Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Olive oil cleanse update and whipped soap

Well, its week 3 of the olive oil cleanse I've been using to try to reduce large, clogged pores. I feel as though I am at a stand-still. The first week I was seeing a very noticeable difference. Happily, the pores beside my nose are completely clear and much smaller in appearance, but the pores in my t-zone seem to have stopped shrinking and lightening up. I am not sure if this area will just take longer to heal since it has been a problem area for so long or if this is truly the end of my success.

I do plan to keep using the cleanse anyway, as I love my softened, less oily skin, and the benefits of the healing tea tree oil I added to my cleanse. It dries up fever blisters overnight if left on them, and seems to clear blemishes faster as well. I have only had one blemish since using this cleanse daily, and it was small and healed quickly. Whether it is the olive oil, the tea tree oil, or the combination of both, I don't care; it's an inexpensive, healthy system and it works for me. I read online about another lady who used it for a year and it eventually cleared all her pores completely, so check back in one year I guess!

I tried some more whipped soap making this week. Its so easy to do. Take your melt and pour soap base. Melt it and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add a few teaspoons of water and begin to whip it on low speed using an electric mixer (remember, once the bowl and the mixer's beaters have been exposed to soap-making fragrance oils, its best not to use them in food products again; I have extra supplies such as bowls and spoons used only for soap-making). Whip the soap until it is the consistency of frosting, adding a bit more water if needed. I find this is the trickiest part as once whipped, the soap cools fast and then you have a firm lump of whipped soap in your bowl. If that happens, start again by re-melting the bowl of soap in the microwave and whipping it...again. I had to do this quite a few times to get the consistency thick and frothy but easy to work with. I made one batch in coconut cream and another in lemon pucker. I dyed the lemon batch yellow and then layered the frothy whipped soap into my trusty Velveeta cheese keeper's lid, spraying a light layer of rubbing alcohol between each layer as I went. This dissolves any bubbles that have formed and helps adhere the layers together.

I placed a layer of the white soap on top and then used a spoon to shape it into drifts and mounds as it firmed up. I also added real sugar sprinkles to the top of the loaf. Some soap artisans spoon their soap "frosting" into icing bags and pipe it onto their creations, just as you would ice a cupcake. I am not that fast, yet. :)

This morning I realized I should've sprayed my mold with a light layer of cooking oil. No matter what I did the loaf didn't want to release easily. I even put the mold in the fridge for about 30 minutes to no avail. The soap log was stuck in the corners of the mold. I finally forced it out, willing to lose the ends if I had to. I did lose the corners and ended up having to chop a slice off each end to make the log look uniform. Oh cruel world, how I surely hate to take an end slice to try for myself... the agony, the torture, of trying out a delicious bar of handmade soap....however shall I stand it? *swoon*

Anyhoo, the resulting soap was cut into 2- inch thick slices that float like Ivory soap, smell very strongly of lemon with a hint of coconut, and look like a pastel parfait or mousse dessert.

Have fun with your crafting, and let me see what YOU like to do in your spare time,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

beauty tip: olive oil facial cleanse

If you desire a beautiful complexion only to find yourself staring at skin with large, clogged pores, and nothing else has worked, try this easy facial cleanse that Mediterranean women have always used.

Buy yourself some virgin or extra virgin olive oil and some other "healthy" oil like coconut, Castor, jojoba, etc. Coconut is available at Walmart in the cooking aisle, and is very inexpensive.
Mix equal parts of your oils together (I saved mine in a little jar in the bathroom). If you like, you can add a drop of skin-safe fragrance or even essential oils, but that isn't necessary. If you choose to add essential oils, be careful to only add a drop to every 8 oz. cup of mixed oils or you could end up irritating your skin (I know; I tried lemon grass, and put about 3 drops....set my face AFLAME!). Keep in mind that if you add scent you might not be able to use this near the eye area (and it makes a wonderful eye makeup remover as well).

Once you get your oils mixed, twice a day you'll wash your face with this mixture rather than soap. Wash with oil? you're thinking. But I already have oily skin...I want my pores to be cleaner and lighter and smaller; I don't want to add another layer of grease to my already shiny t-zone. I know, I know, I thought the same thing. The ancient Greeks "washed" their bodies with oils and they were probably beautiful people. ;) Stay with me for a sec: just as there are oils/fats that are unhealthy and should be used sparingly, there are also "healthy" or "good"oils that are wonderful and beneficial for human consumption. Those same oils that are good for eating are also equally good for external body use. Our Lord blesses us with what we need!

