artemisia-facial-toner
Photo by Christina Deravedisian on Unsplash

The next product in my Artemisia beauty collection is toner. Artemisia vulgaris the mugwort, is a herb that soothes and deeply cleanses the skin. That is why it is also worth making a soothing toner from artemisia. The making of toners is quite easy. If you have dried artemisia in stock, you will make this toner really fast. My toner recipe has several ingredients that complete the effect of the product. It is up to you if you want to use all these ingredients.

To whom artemisia toner suit best?

Artemisia toner soothes the skin and makes the skin look clearer. Artemisia also cleanses the skin. It penetrates deep into the pores, and is also effective on nasty blackheads. I recommend this face lotion especially for impure and greasy skin.

About the preservation of toner

As the name suggests, toners always contain a lot of water. Without preservative, they can only be stored in a refrigerator for a week. This is why many makers of homemade cosmetics have replaced toner with diluted apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will be preserved in a refrigerator for months. However, sometimes you may want change and try the power of herbs. It is good to vary the toner according to the condition of the skin and the season.

I don’t want to add any preservative to my toner. All preservatives disturb the skin’s own bacterial activity. That’s why I only make toners for a need of a week. I always store toner in the fridge.

The ingredients in Artemisia toner complete each other

Artemisia toner base consists of an herbal infusion that you can make either from fresh or dried herbs. Herb infusions are easy to prepare. You will need 2 teaspoons of dried herbs or one tablespoon of fresh herbs. Pour 2.5 decilitres of boiling hot water over the herbs and let simmer for 10 minutes. The infusion is ready.

Glycerol

Glycerol is often added to facial toners. Glycerol, or glycerine, is a natural component in all oils and fats. Fats always consist of glycerine and various fatty acids. Glycerol is a humectant or moisturizing ingredient. Humectants are substances that love moisture and attract it. However, glycerol should not be added very much to products because of many different reasons. You can read more about glycerol here.

Witch-hazel water

Witch-hazel (hamamelis) water is a hydrosol like rose water or orange blossom water. Witch-hazel water works well in toners as it is a particularly astringent ingredient. Adding hydrosols to toners also improves the shelf life of the product. Instead of essential oils, I prefer to use hydrosols to give nice scent to my own products.

Arginine

Arginine is an ingredient I should write a whole new story about. Arginine is an amino acid used by athletes, and persons suffering from blood circulation problems. In cosmetics, arginine is added to products as a humectant. Arginine also stimulates the production of collagen and elastane. That’s why I often use arginine powder, especially in toners. If you wish, you can also exclude arginine from this product.

Pectin

Pectin is one of my favourite products. Pectin improves the structure of the facial toner and acts as a skin-protecting ingredient. You can buy pectin as a ready-made powder or make it yourself from autumn apples. Preferably use domestic organic apples or non-toxic ones growing on your own yard, the closer the better. If you use self-made pectin, replace some part (10-30%) of the liquid with a pectin solution. More about pectin and instructions for making pectin is here.

If you use ready-made pectin powder, the liquid must be acidic. Pectin is only soluble in acidic liquids. Therefore, citric acid is used in this recipe.

Tip

Add very little pectin to the liquid at a time. Pectin gets lumpy easily and the lumps won’t dissolve by mixing. I myself drop carefully a dust-like layer of pectin powder on top of the liquid and stir. However, if the pectin gets lumpy, the small lumps are dissolved in the acidic liquid overnight.

Ascorbic acid

Facial toner is used to equalize the pH of the skin after cleansing. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a safe and relatively natural acidic ingredient in cosmetics. You can control the acidity of your toner by changing the amount of ascorbic acid.

If you use products that are too acidic or too alkaline, your skin will become easily irritated. You can check the acidity of your toner by using pH strips. The pH of normal skin is 4.5 to 5.5. If your skin is dry, then the pH will be higher. The pH of oily skin is always lower, meaning more acidic.

Acid also has another function in this toner. For pectin to dissolve in the product, the liquid must be acidic. You can also replace ascorbic acid with citric acid or a drop of apple cider vinegar. Some persons are sensitized to citric acid. So, first check if it is suitable for your skin.

