Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why hand washing is so important!

You've probably been told to wash your hands since you were a kid: before you eat, after you use the restroom, when you're sick. It's such a simple, well-known and effective way to prevent the spread of germs.

So why are we writing about something you already do?
Because hand washing with safer soaps can reduce toxic exposures, too!

Hand washing is an effective -- but often overlooked -- way to reduce our exposures to toxic chemicals. Chemicals can migrate onto our hands from the many toxic products we use everyday -- and the simple act of washing our hands can help reduce our exposure. This is especially important for young children, whose hands are so frequently in their mouths.

Choose a safer soap.
Ironically, some soaps contain chemicals you should avoid (like triclosan, mostly found in anti-bacterial soap!!). Choosing a safer soap is an important part of reducing your toxic exposures.

(Check out the article regarding anti bacterial soap in the 'facts' section)

7 healthy reasons why to enjoy chocolate without guilt!!

(From an article on the Huffington Post)

1. High in antioxidants:Chocolate is high in flavonoids, an antioxidant in the polyphenol category. Antioxidants can help to prevent cell damage and have been linked to prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

2. Helps with cholesterol: Scientists at Penn State found that dark chocolate and flavonoid-rich cocoa powder reduced LDL ("bad" cholesterol) oxidation.

3. Reduces inflammation: An Italian studyshowed that when volunteers ingested small amounts of dark chocolate,their levels of C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker) decreased.

4. Lowers blood pressure: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that dark chocolate had an effect on lowering blood pressure.

5. Helps with mood: Chocolate contains tryptophan,a precursor of serotonin, which can help with depression. Research also shows chocolate can increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (PEA) known as the "love chemical."

6. Improves blood flow: Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in as similar way as aspirin. Nobody is suggesting to replace your aspirin with chocolate, but the research is compelling.

7. It's delicious! Research shows that enjoying food and life is beneficial for your health.

Most studies were done using cocoa powder or dark chocolate. Experts suggest that adding small amounts(a one ounce piece a few times a week) of dark chocolate to a healthy diet that includes antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables will give you a variety of phytochemicals (beneficial elements of plants) that have proven health benefits.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why should i use a Solid Shampoo?

This is a clear example of less being more!

The ingredients are gentle and they clean deeply without leaving any residue, thus, it does not weigh down the hair. A regular bottle of shampoo contains about 70% water... with a Solid Shampoo, you can get rid of the bottle; less packaging is good for the earth, and there is no need for preservatives in a solid formula!!

How to use:

Rub it on your wet hair several times until you have the desired amount of lather, then wash your hair as usual. (I usually suggest to wash hair twice for deeper cleaning)

A solid bar format is also ideal for travel, gym and even camping! - no worries about leaks or spills!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Did You Know?!

Did you know that each vanilla bean comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand?

Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well. After picking the curing process takes several months. So if you've ever wondered why vanilla extract, and especially vanilla beans, can be so expensive, this is why.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tumeric in Cosmetics

Turmeric (INCI: Curcuma longa) is an ancient powdered spice that is part of the ginger family. It has a wide range of therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.
The active ingredient, curcumin, is a natural antiseptic with antibacterial/antimicrobial properties. It heals and prevents dry skin and is used to treat eczema and acne.

Turmeric is traditionally used in daily face and hair care, as well as in Hindu celebrations. It has also been shown to slow the aging process and wrinkle formation.

DIY Recipes

Scrub for facial skin. Mix some turmeric, salt, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon olive oil with coffee ground. Put prepared mixture on the face and make some massage movements. Then wash with cool water.

Cleansing mask. Mix turmeric powder with honey in proportion 1:1. Put it on the face. Keep for 10-15 minutes and then wash with cool water.

For more info here's a cool infographic thanks to

Monday, June 22, 2009

History of Soap Making

Anyone who has seen Fight Club knows that Tyler Durden said that soap was the yardstick of civilization. Now whether that was an actual quote from someone of historical importance or not, it is difficult to deny the influence soap has had on human civilization.

