sPOTLIGHT iNGREDIENT: Coconut
sPOTLIGHT iNGREDIENT: Coconut – rich in anti-oxidants, proteins, minerals, fiber, sugars, vitamins. Acts effectively in cleansing, moisturizing and repairing sun damaged skin. Great for skin hydration to cure the fine lines and wrinkles.
Coconut water is one of the most naturally refreshing and soothing drinks that you can adhere to. There are innumerable benefits attached with coconut water where hair and skin are concerned. Along with drinking it, application of the same will give you wonderful outcomes for a glowing skin and healthy and voluminous hair. You will see visible results with regular consumption or application as face and hair masks.
How does Coconut Water for Hair Growth Help?
When we specifically talk about hair growth, coconut water has naturally hydrating properties that help in strengthening the roots as well as improving the blood circulation to the hair follicles. These help in triggering the hair growth in a perfect manner. It can be simply massaged into the hair or else consumed each day for maximum advantage.
It is also loaded with nutrients like vitamins and minerals that will help in keeping the hair healthy and free from any crises. This will in turn help in hair growth. It also has calcium and protein. The hair strands are made from protein and therefore coconut water will help in the growth process.
On the other hand, coconut water has anti- fungal as well as anti-bacterial properties that help in prevention of issues like dandruff, infections as well as itchiness that are responsible for hindering the growth.
Ways of Applying Coconut Water for Hair Growth
1. Drink a glass of fresh coconut water each day in the morning on an empty stomach for benefits of body, skin and hair.
2. Massage the fresh coconut water on the scalp and the hair strands each day. Keep this for about 20-25 minutes before washing off with plain water. This will give you just the desired results for hair growth.
3. Make a hair mask with coconut water and other beneficial products like apple cider vinegar or may be fruits like banana or avocados and apply it on the hair evenly. Keep the hair mask on the scalp for about 45 minutes covered with a shower cap. You can follow it with a mild shampoo and conditioning
With its creamy texture and natural sweetness, coconut milk tastes like it should be bad for you. And yet, it’s anything but that. Coconut milk, also known as nariyal ka doodh in Hindi, is often considered a ‘miracle liquid’ as “it may help protect the body from infections,” says Dr. Rahul Nagar, Dermatologist, Max Hospitals. And did you know: Coconut milk isn’t actually “milk” at all? It is a liquid that is naturally found inside mature coconuts, stored within the coconut ‘meat’. When you crack open a fresh coconut, the liquid that leaks out is coconut water. But when you blend the coconut ‘meat’ and strain it, the result is a thicker coconut ‘milk’. So, what’s the difference? As a coconut matures, more of the water inside is replaced with coconut meat. So mature coconuts tend to be better producers of coconut milk, while younger coconuts are the best producers of coconut water.
Coconut water is higher in sugar and certain electrolytes, while “coconut milk is higher in healthy saturated fatty acids”, says Dr. Mukta Vasishta, H.O.D. Nutrition and Dietetics, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. It can be consumed as is or as a substitute for milk. Dr. Mukta adds, “Coconut milk is highly recommended for patients who are lactose intolerant. And contrary to popular belief, coconut milk helps increase HDL levels (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL levels (bad cholesterol). It also improves blood pressure, and helps prevent cardiac arrhythmia due to its potassium content.
Coconut milk is packed with vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Dr. Rahul Nagar, Max Hospitals says, “Coconut milk contains good concentration of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) which gets converted to monolaurin in the body, a compound with antiviral and antibacterial properties”.
“Lauric acid is also found in mother’s milk and is known to promote brain development, bone health and immunity”, says Dr. Mukta Vasishta. Just like Dick Gregory rightly put, “Coconut milk is the only thing on this planet that comes identically to mother’s milk”.
We've listed 10 amazing coconut milk benefits for hair, face and skin.
Coconut Milk for Hair
1. Restores Dry, Damaged Hair
Dr. Rahul Nagar, says, “Because of its excellent moisturising properties, coconut milk can be used as a scalp tonic for dry, itchy and irritated scalp. A gentle massage for 5 minutes with home-made coconut milk followed by a hot towel can have a good nourishing effect”. This is particularly beneficial for restoring dry, damaged and brittle hair, as well as split ends.
2. Promotes Hair Growth
Coconut milk contains all the essential nutrients required for healthy hair, boosting your hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Apply coconut milk on your hair and massage for 3 to 5 minutes. Shampoo as usual, after 20 minutes.
3. Conditions Hair
You can either wash your hair with equal amounts of coconut milk and shampoo, or use coconut milk as a leave-in conditioner. This adds volume to your hair, makes it less greasy and promotes longer, thicker hair (with that shine you’ve always wanted).