Artemisia facial toner recipe

Purity cannot be overemphasized. Facial toners will get easily spoiled. This recipe does not contain any preservative. However, if you wish, you can add it to the product. Disinfect all utensils you use with strong alcohol or boil them, regardless of whether you used a preservative or not.

You need the following ingredients for 200 ml of toner:

Heat the artemisia infusion and glycerol to 80 degrees Celsius. Keep the mixture at 80 degrees for 30 minutes to improve shelf life.

Allow the liquid to cool down to below 40 degrees Celsius and mix thoroughly by whipping witch hazel water, citric acid, pectin powder and arginine powder.

Bottle the mixture in a sterilized glass bottle.

The mixture remains slightly lumpy because the pectin powder needs time to dissolve in the liquid. You can now put the bottle in the refrigerator. During the night, the pectin powder is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

How is artemisia facial toner used?

artemisia-kasvovesi

Photo Kjerstin Michaela Noomi Sakura Gihle Martinsen Haraldsen Pixabaystä

Artemisia facial toner is a very astringent and soothing product for the skin. Use toner after cleansing your skin thoroughly. Artemisia toner closes pores and evens out skin tone.

You can also use this facial toner in the morning to clean the night marks on your skin.

Pour ½ a teaspoon of Artemisia facial toner into a cotton ball and wipe the skin of the face, neck and décolleté. Allow the toner to soak in peace and dry for a while before adding moisturizer.

I hope you like to try this facial toner. If there is some ingredient you do not like, you can easily replace it with something similar.

Please let me know, how did you  like this recipe?

Clays are the basic ingredients of natural cosmetics. They are well-tolerated and versatile in cosmetic products. I’ve told about clays more here. Now I want to tell you about one of the most popular clay products, namely Rhassoul clay. Many people are already familiar with Rhassoul clay. As usual, I want to explain things much deeper than just scratching the surface. I will tell you the history of this old, ancient beauty care product. I will also explain why Rhassoul clay is one of the most popular clay products in the world today.

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Rhassoul clay, one of the world’s oldest beauty products

Rhassoul clay comes from Morocco. It is mined below the Atlas Mountains. The name Rhassoul comes from Jebel Ghassoul Mountain. Jebel Ghassoul means “a wash mountain”. Rhassoul clay has always been used for washing.

The mining area of rhassoul clay is about 2500 hectares (6200 acres) in Morocco. No mineral product such as rhassoul clay has been found anywhere else in the world.

Rhassoul clay is volcanic rock

Rhassoul clay is actually lava stone. It is a fine powder made out of soft sediment stone by grinding and refining.

Rhassoul clay is contains uniquely good, skin-care mineral composition

Each clay has its own mineral composition. That’s why every clay product is different. Rhassoul clay contains almost 60% silicon and 25% magnesium. The remaining minerals are aluminium, about 2.5%, calcium 2.3%, sodium (table salt) 2.3% and iron 0.5%. Other clays do not contain silicon and level of magnesium not even close comparing to Rhassoul clay. Therefore, this Moroccan clay is a very unique product.

Silicon and magnesium are particularly good for the skin.

They are soothing and healing minerals that are essential for staying healthy. Healthy skin also contains calcium.

Calcium is a very necessary mineral for all of us.

Do you know that healthy skin is rich in calcium?  Calcium takes care of skin’s protection and permeability.

Table salt contains 99.8% of sodium, a necessary mineral

The effects of salt in skin care I have told in here. The salt creates an osmotic pressure on the skin. At pressure, the skin is cleaning itself of harmful waste.

Clays are easy to store forever

Buying plenty of clay for future use is not waste of money. Clay is an inorganic substance, a mineral that will last forever. Clay can only be spoiled if it gets wet. If the moisture is pure water, you can dry the clay under the sun and grind again in the mortar to a fine powder.

If the moisture is impure, discard the clay. Of course, you can try to wash the clay right away and then dry it.

