Monday, July 24, 2006

Going to the pool for a swim this summer?

Well before you take a dip here's a tip

As a child, I remember my Mother (retired Nurse) saying to me, "Now, remember to take some Club Soda with you & rinse your hair with it real good before & after your swim, ya hear!"

Yes, it is best to wet your hair before swimming to slow down chlorine absorption but instead of using tap water - get some Club Soda and rinse your hair with that before and after your swim - regardless of your hair type, straight, short, colour treated, curly, coily, wavy etc...

Why? ... The Chlorine used in swimming pools forms a copper-rich bleach, Club soda neutralizes this bleach and washes it out of your hair before it can turn greenish, dry & brittle. Not just that but it is also best to avoid products that contain metallic salts as this mixed with the Chlorine can disturb the natural oil (sebum) production of the scalp and may lead to instant dryness, itchy scalp & coarse split ends.

For further information about copper in swimming pool water click here

Enjoy your dip & don't forget our Spa date in a weeks time!
(see previous blog entry for details)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Please accept my sincere apologies for taking so long with this blog entry but I found a treasure trove of interesting stuff about the humble Irish Moss (aka: Carrageen/Carrageenan).

Way-WAY back in the bad ol' days
During the potato famine, of the mid 19th century, this humble seaweed saved hundreds of thousands of Irish from starvation. It's believed that Irish Moss/Carrageen or Carrageenan Moss/Chondrus crispus originated from the Gaelic word Carraigín.Irish Moss grows among the rocks just off the coast of Ireland & the shores of the North Atlantic & varies in colour from reddish-brown to purplish-green.
It's a naturally hydrating topical skin & hair food composed of a variety of nutrients like chlorophyll, carotene, potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese, iron, iodine, copper, sulphur, vitamins & protein.
Because they don't have roots, water & nutrients are transported directly through their cell walls.

In the THICK of IT!
Irish Moss (Carrageen or Rock Moss as it's known in Ireland) belongs to the Red Algae family. It's commercial importance is due to its use as a natural thickening agent & emulsifier in food & personal care products.

Carrageen algae (phycocolloids) form gelatin like suspensions when water is added. Bonds are created between the carrageenan & molecules in the water so when you heat them both, it forms a gel.

Say for instance - you were to use hot coconut milk (instead of water) & add it to dried Carrageen/Irish Moss you'll find that the protein molecules in the Coconut milk will bond with the carrageenan & you'll have a really nice thick Coconut Milk Gel type cream which can be used in cooking as well as in your hair as a final rinse OR daily conditioner OR a setting gel.

By the way - Carrageenan/Irish Moss is used in all of those over priced anti-wrinkle skin creams & hair care products - ask next time you're at the beauty counter for products that contain Carrageenan OR better yet - make it yourself!

Dry as a bone!
To dry Irish Moss you would need to it harvest it by hand, spread it onto a sun drenched open-air drying area & check regularly for debris.

You'll know when it's fully dry as it will take on a natural beige-brown-creamy colour and be really hard-crispy-crunchy. Once dried you can either grind it into small pieces or use as is.
Most major processing companies grind it into powder to make it more versatile to use.


Seaweed like Irish Moss (carrageenan) has been dubbed "the miracle-make-you-skinny" food because of it's thickening properties which makes you feel full faster & eat less - it's all the rage in Japan.

Irish Moss is also used to clear Light Beers of excess malt proten and to refine wines.

Carrageenan has even made it into THE poshest of the posh restaurants around the globe. In addition to that it can be found in all sorts of stuff like ice cream, coconut milk, biscuits, milk shakes, puddings, natural toothpastes & air freshener gels.

In Europe carrageenan is listed as E number E407 - pop int
o your local grocer and see how many E407's you can find in the food you buy.
Who ever said that E numbers were bad for you didn't know about Irish Moss...

