Essential Oils for the Skin
Posted by kevin1234 on 10/28/2011 to Oils
Able to penetrate to the subcutaneous skin layer of the skin, pure essential oils are often used in natural face and body products. One example is essential oil of carrot seed (Daucus Carota). This essential oil is full of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
For a beneficial facial massage, use 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil and 6 drops of carrot seed essential oil. Massaging a teaspoon of this mixture into the skin of the face, for 5 minutes, can moisturize and revitalize the skin.
A second essential oil often used in skin treatments is German chamomile (Matricaria Recutita). With anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, German chamomile essential oil is also very strong, thus requiring dilution for use on the skin.
For treating sunburns, take a quarter cup of distilled water, add an equal amount of aloe vera juice (the real stuff), and squeeze 5 drops of German chamomile essential oil into the mixture. After mixing, place the liquid in a spray bottle and spray on burned skin 4 or 5 times per day, until the sunburn heals.
Lavender essential oil (Lavandula Augustifolia) is one of the most commonly used essential oils for the skin. It has antiseptic properties, aiding in the treatment of bee stings and minor burns. For treatment of these conditions, you can use the essential oil, undiluted, directly on the affected area. Or, for an all-over sunburn, you can add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil into a cool bath.
There are many essential oils that are beneficial to the skin, with a variety of benefits and uses. It is important to seek out a quality product and store essential oils in a cool dark place, to retain their useful properties.
Natural Soap vs. Commercial Soap
Posted by kevin1234 on 10/23/2011 to Soaps
It is against the law for these commercial bar makers to call their products soap, if in fact they do not contain actual soap. The nature-based ingredients that have been used for decades, even centuries, of soap making are not often used by big manufacturers because they cost more than cheap chemical detergents.
Synthetic lathering agents are used in combination with harsh chemicals, like Triclosan. And while lye is used, as in natural bars, the best part of it is removed. To get a good hard bar, the manufacturers remove the glycerin content (created as a byproduct of mixing lye with the other products).
Glycerin is what makes a natural bar of soap soft and is also what moisturizes the skin. In fact, commercial manufacturers sell the glycerin they remove from their detergent bars to makers of moisturizing products.
A natural bar of soap contains none of the artificial ingredients found in commercial bars. Real soap moisturizes your skin with glycerin and leaves no toxins on your skin, which can absorb through your pores.
Natural soap is made of lye and fat (oil), but the caustic nature of the lye is destroyed in the saponification (soap making) process. The byproduct is the moisturizing glycerin.
Additives are scents, beneficial ingredients like oatmeal, and/or coloring agents. Look for those that use only natural versions.
One last important consideration is that using natural soap helps protect the environment. The UKs Royal Society of Chemistry released a report announcing the finding that chemical byproducts of detergent bars persist in the water supply even after filtration. These byproducts include parabens, known carcinogens, and phthalates, which can lead to reproductive disorders. Spending the extra money to buy a natural bar of soap can thus lead to healthier skin and a healthier environment, at the same time.
Safety Tips for Making Lye Soap
Posted by kevin1234 on 10/15/2011 to Soaps
However, before it goes through the saponification process, it remains caustic. Often used in drain cleaning products, for example, the corrosive properties of lye allow it to burn through tough drain clogs, dissolving what stands in its way. Soap makers must practice caution when working with lye.
Only pure lye should be used for making soap, without any additional ingredients. For protection, when working with pure lye, make sure to always use safety goggles, thick rubber gloves that cover your forearms, an apron, and hard close-toed shoes in case of spills.
You will need a very heat-resistant container for stirring lye with water, before it is added to the oils. Use a pitcher or handled pot with a lid. Make sure this container is large enough for safe stirring. Also, do not use tin, aluminum, or zinc for storing or stirring lye, as lye will corrode these metals. Stainless steel is best, but a thick heat-resistant plastic will do.
When mixing the lye with water, it is imperative to remember to add the lye to the water, not the other way around. Add lye slowly and carefully to the water as you stir. Pouring water onto lye can cause a dreadful accident. Mix the lye into the water, while the container is in your sink, in case of a leak or spill.
Breathing lye fumes can burn your lungs. So, as you work with the lye, make sure the room is well-ventilated preferably with an open window and a fan to cycle the air. Try to stand back while you stir the mixture.
As with adding lye to the water, add the lye-water to the soap oils. Make sure that lye is always added slowly and carefully. Keep vinegar, an acid, on hand to quickly neutralize any lye that spills on you and then rinse the affected area with cold water.
For soap making at home, lye is a necessity that can be intimidating to would-be soap makers. But soap making can be a pleasurable and safe activity, when safety guidelines for working with lye are carefully followed.
Soap Making Supplies
Posted by kevin1234 on 10/7/2011 to Soaps
1) Start with safety in mind. Make sure you have quality rubber gloves and a pair of safety goggles. The lye you will be working with is caustic during the early part of the soap making process.
2) A food scale will help you measure ingredients that are added by weight.
3) Use stainless steel for as many of your soap making supplies as you can. Lye is highly acidic until it is processed. It will corrode other metals and poor quality utensils. Purchase a stainless steel pot that is large enough to process the batch size you intend to make.
4) Other stainless steel necessities would be measuring spoons, whisks or stirring spoons, and a ladle. Quality plastic supplies will also work as a substitute for stainless steel.
5) Select a 2-3 quart stainless steel or heat-resistant plastic pitcher for mixing the lye solution. Mark this pitcher with a permanent warning like Danger- Caustic Lye! and cover it with a lid. You dont want any potential for accidents.
6) Depending on your preference, you can use ramekins, measuring cups, beakers, or small ingredient bowls for holding and pouring fragrance, color, and other additives.
7) Use a stick blender for mixing the lye with the oils, initiating the saponification process.
8) A thermometer will help you keep an eye on the temperature levels.
9) You will need a rubber spatula for scraping out the remaining soap from the pot.
10) Soap molds of either the loaf or individual soap size will help you finish the soap making process.
11) Finally, make sure you have some dishcloths that you can dedicate to cleaning up the soap making mess when youre done.