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Aromatherapy oils and their benefits

Where does aromatherapy oil come from?

Aromatherapy plants and oils

Aromatherapy plants and oils

Aromatherapy oils are produced by deriving natural oils from different parts of plants. During this process, steam is used to break down the plant cells that carry the oil. The oil and steam are moved to a cooling chamber, where they are separated, resulting in the capture of specific essential oils. Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from and have a lot of healing properties. Some of these include the ability to soothe sunburn and aching muscles. It is also known to relieve some forms of anxiety and it can even be used as an antiseptic.

Let’s take a look at five essential oils that are especially handy to keep in your home:


Lavender oil

Lavender oil

Lavender aroma has the most amazing smell. It is also the most versatile of all essential oils. Lavender oil has a light, fresh aroma. It is clear in colour and watery in viscosity. Lavender oils have lots of healing properties. It can help with various ailments, ranging from antiseptic to anti-depressant, as it also has a calming effect. It can help with tension relieve, as well as headaches and migraines. Lavender is also very beneficial for problems like asthma, colds, nausea and vomiting. Using lavender on the skin can help relieve sunburn, lice, acne, burns and insect bites.

Home care advice:

1. Add between 2 – 3 drops of lavender oil to your bath. This will help you relax and sleep better at night.

2. You can also use 2 drops of pure lavender oil, together with 5 drops of diluted lavender oil. Rub this mixture in circular movements on your temple area to help relieve headaches and migraines.



Peppermint leaves

Peppermint leaves

Peppermint oil has a very stimulating, yet soothing aroma. I like to call it “Mother Nature’s Icy Hot” due to its main element, menthol. Both peppermint essential oils and peppermint tea have wonderful properties. It’s used to soothe nausea and other stomach ailments, to perk the senses before a long meeting and to cool overworked muscles (thanks to the menthol). Peppermint also helps to clear congestion, relief headaches and tackle PMS symptoms. Peppermint oils are also very good for jetlag, aching feet and sunburn. If you apply a small amount of peppermint oil around the back of the head, just below the skull, it will help release headaches. Peppermint tea is a good remedy for heartburn, indigestion and stomach cramps.

Home care advice:

1. Massage 2-3 drops (along with carrier oil) onto your chest, or drop into a humidifier to help clear sinus and lung congestion.

2. If your head is feeling stuffed, or you can’t stop coughing, try a peppermint essential oil steam. Pour boiling water into a metal or glass bowl and add a few drops of essential oil (Eucalyptus and Rosemary are good combinations with peppermint). Drape a towel over your head and position your face 20-30 centimetres above the bowl, while breathing in the steam.

3. For jetlag and nausea, you can inhale 3 drops of pure essential oil from a tissue. You can also add 4 drops, diluted in a little grape seed oil, to a warm bath. This will revive you from jetlag.





Eucalyptus essential oil is obtained from the fresh leaves of the tall, evergreen Eucalyptus Tree. This oil has a very fresh and clean aroma. Eucalyptus essential oil is colourless and has a distinctive taste and odour. Eucalyptus essential oil has antiseptic properties because of its germicidal quality. Eucalyptus oil is used for healing scars, burns and sores. It is also used for treating fever and reducing body temperature.

Home care advice:

1. Add 3-5 drops to warm water and soak sore, tired feet.

2. Place a few drops on a cloth to remove stubborn stickers.

3. Combine 12 drops with 1/3 cup of Aveda Aqua Therapy Bath Salts for a spa-quality bath.

4. Blend 1-3 drops with 1 tsp. sweet almond oil and rub on your chest. Relax and inhale…

5. Use in a candle lamp diffuser to generate a positive, energizing space.

6. Add 2 drops to 1 cup water; pour onto the hot rocks in a sauna. Breathe deeply.

7. Use in a diffuser near your bedside for clear breathing. Now, get some rest!

8. Place 2-5 drops on the shower floor for an invigorating shower experience.

9. Place 2-5 drops in bowl of steaming water, place a towel over your head and breathe deeply.



Rosemary flowers

Rosemary flowers

This essential oil is produced by steaming the flower top. The oil is a colourless to pale yellow liquid. The name rosemary comes from the Latin word rose marinus, meaning “dew of the sea”, due to the fact that it originally grew along the Mediterranean coastline. Its delightfully stimulating aroma is best enjoyed in warm sunshine.

