Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to read into ingredients on labels.

I've quoted Dr Oz on my facebook page, so you should avoid any products that contain petroleum jelly and mineral oil as they are by products of the petroleum industry. Using these ingredients is equivalent to drinking gasoline. Now that is really quite frightening. Another by product that is commonly found is paraffin, which is a wax used to make candles. If you love the ambience that candles create, avoid paraffin, it is no better than smoking. If you have children, imagine what you are exposing them to.

So there are three key words to look out for when you purchase a product

1. Petroleum Jelly (think vapour rub, lipbalm)
2. Mineral Oil (commonly found in baby oil, baby liquid bath)
3.Paraffin (facial bar, note no mention of soap)

It gets a bit more complicated when you read the ingredient list when they throw in big scientific words which may be good or bad, but chances are if it is good they will put the common name in a bracket for the product eg Cocos nucifera (coconut oil). It is more important to spot what you can and just avoid that product all together.

I have spent a tiny fortune on all sorts of raw material and with all that I have, I usually can make my own products and they are not difficult. I buy mica to colour my soaps, but the same mica (cosmetic grade) can be used as an eye shadow. All I need really is a brush. Sometimes when I am in hurry I forget to pack my make-up and when I get to the airport, I'll try to get some make-up to make myself presentable for an event I maybe attending. I will be eyeing all the expensive cosmetics, knowing fully well they contain some ingredients I do not agree with. So I walk off and go into the bookstore, heading towards the teenage magazine sections. You know what they have there, a free make-up kit attached to the magazines. I feel less guilty because once I use it I will throw it away. I am starting to sound really cheap here, but to me it is more about the principle. So even though these sample cosmetics are just the right stuff I need, I can't help reading the ingredients(Paraben another story for another time). That makes me even more mad that these magazines are targeting young teens. Shame on them. Time we take control and look after our children in more than one ways, help them to start caring for themselves and google around, they will be educated much faster than we would.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Making Quinoa Milk for Soaps to come.

Lately in the supermarket, I have seen rows and rows of exotic milks. What exactly is Rice Milk? I've had rice all my life and never seen rice with an adder :). Ok, my first suspicion is that the box contain rice water, the stuff that's left over from washing our rice, now how can I justify paying for that? But I was totally wrong, there is a soap making channel on you tube call Soaping 101 and rice milk is more plain porridge. 4 cups of water and 1 cup of rice, cooked, grind and possibly filtered. I am definitely not paying for that!

I did buy the almond milk and the listed ingredient is mostly water (including 7% Almond, agava (sweetener)and corn maltodextrin. I'm ok with the ingredients but of course making it yourself you'll probably could do without the corm Maltodextrin (my son is allergic to corn) and it will be fresh, fresh, fresh. Practically like milking your own vegetarian cow!

Quinoa is so exotic, I've never heard of it. I did a little research on it and it has been hailed as the as a food with "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide and declaring 2013 as "The International Year of the Quinoa." It is interesting that this seed has anti-inflammatory properties and also has a fat content. It can only make a great milk for our soap, so starting to love it even before adding to our soap. Why did I decide to go with Quinoa? I've heard hempseed heart milk makes a great milk soap but let's face it, buying hemp hearts is not going to be easy specially with our anti-drug law. I can almost hear you guys who uses hempseed heart on a regular basis screaming "it has no hallucinogenic effect!" and it does look like crispy cereal from the photos. Perhaps when hempseed heart is better known and readily available in my organic shop I will use it.
Making the Quinoa Milk reminds me very much like making soy milk. It used to be such a treat when my mum makes homemade soy milk. This cereal seems to absorb a lot of water (used distilled water for soap sake) and admittedly I did burn the first batch! NOT TO DO: Do not grind the quinoa in the pot and then decide to put it back to the stove to see if you can get it softer! I kept it like I would with making rice porridge, without letting it dry out and cooking under very low heat. Once everything looks soft, I pureed (using blender in circular motion) the cooked quinoa and let it cooled. With soy milk, it is very trick. During the cooling process, it may ferment and turn solid with a nasty ordor. So I was a bit worried with the Quinoa milk but thank goodness it cooled without any problem. I double filtered and squeezed the milk out with a muslin cloth. I don't think the residue will be scratchy when I turn it to soap but after all that work, I wasn't going to risk it. Those of you who makes oatmeal soap will know that the unfiltered colloidal oatmeal may be scratchy when added to soaps. So this is step one to our Triple Avocado milk soap.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hobbit's Feet

I have always been conscious of my feet, perhaps more the sole of my feet. I went out with the girls to get our medi and pedi in Bangkok, land of affordable medi and pedi. It was awesome, everyone sort of shut down and went into a zen state under the skilful masseur's hands. When we all woke up, there was this huge pile of dead cells and I felt I had set a record for the feet least looked after. The Thai ladies also 'oo' and 'ahh' about the pile and all my gf just looked in horror. This plagued me for years, my hubby wanted silk sheets which sounded rather sexy. Then we got into bed, all I could hear was my rough feet scratch against the silk, and catching on the silk....it was aweful. I couldn't sleep with my feet in that condition. Hopped out of my bed, I took out my handy file and I think I must have spend an hour getting it into better shape or maybe I was just too tired and put on a pair of socks. Those silk sheets never saw light again. I'm really quite comfortable bare feet and running on hot tar road, on cement floors and I have feet my mum calls duck feet they are rather spread out but I thought they gave me better balance, not! Cos I am always falling over. So fast forward, my 14 year old son calls me a hobbit. Yep, the one thing I did remember about the hobbit from the book was the feet. Don't quote me but the impression was thick leathery feet with hairs. And they don't need to wear shoes. Hmmm, there are some resemblance. You can see my collection of files, scrappers, pumice and I have more somewhere. They give instant relief but those sneaky callous does grow back with a vengeance if they are cut too deep. Need I mentioned crack feet (apparently its my love of walking on hot tar road that causes the cracked feet) And what about those plantar warts, thank goodness I don't have them but I heard the removal of them is excruciating and they grow back! I've 'googled' them and some looked like a tree branch or those stalitites and stalamites. It just horrific what happens to our soles. I for one, would like to have my baby soft feet back and bravely venture into silk sheets. Pamper your feet today. I think a gentle continuous scrub with a pumice or our pumice/coffee/himalayan pink salt works quite nicely. Shame it is black but the coffee will deodorize any foot odour. We are looking for something more scrubby, at the moment our pumice soap feels heavy, which I like, but I would like to add more scrubbiness to our pumice soap. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated. The foot balm, we love. I think I can see result in just 2 days. But I think I prefer it a bit more waxy (so back to the drawing board). My dead skin feels softer and it is easier to remove and I don't have that dry flaky look anymore. Share with us a story and if you like to join us in our quest to get rid of your hobbit feet, we can help with our feet balm and pumice soap kit. Contact us at feet.soapparadise@gmail.com To qualify you need to take a photo of your feet and remember only the hobbit ones will qualify. We will give you the balm and soap but unfortunately we CANNOT pay for the postage. For local residence, we can arrange a pick up. A weekly update is required and of course applying the balm once or twice daily is also required. You've got to use it, to get it to work. xxxxSoap-Paradisexxxx