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
Medicinally, Irish Moss is said to reduce:
a) Peptic and duodenal ulcers
b) Gastric (acid) secretions
AND can be taken internally as a laxative, cough suppressant, expectorant & to relieve sore throats.

Rich in iodine & sulphur, Irish Moss is one of many herbs used to balance and/or provide nourishment to thyroid(s)

May da Luck of the Irish be wid ya! - According to folklore, Irish Moss was used for safety & protection.

Legend has it that dried Irish Moss was placed beneath rugs to bring WEALTH, good luck & prosperity.

A word to the WISE!
Always seek medical advice when using this herb to treat any and all medical conditions.
Irish Moss contains blood thinning properties and as such it *should not* be taken at the same time with aspirin or Ibruprophen. Also because of it's ability to absorb minerals it may induce gastro-intestinal discomfort when taken internally.

Things that make you go ...mmmmmmm!!!
In Jamaica, to "safeguard" a man's libido there are certain "stamina" drinks made from the humble Irish Moss.... no joke ... seriously!!! Barbados, Irish Moss is used as an aphrodisiac.
(this is what I've read - no actual research has been conducted........... yet ;o) )

Recipe time

To soften even the driest of curly-coily hair

Setting lotion and/or a styling gel
5 to 10 grams of dried Irish Moss
40 grams of water (add more water if you wish)
1 gram of Organic dried Chamomile herb
1 gram of Organic dried Rose Petals & Buds
1 gram of Virgin Coconut Oil
1 or 2 drops of Vegetable Glycerin (optional)

Prep time: 10 mins

Bring water to a boil then turn off the heat
Add the dried herbs & the Irish Moss to the boiled water
Cover and let it set for 5 minutes or until it turns thick
Strain the herbs from the water
Add the Virgin Coconut Oil & Vegetable Glycerin
Stir until thick in consistency - if the consistency is thin add more Irish Moss
Allow to cool in the fridge
Use as a setting lotion and/or a styling gel

Store unused portion in the fridge for 3 days - discard after 3 days.

Protein Conditioner:
5 grams of dried Irish Moss
300 grams of water (add more water if you wish)
3 drops of Ylang-Ylang essential oil
2 drops of Lavender essential oil

Prep time: 15 mins

Bring water to a light simmer
Add the Irish Moss to the water
Cover and let it set for 5 minutes or until it turns thick
Allow it to cool
Strain the Irish Moss from the water
Add the essential oils
Shampoo hair as normal and instead of using a commercial conditioner just rinse your hair with the mixture
Use as you would your commercial conditioner.

Make your own inexpensive anti-wrinkle gel to tighten pores, reduce inflammation & help skin appear smoother.

Hand & Face Gel:
3 grams of dried Irish Moss
30 grams of water (add more water if you wish)
2 gram of Organic dried Lavender herb
1 gram of Organic dried Chamomile
0.5 grams of Organic Papaya Oil
0.5 grams of Vegetable Glycerin (optional)

Prep time: 10 mins

Soak the Irish moss, Organic dried Rose petals & buds & Organic dried Lavender herb in water for 10 minutes.
Bring water to a simmer then turn off the heat
Remove from the heat and let it cool.
Strain the herbs from the water into a bowl, pressing the gel through the strainer with a spoon
Stir in the Organic Papaya Oil & Vegetable Glycerin until it has emulsified
Pour the gel into a screw-top jar.

Store unused portion in the fridge for 3 days - discard after 3 days.

Oh yeah - if you plan on having a nice hot soak in the bath toss a little Irish Moss in there your skin will thank you for it!

Bath Soak - skin - so much - softer

Toss about 10 grams of Irish Moss into your bath. Add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil
OH - NICE!!!

We've done head & shoulder now it's nails & toes!

