Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Natural’

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VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum – An Excuse to Sniff Me?

VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum Organic Argan Oil Prickly Pear Seed Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn, Olive, Aloe Vera Orange Blossom Essential Valerie Widmann Cosmetics Natural Vegan

I consider my hair to be at least a sentient semi-autonomous-part of my body and though I usually trust it, it can be difficult keeping it from caressing people it likes and stopping it strangling those it doesn’t, so I wouldn’t want to hear what it may sometimes say behind my back. We have a standing agreement; it has almost free reign, looks cool no matter how messy it is, almost looks after itself and I home-colour my roots maybe three times a year, go easy on the hair dryer and have stopped my Mum experimenting on it to see if a style would look good on Her via proxy.

That’s why I wouldn’t normally try and then review a hair serum since there are very few products I would use on it so I hope that speaks volumes because I only tried this due to the ingredients and am very impressed with Valerie Widmann’s Cosmetics (VWC) Ultimate Hair Repair Serum.

It’s an oil blend and the oils used in my opinion give it that va va voom.

To my mind this is a sleek product in a strong, clear, tall glass 55ml/1.85 fluid ounce bottle with a plastic pump dispenser that actually works since the inner tube goes to the very bottom and unlike many bottles actually has the description, ingredients and directions on a label as well as the branding. It comes in a matching box which is handy since the glass isn’t dark and doesn’t slow down oil degradation.

The recommended method or as I call it ‘method 1’: A Serum To Wash Out

‘Instructions for use: Massage oil into scalp and leave for circa 20 minutes to 1 hour. Then wash hair as normal.’

As a wash-out oil treatment it works like all good oils do in my experience aka it depends on your hair type and scalp sensitivity. If you have dry to average scalp/hair you’ll probably notice more of a difference i.e. softer skin and the oil lightly coating the hair as it rinses through which should stay in place unless you then shampoo/condition and/or towel dry so much that it mostly comes off on the fabric.

My hair isn’t dry so doesn’t absorb oil that much, but it does hold on to it well without feeling greasy – so basically this blend with this method doesn’t suit my needs so much because I already use oils. That means I didn’t really notice a difference in using this except a bit of sting on the areas I’d previously scratched (not a problem for me, that’s the kind of thing that happens on raw skin depending on the oil and it subsided) and I have to wash and wait for my hair to dry before I can use this which I’m not inclined towards.

Method 2: A Leave-In Hair Conditioner/Moisturizer

Overall I preferred it left in, there’s nothing obvious in the ingredients which necessitates it being washed out as far as I’m concerned, it’s just an oil so I’m ok with that but for those whose hair gets unmanageably greasy quickly (though bear in mind the more frequently you wash hair the quicker it’ll get greasy/used to doing so) it’d probably be easier to wash out as instructed.

Finding a good leave-in conditioner is akin to finding a good pair of shoes and. That. Is. Hard. I rarely find shoes that are comfortable and I can walk long distance in and I rarely find a leave-in conditioner my hair will accept whilst still looking cool enough to wear sunglasses (since I don’t like them on my nose). I’ve tried lotions, balms and oils and been unhappy with most of them – not this one. It covers, softens, smoothens, moisturizes and does it straight away, it also absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a noticeable residue – bonus!

It can also be steamed instead of washing out. Note – this doesn’t involve heating the oil beforehand. I put the cold oil on both my scalp and hair then steam it in and when it dries voila soft, shiny, vibrant, bouncy hair. To steam either put your hair up in the bath/shower or even in a double helper by steaming your face under a towel hence aiding your nasal passages and skin whilst also steaming your hair. To dry, a hair dryer with cold to medium level heat will suffice, not too high or for too long though as not only is that damaging but remember hot oil cooks.

Steaming means not stripping the hair with extra washing and serves me better for detangling than using specific ‘detangling’ ingredients in a lot of products naturally derived (different to ‘natural’) and synthetic, I find those do detangle my hair but also leave it ‘squeaky’, less elastic (so easier to snap/break) and too light/voluminous which means ‘flyaway’ for some people and necessitating some kind of holding product like a spray.

Comparisons to other oils used on the head

Doesn’t itch.
My scalp likes to breathe and tends to itch a lot when leaving any product on it so even though I use oils I tend to focus on the hair but this one doesn’t bother my skin although those with sensitive or problem skin should always do a patch test.

A little goes a very long way.
It takes 2 squirts to cover my scalp and a further 2 for all over my hair – to me that’s not much as it would usually take 2-3 times as much, and I find it spreads very well even through thick, coarse/wiry aka curly hair.

Detangling – knots what knots? Bedhead? No problem.
The simplest, quickest detangling product I’ve used period when leaving it in. I can run my fingers through my hair with barely any effort and undo knots easily. I don’t often have hair hijinks but it calms stray strands and mushed areas like music to a beast.

Good replacement for coconut oil – a Winter oil
You can go from looking salon fresh one moment to Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow) the next if you go from a warm environment to a cold one e.g. indoors to outdoors and vice versa whilst wearing coconut oil. It’s wonderful and gotten very popular but not very practical in the Winter; olive oil, shea, cocoa butter are also wonderfully nutritious but not for people who can’t handle the weight. This is a lighter, versatile alternative.

Method 3: Scent

I’m not a perfume wearer since you never really know what’s in them except alcohol and the notes (there are some attractive make-your-own kits though!) I’ve only ever bought two perfumes and that’s not for lack of trying. I once went through a bunch of those sample sticks to the counter assistant’s frustration only to buy the first one I chose and knew I liked and had always liked but wanted to see if anything better had come along since. Both of those perfumes were purloined by someone who wouldn’t buy them for himself. Cha. I do however like oils for scent and find them much more sensuous.

So it nourishes and in my opinion smells gorgeous! For many people this could be the first and potentially most important factor because it’s a strong scent; sweet, rich and reinvigorating (and I’m glad it doesn’t have added perfume, even a natural one) I’d wear this for the scent alone! Well… I might reconsider now that I write it down, I’ve been told that I smell really sweet – something hormonal on my part perhaps or just something pervs think up for a line. Adding more sweetness might increase those who sniff you at bus stops or stand close to you on the tube in those ridiculously rare moments when it’s not ‘rush hour’ and there’s actually space to move. Then again it might make you sickly sweet, hmm… So potentially offputting for those who find a little too much oil to be pungent or dislike of ‘Oriental’ type fragrances.

Method 4: Face/Body Oil

This is probably the fastest way to use this product and yet it’s my favourite – my hair doesn’t need much of it, but the rest of me does!

It’s light, absorbent, refreshing, moisturizing and healthy – it’s made my face look less blotchy from all the sleeping-under-the-blanket weather issue, removing the blemishes from a recent foray into food with White sugar, soothing my nose (and surrounding skin from) and nasal passages from a cold and has been helping with the burn mark on my left hand. An all rounder.

