Friday, December 30, 2011

DIY hydrating herbal cleanser

It's been a while since my last herbal experiment!

Now that I'm in Thailand again, I've recently tried out a herbal concoction made with organic rice water and crushed up leaves of a plant called Thunbergia Laurifolia.  Currently, the benefits of rice bran on skincare are now widely know and accepted.  L'Occitane, Origin, Crab Tree & Evelyn, Fresh, the Body Shop are some of the big names to jump the bandwagon.  Found in Indochina, thunbergia laurifolia (Rangjued) is much less well known and still an unfamiliar name to most people.  It has detoxifying qualities and it can also be ingested. I took a shot of the cocktail, and it didn't have any distinct flavour or bitterness.  Don't think you can drink it very often, though.

I didn't know much about the thunbergia plant prior and sort of just jumping right into washing my face with it.  Having a sensitive-combination skin and mild rosacea, it was sort of risky as it could possibly cause major irritation.  Luckily, the result was a positive one.  The mixture was gentle enough that it didn't irritate my skin. After rinsing it out, my dry skin felt more hydrated and supple without any help of a moisturizer.


It can be used with cotton balls, using as a mask, or a spray.  I really liked the result and would use it whenever I get a chance.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just Got My Nails Did @ Modern Touch

Okay this is not related to natural skin care in any ways but it is still related to beautifying and pampering yourself. I just recently paid a visit to Modern Touch, a newly opened nail salon. Located in the south side of Edmonton close to Argyl Plaza, co-owners, Lan and Trish,  opened the nail salon together in November.  Both ladies have been working in the beauty industry for 3 years and still constantly practicing to improve and perfect their skills. Using OPI and Colour Club lines, all sort of bright bold colours and glitter can be found here, not to mention their specialization in nail art.  The salon is spacious with calming atmosphere with friendly and attentive service.  There are hair salon station, a waxing room, as well as a massage room that they eventually want to rent out.  Whether it's Minx Nails from Sex & the City you're looking for, or Harajuku style 3D nail art, the girls can create one of a kind custom designs that will make heads turn. 


 Christina getting her gel on.

I was really happy with my manicure.  It took around an hour but Trish really took the time and paid close attention to details.  She asked me what design I wanted and gave suggestions on how to make it better.  The hand massage was extremely relaxing and I would go there just for that.  The design turned out really pretty.  Manicure is $15.  

There are several grand opening promotions going on.  This includes 10% off your first service, refer a friend for $5 off, as well as 50% off gel nails. So give them a call at 780-428-1777 and come check it out!

Find Modern Touch:
on Facebook
on Kijiji
on Twitter

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fun and beneficial for the skin!

The mud festival in Boryeong, South Korea is not only a fun festival to soak up and get dirty during the summer.  The mud dug up from around the area are rich in minerals and used by cosmetic manufacturing companies.  Imagine spending all day rolling around in the mud on a hot day, and leaving the scene with a glowing skin!

Beyond flavours: Spices that make your skin glow

Spices are great for adding flavours and aroma to food.  They have healthy benefits for the body when being consumed and also used as medicine.  Though not many regard spices as being used for skin care,  spices have been long used in beauty regimen since ancient times.   Spice trade was a driving force for the world economy particularly in India, Egypt, South East Asia and Roman.  The ancient beauty secrets that involved using spices in the skin care regime had also been passed on.  Winter is creeping in and skin can get dull and dry.  These spices come in handy for exfoliating and are already available  in your kitchen.

Lets explore the skin care benefits of these spices:

Cinnamon (อบเชย) Because cinnamon is rich in anti oxidants and helps stimulate blood circulation, it is considered to be an anti-aging agent and a mild astringent.

Peppercorn (เมล็ดพริกไทย) for treatment of eczema and itching.  Peppercorn extract is often used in bar soap or body cream.  It can also be used on sensitive skin.

Turmeric (ขมิ้น) has been used for over hundreds of years as a key ingredient for skin care in South East Asia.  Its contains high amounts of anti-oxidants, and vitamin A, C, E.  Due to its anti fungal properties, applying turmeric is known to treat acne, reduce hyper pigmentation, and fight free radical damage.  Frequent use of turmeric also shown to brighten dull skin and adds radiance.

Cumin (ยี่หร่า) Cumin seed oil is high in vitamin E, and has anti microbial properties.  It can be used as a moisturizer or for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

Pandan (ใบเตย) Often used as food coloring and flavouring agent, pandan has a very delicious and comforting aroma.  Combined with other skin care agents, pandan scent is very refreshing and stimulates relaxation.
Ginger - Not only does ginger add flavours to dishes, it is also high in antioxidants and is often used for curing various ailments.  Some of its benefits include stimulating blood circulation, reducing inflammation.  For skin care, ginger extract can help reduce acne, lighten age spots, promotes smoothness and even skin tone.
Sandalwood(ไม้จันท์) for treating inflamed and irritated skin and acne, allergic reactions, adds radiance, cleanse and moisturize,
Aloe Fresh aloe has a very soothing and anti-inflammatory relief on skin. Not only is it a great cleanser, aloe also has anti-aging properties by offering more oxygen into skin cells, stimulating skin rejuvenation. See my previous post on more aloe skin care!