Sometimes what I like to do is soak 5 grams of dried Irish Moss & 5 grams of dried Organic Rose Petals in 400 grams of warm water, cover with cling film and place it in the fridge overnight.
Take a third of the mixture, strain the herbs away, pour it into a spray botte, add some more water, a couple of drops of my favourite essential oil, put the spray cap on the bottle and spritz my hair with it on a hot Summers day.
I use the other half of the mixture, with the dried herbs still in it, as a fingers & toes soak. Doing this prevents hang nails and softens the cuticles & nail beds making it easier to trim. So when I'm done both my hands and my feet look, feel and smell GREAT!!!

For those of you who have always wanted to go to the SPA but your moo-laa says "nah!!!"
All you need is a bit of seaweed, honey, yoghurt, sugar and some other kitchen-y ingredients and create your own at home SPA.
Now that you have the low-down on Irish Moss the next step is to make seaweed wraps, face packs & hair muds!
Simple to do and I will show & tell all NEXT WEEK.

See you then...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Fresh & Fruity Slice of Wholesome Goodness!

...because you're blooming well worth a whole lot more!!!

Great for removing blemishes, rich in vitamins A, B and C, the acids in Watermelon acts as an exfoliatant.

Watermelon seed oil
Contains omega 6 & 9 essential fatty acids, has a very good absorption level, readily penetrates the skin & gently dissolves sebum buildup upon application.
It can be used as a massage oil, baby oil, in facials, salt scrubs, after shower bath oil as well as a hair oil.

Watermelon Fruit Toner
3 Large Watermelon pieces - pitted
5 grams of Witch Hazel
5 grams of Spring water

Mix the Witch Hazel and water
Blend the Watermelon
Strain the Watermelon liquid
Add the Watermelon liquid to the Witch Hazel & water mix
Dab the mixture on your face using a clean towel.
Your face will be left feeling soft & ever so toned.

Moisturize with a little Watermelon seed oil if required.

Can be used to soothe even the driest skin.

Peel and mash the pulp of a fresh Peach, add a lickle-ickle dab of Honey, tablespoon of yoghurt and a drop of Organic Papaya Oil. Mix until you get a smooth paste, then spread over damp skin. Leave it to sit on your skin for 10 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
Your skin will be silky soft to the touch.

i) Rich in salicylic acid the same ingredient used in a lot of VERY EXPENSIVE acne treatment creams.
ii) To keep your teeth white and breath fresh eat your recommended daily amount of Strawberries.
iii) For a monthly facial acrub mash up 3 or 4 strawberries, mix it with a teaspoon of single cream or yoghurt & a teaspoon of Demarara Sugar.
Message your face for 1 minute then rinse with cold water.

Protein rich with natural fats.
Here's another simple facial mask.
Take 1 banana, add a drop of honey, mash it up and apply it on your face.
Let sit for 15 minutes, rinse off with warm water and moisturize with Organic Papaya Oil.
Use the same recipe as a nourishing deep conditioner for your hair - however - only leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse really well.

There are a variety of uses for this humble fruit (yes, it has been classified as a fruit but if you beg to differ leave me a comment and tell me why...)

i) For Your Eyes
Eating a fresh tomato in the morning before breakfast will relieve bloodshot eyes.
It is said that the flavonoids & vitamin C in the tomatoes helps to strengthen the blood.

ii) Skin-Oh-So-Soft

Wash face as normal
Take 1 tomato
Slice it into 5
Rub the slices onto your clean skin for about 1 minute
Wipe off the excess tomato
Leave the residue on your skin as the mild acidity of the tomato restores the pH balance of your skin, removes dead skin cells & unblocks your pores.
Leaving your skin soft and radiant.

To remove tough-rough dry skin from around your ankles & toes just pulverize 1 tomato with 2 teaspoons of Sea Salt, scoop up and rub around the back of the feet, around your toes and over the nail beds for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry.

Note: The salt may be very abrasive so be gentle.

iii) For sunburns

Peel 2 tomatoes
Place both in buttermilk
Let it soak for 1 hour
Apply it directly to the affected area to close the pores & relieve the pain

You can also pulverize it into a puree and apply to the effected area.

