Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar Recipe ~ New eBook + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

Discover how to craft rebatch/hand-milled soap base into a unique and versatile shampoo bar for most hair types. Also includes a recipe for Rooibos tea and apple cider vinegar hair rinse.

Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar RecipeThis ebook began as a blog post…but it kept on getting longer and longer and longer! As I’m giving a recipe for a soap base that is somewhat different from melt and pour glycerin soap base, I feel as though more background information is needed.

I’m also seeing a plethora of nonfiction ebooks flooding online bookstores that, in some cases, are written by those with little to no knowledge of their topic. Therefore, for those of you who haven’t read any of my books or articles, I have actually made and sold shampoo bars, as well as soap and other bath and body products. I made my first bar of soap way back in 1998. I still maintain my Everything Shea Aromatic Creations website but no longer sell from it. If you look at it, www.everythingshea.com  you’ll see some of my articles about fine hair care, virgin coconut oil, moringa seed oil, etc. I believe in keeping people informed about natural soap and bath and body products.

For many years, I’ve successfully used shampoo bars. I formulate my own unique blends using hair-loving additives like jojoba oil, moringa seed oil, shea butter, goat’s milk, green tea, and Indian herbs such as amla, shikakai, and aritha. I’m not a cosmetologist. I don’t have a PhD in chemistry. I didn’t attend soapcrafting school. Everything I’ve learned has been done the old-fashioned way: by reading and by doing. I’ve invested loads of time and effort into learning all I can about crafting soap, whether it is glycerin melt and pour, or rebatching. When I first began working with rebatch soap, sometimes referred to as hand-milled soap, I wasn’t aware of the difference. I found out after waiting and waiting and waiting for it to melt in a one setting, one-quart crock-pot. Talk about slow! But that was how I began learning.

To pick up your  FREE copy of Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar Recipe, just visit these online book stores!
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Basic Aromatherapy, Part 3

photo of essential oils by lisa maligaBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2008-2017

Continued from Basic Aromatherapy, Part 1 and Basic Aromatherapy, Part 2

Aromatherapy In Your Environment

The following methods are for those of you who wish to be able to change the fragrance environment of a room, car, office, closet, drawer, etc. There are psychological benefits to entering a room that has the crisp aroma of citrus, or a subtle scent of fresh blooming flowers.

Aroma Lamps – Aroma lamps are either electric or operated by a tea light or votive candle. There is a small cup shaped portion that is usually made of glazed ceramic and holds a few ounces of water. However, other materials may include glass and stone. Warm or even hot water should be used; as that is less work the candle has to do. Only a few drops of essential oil are added to the water, thus making it ideal for costlier essential oils. Care should be taken to see that the water doesn’t boil away.

Atomizers – Requiring no heat, atomizers, sometimes referred to as nebulizers or nebulizing diffusers, disperse the essential oils on a revitalizing current of air as it passes through an intricately engineered blown glass chamber. This course naturally suspends and ionizes the oil into extremely fine molecules, causing them to remain suspended in the air for longer periods.

Many aromatherapist practitioners and others who utilize the finest essential oils choose atomizers. It’s important to be careful with the atomizers. Since there is a continuous mist emitted it should not be used for more than a few minutes at a time. Many of the models do have built-in timers to avoid any problems like overuse. Also, make sure that this is done in a clear area, away from furniture, [varnish can be worn off] wall hangings and other objects.

Candles – Candles create a more romantic ambiance and do double duty in helping disperse your preferred aroma[s] throughout a room. In the spirit of true aromatherapy, it’s advised to use beeswax, palm wax or soy wax candles as paraffin contains carcinogenic chemicals. Wicks should be trimmed, and the essential oils need to be added at the top of the candle, but never on the wick itself. You can add the essential oils after the candle has been lit and there’s a small pool of wax at the top of the candle. Don’t add the oils to the flame itself as oils can catch fire.

Diffusers – You can buy diffusers to plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, as you can also find those that plug into any wall socket. The atomizers suspend a fine mist of essential oils into the air for aromatherapy is the best method of using essential oils for therapeutic treatments. Many aromatherapists believe that this is the most effective method of enjoying the aromas.

