Step-by-Step Guide: How To Do a DIY Natural Beauty Home Facial

weleda Skin Food facial review

If you’ve been inspired by the continued rise of natural and organic beauty then you’ll love this DIY natural facial massage from Weleda, one of my favourite natural and organic beauty brands. It’s also a lovely, nourishing treat to give skin at this time of year as the season and temperatures change.

The key product in this facial is Weleda Skin Food – an iconic skincare product that contains natural extracts of calendula, chamomile, rosemary and lavender, with natural waxes and plant oils (now also available in light version, lip balm and body butter) – alongside a few other Weleda products.

I was lucky to have this facial – also known as the 30-minute miracle worker by Weleda therapists as it’s so good at boosting the complexion – at Valley Fest in Bristol this summer.

Weleda Skin Food - Product Still

Valley Fest is a lovely family-friendly weekend of music, local food and fancy dress. Weleda had a corner with a fabulous van stocked full of products and therapy tents for the perfect post-party respite.

There were also talks and workshops on natural skincare, with special guest such as Emine Ali Rushton, sharing her wisdom on holistic and Ayurvedic living, following the launch of her book, Sattva.

weleda tent valley fest.JPG

If you’re not familiar with the community of Weleda therapists, they’re a lovely bunch who work remotely around the country and who are available for products, treatments, and knowledge-sharing on skincare and ingredients.

If you don’t live near a Weleda therapist then you can try this facial on yourself at home. Here’s a complete step-by-step guide to the Skin Food Facial – get ready for some personal pamper time…

weleda tent valley fest.JPG
Me enjoying my Skin Food facial at Valley Fest

Step 1.

COMPRESS

Soak a face flannel in hot water with a little Rosemary Bath Milk, wring the flannel so it’s only damp but still warm and apply to the face to open up the pores and wake up/perk up the circulation. If skin would benefit from calming/soothing rather than stimulating, try the Lavender Bath Milk. If skin is hypersensitive, the gentle Calendula Baby Cream Bath could be used instead which is less aromatic.

Step 2.

CLEANSE

Using the Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion on two damp cotton wool pads, remove grime and make-up. Use both hands simultaneously, mirror image, for a lovely balanced feeling. Around the eyes, gently cleanse with Almond Soothing Facial Oil to remove eye make-up. Warm or luke-warm cotton wool pads are preferable to very cold water on the eyes.

Optional extra.

PUFFINESS

If more time, an organic unbleached chamomile tea bag can be used to make as an infusion for an eye compress (lightly soak cotton wool pads in the tea which has been allowed to cool slightly in a bowl before applying; cotton pads can be folded into half moons) whilst the facial massage is being done or the mask is on (to complete the Skin Food experience). The calming chamomile fragrance relaxes.

Step 3.

MASSAGE

Using the fragrance-free Almond Soothing Facial Oil, gently massage the face to stimulate the circulation and relax the soft tissues, tailoring the massage to the individual.

weleda skin food facial how to

Step 4.

MASK

Apply a generous layer of Skin Food, warming it between your hands to make it easier to work with, and leave on the face as an intensive treatment for five minutes (or longer if time allows). If you have combination skin with an oily T-zone, just use Skin Food on the cheeks and drier areas, to avoid overloading the skin.

Step 5.

COMPRESS

Soak a face flannel in hot water with a little Lavender Bath Milk and apply to the face to melt and release the mask. Gently lift away any excess Skin Food with the flannel and gently wipe/tidy any remaining thick areas of cream using a damp cotton pad (this may not be necessary if it has been absorbed).

Step 6.

MOISTURISE

Depending on the skin, finish with a light application of Skin Food Light to moisturise (for younger/oilier skin, this may not be necessary if Skin Food has worked its magic), and a little Skin Food Lip Balm on the lips.

Would love to hear if you’ve had this facial with a Weleda therapist or if you give it a go at home!

How to fragrance your laundry naturally with essential oils

indigo herbs essential oils - how to fragrance laundry naturally
Image: Indigo Herbs

I can’t remember where I got the idea to use essential oils as a natural way to fragrance my laundry but it’s become a habit that I do with every wash now.

It means I don’t have to add artificial chemicals via a perfumed fabric conditioner so it’s a brilliant natural alternative to fabric softener. Ok, so, it doesn’t actually make your clothes soft but it makes them smell great!

I don’t mind what essential oils I use as long as I like the scent. I’ve found that not only do clothes come out smelling lovely but the aroma drifts around the room too as they’re hanging to dry.