When studying the history of soap, many theories emerge. Some claim that soap was first used in prehistoric times while others claim that the Gauls created it. There is even the possibility that soap may not have been used as a means to clean at first. In fact, it may instead have been used as an antiseptic to heal wounds.

The History of Soap Making by the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews

Before soap became popularly used, the ancient Greeks were said to have used a combination of lye and ashes as a cleanser for pots and to clean the statues of their gods.

Goat's Milk Soap Recipes seemed to be the soap of choice by the Gauls and the Romans. They combined goat's tallow and the ashes of the beech tree to create both hard and soft soap products.

Today, soap is made from of fats and an alkali. In the past however, people made their own soap from animal fats and wood ashes. Regardless of who first created the concoction, it was undoubtedly used in Rome. This is an established fact because a soapmaker's shop was discovered within the rubble of Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius...


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is it really 'Hypo- allergenic' ?

"Hypoallergenic"- adjective.
Definition: non-allergy producing. A term applied to a preparation in which every possible care has been taken in formulation and production to ensure minimum instance of allergic reactions. (Blakiston's Medical Dictionary)

The definition of hypoallergenic is "having a decreased tendency to provoke an allergic reaction". Based on this definition, our products, including comforters are definitely hypoallergenic. The definition of non-allergenic is "having no tendency to provoke an allergic reaction". Therefore, it cannot be said in truth any product is really non-allergenic. Somebody somewhere will have a reaction.
For many years, companies have been producing products, which they claim are "hypoallergenic" or "safe for sensitive skin" or "allergy tested." These statements imply that the products making the claims are less likely to cause allergic reactions than competing products. But there has been no assurance to consumers that this actually was the case.

Here is then the truth. Despite all the reassurances and claims that manufacturers give us about their products in terms of allergy reactivity, nothing is 100% guaranteed to be non-reactive.

Read More:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

DIY Liquid Soap

This recipe is a great way to turn your slivers of natural soap into great handmade liquid soap.

Take one cup of well dried shredded soap and one cup of boiling water. Pour boiling water over the soap and stir until soap is completely dissolved. It's important to stir mixture slowly or you will end up with unwanted lather. Cool. Store in a pump- type dispenser or a squeeze-top plastic container. Use within 1 month. (You can also add a couple of drops of your favorite Essential oil!)

Aging Skin Fighter - Easy and affordable!

Your anti aging regime doesn't need to cost the Earth! Try this recipe and enjoy some 'me' time... or maybe, invite some girl friends over and make it a fun night in!


2 teaspoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 capsules Vitamin E (can be purchased from pharmacies or health shops)


Combine yogurt, honey and lemon juice. Prick open the vitamin E capsules and fold contents into the mix. Leave on Skin for 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
Can be applied once or twice a week on both face and body.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to blend Essential oils

All essential oils are referred to as "top notes", "middle notes" or "base notes" depending on their aromatic qualities. Top note oils are the lightest, most stimulating and energizing oils. They have a fresh, immediately apparent quality that is intense. There aroma, however, does not last long because they evaporate very quickly.

Examples of top note oils are:
• Basil
• Bergamot
• Cajuput
• Cinnamon
• Eucalyptus
• Lemongrass
• Neroli
• Orange
• Peppermint
• Pine
• Petitgrain
• Grapefruit
• Lime
• Sage
• Spearmint
• Tagetes
• Lemon
• Tangerine
• Verbena
• Hyssop

Middle note oils usually form the main part of aromatherapy blends. They are strong, lasting and potent - not as stimulating or light and the top notes, nor as solid as the base notes. Their scent can be detected immediately after you get the impression of the top note.

Examples of middle note oils are:

• Chamomile
• Cyprus
• Fennel
• Melissa
• Black pepper
• Cardomom
• Geranium
• Bay
• Juniper
• Lavender
• Linden Blossom
• Marjoram
• Palma Rosa
• Rosemary
• Nutmeg
• Spikenard
• Tea Tree
• Yarrow

Base notes linger longest because they are the last to evaporate. All their scents are full bodied, rich, and heavy and they emerge slowly, after the top and middle notes. They form the base of any blend.