Coconut Milk for Face
4. Makeup Remover
To remove your makeup, add 2 parts of olive oil to 1 part coconut milk on a cotton pad. This not only cleanses your face, but nourishes your skin deeply at the same time as well. Note: Rub gently.
5. Prevents Acne
Dr. Rahul Nagar, Max Hospitals says, “For people with oily and acne prone skin, coconut milk can be used as a cleanser due to its antibacterial properties. The fats in coconut milk do not clog pores, thereby preventing acne”.
6. Facial Scrub
“Coconut milk can also be used as a face scrub for gentle exfoliation. All you need to do is soak oats in coconut milk for 10 minutes”, adds Dr. Rahul.
7. Prevents Premature Ageing
Coconut milk has high levels of Vitamin C which helps maintain elasticity and flexibility of skin. It is also rich in copper, and prevents wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots. You can soak 6-7 almonds overnight, and peel their skins off in the morning, grind into a smooth paste and add 5-6 drops of coconut milk. Mix well and apply this paste on your face for 15 minutes, and wash it off with cold water.
Coconut Milk for Skin
8. Treats Sunburns
According to Dr. Rahul, “Application of coconut milk over sunburnt skin aids in rapid healing because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps by cooling the skin and reducing pain, swelling and redness”.
9. Moisturises The Skin
We’ve all heard of taking a milk bath, right? Well, it’s time to use coconut milk instead. It is a great moisturiser due its soothing properties. You can rub coconut milk on your skin directly for 20-30 minutes to combat dryness and promote healthy glowing skin. You can even add 1 cup of rose petals, ½ cup of rose water and 1 cup of coconut milk to lukewarm water in a tub. Soaking in this bath for about 15 minutes will help restore moisture in dry skin. Also, you can grind 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal and mix it with 1-2 cups of coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of honey. It works wonders!
10. Treats Skin Ailments
“Gentle application of coconut milk provides an excellent moisturizing effect in dry skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis”, says Dr. Rahul. The natural fatty acids in coconut milk help treat dry and irritated skin and remove harmful bacteria.
- Danielle Lasit
uRBAN aLCHEMY: ArmPit Detox
Today’s uRBAN aLCHEMY: ArmPit Detox
In a circular motion, massage aRMPIT sCRUB into clean skin with finger tips, sponge or loofah for 15-20 seconds. Rinse and apply a light spray of our cUCUMBER tONING mIST to cool and calm the skin. Apply an even layer of tURMERIC+ cHARCOAL Mask over the armpits and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes. Rinse with Warm water and a soft flannel cloth. Let air dry and apply a light layer of aRMPIT dEODORANT pOWDER
How to Detox Your Arm Pits
1 tablespoon Charcoal Facial Clay Powder
1 teaspoon Turmeric 3 IN 1 Clay Mask
Spotlight Ingredient: Curcumin, is an active ingredient in turmeric has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Both Charcoal and Turmeric lightens and evens out skin tone which is great for keeping those underpins nice and bright!
Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.
Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes. I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust. You may experience slight tingling. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
This may cause some redness as it will increase blood-flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
Repeat daily or as needed until under-arm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.
Consider dry brushing, which is said to help improve lymph circulation.
Also, make sure to drink a lot of water any time you stimulate lymph flow (dry brushing, massage, detox, etc) to help flush the body and avoid getting dehydrated.
Why detox your armpits at all? Why not just keep using regular deodorant and avoid the whole problem? Glad you asked…
Conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something un-natural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat, and the chemical list in some deodorants is impressive:
Aluminum– some evidence links aluminum to cancer and
Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors often also found in plastic that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility (especially in med)
Propylene glycol– common name: antifreeze. It is a hotly debated additive in personal care products but the Environmental Working Group reports that it carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.
Formaldehyde- a known carcinogen… guess it kills the germs though.
Parabens- Another hormone disruptor and parabens have been found in biopsied tissue with breast cancer
Antibacterial Substances- These before but they are endocrine disruptors and can negatively affect the immune system
Why is this a big deal? Ever gotten sick and had a lump in your neck or armpit? That is a lymph node and they are a major part of your immune system. Putting endocrine disruption chemicals directly on top of them is a great way to screw up your hormones and suppress immune function.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and what touches our skin can easily enter our bloodstream. With skyrocketing rates of breast cancer, it would seem prudent to avoid these chemicals until further research is done.
A great advantage to doing an armpit detox, besides that it helps speed up the natural deodorant adjustment period, is that it might help pull some of these chemicals out of the skin and tissue of the armpits. This can be especially helpful after years of conventional deodorant use.
You will notice less odor if any after a detox and should not experience any irritation for those who experience a slight rash from using natural deodorants before detoxing
- Danielle Lasit
hOW sHEA bUTTER iS mADE
How is Shea Butter Made?