Interestingly enough I can feel the resistance when using it on drier body parts like my hands, it doesn’t spread as easily or the skin feels abit rough/’sticky’ until it sinks in but elsewhere it’s smooth like other oils.

Ingredients and General Properties

Organic Argan Oil, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn Oil, Olive Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Orange Blossom Essential Oil, natural preservative, Vitamin E.

Note – only the argan and prickly pear seed oils are organic, ‘organic’ means being certified and hopefully adhering to rules and guidelines from certain organizations. That doesn’t necessarily mean others don’t meet those/similar standards or are low quality just that the manufacturer couldn’t, wouldn’t or haven’t yet gotten organic status. (That doesn’t include extraction and refining if refined.) Then there’s genetically modified (GM or nowadays GMO) crops, one of the reasons for many turning to companies like this and I’m highlighting this point because there is controversy over GM corn (and soy and many tend to lump GM and non-GM versions together in the argument). That can make it confusing with ingredients that either aren’t labelled ‘organic’ or ‘GM’ (if the ingredients are labelled at all) or aren’t one or the other.

Argan & Prickly Pear Seed – Very high in essential unsaturated fatty acids including omega 6 & 9, also in Vitamin E. The former has Vitamins A & F and the latter Vitamin K. They are commonly used for antioxidant activity, regeneration/healing, dry/mature skin and dry/damaged hair.

Sesame – Sometimes called the ‘Queen of oils’ and has a multitude of health uses – edible, medicinal and cosmetic. There are far too many properties to list but they range from antibacterial to protecting against radiation-induced DNA damage.

Coconut – High in essential unsaturated and saturated fatty acids including medium chain triglycerides, high in Vitamin E, has many uses including being a natural sunscreen.

Corn (Maize oil) – Depending on how you look at it is either a filler or additional help to the others. It’s med-high in Omega 6 and possibly Omega 3 but the ratio is said by some to be unhealthy. For cosmetic purposes noted for Vitamin E but has others. Susceptible to heat damage.

Olive – Known as one of the healthiest fats and one of the most studied – a multifarious edible, medicinal/preventative, cosmetic oil full of essential fatty acids and polyphenols. Everything from an anti-inflammatory to pain relief.

Aloe Vera – Not usually thought of in oil form, has all the usual qualities but concentrated. Soothing, said to prevent hair loss by improving blood circulation in the scalp, prevents/treats dandruff & itching, moisturizes skin & retains the moisture.

Orange Blossom (Neroli oil – not the same as Orange Blossom ‘absolute’) – an interesting and pricey essential oil that has many medicinal uses, generally thought of as mentally revitalizing yet physically soothing, hormone balancing and resistant to sun damage hence holds its properties well. Also known for its strong and sweet flowery scent.

Valerie Widmann Cosmetics

This item was provided by VWCosmetics in exchange for a fair opinion and company mention. It’s available to buy for €28.95/£22.71 at:

http://www.vwcosmetics.com/products/organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil-products/hair-repair-serum.html

‘It does not contain parabens, alcohol, synthetics, sulfates, petroleum, GMOs, animal by-products, artificial colours, silicones (no dimethicone!) and fragrances… Added to this is an exotic blend of oils which repairs and restores the shine in your hair. It nourishes, conditions, treats and repairs dry, colour treated, heat damaged hair leaving you with a silky, shiny, luxurious finish.’

VWCosmetics is a German company that imports from fair-trade cooperatives for their organic, cold pressed argan and prickly pear seed oils and aspires to a higher quality, unique selection of products.

Conclusion

This works both as a boost and maintenance product. For those wary of oils due to having oily skin remember there are oils actually used (including some of the above) to balance that for many reasons such as astringent properties.

I siphoned some oil into a smaller bottle and found that 20 squirts equated to 8ml so if you used it for a hair&scalp treatment once a week at 4 squirts a round that’d be upto 9 months of use. However if you’re using more and in various ways it’d decrease much faster, I’ve been using it for 10 days and down to 2/3 but then I was experimenting… Although I like it in most of the ways I’ve tried it so I can see it lasting approximately a month. But hey, it’s worth it.

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Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil – Beauty is only skin deep? I don’t think so

Weleda Wild Musk Rose Body Oil

Introduction

I bought the full sized 100ml rose oil (£19.95) after having received a tester 10ml (£2.95). Now the price alone is usually out of my price range which goes to show just how impressed with it I was and still am. Acquiring a little rose oil from masses of petals is resource heavy and labour intensive hence it is quite pricey in general and the process also renders the more popular rose water. Used sparingly it can last a long time with good results and I bought Weleda’s version rather than a cheaper one because not only had I tested it but because Weleda is known as a high quality and ethically invested company. I try to support such companies, in my own tiny way as an individual, in order to help increase their market presence but also to help keep them in business – they only use basic natural ingredients without extras, synthetic alternatives and excessive processing and packaging yet their items are considered to be luxury items because they are not high street brands and less widely available. Then once these items are gone, they’re gone and as with any business everyone in the supply chain suffers and you might be left trying to find a replacement for an item you love with less choices then the local beauty store.

You can find more information about Weleda in general: http://www.weleda.co.uk/scat/aboutus

That said I’m not sure which process of extraction Weleda uses, each method produces a different type of oil and since this oil is mixed with other oils it’s hard to tell what it physically originally was or where it likely came from. Rose oils are commonly made from Damask Rose (Rosa Damascena) which is a Eurasian rose, or the Cabbage Rose (Rosa Centifolia) which is largely an African rose. However Weleda specifies Wild Musk Rose (Rosa Moschata) in their publicity/advertising which is the parent rose for Damask and is a mountain rose thought to have originated in the Himalayas – it’s a rose noted for it’s strong scent. Included in the mix is Rosehip Seed oil (seed oil extracted from wild roses) – Rosehip is generally extracted from Wild Musk Rose from the Andes but can also be found from common Dog Roses (Rosa Canina) which are found in many places (I pick wild ones for eating – not the bulbs which can make itching powder). The reason why I’m going into the types is because if you know your roses you may want the more often used/sold rose oil smell. I find this one to be quite pungent (and lovely).

Experience

This isn’t an essential oil or pure oil, it’s been diluted in carrier oils and hence is ready for cosmetic use without worry over whether using too much, that said there’s no need to go overboard and a little goes a long way 🙂

Ingredients:

Jojoba Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Fragrance*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Benzyl Alcohol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol*, Farnesol*. (*From natural essential oils)

(I know it says Rosa Damascena – confusing right? I’ve put the Weleda promo info at the bottom of the review so you can see why I’m a little flummoxed – all I know is that the oil I’ve tried from them seems quite potent and so would guess that it’s made from a fair bit more ‘fresh’ rose than the geraniol* in the ingredients which is a common filler in rose oil and can come from roses, palmarosa (a perennial Asian lemongrass) or geraniums which are obviously cheaper to produce. From the ingredients I can’t tell where it comes from.)

