Monday, 28 September 2015

Six ways to use Peppermint

Mint is very easy to grow. Once established it is a very forgiving plant as long as you remember to water it. Mint can be quite invasive so is best planted in a large pot.

Varietes include spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint. Dried mint leaves are often used in tea to help digestion.

Peppermint oil has many uses. It can ease sore muscles, settle upset stomachs and nausea, help to lessen congestion from colds. The cooling sensation can help with headaches.

1. Stress Relief

A few drops each of peppermint, lavender and rose geranium essential oils added to a warm bath can help relieve the symptoms of stress and tension.

2. Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub

Place these ingredients in a small bowl:

  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (you may need to soften this a little first)
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil
Use a whisk to combine. If the scrub seems a little dry add more oil - too wet, add more salt. To use rub gently into damp feet, then rinse.

Store in an airtight container.

3. Spiders

Combine 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil with one cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well before use. Sprayed at entry point this may help keep spiders out of your home.

4. Mint Tea

Take a handful of fresh peppermint (or spearmint) Leaves. Wash, then tear or cut roughly into pieces. Place in a teapot and pour in 2 cups of boiling water. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes - according to how string you like your tea.

5. Baking Soda Cleaning Paste

Baking soda can be used to clean all sorts of things at home. This is another simple recipe that works well. You can a use any essential oil you choose, but I like to use peppermint.

How to make cleaning paste:

In a small bowl mix 1 cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar (tartaric acid). Slowly stir in 10mls of liquid castile soap and 5 mls of water. Stir until you get a fairly dry paste. You may need to add a bit more water.

At this point you can add a few drops of essential oil - 20 drops of lavender, peppermint or sweet orange. Store in an airtight container.

6. How to dry mint

Mint is very easy to dry. You can dry it in a microwave or using a dehydrator, but I prefer to do it the slow way and air dry.

Always make sure you use healthy mint leaves that are free from sun, wind or insect damage. The best time to cut mint leaves is just before the plant begins to flower, as this is when the leaves contain the most oil. Once you cut the mint make sure that it's dry and there are no wee bugs hiding on the underside of the leaves.

At this stage it up to to you whether strip the leaves from the stems or do it once the drying period is over. Spread the mint out on a try lined with a paper towel. Place the tray in a warm, dry spot out of direct light. After a couple of weeks the mint will be dry and a little crumbly. You can now strip the leaves from the stalks (if you haven't already) and transfer to an airtight non-porous container. Mint is best store in cool, dry conditions.

Alternatively you can tie mint stalks into bunches and hang upside down in  a draught free spot until dry.

Important Note: As with many essential oils, peppermint should not be used during that later stages of pregnancy, not should it be used on young children

I link up here.

Photo: Mint Leaves 
Photo: Mint Tea
Photo: Mint in a pot

Monday, 21 September 2015

How to make your own body wash

This recipe uses liquid castile soap as a base. Castile is a very mild soap suitable for most skin types. Both shea butter and aloe vera are excellent skin-loving moisturisers.

Body Wash Recipe

3/4 cup liquid castile soap (or another unscented liquid vegetable based soap of your choice)
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon shea butter
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum powder (see below)
25-30 drops of essential oil

Melt the shea butter over a low heat. Add the aloe vera gel. Stir until the shea butter and aloe vera gel are combined. Whisk in the xanthan gum.

Shea Butter

Continue to whisk while slowly adding the liquid castile soap. Mix well. Add 25-30 drops of your favourite essential oil. and stir to combine.  (I like to use sweet orange oil)

By this stage the body wash will be quite bubbly, but the bubbles will settle out in a few hours.

Pour into a clean bottle. A flip top, squeezy bottle works well or you could use a recycled body wash bottle.

This recipe makes approximately one cup of body wash.

Xanthan gum is a natural emulsifier and stabiliser derived from corn starch. In this recipe it acts to thicken the body wash and prevent the mixture from separating.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

I link up here.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Orange Mint Bath Salts

This is a recipe for sweet scented, skin softening and relaxing bath salts.

Orange Mint Bath Salts 

To make this you will need:
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 drops spearmint essential oil

Combine all the ingredients in a non-metallic bowl.  Mix well to disperse the oil evenly through the salts. Store in dry conditions in an airtight.

Add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of bath salts to the tub under running water. Enjoy.

I link up here.

photo credit: <a href="">♥</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Apple Toner - for oily, blemished skin

The apple in this toner helps to soothe and purify oily skin. Plus it's rich in antibacterial pectin.

Apple Toner

85ml pure apple juice (organic if possible)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Place all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl and whizz with a stick blender until combined. Pour into a clean, dry bottle with a secure lid.

Shake before using. Smooth over your face, keeping away from your eyes. Rinse with warm water. Follow with your usual moisturiser.

This will keep for about 1 month in the fridge.

You may also like to try:

Almond Milk Toner for combination skin
Black Tea Toner for oily skin
Lavender Toner for teenage skin
Rosewater Toner for dry skin

photo credit: <a href="">Apples</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Five Favourite Essential Oils

I use a many essential oils when I make my soap and skin care products. These are a few of my favourites.


Lavender is possibly one of the widely used and known essential oils. It has an old-fashioned floral herb aroma which is known for its calming effect.

With its antiseptic, antispasmodic and relaxing properties it can be used to relieve, cuts, itches, headaches, aches and pains, sunburn, insect bites. There are many ways to use lavender a few of which you'll find here.


I'm including Rosewood as it's a particular favourite - I love the rich woody scent and use a little of it when making soap.

Rosewood essential oil is extracted from the wood of the Brazilian rosewood tree by steam distillation. The essential oil is said to have antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and mild antidepressant properties.


Rosemary is an evergreen woody, shrub. The most common use of the essential oil is as a treatment for very dry skin utilising its antiseptic and skin healing properties. It can also be to promote the healing of wounds. A rosemary infusion can be used as a nourishing scalp treatment and to keep hair looking healthy and shiny.

Here's a great recipe for Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub.

Sweet Orange

Sweet Orange essential oil has an aroma very like the orange peel that it is extracted from - only more intense. The oil you sometimes see on the skin of an orange when you begin to peel it is the same that is extracted from the fruit via the cold pressed method.

The aroma of the oil has a sedative, calming effect and is said to help relieve anxiety. This essential oil is often used to flavour lip balms and in children's formulas. It should though be avoided is pregnant or epileptic. It may cause skin irritation in some people.


Traditionally chamomile has long been used in the treatment of insomnia. The skin-calming and healing properties of German (or Blue) Chamomile essential oil can be used in the treatment of sensitive or inflamed skin.

Roman Chamomile is a pale golden essential oil. It is mildly anti-spasmodic and has calming properties. It's sweet floral scent is said to help relax the mind and relieve anxiety.

Here you'll find a simple recipe for Chamomile & Lavender Tea.

Caution should always be used when working with essential oils.
Essential oils should be avoided while pregnant.
Do not apply undiluted essential oils to the skin.
Do not use essential oils on children without consulting a qualified practitioner first.

I link up here.

Chamomile ~ photo credit: <a href="">Ms. Chamomile, I presume</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Rosemary ~ photo credit: <a href="">Rosemary 1</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Orange ~ photo credit: <a href="">Oranges</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>