Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Alchemy Natural.
Organic, Raw, Toxic-Free, Non-Animal Tested Makeup.

I am so excited to share with you a creation I have been working quietly on the side of my other work for awhile. 'Alchemy Natural', my organic cosmetic recipe range, is my passion for all natural, toxic-free cosmetics that can be made at home.
I am a firm believer that our bodies when taken care of do what they do best without a concoctions of lotions and creams being rubbed into them on a daily basis. Our skin over many years of evolution is designed to function perfectly. 
I do not think rubbing ‘miracle’ creams into your face will reduce your wrinkles or make you look younger. The method of the fight against ageing is prevention using a good nutritious diet full of vitamins, exercise, protection from the sun, no more than a little alcohol and plenty of water. However for those of us who suffer from mild skin problems such as dry skin, spots, etc. there are natural cosmetics you can make yourself and you will know exactly what is going in to them. I can honestly say my skin has never looked better since I started using them.

For me, my journey into natural cosmetics started when I stopped using products tested on animals. The more research I did the more I realised it wasn’t just the an issue of animal testing but a matter of Sulphates, Parabens, Aluminium and Phthalates that I was rubbing, washing and spraying onto my skin every day. Your skin absorbs a lot of what is put on to it, so when I turned over the bottles and took a look at the ingredients lists on the back, I wasn’t sure what my body was absorbing. I have always tried to be healthy with my diet so I wanted to consider my skin too. There is a lot of talk about some of these chemicals in cosmetics being linked to cancer and Alzheimer's, however the UK is very strictly regulated on what is put into cosmetics, so some of what is talked about around this subject is incorrect or inconclusive. Still, if you make your own, you run no risks because it is completely natural. 

Using oil based products.
Most of my recipes are oil based. For those who are unfamiliar with using oil on your skin who may be under the impression it would make your skin greasy or spotty, it actually works in the opposite way. Rather than stripping the skins natural oils, it replaces them whilst taking away the dirt and stopping the skin from drying out. They do have a thicker, greasier texture which may feel unusual the first few times you use it but the wonderful thing is rather than sitting on your skin, the oil naturally absorbs within 5-10mins leaving the skin wonderfully soft. Therefore I am a user of oil based cosmetics, occasionally I use something called the oil cleansing method on my face and a home-made oil based moisturiser for my skin (as I do get dry skin sometimes). I don’t use harsh soaps and cleaners on my face because continually stripping the body’s natural oils from the face and hair is what keeps our skin and hair in a good natural condition. 

Oil Cleansing Method.
Is the process or rubbing oil all over your face, massaging and working the oil into your skin with your fingers, then leaving it to sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a hot wet flannel. This will remove the dirt whilst replacing your skin with fresh oil, leaving it beautifully smooth and soft.

Why choose to make your own?
Simple, it's cheaper, it's better for the environment because there is no disposing of harmful toxins down the drain, making your own also means less packaging. You will find they work just as well, in some cases better and you know exactly what is going in to them which is better for your skin and body. Also, there will be no animal testing. 

The Recipes.

Alchemy Natural Grapefruit & Beetroot Tinted Lip Balm.
3g organic shea butter
3g organic cacao butter or organic mango
6 drops organic grapefruit essential oil
1tsp organic avocado oil (or rose hip)
1tsp dried organic beetroot powder
15ml glass jar or tin
This is a tinted natural lip balm that smells great. Melt the cacao butter & shea butter in a heat proof dish over simmering water, then add your beetroot powder and allow it to sit over the water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat; add the avocado oil and essential oils. Let it cool for a for a minute or two before placing in the fridge for 10-15mins whilst it hardens slightly, then use an electric mixer to blend into a balm-like texture and place in your dry, sterilised pot. Use within a few months.

Alchemy Natural Rose Water Toner Mist Spray.
20ml organic rosewater
8ml organic rose hip carrier oil
1tsp organic apple cider vinegar
10 drops organic orange sweet orange essential oil
30ml PET plastic bottle with mister
For a refreshing smelling toner spray in the morning, pour all your ingredients into a sterilised, dry bottle with a mister and shake well. Use within a few months.