Rosemary has an impressive healing property and also helps with your nerves. Rosemary has always been known for improving mind capacity and memory.

Home care advice:

1. Rosemary Foot Bath: Add 2 drops of pure rosemary oil and 2 drops of pure camomile oil to 15ml vinegar cider. Stir into a foot spa and sit back and enjoy. This will help those tired feet.

2. Use the following for your dry hair problem: 20ml extra virgin oil, 10ml diluted rosemary oil, 2 drops pure camomile, 1 drop pure lavender oil and 2 capsules evening primrose oil. Smooth the mixture into your hair for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water. This treatment will help with dandruff and deeply condition your hair.


Tea tree

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil

Is an essential oil with a fresh camphoraceous odour and a colour that ranges from pale yellow to nearly colourless and clear. Tea tree oil is derived from the evergreen leaves, known for its healing and disinfecting properties. Tea tree oil can treat anything from acne and dandruff, to nail and sinus infections. It can also be used as a laundry detergent and an antiseptic household spray.

Home Care advice:

1. Use 2 drops of pure tea tree oil in a bowl of cool water to help with wounds, spots and itchy skin.

2. For that cold, sinus and chest infection, add two drops into a steaming hot water bowl, cover your head and inhale deep for at least 5- 10 min.

Make sure that you only purchase and use 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. You should also dilute essential oils. You can dilute them with carrier oils or water, depending on what you are using it for. If you have any health concerns, please consult with your personal physician before using essential oils.



Keep your skin glowing during the winter months

Spa Feb 1

As soon as temperatures and humidity levels plummet, our skin dries out as well. That is why our skin is normally drier during the winter season. With winter just around the corner, our skin cells rejuvenates slower, which causes a buildup as our circulation also gets more sluggish. Our skin becomes dehydrated, losing its flexibility and it could even become cracked, scaly and sometimes also itchy. Before you know it, your lovely summer glow is gone and fine lines are starting to show.

Keep your skin glowing

Keep your skin glowing

Don’t worry ladies! There are many easy, efficient home care remedies for dry skin, to help you through the winter months ahead.

• In winter time try more super-fatted soaps, in other words, soap that contains fats or oil such as cocoa butter, or coconut oil. Any other  harsh soap can strip your skin from its natural oils.

• One of the most important aspects of your beauty regime to keep up during the cold months is to regularly exfoliate. Exfoliation not only  helps to remove dead skin cells, it also helps your moisturizer to penetrate even deeper into the skin layers.

How to make your own fruity scrub

Fruity Scrub

Fruity Scrub

  • 2 tbsp. mashed banana• 2 tbsp. of mashed apple
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 drops of your own mild scrub

Mix together and apply to your face and neck in a gentle, circular movement for 2 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Toner is also one of the facial products that are highly recommended to use during winter time. Toner will help to refine, soothe and moisturize the skin. If you do not use a toner, it could leave your pores open for more oil secretion  and moisture loss.

• If you moisturize your face and body with a closed bathroom door, after taking a bath or shower, any humectants in your moisturizer can help to pull that moisture into your skin. Ceramides is an ingredient that pulls moisture from the atmosphere, into the deepest layers of our skin, which enhances our skin’s water content. This helps to boost hydration. Another effective ingredient to look out for is Selaginella Lepidophylla. This ingredient renews the skin and helps prevent water from escaping. Most moisturizers help to smooth out skin and provide a seal over your skin, to keep water from escaping, while also adding moisture back into your skin.

For added hydration, here are some wonderful masks to try

Avocado Mask

Avocado Mask

Avocado Mask

Avocado has extreme moisturizing properties. It’s good for your hair, as well as your face. Use a mashed ripe avocado and spread it over your face and neck. Leave on for about 10-15 minutes, before washing off with warm water. Apply a good moisturizer to lock in moisture.

Banana Face Mask

Mash 1 ripe banana and mix together with 1 tbsp. oats flour and 1 tbsp. honey. Smooth over neck and face. Leave on for 10 minutes and rise off with cool water. Apply a good moisturizer to lock in moisture.

With these tips you are sure to restore your moisture content during the winter months, resulting in a glowing complexion, even if it’s cold and dreary outside the house.