If you keep different types of clays in stock for a long time, make sure the bags carry name tags. Use good quality glue for tags. I know this because I’ve lost some tags and I couldn’t separate the qualities anymore. It was really frustrating.

How does rhassoul clay work on the skin?

rhassoul-clay

Rhassoul clay’s minerals are very optimal for the skin. That’s why rhassoul clay has maintained its popularity in beauty care for thousands of years. Rhassoul clay has even been used in ancient Egypt as a medicine to cure ailments.

In North Africa, making rhassoul clay powder is an art

Traditionally in North Africa, the shores of the Mediterranean people have always used rhassoul clay. Each family has had their own stone for making the clay. By grinding and filtering the stone with the help of secret herbs, they have always taken care of their beauty.

The raw, untreated rhassoul powder is washed thoroughly together with orange fruit flowers, lavender, myrtle and chamomile. The washed clay is then sun-dried for a week. The powder is washed again using the same herbs and dried again under the sun until dry. This type of powder has always been part of the hammam tradition (sauna) in North Africa. In addition to rhassoul powder, the Hammam tradition has included black soap, argan oil and Kessa glove.

This kind of herb-refined rhassoul clay powder is also part of the traditional Moroccan wedding ritual. Rhassoul clay is therefore a highly valued product.

I have not found similar, flower-rich powder in Finland. The rhassoul clay powders for sale in Finland are only ground, washed and dried. Or I just haven’t found any retailer yet.

How is rhassoul clay used in cosmetics?

Rhassoul clay can be used in cosmetics just like other clays. You can make a clay face mask by adding

If rhassoul clay feels too strong on your face you can mix desired amount of kaolin clay with it. Kaolin is very mild and usually does not irritate anyone’s skin.

It is not advisable to mix clay masks with anything that you wish to absorb into the skin. Clay works by pulling impurities away from the skin. That’s why I never add oil or any other ingredient to the same mask as clay.

A clay mask is at its best when it is made exclusively from high quality clay and pure water. Pay particular attention to the quality of the clay and water. Simple but high quality is the best option here – as usual.

Do not use metal spoons or mixing bowls with clay. The negative charge of clay is disturbed and the clay is not anymore as effective.

Rhassoul clay’s effect on hair

rhassoul-clay

Traditionally in North Africa, rhassoul clay has been used to treat the face, skin, legs and hair.

Rhassoul clay is very cleansing and caring stuff for the hair. It is rich in silicon and magnesium, which strengthens the hair and scalp. You can make a hair mask from rhassoul clay or use clay for washing your hair.

Traditionally in North Africa, people have used a mixture of rhassoul clay and black soap for hair wash. You can also add rhassoul clay to your regular shampoo.

You can make an effective hair mask from rhassoul clay by mixing it with aloe vera juice. If you do not have aloe vera juice you can use pure water. Aloe Vera makes the mixture more paste-like and more manageable.

Rhassoul clay also effectively cleans the scalp and removes residues of chemicals and air pollution from your hair

I’d love to hear your own experiences with clay, and especially rhassoul clay. Add your message in the comment box below so other readers will benefit from your tips. Thank you!

Activated charcoal is a popular ingredient in cosmetics and toiletries. I have previously written about activated charcoal here. But now I started to write a new article about it. I would like to remind you how good detox it really is. Especially now when the spring sun starts to shine, the skin needs effective deep cleansing. Therefore, it is advisable to clean the dust off from your activated charcoal box again and make a very simple but effective detox face mask.

aktiivihiili-detox

What is the difference between activated charcoal and charcoal used for barbeques?

Activated charcoal and Barbecue charcoal look quite similar. Both products are black and feel the same when touched. Barbecue charcoal is made by cooking wood in low oxygen owen. When all the organic material has been burnt, black charcoal remains. Activated charcoal is a highly refined charcoal with specific properties. Activated charcoal is processed from ordinary coal at very hot temperatures by using a complex chemical process. Ready activated charcoal is a completely pure product with no chemical residues.

