The benefits of using clay in cosmetics

The Benefits of Using Clay in Cosmetics

For centuries mineral-rich clay has been used as a natural agent to beautify the skin. Clay minerals may comprise 15% of the volume of the earth’s crust. In soil, clays are generally the most important adsorbents for inorganic metals and organic solutes as well, this gives them their mineral content. Their presence in our soils is imperative for plants growth and nutrient density. They are an extremely important natural resource and have many uses. 

“it (the clay) absorbs all of those properties of nature. It takes on the energy, so when you look at it as a substance, you can say that it’s the sum of the pull of nature’s energy.”

Different powdered clays are used as the basis for facial body masks popular in many spas, think mud baths! They are largely used for their ability to absorb excess oils, dead skin cells and potential toxins from the skin. They are often paired with powdered herbs and nutrients to enhance their abilities to heal, tone, soften and detoxify the skin. Applying clay to cosmetics may help to exfoliate, clean and invigorate the skin whilst improving blood circulation (you can often feel some heat and see redness after a clay mask for this reason. When the effect softens down the skin normally looks glowing).

As well as being in masks, clays are added to natural scrubs (for their natural exfoliating properties, natural vegetable soaps (as they can enhance their lather capabilities), some clays are used in toothpaste, deodorant and also shampoo or face cleansing bars. We use clay in the bath with essential oils and as a ‘talc’, I also add clay to my dry shampoo recipe.

TOP TIPS:

  • Wet your face at night, apply your clay, and just begin to lightly massage the clay in for about two or three minutes for a soft, natural exfoliation. Apply a nutritious oil infused with essential oils afterwards for a real treat for the skin.
  • Mix clay with a liquid to make a paste:
  • You can add ground coffee, salt, oats, almond flour or desiccated coconut to increase the exfoliant properties.
  • Add herbal teas like chamomile, calendula, rooibos or rosewater to the clay for a calming and nutrient dense combination.
  • Add apple cider vinegar, kombucha or kefir to the clay to increase detoxification and to make your skin tighter, brighter and simply glowing!
  • Rinse off your mask using just water. You may have to gently scrub a little with your fingers to get it off. It tends to try to stick to your skin.
  • I mix raw cacao and red clay with arrowroot flour for my dry shampoo!
  • Avoid getting clay in mouth, eyes, ears, nose.
  • After a clay mask tone the skin with a little rose water or kefir/water spray
  • Moisturiser will be soaked into the skin with greater effect after a clay mask.
  • Clays mix nicely with activated charcoal.
  • Clay infused sponges work really nicely and gently on the skin.
  • Traditionally clays have been taken externally or internally. Consider contacting a practitioner like myself for advice with this.

Different clays have different properties and are ideal for different skin types and also different needs. The clays come from all over the world and different locations will have different mineral constituents. The mineral content and physical structure of each clay will help to determine the desired effect for the skin.

Different clays for different reasons:

Bentonite clay:

Bentonite clay is a generic term made of rocks that come from volcanic ash beds. Settled on the ground the ash has immersed itself into the soil, Bentonite is found wherever volcanic eruptions have occurred and where the ash beds have not been destroyed by erosion. Today most of the clay available to buy is harvested in western U.S. (mostly Wyoming), Greece, France, India, Australia and Italy. You may see it as Bentonite or Montmorillonite clay, the two names are interchangeable.

Bentonite is a very popular clay with many for skin benefits. With its strong negative electrical charge, it is seen to draw out positively charged toxins like a magnet. Also as one of the most absorbable clays bentonite is also helpful for oily skin. Normally used for tightening, brightening, acne-clearing and toxin reducing, bentonite is also very good for first aid.

Bentonite clay swells when mixed with liquid, making it a highly porous and absorbing substance. It can actually absorb more than its initial mass, including any swelling from excess fluid anywhere in the body. It is also great to add to scars, stretch marks and red skin.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • May reduce scars, stretch marks, rosacea or liver spots.
  • Softens and detoxifies the skin
  • Soothes dermatitis.
  • Hydrates the hair.
  • Decreases eye puffiness: Moisten the under-eye area (be careful to be away from the eye itself) and apply quite a thick paste application of clay/apple cider vinegar or water around the eyes. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes, then wash it off. 
  • For a first aid paste good for cuts, bruises, sores or blisters: Mix bentonite clay powder with baking soda, water and turmeric. You can also add cooled thyme or calendula tea to maximize the effect it has on your skin.

