. It is taken out of commercial bars, leaving it much harsher to the skin. Little Soap Company soaps are all made with 100% vegetable oils including creamy organic coconut oil. Their rich bubbly lather cleanses and moisturizes without harsh chemicals.
Finally, when bathing or showering, it is important not to completely rid your body of its natural oils. Therefore, don’t vigorously dry your body with a towel, but simply pat it dry. If you strip your body of these oils, it will have to work twice as hard to replace them..
The first ever print run of online Daisy Green Magazine… thrilled to be a part of it!
For more info and to book go to http://unlockingenterprise.eventbrite.com/
November 2011 Edition of Handmade Living magazine
Article by Emma from Little Soap Company pages 122-126
Hello Emma,and all at “little soap”
Thankyou, your wonderful products arrived today.
we thought you might be interested in the following,as you are clearly,and absolutly understandably,very proud of your product and “what you do”
we first came across your soap whilst staying at the Ebrington Arms in late June.
2 weeks later our eldest daughter was crossing mongolia (!) on horseback to raise funds for “help for heroes” with some experienced riders from the “band of sisters” and some of the injured soldiers.she belongs to neither group,but believes passionatly in the charity and is an experienced endurance rider.
we gave her a packet of your travellers soap,in the vague hope she might actually wash during the 2 week trek,as they were “riding rough” to put it mildly!
they were doing 40 miles a day in 40+ degrees.
Sophie declared your soap as an absolute life-saver! it is perfect for washing body and hair in a cold mountain stream at the end of a hard,hard day.for our Sophie to say that,your soap must indeed be something very special!
you also now have some battle-hardened infantry soldiers as fans!
so your soap has been used to wash with,in many mongolian rivers!
also very good in a warm english bathroom,so we thought we’d get a few packets in for the winter.
great soap,you deserve to do very,very well.
john and alison kilpatrick
Spirit & Destiny Sept 2011 issue
Escape to the Country – 4 page “homes” feature….
This year the annual Enterprising Women conference is being held at Worcester Racecourse on Friday 11th November 9am till 3pm and will cater for 200 women involved in Enterprise or looking to unleash their talents and make their ideas happen…. and am pleased as punch to’ve been asked to speak at it! Lots of changes too, it really promises to be a lovely day off – sorry, I mean “networking”!
Enterprising Women’s Day is all about being inspired and making new business contacts and WiRE will be there giving ladies the opportunity to network. This year’s event is not to be missed – there will be inspirational speakers, lively workshops and business advice. There will also be the opportunity to do some shopping and experience relaxation and pamper therapies.
You will be able to find out more by going to www.midwest-rural.org.uk and click on the Women’s Enterprise link.
New A-Cards which will go into hotels and B&Bs who just use our Little Traveller 5in1 bars…. only we all know they go far beyond their marketed 5 uses being proven to get stains out of clothes, washing smalls, being a lubricant for cyclists who have trouble changing their inner tubes or whatever they do…. and various other things……!!!