Examples of base note oils are:
• Clove
• Balsam Peru
• Cassia
• Jasmin
• Cedarwood
• Ginger
• Frankincense
• Patchouli
• Sandalwood
• Rosewood
• Valerian
• Vanilla
• Rose
• Vetiver
• Ylang ylang


Ideally, start of by blending oils which are of the same 'Family' group. Floral oils will almost always create a harmonious blend, i.e. Rose with Jasmine, Lavender with Geranium and so on. For the beginner, floral essentials oils are the best for learning to blend. There is really no way of creating a bad blend with florals. The trickiness comes with the addition of other groups such as spicy (i.e. ginger, black pepper, etc.), Citrus (i.e. orange, grapefruit, etc.) and so on. To help with this, most all essential oils fall into a scent/extraction group... which are:

* Citrus
* Spicy
* Floral
* Green (also referred to as green)
* Woody
* Resinous

A perfume blend to try:
20 drops of sandalwood essential oil
10 drops rose essential / fragrance oil
5 drops musk fragrance oil
10 drops jasmine essential oil
1 teaspoon jojoba or sweet almond oil
1/4 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients well and store in a glass bottle that is dark in color. It is a perfume that actually gets deeper and better with time. (Taken from "Secret Potions, Elixirs & Concoctions" Marie Anakee Miczak, Lotus Press 1999)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Homemade Stick Deodorant

How to make...

1. Put 1/4 cup each of baking soda and cornstarch** in a bowl with 10+ drops tea tree oil. (I like 20 drops, but I'm a tea tree oil nut. I hear lavender oil will work as well.)

2. This deodorant can be used as a powder, but if you want a stick, go to the shortening section of the store and buy this solid-at-room-temperature-awesome stuff:

3. Stir 2+ TBSP in until it's the consistency you like.

4. Smash into empty deodorant container. (Will be a bit sturdier once it sets a day or so.)

When applying this deodorant, use a lighter hand than you would with normal stick deodorant, especially the first couple of days or it'll drop little balls on your bathroom rug.Used correctly, this stuff is invisible and lasts for ages, as it works with a very light layer. You should not be able to SEE it once applied.

**If you have especially sensitive skin, increase the amount of cornstarch to 6T and decrease the baking soda to 2T.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Miracle oil- Rosehip oil.

Rose Hip Oil is extracted from the seeds contained in the intensely red berry-like fruits -or hips- of a wild rose-bush that grows in the cool, lush mountain rainy valleys of the southern Andes, in Chile. It's healing properties where a well kept secret of the native people of Chile for centuries. Now they have been validated by scientific research worldwide.

The Benefits of Rosehip oil:

-An intensive Repair Treatment visibly improving your skin's quality and appearance.

-Revitalizes your skin while reducing wrinkles and signs of premature ageing.

-Improves surgical, accidental and even old scars left by acne or chickenpox.

-Nourishes and deeply moisturize your skin without being too greasy.

-Source of topical retinoic acid (vitamin A)

How to use RoseHip Oil

Massage the oil into the affected area with your fingertips until it is completely absorbed. If you use it during the day you must place a sunblocker on top.

Rose Hip Oil applied twice a day every day for about three months reduces scar tissues, helps to prevent and reduce stretch marks, attenuates wrinkles, age spots and burned skin.

Why should you dry brush?

1. Removes cellulite
2. Cleanses the lymphatic system
3. Removes dead skin layers
4. Strengthens the immune system
5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands
6. Tightens the skin preventing premature aging
7. Tones the muscles
8. Stimulates circulation
9. Improves the function of the nervous system
10. Helps digestion
11. AND it’s easy, inexpensive and invigorating!

A more thorough explanation...

• It increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas.

