Thursday, 13 July 2017

Making Natural Soap To Reduce Wrinkles, Grey Hair and More.

All it takes is a special ingredient in your natural soap recipe and it is possible to get an ant- ageing effect in your soap.  I am getting positive results from this.
What is it?  Colloidal Copper Citrate.  Use this for your lye water or add it to your natural liquid soap.
See my blog on "Using Colloidal Copper in Natural Soap" July 13 2017.
Because pollutants, illnesses, excess stress and or poor diet you may not get the results desired but it will work for some.

Using Colloidal Copper in Natural Soap - Amazing

I have been using a scalp formula shampoo recipe from by herbalist Tony Pantelleresco.  Because of the ingredient, colloidal copper citrate, I thought this may be good for dandruff but didn't consider the other purported benefits.
The other benefits have surprised me and I am now planning further soap ideas.

Ingredients are:
Natural liquid soap 500ml
Coffee (strong) - for increased hair roots for strength. 50ml
Colloidal copper citrate for restoring original hair colour for those who are greying ++. 50ml
Rosemary oil 10-20 drops

Because I knew copper to be antifungal and used in gardening the possibility of being an antidandruf caught my attention.

Copper, Coffee and Rosemary are nootropic (improves communication between neurons) and Tony said it may make you feel better.  This was the first thing I noticed.  After 6 weeks I realised that I was very clear in my mind and felt very positive even though at the time I was invalided with a back injury.

Then I noticed that the new hair growth in my grey areas was coming through it used to be in distant history.  Teasing my daughter I asked if she noticed anything different and she positively stated that I didn't have so many wrinkles on my face and that my spotty old ladies skin was clearing up (I am on the wrong side of 50).  This was a shock especially when my husband agreed and said I did look younger. My surprise is due to my natural scepticism to beauty, and miracle products.

Researching more on copper I found that it has all of these properties.
Restores natural hair colour by reversing the peroxides naturally produced by the body in the oxidation process.  This will not work for everyone as there are other factors involved.
Reduces wrinkles by strengthening collagen - and other connective tissue. Used in beauty and anti-aging creams.
Restores melanin improving natural sun resistance.
Improves mental function by improving neuron communication.
Reduces inflammation (good for arthritis), as well as being antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.
Experimentation on tumours and skin cancers were positive.

Toxicity:  There is a lot written about toxicity and also fear mongering. I am satisfied that used properly there is no problem as it seems the poisoning cases were in industrial settings. Also problems have occurred in the presence of low Zinc levels.  Currently it is thought that up to 25% of the population actually lack copper which causes many health problems - some very serious.
Copper is an essential element = we need copper.
 I am always interested in historical use of products and found copper has a long positive history and many aspects of these are supported by modern medicine.
In no way is it the Roman lead cup issue (or US water supply). Used in soap my recommendation would be not to eat a bar of soap a day or drink your shampoo and you should be fine.
Should you be concerned here is a link that is interesting.

To make your own colloidal copper citrate, its simple but takes time. Watch the video on the link given.

I can only see positives for its use in all my soaps and will be using it in my bar soap as well.  This would strengthen the antibacterial / viral/ fungal properties in conjunction with essential oils used, in a natural way.  I am not driven to look 20 again but consider the beauty aspects of it, positive side effects.

Because of my preference for goat milk soap as a shampoo bar, I will probably reduce the goat milk to 50% and increase the overall "water" content and just allow it to dry longer.  If I can get a stronger colloidal copper I can reduce this amount and increase the goat milk.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Black African Soap Recipe

 I was interested to know the comparison of a standard potash salt bar and the African black soap as the reported benefits sounded like that of any well made potash soap.

After testing it, I am confident that my original suspicions were correct and that a standard potash soap is more convenient for the same results.  Except for supporting cottage industry in Africa, the mess in the soap holder due to the dark colour and the lack of extra benefit makes it undesirable.

Full Story
Original Black African Soap is made from palm oil, coconut oil and salt.  The major difference from other soaps is the lye used.  Plantain skins and/or Cocoa pods are burnt and the ash is used to make the lye.  It is favoured for its gentle cleansing and healing properties.

Many natural soap makers shortcut the process by buying a bag of "Black African" soap ash and add it into their standard natural soap batter except it is often Caustic Soda lye not Potash lye.

