October 11, 2015

African Black Soap - the best gift you can give to your skin!

I've just gotten in a shipment of African Black Soap, been waiting for a while to try to this out again and play around with the ingredients.  If you have not heard about this soap (which I'm not surprised, as it is not very well known) it is an amazing blend of Shea butter, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter and plantain skins - that's all - can't get any more natural than that!

Plantain skins are known for their high anti-oxidant ingredients, also for being high in vitamin A and E. Vitamin E is excellent for treating dry skin, eczema and acne. Shea & Cocoa butters are also wonderful for scars, stretch marks and dry skin.  This soap is wonderful for the skin, nourishing and with an array of skin benefits.


When I got my first bar of this soap, I treated it the same way as any other bar of soap - well, that was a mistake.

Yeah, that is a tiny amount of
soap but just wait!
And wow...look at all that lather
from such a small amount.
I couldn't wait to try it out as bath bar, so I rubbed the bar on a bath sponge, applying the usual amount and was surprised by the amount of lather is was making.  I had enough on the bath sponge to wash my whole body and a portion of my hair - this was amazing, I had never came across a natural soap that makes so much lather! 

Commercial soaps, bath gels, and shampoos all have chemicals, SLS's to create lather, but they are suspected cancer causing agents (oh by the way, toothpaste also foams because of this, something to consider!) You can read more about SLS here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/13/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.aspx

So anyway, now on to happier thoughts.  I decided that I could try to improve the scent, although I am more used to the way natural things smell now, but that wasn't always the case.  The first time I smelled unrefined Shea butter, well let's just say, I was not a fan and thought I would never be able to use this stuff! Well, after a bit of a detox from commercial products, I am happy to say that I am now a fan of natural scents and have gotten used to and appreciate the way real ingredients smell. 
So on to the African Black Soap scent, it is a bit reminiscent of burned ash (no surprise as that is how they process the soap, by burning plantain skins to create an ash) and Shea butter.  I decided to try and add in lavender and orange essential oils and voila a great light scent, that only gets better after rinsing and oh did I mention how soft your skin is after this?  Oh yes, you get soft, hydrated skin that feels like silk, I didn't need any moisturizer after!  I've started to even use it on my hair, and again wonderful results. Smooth, soft conditioned hair.

African Black Soap

Cute aren't they?
You will have to take some care when using this soap as it is very soft, not like your usual hard bar soap. It must be kept in a dry place when not in use and immediately after it is best to store on a small soap dish where air can circulate around it, so that is can slightly dry out and be ready for the next use. 

I am making up small sample sized bars now for anyone who wants to try it out. They are 30gr bars and are great way to try out African Black Soap for the first time.

$3 for a 30gr bar. Try it out and let me know how much you love it!

keeping you beautiful inside & out

October 10, 2015


Ylang-Ylang - an amazingly wonderful scent in perfumes, creams, lotions.  A complex and exotic scent that heightens the senses and makes a wonderful perfume when mixed with jasmine and rose!

At first when I came across Ylang-Ylang I was not a huge fan, with time I got to like it. I've noticed that with many Essential Oils you need to get accustomed to them. I believe that we are so inundated with fake, chemical scents that we no longer know what real scents are!

I decided to do some research on it and found it to have some amazing benefits and an interesting history.

Ylang-Ylang is used in our Lively body spray - scent Simply Floral

More about Ylang-Ylang.
Cananga odorata, commonly called ylang-ylang,[1] cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga in Bahasa Indonesia, fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree,[2] is a tropical tree which originates from the Philippines[3] and is valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy.
The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep ...bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra, 1, 2, or 3) according to when the distillates are obtained.

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy.  It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Samoan Islanders where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (such as Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood scents.
In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women

It is classed as a non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing oil, yet could cause sensitivity have been reported and excessive use of it can lead to headaches and nausea.