•It helps to tighten the skin because it increases the flow of blood. Increasing the circulation to the skin can also help lessen the appearance of cellulite.

• It stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified. After several days of dry brushing, you may notice the gelatinous mucoid material in your stools.

• It helps with muscle tone and more even distribution of fat deposits.

• Dry brushing also rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.

• It helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.

• Individuals who sit at a computer screen all day long will particularly take pleasure in the benefits of skin brushing. People who have inactive lifestyles or jobs usually experience stiff and sore necks and shoulders that reach even into their arms and down their spines and into their lower backs. Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated.

Getting Started With Your Skin Brushing Regimen is easy as 1.2.3 !

1. Purchase a natural, NOT a synthetic, bristle brush.

2.Begin brushing your skin in long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction. Always brush towards the heart. Try and brush several times in each area, over-lapping as you go.

3. After brushing your skin, rinse off in the shower and apply a natural base bath oil.

Do not brush on or over skin rashes, wounds, cuts, infections, poison oak or poison ivy.
Note: Any well designed program will take about 30 days to see and experience the changes. Please be patient and keep up the program

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Epson Salts

Researchers in nutrition, through controlled experimentation, have found that Magnesium Sulfate (Epson Salt) accelerates the body's healing time by one-third. As an example, if an injury requires three weeks to heal under normal or standard conditions, it would only require two weeks to heal if Magnesium Sulfate is added to the diet as a nutrition.

Can use Epsom salt for internal and external applications. Internally, it is used for irregularity and constipation and will promote a bowel movement within 1/2 to 6 hours if the instructions are followed correctly. Externally, it is used for soaking minor sprains (ligaments), strains (tendons), and bruises (as in muscles).

You can apply Epsom salts in two ways externally:

* Towel Soaking: By placing 2 cups (16 oz.) of Epsom salts in one gallon of water, mix well, and soak a towel or bandage. Next, apply the towel to the involved region or area for 30 minutes, 3 times daily.

* Bath Tub Soaking: By placing 2 cups (16 oz.) in a bath tub of hot water. The water temperature should be as hot as you can tolerate but comfortable for 15 to 20 minutes. You can use 2 to 4 times this amount if your body conditions warrant it. You do not want to burn yourself. You want to rub your skin all over with a wash cloth to open up the pores for absorption of the Epsom salts. If some areas are sore, rub them a little longer. If you are treating an injury you should rub both the area of the involved site on one extremity and the same area on the other extremity (bilateral stimulation reflex). In rubbing both extremities you yield a little extra stimulation to the injured site. Do not rinse off before getting out of the bath tub. Just dry off and retire for the evening.

Epsom salt baths are taken routinely, just before going to bed, the night before a major competitive event or race. It also helps with combating jet lag. The bath will allow a more productive and restful sleep as well as produce an energy-charging-up effect on your body for the next days’ performance.

Black Lava Salts

Hawaiian black sea salt, or lava salt, is a dramatic, glossy black sea salt. The unique color comes from lava, which adds minerals and activated charcoal which results in a sulfuric aroma and earthy flavor. One can also bathe in these salts; NB: An additional rinse after soaking may be required to remove residual activated charcoal.

Medicinal Benefits:

* Activated charcoal main use is to treat accidental poisonings. Once ingested, it binds with certain chemicals in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed into your system and causing harm.

* Activated charcoal lowers the concentration of total lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood serum, liver, heart and brain.

* Charcoal has been used as a poultice to reduce inflammation and absorb poisons from your skin caused by infection, chemicals, or insect bites and stings.

* Charcoal alleviates intestinal gas and upset stomach.

* Charcoal is also use in the treatment of allergies, skin problems, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, ulcer, bad breath, body odor, lower cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Himalayan Crystal Salt

This crystal salt from the Himalayan Mountains, which is over 250 million years old, is as pure as the ancient primal oceans and contains all the minerals and trace elements essential to human life. The elements trapped within the Himalayan salt are particles small enough to be able to be absorbed by the human cells.