Continue reading “How to fragrance your laundry naturally with essential oils”

Recycled coffee made into shampoo 

oright recoffee coffee recycled into shampo

I loved this range as soon as I read the press release, before I’d even seen the product – and then loved it more after I tried it: shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair oil by O’Right made from recycled coffee grounds collected from cafes and coffee shops in Taiwan. The granules are ground down into an oil and infused into the products. How cool is that?

As well as being super savvy on the recycling front, the ground coffee is also good for hair, they say. Apparently the caffeine can help stimulate the hair shaft encouraging hair growth. Labelled moisturising for dry/damaged hair, the shampoo which I use, leaves my hair very soft even without conditioner. The scent is mild – not like smelling a coffee bean as you might expect – but just the faintest hint of its former life. 

All the products are free from sulphates and manufactured in an eco friendly factory that uses solar and wind power for production. I also love the (biodegradable) packaging that’s strikingly modern, with little wooden tops and sleek necks. Like nothing else in my shower. I’d like to try the hair oil next. 

For more eco points, the Tree in a Bottle products have coffee seeds built into the base so you can plant your Recoffee bottle once you’ve finished with it and you might end up with a coffee tree of your very own, starting the cycle all over again. Smart.

O’Right does is a Taiwanese company that is flying the flag for eco haircare and their tagline is The World’s Greenest Shampoo. Love it. Check out the range at oright.co.uk

5 Steps to Start your Beauty Detox – VanZee Beauty #PitchtoRich

Check out this cool, pop-arty video by make-up artist Nat van Zee, who’s trying to spread the word about natural and organic beauty and a less is more approach – something I’ve always been a fan of. It’s bold, sassy and makes a change from the usual fluffy botanicals….

 

Nat is in the running for Virgin Pitch to Rich 2015 with a vision to build a natural and organic beauty recommendations portal so check out her page and vote for Vanzee BeautyShe’s also giving away a hamper of gorgeous natural beauty products to one lucky winner, from votes cast between now and 20th May at 5pm. Something in it for everyone, get voting now! www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk 

Vanzee Beauty Pitch to Rich 2015

 

5 minutes with founder of Shiffa skincare, Dr. Lamees Hamden

Shiffa natural and organic skincare

Dr Lamees Hamdan Shiffa natural organic skincare

I met dermatologist-turned-skincare creator Dr. Lamees Hamden this week, founder of Dubai-based natural and organic skincare range, Shiffa – which means heal, in Arabic. Before long, Lamees and I were speaking in Arabic together (she is one of the 11% of Dubai residents originally from Dubai, and I’m originally Iraqi) so we spoke about Shiffa’s popularity in the middle east and what makes Shiffa stand out in a crowded beauty market…

What is the Shiffa story?

I created Shiffa to be like the organic version of La Prairie. I wanted something to use on my skin when I fell pregnant that wasn’t full of synthetic ingredients but still beautiful and luxurious. We began as a spa brand at Six Senses in Dubai and then launched in Sephora. Suddenly we outsold all the major skincare brands in Sephora including Shiseido and Clarins, it was incredible.

You have a small collection of products – what makes them so special?

I think of what I’d like a product to do – heal and nourish dry skin, reduce appearance of pores, reduce pigmentation, brighten or tighten – and then work with my chemist to put together the best combination of natural ingredients. I don’t use any synthetic perfumes or colours and I’m a bit of a perfectionist so one product could take up to two to three years to develop.

Where do you source your ingredients and is everything organic?

We source the best oils from around the world so will choose organic where possible.  The pregnancy range is 100% organic and the rest of the range is minimum of 85% organic, mainly due to water content which can’t be organic. The Healing Balm contains 19 active ingredients and is a multi-award winner, beautiful for repairing dry and sore skin.

Shiffa natural and organic skincare

What are your favourite ingredients?

I cannot choose just one favourite ingredient – a good product needs a minimum of six great ingredients!  Vitamin C and E are essentials; I love meadowfoam seed oil – very good for moisturising skin; evening primrose oil; frankincense, marine extracts such as seaweed; and I love chamomile for reducing inflammation in the skin – another essential.

What are your favourite products in the range?

I use them all every day! But if I had to choose a favourite I would say Energizing Body Oil and White Tea Moisturiser.

You have four children and an international business, how do you take time out?

