Sunday, 27 February 2011

Our ingredients: COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma cacao)

Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao) is a pale yellow fat obtained from dried and naturally fermented cocoa beans. The beans grow on a small, spreading, evergreen tree which grows up to 8 m (26 feet) tall. Originally from the South and Central American rain forests, it is now cultivated principally in Ghana, Nigeria, and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Fifty to sixty percent of the cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter, which is used as a base for chocolate manufacture. The residue, after extraction of the butter, is used to make cocoa powder.
The polyphenols, naturally contained in large amount in cocoa beans help to combat free radicals. Ferulic acid and flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that fight effectively against skin aging process. This anti-aging benefits is supplemented by resveratrol and sterols, which provide an anti-inflammatory effect.
In cosmetics, it is used as an ointment base, emollient, skin softener and protectant. It is moisturizing; it lays down a protective layer that holds moisture to the skin making it a good skin softener.
In soap, cocoa butter helps make a hard, very moisturizing bar - great for very dry skin. 
In HAIR CARE cocoa butter easily absorbs into the hair and imparts sheen. It locks in moisture and helps protect the hair shaft.

Dark Cocoa Butter is created right after the pod of the cocoa plant has germinated. The beans inside the pod are roasted, carbonating the shoots inside to create its dark, rich chocolate colour.
Dark Cocoa Butter is slightly softer than other cocoa butters, and absorbs very quickly into the skin.

Plus, it smells good enough to eat!

AromaVille “COCONUT & COCOA BAR” soap

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Our ingredients: ROOIBOS TEA (Aspalathus linearis).

What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea is a naturally uncaffeinated tea made from the Rooibos shrub Aspalathus linearis, which grows only on the North Western Cape of South Africa. The word 'Rooibos' means 'red bush' in Afrikaans, and is so-called because when the green, needle-like leaves of the plant are cut and left to dry in the sun, they turn a beautiful mahogany red colour.
The rooibos plant is actually a member of the legume family: flowering plants, which also include beans and peas. This makes it quite different from conventional black or green teas, which are made from the leaves of the Camellia bush, part of the Theaceae family of trees and shrubs.

So What's so Special about Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, and has less than half the tannin of ordinary tea. Tannin is what gives ordinary tea its bitter taste. It stains teeth and can prevent the absorption of iron in the body.

Rooibos is rich in antioxidants, the substances that combat free radicals in the body3. They are anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic. Health problems that can be helped by drinking rooibos tea include headaches, colic, asthma, hay fever and insomnia. Rooibos is also said to be beneficial to pancreatitis sufferers, as it soothes the pain of digestive reflux.

Rooibos in cosmetics.
 Rooibos is also excellent for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. It soothes nappy rash and improves skin condition in acne sufferers. The tea can either be applied to the skin, used as a wash or a drench for the hair to relive dry, itchy scalp, or used in skincare products such as soaps and cleansers. Hospitals in South Africa routinely use rooibos in baths for children with allergic skin conditions, as well as giving it as a drink.
Our “HONEY & LEMON ROOIBOS” soap is made with strongly brewed rooibos tea. Honey and rooibos tea combination gives the soap a lovely tan colour and a sweet smell. 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Our ingredients: SWEET ALMOND OIL (Prunus amygdalus dulcis).

Sweet almond oil is cold pressed from the dried kernels of the almond tree.

Since Shakespeare's time, almond has secured an effluent position, even in his poems and plays. Having an early English name "Almande", the modern name has originally been coined through the Latin "Amandela". The oil extracted from it is globally known for its deep-conditioning benefits and gentleness to skin. All skin types can benefit from this oil; however sweet almond oil is especially beneficial for dry & sensitive skin.

Being a native of the warmer parts of Western Asia and North Africa, the Almond tree cultivation is extensively distributed over the warm temperate regions of the Old World. It is cultivated in all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean.

Highly nutritious almonds and almond oil were immensely popular in Greece and Italy long before the Christian era. It was during the Middle Ages, when almonds became an important commerce good in Central Europe. The ancient texts and studies reveal numerous wonderful virtues of the almond. It was chiefly valued for its application in preventing intoxication.

Cosmetic benefits of Sweet almond oil.

This great vegetable oil is one of the most used in aromatherapy massage. The reasons found are the oil's fine texture, is easily absorbed, and helps to leave the skin soft and satiny smooth. This nature's helper is a clear, pale yellow, odourless liquid, with a bland, nutty taste. The almond oil chiefly consists of Olein, with a small proportion of the Glyceride of Linolic Acid and other Glycerides, but contains no Stearin.
Having high amounts of mono, polyunsaturated fatty acids, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and Vitamin E; almond oil is also used as a cosmetic ingredient for softening and moisturizing. Being of equal commercial and medicinal importance, the oil is most valuable as a lubricant for the delicate works of watches, and is much employed as an ingredient in toilet soap.