I have made a variation of African Black soap.  I made a potash (Potassium Hydroxide)salt bar in contrast to soda ash (Sodium Hydroxide) as this is the lye you get when using ash.  I took a shortcut here and using potash flakes but added roasted banana ash.  Plantain is a starchy banana used for cooking which I don't have.  I roasted a stem of small banana's and some leaf to charcoal and powdered it in my kitchen blender to add into the soap batter.  I am not concerned about the difference as banana has a lot of nutrient.

To preserve the vitamins I deviated from tradition and blended banana leaf to a fibrous paste and percolated water through it and also drained and saved banana sap from an entire stem to use.

Banana leaves are not eaten because of the fibre but food is often cooked in it and the goodness from the leaf does enter the food.  It is used for skin conditions with success. Ayurvedic medicine has a long list of uses for the entire banana plant and fruit.

Traditionally no scent's would be added but I did add a little Neem essential oil.  Neem is excellent for skin and may other uses but I find its odour unattractive.

I added a little clay, as I have heard an African soap maker say the colour comes from dirt.  I can understand that there would be dirt in the ash when it is gathered up. This has desirable properties for skin also.

I used a ratio of 15% Himalayan fine ground salt dissolved it in my water (leaf percolate).  Not all of it dissolved which I was fine with.

I used some of the leaf percolated water into the charcoal so I could add into the batter more easily. I used the rest of the leaf water and sap as my lye water but once the lye dissolved it began to thicken like soap batter come to trace. I quickly added it to the oils and blended adding the charcoal and Neem Oil.  It was thickening quicker than I was comfortable with and mixed in another good splash of water before pouring it into the moulds.

The soap heated up more than a standard potash salt bar which I think may be from the natural sugars in the sap and leaf juice.

The pH dropped under 8 on the second day.

It is very dark and I may have used too much charcoal. It's bubble and creamy but does have a very little bit of gritty feeling and some tiny bits of charcoal can be seen on your skin before rinsing off.  Charcoal has has health benefits and we will see how this works.

I used my Palm Oil, Potassium Hydroxide hard bar soap recipe.
About 1/2 cup of dry banana charcoal.
1 teaspoon Red Aussie Clay

I will update as the soap matures and my friends use and review it.
Six Months later... After using this soap myself and getting reviews from friends who used it I am confident to conclude that my original suspicion is correct and that Black African soap is no more beneficial than a natural potash bar of soap.  The negative aspects of BA soap make it undesirable to use.  Being black it is prone to leaving a mess in the soap holder and using plantain ash no better than using skin friendly essential oils.

I did enjoy sitting by my fire poking at it to get the banana ash but that as for soap its inconvenient.
Except for supporting cottage industries from Africa I see no particular benefit to using a more convenient firmer lighter coloured potash soap.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Understanding SAP Values and Superfatting

Saponification value is the required amount of lye needed to saponify 1000gm of oil.  This is to change fatty acids it to a glycerol and salt of the acid that is in that particular oil = Soap.

Recently I was trying to find the saponification value for Carauba Wax.  I found that it was between 81-95.  I was looking for a number that was more like 0.1 -0.09 so it confused me and took a lot of searching for the answer, till I found one web site that explained it was per 1000gm of oil and is for Potassium Hydroxide (potash).
(They also have a comprehensive chart with SAP values for oils.)

To get it for Sodium Hydroxide (hard bar) you have to divide this number by 1.4025.    This will now be the NaOH needed for 1000gm,  To get it to your lye/gram oil ratio just divide it by 1402.5 . Now you can then multiply for each gram of oil.

Remember that there are seasonal and geographical differences in Oil saponification values and also the strength of the lye whether NaOH or KOH may vary slightly according to manufacturer.  This is one of the reasons soap makers recommend having a super fat (excess oil) of approximately 5%.

There is also a reasonable possibility that the Olive oil you use is not pure regardless of the label.  Even experts can't tell the difference by taste or appearance.  If Canola oil was used to dilute the Olive Oil this would result in a 2 gram difference in lye needed for 1000gm of Oil.  While this isn't much, combined with the other possible variations it could tip the lye balance over if you don't have a moderate super fat.

Yes the superfat is probably the main culprit for the build up in your sink.  It's the price to pay for moisturised skin.

Happy soaping

Friday, 29 April 2016

Honey Natural Handmade Soap - Tips and Recipe.

