How to Make Your Own Vegan Beauty Products for Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life, and as such, it deserves to be celebrated. Few of life's luxuries lift our spirits and promote our self-esteem as effectively as beauty products. However, this feel good factor generally comes with a hefty price tag attached to it. Add the words 'organic', 'herbal' and 'vegan' to the label and the cost is higher still. But does it have to be?
by Katharina Bishop
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Beauty products need not be expensive. You can achieve professional results at home on a shoestring budget. Best of all, making your own beauty products gives you complete control over the ingredients. This is especially useful for ethical consumers who object to animal testing and ingredients, and if you have sensitive or allergic skin.
Skin care products - cleansers, toners, creams, serums and lotions - are among the most popular beauty treatments. Many skin care products available on the shelves contain toxic substances, which are frequently synthetically derived from petrochemicals. These ingredients have the potential for causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, allergic respiratory reactions, and skin and eye irritations. Many chemicals found in cosmetics don't cause immediate visible signs of toxicity, but affect our health negatively over time through repeated use.
It is surprisingly simple to achieve excellent results at home with relatively little effort and expenditure. Many every day food items such as cucumber, fruits, herbs and others have been used as beauty enhancers for centuries.
Masks rejuvenate and revitalize skin by removing accumulated dead skin cells and restoring normal epidermal function. Regular use of a facial mask tightens pores and stimulates the circulation of blood to the face, thereby bringing oxygen and other essential nutrients to the skin.
You can make an excellent skin-softening facial mask using strawberries. A member of the rose family, strawberry contains salicylic acid, which rids the skin of dead cells, allowing it to absorb moisture more efficiently. Strawberries also have a mild bleaching effect on the skin and help prevent and heal blemishes. For a single facial mask, thaw one whole frozen strawberry in a small cup in the microwave. Frozen strawberries are excellent to use for this recipe since they release significant amounts of juice when thawed. Mash up the slightly warm strawberry to a pulp and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to form a smooth paste. Apply the paste to your face and neck and allow to dry, 15 - 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
For a refreshing facial, pour boiling water over dried chamomile flowers in a bowl and inhale, holding your face a few inches above the water. You can even use the left over liquid to rinse your hair with afterwards. Apart from the benefits to your skin, this treatment also has health benefits for the nose, throat and lungs and is especially beneficial for colds and bronchial infections.
For an all-over beauty treatment, which also aids relaxation, add a muslin bag filled with your favourite herbs to a warm bath. For a soothing effect, try chamomile flowers or rose flowers. Basil, bay, rosemary, or thyme have an energizing effect. Sage and strawberry leaves relieve muscle aches and painful joints. A handful of oatmeal and two teaspoons of sea salt make an invigorating body scrub.
Massage has a relaxing effect on the body and the mind. It loosens tension and blockages and stimulates blood circulation and the lymphatic system, which plays an important role in the body's immune system. Massage oils consists of a carrier oil (or oil blend) to which essential oils are added. Carrier oils are vegetable oils used to dilute the concentrated essential oils. They help to slow down the evaporation of the essential oils and help absorb them into the skin.
For maximum benefit, 'extra virgin' or cold-pressed vegetable oils should be used. Popular carrier oils include sweet almond, grape seed, sunflower, sesame, wheat germ, olive and peanut oil. Nut allergy sufferers are advised to avoid nut-based oils.
Jojoba oil is very popular for use in beauty products due to its nutritional properties. Its structure is very close to human sebum so it is easily absorbed. Jojoba oil allows the skin to breathe, unlike other oils. It nourishes the skin and moisturizes it at the same time. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax, not oil.
Sesame oil is a popular beauty product in the Middle East, where pregnant women use it as an all over body oil due to its beneficial properties. Sesame oil is known to preserve the elasticity of the skin, a property which aids in preventing stretch marks.
Making your own beauty products not only saves you money and gives you control over what goes on your body, it's also easy and fun. Happy mixing!