The combined oil comes in a dark glass bottle to help preserve it as long as possible and prevent sun damage and as oils have a long lifespan it’s better if they can retain their strength over the period until you finish them.

The first things I noticed was that the oil itself has quite a strong Yellow colour and the smell, wow the smell. The first time I opened the bottle and got a waft of the scent I thought ‘beautiful’ and then when I put it on the palms of my hands to put on my face and it warmed with the temperature, only then did I realize fully how beautiful the aroma was. It is enchanting and I can see why rose oils have been used since ancient times to attract one’s love interest. It really is like walking into a rose garden every time I use it – something to bear in mind for romantic occasions and use on pulse points unless you or the partner dislikes strong fragrances.

The oil is fairly absorbent and doesn’t take too long to sink in with massaging so I am able to use it during the day (hands, face and neck) as well as overnight. I noticed that not only was my skin very soft, it was also smooth and more taut. There were a few nights during the testing period where I was too tired to moisturise before bed and where I didn’t sleep in good positions i.e. I ended up sleeping on my face but the following mornings I noticed that the tautness remained from the day use of the rose oil, all the way through the night and to the next morning. My skin would be drier than when I’d first applied it but as soon as I got up it went straight back into place rather than leaving sleep lines. That said, the oil doesn’t make my skin appear more ‘youthful’ i.e. fuller and radiant but the skin is left in better condition which in itself can take years off your appearance.

Personal Tip:

I usually like to use more than one oil, either separately in a day/night or blended but this is ready mixed and yet when I use this oil I like to use it by itself and without using other oils in the same time period. I do that because of its strong scent and I like to get the maximum effect over a small period of time (up to one week) before going back and rotating oils or using combinations based on what I need/feel at the time. When I say maximum effect I mean that the skin absorbs and gives out the fragrance in a ‘natural’ way i.e. you exude the scent without having to use as much oil. For people wanting to try this simply spread a thin layer of the oil over the desired body area (if not the whole body) and let it absorb. This can be done day or night but it’s usually best after you’ve washed and if you are warm – the recently moist skin will still have open pores so the oil will sink in faster and deeper leaving less residue on clothes or other surfaces and the body temperature will help both to absorb and release the fragrance. Do this twice daily for the first 2-3 days and then once a day until the end of the experiment. Unless you sweat a lot or work in conditions which mean you have to wash more frequently than average you should find that you don’t have to wear perfumes or deodorants as much if at all, which have on average up 200-300 ingredients but are simply labelled as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on product packaging without any further explanation. Hence using oils for scent is much healthier.

Other Uses for Rose Oil

This an be added to baths for relaxation; rose oil can be used to aid stress/anxiety relief as it is soothing and uplifting. As this is already diluted you don’t have to worry about how many drops you use.

The steam from such a bath, or by inhaling separately such as over a bowl of hot water with your head under a towel, can also help with respiration or again stress/anxiety.

Rose oil has been known as a ‘feminine oil’ not just for its beauty/amorous uses but because it can help with hormonal balance helping to regulate menstruation. As a hot compress it has been used to relieve menstrual cramps.

It’s one of those multi-faceted oils being known for antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, cholagogue, cicatrisant, depurative, emenagogue, haemostatic, hepatic, laxative, nervine, stomachic and uterine properties. (Obviously research this before trying anything.) Do not take internally.

Conclusion

Overall I’d give this 10/10 – it’s another Weleda oil that does was it says on the box and it has everything my skin needs. It’s moisturising, nourishing, improves the skin’s condition, is absorbent, long lasting and smells heavenly. I don’t need anti-aging items to fill out lines/wrinkles so this suits me just fine. For those who do I would recommend combining the oil with an unscented or complimentary scented lotion/base unless your skin can’t take heavy concoctions, in that case rose oil might not be a long term solution for you but rather an occasional item and the tester size (10ml) could be more practical.

I had tried a couple of rose products before but hadn’t been too impressed and put ‘rose’ items on the back-burner but that was until I tried this oil… Now I’m looking forward to trying other products from the rose range at Weleda, which includes soap, lotion, facial oil and body wash.

Sidenote:

I would recommend this product for women from about 30 and upwards rather than younger ages because not only does it improve skin tone but it has a mature quality to it. This is going to sound vague but it has a personality like with wines, where it’s more full bodied and wouldn’t seem appropriate for girls or young ladies. That might sound biased and of course there will be younger women who are exceptions but overall I’ll just say people throughout the ages have used rose oil as an aphrodisiac and there are people who will monitor their consumption (orally and through the skin) of particular ingredients to affect their hormones and after using this oil I understand why.

What Weleda has to say

From the packaging:

‘Wild Rose Body Oil. Pampering care. Helps improve skin’s suppleness and elasticity leaving it smooth and radiant.’

From advertising received:

‘Musk rose oil is rich in skin-caring essential fatty acids, and helps stimulate the skin’s natural functions. The Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Care range contains a selection of products to protect, moisturise and care intensively for delicate skin. The scent is uplifting, refreshing and feminine. It takes three tonnes of fresh rose petals to make just one litre of precious essential oil of rose.

Weleda’s European beauty consultant, Lilith Schwertle, explains: “In our 30s the skin retains still its youthful resilience and elasticity but is also starting to show the fist signs of ageing, mostly around the eyes. Our unique facial characteristics are beginning to form. The skin may not glow as much as it used to in our 20s, and may be drier. At this time it’s important to support the regenerating processes in the skin with ingredients high in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Rosa Mosqueta seed oil. This helps skin stay elastic and firm, strengthens the skin and builds up the protective barrier functions. Rose seed oil has also been traditionally used to counteract and reduce scar tissue and pigmentation, and to stimulate skin cell renewal. This nourishing oil contains vitamins A and E which help minimise the signs of ageing. Rosa Mosqueta helps the skin to maintain a harmonious balance.” ‘

Victorian Tip of the Day 2: Homemade Perfume

Eau de Cologne

Into 2 quarts of wine at 36, put 2 drachms essence of bergamot, the same essence of cedrat (a superior kind of bergamot), 2 drachms essence of citron, 1 oz essence of rosemary, and a 1/4 drachm of the essence of neroly (an oil produced from the flowers of the Seville orange tree): let it stand twenty-four hours, then straining through brown paper, and bottle it.

Anne Cobbett, The English Housekeeper, 1842

In his room at the end of the day the valet might prepare a mustard bath for his master’s feet or rub him down with eau de Cologne to prevent his taking a chill.

Victorian Household Tips, 2006

1 drachm = 1/8 of an oz or 3.6g.

