Native to islands in South-eastern Asia, lemongrass is a tall grass that grows in tropical climates. Its essential oil is fresh, invigorating and uplifting and one of our firm favourites here at Love to b. An amazingly useful oil, we use it widely across our products due to its therapeutic benefits and gorgeous, lemony scent. So, what can this amazing oil do, I hear you ask! If you’re feeling down and need a pick me up or want to focus your mind, then lemongrass is for you. It boosts energy levels and can even help to relieve joint pain.
How is lemongrass essential oil extracted?
Using steam distillation. The whole plant is used. Steam distillation is the most common way to extract essential oils. Steam passes through the plant material. The combination of steam, heat and gentle pressure means that the essential oil is released from microscopic sacs inside the plant.
What does lemongrass essential oil smell like?
Lemony, fresh and slightly herby.
What can lemongrass essential oil be used for?
Anti-bacterial: Lemongrass essential oil has been used for a long time to prevent infection and help to heal wounds. It is effective at eradicating many drug resistant bacteria.
Anti-fungal: Lemongrass essential oil is effective against some forms of fungi such as those that cause ringworm and athletes foot.
Anti-inflammatory: Lemongrass essential oil contains Citral, which is an anti-inflammatory compound. It is seriously effective at reducing inflammation and redness on the skin.
Antioxidant: Lemongrass essential oil is full of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body (free radicals damage cells).
Insect repellent: This oil has been shown to repel insects.
Commonly asked questions
Does Lemongrass Essential oil lighten skin?
When properly diluted in a carrier oil, the limonene in lemongrass oil may help lighten and brighten skin, unclog pores, and reduce acne and acne scars.
Can I use Lemongrass essential oil on my face?
With the proper dilution in a carrier oil, lemongrass essential oil is the ideal choice for skincare. It helps to remove impurities, detoxify the skin, and leave it feeling clean and clear. It is also packed full of antioxidants that help to fight damaging free radicals which are harmful to your skin.
Can I use lemongrass essential oil directly on the skin?
No, that isn’t recommended. Lemongrass essential oil does need to be diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond. Use up to 12 drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil. As always, we recommend doing a patch test if your skin is particularly sensitive.
It is seriously fun making natural bath bombs at home with ingredients from your kitchen, not to mention how great they can be for your skin and general wellbeing. If you have read our blog on Why bath bombs get a bad press, you will know that most high street bath bombs created by leading beauty brands can cause nasty reactions for sensitive and delicate young skin. Our natural bath bombs are made primarily with ingredients that can be easily found in your kitchen store cupboard (or your local high street) and using natural essential oils for scent and natural plant-based colourings. If you need quality essential oils they can be found here. They will help you create your very own at-home spa experience, or give you a great opportunity to share your bombs with friends as we all begin to meet up again after Covid! You could practice your skills at artisan skincare making and then have every reason to escape for a well-deserved, relaxing bath! You could also treat a bomb making session, as a special bonding experience with your kids this half term holiday.
As an aside, some of our customers ask us whether bath bombs have any benefits? We think that they most definitely do! They add emollients and softeners to your bath that then moisturise your skin. Regardless of your skin type, the beneficial ingredients in our natural bath bombs leave it soft, supple, and silky. Yes, it will cleanse your skin, but the ingredients inside will also pamper and soothe. So let’s get started, just follow the steps below.
How to make your own natural bath bombs
Large bowl for mixing
Small bowl for oils
Hand or balloon whisk
Two hemispherical bomb moulds, or;
Silicon cake mould (about cup cake size)
Small spray bottle
230g – bicarbonate of soda
115g – citric acid
115g – Epsom salts
115g – cornflour
15g coconut or sunflower oil
10 drops of essential oil
(lavender, mint or sweet orange are great to start with)
Witch-hazel or water
Dried flower botanicals
Using the large bowl, sieve the bicarbonate of soda, Epsom salts and cornflour into the bowl.
In the small bowl, combine the melted coconut oil (or sunflower oil) and your essential oil of choice
Fill the spray bottle with water for later – things start to happen fast once you introduce liquid to the mix!!
Use the hand or balloon whisk, mix the bi-carb, Epsom salts and cornflower together. Once thoroughly combined, steadily drizzle the oils into them, mixing continuously.
Now add in the citric acid and mix.
Spray two or three squirts of witch hazel or water into the ingredients, mixing well and fast. Once the ingredients ‘clump’ together it is ready for moulding. It just needs to be damp enough to hold together when scrunched hard in your hand and dropped back into the bowl – about the consistency of sandcastle sand. Be careful not to make the mixture too wet or it will start to fizz away.
Note:- Witch hazel is preferable to water if you can get hold of some. It causes less fizzing and makes a harder bomb once it is dried. Having said that you can use water if you can’t get witch hazel, but you may end up with a more fragile bomb!