Honey is a wonderful ingredient in natural soap and with a few precautions you can get a lovely bar soap with all of honey's benefits.

My first attempts were not so successful as the honey separated and settled to the bottom of the mould.  Finally I found a comment that advised reducing the water content in the batter.

Instead of using the default water content Soapcalc lye calculator uses (38%) I use 33% and separate a small portion of that to add to the honey to thin it out before I add that to the soap batter at trace.

Be aware that honey or any type of sugar ingredient (including milks) will increase the temperature of the soap batter.  If you insulate your mould the temperature could get too high and cause the soap to erupt.  Normally I stop the gel phase by refrigerating or freezing the soap for about 12 hours though this is not necessary if you wish it to gel depending on your room temperature.

I have recently been successful in making a honey soap that has twice the recommended level of honey to use as a shampoo bar soap for dandruff problems.  I am hoping this eliminates the need to massage honey into the scalp (a very effective anti-dandruff) an hour prior to washing as it is a little inconvenient.

I made this soap harder than normal.  This caused it to have a lower conditioning level which I compensated with a higher superfat (free oils).  I also added  salt at 5% oil weight in a brine solution.  This adds to hardness and also I like using salt for its natural preservative characteristics as well as its benefits to the skin. ( Be aware that table salt has some nasty additives as free flow agents etc.  I like to use pink Himalayan fine ground rock salt but unrefined Sea Salt is good as well with all the other minerals salt was meant to have, still in it.)

I also used individual moulds (a silicon muffin tray) and put it in the freezer over night.  I could feel the increased temperature very soon after putting the batter in the mould, so I didn't waste any time getting it into the freezer.

A log mould will allow the batter to hold the heat and though I am sure it will be fine in the freezer.  If it was a standard honey content (1/2 the amount) I would use a fridge.  This may be fine but I would be a bit nervous about it.

I have read comments by cosmetic producers that salt should never be used on the head.  They obviously didn't live near the ocean and never sweat.  Salt is excellent for many skin problems.

A high honey content soap.

Beef Tallow      225gm
Castor Oil          60gm
Coconut Oil      215gm

Lye (NaOH)    78 gm(1% Superfat)
Water             150gm
Honey             30 - 40gm (2 Tablespoons)
Essential Oil   20gm    (Because I am hoping this will be good for dandruff I used Tea Tree Oil)
Coconut Oil    50gm    (To bring the superfat up to 11%.  I prefer to use Coconut oil for a larger superfat as it has a better shelf life than Beef Tallow,- your choice)

Use enough salt to dissolve in the water for the lye.  4% or less of the oil weight might be fine.
This is not a salt bar as there are no crystals in the soap but would be called a brine bar.  Increasing the salt content will decrease the bubbles and cream.

The reason I make this hard is because of the high honey content; I don't want the soap to go "soggy".

 Smells great.

The second time I made this, I spontaneously thought to add some milk powder into the honey mix adding it at trace.  Don't try this.  The heat got away on me very quickly going very orange then dark brown and the mix separated in the moulds - like curds and whey.  The next day I cooked and and remoulded it.  I'm expecting that the milk burnt and will be able to tell soon by the smell.  It gets a vomit type odour.  If it is I'll just store it away somewhere till that passes.  The milk may have no benefit after that but the soap does work fine and the EO smell comes back OK after a few months.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Natural Homemade Anti-dandruff Shampoo

We have spent a great deal of money on anti-dandruff shampoos many of which don't give good results or were very expensive.  I wonder now what dodgy ingredients were in them.

The best natural cure we have used is honey.  Rubbing honey (a little diluted) on the scalp and leaving for an hour prior to washing worked well but is inconvenient.  Don't sit still too long or the ants will find you.  I combined some different ideas and successfully made an effective and very inexpensive anti-dandruff shampoo.

1 Cup of natural liquid soap ( such as Dr. Bronners. I make my own and use this more concentrated - about 20% to get a better lather)
2 desert spoons of natural honey
1/2 desert spoons of gelatine dissolved in a little warm water.
Use any antifungal essential oil of choice.

I keep a small bottle (hotel size) in the bathroom and the rest in the fridge as I am not sure how long it would last without going off.  This solidifies, but I just warm it gently to refill the small bottle.

I think it would be best to lather up your hair first and not rinse it off till last. This would give more time for the ingredients to work.