During the chemical process, the properties of the charcoal change. It becomes particularly porous. Thanks to the pores, the surface of the charcoal grows enormously. One gram of activated charcoal is equivalent to about 500-32,000 square meters, depending on the quality of the activated charcoal. Activated charcoal can absorb harmful substances thousands of times its own weight. Ordinary charcoal cannot do this.

How activated charcoal works

Activated charcoal absorbs certain drugs, phenols, alkaloids, pigments and some heavy metals (at least cadmium, copper, nickel and lead) from everything it comes in direct contact with. Skin is exposed to heavy metals due to air pollution.

Activated charcoal is unable to absorb substances that have already been absorbed deeper into the skin. It can work only when it is in direct contact with the substance.

How to make activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made from ordinary charcoal obtained by burning wood, coconut shells or peat. The cosmetic industry generally uses activated charcoal made from coconut shells. Activated charcoal from birch is also used in cosmetics in Finland.

Activated charcoal in cosmetics

Activated charcoal has been used in cosmetics for some time. Activated charcoal is known for whitening toothpastes. The effectiveness of activated charcoal toothpaste is based on its ability to absorb colour pigments. Coffee, tea and red wine stains on teeth can safely be removed by active charcoal.

Activated charcoal is also added to face masks today. The idea is to clean the surface of the skin from impurities and heavy metals. Activated charcoal’s function is to cleanse the skin. It cannot be absorbed into the skin but only works on the surface of the skin. Therefore, all that is absorbed deeper into the skin remains firmly in the skin.

There are some activated charcoal soaps for sale. I also have got one. Activated charcoal soaps can be used as a face soap to remove impurities or as a hand soap to remove odours and discoloration. As a face soap, activated charcoal removes toxins from the skin and cleanses the skin. If the surrounding air is heavily polluted, activated charcoal soap is a convenient way to clean up the air pollutants accumulated on the skin surface during the day.

Dis advantages of activated charcoal

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The ordinary charcoal has been used in cosmetics for thousands of years. The history of activated charcoal is shorter. It is a complex chemical product, not a natural cosmetic ingredient. Although activated charcoal is a very pure product and does not contain toxic ingredients, there are a few things to keep in mind when using it

How do I use activated charcoal in cosmetics?

Activated charcoal should only be used occasionally and only for a specific need. Its daily use is not justified.

Make your own homemade activated charcoal masks.

You can add a bit of activated charcoal to your face mask if you want to clean and brighten your skin properly.

There is no point to add any ingredient mentioned to be absorbed to the skin to your active charcoal mask. The purpose of activated charcoal is to pull substances out of the skin. Then you should not add anything you would like to be absorbed into the skin. The ingredients to be absorbed into the skin are wasted and at the same time the function of activated charcoal is less effective.

The water-charcoal mixture is the perfect mask

I mix a small amount of pure water with activated charcoal and apply it on the face for about 30-40 minutes.

Wash the mask off with double cleaning; Apply the oil cleansing over the activated charcoal mask and gently rub your face. Then wash your face with gentle face soap. I do not usually prefer soap for face cleansing. This is an exception because the activated charcoal mask is otherwise really difficult to remove. Based on my own experience, this is the best detox mask.

Remarks on the use of activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is really effective, all the time. It really is active and absorbs material from its surroundings all the time. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the activated charcoal box very tightly closed. Impurities in the air will weaken activated charcoal if stored in an open box.

Activated charcoal can very easily spoil your white clothes. So, when dealing with activated charcoal, you better wear dark clothes and dark towels.

Activated charcoal divides opinions

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The best detox mask is made from activated charcoal and few drops of water – I would say

Activated charcoal is an interesting ingredient in cosmetics. It is not a natural ingredient, but a factory-made refined product.

As a cosmetic ingredient, activated charcoal has not been researched enough. Therefore, many consider activated charcoal to be completely ineffective. It is not considered capable of deep cleansing of skin from harmful impurities. At least there is no scientific evidence.

Personally, I do not agree. I have been using activated charcoal masks and found it to be even more effective detox product than clay. Activated charcoal dries my skin less than many clays.