You can add some dried botanicals such as lavender buds, rosemary leaves, rose petals etc. at this stage, or add a few to the mould before filling with the mixture.
Pack the mixture into the two hemispheres of the bath bomb mould, mounding up each half above the rim. Press the two halves together hard, without twisting, and cleaning away any excess at the mould join. Tap the outside and gently remove one half of the mould, turn upside down in your hand and remove the other half of the mould. Gently lay the bomb down on a drying rack and place in a warm dry place for 24 hours.
An easier option is to use a silicon mould, packing the ingredients in hard and leaving to dry overnight. The following day remove carefully from the mould, bearing in mind that the finished product can be fragile. Again, place on a rack in a warm dry place for an additional 24 hours.
After allowing your bombs to dry, store in an airtight box in a cool, dry place. Don’t leave them in the open, particularly in the bathroom, or your bombs will disintegrate in the humidity losing all their scent and fizz in the process!
Feel free to try natural colourings – we use chamomile for yellow, spirulina for green, alkanet root for purple and ground Himalayan salt for pink. You could also add a spoonful of ground oats to the dry mixture to help with reducing inflammation.
…….. and pause!
Now to enjoy the fruits of your labour. And remember, natural bath bombs are not just for the kids and tweens! If you are a runner, love cycling or just need to chill after a hard day, these mineral rich, natural bath bombs will help soothe your tired muscles. For that special, holistic sanctuary or home-spa experience that will truly help with your mental health, follow this self-care ritual: Run a hot bath, pop in your beautiful home-made natural bath bomb, light your favourite ‘Love to b’ candle, pour a glass of your favourite bubbly, step in, lay back ……and pause. You deserve five minutes relaxation in these challenging days. The bath bomb oils will moisturise your skin, the Epsom salts will soak into your muscles and the essential oils will transport you to a special place. What’s not to like? And remember if you are a parent…. you can’t pour from an empty cup, look after yourself with some self-love too. Please do share your bath bomb photos with us on social media using the hashtag #Lovetobskincare. We would absolutely love to see the fruits of your labour!
If you are finding the demands of everyday life too much at times, you can always leave us to make the bath bombs for you! Just pop to our website and choose from one of our handmade, aromatherapy, natural bath bombs to soothe away your anxiety.
For a long time, I have had my suspicions about the use of the recycling symbol which is so widely used on plastic bottles and containers through industry. I’ve recently discovered that no matter how many different types of ‘chasing arrows’ are printed on plastic products, it doesn’t change the fact that plastic is largely a throwaway material worldwide.
There are many large beauty and toiletry companies that will often tout the fact that their product packaging is ok because it’s recyclable! That is just not true, if they have the interest of their customers, our planet and the survival of all the endangered species, they would be switching to sustainable packaging. Unlike plastic, glass and metal (including aluminum) can be recycled infinitely without losing quality or purity in the product. Recycling glass and metal is the ultimate form of circular economy, the process of using and then reusing materials without generating any waste.
Although using re-useable plastics is an improvement from using single use plastic, which is thrown away, most plastics are recycled using high levels of fossil fuel. This continual need and use of plastic of any kind, creates a demand for plastic to be made.
What are the negatives of recycling?
-It is impossible for extensive recycling to take place worldwide due to lack of facilities and budget
-Recycling requires huge consumption of energy, often fossil fuel
-Recycling creates pollution
-Recycling centres require high up-front capital costs
How bad is the plastic problem?
In excess of 240 billion plastic bottles have become plastic waste and has been polluting our already fragile ecosystem. This is a global problem on an enormous scale and is causing irreversible damage to our planet.
How much plastic is currently recycled globally?
A global plastics recycling rate of 18%, and plastics waste generation of 258 Mtpa (million metric tonnes per annum) translate into approximately 46 million tonnes of recycled plastics production per year. If you want to find out more, read this interesting article from recycle now.
Glass and metal can be recycled infinitely!
Several years ago at Love to b, when we were rebranding we decided to get our own sustainable house in order! It took a whole year of research. We found it was impossible for our packaging to become 100% sustainable due to what was available on the market. We also found that our customers had become used to pumps for the their cosmetic and toiletry bottles.
These are some of the changes we made at Love to b:
-Glass jars: We have switched plastic lids to metal on our glass jars
-Skincare: We stopped using plastic airless pump bottles, it’s now all in glass
-Lip balm tubes: A big switch to cute little metal pots
-Soap boxes: Stopped using plastic lamination switched to FSC card
-Plastic cellophane for gifts: switched to potato starch cellophane
-Ribbon (which is generally made of plastic): switched to jute ribbon
-We’ve started to refuse raw ingredients from companies that still choose to use plastic and polystyrene fill. We make a point of letting suppliers know why we will not use them until they address their use of plastic.