My husband has been using this and his hair is soft and shiny even without a A.C. Vinegar rinse (like you would normally need after washing with natural soap) and the scalp problems have cleared up in record time.

Gelatine is very good for your hair and honey is good for "everything" (unless you are diabetic).

The down side:  The lather isn't good with long hair but you could try decreasing the gelatine level.  I tend to the oily side and would need to wash it every day if I didn't use an acidic rinse.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Natural Insect Rellent

I have been testing insect repellent. It works.
Once rock fishing at the beach, we had forgotten our repellent and were all getting badly bitten.  Finally my mother had enough and climbed the bank to see what she could find.  She came back smelling like Fennel.  She had found a fennel bush growing wild and crushed hand full's and rubbed it on her exposed skin. We laughed at her but she suffered no more sand fly bites. Even sceptics use natural products when nothing else is available.
Some sites claim that DEET is safe to use but even Wikipedia has a concerning write up on the effects of this synthetic, chemical insecticide on health. Even if you are not concerned about it, we are so overloaded with chemicals that we should eliminate what we can.  If it is simple to make your own with natural products it only makes sense to do so.
There are many Essential Oils that can be used in insect repellent.

I have these ones because Neem oil works against the malaria mosquito (we travel overseas sometimes) and Lemon Grass because of its similar constitution to Lemon Eucalyptus and pleasant smell.
Neem Oil  8gm
Lemon Grass Oil  8gm
Clove Oil  4gm
In 100gm coconut oil and shea butter carrier mix (thicker to prevent leakage in my purse).

Some essential oils do not work on certain genus of mosquito so research your choice.  Neem oil has an unfortunate odour but I find it is acceptable with the lemon smell.  You could also use Lemon Eucalyptus which is an excellent insect repellent (I don't have any). You can mix these into a cream, carrier oil or use in an infuser.

Because of the volatility of Essential Oils reapply every 2 hours.
I have read that if more volatile essential oils are mixed with something like vanilla extract which has a larger molecular structure it "holds" the essential oil and decreases its evaporation.  I am wondering if the mix with Neem Oil acts the same way as Neem is a lot more viscous. Time will tell.

I will be trying it in a cream to reduce the oil build up as I reapply it through the day.
100 gm water with Borax as an emulsifier (combine oil and water)
30 gm Coconut Oil
15 gm Bees Wax

Melt bees wax and mix in coconut oil.  Dissolve 50gm tsp of Mg in water or 1/4 tsp Borax.  Pour water into oils while blending to make a cream.  If the water fails to emulsify completely add a little more borax.  Mix in Essential Oils.

Not only does this repel insects but is excellent for your skin and general health.

There is concern that health issues blamed on mosquito born viruses are actually a result of insecticides.

For those who are travelling into area's where malaria is a problem please read the side effects of the anti malarial tablets.  Health agencies have known for over a decade that the pills can cause psychiatric problems.
Alternatives are wearing clothes that cover more skin, using insect repellent, washing with soap that has insect repellent oils in it, not eating bananas (serious- it true) and using defusers with insect repellent oils in your living  quarters.

As a precaution, manufacturers advise that DEET products should not be used under clothing or on damaged skin, and that preparations be washed off after they are no longer needed or between applications.[18] DEET can act as an irritant;[6] in rare cases, it may cause epidermal reactions.[18]
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: "... it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity," but observed that with 30% of the US population using DEET, the likely seizure rate is only about one per 100 million users.[19]
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that "Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomniamood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers".[20]
When used as directed, products containing between 10% and 30% DEET have been found by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be safe to use on children, as well as adults, but recommends that DEET not be used on infants less than two months old.[18]
Citing human health reasons, Health Canada barred the sale of insect repellents for human use that contained more than 30% DEET in a 2002 re-evaluation. The agency recommended that DEET-based products be used on children between the ages of 2 and 12 only if the concentration of DEET is 10% or less and that repellents be applied no more than 3 times a day, children under 2 should not receive more than 1 application of repellent in a day and DEET-based products of any concentration should not be used on infants under 6 months.[21][22]

DEET is commonly used in combination with insecticides and can strengthen the toxicity of carbamate insecticides,[23] which are also acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These findings indicate that DEET has neurological effects on insects in addition to known olfactory effects, and that its toxicity is strengthened in combination with other insecticides.