Red Clay:

Used for its beauty benefits since the dawn of time, also known as Rhassoul clay, this ancient clay is mined from Morocco. It is considered more rare and pure than other clays, it was reserved for Egyptian royalty in the past. Extremely high in minerals and trace elements it owes its colour to a high concentration of iron oxide. This clay is used to stimulate microcirculation in the blood vessels helping to improve circulation to the skin and remove toxins and impurities.

Like Bentonite clay the minerals cause a negative charge, most toxins in your skin are positively charged, so this clay is also the perfect magnet. However, this clay is excellent for more sensitive and drier skins as it also has elasticity and texture-improving effects. Gentle enough for daily use in small doses like in soap, makes a great exfoliator and in a hair mask or shampoo may absorb excess build-up on hair, restoring volume, and shine. It is also very good on sensitive scalps.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Gentle and effective exfoliant
  • improves dryness and scaliness of skin
  • clarifies skins texture and firmness.
  • Mattifies and unifies the complexion
  • absorbs impurities and detoxifies skin to revive and brighten the complexion
  • Reduces redness and soothes discomfort caused by irritations
  • Acts as a natural colour in makeup or dry shampoo
  • Absorbs excess sebum from the skin and hair
  • Restores body, silkiness and shine to hair

Pink clay:

A mix of red and white clay, pink clay enjoys the benefits of both. It is great for sensitive and mature skin and has the benefits of both bentonite and rhassoul clay. Considered to be the mildest of all the clays, Pink Clay masks do not remove the skin’s natural oils, making it perfect for tight, dry and dehydrated skin.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Restores radiance to the skin.
  • Reduces irritation and inflammation.
  • Treats damaged skin by promoting healthy cell renewal.
  • Good to use on scars and stretch marks
  • May help to reduce wrinkles
  • Softens and hydrates the skin.
  • Cleanses and refreshes dull, tired and dry skin.
  • Eliminates redness.
  • Smoothens the skin’s texture.
  • Revitalizes the scalp and hair.

Green Clay:

Green clay, also referred to as green illite, sea clay or Montmorillonite clay. Found in abundant deposits in France (also extracted from other places in the world including China and the U.S.), it is mined several thousand feet below the earth’s crust (up to two thousand feet below the surface). A naturally occurring material rich in nutrients, it gets its greenish hue from the presence of blue-green algae and chlorophyll left by decomposed plant life mixed with Iron oxides. Once the clay is mined it is brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and to make it the powder we can use. 

The clay’s amazing detoxifying quality of this material is best demonstrated by its use in 1986, when it was used in a massive quantity to cover and neutralise the nuclear reactor site at Chernobyl. It was also added to chocolate to help people to detoxify it from their body. Green clay has also been used for centuries in a poultice and Arizona State University reports their researchers have found French green clay effective in inhibiting Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium marinum. These bacteria can play a part in serious skin infections.

French green clay is also excellent for exfoliation and pore-tightening. It is another very absorbent clay that especially drinks up oil from the skin and hair, it also encourages blood towards the surface of your skin, giving you a bit of a tingling sensation as it boosts circulation. Extremely nutrient-rich, green clay also contains dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and calcium.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Helps hair that is oily, shiny or dull.
  • Softens dry or rough skin.
  • removes dirt from the skin and scalp.
  • Great used in deodorant.
  • Daily mask can help regulate your skin’s sebum production to reduce oiliness.
  • Clears acne and reduces blackheads
  • Calms and soothes eczema, rashes, psoriasis.
  • Improves skin condition and appearance.
  • Purifies and balances the scalp and clears dandruff.
  • Detoxifys body.
  • Great used in first aid and in poltices.
  • Good to use in toothpaste especially with gum issues.