You can well combine activated charcoal with natural clays. They act on the skin in the same way, attracting the skin’s impurities and toxins.

Have you used active charcoal in cosmetics?

Peat is usually associated with something but skincare.  Peat is, however, one of the oldest and most efficient skincare products. It cures not only the skin but also other issues we may have in our bodies.  The use of peat is unbelievable limited comparing how it could benefit our health. We have to change this and that is why I decided to tell you about the peat.

What is the organic peat we use in healthcare?

When we use peat for skincare or other use in healthcare, we talk about organic peat.

Swamps have born after the last ice age, approximately 10 000 years ago when melting water has withdrawn from deeper areas.  Former lake transformed to a wetland that is called a swamp.  Bryophytes, twigs and many other herbal plants growing on the swamp have faded and new plants have grown annually on top. Older generations have been buried deeper and deeper. There are thousands of layers in the swamp.

Close to the surface decomposing is quicker but deeper the bacterial activity is slower.

Layers close to surface contain clearly mass from plants.

In deeper layers the mass is gel-like and decomposed plants are not visible anymore.

This process takes thousands of years, especially in cold climate. Wooden objects can last forever in a swamp. Because of this process, the peat has become unique product containing enzymes and phytochemicals. The texture of peat is still partly a mystery to scientists. There is no way to manufacture similar product like organic peat.

Where to get organic peat

There are only few swamps in Finland from where organic peat can be lifted up.  The swamp should be located in an area where is no danger to get any agricultural waters into the swamp.  Also, there is always a possibility to get industrial waters into the swamp. That is why the swamp used for collecting organic peat should be located at highlands.

Organic peat can be found in only deep enough swamps.  The average dept of a swamp in Finland is 2 meters. There are even 12 meters deep existing.  Organic peat is pumped up from deep enough in order to avoid any particles of plants.  There is no layer of this gel-like peat in shallow swamps.

There is plenty of organic peat available in Finland. Finland is very swampy country. The value of swamps is not understood. In reality the swamps are our riches, who could believe that! So let’s stop underestimating of swamps and start to appreciate them.

Swamps are treated really badly

Nowadays the surface layers of swamps are used as fuel and gardening materials.  These ways represent not sustainable development and they will spoil swamps in time. Swamps are considered as wastelands.  No trees are growing and practicing agriculture is impossible. Using heavy machinery for lifting up outer layers is spoiling the swamps.

Organic peat requires an untouchable swamp

A swamp already in use for fuel other source is not suitable for collecting organic peat. Heavy machinery will destroy the structure of swamp and there are always leaks of fuel and oil. It is popular now to talk about returning swamps back to their natural form but it takes time. It will require hundreds or thousands of years to get a swamp back the way it was originally. Swamp will look like an untouchable one with all the plants in few decades but deep layers may never be the same again.

Organic peat should be lifted by respecting nature’s own ecosystem

Organic peat must be lifted always and only by hands. By “hands” means in this case a pump. Finnish organic peat entrepreneurs have specialized pumping equipment for lifting up the peat. Pumping equipment do not require large space on swamp; a hole is drilled and a pipe is laid in the swamp. Liquid peat, the mass, is pumped up.  There is no need to dig or destroy the surface of the swamp.  No bulldozers or any other heavy equipment is used.

Texture of organic peat is carefully inspected

Organic peat is safe to use because it is carefully inspected before packaging.  There are pleanty of information available about organic peat quality control process on a Finnish peat producer’s, Polar True Oy, web page.

 

How you can use organic peat in skincare

There are several ways of using organic peat. It is difficult to imagine any other product that can use as diverse as organic peat.  Just try different peat treatments and you can find more ways to use it by yourself. Organic peat acts like cosmetic clay products. I told about kaolin clay in my recent post. Peat absorbs impurities from skin like clay. That is why there is no need to mix any other ingredients to peat. They will just disturb peat’s process.

You can use peat in the Sauna

The new success of organic peat has started in Sauna.  The heat of sauna will boost peat’s activity. Spread the peat all over to your body or just on any area you want to treat. Maximum heat in sauna should not be over 60 degrees Celsius. Relax in mild temperature about 20 minutes. Moisture the peat once in a while. Do not let the peat layer to dry on your skin.  After the sauna use lukewarm water for washing.

