Herb feture: White Willow Bark

When I first started to research how to get rid of acne, aspirin kept popping up for topical applications. I never did try it but I often wondered if it really worked. 

A few weeks ago, a lady contacted me about formulating a natural BHA system for her acne prone skin. Only two days later, another lady asked me to source her some White Willow Bark (WWB from now) = happy coincidence. 

WWB is often referred to as ‘natures aspirin’ because they share salicylic acid in common. And in addition to using it for pain relief, its also popular for topical application in the treatment of acne. 

According to this article on Medical Daily WWB can be used to alleviate acne because of its ability to reduce inflammation and exfoliate the pores deeply. 

I was gifted some WWB by Remzo (thank you so much girl) and in addition to the herbal facial cleansing milk I made last night, I will be cooking up some more acne fighters as soon as my other supplies come in. #happydance 

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Honeyed Coffee Salve

This salve is so simple, it doesn’t even qualify to be called a recipe šŸ˜€ 

Three parts coffee-infused organic coconut oil and one part organic raw beeswax come together into a salve that’s firm enough to pour into a lip balm tube. I’ve chosen this darling little container because I plan to use it as more than just lip balm. 

The coffee scent come through quite strong because the oil infusion was very potent and my testers (willing and unwilling…lol) have given it the thumbs up! 

C.O.F.F.E.EĀ 

I infused some good quality ground coffee into organic coconut oil a few days back. The plan is to use the result in a few applications which I will blog or instagram šŸ˜€

After a few days of infusing in a warm sunny spot, I strained the oil in the fancy setup pictured above for about 18 hours to ensure I got at least 90% of the oils out (this is not an exact science of course but it works for me) and emptied the grounds into a clean jar. 

This can be used as is for an amazing body scrub in the shower but I couldn’t leave it alone. I like the feel of an emulsified scrub so I added in some P80 and fine sugar.

The P80 helps to disperse the oil left in the scrub in water so that the result is a scrub that’s slightly easier to apply and rinses off clean. 

I’m leaving half this batch beside the kitchen as coffee is brilliant for getting rid of odors (garlic onion etc) and the rest will be used up tonight šŸ˜‰ 

 

How I Make Ginger Oil

A few days ago I posted this picture on my instagram page @ninibodytreats.

It’s wet ginger pulp in case you are wondering and in spite of all the things it could have ended up being, my only intention was to turn it into aromatic oil for use in bath and body products. 

To make the oil, I thoroughly dry out the pulp before maceration. 

If I’m in a hurry, I use a small crocpot to gently steep the dried herb in oil (either a single oil or combination) on very low heat for over 6 hours. If I have time on my side, I steep the herb in oil in a glass jar for 6 weeks, shaking the bottle at least once a day.

The result is the most fragrant natural oil that can be used directly (depending on the ratio of herb to oil) or mixed with Shea or cocoabutter for a warming body butter. I also use it in lip balm. 

Hope this has been useful. I would like to hear about your herbal oil creations.

Shelf Life of Handcrafted Creams & Lotions

This post was inspired by finding a jar of thick lotion I made for my sister last year in one of her cupboards. It was a fragrance free cocoabutter lotion made with a strong calendula tea. 

Why? Although everything looked smelled and felt okay, it had passed the ‘fresh by’ date on handcrafted lotion (with preservative) that I’m comfortable with and its not always that nasties growing in product is visible to the naked eye. Especially if you live in hot, sticky high humidity areas like I do. 

Unlike commercially produced lotions which are usually no more than chemicals that help preserve the emulsion for a very long time and under stressful conditions, handmade creams are not meant to last forever.

Also, unlike handcrafted soap which tends to get better with age (unless one or more of your oils go rancid) creams and lotions are best used up within 6 months. Some may last up to a year if kept in pump bottles away from direct heat, etc, but I would err on the side of 6 months and just make a fresh batch with active ingredients.

Curcumin Yogurt Citrus Peel Soap

Soaping with herbs and spices is a lot of fun – not to mention the extra skin benefits – and I always try to incorporate some in my soaps.

imageCurcumin Yogurt Citrus Peel Soap by NiniBodyTreats

This time, curcumin (turmeric) takes centre stage. This spice is touted to help naturally correct sun damage (amongst other things) and I decided to help it along with a lot of probiotic yogurt and citrus peel powder for gentle exfoliation.

Exfoliating soaps are better used directly on the skin, so I’ve used a recipe that makes satisfying bubbly lather.

This batch is soap 4 of 6 (I will blog about the set when they are are all ready) in my fragrance free soapy creations and it doesn’t dissapoint ā¤ .

No Fragrance, Please

I’m increasingly coming in contact with people who do not care for or tolerate fragrance – even essential oils. Oh, yes…and colour. That’s also a no-no.

While I love Shea butter for its multiple healing qualities, some of the raw batches I was getting were a little to ‘smoky’ for my liking. Thankfully, I’ve now found TWO sources for low odour raw Shea butter {which I filter for debris} so I can now confidently make shea rich body butters *yay*

Also, after lots of trial I now have a couple of formulae for soaps (bar, spa, scrubs and liquid) that smell really nice without fragrance. Sometimes its the oil, other times its the botanical infusion, but the result is pleasant smelling soap without added fragrance.

I’m really excited about this and I will update with pictures. In the meantime, if you are on instagram, I will be posting a picture of ‘Virgin’, a pure white 100% virgin coconut oil spa salt bar with kaolin clay, coconut milk and nothing else šŸ˜€ Its really quite special ā¤ #ninibodytreats