I can imagine the scent of this and it’s dreamy; I’m a fan of bergamot and neroly (neroli), and my all time favourite which might go well here – patchouli. I think it would be a unisex fragrance and of course I’m a fan of perfumed oils (e.g. uses of Rose oil) over modern perfumes with hundreds of ingredients of who knows what, have an astringent/household cleaner  tone to them and of course can’t be used in a quantity or more than a couple of spritzes for the sake of those around you. Plus they need to be topped up and can’t be used all over the body for not only smell but for nutritional/health value or as a barrier to the cold.

On a sidenote – ew, the ‘master’ can’t even rub himself down with oil, tch. For shame (and no I’m not including people who are physically unable to do so).

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Simple To Make – Homemade Clay Face Masque

Clay Bentonite Face Masque Facial Mask

2 tsp clay bentonite
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (always better to go for unrefined with the ‘mother’ intact for the nutritional value)
1 tsp water (purified or filtered)

Introduction

The weather has made it perfect to use fresh mud however I was not feeling up getting some and mum refused to get some for me lol. So I thought ‘fine I’ll make it myself’ and went to dig out some clay bentonite (not actually dig it out, just get it from the cupboard). Now usually I prefer to use milk (soya or oat milk especially) but I seriously needed a facial, I haven’t had one in ages and my skin was feeling really ‘thick’ and ‘heavy’ so I went for the stronger vinegar mix. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, lemon juice can alternatively used.

Clay bentonite is a volcanic clay (volcanic ash and water) with lots of health giving properties (hey soil is full of the nutrients of life afterall and volcanic clay has additional) for topical and internal use. It is the main ingredient in the more commonly known ‘Fullers Earth’. The two main types available for cosmetic use are sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Both have many uses from skin cleansing to deep internal cleansing if drank and for heavy metal detoxing. The heavy metal detoxing is an affect of the negative electromagnetic charge of the clay whereas metals and ‘toxins’ are apparently positively charged; meaning that the clay swaps or draws out metals and toxins and replaces them with sodium or calcium when made into a paste with water (don’t mistake the word ‘sodium’ for ‘salt’, obviously sodium is part of salt and natural salt – and sugar – is necessary in the body e.g. saline solution or salt licks for remineralization, but not all salts are the same or ‘bad’ for you). In a very basic way I’d think the sodium bentonite is better for cleansing, and the calcium bentonite better for enriching the calcium/silica. Both are helpful though and provide properties needed by the skin/body (just remember to research before taking internally and only in moderation). There’s a wealth of other uses such as for poultices, toothpaste and deodorant but that’s a different post.

Steps

The above mixture should make enough ‘mud’ for the face and neck or two applications for the face. Remember to keep it covered and put it in the fridge if it’s too much to prevent it drying it. If it still dries a bit in the fridge just add a few drops of water to hydrate it again.

1) Mix the above in a non-metallic bow with a non-metallic spoon/stirrer. Nothing obvious will happen if you use metal crockery for this (not sure about doing that regularly though) but remember the point about clay bentonite being used as a heavy metal detoxer. The point of a face mask is to draw out things you don’t want in your skin so its best to use clay that still has ‘space’/propensity left in it to take those metals, toxins (and fat, oil & grease) rather than already being filled with metals from your tools.

(On a sidenote – that begs the question of the state in which your bentonite is in when you purchase it. If it’s a strong heavy metal ‘leacher’ then how much has it taken in before it got to you…? Always checkout the company you buy it from first to see if they have information as to how the clay was mined in the first place – with machinery that the clay would absorb metals from or something else?)

2) Stir until the mixture turns into a paste, apply liberally over the face & neck, leave for 10-20min. The mask dries quite fast.

3) Gently wipe off with a warm damp cloth and splash skin with cool water afterwards. I prefer a warm damp cloth especially in this weather and because warm water opens the pores making it easier to remove grime whilst the wiping creates friction removing dead skin and then the cold water to reinvigorate the skin and close the pores. Though if you’re running short on time you can simply wash your face with warm or cold water afterwards instead of wiping and splashing.

4) Voila you should find the skin feeling refreshed, looking more radiant and very soft to the touch.

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Dr Organic – Natural and Organic Skincare Products on the UK Highstreet

Please note – The Moroccan Argan lotion is no longer vegan, it now has beeswax (cera alba) in it.

Introduction

Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is an extensive and attractive skincare brand primarily available at the ever wonderful Holland & Barrett, purveyors of more ethically friendly food and health items (e.g. vitamins and cosmetics) for those with special diets, health needs and just a general interest in improving/maintaining health with a purer quality of product. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand with an international reach in the ingredients they source (though I’m not clued up about their ethical policies for sourcing, fair trade, transporting etc), are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.

They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike however in conjunction with the ingredients lists I’ve seen it implies to me that Dr Organic are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others. I respect that because more often than not I come across products that use key words to promote products and then you find that the corresponding ingredient(s) is only included in a very minor percentage or as a topnote. Such disappointing advertising is also often accompanied by numerous filler ingredients both natural and synthetic but mostly synthetic and possibly some other ‘nasties’ that can cause skin irritation as well as other speculated undesirable side effects. That said the ingredients lists that I’ve noted are also quite mild in general so some ranges would definitely be worth checking out for sensitive skin.

http://www.drorganic.co.uk/about.asp

Our Promise…
Organic ingredients
We strive to use organically grown ingredients. Where an organic ingredient cannot be used we will always source sustainable natural alternatives
Bioactive ingredients
We use certified bioactive extracts to ensure each product is truly functional by nature.
Natural ingredients
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.
No harsh chemicals
We do not use ingredients often criticised for their side effects. We never use parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances.
No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.
No animal testing
Our products are always tested on human volunteers to ensure they are completely safe and effective. No animal tests are ever performed on finished products or raw materials.
No mineral oils
Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petroleum are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used.
No GM ingredients
Genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms are avoided to ensure all formulations are as natural as possible.
Preservatives
Where necessary preservatives are used to guarantee product safety and shelf life. Only the highest grade broad spectrum naturally derived preservatives are used.

The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly; the lotions in this review are vegan friendly and 200ml in size.

Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.

The directions on the four reviewed are as follows: ‘Apply liberally to the skin. Repeat as often as required. Suitable for use all over the body. Avoid contact with eyes. Due to the ingredients natural origin, colour and consistency may vary from batch to batch. This does not affect the quality of the product.’

Virgin Olive Oil

Olive Oil Lotion Dr Organic

Properties

Aptly described as ‘liquid Gold’ olive oil has extensively been used for health and skin care throughout the ages. It’s a thick, protective, light to dark Gold colour with a subtle aromatic smell and usually fulsome flavours (as should be expected from such piquant fruit 🙂 and even better for you when left to mature). It’s suitable for eating as dressing or cooked and unrefined varieties will solidify in less than room temperature. Along with its nutritional benefits it is known for protecting skin from signs of aging/weather beating and turning hair into a beautiful, soft, shiny mane. It is suitable for everyday use as well as top ups and deep moisturizing treatments.