Shea Butter is a fatty extract from the shea nuts which is found in the shea fruit produced by the shea tree. It’s naturally rich in Vitamin A, E, D, F and Cinnamic acid. Shea Butter is known as the women’s gold in West Africa, because processing shea butter provides economic opportunities for women and girls, while helping to protect the environment.
Shea tree produces its first fruit when it’s about 20 years, and reaches its full production at about 45 years old. The tree can produce fruit for up to 200 years before reaching maturity.
Shea fruit has a very sweet taste, hence eatable. After eating the fruit, a shea nut in a shell is obtained.
Shea trees grow naturally in the dry Savannah region of West Africa, and the area of Northern Uganda, and Southern Sudan. Using centuries old extraction techniques to produce a truly exceptional shea butter. The steps below give a brief outline of the process.
1. After the shea fruits are collected, they are steamed to cause the kernel inside to shrink away from the shell. This is done so the kernels are not damaged when the shells are removed.
2. Once the shells are cracked by hand and the kernels are extracted, the shea kernels are washed and placed in the sun to remove moisture and dry for a prolonged period.
3. The dried kernels are then crushed in a large, wooden mortar.
4. The crushed shea kernels are roasted and transformed into a paste with a dark chocolate color.
5. The shea paste mixture is whipped until the color changes. The kneading process takes anywhere from one to three hours.
6. The Shea Paste is purified by washing it over and over with distilled water.
7. The seventh step is to heat the purify paste over fire, so the fats rise to the top, and the oil settles at the bottom.
8. The shea fats are collected and heated to remove any remaining moisture. The clear oil is filtered into basins to cool. The time from selecting the nuts until this step takes from 10 to 14 hours.
9. After the shea oil has cooled down, it is stirred very carefully to initialize the crystallization process and form the shea butter. This part of the process is very critical and requires lot of experience.
10. The final step is to pour the partially crystallized butter into containers, where it continues to crystallize.
- Danielle Lasit
hISTORY oF aLEPPO sOAP
History of Aleppo Soap
History of soap reaches the most distant reaches of our modern civilization, and the shiny example of such long journey is Aleppo Soap, a true relic of an ancient time that bridged millennia’s, traditions, and provided a solid foundation for creation of all modern soaps, detergents and other washing agents that are used nowadays all across the world.
Aleppo Soap originated from the Syrian city of Aleppo, one of the most oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world that has stood in its place for more than 8 thousand years, being witness to the rise and falls of many empires, expansion of the culture across the world and the bridging of the connections between east and west at the start of European renaissance. This ancient city thrived on trade for thousands of years, and was famous for being the endpoint of the famous Silk Road that bridged East and the West world before the advancement of sea trade routes in the “Age of Sail”.
One of the most important trade items of the city of Aleppo is without a doubt their unique soap that was made by the generations of merchant families and manufacturers for thousands of years. Formula and manufacturing process for this highly prized soap did not change over time and is still today preformed in its original form – olive oil, sweet bay oil and water are mixed with sodium hydroxide, heated and then left to cool. Soap is cut from the form, and then left to age in the shade for minimum of seven months, during which time soap will change its color from green to its trademark brown.
People from all around the world who visited Aleppo quickly realized that the claims of the soap salesman are true. Natural and biodegradable Aleppo soap is one of the most famous beauty products of the old age, natural moisturizer and humectant, so pure in its form (it has no preservatives, chemical additives or fragrances) that it is used by many for washing babies.
The exact origin of the Aleppo soap is lost in time, and even though there is hundreds of tales and legends about its creation, modern historians cannot confirm any one. The earliest written mentions of this soap come from the 8th century AD, and by the time of the crusades it became one of the most hotly traded commodities of the Syrian territories. Very quickly after that, European nations adopted Aleppo soap, and started producing their own variations.
- Danielle Lasit
fIRST aCCOUNTS oF sOAP
The first recorded accounts of soap were on Sumerian clay tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. At that time in history soap was used in the washing of wool. One Sumerian tablet, describes soap made from water, alkali, and cassia oil. Historical evidence shows that Egyptians bathed regularly and that they combined animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create a soap like substance for washing. It is well known that Cleopatra, who captivated the leaders of the Roman world, attributed her beauty to her baths in mare’s milk. Ancient Rome gave soap it’s familiar name. They were well known for their public baths, generally soap was not used for personal cleaning. To clean the body the Greeks and then the Romans would rub the body with olive oil and sand. A scraper, called a strigil, was then used to scrape off the sand and olive oil also removing dirt, grease, and dead cells from the skin leaving it clean. Afterwards the skin was rubbed down with salves prepared from herbs.