Sachets – If you want your linens to smell clean and fresh, the addition of a smell sachet filled with your favorite aroma will create a pleasant smell whenever you open the drawer or closet. You can buy them already made, or make them yourself. Highly recommended would be a small muslin or organza bag filled with dried lavender buds and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Not only is lavender a universally pleasing aroma, it also serves as an all-natural way to keep moths away.

Carrier Oils:

The most common way to dilute a pure essential oil is with a cold-pressed carrier oil. Carrier oils allow the essential oil to slowly permeate the skin, protecting it from irritation. Jojoba, sesame, sweet almond, rose hip, refined rice bran, shea oil, wheatgerm, evening of primrose, grapeseed, kukui nut, sunflower, hazelnut, safflower, avocado or apricot kernel oils are commonly used. Several of the carrier oils can be combined and when essential oils are added, this makes for a very nutrient-rich bath oil.

Determining Quality of Essential Oils:

Read the label. If purchasing rosemary oil, for example, you would expect to see that name on the label. However, here are the four facts that you will find on any bottle of essential oil from a reputable supplier/company. 

1. Botanical/Latin name. In this case it would be Rosemarinus officinalis.

2. Part. What part of the plant has the essential oil been extracted from? For rosemary, that is the leaf.

3. Method of extraction. Is it an absolute, enfleurage, carbon dioxide [CO2], or has it been steam distilled? In this case it has been steam distilled.

4. Country of Origin. Rosemary comes from many different countries, such as Corsica, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, and France. Location may make a sizable difference for many reasons such as climate, type of soil, high/low altitude, etc.

Aromatherapy isn’t government regulated. Products can claim to be “natural” when in fact distilled water is the only untainted ingredient. Any reputable retailer of essential oils will be very knowledgeable about their product and capable of proving its purity. They will and should be happy to answer your questions.

Basic Aromatherapy, Part 2

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2008-2014

Continued from Basic Aromatherapy, Part 1

photo of essential oils by lisa maligaBefore 1993, you wouldn’t have been able to find the word ‘aromatherapy’ listed in a dictionary even though this art/science has been effectively used for thousands of years. In fact, the word was invented in the 1920’s by a French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé who studied the cosmetic properties of plants. He soon learned that plants contained organic antiseptic elements that worked better than inorganic antiseptics. His interest was further ignited when he there was an explosion in his laboratory; badly burning has hands. Immediately he poured lavender essential oil [one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly on the skin] on them and made the not so astonishing discovery that his hands healed quickly and with no scarring.

However, the usage of aromatic plants has been going on for thousands of years. From the civilizations of ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome, floral and herbal oils have been used in many ways from flavoring food and beverages to being poured into baths and massaged into the body.

The Romans weren’t shy about employing scents. They inundated their baths and banquets with floral concoctions from scattering rose petals on floors to anointing their bodies with floral perfumes. After bathing their bodies were massaged with aromatic oils. Their beds and clothing, bodies and hair were scented with perfumes. Even men scented themselves with balsam and cinnamon oils.

The natural healing system of ayurveda, meaning “science of life” was established approximately 4000 years ago in the Himalayan region. Plants and all their properties are a relevant part of ayurvedic medicine that continues to be practiced where it started and has now spread around the world.

Hippocrates is known as the “father of medicine”, and this Greek doctor was a noted advocate for the usage of essential oils, especially in the form of daily baths and massages. Resins of myrrh and oils of cinnamon were often applied to a patient to soothe inner and outer complaints.

Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils:

Pure, unadulterated essential oils derived from the leaves, roots, seeds, flowers or bark of a plant or tree are the source extracted directly from nature via a form of steam distillation. When you first begin working with essential oils, take care in handling them. Lavender essential oil is quite safe for the skin, as is tea tree, but some people can have allergic reactions to them. When handling essential oils, it’s wise to do a skin test. Simply apply a tiny amount on your wrist, and if there’s no reaction within 24 hours you are safe. As these oils can be costly, you must take care that they’re always kept in a cobalt or amber colored glass bottle and stored in a cupboard [out of direct sunlight] and kept in a cool, dry place. When you buy an oil, write the date on the vial. Most essential oils can last from one to three years. Citrus oils have a shelf life ranging from six months to less than two years. Essential oils can last for several years, but the freshness disappears. There are some exceptions with the darker colored, “heavier” oils or resins. Patchouli Oil is known to improve with age.

You should know about fragrance oils and what they really are. I visited an e-group for soapmakers and when someone asked for a company where they could purchase essential oils, a person gave the name of a company that sold only fragrance oils! Obviously, to this uninformed person, the terms are interchangeable. They’re not. Fragrance oils are synthesized in a laboratory. They are sometimes referred to as “nature identical.” If you’re looking for an inexpensive scent, then fragrance oils fit the bill. But fragrance oils are not therapeutic grade essential oils and never will be.

From personal experience, I’ve learned that sniffing an essential oil right from the bottle and diluting it with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba, makes a huge difference. I smelled my favorite, vanilla absolute, a thick balsamic oil derived from the pod of the vanilla plant. I determined that the first whiff brought out the usual vanilla scent I was accustomed to, but a millisecond later there was a stronger, harsher scent. I then added a few drops to a bottle of sesame oil and the change was magnificent! I had the aroma I equated with the spicy-sweet scent of a dried vanilla bean pod. The carrier oil had combined perfectly with the essential oil!

You should always dilute essential oils in carrier oils when applying directly to the skin, or even in the bathtub. This is a necessary safety precaution. Essential oils are very strong and need to be diluted. Also, some essential oils [and fragrance oils] may smell good enough to drink, but are for EXTERNAL USE ONLY!

Basic Aromatherapy, Part 3 

What is Moringa Seed Oil?

moringa seed oilBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2016

I’ve worked with moringa seed oil for a few years and have tried this wonderful oil, sometimes referred to as ben oil, in several skincare products. The nutty aroma is a bit strong but when a fragrance or essential oil is added, the scent is disguised. It’s also a heavy oil, closer to olive oil than lighter oils like meadowfoam or camellia—both derived from flowers. Moringa seed oil, whether from Africa or India, is derived from vitamin and protein filled seeds that flourish on the Moringa oleifera tree. The skin moisturizing benefits are the result of the fact that moringa seed oil is high in vitamins A and C, calcium and unsaturated fatty acids. Moringa seed oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal minor skin complaints such as cuts, bruises, burns, insect bites, rashes and scrapes quickly. It may also be helpful for purposes of tanning or maintaining a tan, due to being rich in copper and calcium, important nutrients for the skin.

The above photo shows the rich golden color of the moringa seed oil. Notice the size of the papery looking seeds.

I was in correspondence with Mr. Rayl, a citizen of Botswana, who first introduced me to moringa back in 2005. He wrote: “Dr Jean Baptiste the Moringa Project scientist called me and wants me to come down to the capitol for a visit and to take me to meet the only other person who is growing Moringa trees on a fairly large scale and selling the products, an MD who has a clinic in the south. He has 300 trees. He made a press to extract the seed oil. But I being a mechanic all my life know how to do that. I have a friend who has a machine shop so I plan to make one also. The moringa seed oil is great for cooking oil, also can use it in a lamp like kerosene and it has no smoke or odor. It also can be used on the skin. Can grind the dry seeds and use the powder to purify water. It is in the Bible about that in Exodus.”

During our two-year correspondence, Mr. Rayl wrote glowingly of the moringa tree. He told me how beneficial it was from the oil to the leaves to the seeds.

“Each part of the Moringa tree has their own benefits and vitamins, etc. The leaves, the seed pods when young can be cooked eaten like beans when they are a little older can be opened and seed kernel can be cooked and eaten in any recipe for peas. When seeds are mature can be roasted or fried taste like peanuts. The flowers are great steeped in a cup boiling water for 5 minutes and honey or sugar added. The root can be cleaned etc. on young trees a horseradish substitute but must be careful with that and not use it too often, I don’t really recommend that as that is the only part that is questionable as far as I am concerned. I have not tried it and probably won’t. We use the leaf powder on or in food every day.”