Himalayan Crystal Salt supplies us with a truly ancient ocean of energy and regenerates our body on all levels.

How it can heal

: Mineral-rich salts can help ease PMS in two ways. The muscle-relaxing effects of magnesium combined with potassium, which helps the body get rid of excess water, can ease water retention and relieve muscular tension.

: Minerals have an alkalising effect on the body. Natural health practitioners such as Louise Hay have observed that this has an anti-inflammatory effect, easing painful conditions such as arthritis.

: Whether you eat or bathe in them, mineral-rich salts tend to relax. This is largely due to magnesium, which is needed for muscles to relax. Low levels of magnesium are associated with muscle cramps. Replacing table salt with a good mineral salt could help alleviate these.

BONE STRENGTH: Unrefined rock salts are rich in minerals needed for bone strength. Apart from calcium, bones use phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals as building materials.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate)

Did you know?!!
Baking soda helps wash away oil and perspiration, and it also neutralizes acids on the skin. Baking soda is especially great for soothing skin rashes, and can even help chronic problems like eczema and psoriasis. Some also claim that it helps counter the negative effects of radiation (whether from the sun or from x-rays, cancer treatments, and the like). It certainly helps a sunburn!

Interesting benefits of some essential oils

An essential oil is the aromatic and volatile extract of a plant. The essential oil may be liquid, semi-solid or solid, depending upon the product and climatic conditions.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil
(Eucalyptus Globulus)
Often used to relieve muscle, nerve and joint pains. The fragrance of the oil is believed to help combat exhaustion and dispel mental sluggishness.

Grapefruit Essential Oil (Citrus Grandis)
Rich in antioxidants, primarily in Vitamin C. Grapefruit essential oil is used for muscle fatigue, stiffness, acne and skin tightening.

Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Is the all purpose oil. Known for it antiseptic and antibacterial properties thus helps to combat acne and eczema. It also encourages the growth of new skin cells. Moreover it is known to help relieve headaches, insomnia, tension and stress.

Lemon Essential oil
Is an astringent that restores the skin's natural acid balance.

Orange Essential Oil (Citrus Sinensis)
Rich in vitamin C. Has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Also widely used to treat acne and dermatitis.

Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Piperita)
Known for its antiseptic and antispasmodic properties. Contains menthol, which is good for the skin. Also nourishes dull skin and improves oily skin.

Rosemary Essential oil
Rosemary has antibacterial and antioxidant activity. In hair care it is believed that rosemary encourages hair growth by improving blood flow to the scalp.

Tangerine Essential Oil
(Citrus Tangerina)
Has various benefits when used in skin care product formulations such as refining the texture of the skin, while also having good antiseptic and cell rejuvenating properties.

Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
Now favoured in soaps due to its ability to treat many skin conditions. The clear clean smell of tea tree has expectorant, antifungal and bactericidal properties.

Vanilla Essential Oil(Vanilla Planifolia)
Considered a supreme sensual aphrodisiac and one of the most popular flavours and aromas. Often used as a relaxant for nervous tension and stress.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil(Cananga Odorata)
Historically, it has been used for its aphrodisiac properties. Sensual, balancing, relaxing and uplifting. This scent relaxes the body.

Please Note: All essential oils must be used with caution while it's important that they are ALWAYS diluted with a base oil such as grapeseed oil/almond oil etc.

Essential oils must NOT be used while pregnant or breast feeding, or be used on children under 3 years of age)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is it Fake or real?

Armed with a little bit of knowledge, real handcrafted natural soap is fairly easy to spot. First, it should say "soap" on the label. By law, fake soaps can't use that term so they call it a "beauty bar" or a "moisturizing bar" or some other nonsense. Next, look for soaps with cold pressed or extra virgin olive oil as a main ingredient which is rich in antioxidants and skin nutrients.

