Archive for May 2009

Natural beauty @home

Basic ingredients

  1. Alcohol: Rubbing/isopropyl alcohol vapors make some people dizzy & sick to their stomachs. So, use natural alcohols such as vodka, gin & rum. Vodka is gentle, fragrance free & colorless. Gin is made from juniper berries & rum made from molasses.
  2. Almond oil: A pale yellow oil from seed of almond tree, rich in natural emollients that have skin softening qualities. It is absorbed easily by skin & recommended for all skin types & may be used full strength.
  3. Aloe vera: Leaves of aloe vera plant contain a sap which is 991/2% water, that is believed to promote healing & soothe the skin.
  4. Alum/Aluminium sulphate: It’s an anti-septic & helps stop bleeding. Buy only cosmetic grade.
  5. Apricot kernel/persic oil: Hard to find, but popular body oil as it doesn’t leave an oily film on skin.
  6. Aspirin/salicyclic acid: Salicyclic acid occurs naturally in many plant leaves. Used as preservative, antiseptic, anti-itch treatment. But care should be taken as aspirin can be absorbed through the skin.
  7. Avocado: Contain more protein than in any other fruit, rich in oil, vits AB. Used as moisturizer for skin & hair.
  8. Baking soda: It is gentle, alkaline & so neutralizes acids. When mixed with acids like vinegar, CO2 produced. It is used as skin soother in bath, tooth powder, deodorizer when mixed with body powders. It is a cleansing hair rinse that no commercial product compares to for getting hair super clean & removing residues left from styling products. Do this rinse before coloring or using permanent wave solutions on your hair.
  9. Beer: Excellent hair rinse & setting lotion. Flatter the beer, the better. Sugar & protein in beer thicken the hair. Beer odor leaves as soon as hair dries, so don’t have to worry about smell.
  10. Beeswax: Wax secreted from underside of bees will not become rancid b’cos of high levels of potassium & has germ killing properties. It forms a protective barrier on skin to guard against environmental irritants & lock in moisture.
  11. Borax/Sodium tetraborate: It is a natural chemical substance found on alkaline lakeshores. It is used as a water softener, preservative & texturizer. B’cos it’s a mild alkali, it gently cleanses without drying skin.
  12. Castile soap: It is a mild white soap made with olive oil, named after the Castile region in Spain where it was developed. Real castile soap must be at least 40% olive oil.
  13. Castor oil: It is made from seed of castor oil plant. Excellent for hair, nails & lips. As one of the few oils soluble in alcohol, it is a good fixative for perfumes & colognes.
  14. Chlorophyll: Well known for its deodorant properties & helps promote healing.
  15. Cocoa butter: It is a creamy, fatty wax, solid at room temperature, obtained from seeds of cocoa plant. Pregnant women use it on their stomachs to avoid stretch marks. Look for 100%. If buy as solid stick, easy to rub on skin & lips.
  16. Coconut oil: It is 92%saturated fat. It preserves the skin & hair by locking in moisture. So used to condition hair, skin, lips.
  17. Cornstarch/corn flour: It is powder made from corn. It soothes skin & has healing properties. Used in place of talcum powder.
  18. Egg: Good skin & hair conditioner. Egg yolk is rich in lecithin, a natural emollient. Egg whites are astringent i.e help shrink or tighten skin’s pores. A gentle shampoo can be made simply by using a raw egg to clean hair. Rinse well with cool water as hot water may cook the egg.
  19. Epsom salts/magnesium sulphate: Soaking in these salts is soothing to sore muscles b’cos these salts are slightly astringent. Some take them for indigestion. They are 1st discovered at a mineral spring in Epsom, England. They are key ingredient in many bath salt products. They increase your circulation & help warm tired muscles.
  20. Essential oils: They are highly concentrated aromatic extracts of plants used for aromatherapy. Expensive but last long. You need only a drop or two of this.
  21. Extracts & flavorings: Alcohol is mixed with a substance to produce an extract. It is then used to scent & flavor mixtures. Can be used for quick inexpensive cologne.
  22. Flax seeds: They form a gel when soaked in fluid. It can be used in softening & moisturizing skin & in face masks
  23. Flowers: Some flowers like marigold/calendula has very strong healing powers b’cos of its antibacterial properties.
  24. Fuller’s earth: A naturally occuring clay used in cosmetics & body powders. It absorbs moisture & oil.
  25. Glycerine: It is a clear, odorless, sticky liquid produced during soap making. It extracts moisture & keeps products from drying out. A classic hand-softening formula is glycerine & rose water.
  26. Grape seed oil: It is a popular massage & cosmetic oil b’cos it is so mild & hypoallergenic. It is also used as hair conditioner & as a styling oil, which is believed to enhance hair growth.
  27. Green tea: As a facial rinse, it tightens the pores & calms the skin. There are many varieties of green teas depending on what part of the plant is used. The highest quality tea is called Gyokuro & is made from the earliest tender leaves.
  28. Henna leaves: Ground leaves are a well-known ancient beauty treatment for the hair & nails. Henna contains a resinous substance that, when mixed with water, will coat hair, skin & nails, so can be used to dye the hair, give it extra body & shine, strengthen nails. It should be 100%leaves.
  29. Herbal tea: Used in the bath, as skin freshener, hair rinse, in creams & lotions.
  30. Honey: It contains many vital vitamins & minerals. It has a very high potassium content, which makes it almost impossible for bacteria to survive in it. It is best known for holding moisture. 1-2T in your bath makes skin feel like silk.