Cold pressed olive oil is rich in Oleic Acid (omega-9 fatty acid) which is a powerful antioxidant and has the ability to sink in past the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to give a long lasting moisturizing and nourishing affect whilst improving the overall condition of the skin in general promoting a more youthful looking and supple texture.

Consistency

I’ve used 3 bottles of this and have found the look and feel to be consistent; the lotion is a thick White-Ivory cream which feels smooth and rich and has a subtle olive smell. It is somewhat greasy to the touch and takes a bit of time and massaging to sink in fully. It’s not heavy but does make an effective night cream and when used in a pea sized quantity it is fine for day wear underneath make up.

How Well It Works – Instant Tan?

As with olive oil in general I find that it makes my skin appear darker and continues to do so until I stop using it and switch to something else. I already have a medium skin tone and on top of that I tan easily even in the Winter sun so I find that this does make me look olive Brown. That could be advantageous to those wanting to look darker or top up their tans but as I don’t currently have two foundations for my skin when tanned and untanned I prefer to use this for my hands and body rather than neck and face.

In regards to moisturizing I find this gently and slowly ‘healing’/soothing in that it doesn’t hydrate in an instant and dramatic way but softens, tones and nourishes my skin in a gradual, long lasting way. It’s particularly good for ‘plumping’ skin so don’t be afraid to try it around the eyes and mouth :-).

As aforementioned this makes a good night cream if a sufficient amount is used but it can be worn (without makeup) either with a two pea sized amounts left to sink in or one at a time as a top up throughout the day.

Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Dicaprylyl Ether, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isocetyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tocopherol/Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Ribes Nigrum, Parfum, Olea Europaea Leaf Extract, Citrus Medical Limonum Peel Extract, Vitis Vinifera Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Leaf Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare Seed Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal.

Price

£6.19 at Holland & Barrett 

Pomegranate

Pomegranate Dr Organic Lotion

Properties

Thought to have originated in Iran (née Persia) pomegranates have an interesting history for both cultural, health and food use e.g. from the trapping/separating of the beautiful Persephone and Demeter to medicinal use in ancient Egypt and India. Pomegranates have a high level of vitamins and antioxidants providing anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It has become very popular recently as a superfruit and as such can be found in all types of skin care products from moisturizers to sun protection.

In the Dr Organic lotion it sits complimentary amongst aloe vera, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, sunflower oil, and Irish moss and yet still stands out with a wow factor justifying the ‘pomegranate’ label.

Consistency

It is a very White thick cream with a silky feel and smooth texture but the first thing I noticed was the smell… Wow, it’s a very heady and invigorating smell with a powerful affect on the senses. It may have been partly because I hadn’t had any fresh fruit in many weeks at the time but the exotic and very fruity scent really elicited the satisfied sensation of having eaten fruit (akin to how the smell of pure cocoa butter can satisfy chocolate cravings). That said every subsequent time I used it the fragrance was still strong and revitalizing.

How Well It Works

The pomegranate lotion works well for day wear as it absorbs quickly and easily which is helpful for makeup wearers and for those who like to top up. As a night lotion it works well but would not see you through ’til morning so best to pair it a small amount of base oil.

Overall I’d say it’s not as moisturizing as the olive lotion but is super hydrating and helps to ‘wake up’ the skin. It softens the skin, makes it slightly radiant, slightly tautens the skin but doesn’t plump so I prefer to use this in warm weather.

Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glycerin, Isocetyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Punica Granatum Extract, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Xanthan Gum, Aroma, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Citric acid, Citronellol, Limonene, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool.

Price £7.19 at Holland & Barrett

Moroccan Argan

Moroccan Argan Oil Dr Organic Skin Lotion

Properties

I went into detail about Argan oil HERE and so was glad to see Dr Organic specifying their products with the locality ‘Moroccan Argan oil’ since it’s a protected and difficult process to grow and extract argan oil and the work done there is helping local humane initiatives and in particular the independence and respect of women and their place in home/society. Dr Organic was the first brand I saw doing this.

Argan oil has a long history in the Mediterranean as a wholesome and nutritious source of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids making it appealing for skin maintenance/improvement and culinary uses. Akin to the pomegranate it has made a modern impact as a cosmetic ‘wonder’ and is what I consider to be a ‘light’ oil in both colour and body yet still rich.

This particular Dr Organic lotion has an extra abundance of amazing ingredients including Kigelia fruit extract, Roselle flower extract, baobab fruit extract, orange fruit oil, clove leaf oil, Geranium oil, lemon peel Oil, Patchouli oil, cinnamon leaf oil, Rosewood oil, wild mint oil, mandarin peel oil, vanilla fruit extract and spearmint oil. Can you say powerhouse? A list like that paints a picture of the best of both worlds, exotic and local in an evocative yet comfortable dance.

Consistency

True to form/brand I found the lotion to be a thick White cream, soft and smooth in texture and this time with a less discernible smell which I would hazard to say is an acquired taste. I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t like it either. Unfortunately I found the absorbency of this lotion to be very poor, not only taking a long time but being very uneven.

How Well It Works – Instant Face Lift?

I was quite surprised at the use of citrus and strong/’refreshing’ herb oils in the ingredients list and so had uncertain yet hopeful expectations and found likewise the results to be mixed.

Personally I could not use this on my face, a sad realization after numerous fruitless attempts because even though it really tightens the skin and ‘lifts’ the forehead/eyes with a surprisingly good hold it just would not sink in evenly. I had to use less than what I would normally just to be ‘safe’ but even when it finally sunk in it would leave patches all over regardless of how evenly I tried to put it on. The patches were random as well, changing each time I tried it so I wouldn’t think that the T-Zone is a factor. Strangely it absorbed just fine elsewhere on the body.

In places other than the face and neck (where it leaves less visible but still noticeable residue) the lotion sinks in ok and softens nicely. I would say it softens similarly to the olive though not long lasting and not as invigorating as the pomegranate but still refreshing hence it was a happy medium.

Ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Aqua, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) butter, Glycerin, Coco-caprylate, Glyceryl stearate, Cetearyl alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 dicitrate/stearate, Sodium magnesium silicate, Argania spinosa (Argan) oil, Xanthan gum, Sodium stearoyl glutamate, Kigelia Africana fruit extract, Hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract, Adansonia digitata fruit extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis, Eugenia caryophyllus (Clove) leaf oil, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) oil, Citrus limon peel oil, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) oil, Cinnamomumzeylanicum (Cinnamon) leaf oil, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) oil, Mentha arvensis herb oil, Citrus nobilis (Mandarin) peel oil, Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) fruit extract, Mentha spicata herb oil, Sodium phytate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium dehydroacetate, Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid, Citric acid, Limonene, Eugenol, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, Benzyl benzoate.

Price £6.99 at Holland & Barrett

Vitamin E

Vitamin E Sunflower Dr Organic Skin Lotion

Properties – What is Vitamin E?