How stress effects your skin

Stress is part of our everyday lifestyle, that is a given. But did you know that stress can also have an effect on your skin? It causes a chemical response in your body and that is why your skin sometimes becomes more sensitive and reactive during stressful times. With stress, your body produces cortisol, causing your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This can make it hard for your skin problem to heal.

Stress can effect your skin

Stress can effect your skin

Stress can also cause the following skin problems:

• Eczema

• Hives

• Skin rashes

• A flare-up of fever blisters

After a long and stressful day at work, most women don’t feel like doing their normal skin care routine, which can aggravate skin problems even further.

Here are some simple, easy steps that can help your skin during stressful periods:

• Make time for you skincare routine at night. Cleanse, tone and hydrate. If you leave a mask on for 10 minutes, it also gives you also time to switch off and relax.

• Regular exercise is very good, not just for your skin, but for the rest of your body too.

• Make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy and that will help you to relax – book a day with friends at a spa and get a facial that will also help with your skin problem.

• Yoga is wonderful method for relaxing.

• Last but not the least ENOUGH SLEEP is also very important. Aim for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.

Spoil yourself with a skin mask

Spoil yourself with a skin mask









SEA SALT SCRUB to calm irritated skin:

• 1/8 cup coarse granules of sea salt (do not use normal table salt)

• A drizzle of apple cider vinegar (non-filtered, organic is the best) – it acts as an astringent

• 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint- mint may help with any inflammation present.

Combine salt and mint in a small bowl and drizzle enough vinegar to soften the mixture.

Stir to form a thick paste.

Gently massage into skin and rinse well with warm water.






A new start in 2014!

It’s the beginning of 2014 so here’s a few tips to end those bad habits and start the New Year looking good and feeling GREAT!!!!

Do It Yourself Detox:

Start your year with a good detox regime

Start your year with a good detox regime

Kiwi and Grape Fruit Juice Recipe

Mix 225 grams kiwi fruits with 70 grams grapefruit and 60 ml of water, until the drink is smooth. Both kiwis and grapefruits are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, as well as high in fibre, which theoretically helps clear the body of toxins. Fibre has long been known to help promote good digestion and a healthy body and with the added benefit of vitamin C and antioxidants, the drink is meant to provide your body with many of the necessary nutrients, while clearing out bad toxins. Many detoxifying drinks are high in antioxidants as they promote liver health. As we all know, the liver functions as one of the body’s natural detox organs.

When to detox

Most people decide to go on a detox after the December holidays when lots of food and drinks have taken their toll. It might be a good idea to use your own body as an alarm clock. Our bodies go through natural cycles, like the changing seasons. If there are specific times of the year when your body feels sluggish and bloated, it would be worth doing a detox.

What to eat

Changing your diet may be the most important aspect of your detox. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and dairy products. Drink purified cold water or hot water with lemon and honey, which helps flush your system of toxins. Try eating organic food during your detox. Avoid sugar and starches, as this makes you feel more sluggish and can also retain fat. Remember that fat holds on to toxins for longer than muscles do.

6 New Year’s resolutions that everyone should have:

Look after your skin

Look after your skin

1. Ladies, please leave that spot!

We all know that it isn’t pleasant to have a pimple and so many people believe that picking at it wouldn’t affect the skin. Sadly they are wrong.

What causes a pimple? An inflamed blemish happens when the pore becomes engorged with excess sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria.

What happens when you squeeze a pimple? When you squeeze a pimple, you may force the debris from the pore deeper into the follicle. This can cause the follicle wall to rupture and spill infected material into the dermis (the innermost section of the skin).

If you are prone to break outs, try a new skin product, more suitable for your skin type and make an effort to keep your hands away from your face.

2. Wash you face before jumping into bed at night

After a long day at work everyone is guilty of falling into bed without removing your make up.

Fact is: Old make up clogs up pores, causing acne and leaving bacteria on your face. If eye makeup is not removed daily, there is an increased possibility of an allergic reaction or contact irritation. This could also cause an eye infection, which can be painful.

• Your skin “fixes” itself while you sleep and if you leave make up on, your skin absorbs all the chemicals from the make up.

3. Look after your nails:

Nails are seen by so many poeple on a daily basis, so MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION!! Common causes of fingernail or toenail changes include trauma, aging, infection, and skin diseases. Diet is generally not responsible for abnormal nail changes, unless the person is suffering from severe malnutrition.