  31. Jojoba bean oil: Is popular as it is very similar to our bodies own natural oils.
  32. Lanolin: A natural wax from oil glands of sheep. It absorbs & holds water to skin. It is a heavy, thick substance used to protect the skin. Not recommended for use on oily or very sensitive skin. 
  33. Lemons: Citric acid in it kills bacteria on skin. Its scent is a known energizer. Lemon juice mixed with water makes  a super hair rinse for removing built-up gels & oils. It has antioxidant & astringent properties. It can help to lighten skin & hair & to soften skin. It is deodorizing & cleansing.
  34. Lemon oil: Recommended for all skin types. It can reduce puffiness & wrinkles in the skin. It will add shine to hair(astringent, antiseptic & toning).
  35. Mayonnaise: Oil & eggs in it are moisturizing & nourishing to skin. Vinegar or lemon juice helps restore the skin’s natural acid level. It is a complete treatment & can be used as a moisturizer for the skin or as a conditioner for the hair before the final rinse.
  36. Mineral oil: It is widely used in cosmetics as will not spoil over time as do many other oils. It is a mixture of refined liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. It is the main ingredient in baby oils. Petroleum jelly is the solid form of this oil; it stays on top of the skin, providing a shiny protective surface.
  37. Nuts: As rich in oils, good exfoliators when ground & added to cleansers & body scrubs. Their expressed oils are the basis for many creams & lotions.
  38. Oatmeal: It is rich in protein, potassium, iron, phosphates, magnesium, silicon. It has gentle cleansing properties & can be used in place of soap. It is nontoxic & soothing to skin, so it’s especially good for sensitive skin. Use regular, not quick cooking.
  39. Olive oil: It is the first oil used in cosmetics.
  40. Orange flower water/neroli: Excellent astringent & cleanser. It’s scent reduces stress & induces sleep.
  41. Orrisroot powder: Used as fixative in perfumes & powders. It is popular in making potpourris.
  42. Peppermint:  Helpful to oily, irritated, congested skin. This oil evaporates quickly, lending a cool feeling to skin care products. It is antiseptic, anti inflammatory, astringent & toner.
  43. Rose water: Astringent & cleansing.
  44. Sandalwood: Healing for chapped, irritated & dry skin. It helps to maintain skin’s elasticity. It is antiseptic, emollient, cell rejuvenative & soothing.
  45. Sea salt: Astringent & antiseptic. Used to remove dead skin from body & scalp. Don’t use on face/irritated skin as it can be very drying. It contains minerals & is used in baths to soften water & draw impurities from body.
  46. Sesame oil: Has sunscreening properties.
  47. Shea butter: A semi-solid wax from seeds of a tree that is mild, softening & moisturizing with a rich texture. It gives smooth consistency to hand creams.
  48. Stearic acid: It is a white, waxy powder obtained from animal fats & oils. When melted, it becomes a clear liquid. It gives stiffness to creams & keeps oils & water combined, much like beeswax does.
  49. Sun flower seeds: Rich in natural oil & vit E, so perfect for skin scrubs, cleansers, creams. Petals are used in highlighting hair rinses & facial toners.
  50. Super silk: A liquid product from silk of the silkworm’s spent cocoons. It contains amino acids & silk proteins that are able to penetrate the hair shaft giving it strength & the ability to hold moisture. It makes skin feel soft too. 
  51. Table salt: Use non-iodized for tooth care preperations.
  52. Tea tree oil: Has powerful antibacterial & antiviral qualities. Every Australian has small bottle of this in medicine cabinet to help heal small cuts, scrapes & bruises. Its called medicine chest in a bottle. Heals troubled or chapped skin. It is anti bacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, anti inflammatory.
  53. Thyme: Used in mouth wash, on troubled skin, in deodorants.
  54. Tincture of Benzoin: Tincture is a solution that is about 50% alcohol. It is a gum resin, used as a preservative & antiseptic.
  55. Vinegar/acetic acid: When fruit juice ferments, it turns into vinegar which is known for high acid content & sharp odor. It is used to remove alkaline residues from skin & hair. Never apply it directly to body, dilute with water(1part vinegar to 8parts water). It softens & cleanses skin & assists in maintaining the skin’s acid mantle. Gives shine to hair when used as an after shampoo rinse. Apple cider vinegar is the most commonly used type for skin & hair care.
  56. VitA: It can be easily absorbed through skin but too much can be damaging. It has skin healing properties similar to those of vitE.
  57. VitC: It is a preservative & antioxidant.
  58. VitE: It is believed to protect body fat & tissues from breakdown & to slow down the aging process. It also helps normal RBC, muscles, body tissues to grow & remain healthy. Can be used as moisturizer. It is very thick & sticky & is best on small areas such as under eyes.
  59. Vodka/alcohol: Generally made from potatoes, but many cheaper ones are made from grains. It is a good pure alcohol for making cosmetics; usually used as a solvent.
  60. Water: Always the purest, filtered water when making cosmetics.
  61. Wheat germ oil: It has high vitA, D & E & believed to have healing properties. 
  62. Witch hazel/Hamamelis: Used as wonderful skin freshener, local anesthetic, anti inflammatory  & astringent. Use to favorite lotion for a cooling moisturizer in the summer. Soak cotton pads in it & use to soothe tired eyes. Donot use internally.
  63. Yoghurt: Has wonderful skin-softening qualities as easily absorbed by skin & makes a soothing cleanser.
  64. Zinc oxide: It is a creamy white powder commonly found in ointment form & used as a sunblock. It is also used as an astringent, antiseptic, and skin healer. Buy cosmetic grade only.