Alchemy Natural Tea Tree Anti-Bacterial Cleanser.
3 drops organic eucalyptus oil
9 drops organic tea tree oil
25ml organic witch-hazel
25ml organic Jojoba oil
50ml PET plastic bottle
This is a two in one recipe, it can be used at the end of the day as a make up remover mixed with an anti-spot skin cleanser. However if you do not add the oil and instead add more witch-hazel, it can be a refreshing anti-spot toner for the morning too. 
The oil works to remove excess make up naturally at the end of the day, whilst cleansing your face. The tea tree is a natural anti-bacterial and helps improve skin tone and clears spots. The witch-hazel helps dry up excess oil from the face and is an excellent healer of scars and cuts, so it works well for drying out spots and allowing the skin to heal quicker. I swear by tea tree as when I was a teenager I suffered from pretty bad skin. I tried so many different anti-spot facial washes, every single one made it worse until I used a gentle tea tree wash and it was the only thing that ever worked for me.
I use this everyday as a make up remover, combined with either a flannel or micro fibre cloth, which because it is reusable is better for the environment (plus disposable make up removing cloths have chemicals in them.)
To make it, simply mix all of the ingredients together, place into a sterilised, dry bottle and shake. The oil is lighter than the witch-hazel, so you will have a pretty little bottle with separated liquids, simply shake before each use.
Witch-hazel on its own can dry out the skin, so if you already have naturally dry skin I would recommend adding the oil. It should have a shelf life of 1 year providing your oils are fresh.
On a side note, I also make my own natural tea tree oil liquid hand soap, which also works very well as makeup remover and it does not sting the eyes at all. I will be sharing the recipe for that very soon.

Alchemy Natural Jojoba Face Moisturiser. 
20g organic cacao butter
15ml organic jojoba oil
15ml organic apricot oil
6 drops organic frankincense oil
3 drops organic lavender oil
50ml glass jar or tin
Weigh out your cacao butter and melt in a heat proof dish over simmering water.
Mix in the rest of your oils and allow to cool in the fridge for an hour, the mixture will then harden like lip balm but it will need to be whipped using an electric mixture to get a soft texture. Then decant into a sterilised and fully dried jar. Your moisturiser is ready to use. It should have a shelf life of 1 year providing your oils are fresh.

Alchemy Natural Rosehip Face Moisturiser. 
20g organic cacao butter
10ml organic rosehip oil
10ml organic apricot oil
10ml organic witch-hazel
6 drops organic lavender essential oil
3 drops organic jasmine essential oil
50ml glass jar or tin
This is the floral version of the Jojoba moisturiser above. The method for making is exactly the same. It should have a shelf life of 1 year providing your oils are fresh.

Alchemy Natural Sandalwood Shampoo.
120ml of water
120ml organic liquid castile oil
20 drops of organic sandalwood and organic Ylang Ylang essential oil
250ml PET plastic foamer bottle
keeps for 6 months at least
Coming up with a shampoo was probably the most tricky of all the cosmetics. In the photographs the shampoo is a lot creamier looking, this is because I originally used coconut milk in the recipe. I had tried a combination of coconut milk with tea tree soap and some essential oils known for improving the quality of hair, however this recipe did not work at all. Next I tried coconut milk with Castile soap and again the essential oils - I had read in a few places that this worked very well, but for me, not at all, my hair did not look good after. I decided to strip it right back and use a simple mixture of 2 tsp of castile soap with 2 tsp of water. After my hair was wet, lathering it in and rinsing worked perfectly, so from there I made a larger batch, mixing 120ml of each in a bottle and added my essential oils. 
One teaspoons worth of the liquid each time you shampoo is all that is necessary, it left my hair wonderfully soft. I haven't used conditioner in a long time, instead I simply make sure my hair is brushed before showering and gently work the shampoo into my scalp, leaving the ends as they are, no conditioning necessary. I know some do like to use Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water to restore the PH balance in their hair, but I have not noticed a difference in condition from doing so. However all hair types are different and if you decide to give this a go, you may like to use ACV.

Alchemy Natural Sea Salt Body Scrub. 
200g organic sea salt
1tsbp organic Himalayan pink salt
1tsbp organic dried lavender
1tsbp organic apricot oil
2tsbp organic walnut oil
10 drop organic lavender essential oil
200ml PET plastic jar
This body scrub is very easy to make, just pop all your ingredients in a tub and mix. I use it once a week or so in the shower to exfoliate dead skin from the body and leave a smooth feeling. Place into a dry, sterilised jar. It should have a shelf life of 1 year providing your oils are fresh.

