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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Medlar Facial Mask Recipe

Medlar is a fruit that is more popular in Europe than in North America. You can buy the fruit paste at some high end gourmet grocery stores. So far I haven't found it for sale online. If you have access to the fruit, here is a link to a good medlar jelly recipe. I planted one in my yard here in Victoria, BC and the first year it produced fruit. It has the most lovely white flowers that bloom after the leaves have sprouted. Here is a close up of  blossoms on my tree in bloom...

Medlar is primarily used to make fruit pastes due to its high pectin content. Fruit pulp is really good for the skin and is often used in fresh preparations.  The fruit is harvested once it becomes soft on the tree.

It has a sweet sticky consistency.  The scent of medlar reminds me of pears so I like to combine the two fruits. Last year I made a fruit paste. From that fruit paste I have tested the medlars cosmetic 'worthiness'. If you can't get medlar feel free to substitute pears.

It makes a lovely soap. Here is a medlar soap recipe you can try...

Medlar Pear Soap
1 lb Crystal Melt and Pour
2 oz Medlar Fruit Paste
 1 T. unscented cocoa butter
 15 ml Brandied Pear Fragrance Oil

Melt the soap at a low temperature or microwave on high for 1 min. intervals, stirring between. When soap is no longer 'steaming hot' and yet liquid add the fruit paste, cocoa butter, and fragrance oil. Pour into a 1 lb mold. Once cooled and hardened cut into 4 large bars. You can add soap tint to this but I prefer it slightly brown from the fruit. The Brandied Pear fragrance is heavenly! It also turns the soap a golden yellow over time.

Alpha and beta hydroxies are used in the cosmetic industry to reverse the aging process claimed by time. They are particularly effective in facial products. Acidic fruits such as oranges and apples are naturally rich in these chemicals. Since less is known about medlar's chemical compostition I formulated with known sources to increase its effectiveness. The alphas will 'burn' or itch and the betas counteract that effect by soothing the skin. I used a combination of these to create my Medlar Facial Mask.

Medlar Facial Mask

1 Tablespoon Medlar fruit paste or jam
2 T. apple puree (raw Alpha source)
2 T.  almond meal/flour
1 T. pink clay 
1 tsp. green tea powder (Matcha--Beta source)
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
Melt the coconut oil and mix in the fruit paste. Add the almond meal. If the mixture is too thick, add water to make it the consistency of pudding (spreadable). Apply liberally to the face. Let dry for 30 min. Wash carefully, by warming a wet towel and soaking it off the skin. Rubbing too vigorously will damage the delicate tissue of the skin. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer. If you have oily skin you can leave out the coconut oil. Smells good enough to eat, but please do not.
This is a single use mask recipe---discard leftovers or freeze for a later time. I often use a ice cube tray to freeze my fresh preparations.

As with all preparations for the skin, allergy test it on a small portion of skin before applying it to large areas of the body such as the entire face. Inside of the wrist application for 15 min then checking for redness or itch is an easy test to perform before using a new product.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ickle Baby Bum Cream

As the mother of 5 of my own children and several others, I've had vast experience with babies and their delicate skin. Dealing with 'mystery rashes' that babies develop can be scary for a new mom to handle.

Most conditions can be solved without antibiotic or cortisone creams. Sticky zinc creams will stain washable diapers. Try these first and see if they help the baby bum burn...

This first recipe I used with all of my babies. It was originally developed for a friend who had severe eczema. She had twins who also suffered from this condition and it helped elevate some of the itchiness and promoted healing.

Chickweed Salve
8 oz olive oil
 2 c. dried chickweed
2 oz beeswax
1 tsp lavender essential oil
1/2 tsp tea tree essential oil 
Warm the olive oil and add the chickweed. Allow to steep for 3 days. Drain off the herb. Warm the beeswax in a double boiler (put wax in a tin can). Warm the olive oil blend and add the melted wax. Once the mixture is no longer hot to the touch and beginning to thicken, add the essential oils. Store in a dark container in a cool place. Test the skin for allergy before using any new skin product...apply a tiny amount to the inside wrist. Wait 20 min to an hour. If no rash or redness appears this is most likely safe for you to use.

Ickle Baby Bum Cream was developed in the last couple of years and it is very good for healing and soothing chapped skin as well as those rashes. It is also the simplest of my formulae and sometimes basic is best.

Ickle Baby Bum Cream 
1 cup virgin coconut oil
20 drops lavender essential oil 
Melt the coconut oil. When cool add the lavender essential oil. The best storage container for any product containing essential oils is amber or other dark glass.  Store in a cool dark place. 