Get in contact below for some recommendations for brands and how to use them….

Why I have joined Young Living Essential Oils

Why I Joined Young Living Loula Natural

Why I have joined Young Living Essential Oils 

You may already be aware that I am a naturopath and nutritional therapist. I have been in the health industry for almost 10 years. I have used essential oils for almost the same amount of time. I have used all sorts of brands of essential oil based on what I am drawn to- and I will probably continue to use and support different brands.

However I was interested in the scope of using a company that has the resources to allow people all over the world access to a very good quality product. It will be so much easier for my worldwide readership to be able to find and easily buy the oils I recommend. Young Living has support for the whole world so where ever you are reading this you can buy the same oils I do- easy peasy.

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The business side of Young Living was what put me off primarily. IT seemed confusing and manipulative. However after looking into it I realised that was just how I perceived it- its actually very simple. If you like the oils, you sign up and get a discount. If you like the oils and your friends and family want to buy them too, you can refer them and get a bonus when they sign so you can get some more oils. 

However, I do not feel comfortable with some of the recommendations and pushy sales techniques I have come across. I have been hearing from clients who have been told things that have alarmed me by their friends. Marketing knowledge is very different from natural health knowledge and I would love you to know the difference.

I will endeavour to provide safe and effective advice from a professional point of view, in combination with other therapies and always based on the health of the individual.

For example I would never ever advise pure oils (without being diluted in a carrier oil like coconut or ALmond oil) to be used on children. Especially not babies, unless this advice come directly from an aromatherapist who knows the individual case. Regardless of the brand. I also do not endorse ingesting the oils for children or adults alike. It is not what aromatherapy is about. (see here for what Aromatherapy is)

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I am passionate about using oranges to create orange flavour, I also much prefer real lemons in water than an oil. I believe essential oils have their place in natural healing alongside other modalities like Bach Flower Remedies, Homeopathy, Eft, Accupuncture and of course the power of food. It is the combination that will bring about balance. 

I am very happy to learn that Young Living responsibly grow or source oils and have very strict quality control. They have branded their oils with the adage that they are Therapeutic Grade. This means that they are pure oils without any dilution, that they are of supreme quality and are exactly what they say they are, in every bottle. It is quite an amazing promise. One that other companies strive to do also, however the passion felt from Young Living and their founder Gary Young is pretty infectious. Therapeutic grade is their own definition and is not necessarily recognised by the aromatherapy community. Nevertheless, here are their Lavender fields that some of my friends were lucky enough to visit earlier this year. Gorgeous.

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When I first started using oils I did so from an informed starting point. I have used these books over the years and plan to have an professional aromatherapy qualification soon (something I have wanted for a long time);

HEaling Wormwood

 

(links are affiliate links)

Yes, I have used oils to great benefit; diffusing them in the house, using them in cosmetics, cleaning products and perfumes has provided major shifts within myself and my family. My kids have gone to bed with lavender and chamomile in their bath water since they were old enough to handle it. I have made countless oil blends for clients over the years for their skin and hair. However I do not believe that there are any miracle cures. I completely respect the power of placebo and so if you feel like something will help you (be is pharma or natural) it will allow your body to have direction to heal. I also will not forget all my other tools either. Paramount to all of this is that I will keep the individual at the centre of my advice, rather than financial gain.

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The main draw of joining Young Living for me is the special and genius blends (like the ones for children above and animals seen below) that they have created and the amazing attention to detail that they put into every bottle of oil that has impressed me. I have also been told by someone I respect that the energy of the oils is definitely different from other brands. That helped to convince me to sign up.

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So If buying young living oils helps you to source great quality and signing up with me provides you with an awesome price and the ability to share your experiences with others then I am happy to provide this for you and really look forward to hearing about shifts you have felt and how you use them in your life alongside other natural methods to get yourself healing and living in balance.

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I am proud and happy to be an Oily Angel. Working along-side people I admire and respect will help me to find my way of using and promoting the oils, either through classes, my facebook group or blog- I endeavour to help support and guide anyone and everyone with Essential oil questions.

Here is my sign up page to learn more and my facebook group to support you to find the natural means to help your body to heal.

