Thursday, 17 April 2014

Make Your Own Moisturising Sugar Scrub For Face And Body

Another super easy natural beauty product DIY for you. I was in the need for a gentle exfoliator for my face and body and really didn't want to spend a lot of money or buy yet another product that was too harsh for my sensitive skin. 

A bit of internet research revealed that sugar makes an excellent natural scrub when combined with a bit of oil - two ingredients I already had in the house! You can use any kind of sugar you like. Some people say that brown sugar is softer on the skin, but personally I didn't find white sugar too abrasive and I have pretty sensitive skin; give them both a go and see what you think though. You could also try different oils like coconut or almond. I added a squeeze of lemon to my scrub for the smell and also because of lemon's natural antibacterial properties -  a drop of tea tree oil would probably work well for the same reason. 

Make Your Own Moisturising Sugar Scrub for Face and Body 

1 heaped tbsp sugar (I used white granulated)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice

There really aren't directions for this beauty DIY, because it's so straightforward to make; just mix the ingredients together to make a paste and away you go! These amounts make enough for one face and body exfoliating session. If just using on your face, I estimate this would be enough for about five sessions. It's so quick to make, I'll probably just make a portion each time I want some - but of course, you could scale up the recipe so you always have some ready. 

I can't recommend this scrub enough - unlike a lot of store-bought exfoliators, I found it a real pleasure to use. My skin felt smooth and moisturised after using, and the scrub didn't trigger my skin sensitivity at all. As I was using it in the morning, I used a gentle toner on my face following the scrub to remove any excess oil. However, if I were using it before bed I probably wouldn't bother - my skin felt very nourished, not greasy - I just wasn't sure how well make up would sit on top of it. 

A really nifty little homemade beauty product that I'll definitely be using again!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Colour Block Crochet Cowl

colour block crochet scarf
I love that it's getting to that time of year where you can rebelliously think - maybe I'll only go out with ONE cardigan on today! Maybe I won't even WEAR tights! There seem to be more and more bright, sunny days in London and I'm really appreciating all the blue-sky goodness (though less so the creeping hay fever). 

One small downside of this sunnier - but still changeable - Spring weather is not quite knowing what level of clothing is appropriate. Will I be cold if I don't take a jacket? Will it rain if I don't put a brolly in my bag? It's warm this morning, but what if it's chilly by the time I leave after-work-drinks? Decisions decisions. 

For me, an absolute must to have in your arsenal for those uncertain-temperate-days is a good, light cowl. Not so heavy that it's unbearable to wear on a crowded train or bus. Not so thin that the wind cuts right through it. And not so bulky that it can't be crammed into a bag when things really hot up (okay, perhaps not that likely in the UK, but it has been known to happen!). 

None of the cowls or scarves I owned fit the bill, and I couldn't seem to find one that was just right in the shops. So I made my own! Using two balls of a slightly chunky yarn, one in grey and one in a peachy pink, I crocheted with one and then the other to create this colour-block number. Of course, one of the great things about making a cowl for yourself is that you can crochet it to your exact desired dimensions - and this one is just the width and length I wanted. 

I'm so pleased with this cowl, I might actually make a few more in different colour variations. Also, being quite a quick project to whip up (and only using two balls of yarn) they're actually pretty cost effective and would be a decent low-pressure handmade gift, I reckon. Perhaps I'll make it my first ever step-by-step crochet tutorial on Knitting on Trains! 

two tone crochet scarf

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

I've been getting quite into this coconut oil malarkey lately - smearing it on my face as a cleanser and moisturiser, adding it into cakes in place of butter...and now using it in home-made, natural deodorant. 

Good quality, cold-pressed (virgin) coconut oil has a whole host of health benefits attached to it, which make it great to use both as a natural beauty product and in cooking and baking. Here, coconut oil adds a lovely moisturising quality to this home-made deodorant, while bicarb and corn flour help to absorb odours. The tea tree oil has antibacterial properties (as does the coconut oil) as well as adding a subtle fresh scent.

Does it work? I was sceptical, but very pleased to say that - for me - yes it does! Application was a little tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it using this deodorant was easy (a couple of swipes seems to be about right, with a bit of smushing-arm-down action if needed to blend it in).

I've honestly not found this to be any less effective than the Dove roll-on deodorant I was using before, and I even got a smell test confirmation from the boyf (only slightly against his will). One downside I have noticed - this deodorant, like some commercial ones, does transfer to black clothing a little. If I were wearing a sleeveless black dress I'd probably avoid it, but other than that it works great - and any white marks come right off in the wash. 

You will need:
> 8 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
> 6 tbsp corn flour
> 5 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
> 10 drops tea tree oil 

Make it!
  1. Combine all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  2. Put the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden up.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an empty cream deodorant stick. 
  4. Smooth into shape and enjoy! 
This recipe makes enough for one empty cream stick and a bit extra so I put the spare mixture in a little tin to keep at work. Coconut oil melts with the warmth of your skin so, to use from a tin like this, simply rub with your fingers until it becomes liquid then transfer to your underarms. 

This home-made deodorant DIY turned out so well, it's got me thinking about what other natural beauty products I could make at home. If you've got any favourite recipes I'd love to hear about them! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Street Art Spot: Loughborough Junction

street art loughborough junction brixton

street art loughborough junction brixton

Spotted this striking mural a few minutes walk from Loughborough Junction station in Brixton, on the side of a soon-to-open tattoo parlour. Wonder if the tattoo artist(s) also painted this? Impressive stuff. Looks Day of the Dead themed to me - what do you reckon?

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