-We have switched out all plastic bags to reusable and recyclable dual-purpose paper and linen bags
-All postal orders are packed with compostable materials such as upcycled shredded paper, wood wool and unbleached tissue.
At Love to b we feel we have an obligation to our families, community and planet to use ingredients and materials that don’t harm us or our world.
Moving forward we, at Love to b plan to continue to be conscious about environmental issues, sustainability and strive to improve in areas where we could do better.
Relaxing and soothing. Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils and has been used for centuries in aromatherapy. An extremely popular and well-known oil, lavender essential oil is widely used therapeutically for massage, bathing and in skincare. Lavender oil creates a beautiful aroma when it is vaporised in an oil burner, creating a sense of peace and calm. It is renowned for its wound healing benefits. Once written off as ‘old’ and ‘dated’, lavender essential oil has made a revival in recent years and is certainly a best seller here at Love to b.
Julie is often asked by customers ‘What can lavender essential oil be used for?’ It is a truly multipurpose oil that has a soothing and relaxing effect, believed to relieve anxiety and depression, insomnia, eczema and fungal infections.
How is Lavender essential oil made?
The flowers and leaves can be used. It takes around 1kg of Lavender plant to make 5ml of essential oil! Steam distillation is the most common way to extract essential oils. Steam passes through the plant material. The combination of steam, heat and gentle pressure means that the essential oil is released from the microscopic sacs inside the plant.
What does lavender essential oil smell like?
Floral, fresh, sweet and herby.
What can lavender essential oil be used for?
Anti-inflammatory: Lavender is great at reducing swelling and irritation whilst calming redness and evening the complexion. It has a slight numbing effect on the skin which can help relieve pain.
For Eczema and psoriasis: Due to its anti-inflammatory, healing and antibacterial benefits, lavender essential oil can be an excellent choice to soothe eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
For wrinkles: Lavender is full of antioxidants that will help to protect your skin from free radicals and slow down the aging process.
For acne: Because lavender essential oil has excellent antibacterial qualities, it can help to prevent and heal acne breakouts whilst reducing redness and inflammation.
For wound healing: Lavender essential oil is thought to reduce pain and speed up the skin’s healing process.
As an insect repellent: Not only is lavender essential oil an excellent insect repellent but it can also relieve itching when applied to a bite.
The history of Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil was used in the kits of men fighting during World War 2. They used it on burns, scrapes, bruises and cuts to clean the wound and aid healing.
Lavender gets its name from the latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’. The Romans used lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and even their hair! They also discovered its medicinal properties.
Sixteenth-century English herbalist John Parkinson wrote that lavender was ‘especially good use for all griefs and pains of the head and brain’. Charles VI of France insisted that his pillow always contain lavender so that he could get a good night’s sleep.
Commonly asked questions
Is lavender essential oil safe for pets?
Yes. Lavender essential oil is widely considered to be safe for cats and dogs to inhale. With the proper dilution, it can also be used topically on many minor skin ailments or to aid relaxation. As always, we advise consulting your vet before using a new product if you are particularly concerned.
Can I use lavender essential oil directly on the skin?
Yes. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be used un-diluted on the skin. If your skin is particularly sensitive, we would recommend testing a small amount of the oil first to see if you get a reaction.
Does lavender essential oil make you sleepy?
It has been found that lavender increases the amount of slow and deep wave sleep.
Kew garden has written an amazing article all about Lavender if you are keen to find out more about this amazing ingredient! They’ve even shown you how to make your own lavender eye pillow.
Bath bombs are fabulous fun and great for helping to create your very own at-home spa experience. Sadly, they have had a bad press over the last few years, primarily due to the poor ingredients often used by mass manufacturers, which can result in dermatitis and eczema. Love to b natural bath bombs are much kinder to your skin, with added moisturising oils, anti-inflammatory ingredients, therapeutic plant-based scent and natural colourings. We are giving away one of our favourite recipes, to help you create natural, DIY bath bombs in your own home – a great way for your kids and tweens to have fun and relax after a hard day at school.
The bath bomb problem
I have decided to share with you why we started making plant-based bath bombs at Love to b. When my daughter Bea was a young teenager, she was often given brightly coloured bath bombs for her birthday and at Christmas, bought from a major high street chain. At first she would be tempted by the bright colours and would insist on trying them, but she never really liked the sickly, overpowering smell. They would fizz away beautifully in the bath, but once that initial fun subsided it would result in some less pleasant experiences: the bright fluorescent colours of the bath bomb would not only stain her skin and the bath, but also made her skin itch, come up in red hives and cause patches of contact eczema. It was always disappointing for her. As her Mum, I could not believe that something that was supposed to be fun could end up being a disaster and taking weeks to remedy, getting the flora of her skin back to normal.