Alchemy Natural Massage Oils.
Refreshing massage oil: organic jojoba oil with sweet orange essential oil.
Relaxing sleep massage oil: organic rose hip oil with organic lavender essential oil.
Therapeutic massage oil: organic almond oil with organic geranium essential oil and organic eucalyptus essential oil mix.
50ml of liquid you can use 17 drops maximum of essential oils.
50ml PET plastic bottle
Pretty simple, nice smelling massage oil, mix you ingredients and decant into a dry, sterilised jar. It should have a shelf life of 1 year providing your oils are fresh.

Benefits of the ingredients:

Carrier Oils:
Apricot/Almond/Hazelnut/Walnut: Skin conditioner.
Witch-Hazel: Helps with healing; burns, rashes, insect bites, cuts & spots.
Jojoba: Helps with acne & eczema.
Avocado: Boosts scalp health, skin conditioner & helps to heal wounds & burns.
Rose Hip: Omega 3/6/9, vitamin C, helps with ageing and lines.

Essential Oils:
Eucalyptus: Often used to help with acne due to mild anti-septic qualities, helps with congestion & insect repellent.
Sandalwood: Used to reduce lines & scars and to moisturise hair.
Jasmin: Said to help fade scars.
Ylang Ylang: Used to promote hair growth.
Sweet Orange: Used to promote skin growth.
Lavender: Said to help healing & sleep promotion.
Geranium: Used as a skin cleanser.
Tea Tree: Said to help heal sunburn, acne, anti-septic & anti-fungal.
Frankincense: Often used on mature skin.
Grapefruit: Used as an anti-septic, disinfectant & to help with oily skin.

Essential oils have been used in folk medicine since ancient times and are said to help with aliments. However, it is important to note there is no scientific evidence that essential oils can cure diseases and aliments. Essential oils have a great aroma which is relaxing and in turn can help to encourage sleep, relief from headaches and a general calm feeling. Their wonderful scents will compliment your homemade cosmetics and perfume, but they are not medicine and should not be taken internally.

Shea Butter: Helps protect the skin against UV rays, also helps with skin regeneration.
Cacao Butter: Helps regenerate skin.
Rose Water: Nice smell & helps with acne & inflammation.
Castile Soap: Good natural cleaner.
Coconut Milk: Helps nourish hair, works as a good detangler and conditioner.
Salt: Helps with exfoliation.
Beetroot: Good colour for dying & detoxer when eaten.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Helps with stomach issues, sore throats, indigestion problems, dandruff, acne. Can be used as a tooth whitener or anti-bacterial & household cleaner.

Why sterilise?
Whether you’re making preserves to eat or cosmetics, sterilising your jars and bottles is important. Doing so makes sure bacteria isn’t sealed in with your ingredients and allowed to breed, as this will compromise what you have made. Sterilising will make sure they are kept fresher for longer.
To sterilise, simply wash well with hot soapy water. Do not pour boiling water on PET plastic as it will melt.

Why PET plastic?
I always opt for glass jars or PET plastic for two reasons.
The first is that essential oils contain properties that break down certain plastics and allow their chemicals to leak into your cosmetics, PET bottles and jars are a good option for storing products containing essential oils because they have a high permeability resistance rating.
The second being that PET is better for the environment because it is recyclable and does not contain BPA. PET plastic is always used to store food and drink products.

Why Organic?
There are lots of reason to choose organic ingredients such as there are no additives and are GM & pesticide free, which means better for you and less impact on environment. Also the companies who make organic products are generally more responsible & trustworthy.

Where to buy ingredients?
I bought all of my oils & essential oils from I think they are reasonably priced and good quality. When buying essential oils you want to make sure they are 100% pure and not diluted. Other things such as beetroot powder, cacao butter, Shea butter and Castile soap were bought on eBay and the rest of the ingredients like apple cider vinegar and rose water were supermarket stock.

Essential oils should always be diluted at 2%, so for 30ml of liquid you can use 12 drops maximum of essential oils. Please note never add pure essential oils as it can create permanent skin sensitivity and allergic reactions.

For me this is just the start, later I will be writing about making your own cleaning products and more cosmetics such as SPF suncream, deodorant, toothpaste & makeup.