 Why I Joined Young Living Loula Natural Pin

Ultimate Kefir Bath Soak and Body Scrub

Ultimate Kefir Bath Soak and Body Scrub Loula Natural

Ultimate Kefir Bath Soak and Body Scrub

I have loads of homemade cosmetic recipes in my book Culture Your Life. Here is why I love using Kefir on my skin, I wrote this for Thank Your Body. We have been using Kefir and Kombucha inside and ourside our bodies for a couple of years now and I can honestly say I will never go back. Shampoo, laundry detergent, after sun, face masks and many more. I have been using homemade scrubs like my coffee scrub and salt scrub but plain water kefir grains make a great body scrub on their own.

My kids have pink himalayan salt and epsom salt baths every night with various essential oils and sometimes water kefir and coconut oil goes in the bath. It occurred to me to mix all of this together and come up with the Ultimate Bath Soak or Body Scrub! 

Multi-purpose, simple and incredibly effective at nourishing, soothing and healing- this may be my best cosmetic invention yet! It is in the hardback copy of the book out soon!

Here is the basic recipe and underneath some essential oil combinations you may like to try.

Ultimate Kefir Bath Soak and Body Scrub
This blend of water kefir grains, epsom salts and pink himalayan salt is great for all ages.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup epsom salts
  2. 1/2 cup ground pink himalayan salt
  3. 1tbs water kefir grains
  4. 1tbs coconut oil (or here in Hong Kong)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Try adding essential oils.
Notes
  1. Great blends of essential oils to try;
  2. Lavender and Chamomile
  3. Frankincense and Vanilla
  4. Mandarin, Rosemary and Black Pepper
  5. Clary Sage, Marjoram and Juniper Berry
  6. Peppermint and Lemon
  7. Ginger and Lemon
  8. Please check with your Aromatherapist when using oils in pregnancy and for children.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Here are some other bath salt recipes;

Ultimate Kefir Bath Soak and Body Scrub Loula Natural Pin

Orange Peel Powder

Orange Peel Powder Loula Natural

Orange Peel Powder

I love keeping orange, mandarin and tangerine peels. I dry them in the dehydrator and I blitz them in my blender to powder. As a natural Vitamin C supplement the peel has numerous benefits. Organic oranges are ideal as oranges do get sprayed and retain a high amount of pesticides. However Organic oranges are hard to come by in Hong Kong so I first soak my peels in a kombucha and water solution to help remove the waxes and chemical residues. 

The Limonene and flavonoids found in orange peel (also grapefruit, lemons and limes) have been seen to have some anti-carcinogenic properties. Especially in Breast and colon cancer cases. The limonene oils may inhibit cancer cell growth. Studies have shown that limonin and limonene can start the enzyme activity  an important detoxifying enzyme called of glutathione S-transferase. This helps as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which blocks the need of the cell to mutate to protect itself. The citric acid in the peel also plays a key role in this.

Orange peels are a natural source of pectin, a natural fiber which may decrease the rise in blood sugar after a meal. Thus being of some benefit to pre and type 2 diabetes. Pectin is also a pre-biotic- helpfully feeding and balancing our bacteria friends so necessary to the body (see Culture Your Life which is all about the benefits of bacteria).

This gives orange peel has antiseptic, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties by helping out the bacterial environment. D-limonene may also be helpful in dissolving kidney stones and  beneficial in eliminating any kidney or urinary tract infections. Especially when the peels have been slightly fermented by the Kombucha in the soaking process. The Kombucha not only removes the chemical residues it may also begin the digestive process by increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients in the peel.

The natural properties in orange peel have also been seen to helpful in lowering cholesterol.

“In a May 2004 “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” article, Canadian researchers and the United States Department of Agriculture reported that isolated compounds from orange and tangerine peels showed promise as a natural alternative for reducing LDL cholesterol without the side effects of mainstream cholesterol drugs.” (source)

They may also help with heartburn. According to a 2007 Alternative Medicine Review article by Jidong Sun, Ph.D., Sun notes that an active ingredient found in the orange peel, d-limonene, possesses the ability to neutralize gastric acid and support normal peristalsis. (source)

 This great powder is so easy to make and I add it to so many things!