I bought some ground moringa leaves but didn’t get around to making a tea out of them. When added to melt and pour soap they soon turned dark brown, something that happens to most leaves. I found a supplier of moringa oil in India and bought a large bottle to begin experimenting with it. I soon discovered it was an excellent ingredient in any shampoo, due to those gentle cleansing proprieties that our scalp needs. Adding moringa oil to any liquid or solid shampoo is very easy to do. Like many exotic oils on the market, moringa oil has been used in India, Africa and many other Asian countries for centuries. We are very fortunate to be exposed to these wonderful oils and find out just how effective they can be to us.

I used to get my moringa oil sent from India. Here’s the link to the company: http://www.paritoshherbals.com/index.php

But if you want to find it on Amazon, check out: http://www.amazon.com/Moringa-Luxurious-Antioxidant-Rich-Moisturizer-Natural/dp/B00886YS74

Recipes that include moringa seed oil can be found in this book: How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars 

 

 

The Beauty of Olive Oil

olive oil
Olive Oil

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2009-2016

Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs; it contains vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find and even easier to use.

You probably have a bottle in your kitchen or decorating a table or shelf. This 5,000-year-old Mediterranean staple is all natural and has many uses. Olive oil is one of the safest fruit oils to use internally and externally. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Tunisia are the largest olive oil exporting and producing countries in the world. Olive oil can be used as a natural moisturizer for your skin and hair. It can be used to remove makeup. Rough elbows and heels? Soften them with olive oil. The same goes for those chapped lips. You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive department store moisturizers and creams if you have access to olive oil.

Why is olive oil so beneficial?
Olive oil contains natural vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. This is especially prevalent in the extra virgin grade of olive oil. It helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.

Shelf Life:
Buy small quantities of olive oil for purposes of skincare. The bottle needs to be tightly sealed, and make sure it is stored in a cool, dark location. Do not store next to your stove or oven as that can cause your olive oil to oxidize. Refrigerate if necessary. A sell by date should be on the bottle, along with the year it was harvested. Unlike wine, olive oil does NOT improve with age!

Cold Pressed is Best?
Cold pressed refers to the temperature during the extraction process and that no nutrient-draining heat has ruined the olive oil. A bottle of high quality olive oil will cost a little more than your grocery store brand. With olive oil you get what you pay for. If a bottle of olive oil from California bears a seal from the California Olive Oil Council [COOC] you can be sure it’s of top quality. If seeking olive oil from the European Union, look for a guarantee of quality. For each country it goes by a different name, and for Italy is known as Denominazione d’Origine Protetta [DOP].

Simple Recipes:
Hair Conditioner: Pour a small amount of olive oil into your hands so you’ll soften your hands and your hair at the same time. Massage oil gently into your scalp and work down to the ends. Put on a shower cap to trap in the heat and moisture. This can be done for about 30 minutes. Shampoo well to remove.

Lips: Olive oil makes an instant and 100% natural lip balm.

Nails: Dip your fingers in a bowl of warm olive oil for several minutes.

Skin: Apply olive oil like you would any other lotion or cream. Always start with a small amount, increasing as needed. It’s a quick and easy makeup remover. Olive oil is particularly soothing for your heels, elbows, and knees. For an instant sugar scrub, mix equal parts olive oil and brown sugar in a bowl, rub on your hands, and rinse clean.

Bathing: Mixing a teaspoon or two of olive oil with a few drops of your favorite essential or fragrance oil is a great way to smell good, relax, and have soft skin. Recommended scents: orange, rose, patchouli, lavender, and rosemary.

Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find, and even easier to use.

Use olive oil in this melt and pour  Seaweed Soap Recipe.

To read about another beneficial oil, here’s Monoi de Tahiti: Spa in a Bottle.

Article was originally published in the September 2009 issue of Long Island Woman on page 24 .