Therapeutic properties

The therapeutic properties of ylang-ylang oil are antidepressant, antiseborrhoeic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, nervine and sedative.
Ylang-ylang oil assist with problems such as high blood pressure, rapid breathing and heartbeat, nervous conditions, as well as impotence and frigidity.
  • Burners and vaporizers
    • In vapor therapy ylang-ylang oil can be helpful with anxiety, tension, shock, fear, panic, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, aphrodisiac, physical exhaustion, frigidity, impotence, insomnia, depression and stress.
  • Blended massage oil or in the bath
    • As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath ylang-ylang will assist with physical exhaustion, insomnia, frigidity, impotence, depression, anxiety, nervous tension and stress while having a calming and aphrodisiac effect.
  • Cream or lotion
    • In a cream or lotion it is used to balance the production of sebum in the skin and thereby correcting and balancing overly-dry as well as overly-oily skin.

Ylang-ylang oil blends well with

Although most essential oils blend well together, ylang-ylang oil blends particularly well with bergamot, grapefruit, lavender and sandalwood.
Read more about it here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/ylang-ylang.htm

October 9, 2015

My top 5 Essential Oils and why you need them in your home!

Oh the love I have for essential oils.  I could sing their praises all day... but I won't, what I will do is tell you my 5 favourite ones and why you need them in your home!

1. Lavender
There is a good reason that Lavender is on this list as it contains so many healing, healthful properties.
It is antiviral, antiseptic, soothing, calming to the nerves and smells wonderful. 
I would say if there is only one essential oil that you would buy make it this one.
Great for many skin conditions, bug bites, (sun) burns, inflammation and infection as well as for muscle aches and pains.
Lavender oil is one of the few that is considered safe to use undiluted - but in my opinion you should only do this if you have a bug bite, or a burn and want to apply directly to the skin, otherwise it's good to mix with oils. 
Read more about its uses here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/lavender.htm
2. Tea Tree Oil
My second choice for the best oils is one of the most powerful antibacterial oils out there.  Great for wounds, infections, acne, as well as an anti-fungal.  Can be used undiluted but only for more serious issues, like fungal infections or wounds.  Tea tree oil is great as a mouth-wash or toothpaste (DIY mouthwash is simply made with 1/2 cup distilled water, 1Tbsp baking soda, 4 drops tea tree oil, mix
it all up and swish around your mouth) make sure you do not swallow tea tree oil as it should not be  ingested!
Read more about its uses here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/tea-tree.htm

 3. Lemon

So refreshing and uplifting, it is no wonder that lemon (as well as other citrus) makes you happy and energized.  Great for when you need a bit of a pick-me-up during the day - place a few drops of the oil on a handkerchief and inhale, you are sure to feel refreshed and energized. Great for headaches and migraines, when combined with peppermint oil, it makes a great headache relief balm.  Great for adding into a cleaning regimen as well, with its antibacterial, antiseptic qualities it is of a great benefit for keeping the home clean. 
One warning about lemon oil (as with most other citrus) it is photo-toxic, meaning that it will make your skin more sensitive to sunburn. Make sure if you use anything that has lemon oil in it, that you do so at night or you are covering the area exposed.
Read more about its uses here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/lemon.htm

4. Peppermint

Cooling, refreshing and reminiscent of candy canes, peppermint oil has a myriad of beneficial properties.  The analgesic properties make it great for pain relief, especially for headaches or migraines.
Great for muscle aches, pains as well as for easing congestion and coughs when ill with a cold or sinus problems. 
 Read more about its uses here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/peppermint.htm

5. Rosemary

Not only great on meats and veggies, this essential oil can help with mental clarity and memory!
Has great benefits for the hair and scalp. Mix a few drops into your shampoo and it may help keep lice away! Use as a hair oil - mix 10 drops into 1/2 cup of avocado oil and massage into hair, keep on for a few hours and then wash out, will strengthen your hair as well as help with hair growth. Wonderful in creams as it promotes circulation.
Read more about its uses here: http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/rosemary.htm