Orange peel powder can be added to;

Homemade chocolate (and hot chocolate or chocolate milkshakes)

Homemade fudge

Drinks (it is nice in fizzy water but also in Gin and Tonic!)

Baked Goods like Shortbread, Coconut Cookies, Carrot Cake

Salad Dressings

Jams and Spreads (especially chocolate spreads)

Sprinkled on ice-cream

Homemade Cosmetics (like scrubs and body butters)

Granola, MuesliChia porridge or Bircher Chia

Kefir,

Kombucha

Teas and coffee

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Smoothies 

Homemade Cleaners

Orange Peel Powder
A great way to get some vitamin c into your diet. Also a great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient that can be added to homemade cosmetics, chocolate, drinks, baked goods, muesli, teas, kefir and kombucha. The possibilities are endless!
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Ingredients
  1. Orange peel
  2. Kombucha/apple cider vinegar
  3. water
Instructions
  1. Soak your orange, mandarin, tangerine or other citrus peel in a solution of water and Kombucha (use about 1 tbs kt to 500mls water)
  2. Use a dehydrator (at 100F) or oven at the lowest setting and dry your peel until it is hard and completely dry.
  3. When your peel is completely dry put in a high speed blender and blitz until powder.
  4. Add to fizzy water and drink otherwise it can be added to; chocolate, drinks, baked good, use it to flavour Kefir, kombucha or add it to teas, stocks and smoothies! Why not use in your homemade cosmetics!
Notes
  1. so easy- give it a go- you were only going to throw the peel away anyway!
  2. Another good way to use the peel is to add it to bath water
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Here is an image to pin/share to remember!

Orange peel powder instructions Loula natural

 Here are my recipes to use it;

References:

D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications

Health Properties of Orange Peel | LIVESTRONG.COM

Cancer Chemoprevention by Citrus Pulp and Juices Containing High Amounts of β-Cryptoxanthin and Hesperidin

Functional Foods: Biochemical and Processing Aspects – Google Books (Pg 160)

Orange Peel Powder Loula Natural Pin

Healing Body Butter

Healing Body Butter Loula Natural

Healing Body Butter

I have a scar in between my eyes and it is a constant reminder of a silly drunken debacle in my youth! I have made my peace with it with eft and have minimised it with a scar oil I make. I also have an intense reminder of my mastitis and abscess I had in my second pregnancy (big scar!). In my healing process I have a dermatitis on my finger tips (I think its also from the harsh soaps in the toilets here which I have stopped using)too which I would like to support. Now thanks with my two kiddies (actually just the final days of my second pregnancy, I got through my first pregnancy markfree!) I have some stretch marks. They are my stripes sure but I would also like to see if I can aid my body to heal from the inside and also from the outside!

From the inside I have (over the years) changed my lifestyle to reduce gluten and dairy, refined sugars, all processed foods, increased great fats like coconut oil, ghee and others, increased fermented foods (see my book Culture Your Life), use stress management methods (rainbow meditation, eft and Bach Flower Remedies). All of these changes have helped me to naturally balance my weight, improved my skin and digestive system and also helped balance my mood, hormones and energy levels. Read more about my journey here

So I have specifically chosen the ingredients of this body butter to help in these three causes;

Argan oil; Deeply nutritious oil from pressing the kernel of the fruit from the Argan tree. This tree only starts producing oil from fruit after it has matured to 30-50 years old (they do say beauty comes with age!). The tree’s are found in Morocco and the oil should be cold pressed. Therefore you would expect this oil to be expensive and always buy a 100% Argan oil. Since the trees live to be 150-200 years old it must be difficult to certify them as organic- so consider this when you see the label. It is most important that it is 100% Argan oil, sustainably produced and from Morocco. A little goes a long way and it is great for dry conditions especially flaky skin (like on my fingers) which works well for my scar too.