Soap was also used by physicians in the treatment of disease. Galen, a 2nd century physician, recommended bathing with soap would be beneficial for some skin conditions. Soap for personal washing became popular during the later centuries of the Roman era. Animals were sacrificed on Mount Sapo, a religious site for early Romans. As rain washed a mixture of melted animal fats and wood ashes down into the Tiber River below, it was discovered that the soapy mixture was useful for washing cloths as well as people. The Roman baths were built around 312 B.C. They were luxurious and popular. It is believed that the Romans acquired the knowledge of soap from the Gauls. Today Gaul is known as France were French milled soap still receives a premium price. Pliny, the Roman historian, described soap being made from goat’s tallow and caustic zed wood ashes. He also wrote of common salt being added to make the soap hard. The ruins at Pompeii revealed a soap factory complete with finished bars.
The Celtic peoples are also thought by some historians to have discovered soap making and were using it for bathing and washing. Maybe do to increased contact with the Celtics by the Romans, using soap for personal washing care became popular.
There is an interesting legend surrounding the discovery of soap making. This legend accords the discovery of soap to the Romans so it must be a Roman legend to confront the Celtic claim to soap making. Probably both of these inventive peoples discovered soap making independently. The legend says soap was first discovered by women washing clothes along the Tiber River at the bottom of Sapo Hill. The women noticed the clothes became cleaner with far less effort at that particular location. What was happening? The ashes and the grease of animals from the sacrificial fires of the temples situated on the top of Sapo Hill mixed with the rain, making soap which ran down the slope in the streams of rain water giving the women a wash day bonus. You can see at a glance saponification, the chemical name for the soap making reaction, bears the name of that hill in Rome long ago, which caused one Roman washer women to comment to another, “My wash is cleaner than yours”.
The European Dark Ages
After the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, there was little soap making done or use of it in the European Dark Ages. In the Byzantine Empire, the remains of the Roman world in the eastern Mediterranean area, and in the expanding Arab world soap was made and used. Around the 8th century soap making was revived in Italy and Spain. By the 13th century, France also became a producer of soap for the European market.
This is when the history of soap making becomes more concrete. Marseilles emerged as the first great center of soap making and remained an important producer through the Middle Ages. Genoa, Venice, and Bari in Italy came to rival it, as did Castila in Spain. Each of these regions had a plentiful supply of olive oil and barilla (a fleshy plant whose ashes were used to make lye). This formulation became the standard through the 17th century. During the 14th century, soap making was started in England.
Soaps produced in the south of Europe, Italy, Spain, and the southern ports of France (Marseilles and Castle soaps) were made from olive oils. These soaps made using olive oils were of a higher quality than those made by the soap producers of England and northern France. These northern soap makers, not being able to obtain the olive oil, made their soaps with only animal fats. Tallow, the fat from cattle, was the chief fat used. Northern European soap makers even resorted to making soap from fish oils. Soaps made from the poor quality animals fats and oils, while adequate for laundry and textile usage, were not desirable for bathing and washing. The soap from southern Europe with their olive oils were superior. This resulted in a lively trade of exporting fine soaps from southern Europe.
It is a popular misconception that people did not take baths in the Middle Ages.. There were public bath houses, called stews, where the patrons bathe in large wooden tubs and were given bars of soap to use. Nobles and rich merchants had their own private baths. It was later when bathing was thought to promote the spread of the Plague. In general, people of the Renaissance moved away from the idea of keeping the body clean. They preferred to cover the body with heavy scents.
- Danielle Lasit
Do you know the difference between natural soaps and detergent bars that are sold commercially?
Not many other people I meet know any difference exists. Around 1942 production of soap by the large manufacturing companies changed in a big way. Soap makers found that the same fats that turn into soap and make naturally occurring glycerin can yield more money if those fats are turned into nitro glycerin (gun powder).
Yes, Palm Olive Brand detergent (as in Palm and Olive oils) made more money turning fats into gunpowder for the war effort.
So, if they no longer make fats into soap today, what is that stuff on the shelves at your supermarket? Good question! The replacement for soap is detergent.
Detergents are more profitable for big manufacturers because the cost of the raw material is so much lower.
Replacing Coconut, Palm, Soybean & Olive Oil with much less expensive petroleum chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate a foaming agent created huge profits and streamlined the production.
All of these new chemicals lowered the cost to manufacture and the final bars of detergent cost less for the consumer than soap.
We all have a part to play in the fact that we can’t buy soap any more at the grocery store. Supply and demand.
Now more and more people are finding they have bad skin reactions to detergents and chemically based skin care products, driving more people every day to educate themselves about using natural alternatives in the skin care products they buy.#
- Danielle Lasit