Always remember to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or any other oil you have.) to about 5% which means you have 1ml of carrier oil you will add 1 drop of the essential oil.  This is a good guide line for most people, but for kids, pregnant/nursing women or elderly you may want to dilute it more - especially with kids and while pregnant/nursing, do take care and read up on oils that are safe for kids and those that are not! Read more about kids and essential oils here: http://www.abundanthealth4u.com/Essential_Oils_Care_for_Babies_and_Children_s/40.htm

October 7, 2015

Avocado Oil

Avocados are healthy and filled with so many vitamins but best of all they are great for your skin and hair! 

I love using over-ripe avocados for a skin and hair mask, but it can get fairly messy when you try to apply it to your face and hair.  So, what's a girl (and guy) to do? Use avocado oil instead!! Yes, this fantastic fruit is available in oil form while still retaining all the benefits of the raw fruit (just make sure you get the cold-pressed or unrefined version to get maximum benefits)

So, here is a little bit more about AVOCADOS!

Avocado oil is a super moisturizing oil that most people will be able to use regardless of skin types.  Rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A, D and E, high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids which all equal great skin care!

  • Sterolin. Avocado oil is high in a substance called sterolin, which studies have shown to facilitate the softening of the skin and to reduce the incidence of age spots;
  • Antioxidants. Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, making it useful for healing sun-damaged skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A, D and E in avocado cause the skin to be suppler, and are thus particularly good for dry or aged skin.
  • Lecithin and Potassium. Avocado oil contains lecithin and potassium, which are all highly beneficial for the skin as well as the hair; 
Here are more health benefits of avocado oil:
  • Moisturize the Skin. Avocado oil applied topically helps relieve dry and itchy skin. Once applied, avocado oil is deeply absorbed by the skin, thus making it an ideal moisturizer and skin care agent.
  • Boost Scalp Health. In addition to helping clear scaly skin, it can also relieve itchy scalp symptoms. Avocado oil, when regularly applied to the scalp, can stimulate hair growth.
  • Increase Collagen Production. When applied, avocado oil increases the production of collagen, which helps keep the skin plump and decreases the effects of aging.
  • Treat Skin Conditions. Avocado oil is useful in the treatment of a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
  • Others. Avocado oil facilitates the healing of wounds and burns to the skin. It also helps to relieve and heal diaper rash.

Using Avocado Oil for Skin

1. External Use

Prior to using avocado oil topically, you should make sure you aren’t allergic to it. To do so, place a few drops of avocado oil on your arm and rub it gently into the skin. Monitor your skin for a day or so. If you develop any negative reactions such hives or a rash, do not continue using it. If you don’t see any negative effects, you are free to begin enjoying all the benefits of avocado oil.

Facial Moisturizing
When using the avocado for salads, instead of throwing away the peel sections, save them for your facials. The peel has a hidden reservoir of oil containing a substance called humectant that acts to retain moisture.
To use the peel, gently swipe it over your skin in upward massaging motions until you have covered your whole face. For best results, leave the oil on your skin overnight, and rinse off in the morning.
Scalp Care
Avocado oil can be used for head massages. It also can be used as a hot oil treatment for the hair, as avocado oil can actually be absorbed by dry hair shafts.
  1. To make the treatment, put 2 tablespoons each of avocado oil and castor oil in a bowl, and warm it up.
  2. Once the hair is wetted, massage this warm oil into the scalp and leave overnight.
  3. Shampoo the hair and scalp in the morning.
  4. Regular use of avocado hot oil scalp treatment makes the hair soft and can help eradicate dandruff. 
Dry Skin
Because avocado oil tends to reduce itching and inflammation of the skin, people who suffer from very dry skin or from eczema often find avocado oil to have soothing properties. To treat dry skin or eczema, pour a small amount onto the affected skin areas.

Read more here: http://www.med-health.net/Avocado-Oil-For-Skin.html