This Argan oil and this one are great 

Rosehip oil; Rosehip oil has been used for centuries to improve skin, from the ancient Egyptians to the Mayans. Benefits include corrects UV damage from the sun, reduces appearance of scars, burns and stretch marks (tick,tick), improves elasticity of skin- (which is what I am looking for to heal scars and stretch marks) Treats fine lines and wrinkles, hydrates dry skin, Great for eczema and psoriasis (contact dermatitis is a form of Eczema), Evens skin tone. All round brilliant for what I want this body butter to help from the outside.

This Rosehip oil is great

Shea Butter; Shea butter is also dense with nutrients, including vitamin A, E and phytonutrients which are the source its healing properties and make shea butter an anti-inflammatory. Benefits include treating blemishes, wrinkles, eczema and dermatitis, as well as burns and even stretch marks (tick, tick).  It works to moisturise and soothe all types of skin.

This Shea Butter is lovely

Cocoa Butter; Cocoa butter of course comes from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on from the cacao tree.  Like Cocoa itself, Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants which greatly enhance its skin rejuvenating qualities and help to reduce inflammation. The cocoa pod has about 30 to 40 cocoa seeds inside and are like a gourd. These seeds must be fermented in banana leaves (love that it is fermented of course), dried, roasted and pressed. All of this then allows the oil to be released. Benefits include reduces stretch marks, helps heal scars, the fatty acid content helps to hydrate the skin and can help in skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis also helps to heal sensitive skin.

This Cocoa Butter is the one I use

I have also used some essential oils in this body butter to help increase its ability to regenerate and nourish skin cells. 

Frankincense; Apart from being one of my favourite scents on the plant, Frankincense has an air of magic surrounding it. The oil is extracted from the gum or resin from the Frankincense tree (Olibanum tree). It has natural bacterial balancing properties which helps the skin but also helps to preserve the body butter itself. Frankincense Oil promotes regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps the existing cells and tissues healthy. Herbal properties include; Carminative (which of course means it is anti-inflammatory and calming both physically and emotionally), Astringent ( which helps it to lift and contract thus strengthening skin tone), Cicatrisant (which makes it anti-ageing, it can makes the scars and after marks of boils, acne and chickenpox on the skin recover at a fast rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks.). Not recommended in the first 2 trimesters in pregnancy it is used in perennial oils too both pre and post natally. See this post for some ideas about where to buy Frankincense.

Vanilla; The vanilla plant is a the plant is a perennial herbaceous climbing vine, a tropical orchid. The pods are the seeds from the plant. It has been used for centuries to help heal wounds. Vanilla extract is composed of  sugars, essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Containing high levels of antioxidants and, as a seed, many vitamins and minerals with  benefits for the skin rejuvenation and repair. Calming and soothing for physical and mental imbalances, Vanilla is also known as an anti-inflammatory. I use this extract. There are many other essential oils that can be used (lavender, geranium, neroli) however I want to keep this butter simple and I absolutely LOVE the combination of these two scents. 

Recipe

Healing Body Butter
A healing mix of cocoa butter, shea butter, argan and rosehip oil. Using Frankincense and vanilla to calm, heal and rejuvenate scar tissue, stretch marks and dermatitis.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  2. 1/2 cup shea butter
  3. 5mls 100% Argan oil
  4. 10mls Rosehip oil
  5. 10 drops Frankincense
  6. 20 Drops Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. I use my dehydrator to melt my cacao and shea butter.
  2. When liquid (30 mins or so) I added the other ingredients and emulsified the oils with the essential oils in my Kenwood mixer or food processor.
  3. Pour into a jar or tub (I reused a glass moisturiser jar I had already)
  4. Place in the fridge to cool.
  5. Use after shower or bath. Night or day
Notes
  1. It is gentle enough to use in the morning on your face (I have actually used it as a face moisturiser as well as on all my targeted areas).
  2. It is also rich enough to use at night before bed.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
I will let you know how I get on- here is my before picture on my scar and fingers before shot

 Other wonderful homemade lotions and potions;

Also try this diy miracle anti-aging skin cream from Mary Vance 

and this diy puffy eyes serum from Oh Lardy

Healing Body Butter Loula Natural Pin

 

 

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