I find the use of names/terms like Vitamin A & E (ahem) to be somewhat vague as product titles and even with the rampant use of such in the cosmetics industry I still find the idea ambiguous because on first impression I’m not sure what I’m getting. That said with healthier options such as Dr Organics I first assume (before reading the ingredients list) that the ingredients have a higher level of said ‘ name’ and in their combination contain or will produce more of the said ‘name’ than the other products from the same brand. I generally know the term ‘Vitamin E’ to apply to a group of health promoting compounds rather than a single vitamin, it’s also a fat soluble nutrient and an antioxidant. That infers to me that it’s a healthy fat (obviously if consumed consciously as part of a lifestyle/diet read up on the possible effects of large quantities and remember that fats are used for many functions in the body not just affecting weight) which is easily broken down and helps prevent oxidization in the body which can lead to degenerative effects such as the ever dreaded aging but also health maladies. With a little research I’ve found that Vitamin E is linked to a healthy immune system, hair and eyes.

As a now common term in the skin care industry Dr Organic describes it ‘as a moisturiser it helps combat premature skin aging and also protects and soothes dry dehydrated and sun exposed skin. It also restores elasticity and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections by increasing hydration.’

Consistency

It is a pure White thick cream which once spread on the palms of my hands looks and feels slightly oily but ‘instantly’ absorbs, yes it’s very fast. I can use it and then type in practically no time at all without leaving grease stains or feeling sticky. This is an excellent quality for daily use and traveling.

I noticed that the Dr Organic website points out that this lotion is fragrance free and usually I see that as meaning not artificially ‘enhanced’ with fragrance/perfume and hence relying on the natural scents of the ingredients or having a mild/subdued smell. However that could apply to all of the lotions of theirs I’ve tried so I’m not sure why it’s described as fragrance free especially as it does have a smell, and a lovely one at that. It’s hard to describe other than it is pleasant and not too strong, almost like a sweet citrus smell.

How Well It Works

I find it moisturizes the facial skin very well with a nice softening both visual and felt. It does the same with the hands but in this weather it takes quite a bit or repeated use to make them visibly softer. I can tell from the way it softens and makes my hands feel smoother/silkier that if formulated as a hand cream specifically I would buy it and it would probably become a staple. As it is I would absolutely love it in warm weather where it would probably make my hands look years younger but right now it’s being hampered by the cold.

It is thick enough to be worn by itself without adding a thin coating of oil and for those wearing make up a thin layer will suffice and dries quick enough to wear foundation or powder over it without it interfering and making lines/runs, blobs or pushing up dry skin. If applied liberally it can also make do as a night cream. On the face I find it has a mildly toning and lifting effect and overall is it very refreshing/hydrating.

Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glycerin, Isocetyl Palmitate, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Xanthan Gum, Aroma, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Limonene, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool.

Price £6.29 at Holland & Barrett 

The packaging – Mainly a Disadvantage

For the packaging junkies and connoisseurs out there for whom the casing can make or break a decision, the images and overall look of Dr Organic products (in my opinion) is very professional, clear and sleek. Just the right balance of minimalist and vibrant/vivid colour as well as informative so not embarrassing to have displayed in one’s home ;-).

On the downside I find their packaging to be quite heavy/bulky and for some products less could be more making it easier on you and recycling. The lotions come in the form of squeezy containers, very thick plastic which is very secure against damage and spillage but a pain once you’ve used half of it and have to put more effort into getting the product out. I generally find that for hand/face use a bottle will last approx 2 months and 1 month with body use and when I get to the point where squeezing the bottle yields nothing and it feels much lighter in weight telling me it’s ready for the bin it’s actually concealing a lot more. Thankfully my suspicious mind aided me into checking the first bottle I bought. Be prepared with a strong pair of scissors as the lid will just not come off, not even with consistent effort lol so I always have to cut off the top half to reveal at least 1-2 week’s worth of lotion throughout the innards that would be an absolute waste to unconsciously throw away. Note – remember to cover the chopped bottle halves or place them in a container to prevent the lotion drying up and going hard before you can finish it.

Conclusion

In the last year I’ve noticed that The Dr Organic products have pretty much taken over and extended (and arguably enhanced though monopolized) the cosmetic shelves at H&B. What has dwindled in brand variety though has increased in product type; from memory H&B have not had such a wide range of skincare products before and upon speaking to staff in smaller stores I’ve learned that they had to make space for them by decreasing or removing less popular products which is of course a nuisance for those reliant on them (I now have to shop purely online for some items that were on the hitlist) but helpful as an alternative to pharmacy and department store aisles of cosmetic chemical craziness.

To be honest I started purchasing Dr Organic lotions out of necessity when I didn’t have internet access or was outside of cosmopolitan circumstances within which I could hunt down products in local shopping districts. Thankfully in my experience there is always a Holland & Barrett in a town or on a major highstreet and despite my initial reservations I resorted to buying a couple of the above lotions but was surprisingly and increasingly impressed and pleased with the results. The regular ‘buy-one-get-one-half-price’ or ‘buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny’ sales also helped in swaying where I spent my proverbial pound 😉 but overall for the size and quality the prices are very competitive anyway.

One thing I like about these lotions is that the first ingredient is aloe vera and not water; I have no problem with water of course but in this day and age it’s hard to know where it’s coming from, what’s in it and how/if it’s been filtered even in organic products. The additional use of coca butter and shea butter for the base help make these lotions thick and reliable. The ones I’ve tried all sufficiently moisturize and hydrate especially in the freezing weather, both as a barrier and boost for the skin making them a helpful and convenient highstreet alternative to hunting down appropriate lifestyle products on foot or online.

I look forward to which one I’ll try next!

Gallery

Tea Tree Oil not a Cuppa Tea.

WHAT IS TEA TREE OIL?

It is an oil with many medicinal properties, as with many oils it is Yellow in colour though pale and not as thick as many other oils but that said it is very strong and has an intense ‘cleanser’/anti-sceptic type scent. It’s one of those oil that appeals to the general public because of its array of uses and mainly because it’s commonly used as a headliner in many cosmetics from shampoo to deodorant. Its ph balance is nearly neutral and as it is non-toxic is safe for humans and animals.

melaleuca-alternifolia-tea_tree

Also known as ‘Snow-In-Summer’.
Photo: adriennenicole.com/ skin-care/ tea-tree/ what-is-tea-tree-oil

I recently ran out of mine and went to Holland and Barrett to top up. The usual sizes and prices are:

10ml @ £3.99
30ml @ £10.75
60ml @ £19.25

H&B are currently doing a buy-one-get-one-half-price promotion (which applies to all products whether shelf or fridge in my local store at least) and so I was delighted that I could get more for my money. I bought 2 x 30ml (30ml being approx 600 drops) for just over £16. I would have made a much bigger saving buying two of the bigger bottles but as I mostly dilute mine I don’t need that much. A 150ml bottle of diluted oil can last me up to 2 years. I blend 60 drops of essential oil to 150ml carrier oil which is as a general rule of thumb 2% (for small amounts 12 drops to 30ml). I’m no expert and there are different recommendations but 2% is what I’m ok with.