Its regular usage rejuvenates the skin, helping to restore the lost skin moisture.

Almond oil is believed to improve complexion and add glow to even dull skin.

Working as a great lubricant, it aids in combating itching and inflammation.

Excellent natural moisturizing properties of this oil make it ideal for being used in soaps, lip balms, creams and moisturizers.

The oil is also used for removing eye makeup as it not only removes makeup but also hydrates and softens the skin around your eyes.

The mix of olive and castor oil, when applied to hair, keeps dandruff away, prevents hair fall, and provides warmth to the scalp.

Our “ALMOND CREAM” soap contains 40% of Sweet almond oil and 10% of heavy cream, added at trace.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A bit of theory: COLD PROCESS.

Cold-process soapmaking requires exact measurements of lye and fat amounts and computing their ratio, using saponification charts to ensure that the finished product is mild and skin-friendly.

A cold-process soapmaker first looks up the saponification value of the fats being used on a saponification chart, which is then used to calculate the appropriate amount of lye. Excess unreacted lye in the soap will result in a very high pH and can burn or irritate skin. Not enough lye, and the soap is greasy. Most soap makers formulate their recipes with a 4-10% deficit of lye so that all of the lye is reacted and that excess fat is left for skin conditioning benefits.

The lye is dissolved in water. Then oils are heated, or melted if they are solid at room temperature. Once both substances have cooled to approximately 100-110 °F (37-43 °C), and are no more than 10°F (~5.5°C) apart, they may be combined. This lye-fat mixture is stirred until "trace" (modern-day amateur soapmakers often use a stick blender to speed this process). There are varying levels of trace. Depending on how additives will affect trace, they may be added at light trace, medium trace or heavy trace. After much stirring, the mixture turns to the consistency of a thin pudding. "Trace" corresponds roughly to viscosity. Essential oils, fragrance oils, botanicals, herbs, oatmeal or other additives are added at light trace, just as the mixture starts to thicken.

The batch is then poured into molds, kept warm with towels, or blankets, and left to continue saponification for 18 to 48 hours. Milk soaps are the exception. They do not require insulation. Insulation may cause the milk to burn. During this time, it is normal for the soap to go through a "gel phase" where the opaque soap will turn somewhat transparent for several hours, before once again turning opaque. The soap will continue to give off heat for many hours after trace.

After the insulation period the soap is firm enough to be removed from the mold and cut into bars. At this time, it is safe to use the soap since saponification is complete. However, cold-process soaps are typically cured and hardened on a drying rack for 2–6 weeks (depending on initial water content) before use. If using caustic soda it is recommended that the soap is left to cure for at least four weeks.

Our ingredients: GINGER (Zingiber officinale).

Ginger is native to India and China. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means “with a body like a horn”, as in antlers. Ginger has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. It was one of the earliest spices known in Western Europe, used since the 9th century. It became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers put out small containers of ground ginger, for people to sprinkle into their beer — the origin of ginger ale. In order to ’gee up’ a lazy horse, it is the time honoured practice of Sussex farmers to apply a pinch of ginger to the animal’s backside.

The health benefits of ginger are endless. Ginger is known to have more than twelve types of anti-oxidants, making it useful for treatment of many disorders.
It contains essential oils, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, choline, folic acid, inositol, manganese, panthotenic acid, silicon, and a small amount of vitamin B3. Like other spices, it has aphrodisiac properties and is used widely for medicinal purposes.

Ginger on the skin can increase skin's radiance and decrease inflammation that may contribute to conditions such as psoriasis and acne. Ginger is an antioxidant, which means it inhibits harmful free radicals that cause skin damage and aging.

Improve Skin Tone

Ginger's antioxidant, gingerol, not only fights skin-damaging free radicals, but also promotes smoothness and evenness in skin tone. Blue ginger from Madagascar is a type of ginger that is a particularly potent antioxidant.

Lighten Age Spots

Ginger also has the ability to lighten age spots while acting as an energy-booster in aromatherapy spa treatments. Because ginger is energizing and is believed to improved circulation, it is often used in cellulite-reducing treatments.

Fight Blemishes

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which makes it a natural acne fighting ingredient. Ginger is also an antiseptic, which means it is effective in killing the bacteria that causes acne.

In our “GINGER” soap we replaced water with freshly squeezed ginger juice. It gives its unique warm, spicy, woody scent to the soap, which is enhanced with ginger pure essential oil.
The soap is superfatted with fairtrade-unrefined shea butter and babassu oil.
The soap is well cured with extremely mild lather.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Well, hello and welcome to my new blog!

I did it! I've finally started a blog!
I’m artisan soap and other bath and body products maker with deep passion for aromatherapy and essential oils.

I'll fill the blog with pictures, descriptions etc. of what I've been up to.