Next week we'll be looking at the wonderful world of Irish Moss!
Yes, that's right, a whole blog entry dedicated to this wonderful seaweed!

Monday, July 03, 2006


If you can't bear to even look at one more over-engineered, over-marketed, over-paid celebrity telling you "you're worth it" when you know that you're blooming-well worth MORE!

If you're fed up of department store ladies trying to sell you those “all natural” lotions & potions that contain a myriad of BOZWELLOX – then breathe a sigh of relief & think of fresh Strawberries, yummy Papaya and juicy Watermelons.

Fruits contain beneficial Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) & Enzymes.

AHAs are organic acids derived from:
  • Sugar Cane (Glycolic Acid)
  • Milk (powdered & liquid), Yogurt, Sour Cream, Blackberries, Tomatoes (Lactic Acid)
  • Fruits and Cream of Tartar (Malic & Citric & Tartaric Acids)
They help to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, brown marks, dry spots (solar keratoses) & acne.

Whereas, fruit enzymes found in:
  • Papaya (papin)
  • Pineapple (bromelain)
  • Watermelon (ubiquitous polyamines)
  • Pumpkin (ubiquitous polyamines)
Dissolves hard & dry dead skin cells leaving the surface soft and supple.

Here are a few examples of my fruity-favourite-beauty classics.

Lemons :
i) Can be used to soften rough spots such as dry elbows & heels.

ii) Deodorise and deep clean your hands after digging around in the garden.

iii) Lemon juice added to your favourite shampoo refreshes & tones your scalp.

iv) Place a few slices of Lemon in your tub & start your day off with a little zesty zing.

Apples used for centuries:
i) It makes a great mouth rinse, leaving your breath fresh & sweet smelling.

ii) As a skin toner

iii) Add a cup of pure apple juice to your bath to soften your skin. The malic acid in apple juice will protect your skin against free radical damage.

iv) Use fresh apple juice as a hair rinse to control dandruff and restore the natural pH acid mantle to your tresses.

Papayas are rich in natural enzymes called papins:
i) To exfoliate dead skin cells from your face take the skin of the Papaya fruit and gently-gently message it onto your freshly washed face (this should take no more than 1 minute) then rinse with cold water.
Remember - the greener the Papaya the higher the natural enzyme content.

ii) Don’t just stop there - why not exfoliate your whole body.
Peel 1 Papaya, mash or blend it up (include the black seeds); add 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of Marula Oil, blend again for 10 seconds, scoop the mixture into your hands and massage all over your body. Do this once a month for no more than five minutes and rinse thoroughly - your skin will feel smooth & smell great!

iii) If you can't be bothered with all of the mashing and messaging, simply take some Organic Papaya Oil and use it:

* As a face oil,
* A Hair Oil (apply on wet or damp hair),
* In the bath,
* After your shower to lock in moisture,
* As a nourishing make up remover,
* As a pre-shampoo conditioner,
* As a Hot Oil treatment,
* With bath salts,
* As a nail oil (when infused with Horsetail herb)

Pineapples are similar to Papaya in that Pineapples are great skin softeners
i) Especially around those rough spots like:
  • Knees
  • Heels
  • Elbows
Bromelain, the active enzyme in Pineapples, cleanses and rejuvenates dull, dry skin. Scrub your body with a slice of Pineapple when you're taking a bath or in the shower. You'll notice the instant softness and the lovely scent.

ii) Give yourself a 100% pure Pineapple Juice footbath.
Just soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse with cool water, towel dry then add a light dab of Unrefined Shea in a Jar OR Virgin Mango Coconut Whip.

Malic, Citric & Tartaric Acids are known to cause sunburn so use a vitamin rich sun cream afterwards like Unrefined Shea Butter.

This is the first of two fruity slices that I have to offer you as we continue to get even fruitier with even more recipes on Monday the 10th of July 2006.