Organic peat has been used for

 

You can use organic peat in a bath

Add some peat to the water.  Relax in sour water and enjoy the skin treatment. Having a bath in peat water treats the skin as swimming in a lake.  Lake water is naturally sour and probiotic.

Having a peat bath gets the metabolic waste in your body move. Your skin will brighten and cool down as well. Proper time for a bath is about 20 minutes.  Maximum temperature should not exceed 40n degrees Celsius. By controlling the water temperature, you can be sure that no important ingredient will be destroyed because of heat.

You can use organic peat for your haircare

You can use organic peat to facial mask

Sour peat mask cleans well and makes your skin relax. Peat does the deep cleansing and simultaneously makes skin pores smaller. The mask will brighten your skin and makes blood circulate better.

You can use organic peat for whitening of your skin

It is extremely popular in Asia to do skin whitening. There is a huge variety more or less harmful chemicals available for this purpose.  Peat is safe product that gives a soft whitening.  Finnish peat is exported to Japan for natural, skin whitening material.

You can treat acne by peat

Organic peat mask will balance your skin’s pH and bacteria activity.  It will clean impurities from the skin as well.  It is absolutely worth of trying peat mask in case you suffer from acne.

You can do deep cleansing using peat to get rid of air pollution particles and chemicals on your skin

Air contains plenty of microparticles that may penetrate to the skin.  You cannot wash these particles away by just having a shower, they have already penetrated to the skin.  A peat mask will absorb these particles from your skin.

You can use organic peat for relieving pain in muscles and joints

If you have occasional pain in muscles or joints, you can try organic pet bandage.  Spread the peat on an area you want to treat and use plastic wrap to cover the peat. The peat should be warm, keep it some 15-30 minutes.  There are many researches about the influence of peat in muscular pains.  However, it is recommendable to consult your own doctor before starting the peat treatments.

If you are an allergic person…

Avoid the peat in case you suffer from nickel allergy.  There may be some ingredients in the peat that may cause allergic reaction, and not only because of nickel allergy.  Before using the peat, try first it on a small area of your skin for 20 minutes. Wash away and wait 48 hours. In case there will be an allergic reaction, it should arise during 48 hours.

Why organic peat is not widely used in skincare?

Good question! There are gorgeous and luxury skincare cosmetics available in some countries. For example, there are beauty salons specialized in peat treatments in Ireland and Germany. Organic peat is respected so much in these countries that they are even recycling the peat. Used organic peat is laid down back to swamp.

Organic peat is 100 % Finnish product. It has been in use for hundreds and thousands of years for curing various illnesses and pains. There is no need to airfreight it from the other side of the globe, you can get easily from Finland and it is chemical free.

Benefit from peat’s powerful phytochemicals

There are different kind of peat around the world. Swamps in Northern countries are full of high-quality peat. In cold areas the peat is composed very slowly. Every producer of organic peat wants to highlight his own product’s superiority. Well, Finnish organic peat is about the same quality in the whole county.

There is no research about organic peat going on at the moment in Finland. This is a pity because we can not get more information about peat’s healthy effects.

Organic peat contains several different organic compounds which are impossible to copy.

There are plenty of healthy flavonoids in the peat. There are also

Humus acids, fulva acids and other soil’s components are playing important role in the well-being of our body. In addition, the useful bacteria in organic peat is invaluable. In Helsinki University a research was made between children getting used to natural bacteria and children without exposing bacteria.  Children exposed to natural bacteria were much healthier than children without any contacts to nature.  It is said that we need the bacteria of earth – without them, we are less happy and get sick easier.

Organic peat is like natural soil’s own beauty serum – all nature’s own treating ingredients are composed in it.

Where to get organic peat

It is easy to find organic peat from a shop selling natural products.  In case shop near to you do not have it you can ask the shopkeeper to order it for you.  And naturally online shops are also selling it.

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