Beauty tools from nature: 

  1. Loofah sponge: Used to remove dead skin cells from the body. It is a gourd that you can grow in your garden. It takes 75days to produce a loofah sponge from seed. It is time to harvest when skin turns brown. Dry gourds in sun, then soak in water unti outer skin disappears. Some people also use to scrub pots in kitchen. Never use on face, as too harsh. Wash it with mild soap & let dry after each use. Get new loofah every 2mths, if you use it everyday.
  2. Pumice stone: It is supercooled bit of volcanic lava used to remove dead skin & calluses from feet, knees, hands & elbows. They always work best when wet.
  3. Sea sponge: It is an animal that lives @ then bottom of the ocean. Their skeletons are used for cleaning & bathing b’cos they are soft & absorb a large amount of water.
  4. Avocado pit: Rub over arms & legs for a good massage treatment. It feels good & improves circulation.
  5. Sand: At beach, it acts like a million pumice stones to clear your feet of dead & rough skin.

Soap alternatives

  1. Oatmeal: Best cleanser as gentle, mild & can be used by all skin types, especially those with dry & sensitive skin. Grind to fine powder, mix with little water to form paste, massage into skin with warm washcloth. Can add 1/2c of oatmea powder to a warm bath to treat & cleanse whole body.
  2. Sugar: Granulated sugar works well as a gentle skin cleanser & scrub. It is not at all dehydrating & so perfect for dry skin types. Massage into wet skin 1t sugar+little water paste with warm washcloth or fingertips. It is gentle enough for face too.
  3. Honey: It is an excellent cleanser used alone or mixed with little lemon juice for oily skin types or milk for dry skin types. Simply massage into wet skin & rinse well.
  4. Dairy products: Instant beautifier both inside & out for clean healthy skin. They are rich in protein, fat, lactic acid, all of which help clean & detoxify complexion, leaving it soft & smooth. Rinse skin well after or else will smell like spoiled milk. Milk baths were made famous by Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen.

Herbs for face & hair

  1. Basil/Ocimum: Has restorative, warming & anti bacterial effects. 
  2. Calendula: It is anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal.
  3. Catnip: It is a narcotic for feline friends but relaxes humans with its pleasant aroma. Used in sleep pillows.
  4. Chamomile: Flowers are used in infusions for hair & skin care & to soothe tired, irritated eyes.
  5. Cinnamon: Used in mouthwashes for its ability to freshen & stimulate gum circulation.
  6. Clove/Sygyzium: Antiseptic, so helps to freshen breath & stimulate gum circulation.
  7. Dill: Seeds are used to freshen breath.
  8. Fennel: Seeds are aromatic & anti inflammatory. An infusion of seeds is cleansing & beneficial for aging skin.
  9. Lavender: It can stimulate circulation & cleanse skin. Aroma is relaxing.
  10. Mint: For mouth & body.
  11. Parsley: Leaves have high chlorophyll content, so ideal breath freshener. It nourishes skin.
  12. Rosemary: Leaves stimulate skin, lend strength to hair & have deodorizing & antibacterial properties.
  13. Sage: Leaves have astringent, antiseptic & anti inflammatory properties.
  14. Thyme: Warming, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal & has astringent properties.