Ancient Thai herbal body scrub
Is your skin feeling snaggy from the cold dry winter yet?  This traditional Thai herbal scrub recipe is packed with vitamins which will hydrate and soften your skin.  It can also be used as anti-aging scrub to help skin stay dehydrated and rejuvenated.

1 cup sandalwood
1 cup cinnamon
1 cup  fresh aloe (or aloe gel)
1/2 cup pandan juice
1/2 cup warm water

Too much?? if you want to use only on certain areas rather than the whole body, you can cut the proportions to tablespoons instead of cups, and teaspoons for pandan and water.
To extract pandan juice, blend chopped pandan leaves and keep adding in water until a paste is form.  Squeeze the living juice out of the paste using a strainer.

Combine all the ingredients together to form a grainy paste.  Scrub the mixture well all over the body between shower.  It takes some time for the ingredients to get absorbed so grab a magazine, listen to music, get comfortable.  After 15-20 minutes, rinse with warm water and moisturize with body lotion with coconut oil extract.

Apple strudel body scrub

Whether you're making breakfast, or baking a pie, this recipe would come in very handy and it is very simple to make.  Not only does it sound yummy, but all the ingredients used all have benefits on the skin.  Green apples are high in AHA, which would make a great exfoliant.  Oats are great for holding helping skin hold moisture and are gentle on sensitive skin.  Last but not least, cinnamon helps stimulate blood flow while scrubbing.

1 green apple
1 cup tbsp. oat
1 tsp. vanilla essential oil
2 tsp. cinnamon

Cut up green apple and blend to form a paste.  Mix well with other ingredients.  Apply on desired area and scrub in circulating motion. Leave on for 10 minutes.

* As individuals sensitivity to natural ingredients may vary, remember to test small area with natural products first to see if irritations occur before application.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Protect your skin and hair from winter!

Winter is slowly creeping in and some may notice that the hair and scalp are affected by the changes in season.  Scalp may become very dry and flaky and hair may break and fall more easily.  Because the condition of your scalp affects the hair follicles, maintaining a healthy scalp directly correlated to the health of your hair.  When the weather is very dry, your scalp may also become very sensitive so stay clear off shampoo and conditioner with heavy chemicals which could strip even more natural oil or sebum off the scalp.   During shower, condition hair with natural coconut extract which are rich in vitamin E.  If you have time, give yourself a scalp massage while your hair is still wet with cold pressed coconut oil, or olive oil which are great for adding more lustre and soften to your hair.  Make sure to rinse out well after, or your hair will end up looking oily.  If possible, try to shampoo your hair less frequently during winter and avoid using extremely hot water as it can strip more sebum from the scalp and worsen dandruff.  Also, blow dry hair at medium or low heat high as high heat will further aggravate the scalp and increase breakage.

Coconut oil and moringa oil can also be used after shower as a great skin moisturizer and relief skin irritant as well.  Moringa contains antioxidants and is rich in vitamin and nutrients, and therefore, it has nourishing and emollient properties.  Because moringa contains antiseptic properties, regular use can help reduce acne and clear up blemishes as well.  It works well and is perfectly safe for all skin type, even sensitive skin.

Aside from treating the body from the outside, it is as important to nourish it from the inside as well.  To combat the dry weather, make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of water to keep the total body hydrated and well replenished.

Friday, October 8, 2010

DIY tamarind whitening scrub

Tamarind has been one of the most popular ingredients used in cooking in Thailand and other South East Asian countries.  Aside from adding flavours to dishes, it is also high nutrients and widely used for medicinal purposes. It is rich in fiber and vitamin C which helps with digestive problems and boosting immune system.  
Tamarind handmade natural soap 100 g

Tamarind is a perfect treatment for oily and acne prone skin due to antimicrobial properties.  High in AHA, tamarind can also be used as an exfoliant to remove dead skin, lighten skin tone, and reduce the appearance of blemishes.  Since the natural pulp of tamarind is very acidic, the facial skin will be irritated if applied on directly. Therefore, tamarind extract in natural soap or liquid form may be more gentle.  Nonetheless, natural tamarind can be combined and used on the body as a perfect body scrub.  This will be perfect for those who are having problems with body acne, uneven skin tone, exposing ingrown hair, or getting rid of dead cells.  Since this formula is quite strong, avoid contact with face and eyes.  Also, do not apply immediately after a shave or waxing as the skin will be very sensitive. 

Natural Tamarind Body Scrub
3/4 cup fresh tamarind juice (with pulp)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons bakin soda
2 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients together until forming a smooth paste. Exfoliate well with a loofah before or during shower.