I do Shaolin Kung Fu. Yes really! I’ve been doing it for three years now, and the Shaolin Master comes to my house, three times a week for a two hour session with my sister.  It’s spiritual but also physically intense and keeps me fit. I also love cooking – I eat everything (which is probably why I’m not like a skinny model!) but I’m very healthy – I recently bought a dehydrator (to soak and dry seeds and nuts) and use the ingredients in green smoothies, along with anything organic from the market  – rocket, kale, parsley, sprouts and dates for a nice taste. I love it!

Shiffa Dubai is available at Selfridges and online at Zuneta.com.

 

California: The best place to be vegan?

The mural in store was painted by local artists to honour farm workers and the earth

Is California the best place to be a vegan? Yes, it is! I’m actually half vegan myself (‘half’ because I eat cake!) and when I’m in situations when I can’t be too fussy – like being in Spain, or France. Terrible places to be a vegan. San Francisco on the other hand, is a cow’s dream. VEGAN HEAVEN.

Forget India, sunny-Cali is where vegans should live. I have never seen ordinary supermarkets stock such a wide selection of dairy-free produce:  vegan cookies, vegan ice-cream, vegan toiletries, vegan brownies, muffins and cakes, all manner of cruelty-free and eco-friendly cosmetics and skincare, and several shelves of very delicious vegan cheese and vegan Ravioli. The choice is almost endless.

Krispy Kreme eat your heart out..

Delicious…

MEXICAN Mexican food is huge in California too and while it’s relatively easy to eat dairy-free in this cuisine (just hold the sour cream and cheese) it was much more fun going to vegan Mexican, Gracias Madre where the food is also organic. Grilled potato cakes topped with salsa verde, avocado and cashew cream? Yes please. Sweet potato and caramalised onions in tortilla with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa was another great eat. RAINBOW GROCERY The best place shopping destination was a health food mecca called Rainbow. This was  a mammoth-sized, Ikea-style superstore with dizzying heights of health produce and endless rows of every niche food item you can ever imagine. The health and beauty section required an hour alone. Suffice to say, it was impossible to get out of there without feeling poor. natural soap at Rainbow

I left San Francisco feeling like it’s easy-peasy to live with whatever dietary requirement you wish and still be fed and nourishd but most of all, excited and enticed by food. And I think that’s what’s missing here in the UK.

I find it easy (ish) to be to be vegan because I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nine years old and it was a natural transition about 5 years ago to drop diary. Mainly because I’d read up about the diary industry and realising how much antibiotics, growth hormones and chemicals animals are fed, decided that I didn’t want to consume that or support it in any way. If I ate diary I would always choose organic and always tell people that’s what they should buy.

It’s also find it manageable to eat vegan because I love food, and enjoy being creative with ingredients. I also love eating out so I’ve perfected the art of smiling sweetly at waiters and requesting a completely different meal that’s on the menu. You just have to ask nicely!

Also, because our ready-made food selection for vegans is almost non-existent it’s a relatively healthy way to eat; I make 95% of meals from scratch and eat limited processed foods. I do however eat cake – the full fat non-vegan kind usually when it’s home made by friends or my sister (a brilliant cake-maker and author of Tea and Cake London).

We are still a long way off from having good vegan baked foods – cakes, cookies, etc –  and if we had the kind of choice  San-Fran has then I wouldn’t need to eat non-vegan cake – I could be fully vegan and still get all the sweet delights everyone else gets. I just might weigh a few pounds more!

If you want more vegan tips, just let me know in the comments box – happy to help.

Pure perfumes

Embrace by PG Organics

Embrace by PG OrganicsI’ve recently been chatting on Twitter to the lovely Patricia Gallagher, founder of PG Organics, about why we need natural and organic perfumes. She created Embrace after learning the almost-forgotten art of traditional and natural perfume making and she talks passionately about why we need to keep the practice going…

Patricia is a strong advocate of using natural and organic ingredients in perfume and not the 10-40 chemicals that can usually be found in a mainstream spritz. The Environmental Working Group wrote a report on this last year, discovering many hidden and undisclosed chemicals in bottles. Popular perfumes usually contain a mixture of natural extracts and synthetic chemicals but the report revealed many secret chems too.

PG Organics is one of the few niche brands committed 100 percent natural ingredients and small batch production using traditional methods. What’s interesting is that many people who suffer from allergies and sensitivities, such as asthma or eczema, can react badly to conventional perfumes – anything from a mild or severe headache to itching or rashes on the skin. Patricia says customers often turn to natural perfumes for less sensitivity.

The brand uses only natural materials with the highest possible content of organic ingredients, no animal derived products and testing on animals.  Check out her gorgeous site pgorganics.co.uk.