Harmful synthetic additives to avoid are: dyes, antibacterial triclosan & triclocarban, EDTA, TEA, DEA, sodium laureth and sodium lauryl sulfates, and other chemical sounding names you don't recognize or can't even pronounce. Avoid them all. They're not kind to your health or the environment.

Of course the real test will be when you use the soap. If it dries your skin out or makes it feel tight or itchy, question its origin. There's nothing like well made, glycerin rich, handcrafted natural olive oil soap to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and nourished. So if you're looking for skin loving soap, take the time to seek out natural handmade real soap. It may cost a little more, but your skin will thank you for it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Herbal Remedies for Kids

Make the herbal tea or infusion into ice cubes and let her suck on them. (Tell her not to chew them, though; chewing ice cubes isn't great for her teeth.) You can also mix them with fruit juice and make them into popsickles.

To administer eye drops, have your child lie down and close his eyes. Place a drop of the medicine in the corner of each eye, then have him open his eyes. The drops will gently fall in.

Remember that for a nursing baby, Mom's medicine is baby's medicine. Drink healing/calming herbal teas and let the constituents affect the baby through your breast milk. On the flip side, be careful to check your own remedies ahead of time to make sure they're okay for the baby.

When used appropriately, herbs are effective and gentle enough for kids. Most kids like the idea of taking herbs (they're pretty friendly with plant life) to heal themselves. But if your child is reluctant to take her medicine or other treatment, try some of these tricks to entice her...

Make it fun.
Give your child "facials" (facial steams using healing herbs), herbal baths and footbaths, massage her sore muscles, pat her aching head with a cool compress and wrap her sore throat with a warm fomentation.

Concoct medicinal candies by combining powdered herbs with ground nut butters, dried fruit and honey or maple syrup. Thicken with powdered milk, if needed. Remember to store them well out of your child's reach.

De-Stress with Herbs

For physical and mental well being, it’s crucial to find ways to slow down. Herbal rituals—teatime, a long soak in an herbal bath and a restful slumber with an herbal pillow—can help soften the pace.

Herbal Tea Time

Whether you need to relax before climbing into bed, de-stress after a busy day at work, or even get your day off on the right (calm) foot, a cup of herbal tea can help. Try different herbs that are known for their soothing properties, then pick your favorites and enjoy them solo or in combinations. As a general guideline, use about a teaspoon of herb per cup of water, and steep for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Tootsie Soak

No time for a full bath? Relish the scent of relaxing herbs and the warmth of the water as you soak your feet, and you’ll feel calm from the tip of your soaking toes to the top of your once-frantic head.
Make an infusion of soothing herbs (about one cup of herbs per quart of water) and pour it into a shallow pan. Add enough warm water to make the soak comfortably hot, then immerse your feet and drape the pan with a towel (to hold in the steam). Lean back and breathe deeply. Before the water gets too cool, remove and dry your feet. This is a good time to moisturize them, too!

Herbs for a relaxing foot soak include:
marshmallow, pennyroyal, sage, rosemary, juniper, angelica, chamomile, rose petal, lavender, yarrow, elder berries, and clover blossoms.

Herbal Nerve tonics

Valerian, hops, chamomile, scullcap, oats, damiana

Herbs to Relax Nerves

St. John’s wort, passion flower, valerian, lemon balm, lobelia, scullcap, hops, chamomile, lavender

Herbal Nerve demulcents
Oats, barley, slippery elm bark, marshmallow

Nerve Stimulanting Herbs
Kola nut, peppermint, ginkgo, gotu kola, wintergreen, spearmint, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, ginseng

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who invented soap?

Although the Romans are most often credited with the discovery of soap around 1000 B.C. - directions for soapmaking have been found on Sumerian clay tablets dating around 2500 B.C. Legend says that a mixture of animal fat and wood ash from a sacrifice somehow made it into the Tiber River on Sapo Hill where women were doing laundry. They discovered that the clothes came cleaner because of this substance. Our modern word "soap" was derived from "Sapo" from where this solution was believed to originate.