This last recipe is much better for baby bums than talc.

Natural Baby Powder
2 c. cornstarch
10 drops rose essential oil
10 drops vanilla essential oil

Add the essential oils to a tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix well by rubbing the spoon against the powder. Slowly add more cornstarch mixing well each time. This blend of essential oils will give you a natural baby powder scent. I also enjoy substituting lavender or tea tree as both have healing properties and smell nice. If you want you can forgo the essential oils and leave it unscented. Fill a empty baby powder container or a salt shaker with larger holes to dispense. Ideally your container should have some type of lid.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pop Rocks Snap Crackle Soap

I have favorite cosmetic companies that I buy products from. It's kind of like going to various bakers for your favorite foods. One of those companies that has my regular patronage is Lush Handmade Bath Products. Here is a link for you to have a browse around...

Why do I like Lush? Because I always find something new to tempt my skin. There are few brave souls in my family that can visit the Lusheous heady aroma of the Lush store. I love it! Last year I bought scads of their Toothpaste Tabs and Sugar Scrub Lip treatments. One of those lip treats was called Pow Wow. It was yummy and also worked really good at removing dead skin. The problem with Lush is they discontinue their products too fast IMO. So what's a girl to do? Make a copy cat or forever do without, that's what!

 Mojito Lip Scrub
1 Tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 Tablespoon jojoba
1/4 c. sugar
10 drops lime essential oil
1 drop peppermint essential oil
1- 9.5 gram package green pop rocks type candy

Melt the coconut oil. Add the jojoba and sugar. Add pop rocks, and essential oils. If you want it more like the lush version of their discontinued Pow Wow leave out the peppermint. Pot into small containers. Makes 10 lip scrubs---lots for yourself and it makes a wonderful gift.

 To use: Wet the lips. Taking a very small (1/16 teaspoon) amount rub over the lips. Rub gently to loosen dead skin. Lick off the extra scrub. It tastes amazing!

CAUTION: Use only once or twice per day at the most! If you overuse it your lips will become sore and may get a 'lip scrub burn'. Be gentle with your lips. Dry lips are also a sign of dehydration. If you suffer from this condition, try to increase your water intake.

Since discovering that Pop Rocks make a fun additive cosmetic ingredient,
I thought I'd try it in a soap. I wanted the soap to crackle while you used it. Embedding the crystals in the soap makes it a great scrubby. The popping and snapping going on while you use it is a lot of fun!

Snap Crackle Pop Soap
100 g. melt and pour soap
2 packages  Pop Rocks type candy
10 drops lime essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops grapefruit essential oil
Crush one package of the pop rocks candy until a fine powder.
Melt the soap in the microwave for 30 second intervals until liquid.

 Allow to cool until no longer steaming. Add the essential oils and soap tint.

Once it begins to thicken add the crushed pop rocks. If you add to liquid soap the reaction will be used up in the soap and there will be no 'snap, crackle' to your soap.

Next, hand form and press your soap into a mold such as a muffin tin. Flexible molds work better than metal ones. I used a knife to remove mine below...

Melt some more white base and dip the soap to give it a smooth and shiny appearance.

Finally, Sprinkle dipped soap with additional Pop Rocks or other fizzy candy.

My kids love it when I make this one. Here is the proof...
Warning: Be prepared for lots of giggles the first time a child uses this soap! The toppings make a nice snap crackle at the first washing, but the smaller particles as you use the soap you have to listen really hard for, but it's nice not to have the sharp bits while washing.

You can also add fizzy candy to your favourite bath bomb or bath powder recipes. Here is one that I really like...

Cherry Bomb
1 c. baking soda
1/4 c. citric acid
1 package  Cherry Pop Rocks 
5 drops almond fragrance (benzylaldhyde)
5 drops soap tint.
Mix the baking soda and citric acid.

Add the soap tint and fragrance. Mix it well, rubbing the color to blend it to a pink. 

Spritz with water/witch hazel solution until you can make a 'snow ball'. Over spritzing will use up the reaction so be very cautious and use a fine mister. 

Add pop rocks last, while molding into shapes. Pop out of mold carefully and allow to dry naturally or in a slow oven on rainy days. (prop your oven open a crack and set to about 150 F)

Use one whole 'bomb' per bath. Fizzy Bliss!

As with all preparations for the skin, allergy test it on a small portion of skin before applying it to large areas of the body such as the entire face. Inside of the wrist application for 15 min then checking for redness or itch is an easy test to perform before using a new product.