Thursday, 29 May 2014

Technique Thursdays: Homemade face masks

I use a lot of homemade recipes and products on my face I would say about 80% all natural products and 20% manufactured. Here are two very easy to make, effective and pocket friendly homemade face mask recipes that I use on a very regular basis. Food items I currently use on my face about three times a week are natural plain yoghurt, coarse cornmeal, honey, tomato, papaya, avocado, banana, mango, turmeric, ground cinnamon, white vinegar and egg if it’s good enough to eat then it’s good enough for my face:) Here are two recipes from that collection; 
Avocado and turmeric face mask
Small piece ripe avocado
¼ tablespoon turmeric
Small mixing bowl
Mash avocado and mix together with turmeric I usually use my fingers then apply straight to my face but you can use a spoon or fork to mix. Apply to face and neck leave on for 20 to 30 minutes it will dry up on the face and then rinse off, it leaves my face feeling smooth and moisturized. Avocado is a natural moisturizer; it also nourishes and revitalizes the skin. I use turmeric which is considered a wonder spice for all the benefits you get from it inside out (health wise and topically on your skin) in almost all my face mask recipes. It gives my face a nice glow other benefits of using turmeric on your skin include but are not limited to; acne treatment, controls oily face, reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles among others.  It’s also a great spice added to food and I use it a lot in my cooking I like to add a little to white rice to give it a nice yellow colour.

Banana and cinnamon face mask
Small piece ripe banana
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Small mixing bowl
Mash and mix well together until fully combined. Apply to face and neck leave on for 20-30 minutes, the mix usually dries up on the face and then rinse off. Banana loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals is a great natural moisturizer, restores lost moisture and repairs dry dull skin by helping get rid of dead skin while maintaining your skins natural glow. Cinnamon another spice I use in my cooking contains antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties which help to combat most facial problems like acne. Cinnamon also soothes dry skin by removing dead skin cells; it improves blood circulation by bringing blood to the skin surface thereby giving the face a fuller plumper appearance.

I never feel the need to moisturize my face on the days when I use these face masks my face is left moisturized even after rinsing the masks off. Both masks can be used without the spices so don’t worry if you don’t have any spices available the avocado and banana on their own will do just fine. The spices are a personal preference for me. Some people especially with sensitive skin may find cinnamon irritating to the skin or have an allergic reaction to it so if you are not sure please do a patch test first before adding cinnamon to your homemade masks.

Do you have any homemade facial care recipes? Please do share with us.

Relaxed Thairapy

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree and is considered an essential oil. The leaves are steam distilled to extract the oil. Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in addition to a host of other health benefits, medicinal and industrial uses. Due to its medicinal properties it is a major ingredient in some dental preparations, cough lozenges and also in beauty products due to its fragrance.  I currently use eucalyptus oil in my regimen in my castor oil mix and homemade braid spray I find it to be very soothing on the scalp, I sometimes add it to my henna mix for a deeper colour release. Go here for more information on the many benefits of eucalyptus oil. 
Photo Source 

Cactus oil
Marula oil
Mongongo oil 
Neem oil

Friday, 23 May 2014

Fitness Fridays: Workout Injuries

My aunt had a terrible accident a few years back that required surgery and one of the forms of physical activity she was allowed to perform to aid in her recovery was moderate walking over short distances and it really helped her heal much faster. I was at the pool one time with a lady who had had knee surgery and her doctor recommended swimming to aid in her recovery. These two ladies were already injured and their doctors recommended activities to aid in their recovery. Now how about preventing workout injuries? First things first disclaimer; I am not a medical professional and all opinions presented here are from online research, observation and personal experience. If you have a medical condition or any health concerns due to age or otherwise always consult your doctor first before embarking on any fitness regimen. Here are some ways in which you can prevent workout injuries while working out;

Warm up: it is very important to do warm up exercises pre workout. I used to wonder why athletes would do stretching exercise on the track before a run turns out those were warm up exercises. Any good trainer who has a workout DVD out should have warm up exercises at the beginning of the video. If you are going for a run or a jog try doing some arm and leg stretch exercise as a warm up. For any workout start slowly work your way up and then slow down on the final stretch.