The H&B 100% Pure version comes in a dropper pipette dark glass bottle. Oils need to be kept out of bright light and heat e.g. sunlight and that is where the dark glass comes in as it acts as a filter and stops the oil from breaking down. To expound on that, oils only really need to be kept this way once ready for use/storage because they last a long time and people generally want the quality to be maintained as long as possible but for people who extract their own oils or use oil quickly sunlight is very enriching and purifying (e.g. UV light for purifying filtered water, or sundried fruit/veg) but after a while too much light/heat will go from building to breaking down and so oils are best kept in dark glass bottles (always handy to have some just in case you get an oil in a plastic container).

Advantages: Natural and effective, very versatile.

Disadvantages: Very strong, sometimes need diluting.

Summary: From skincare to household cleaning tea tree oil is handy to have around.

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

The Tea Tree plant or Melaleuca Alternifolia of the Malaleuca Tree is native to Australia and for thousands of years have been used by native Australians/Aboriginal people. They have a story about a wonderful lagoon full of tea tree leaves which cured many ills – perhaps it is an allegory for using the tea tree leaves, branches or oil in water for medicinal uses.

tea-tree-leaves-melaleuca-alternifolia

Photo: lalaessentialoils.com/tea-tree-oil.html

CAN IT BE USED UNDILTED?

For many uses it is generally diluted in a carrier oil, a ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oil is an all round oil that is mild/gentle (though not without their own excellent properties) in which a stronger oil can blend and sit with nicely to make it safer for use. I tend to use sweet almond oil as it is fairly easy to find and inexpensive as well soothing and moisturizing. I’ve read that grapeseed oil and fractionised coconut oil (fractionised meaning it will stay a liquid and won’t constantly turn back to its more solid lard looking state) but I like to eat my grapeseed oil and I only use solid coconut oil (which I also like eat). They are also more expensive than sweet almond oil and as oils tend to last for years if kept in their containers and in cool, fairly dark places I don’t worry about any of them going off/rancid. Other common and affordable carrier oils are jojoba and olive oil.

Tea Tree oil can be used undiluted in very small amounts on localised areas e.g a drop or two on cotton wool to apply to mild spots, shallow cuts and cold sores. It can also be applied directly via the dropper onto more aggressive versions of the former and onto things like blisters, verrucas and warts (I will go into more detail on its uses later).

WHY IS IT CALLED TEA TREE OIL WHEN IT’S NOT A TEA?

I found that confusing as well, at first I wondered if it was the oil from the tea plants we commonly use to get tea from (as seen in the tea fields of Asia often seen in adverts and on packaging) but it’s not, there is a ‘tea oil’ that comes from the seeds of that plant, Camillia Sinensis, but this is not it.

Apparently the generic and confusing name is Captain Cook’s fault. When he ‘discovered’ or travelled to Australia in 1770 he came across groves of these trees and natives making tea out of it and so he called them ‘tea trees’ – or maybe he just saw the steam (distillation) and thought they were making tea when really they were extracting the oil. Supposedly he and his group did make a spicy tea and learned to do so from the Aborigines though on our side of the world it is not recommended to take it internally, neither diluted or and especially not undiluted, but perhaps the Aborigines had/still have a tea making recipe for it.

ITS PROPERTIES

Anti-bacteriaI, anti-fungal , anti-inflammation, anti-microbial, anti-sceptic, anti-viral and an insect repellent – you can see why it was such a hit in the hot and humid climate of Australia (Queensland and New South Wales) not only with the native peoples but the later settlers.

Balsamic:  The Tea Tree plant and oil is balsamic as Capt Cook saw the thick sticky substance all over them, meaning that it heals and soothes/calms/cools. As a balsam it can be used as a base for medicines and perfumes.

Cicatrisant:  This might not sound so appealing but sometimes it is necessary for speed. This property means that tea tree oil closes and heals shallow cuts/wounds/non-poisonous insect bites or simply broken skin by the encouraging the formation of scar tissue as a preventative layer against infection. That said it  works both ways as it can also be used for scar reduction.

Expectorant:  Encourages your respiratory passages to expel liquids/mucus causing or perpetuating things like colds, flu and bronchitis.

Stimulant:  It can stimulate hormone secretions, improve blood circulation and encourage it to move to the area where tea tree oil had been added.

Sudorific:  Causes sweating which can be very helpful for expelling toxins, hydrating the skin and cooling it.

THINGS I USE IT FOR

SKIN & HAIR:

General Spots:  A single drop either on a cotton bud or directly onto the spot should zap it in no time.

Breakouts:  A couple of drops added to my cleanser and then a couple added to my moisturiser for good measure. OR regular cleaning and then applying diluted tea tree oil all over the affected area/face.

Acne:  I was a bit more liberal with this one, approx 20-30 drops added to a bottle of face wash.

For spots and acne – remember that much of these conditions are caused by lifestyle habits such as diet, cleansing and how much we are out and about in polluted environments, even stress can cause them. Tea Tree oil can help topically by reducing or clearing the symptom but it can also help the skin by boosting your immunity and deeply moisturising. However its efficiency is decreased if the above issues aren’t also changed or reduced.

Lip Balm:  I’ve used 1 drop added to chapsticks and left to sink in. 2 drops to little pots of lip balm and mixed. I find this very helpful in cold weather.

Cold Sores:  As with all cold sores it takes a bit of work. On new/not fully developed cold sores I’ve directly applied 1 drop to the affected area and repeated 3 times a day. I’ve found it reduced the usual cold sore period of from approx a week to 3ish days. Before I knew about this technique I used to apply salt to the area, leave and refresh it as necessary in an attempt to dry it out and that would usually stop it getting too visibly awful. However now if I have a developed cold sore that for some reason I couldn’t treat early I add two drops of tea tree oil and repeat 3 times a day.

Moisturiser:  Tea Tree oil isn’t usually thought of for this property but when diluted it really does soften the skin nicely, and when I want a particularly refreshing and soothing feeling I mix it with diluted lavender oil (also diluted in sweet almond oil).

Sunburn:  I don’t often get sunburn but it has happened and I find mixing tea tree and lavender (like above) helps. For this case I tend to use jojoba oil or wheat germ as they are even more moisturising and add 1 drop of tea tree and 1 drop of lavender and dab onto the affected skin. On one occasion I mixed the diluted oil with aloe vera straight from a plant.

Hair:  Stress and hair loss = not a good thing, when feeling particularly stressed a good head massage with diluted tea tree oil can help strengthen the follicles and increase blood flow/help it flow freely around the scalp. This has a double benefit for those with dandruff as it moisturises the skin making it less flaky.