It is questionable whether the people of the time were conscious that soap was being produced. The recipes don't mention that soap is produced, and the soap is never actually separated from the solution. In fact, the first concrete evidence of knowledgeable soapmaking is found in ancient Rome. The ruins at Pompeii revealed a soap factory with finished bars. However Romans, famous for their public baths during this time, did not use the soap because it was too harsh for the skin and used only for clothing.

It wasn't until the 18th century when bathing came into fashion again that soapmaking techniques began to resurface. Prior to that, bathing was in disfavor due to superstitions that it was dangerous and unsanitary. A new demand for "domesticated soaps" (soaps used for bathing) resulted in new discoveries in the soapmaking process. Soap was produced throughout Europe and ingredients began to differ based on the region. Colonial America, however, was the exception. Soap companies did not begin to appear until the early 19th century.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The 8 Top Reasons to use Shea Butter

1. Dry Skin - Helps dramatically reduce the issues associated with dry skin. Specifically, Shea Butter helps prevent chapping and skin cracks (especially on the feet and elbows).

2. Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis - Has shown to have remarkable effects on rashes, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. French dermatologists used Shea Butter on 35 people from different age, sex and racial backgrounds for a period of ten days to 5 months. These subjects had all types of skin disorders ranging from dry and wrinkled skin to serious burns and rashes. There was substantial healing in all of the cases, and in some cases the healing was almost miraculous. These clinical trials have all been well documented by the French Ministry of Health.

3. Skin Irritations - Minor skin irritations including allergies, insect bites, frost bites, sun burns, burns, and small skin wounds all respond positively to treatment. Shea Butter glides on smoothly and easily and penetrates into the skin immediately, having a very quick effect.

4. Wrinkles - Helps dramatically with wrinkles. Shea Butter works by rejuvenating skin cells and cleaning pores. Shea Butter also helps by preventing wrinkles by keeping moisture protected in the deeper dermal layers of the skin.

5. Dry Hair and Scalp - Helps prevent weak hair from breaking, fading or thinning out. Unlike almost all other hair conditioners on the market, which use Petroleum by-products, Shea Butter does not clog pores or block the hair shafts. It also helps prevent dandruff and revitalizes split ends. In addition, it will protect the hair from the damaging rays of the sun, hair dryers, perms and dyes. A good idea is to use it before swimming in a pool or the ocean to help protect your hair from chlorine and sea salt.

6. Sensitive Skin- One of the best choices for people with ultra-sensitive skin, including infants. Why? The chemical composition of Shea butter is close to vernix, the substance found on newborns at birth, so there is no negative reaction to it by even the most sensitive people.

7. Stretch Marks - Excellent for the prevention and treatment of stretch marks and other kinds of scar tissue. It works by moisturizing and feeding nutrients to these areas which help dramatically reduce the appearance of scars or stretch marks. In addition, Shea Butter is also good for the healing of sore nipples of nursing mothers.

8. Aging- Wonderful for older people who are looking to prevent bed sores and want to keep the suppleness of their skin. Shea Butter works great for the elderly population and can be used everyday.

Scott Malin is rapidly becoming a widely respected writer on the subject of organic, all natural skin care. You can find excellent advice about how to have healthy and beautiful skin at:

Article Source:

The Origin of Shea Butter

Shea Butter is made from the seeds of the Karite tree (known as the Tree of Life) which grows wild in West Africa. In Africa, there are number of therapeutic uses for the "King of skin care ingredients" including ingesting it for colds and flus and as a ceremonial food. Africans use it on the skin of infants, because of its incredibly mild properties on the most sensitive of skin. Also, it does an amazing job of protecting and moisturizing their delicate skin. Africans also use Shea Butter with the elderly to help with aching joints and to keep their skin supple. Due to the dry nature of the Sahara, it is also used regularly to help with cracked and dry skin.

Why is Goat Milk Soap so special?