A good manicure makes a great impression

A good manicure makes a great impression

Trauma: Can induce horizontal fingernail ridges (beau lines), bleeding (hemorrhage) under the nail plate, and white streaks or spots (leukonychia).

• Splitting or layering of the nail plate (onychoschizia): Is caused by having hands that are constantly wet, frequent use and removal of nail polish or artificial nails and continuous mild trauma (e.g. from habitual finger tapping).

Spoil yourself by going for reagular manicures and pedicures. Invest in a good manicure kit and always remember to use a base and top coat!

4. Protect yor skin:

Our skin needs protection to keep it looking great!

• Long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin. To protect it, stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are at their harshest. And remember that clouds don’t block UV rays.

• Beware that ultraviolet rays generally reflect off water, sand, snow and any light-colored surface such as concrete, so be diligent in applying sunscreen when you’re around these surfaces.

• And in winter make sure to use enough moisturizer!

5. Throw out old cosmetics:

Anything over a year should be thrown OUT!! Cosmetics have a limited lifespan. Using cosmetics that are old can cause several problems. Older cosmetics may harbor bacteria that may lead to breakouts or even infections. The color in some cosmetics may change over time, and a foundation that used to work perfectly may become too dark. Some “all natural products” will also not last as long as other types of cosmetics.

Don't use old cosmetics

Don’t use old cosmetics

The recommendations listed below are guidelines

• Items that last for up to two years include face powder, powder blush, powder bronzer, powder eye shadow, lipstick, lip liner, and pencil eyeliner. While pencil eyeliners should remain safe for up to two years, you can sharpen the pencil regularly so that a clean surface is exposed.

• Cosmetics that should be replaced after one year include oil free foundation, cream foundation, compact powder, concealer, cream blush, lip gloss and nail polish.

• Replace liquid eyeliner and mascara every three months.


6. Exercise

Make sure that you get regular exercise. This promotes healthy blood flow and cuts down on body fat.

Have you got any beauty-related new years resolutions? Please share them with me!



You may not have deep frown lines or crow’s feet, but if you feel like you are ageing, chances are that it is thanks to uneven skin tone. Now, we’re not talking a sweet smidgen of freckles over your nose, but the bigger, uneven brown patches on the face, hands, décolletage and shoulder areas. These ageing dark spots are known as pigmentation.

Pigmentation means coloring. Your skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. If your body makes too much melanin, your skin gets darker.



The main cause of dark spots is from sun damage. Years of sun exposure can result in hyperpigmentation – the darkening of an area of skin caused by increased melanin. The extent of sun damage depends largely on a person’s skin colour and his or her history of long-term, or intense, sun exposure.

Light individuals – Dark spots from early sun damage occurring in light-skinned individuals tend to be more superficial, affecting only the top layer of skin.

Darker individuals – The most common pigmentation problems occurring in darker skin tones are melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma, also known as Hormonal Pigmentation, is a significant problem for South African women. It is a chronic skin condition that occurs on the face in the form of brown patches that needs lifelong treatment. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a condition in which an injury or inflammation to the skin causes increased pigment production. PIH occurs in darker-skinned individuals and like melasma, can be difficult to treat when it involves a deeper skin layer. The most common cause of this type of pigmentation is acne, but it also can result from psoriasis, a burn, or an injury.

Other factors that cause pigmentation are Addison’s disease, pregnancy, the birth control pill, picking at the skin, certain medications such as anti-biotics and it can be heredity.

One of the best ways to avoid pigmentation is to apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30+, which will block both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen needs to be applied regularly if you are outdoors.

Topical creams that contain alpha hydroxyl acid, hydroxyl quinine, azelic acid or kojic acid can be used together with a sunscreen.

If creams do not work there are a number of other treatment options available such a microdermabrasion, chemical peels or fractional lasers.

Dark spots on skin

Dark spots on skin

Anyone who is experiencing changes in their skin tone should see a board-certified dermatologist for proper diagnosis and to start a customized treatment regimen. There are a few home care remedies that could also be tried, although the success of these treatment options is unknown.

Home care remedy

• Peel an avocado, mash it up and apply the juice on pigmented skin.

• Mix a few drops of lime juice with honey and leave it on for 10 minutes.

• Massage cocoa butter on affected skin twice a day for about 2 to 3 weeks.

But as always, prevention is better than cure!


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