MOUTH & THROAT

Toothbrush Cleaner:  1-2 drops onto the toothbrush, leave for 10min and then rinse; monthly or bi-monthly.

Toothpaste:  I sometimes add 1 drop to my homemade toothpaste.

Troublesome gums:  1 drop of tea tree oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil in a cup of water, swish and spit, don’t swallow.

Mouthwash:  2 drops and a pinch of salt (sea salt or rock salt) to a cup of warm water, swish and spit, never swallow. For sore throats the mouthwash can be made and repeated 2-3 times a day.

Colds/Sore Throat/Congestion:  Steaming the face technique, I use 1.5 to 1.7l (1 kettle) worth of nearly boiled water, fill a pot/bowl with it and add 3-4 drops. Then I sit (stand at first until I get used to the heat!) over the bowl and cover my head and the bowl with a towel and breathe deeply for approx 10-15min. If necessary I do that twice a day; morning and night.

Replacement Vapour Rub:  2-3 drops rubbed/spread onto the chest and inhaled while sleeping, or 1 drop on the pillow. I suppose 1 drop could be put on the nose or above the top lip but I haven’t tried that so don’t know how/if it would work.

EXTRA

Muscle Strain/Soreness:  You know the feeling, if you over exert yourself either through general exertion or exercise your muscles can stiffen up for 2-4 days and you feel like you can barely move for the pain. I add 15-20 drops to a full bath of warm-hot water and half a cup of epsom salt.

OTHER USES

These are uses I’ve read/heard about but haven’t tried.

Superficial Cuts and Blisters:  Clean the area first and then depending on one’s sensitivity, 2-3 drops of oil can be added to a small cup of water and used to soak the cut or be sprayed onto it if you have a spare bottle with a nozzle. OR upto 3 drops can be added directly. OR If a bandage is going to be add upto 3 drops to cotton wool/ball and lay it oil down on the cut and bandage over it.

Insect Bite:  1 drop directly onto the bite.

Bruise:  If you don’t have any arnica ice the bruise then gently massage in 2 drops.

Toe Nail Fungus:  Up to 2 drops directly to the nail(s) and underneath the tip, allow to dry, apply once daily.

Finger Nail Fungus:  Up to 2 drops directly to nail(s) and immediate skin, allow to dry, twice daily.

General House Cleanser:  If you have a spray bottle or even just a regular bottle keeping a mix of approx 2 tsps of tea tree oil and 2 cups of water. Shake before using and wipe with a cloth to spread evenly. This can also help to remove mold and deter insects. As a better cleaner (not insect repellent) 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar can be added.

Air Freshener:  Soak some cotton balls, tissues, sawdust (large flaky type used for small pet litter not the actual dust type) or clean shredded fabric strips (these are also sold as small pet litter) in tea tree oil. (Soak as in enough for them to retain the oil, not cover them in too much oil where they drip.) Leave some out in a bowl until the air feels/smells fresher and then dispose of them.

CONCLUSION

Depending on the person and what they use it for the results of tea tree oil may vary but I personally prefer it to using alternatives with long lists of ingredients and processing. At least this way I know what I’m getting and without worrying side effects.

Tea Tree oil has been used since ancient times, with all those people using it and hence providing free results to the doctors and chemists of bygone days or those still living in places out of reach or even modern aromatherapists and homeopaths, I’m happy with that and continue to use it as one of my staple oils.

Gallery

Happy Foraging = Happy Dessert!

crab-apples-grapes-pears

The grapes and pears are just for show as they are not ripe, lol I couldn’t even make a dent in the pears trying to bite them and kitty now uses one as a football. As for the grapes they’re so sour that my puckered my whole face tasting one lol. At this stage they’re more like wax fruit functionally.

For those without a sweet tooth; the following will make an awesome tangy/tart apple crumble:

This is designed to give sweetness when the apple is melted in the mouth with the crumble giving off a subtle aftertaste of sweetness, I’ve given additional info on how to make a traditionally sweet one underneath.

Crumble:
8 ounces (1 heaped tbs x8) of flour
1/2 tsp or a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
4 ounces of unrefined sugar
4 ounces of dairy free butter

Apple bottom:
Enough apples to fill 1/3 in height of your baking dish (we used crab apples).
2 ounces of unrefined sugar
bit of butter to grease the dish or coconut oil
Enough water to cover the apples (or dairy free milk)

apple-crumbles-ingredients

Not all of the ingredients are pictured as I forgot the bicarbonate of soda for the photo and we decided on the milk afterwards.

Cooking Steps

1. Mix the all the crumble ingredients together in a larger than necessary bowl/dish; it needs space to dry and spread as you’re mixing it otherwise it will stick together too much and not cover enough of the apples. Once crumbly leave and allow to breathe. Mix either using a fork or with your fingertips – which is called ‘rubbing’.

2. Wash, chop/dice your apples.

3. Grease the baking dish and place in baking dish and mix with the sugar.

3. Either add filtered water to the apples (just enough to cover them) or a dairy free milk if you want it more creamy (and are lacking cream/custard to serve it with (hence we decided to use soya milk).

4. Place either low or middle height in the oven; gas mark 4 or 180°C/350°F for 45min until Browned.

5. Serve by itself, with cream (whipped or not) or custard or as I did – have with milk tea. That was the first time I ever had tea and cake; since I only ever had milk tea rarely as a child and in the last few years pure herbal tea only which I don’t like to numb with sweet accompaniments. However in the cold weather milk tea (dandelion and burdock – easy to make hedgerow herbs) and with the texture of apple crumble, it was very nice!

Voila!

BEFORE COOKING

vegan-apple-crumble-uncooked

Before cooking – side view.

vegan-apple-crumble-before-cooking

Before cooking – bird’s eye view.

AFTER COOKING

vegan-apple-crumble

After cooking – side view.

vegan-apple-crumble-cooked

After cooking – bird’s eye view.

For a more traditional crumble:

Crumble:
8 ounces (1 heaped tbs x8) of flour
1/2 tsp or a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
5 ounces of unrefined sugar
5 ounces of dairy free butter

Apple bottom:
Enough apples to fill 1/3 or 1/4 in height of your baking dish.
3 ounces of unrefined sugar
bit of butter to grease the dish

The steps are the same as above except you will need to peel and quickly boil your apples first to soften then before placing them in the baking dish. Cooking apples are normally used but with all the sugar and boiling, regular apples can be used if you want to save time as that way you won’t have to boil them, can use less sugar and cook it on higher heat for less time.

The more traditional ones don’t use milk either.

Note – I usually makeshift my own flour out of ground organic soya beans and butter out of the leftover thick bit from soya milk making (leave it in a bottle with a bit of oil and it will thicken and change to a butter like texture after a while) but I didn’t have any left and I had a voucher for one of my favourite shops so bought some instead.

Thanks for looking 🙂