So go ahead and try it: rub a layer of these wonderful oils all over your face, paying special attention to gently massage them in to any area with large pores, clogged pores, blackheads, etc. Let the oils sit on your face for at least 2 minutes. Then, put a washcloth in very hot water, wring it out, and place it on your face to "steam" your skin. Let the cloth stay on until it cools, then repeat; this time rubbing it on your face in circles as it cools, to gently remove the excess oils.
It may not be an instant improvement, but stick with it for a few weeks and come back to let me know your results.

I have a hereditary disposition to oily skin and large pores. After hitting puberty at a very early age, I was experiencing loads of breakouts in 6th grade. My mother let me wear some foundation/concealer to hide the blemishes, but the cosmetics were actually clogging my skin in the process. I also am very hot-natured (and sweating in the humid TN summers with makeup on doesn't help at all).

Now at age 34, I am left to deal with what the bad cosmetics and genetics have left me with: pitted skin and pores that appear large and dark. I have tried everything from Proactive to "aspirin masks" to every scrub and cleanser on the market. As a teen I steamed, picked, extracted, and did all those other no-no's you're not supposed to do to your skin. Recently I even bought the Clean and Clear Eraser and started using it. It made my skin soft but it didn't seem to help my pores at all. If not for my son's own breakouts and clogged pores, I would've thrown in the towel. But he too, is experiencing the curse of his mother's skin, and being a boy, probably doesn't wash his face like he ought to. At least I have makeup to hide behind, but I hate to see my son's beautiful baby face going down the tubes.

On night last week I was again searching for some medicine, some cleanser, some thing to make our skin clean and fresh-looking when I stumbled upon this olive oil cleanse. I was skeptical but thought since I already have those oils in my soap making cabinet, I'd try it anyway. What could it hurt? At worst, I'd have a layer of oil on my face that wouldn't help me. But it did and it's helping me! For the first time in years, after only a week of use, I can see my pores shrinking, lightening up, and looking cleaner. The oil doesn't cause me to break out or feel greasy. it washes off well and not only that, my face actually feels drier after having removed it. Strange, huh? I find I am going back and leaving a small amount on my skin all night to take away the dry feeling. And get this: that oily nose I used to wake up to is gone. This is amazing!!!

Since I paid a small fortune for the Clean and Clear eraser gadget, I am using both, even though it might not be necessary. I start now with a gentle exfoliation with my eraser and follow that with my olive oil cleanse. I am making my son do it morning and night as well, also starting with the eraser, and can't wait to see his results in a few weeks.

A few more tips for those with breakouts and clogged pores:

  • If you MUST use soap on your face to feel clean, make sure it is real, hand-made, old-fashioned lye soap. It is said the the store bought soaps are made with detergents, not "real" soap, and have additives that can build up and make pores even more clogged over time. It doesn't hurt if the soap also has salt in it. My friend Vickie at Country Candles and Soaps makes a yummy clove mint salt spa bar and it was helping tame my breakouts long before I discovered this cleanse. If you go to see her online at her http://www.countrycandlesandsoaps.etsy.com/ store, check out her delicious and unique Bumblebee ballet salt soap as well (buy one for me too, and a matching soy candle to go with it), and tell her Lynn said hi!

  • Switch to mineral makeup. Even though my pores didn't shrink when using it, my face felt less oily and cleaner, and now I won't go back to regular cosmetics.

  • There are some nice maskes on the market. Queen Helene makes a lovely mint julep mask and a great (and fun to use) Grapeseed peel-off mask. I have to keep my kids out of it as they like to put it on and "peel their skin off" over and over.

  • Crushed aspirin masks work well for temporarily shriking pores. But if you get the dust up your nose, you will have about an hour of nasal irritation. For those who wish to try it: crush one aspirin, add water to make a paste, rub it on large pores, let dry, and rinse off.

I know how it feels to have to hide behind makeup. I know how it feels to want to have nice skin that looks good up close, and how much you want to "wear it bare". I challenge you all to try this for say, 2 weeks, and come back and comment on how it is working/not working for your skin.

Lynn, the Whimsy Lane girl