Preparations for eyes: 

  1. Chamomile eye soother: Bring to boil 1c distilled water, remove from heat, add 1/8 chamomile tea bags, remove bags when lukewarm, squeeze excess fluid, place on closed eyes 15mts, discard. Store rest in friz for upto 3days & use as hair or facial rinse.
  2. Fennel eye soother: Bring to boil 3Tcrushed  fennel seeds, simmer on low covered 15mts, strain, cool, soak guaze squares/cloth squares/cotton pads in this infusion, squeeze out excess, put on eyes for 15mts, discard. Rest in friz for upto 3days & use as skin rinse.
  3. Nourishing eye oil: Gently massage 1-2drops of 1/2t jojoba oil+1drop carrot seed essential oil+400 IU vit E into skin around eyes. Store rest in glass bottle.
  4. Around the eye oil: Gently massage 1-2drops of 1/8t rosehip seed oil+10drops evening primrose oil+10drops vit E+10drops jojoba oil into skin around eyes. Store rest in glass bottle. It is very light. Use to remove eye makeup.

Dry Skin treatments: Dry skin is susceptible to premature wrinkling. It is vulnerable to hot, dry weather. AC lowers humidity.

  1. Complexion cream for dry skin: Warm on low 1/4c almond oil+1/4c wheat germ oil+1/2 0z beeswax till wax melts, add warm 1/4c distilled water, 1t tincture of benzoin, 8drops essential oil or rose geranium, 5drops essential oil of lavender, 2drops essential oil of sandalwood, remove from heat & immediately begin beating with electric beater/in a blender/with whisk till begins to thicken & turns creamy color. Pour into a clean, wide mouthed jar, let sit for 4hrs without disturbing while it sets. Store in friz. To prevent seperation, don’t let cream freeze or get too hot. Makes 1c. Oil & wax loosen dirt, facial oil, dead cells, make up etc, which can then easily be removed with a wet washcloth. You can also leave a light layer of cream on face as moisturiser.
  2. Toning mask: Use twice daily to remove flakiness: Blend in blender 2Tcurd+4Tapple sauce+1/4c papaya+1t liquid lecithin, apply to face, leave 5mts, wipe off with clean wash cloth.
  3. Conditioner:  Bring to boil covered 1/4c each of fresh/dry calendula, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, 4c water, turn off heat & steep for 20mts, strain with fine sieve. B to simmer again, add 1/2t agar-agar powder, simmer 1/2min, cool, store in jar in friz. Use as final rinse after shampooing. Leave in or rinse out in 5-10mts. 

Oily skin treatments:

  1. Herbal scrub: Good for acne as antiseptic. Coarsely grind 1c rolled oats, 1/4c cornmeal, 1Tdry thyme leaves, 1Tdry rosemary leaves, 5drops essential oil of cypress in food processor/coffee grinder, store airtight in jar. Scrub face with 2T of this+distilled water/rose water gently, rinse off with water.
  2. Astringent:  To remove excess oil, apply once or twice daily. Blend on low for 2mts in blender 1c aloe vera juice+1/2c rose water+1/2t vegetable glycerine+1/2t essential oil of lemon+3drops essential oil of clary sage. Store in glass bottle, shake well before using. Apply with cotton swabs or spray as light spritzer during the day.
  3. Conditioner: Bring to boil covered 4c water, 1Tpowdered kelp, 1Tsalt, 1/4c each of fresh or dry calendula, rosemary, lemon grass, lavender, turn off heat, let steep 20mts, strain through fine sieve. Store in friz, use as final rinse after shampooing. Leave in for 10mts atleast. Seaweed & salt draw oil away from hair.

Sun treatments:

  1. Sun screen: Mix in covered container 1/4c sesame oil, 2oz aloe vera gel, 1t vit E oil, 8drops essential oil of lavender, shake well before using. Wear daily.
  2. Sunburn treatment: Combine 1/4c aloe vera juice, 1t vit E oil, 10drops essential oil of lavender, shake well before using. Keep in spritzer bottle & spray on burn when needed. Vit E screens sun’s rays & retards cell damage to underlying skin by decreasing oxidation.

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