The natural bath bomb solution
A couple of years ago, our team of artisan, skincare manufacturing mums, decided to start making natural bath bombs in our Love to b skincare kitchen in Ringwood. After a little research and development, we set about making the very best natural bath bombs, suitable for teenagers and people that generally can’t use the highly fragranced, unnatural high street bombs. At times our skincare kitchen looked like a sketch from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!
What we wanted to avoid in our natural bath bombs
–No to bubbling agents – such as SLS that make a great effervescent bomb but leave your skin dry.
–No to artificial colours or micas – artificial colours often stain the skin and the bath. Sadly Micas, which are a natural shimmering colour found in make up too, have been associated with child labour. ITV writes an incredibly interesting article about this.
–No to artificial scent / fragrance – We don’t want any fragrance that has been created with harsh artificial chemicals.
-No to palm oil – added as a moisturiser, we don’t use palm due to deforestation of the natural habitat of the orangutan and other endangered species in Indonesia. Read more from the World Wildlife Fund.
-No to glitter and sequins – these are plastic and will end up in the sea as micro-plastics and possibly ingested by sealife. Read more about this from National Geographic.
–No to shrink wrap plastic packaging – it protects the natural bath bomb from humidity and prolongs the shelf life, but it is unnecessary. We prefer to freshly make our natural bath bombs as required
In ten years of making skincare, it still amazes me how much kinder handmade natural products are, than the mass-produced lotions and potions made by multi-million-pound companies. You could make the comparison between a mass made supermarket chocolate cake and the home-made yummy cake your granny lovingly made! They are, for sure, in different leagues.
At Love to b skincare the poignant subject of plastic-free is never far from our hearts, thoughts and conversation, both at our skincare kitchen and at our flagship store in Ringwood. We are very aware that the beauty industry is a major contributor to the increasing mountain of plastic on the planet.
As media coverage for a plastic-free world has gained momentum, mainly attributed to people such as natural history broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and climate activist Greta Thunberg, there has been a positive step-change within our communities and governments towards becoming plastic-free. Click here to watch David Attenborough’s plastic message.
I remember watching the award-winning Blue Planet films and being mesmerised by the spectacular beauty of the world we live in. I was surprised to learn that every piece of plastic that has been made since the 1950’s still exists. So, like most people wanting to make a difference to our planet, I began making small, simple changes at home and stopped buying single use plastic as much as possible. This led me to wonder what we could and should do at ‘Love to b’ to become a plastic free company?
I began by studying environmental issues: ironically, plastics were first invented over a hundred years ago to solve the demand for items made from materials from the natural world eg: billiard balls made from elephant tusks. Plastics are made from fossil fuels – coal, natural gas and crude oil. These are toxic materials, and plastic tends to leach out these toxins, getting into the food chain and ending up in the bloodstream of nearly all of us. Sadly, mass, daily exposure to these toxins has also been linked to cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments. Plastics may have been invented for our convenience but they are seriously bad for our health and the health of our planet.
Why is plastic bad for our planet?
Let’s start with the most obvious statistic: Greenpeace estimates that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our beautiful oceans each year. To put that in terms we can understand, that is the equivalent weight of around 2,400,000 average size elephants! The impact this has on our oceans is immense, the most visual impacts are the digestion and suffocation of marine animals and other species.
Beauty industry shame!
Two of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution are the fishing and beauty industries. Single use plastic packaging, microplastics in face washes and exfoliants have had such a devastating impact on marine and wildlife. This doesn’t just affect bigger animals, it also has an effect on micro-organisms; microplastics have rough pitted surfaces which allows waterborne chemicals from industry and agriculture to stick to the microplastics and make them toxic poison pills that plankton and fish mistake for food, which sadly kills most species.
An alarming recent statistic from Greenpeace, is that ’90% of all seabirds worldwide have consumed plastic in their lifetime’. This is a sad and scary statistic that puts into perspective the amount of material in the ocean that doesn’t belong there. Therefore, it’s so important to of our waterways and oceans use alternative sustainable, natural materials, to help keep plastics out of our waterways and oceans.
Several years ago, I decided to start with small changes at home to reduce the amount of plastic, we stopped buying bottled shampoo and conditioner. This coincided with us making our very first solid bar of 100% natural Mint & Rosemary Shampoo. So pleased we made this change, many more followed.
So, what can we do, individually, in our homes, in our companies and within our communities? In a future blog, we will be outlining our company’s environmental beliefs that run through our very core, along with our strategy to help with preserving the future of our precious planet for our children.
Start small, start real and keep your eye on the prize….. plastic free living!
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