Goat's milk is a natural emollient that helps soothe and moisturize the skin. It contains Vitamins A, B6, B12 and E. Goat's milk has three times more beta-casein than cow's milk, which is easily absorbed into the skin and allow for quick hydration of dry skin. And Goat's Milk makes a lovely, creamy, moisturizing bar that has been in demand the world over for centuries! Cleopatra bathed in goat's milk and recipes for goat's milk soap can be found dating to ancient times. They might not have known the "scientific" reason why goat's milk was so kind to the skin, but they knew that it certainly was, and found every opportunity to use it to maintain a stunning complexion.

Getting More Personal with Handmade Soap

Handmade soap can be personalized not just with regard to its contents, but according to shape, size, and color, too! Different molds are available to create personal styles, shapes and designs. A person can fashion molds of the shapes he or she wants, or they can be bought in soap-making or handicraft stores. Imagine the enjoyment children will have with mild, handmade soap fashioned in fun shapes, like their favourite cartoon characters or nature-themed designs.

Handmade soap is also an ideal giveaway at events like weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers. They can also be used as corporate giveaways. If making soap by one’s self is not possible, there are companies and other businesses that will make them according to the customer’s specifications. This is ideal for large jobs. But if you just want to try something different, or give a unique gift to someone special, handmade soap may just be the thing. It shows a personal touch that will surely make someone feel appreciated – something that even the most expensive commercial soap cannot do.

LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SOAP, join us at SoapCafe` during our Soap Making Workshops. For more info, click on the link. 

Handmade Soap in Aromatherapy

Essential oils from plants, and other plant and animal products, should be added to handmade soaps if one wants to experience their health benefits on an intimate basis. For instance, milk can be added to enhance the skin’s luster; cinnamon makes for a spicy aroma; ginger oil tones the skin because of its astringent properties; natural olive oil pampers sensitive skin; oatmeal relieves skin itchiness and helps fight acne. There are so many more natural oils and fragrances that can be added, and a person can adjust the strength of these ingredients to suit his or her personal taste.

Basic Handmade Soap Facts

Soap making is a handicraft with its own set of enthusiasts. The process involves the mixing of ingredients such as lye or sodium hydroxide, fats and oils (derived from animals or vegetables), and water. A process called saponification ensues when the lye and oils combine, neutralizing the harsh effects of lye to produce a substance called glycerin in the soap.
The fun part comes in the selection and addition of ingredients for the soap’s color and scent. Commercially manufactured soaps usually have artificial coloring and fragrance, but with handmade soap, you can add natural ingredients such as flowers, fruits, and other plant extracts. Not only do these components feel and smell good, many of them actually have aromatherapy benefits.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The benefits of handmade soap

So why use handmade soap? Well, its milder than commercial soaps, and wont strip your skin of its natural moisture and give you skin problems such as eczema. It contains natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. It also contains natural glycerin which moisturizes your skin rather than drying it out. Furthermore, there are no synthetic additives, preservatives, fragrances, or colors that could hurt your skin and your health. Handmade soap also effectively kills germs without the use of such harsh ingredients as triclosan.

Taking care of your natural soap

Don't let your soap drown in water.

Feed your soap plenty of fresh air between uses.

Always use a well drained soap dish to keep soap dry.

Use of a wash cloth or loofah will extend the life of your soap.

It's best to use your new soap within six months of purchase. It won't stay fresh forever!

Store unused soap in a dark, dry, relatively cool location such as a lingerie drawer or linen closet.

That antibacterial soap may not be all good!

Antibacterial soaps, which often claim to kill 99.9% of germs, have become extremely popular in our germ-phobic age, but is this a good thing? The bacteria-fighting ingredients in those soaps may be doing you more harm than good. Extra-strength antibacterial ingredients in soaps, while killing harmful bacteria, can also kill healthy bacteria that exist to protect your skin thus endangering you and stripping your skin of those healthy bacteria. Killing too much of your body’s bacteria, when overdone, can even lead to causing diseases such as eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, and even diabetes... Read more...