Listen to your body during your workout if at any point your back snaps, or you feel a pain in your knee or you feel light headed or dizzy stop the workout immediately and rest. I have experienced episodes of dizziness and nausea while working out and had to stop and lie down. Any sprains or dislocations that occur while working out should definitely be checked out by a doctor if the lightheadedness or dizziness is a recurring thing then that too needs to be checked out. . Also you need to know your physical limitation do not over exert yourself stop when you feel fatigued there is always tomorrow to continue with your workout. It is okay to be sore or tired after a workout but not feel pain if you feel any type of pain during or after a workout then something is wrong somewhere and you should probably get a doctor to check that out. Give yourself a rest day or two every week, if you wake up feeling too tired to work out then don’t, let your body rest and regain its strength before you attempt working out again.

Safety: wear the correct workout gear depending on your routine. Do not go running or jogging in flats you need trainers/sneakers for that they are made for that specific purpose to avoid ankle and leg injuries. If using weights use the correct weights for you current strength level that you can safely lift.  If swimming and there is a no diving sign please do not dive the sign is there for a reason and make sure there is a lifeguard or at least an experienced swimmer around the pool if swimming in a private pool no matter how much of a good swimmer you are.

Switch it up: I mentioned in this post how I switch up my workout routine every other day to avoid monotony and keep me motivated. Another reason to switch it up is to avoid putting too much pressure on particular body parts you need to use all your muscles and body parts interchangeably work on both the upper and lower body parts.

Cool down: it is very important to cool down towards the end of your workout to bring your heart rate down. Each time I have had to stop a workout abruptly due to an interruption I always feel lightheaded for a minute or two so it is always important to bring your heart rate down slowly. I have since learned to continue working out even when interrupted I just slow down and then come to a complete stop if necessary. Cool down stretches at the end of a workout will help bring down your heart rate. Remember start slowly, work your way up and then slow down on the final stretch before coming to a complete stop for any workout regimen.

Most importantly stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. Always keep a water bottle nearby it comes in very handy.
What steps do you take to avoid injuries while working out?
Fitness Friday

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I used to take it for granted that anyone who uses the internet knows that you can find tutorials on basically anything on YouTube turns out that I was wrong some people’s sole purpose for YouTube is music videos and movies. Just in case you are one of those people and is struggling with doing your own hair here are a few tutorials on do it yourself protective styles found on YouTube. 

Box braids: World of Braiding Tutorial

Cornrows: Breanna Rutter Tutorial

Please check both YouTube channels featured here for plenty more tutorials. Both channels have awesome tutorials only difference is in the first channel the tutorials are done on someone else's hair while in the second channel the YouTuber does her own hair. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Neem Oil

Neem oil comes from the seeds and fruits of the Neem tree, a tree well known for its medicinal purposes. In Swahili we call this tree Mwarubaini which means the tree that has forty cures for it is believed to cure forty plus diseases and body ailments. All parts of the tree are used to treat and cure ailments from the bark to the leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers and even roots they are all used in one way or another to treat various ailments. The Neem tree has antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties among others. Neem is a major ingredient in a lot of beauty and cosmetic products in addition to medicinal products.
Neem oil has high concentrates of fatty acids like oleic and linoleic and vitamin E.  Neem oil promotes a healthy scalp due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties which in turn promotes a healthy environment for hair growth. Neem oil helps combat itchy scalps, treats dandruff and ailments like psoriasis in addition to removing head lice. One major con of Neem oil is its pungent smell but the health benefits outweigh the pungent smell in my opinion. The smell can always be masked by using an essential oil like Lavender or other carrier oils like coconut, almond oil and the likes to mask the strong scent and/or mixed into shampoos and conditioners. If you intend to use Neem oil in an overnight treatment I highly advise mixing it with another oil or deep conditioning treatment and not to use it on its own unless you literally don’t have a sense of smell and sleep like a log:)  The pungent smell only applies to pure 100% Neem oil products that contain Neem oil as part of the ingredients do not have the pungent smell so you may want to try those instead of the pure oil if you can’t stand the smell.